Mormons Rock

November 29, 2007

Prophets are human, and NOT perfect

Filed under: LDS,Mormons — by steffielynn @ 1:25 am
Tags: , , ,

Many people try to bring down the LDS church with claims that the church cannot be true because the prophets were/are imperfect. 

There was only ONE perfect person who walked on this Earth. 

My friend sent me this email the other day, and I found it perfect for this very subject!  So I will share it with YOU!

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
Mary Magdalene was…
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer..AND
Lazarus was dead!

~*~*~*~
 Prophets aren’t the message, they are just the messenger.

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62 Comments »

  1. Mary Magdalene was… Jesus’ wife?

    Um: the canard that Magdalene was the woman taken in adultery or a prostitute is unfounded:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdalene

    Comment by Silus Grok — November 29, 2007 @ 2:02 am |Reply

  2. I like it, Steffie. When you add snippets of what many of the OT and NT prophets taught that we now reject, it becomes even clearer.

    Christians who want to knock modern prophets for getting things wrong and making (even major) mistakes – and especially those who claim Biblical infallibility – almost never are willing, in my experience, to subject the ancient prophets against whom they must compare modern prophets to the same rigorous examination. If they did, they would have to admit at least the possibility of deeply flawed modern prophets or reject prophets (and thus Judaism and Christianity) completely.

    Atheists aren’t affected in the same way, obviously, nor are any theists who do not accept prophets, but Christians almost never recognize the absurdity of their attacks in this area.

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 3:13 am |Reply

  3. This is interesting Steff, and a good point. You could add a few: Elijah was vindictive, Thomas doubted the resurrection, John was an egotist, Jeremiah was depressed, Solomon was a sex addict, it could go on and on…

    I am sure that all the prophets had people like ej telling tham that they were false prophets. You can imagine it:

    people: “You haven’t said anything new in conference for the last ten years!”

    Isaiah: “That’s because you still need to repent!”

    Those who want to hear new stuff in conference should get busy living according to the truth we have been given. Personally, I’m just happy we haven’t been asked to live the law of consecration or move to Missouri …yet.

    Comment by MCQ — November 29, 2007 @ 5:50 am |Reply

  4. As for the Mary Magdalene thing, I don’t know what the author meant by the ellipsis (“dot dot dot”), but as for problems she had in her life, the New Testament clearly states that no less than 7 devils were cast out of her.

    I’ve mentioned this very thing a few times when people have made such statements in blogs about how modern prophets should be infallible, but without fail they do not respond. In my experience, it is only those seeking to learn that give any heed, while anti-s will parrot the same old argument against the church a million times, regardless of its truth, just to plant the seeds of dischord.

    I like that you added not only weaknesses (i.e. Moses’ slowness of speech, perhaps a speech impediment), but also outright sins (i.e. Jonah fleeing from his responsibility to preach, and later being angry because the people repented). Prophets may be outstanding people, but like all of us, they have weaknesses, and they sin.

    Comment by Ashui — November 29, 2007 @ 6:07 am |Reply

  5. But when they say something was revealed to them by God shouldn’t it hold up? There is a difference between holding them to a standard of what they claim as revelation verses judging how they lived their life, don’t confuse the two.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 6:15 am |Reply

  6. While this isn’t a comment on the topic at hand, it reminded me of something related. This whole “infallible controversy” thing reminds me of what Christ said about the Jews in the New Testament.

    The Jews claimed that had they lived in the times of their forefathers they would not have stoned, persecuted, and killed the prophets. However, they did all of that to Jesus Christ and his disciples, and Jesus clearly preaches that they would have done as much to his forebearers. Similarly, it seems it’s a lot easier today for church critics to point to a fervent belief in prophets of dispensations past, but harshly criticize and exercise all sorts of unchristian action against the prophets of the modern day. Had they lived in Christ’s time, would they have seen Him for what He truly was? Or would they have accused him of sin, such as healing on the sabbath day, or letting his disciples pluck corn on the sabbath?

    Just a speculation.

    Comment by Ashui — November 29, 2007 @ 6:25 am |Reply

  7. Wow, I’m just realizing more and more things about this topic as I think about it more. Here are some more examples of men of God and their failings, and some teachings of the only Perfect Man. I’ve included both Book of Mormon and Bible references, though I assume the anti-s will sniff at the Book of Mormon ones as being unauthoritative.

    1 Nephi 11:17 — When speaking to an angel, Nephi did not understand the meaning of all things, but knew God loved his children.

    Alma 40:3 — Alma admitted to his son Corianton that he did not know all of the details about the resurrection, but that those things he did know he only knew after fasting and praying for a long time.

    Alma 40:20-21 — Continuing the last one, Alma admits that one thing he is teaching is just his opinion, and he is not sure of its truth.

    Matthew 19:8 — Jesus teaches that although Moses allowed the Israelites to put away their wives, this was not a feature of the true gospel, but rather a principle given to them to live at the moment because due to the hardness of their hearts they would not accept the true, greater commandment. So, did Jesus do a flip-flop on a gospel principle? Or was Moses preaching false doctrine? Or is it neither of these two?

    1 Samuel 21:6 — David eats the shewbread, although this is against the law, but it was never counted against him.

    The places in the New Testament where Jesus Christ compares his teachings to what was taught “of old time” — some would see this as a doctrinal change and call him a heretic.

    That’s what I could think of off the top of my head. Any other ideas?

    Comment by Ashui — November 29, 2007 @ 6:42 am |Reply

  8. Comparing a flawed story with a flawed story leads one to believe both are wrong, not both are right.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — November 29, 2007 @ 7:46 am |Reply

  9. Attacking Christian fundamentalists and their notions of Biblical inerrancy is too easy. Bishop Rick is right to point that out. The “your religion is just as flawed as mine” argument is ultimately a circular firing squad that ends up undermining all faiths. Our real concern is not so much misguided belief, but unbelief.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 29, 2007 @ 1:10 pm |Reply

  10. True….BUT, really this is just to show that even Prophets are human, and this is not meant to put down ANY prophet, it is just to show that they are human, and flawed, the ancient AND present. It must be tough to be a prophet, even though they are human they are held more accountable by God, and ridiculed by other imperfect humans!

    Ashui, thanks for your input! Good stuff!

    MCQ, that is exactly why I posted this, People keep harping on past prophets and what they believed or said, but some are believing Christians, and I guess they don’t realize the prophets they believe to be true, made mistakes! Prophets who were WITH Christ denied Him!!!! Can you imagine if they had TV and internet back then!!!!!!

    Comment by steffielynn — November 29, 2007 @ 1:25 pm |Reply

  11. Ashui

    You should do some research and find out more about how and when all the it was the jews who persecuted Jesus came to be put in the Bible. A good start would be “Constatines Sword” I wonder if you are also among those that think that the horrible things that have had happened to them over the years has been by the hand of God as punishment as well.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 2:13 pm |Reply

  12. CRM, that last comment was uncalled for. Nothing in what Ashui said even hinted of God punishing the Jews over the years.

    Also, the idea of the Jewish leadership rejecting Jesus and assisting in his arrest and trial is not up for debate with the vast majority of religious historians – even the Jewish ones. The real debate is about “who was responsible for killing Jesus” – and nobody here has come within 10 miles of that topic.

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 3:16 pm |Reply

  13. Ray
    I completely disagree with you; it has been this false concept that has been the justification and cause of the persecution of the Jewish people.

    It is very much in debate, even the existence of Christ himself is in debate. You have to study both religious and non religious scholars. Study the nature of the Roman empire and religion during that time period. Nothing is accepted, the one thing we do know is that horrible treatment and atrocities to these innocent people has been a result of this Jews persecuted Christ narrative.

    My comment was completely in line.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 3:31 pm |Reply

  14. I have many things to write on the topic at hand, but at the moment I will only write one.

    Coventry, if you please, briefly tell me what you believe about the Bible and about Jesus Christ. We have heretofore been making statements about the sacred record that are only meaningful to those that believe the Bible to be the word of God, as latter-day saints do, and believe Jesus Christ to be the Savior of mankind.

    If you do not believe these two points, all that we have said will mean nothing to you. Furthermore, this thread was created with an assumption of belief in biblical prophets and Jesus Christ. If you are to argue from the point of view of an unbeliever, perhaps that is not fully under the original scope of this thread, although I am also ready to address some of your concerns.

    This same statement goes for all those who have expressed doubt — what do you believe?

    Comment by Ashui — November 29, 2007 @ 3:45 pm |Reply

  15. I don’t argue with that, CRM – not at all. I probably should have added the “if Jesus really was a historical figure” disclaimer, but I actually have read a lot of what you suggest, and I stand by the belief that he did live. Assuming he lived, and assuming he taught even close to what is recorded that he taught, he was opposed by the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem. He was killed, however, by the Romans; of that there really is no credible doubt. To say that the “Jews” as a people rejected, persecuted or killed him is simply inaccurate. At the very least, I do agree that we should use “Jewish leadership” and not “Jews” when we talk of Jesus’ treatment.

    My main point is that nothing in what Ashui said came even close to a justification of the persecution over the centuries. S/he might or might not believe that, but it wasn’t in the comment. It was a very narrow analogy between one ancient group (even if it is confined to a few individuals) who claimed righteousness and tolerance as they acted in unrighteous, intolerant ways and other modern individuals who do the exact same thing. That, I believe, is a very valid point.

    We might have to agree to disagree on that, since it is a *major* threadjack of this post. *grin*

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 3:47 pm |Reply

  16. Ashui, go back through other threads and read CRM’s comments. He has explained his beliefs quiet well and really shouldn’t have to do so again here.

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 3:50 pm |Reply

  17. Thanks Ray #16

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 4:04 pm |Reply

  18. Ray

    Good post I can go along with what you also said in #15

    I guess I just know from my time in the Church that their are many that use what happened to the Jews as a faith builder. I jumped on what I think is a very sensitive and potentially harmful line of thought.

    I appreciate your input.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 4:08 pm |Reply

  19. Ray

    One last thought or question before I head off skiing.
    From information I have studied on the Roman empire and the climate of the time. It seems that Jesus’ persecution and execution would have been more a result of someone gathering up followers that did not have the correct status in society which would have broken the established rules of class and hierarchy which was very important in Roman culture. From what I have read Rome could careless about which cult or tradition someone practiced as long as they didn’t stir stuff up, but then they were merciless in handing out punishment for those they considered trouble makers. What are your thoughts?

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 4:19 pm |Reply

  20. Exactly what you wrote. The Romans were fairly tolerant of those in the empire who minded their P’s and Q’s, but they were swift and severe when faced with dissent.

    I believe the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem was concerned about two things: A grass roots rejection of their authority and, much more dangerously, Jesus coming to the attention of the Romans and having them stomp hard on everyone in order to quell a potential rebellion. This general time period included other examples of radical reactionaries who openly advocated the overthrow of the Roman control of Jerusalem – and the subsequent brutality of the Roman suppression of that movement is striking. Having Jesus arrested and charged with treason was typical of an easy solution to the fear of Roman reprisal.

    I think any perspective about Jesus’ rejection by the Jewish leadership that does not allow a degree of understanding and “mercy” given the precariousness of their existence as a people within the Roman Empire is fundamentally flawed from the outset.

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 4:38 pm |Reply

  21. Steffie

    “Noah was a drunk ” – Noah did not teach that drunkeness was a commandment of God.

    “Abraham was too old “- Too old for what ? Was Abraham commanding teens to marry and conceive with him and damn them to hell if they didn’t obey as Brigham Young did ?

    “Isaac was a daydreamer” – He was a monogomist as well .

    “Jacob was a liar” – Jacob did not reveal as revelation that God commanded him to lie.

    “Leah was ugly ” – So are lots of Mormons and including myself .What has that to do with anything .Jesus judges the heart and not appearance .

    “Joseph was abused ” – what relevance is this ? Was he abused by a Priesthood leader ? Does this make it ok or something ?

    “Moses had a stuttering problem “- Has anyone criticised anyone in church leadership for stuttering ? There is a big difference between ‘stuttering’ and teaching that Adam is God and that God had revealed it to you as Brigham Young did .

    “Samson had long hair and was a womanizer” _ does that make it okk to threaten young girls into polygamy ?

    “Rahab was a prostitute “- Does this mean that she canonised it in a D&C 132 style to justify it ?

    “Isaiah preached naked” _ So why didn’t Joseph Smith do the same then ?

    The list amounts to nothing and does not excuse false doctrine taught be false prophets or a bunch of men in Salt Lake masquerading as Apostles.

    Comment by elder joseph — November 29, 2007 @ 4:41 pm |Reply

  22. Major threadjack, no kidding — I don’t quite understand how my comments were distorted into antisemitism. Despite the fact that it is not a direct tangent of the thread at hand, I think I will clarify my beliefs for everyone. As one who believes in the record of the Bible, I believe that their initial scatterings by Assyria, then Babylon, were largely due to wickedness among the Jews, as is verifiable by Old Testament scriptures. These were written by the Jews and verified as authentic to nearly the time of Christ in the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that this was not an alteration by the early Christian church.

    Assyrian Captivity: Isaiah 17, captivity of the northern kingdom prophesied due to wickedness (v. 10)
    Babylonian Captivity: Jeremiah 24:8-10 prophesied to happen due to wickedness, Jeremiah 58:28-30 happened.
    For prophecy of the Roman captivity is in the New Testament, see Luke 21:24. From my initial evaluation, no mention of it being due to wickedness is evident, though I believe that it certainly came due to wickedness, as can be inferred from the Bible and nonbiblical sources.

    However, that is where the record stops. The Jews in their own generations were punished for their own sins, and not for the sins of their fathers. I certainly do not believe that the Holocaust was God-inspired. I have never heard of anyone in the church using what happened to the Jews as a “faith builder.” The Book of Mormon condemns such people, as well as their scorn for the Jews. 2 Nephi 29:4-5, but here’s an excerpt: “O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews…? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them… I will return all these things upon your own heads… I the Lord have not forgotten my people.” There is no place for antisemitism in the Church, and no evidence for a claim that anything other than the initial scatterings was for wickedness. Abuses taken in the past, whether by people of the early Catholic church or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not in conformity with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    As to whether the Roman scattering was due to general wickedness or just that of those in authority, I happen to be in agreement with you that it had more to do with those in authority than the common people. Jesus was popular with the common people, even on the week of his crucifixion, as is seen in his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The main party responsible for his death was the Sadducees (also known as “chief priests and scribes” when not mentioned by name in the Bible), as he both disagreed with them on major doctrinal issues, and he was perceived as a threat to their position of power in dominating the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees literally disappear in the last chapters of the gospels as critics of Christ; his teachings were actually very similar to those of their spiritual forebearer Hillel, and their major issue with Christ seemed to be in sabbath observance. The Sadducees took after the theology of Shammai, which Christ usually did not agree with (except in the notable exception of divorce). The common people typically followed Pharisee tradition and the teachings of Hillel, which perhaps made Christ’s teachings seem more accessible to them.

    Hence, his crucifixion was mainly the product of wicked rulers over the Jewish people. As to whether their destruction around 70 AD by the Romans was due mainly to their wickedness or the wickedness of the people as a whole, however, is uncertain — a lot could have happened between 34 AD and 70 AD. However, I am in agreement that his crucifixion was due to the ruling class in Jerusalem, as is confirmed in the Book of Mormon: “But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified” (2 Nephi 10:5), the key word being priestcrafts, which is exactly what the Sadducees practiced in the Gospels.

    Well, that was more of a brief history lesson, but hopefully it is tolerable.

    Also, sorry if you thought my previous request inappropriate. I thought it would be a simple matter to write a one-liner about your beliefs, such as “I believe in the Bible as the word of God and Jesus as God’s Son,” “I reject the Bible and Christ as a made-up construct,” “I enjoy the Bible and Christ’s teachings but I’m not sure if it is what it claims to be,” or “I don’t know.” In case you were wondering, I align myself with the first statement. By the way, I’m a he, so you don’t have to play with the “s/he” stuff.

    Comment by Ashui — November 29, 2007 @ 5:12 pm |Reply

  23. #21 – Never mind. It just isn’t worth it.

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 5:17 pm |Reply

  24. No, it is worth one more attempt:

    ej, How do you feel about OT and NT prophets and what they taught?

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 5:19 pm |Reply

  25. Ashui

    Don’t be too offended by Coventry, he once compared me to a sucide bomber! I wanted to go through my computer and punch him in the nose! 🙂 He is wrong though, and I really don’t understand why he would say such a thing! But I think he apologized in comment 18…sort of. Also your comment was interesting, and I’m glad to know what you believe!

    Coventry (or Ray) a question, Weren’t the Jews the “chosen” people by God? So why, or better yet who, believes that they are, or were being punished?

    EJ

    The point of the post is so people that believe as you do will realize prophets are human (ugly, fat, sinful etc.) If we had more info on them, would you be just as critical?

    I wonder the same as Ray, how do YOU feel about the OT and NT prophets?????????????????

    Comment by steffielynn — November 29, 2007 @ 7:52 pm |Reply

  26. Steffie

    I did not compare you to a suicide bomber I compared the methodoly you used to find truth as the same as a suicide bomber. This was a result of a converation in which I was asking you were your line was. I think I even said I would doubt that you would harm somebody and that you had a line you wouldn’t cross. I must have not done a very good job of explaining that …. soooo long ago 🙂

    Ashui

    I should have just asked the question as do you instead if I wonder as I can see how using I wonder could have a tone applied to it.

    As far as “I have never heard of anyone in the church using what happened to the Jews as a “faith builder.” ”

    Okay I just made that up I never was involved in conversations while on my mission with other missionaries and members as an adult, yeah it would never be said over the pulpit but certainly I heard members talk in terms of God was punishing them. I never said it conformed with the Gospel I said people have made that connection even GA’s in general conferences. Maybe a long time ago and then after finding out to the extent of what was actually done realized this was not something they should be saying.

    I have never heard of anyone in the church using what happened to the Jews as a “faith builder.”

    Elder Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, April 1938, Second Day—Morning Meeting, p.44
    I look to the Jew. Notwithstanding all his distress and peril through the ages that have passed, he seems to be in another peril, and yet I see the hand of God in it. He was to go to his native land, to the land of promise for Judah, to the Holy Land, and they are going, though many of them are going as our fathers came west willingly because they had to. Even Hitler is used as an instrument, in the hands of God, of driving them where the Lord wants them.

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 9:21 pm |Reply

  27. So look I if we consider Melvin J Ballard as qualifying as to lets say equal to Paul then I have brought us back to the original thread. 🙂

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 9:24 pm |Reply

  28. Don’t you just love this merry-go-round? 🙂

    Comment by Ray — November 29, 2007 @ 10:11 pm |Reply

  29. Skiing was more fun 🙂 this is just good for my brain

    Comment by CoventryRM — November 29, 2007 @ 10:13 pm |Reply

  30. Man. My post reads like such a downer, and I was trying to be witty.

    Sorry if it came off that way.

    : )

    Keep up the good posts!

    Comment by Silus Grok — November 30, 2007 @ 5:37 am |Reply

  31. Frankly, I do not see antisemitism in this comment (I may be blind; I’m not perfect — let me preface this post with that understanding). The quote didn’t say they suffered because of iniquity — but rather in preparation for the gathering, in fulfillment of prophecy. I don’t think that it is so much that God inspired hate for the Jews by Hitler, but rather Him using what’s already there for His purposes that Elder Melvin J. Ballard is trying to highlight (gather Israel to the Holy Land). If it is used as a “faith builder,” I do not think that that is because of their suffering, but rather because of what might be seen as divine providence in their deliverance from that suffering and subsequent gathering to the promised land.

    Scriptural precedent for God using the wicked for his purposes is found in Isaiah 10:5-7 and the book of Habakkuk, although in these cases it does seem to be because of the iniquities of the Jews.

    From what I see of that conference quote, the Jews were persecuted by Hitler for the same reason the Saints were persecuted in Missouri — neither are definitely traceable to general iniquity, although specific examples can be found on the side of the Saints. These tragic events seem to have revitalized Judaism and Mormonism respectively (for a good look on how this happened in Judaism from a Jew’s perspective in a format that is accessible to the layman, see Pullitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk’s excellent book, “This Is My God”). Perhaps this was part of Heavenly Father’s intentions in allowing such heinous wickedness to take place.

    In closing, please take note that I do not deign to know the mind of God — this line of thought I have come to through my own reasoning and prayers. It seems to make sense to me in my mind, and it feels like it is reasonable in my heart, although I certainly do not understand why such atrocities would be required for that result. I know that God loves His children, and that everything He does is for their good. In the end, whether or not you agree with this statement, though prophets may be imperfect men, we all still have direct access to God for confirmation of their calling and specific doctrines taught.

    Oh, Coventry, thanks for your respectful nature and everything — I do appreciate it. Even if we disagree, we can certainly be civil, as you have been. I also hope that my comments have neither come off as flippant nor derogatory. By the way, where did you get that quote? I couldn’t find the original source online (not that I doubt its authenticity), but I saw that you could get it through Gospelink. Maybe I should invest in that….

    Comment by Ashui — November 30, 2007 @ 6:36 am |Reply

  32. “I did not compare you to a suicide bomber I compared the methodoly you used to find truth as the same as a suicide bomber. This was a result of a converation in which I was asking you were your line was. I think I even said I would doubt that you would harm somebody and that you had a line you wouldn’t cross.”

    Now, why does that sound so familiar? 😉

    Comment by MCQ — November 30, 2007 @ 6:50 am |Reply

  33. Ashui

    I have LDS Library 2006, I understand they are going out of business within a month, I think they heard that I had gotten a hold of it and shut it down 🙂

    No your comments have been great and you gave me another book to read “This Is My God” Thanks

    MCQ

    Repetition is the best teacher 🙂

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 1, 2007 @ 12:49 am |Reply

  34. “Repetition is the best teacher.”

    Amen. At least, that’s what I tell my kids when I tell them to keep doing the same chores over and over. *grin*

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 3:42 am |Reply

  35. Steffie
    “EJ
    The point of the post is so people that believe as you do will realize prophets are human (ugly, fat, sinful etc.) If we had more info on them, would you be just as critical?”

    I don’t have a problem with prophets being human .I have a problem when they take other mens wives , marry underage age girls , threaten with hell any girls who are holding back on polygamy and numerous other things all done supposedly and commanded of Jesus .
    I don’t have a problem with Joseph Smith getting angry or hitting someone .I have a problem with him telling a 14 year old that marrying him at 37 is necessary for her eternal well being and her family’s too is from a loving Heavenly Father.

    I never once said I had a problem with fat people or ugly people .I think they would take exception to that …..I am ugly in appearance but wait until we all lay in our coffins dead, we will all be ugly then…..and the great thing is we will all be there 🙂

    I see ugliness as whats in peoples hearts and actions and not appearance .The LDS Bishop who sexually molested his own ward members kids recently is ugly in my opinion even though he looks charming .The Stake President Jailed for arranging sex with a 14 year old is ugly in my opinion.He could argue that the Prophets did it so why can’t he …maybe he had revelation ?

    I can’t even believe what you have written Steffie … wierd .

    We have a serial killer here who struck in our Town when I was younger . He murdered prostitutes because God told him to .He too could ask me if I had an issue with old testaments prophets doing as God commanded them to do as well .
    Its an extreme example but it seems that you are trying to justify bad things which you would never accept yourself based on the old testament and I don’t think thats a healthy way to think.

    The Mormon girl I met was pretty but inside she’s ugly .I’ve never met a person who could destroy the word promise like she has done .

    My friends and family were right all along .I tried to make Mormonism acceptable to them .I was being misled from day one …It was a big mistake on my part and I’m out .

    I don’t have anything personally against any member in our ward .They are all fine wonderfull folk and I’ve told them they are welcome anytime to visit me or call me for any help including helpimg hands days and I’m just the same as I was before .The only difference is I won’t attend church anymore.

    Comment by elder joseph — December 1, 2007 @ 11:23 pm |Reply

  36. So you are disillusioned by Mormons who aren’t the paragons of virtue you thought they all should be – but you also are pleased by so many more of them that are wonderful people. You blame the Church for the bad apples, and you give the Church no credit for the wonderful members. You see only the things that you label as terrible in the early and current leaders (by focusing on .001% of all Bishops and Stake Presidents) and nothing of the incredible growth and love and selfless service among the vast majority of them. All the bad examples are bad due to the Church, while all of the good are good despite the Church.

    Finally, you throw bile like it’s an Olympic sport, but you scream foul whenever someone simply says they don’t see it your way. You are a bitter, bitter man and you just can’t stand it when someone else finds joy in what you blame for your disillusionment. If you are miserable, you can’t stand others being happy – since they have to be miserable to justify your misery.

    That’s my take anyway. I hope you find happiness in something that doesn’t require you try to tear apart the happiness of others. In the meantime, I will not respond to anything else you fling, so have at it. You have an open target who won’t fight back.

    Comment by Ray — December 1, 2007 @ 11:35 pm |Reply

  37. Ray

    You simply have to accept that Joseph Smith’s behaviour and Brigham Youngs behaviour in the name of God is simply not acceptable to some people …

    You can serve others all day and night but it will never justify what Joseph Smith and The other Leaders said God had commanded them to do ….

    You may be a great Guy . But your efforts( good deeds) will never justify their behaviour in the name of God to me ..

    The church members I praise are no different from any other religious people I know including Athiests . I’ve always been around good people so mormonism’s PR does not make a difference to me .I’m not vulnerable , on a low , destitute , mentally ill , out of work , in dept, full of guilt ,suicidal ,abused ,frightened , alcoholic , a gambler , lonely or any other attributes which make for many of the fast baptisms.

    If you knew me in our ward , I wouldn’t come across as offensive as I seem to be doing to you …

    I’m the best Investigator they ever had and I remained just that , although you would probably argue that the best investigators are those who join the church .

    What you need is a religion to knock on your door which converted your wife or daughter and that they are going to be married off secretly to its polygamist leader for their own eternal well being while you are branded as Satan for objecting to it , then you might see a different aspect of Mormonism ( Early mormonism at least ).

    This doesn’t make me happy and it didn’t make the early female Saints happy ffrom the various chastisements they got in JOD’s .

    If there is anything I say makes you unhappy then don’t blame me , blame Brigham and crew .I wish the history was different myself .

    And I’m not replying because you say you are an open target , I’m replying so you know where I am coming from .

    Why do you seem to want us all to be so accepting of the awful history. it’s wierd … like you think there is something wrong with us , well there isn’t.

    The Church IS NOT Perfect , but the people are trying hard to be .

    Comment by elder joseph — December 2, 2007 @ 12:46 am |Reply

  38. Just curious, what is the church’s position on Joseph Smith marrying 14 year olds? Does anybody know?

    Comment by SkiUtah — December 2, 2007 @ 12:52 am |Reply

  39. OK, I will add just this note:

    I really don’t want you to accept anything you can’t accept. Seriously. I have not implied that even once. All I have said is that you seem bent on destroying the joy and perspective of anyone who doesn’t agree with you. In all of the dozens of comments you have made on this blog, there might be a handful that contained absolutely no venom or sarcasm or destructive undertones.

    I’m not going to address the central issue I have with your last comment (and others), because no one deserves to read what I would say on a public blog. I mean that sincerely, ej. Even more than the bitter diatribes, there is a completely different aspect of your comments (expressed more than once) that I have never touched – because, whether you believe it or not, it is not my place to point it out in a forum like this. If I could sit down with you face to face and have the opportunity to discuss it at length, I MIGHT do it. Frankly, I might not. It would either prick you to the core or make you punch me in the face – and I simply don’t know you well enough to know which would occur.

    I truly do hope you find happiness in something. I mean that sincerely. Now I really am bowing out.

    Comment by Ray — December 2, 2007 @ 1:03 am |Reply

  40. #38 – It happened with two people, and there is absolutely no evidence that there was any sex involved with them. In fact, the objective evidence for those two “sealings” seems to indicate that there wasn’t any. There is some debate about whether at least three of the “marriages” included some sexual activity, but it is apparent from the statements of every other woman that sex was not part of the typical arrangement.

    Also, marriage at 14 was not illegal at the time, even if there had been sex involved. I have plenty of ancestors from that general time period who were early-mid teenagers when they were married.

    Comment by Ray — December 2, 2007 @ 1:10 am |Reply

  41. #38 – Sorry, I inadvertently submitted that last comment before I was done.

    The child molester claim is probably the most worn-out, inflammatory charge that has ever been put forward. If you weed out the comments by those who obviously had a preconceived conviction (on both sides) and focus strictly on the ones who seemed to be trying for objective analysis (even those who come out ultimately as opposed to Joseph and polygamy), it appears that polygamy originally was instituted as a means of familial sealing rather than civil and sexual marriage. There are three possible children of Joseph through polygamy left on the current lists, and there are three others that have been discounted through DNA testing of descendants. Thus far, there are no known children of Joseph through polygamy.

    Comment by Ray — December 2, 2007 @ 1:18 am |Reply

  42. I think the polygamy thing is so interesting. I don’t know much about it, so I have not posted on it. I have looked into it, (mostly beacause of EJ’s claims) but everything I read is based soley on opinion. I have even read other blogs of people who currently practice polygamy, and they seem to be happy, especially the women. I have heard that it is an eternal principle, but not for everyone. But I really don’t know, maybe Ray does???

    So based on what I have learned my opinion is that the people involved did so because they wanted to.

    EJ,

    Your comments sadden me, I think you are very sad and I don’t want you to be. I know that your Heavenly Father loves you so much and I pray that you will open yourself up to Him so He can change your heart. It can happen, you just have to let Him in!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 2, 2007 @ 2:09 am |Reply

  43. My wife is directly descended from one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives. You can read about her here:

    http://mcqesq.wordpress.com/2007/08/15/mary-elizabeth-rollins-lightner/

    Comment by MCQ — December 2, 2007 @ 9:34 pm |Reply

  44. Ray

    A couple of observations here, I believe it is a misconception about young marriages being common in the 1800’s in fact the average age of marriage went up in the mid 1800’s to late 1800’s from the 1700,s It seems the lowest was in 1956.

    I have just been doing some research and from several sources I found some conisisten information. I did not use any anti Mormon sites I used just used articles regarding marriage stats. Such as this one

    “HOW HAS MARRIAGE CHANGED THROUGH THE YEARS?” Danielle Novick, drn104@psu.edu

    “When did people marry?
    For women in 1786, the average age of marriage was 20.5 years. Between 1880 and 1889 the age went up to 21.6( Wells, 1985). In 1890, the average age of marriage for men was 26.1 and 22.0 for women (Schmidt, 1996). From 1920 to 1929 the median age for women went down to 20.8 years. In 1956 men and women were marrying at the all time low ages of 22.5 and 20.1 years (Darling, 1996). The age of marriage grew steadily since then. In the 1990’s, the average for men is 26.7 and 24.5 for women (Schmidt, 1996). “

    I found many other resources that confirm and agree with this information.

    The other thing is the sex question; it is natural to speculate that in a marriage there would be sex. It seems that the Church started speculating that perhaps there wasn’t sex involved. However I find that hard to believe since BY so clearly believed that one of the up sides to plural marriage was that it served to rid society of prostitution. (I can provide you with the J of D articles if you would like.) That sex was not part of the deal.

    Ray, Steffie and MCQ

    I also think to say that the Women were okay with it is also an invalid point. Many people in fact most people that succumb to abuse or allow themselves to be devalued claim loyalty to their abusers. I don’t think you need me to go and find and give you the many examples of this.

    I just don’t think the explanations that church has used over the years really hold up. The it wasn’t about sex and people got married that young all the time, neither one from what I have researched really hold up.

    Ray

    You may feel The claim may be warn out but that doesn’t make any less valid.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 3, 2007 @ 12:35 am |Reply

  45. Coventry, the thing is, when you extrapolate the practice of polygamy to an entire population (i.e. late 1800s Utah), then, yeah, it probably was about sex to some extent in many cases. It just seems likely. That’s my take.

    But when you break it down to an individual household…

    Well, now you’re just guessing. Honestly, it takes all kinds and every family is different in its own way. It’s just really hard to say what a relationship was like one way or the other when looking at a specific private couple that lived over 200 years ago. Because by and large, Joseph’s wives ain’t saying. When people asked, a lot of them told em to mind their own business.

    Then you take each of Joseph’s 30-whatever wives… We don’t know whether each of those marriages was about sex or not. Some of them give indications of being more along the lines of a purely religious ritual linked to binding families together and binding individuals to salvation without any real consumation of the marriage. “Dynastic marriages” if you will.

    Also, since a lot of the marriages were arranged by local religious authorities, we have to allow for the possibility that mutual attraction wasn’t a factor in some of the marriages.

    I remember my great grandmother (she died in the early nineties at the age of 103) telling me how, growing up in rural Utah, she once contracted pneumonia (serious in those days). She told her mother “if I die, make sure they don’t marry me to the Bishop!” She didn’t like the bishop much and it was apparently commonplace in those parts, when a young girl died before marriage, to seal her posthumously to whoever happened to be the acting bishop at the time.

    I’m pretty sure sex wasn’t really dominant in those marriages.

    Yeah, marriage is about sex. But it’s also about more than that.

    In any case, Steffie’s right. Most of the stuff written on this boils down to conjecture and opinion. We don’t know a lot about polygamy. And we’re really too biased to give it a fair objective historical treatment.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 3, 2007 @ 3:23 am |Reply

  46. My great-great grandfather was a prominent Mormon polygamist. He has over 44,000 descendents.

    http://www.childbrides.org/sex_azcent_1200_gather_for_reunion.html

    So at least in his case, there was some sex involved.

    And from my family records, he died a lonely man, with none of his wives at his deathbed…

    Comment by SkiUtah — December 3, 2007 @ 5:33 am |Reply

  47. Coventry:

    Talking purely about Joseph Smith, who was the first polygamist, it appears valid to say that his plural marriages were, by and large, not about sex. The most obvious fact pointing to this conclusion is that, of over thirty plural wives, none appear to have generated any provable offspring except his marriage to Emma. There is some speculation about a handful of potential descendants, but out of thirty-odd marriages if Joseph were having sex with even half of them, you’d expect a boatload of babies. But thre are none proved and only a few possible candidates. That says to me these marriages were not about sex.

    Also, your idea about people being loyal to their abusers is not a compelling argument. That does sometimes happen, but not universally or even in a majority of cases. If Joseph were an abuser, there would be some record of many of these women saying so. But there isn’t. By and large, they remained loyal to him. Why? You can read the record of Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner for one explanation. Many of them claimed to have received some revelation about Joseph and plural marriage. That would have a tendency to influence your feelings.

    Comment by MCQ — December 3, 2007 @ 6:19 am |Reply

  48. Seth

    My main point is that the white wash reasoning doesn’t really hold up.

    Even with Joseph Smith, maybe calling them child molesters is to strong, or perhaps it wasn’t illegal. It still was not the social norm for young girls to marry much older men. Sexual lust was clearly a motivating factor. Fanny Alger was the first of JS and clearly doesn’t fit the description of any of the so called wholesome reasons for plural marriage. She was 16 and looking good. In my opinion Joseph had to reconcile his sin with God and like all the Biblical figures in the past, say God had sactified it and commanded it was the best way to ease the guilt and save face. From there it was a snowball.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 3, 2007 @ 6:19 am |Reply

  49. Coventry, that explanation is not in accord with the recorded facts. If it was just Joseph who claimed to have the revelation, it would still not make sense, because he was not described as lustful or wanton. Joseph asked those who he married to pray and ask God if it was right and many recorded revelations about it, despite having serious misgivings. Sexual lust was not clearly a motivating factor for Joseph, it’s just the most obvious motivation for his detractors to ascribe to him.

    Comment by MCQ — December 3, 2007 @ 6:28 am |Reply

  50. Interesting article, makes my point exactly:

    http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,695232074,00.html

    Comment by MCQ — December 3, 2007 @ 7:36 am |Reply

  51. By the way, in considering the average age of marriage, it might be informative to consider that those living in the frontier lands of the United States generally married earlier than their Eastern counterparts. I don’t have a reference handy, unfortunately, but that is my general impression.

    Comment by Ashui — December 3, 2007 @ 11:21 am |Reply

  52. Let me point out that of the 33 known “wives” of Joseph Smith, only 4 of them were under 17 (the only ones who possibly could be considered “children” in that day, stretching it as far as possible), while 5 of them were over 45 (3 over 50). 11 of them were married to someone else, with none of those 11 “leaving” their husbands. The average age of all the wives was almost 31, and the two 14 year olds were among the last of the wives – during the same year as two of those over 50.

    I’ll stand by my statement that “child molester” is a tired, worn-out, ridiculous statement. It just doesn’t fit the actual facts.

    Again, given the facts and what was recorded by the women themselves, it appears that sex simply was not the main focus (if a part at all) of any of the “marriages” – and also that Joseph himself was very reluctant to practice polygamy. (His first recorded statement about it was over 8 years before he actually started the practice in earnest.)

    MCQ said it very well: Just because Brigham embraced it without reservation in Utah, and it clearly became about having children there, it’s more than just shaky to make that claim about how it was practiced by Joseph.

    Comment by Ray — December 3, 2007 @ 12:34 pm |Reply

  53. I just don’t think that the historical record really shows that JS was reluctant at all; he certainly was not reluctant with Fanny. That is what I have a problem with and what I mean when I mention these long convoluted explanations, the facts seem pretty clear, JS had a fling with Fanny, from whence sprang this plural marriage concept, everything there came from the cover up sort to speak and seems inconsequential.

    That was one of the things that truly perplexed me when I did some of my original research, it seems the apologetics do the opposite and make the Fanny affair inconsequential and focus on the supposed non-sex marriages. For me one affair, getting caught covering it up with a revelation that threatens your wives salvation for being upset about it, certainly is plenty enough scandal for me.

    “ Joseph himself was very reluctant to practice polygamy. (His first recorded statement about it was over 8 years before he actually started the practice in earnest.)”

    I don’t doubt that he struggled with it, but what was he struggling with his strong urges and desire and how to deal with it? Or that God was telling him to do it? I think there is plenty of History that shows JS liked the women.

    Ashui

    I came across some record that showed perhaps in some areas maybe you got an age closer to 18. What I think people confuse is that in the 15th and 16th centuries there was a lot young marriages, arranged marriages for status and so forth were very common, mortality was shorter, but by the late 1700,’s and most definitely by the 1800’s people married for love and even when the age dropped both ages dropped for Female and Male.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 3, 2007 @ 4:04 pm |Reply

  54. I am also curious, in the anti book list I was given by Seth, he included Todd Comptons sacred lonliness, why is this book considered anti? I have not read it yet but from what I understand Compton is still an active LDS and believer, he used very valid information and sources etc. presented what evidence and information that was available, why is this book anti? or not truthful?

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 3, 2007 @ 4:26 pm |Reply

  55. I didn’t say it was “anti.” In fact, I would not classify it as such based on the reviews I’ve read of it (it’s currently on my to-read list – so I’m hardly qualified to pass definitive judgment on it). By and large, the book apparently does a fairly even-handed job of covering the subject matter. But some reviews have noted that an anti-polygamy bias does show through at times. You probably ought to read it. I expect I will one of these days….

    Comment by Seth R. — December 3, 2007 @ 5:00 pm |Reply

  56. I was curious, it seems he has taken a fair amount of heat. I might read it I had pretty much stopped reading LDS topics other than actually Church publications I can speculate just as well as anyone else as to their meaning. 🙂 but the other book you mentioned seems even more interesting to me.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 3, 2007 @ 5:11 pm |Reply

  57. CRM, my point is pretty much what you describe – only from the other side of the coin. I think how someone views polygamy tends to be based on how they view sexuality in general and the assumptions they make about motives and prophets.

    Do I think Joseph might have been attracted to Fanny? Of course; it would be silly to deny that as a possibility. Do I think, if he was attracted to her, that he might have been less than devastated by the concept in theory? Sure; that makes sense. Do I think he might have said to himself, “Man, I wish I could be married to both of these women.” Perhaps. However, I still go back to the actual writings of the time (from both Joseph and the other wives – and, ironically, to the actions of Emma, who obviously loathed the idea), which make it quite clear that he loved Emma with all his heart, didn’t want to practice polygamy and knew exactly how divisive and difficult it would be for the Church.

    I have absolutely no problem with your take on it, since it is based on your own view of the first polygamous marriage. I don’t see it the same way, but at least it’s consistent and reasonable. I have a HUGE problem with the brainless “JS was a child molester” and the “polygamy was about a horny degenerate” arguments – since they just aren’t backed by ANYTHING other than assumption and extrapolation. (The argument basically is, “All men will have sex with as many women as possible if they have the chance, and JS obviously was a liar and a fraud, so it just had to be about sex.”) I have read much of the writing of the time, and that assumption just doesn’t ring true for Joseph.

    Comment by Ray — December 3, 2007 @ 5:58 pm |Reply

  58. here is an LDS Apostle explaining what carrying the Spirit requires.

    now suppose Joseph should come and say he wanted your wife, what would you say to that?” “I would tell him to go to hell.” This was the spirit of many in the early days of this Church. . . . What would a man of God say, who felt aright, when Joseph asked him for his money? [he would give it all willingly] Or if he came and said, “I want your wife?” “O yes,” he would say, “here she is, there are plenty more” . . .

    Did the Prophet Joseph want every man’s wife he asked for? He did not . . . the grand object in view was to try the people of God, to see what was in them. If such a man of God should come to me and say, “I want your gold and silver, or your wives,” I should say, “HERE THEY ARE,I WISH I HAD MORE TO GIVE YOU , TAKE ALL I HAVE GOT.”
    A man who has got the Spirit of God, and the light of eternity in him, has no trouble about such matters.”

    – Apostle Jedediah M. Grant, second counselor to Brigham Young and father of President Heber J. Grant, sermon delivered on 19 February 1854 (JD 2: 13-14)

    Comment by elder joseph — December 3, 2007 @ 6:13 pm |Reply

  59. JOD VOL 9 page 37 Brigham Young

    How will you be happy? Love the Giver more than the gift. Delight yourselves in your duties, mothers. Here are the MIDDLE AGED and the YOUNG. I am now almost daily sealing YOUNG GIRLS TO MEN OF AGE AND EXPERIENCE. Love your duties, sisters. Are you sealed to a good man?
    Yes, to a man of God. It is for you to bear fruit and bring forth, to the praise of God, the spirits that are born in yonder heavens and are to take tabernacles on the earth. You have the privilege of forming tabernacles for those spirits, instead of their being brought into this wicked world that God may have a royal Priesthood, a royal people, on the earth. That is what plurality of wives is for, and not
    to gratify lustful desires. Sisters, do you wish to make yourselves happy? Then what is your duty? It is for you to bear children, in the name of the Lord, that are full of faith and the power of God,—to receive, conceive, bear, and bring forth in the name of Israel’s God that you may have the honour of being the mothers of great and good
    men—of kings, princes, and potentates that shall yet live on the earth and govern and control the nations.DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THAT ?

    How about asking the young LDS women if they look forward to that .It will give us a good indication of sentiment amongst young Mormon girls in those days.

    Comment by elder joseph — December 3, 2007 @ 6:19 pm |Reply

  60. So, ej, you agree that polygamy was not about satisfying lustful desires. Cool.

    Comment by Ray — December 3, 2007 @ 7:03 pm |Reply

  61. Steffie, my wife is preparing the lesson for Relief Society on Sunday (Lesson 23 from the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church manual), and she read the following quotes to me (not knowing about this conversation) from various addresses by Spencer W. Kimball when he was an apostle:

    “Even in the Church, many are prone to garnish the sepulchers of yesterday’s prophets and mentally stone the living ones.”

    “The ancients also could accept the prophets of an earlier day, but denounced and cursed the ones who were their contemporaries.” (including Abraham as compared to Jesus)

    “By one means or another, the swiftest method of rejection of the holy prophets has been to find a pretext, however false or absurd, to dismiss the man so that his message could also be dismissed.”

    Comment by Ray — December 6, 2007 @ 6:39 pm |Reply

  62. Ray

    I’ve no doubt that David Koresh used that line of reasoning too and anyone else aspiring to holding ‘Godly’authority . The leader of the Moonies will use that also and for sure JW’s have done and I know from experience .

    I don’t dismiss the messages of ‘the LDs prophets’ when they are obviously good and in most cases they are taken from Christianity in general .

    However I dismiss the obvious silly ones like they have some great spirit of discernment or some wisdon into future events .In both these areas they seem oblivious and many past events testify to this… Gordon Hinckley seemingly preferring to be more of a comedian these days 🙂

    I heard that our ward bishop had a ‘revelation’ last Sunday in Testimony meeting . He revelated that we are heading for an economic recession .Too bad every gentile who read that mornings newspaper headlines knew this already ! lol

    It reminds of Joseph Smiths famous war prophecy .

    Comment by elder joseph — December 6, 2007 @ 7:33 pm |Reply


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