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wes

Brigham Young & The Journal Of Discourses

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Some observations after reading the thread:

1. wes has owned you all.

2. I don't understand how 90% of the posters here can immediately smell the intentions of this guy and still make serious responses to his inquiries, as if you are expecting it to be of any use (well, the good responses in the first 4 pages of posts are enough to cover the topic for any lurkers).

3. Me and some others have been chatting on IRC for years. We've come up with some silly games that we like to play. People tend to make it known that they intend to depart, and thus say goodnight. So one game we play is to see how long we can stall them and keep them from logging off. We have competitions to see how long we can hold them off. This is what wes is doing. He's been reloading this thread every 5-10 minutes since noon and posting a one or two line response with no substance to see how long he can keep you going.

That being said, it's time for the verdict on wes' performance today!

SUBSTANCE AND ARGUMENT:2

REACTION RECEIVED:9

STAMINA AND BAN AVOIDANCE (TO THIS POINT):8

OVERALL: 8

It has been a long time since a one threader troll as successful as wes has appeared. If wes can keep this up he may surpass Billy (who has been noticeable silent on this thread) for the title of long term nuisance.

AWARDS: Honourable mention by Scottie on another board! "Anyone who thinks this place is full of hatemongers needs to go to MAD and read the threads about the new questioner Wes."

Keep up the good work wes!

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It is hoped you show tolerance toward those with preconceptions espousing their opinions. I want to converse, but I just have the feeling that no matter what I say, wes will ignore it and jump to the next criticism. Now, because I am probably a fool, I will respond anyway. When and in what circumstances should we regard his statements as prophetic? It is not necessarily thought to have come through inspiration.

Historic Context: At that time there was a law in the Territorial legal code that provided the death penalty for adultery, so President Young's advice was not outside of the civil law in the punishment he cited. The question is, was it outside of the law, for a private citizen to act as judge, jury and executioner in Utah Territory in 1856? According to the civil law, such an act was murder -- but, according to Brigham Young (and according to the biblical Book of Numbers) such an act, on the part of a private citizen, "would be justified." By his saying that, I take it to mean that the private citizen, in such case, would not have been charged with murder. The 1850s situtation in Utah, "in which the commander-in-chief of the troops was also the head of a church," or acting as a prophet, dispensing a "higher law" than what was in the legal code.

Brigham Young spoke boldly and did not mince words. He would often paraphrase scripture to make a point. Those who study him and those who knew him, understand his method of communicating with bold scriptural symbolism. Here is the reference for his quote regarding "puting a javelin through both of them":

Numbers 25

1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.

2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

3 And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.

5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor.

6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

7 And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;

8 And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

11 Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.

12 Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:

13 And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.

I realize that you won't care about this either, after allm you've seem to have thrown out the Old Testament, but what happened was the Lord blesses a man for puting a javelin through a man and a woman for immorality, and when Brigham Young uses that same story to teach a principle about morality. If you are content to forsake contexts, believe the face value of one liners by critics of the church, so be it. But context is important in understanding what was said. Brigham didn't have a javelin; Brigham never executed anyone for adultery; Brigham never told anyone to execute anyone for adultery; and since English-speakers of normal intelligence can tell the difference between a hypothetical discussion that was clearly take from the Bible and it was once was "OK" to kill adulturers. However, Brigham continues:

"and I SAY LET THEM LIVE and suffer in the flesh for their sins, for they will have it to do."

"Will they have to go to hell? They are in hell enough now. I do not wish them in a greater hell, when their consciences condemn them all the time. Let compassion reign in our bosoms. Try to comprehend how weak we are, how we are organized, how the spirit and the flesh are continually at war."

He doesn't sound like the blood thirsty tyrant you are making him out to be.

Jesus did not always "turn".

The 18th chapter of John's gospel records Jesus' arrest and trial before both the Jewish and Roman courts. In verse 22 of that chapter Jesus is struck with the palm of the hand by one of the officers of the Jewish religious court for answering the high priest in what the officer thought was a disrespectful manner. In verse 23 Jesus responded,

"If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?"

Assuming that Jesus was slapped across the face or anywhere; he did not voluntarily offer his other cheek for more. On the contrary, he is objecting to receive this unjust treatment, and demanded to know how he deserved it.

In the book of Acts, Chapter 16, we find that Paul took a stand. After being beaten and cast into prison unjustly, the Philippian magistrates decided that they would release Paul and his companions and forget the matter. To this Paul responded in verse 37,

"They have beaten us openly, uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and do they now cast us out [secretly]? Nay! Let them come themselves and fetch us out."

Clearly, Paul was not passive. This refutes the common misconception. Jesus and Paul indicate that there are times when you do not offer the other cheek.

Jesus, when telling his followers that they should always be ready for his return illustrated his point by saying that his return would be as a "thief in the night"; that is, unexpected. In Matthew 24, verse 43, he added,

"If the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up."

While this verse refers to believers being ever ready for the Lord's return, it also clearly demonstrates the idea that a man was rightfully expected to defend his home.

There is one more, lesser known verse we should look at. Before Christ's arrest in the garden he said to his followers,

"And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (Luke 22:35-36)"

In the first account the Lord was telling his disciples that the time was coming when they would must labor to provide for themselves, they would need a sword. But moments later, as Jesus is arrested; Peter uses his sword to defend him. In John's gospel, Chapter 18, verses 10 and 11 it is recorded,

"Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priestâ??s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servantâ??s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"

Why is Jesus telling John put up his sword? Jesus does not tell Peter to drop his sword, but to put it in its sheath. The sword was, and still is, necessary for Peter to have. But to use? It was only because in the garden, Peter was hindering Christ's destiny that he tells him not to use it.

Is Christ's attitude toward physical violence to be "passive"? The answer is no.

The False Doctrine of Infallibility

I say all (I do mean all) Prophets have shortcomings, LDS do not believe that prophets and apostles are incapable of error, despite being called of God and receiving revelation. Even Joseph Smith himself taught that "a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such". The Church has always taught that its leaders are human and subject to failings. As explained in this statement from the First Presidency:

"The position is not assumed that the men of the New Dispensation â??its prophets, apostles, presidencies, and other leaders â?? are without faults or infallible"

In the Church we often "likening the scriptures unto ourselves, " to use Nephi's phrase (1 Nephi 19:23). We approach "teachings" of the scriptures and lives of early Church leaders, and apply them to ourselves, so they inspire a change rather than just artifacts to be studied in a detached way. Though it can build false perception, that people of the past were "just like us" having all the same assumptions, traditions, and beliefs. But this is not the case at all.

All the Prophets, in all dispensations, have been "men of their times, " who were raised with certain beliefs and interacted all their lives with others who shared those beliefs. The Old Testament prophets and peoples believed the earth was a flat expanse, with the sky a solid dome made out of a shiny, brass-like substance. This is not what God taught them. This was the way everyone understood things at that time, so we don't begrudge Isaiah and Ezekiel of speaking of the "four corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:12; Ezekiel 7:2), or Job for thinking the sky was a mirror (Job 37:18), or the Psalmist for thinking the earth stood still while the sun went around it (Psalms 93:1; Psalms 19:4-6).

Taking you to the nineteenth-century Americas, people were raised in a world where all Black people were either slaves or illiterate poor. There was much debate among American Christians as to how Blacks fit into God's overall plan, and who they are described as in the Bible. Many theories were abounded, but with virtually all of them ended in justifying their "modern" status of Blacks, whether its slavery or second-class citizens. Even debates as to whether or not Blacks were human beings at all, with souls that could receive salvation. In contrast to this general Christian view, Joseph Smith declared rather progressively that yes, Blacks did have souls and could be saved. This continued into the twentieth century, but even we, like the rest of society, had to progress in our understanding. And we look back and say, "How could they have missed issue X, which seems so clear to us now" Because everything seems clear in retrospect, doesn't it?

Point: The Lord must work with the people who are available.

Lord will work with people where they are, and does not wait for them to be perfect before he will deign to speak to them. If the Lord didn't make people believe X; then the people must have believed X to begin with and in his mercy the Lord seems to give the saints just enough understanding to lift the Saints a little higher from where they were.

For example, anti-Mormons thinking that given the known history of the presence of alcohol use by early Mormon leaders before (strangely enough even "before") and after the Word of Wisdom is supposed to mean something to modern Saints. The command to strictly abstain from certain things in Word of Wisdom as a requirement in the LDS church had not come about at the time it was first given, and was not required until much later under Brigham in Utah.

But asking why, since they already had the revelation, why didn't they live it them? Because, this revelation was to be "adapted to the weakest of the Saints" (D&C 89:3) and so it was.

A similar warning is found in Proverbs 20:1: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."

Such warnings, however, were largely ignored. At Isaiah's time, drinking fermented wine had become such a universal problem. EVEN "the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink; they are confused with wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment" (Is 28:7).

You have to note this is the same tendency with Latter-day as with Biblical prophets. Though purified and ennobled by the influence of the Holy Spirit; they are men, each with his own peculiarities of manner and disposition, each with his own education or want of education, each with his own way of looking at things, each influenced differently from another by the different experiences and disciplines of his life.

Their inspiration did not involve a suspension of their natural faculties; it did not even make them free from earthly passion; it did not make them into machines, it left them men. Therefore we find their knowledge is sometimes no higher than that of their contemporaries.

We should be forgiving of past prophets we perceive as being unsophisticated in their thoughts when comparing then to the present day. Lest we'd be judging too harshly.

What is the Biblical standard?

The Biblical authors were not perfect, and that they made errors, Paulâ??s accounts even contain a contradictory account of his vision (Compare Acts 9:7 & Acts 22:9). Paul and Barnabas disagreed severely enough for it to disrupt their missions Acts 15:36â??39. Peter and Paul also criticized the otherâ??s writing 2 Peter 3:16 and behavior regarding the Church Galatians 2:11â??16.

To insist that all Latter-day Saints must defend everything that Joseph Smith or Brigham Young has EVER said, is a pointless demand, it is not to be thought that every word spoken is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they write.

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There's also John D. Lee who clearly was not a fan of BY...but he doesn't have any credibility either, right?

I don't recall John D. Lee having any issues with BY until he realized that BY wasn't going to stand up for him for the MMM.

Mine is also based on much reading about him and I have come to an entirely different conclusion. I think we will have to agree to disagree.

Have you read anything by apologist or just stuff by Bagley and such? For instance did you read Rough Stone Rolling (which is about Joseph Smith)? Or any of the stuff mentiong by Dan Peterson?

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Ray Callis: Well done. Your response largely vindicated the creation of this thread.

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1. wes has owned you all.

If looking more ignorant with every post and coming across as a 12 year old is owning then I never want to own again.

Also, don't I get bonus points on your rating scale for my crash pic?

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This has been utterly pointless on so many levels...I highly doubt I will be trying any further conversation on this site.

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This has been utterly pointless on so many levels...I highly doubt I will be trying any further conversation on this site.

VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ray,

I just wanted to say thank you for a very clear, thorough, interesting and well thought out post. I appreciate the background and context you provided, it sheds alot of light on BY. It must have taken you quite some time and effort, so thanks for sharing that. :P

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This has been utterly pointless on so many levels...I highly doubt I will be trying any further conversation on this site.

Ray Caliss gave you a lengthy and substantive answer. You have still failed to respond with any substance to his remarks.

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This has been utterly pointless on so many levels...I highly doubt I will be trying any further conversation on this site.

We have been very lenient on this thread. If you feel that some posts have been pointless, it would be rather prudent to address them and show why you feel as such. We have a "Asked and Answered" policy. Ray has provided quite a post for you to read through. You do not have to respond, but please be careful with your attitude.

~Chronos

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This has been utterly pointless on so many levels...I highly doubt I will be trying any further conversation on this site.

I think it's been essentially pointless, too, but I doubt that we agree on the reasons for that.

I'm sure I speak for others in wishing you well elsewhere.

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wes

You say that all of your reading and study has led you to a negative conclusion about Brigham Young.

But when asked what you thought was the point of the discourse you brought up, you responded

It sounds like a big guilt trip to me. What do you think of it?

That's it. That's all. I think I'm not alone in feeling like that response was not quite adequate. It fails to demonstrate that you've even actually read the discourse that you claim is so disturbing. If we aren't convinced that you've actually done your homework, then your opinion about the character of Brigham Young carries very little weight.

You've been given several opportunities to demonstrate just how well-read you really are about Brigham Young. Each time, you've demonstrated that you don't seem to be at all familiar with anything other than what can be readily found on popular anti-Mormon sites. I think you'll find that posters here aren't readily impressed by that. Believe it or not, we've seen those arguments before.

Either you're interested in discussing this or you aren't. If you are, Ray's post would be an excellent place to start. If you aren't, then what was the point of coming here in the first place?

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I am unimpressed with the discourse as a whole and do not see how the portion I quoted can be justified by anything else from it.

Do you have any thoughts about Jesus advocating cutting off hands and gouging out eyes?

Or severing male genitalia?

Curious minds . . .

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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I actually don't have much of a disagreement with Brigham Young on this issue, and in some areas of this country, many people would agree with his basic premise. I'm not sure about the blood atonement aspect of it, and disagree that the adulterers caught unaware would go ahead and inherit the Kingdom of God; still, my 84-year old father remembers attending the trial of one of his uncles who caught his wife with another man. The uncle shot the man (not the wife) and was fully acquitted. The jury was out about as long as it took to have lunch and my father was four years old when it happened.

Our society today takes covenants very lightly. If a man risks too much in business, all he need do is declare bankruptcy and he can go ahead with his life, where as in the past he would go to debtors prison, or, under the Law of Moses, he'd have to do all within his power to restore, even to becoming an indentured servant.

In the days of Moses, Phinehas took the law into his own hands when one of the Israelites took a Midianite woman into his tent in open defiance of Moses and the Lord. "And when Phinehas...saw it, he rose and left the congregation, and took a spear in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body."

How was this wanton act of vigilantism greeted by the Lord? "And the LORD said to Moses, 'Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel in that he was zealous for my sake among them, so I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy." (Numbers 17)

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I actually don't have much of a disagreement with Brigham Young on this issue, and in some areas of this country, many people would agree with his basic premise. I'm not sure about the blood atonement aspect of it, and disagree that the adulterers caught unaware would go ahead and inherit the Kingdom of God; still, my 84-year old father remembers attending the trial of one of his uncles who caught his wife with another man. The uncle shot the man (not the wife) and was fully acquitted. The jury was out about as long as it took to have lunch and my father was four years old when it happened.

Our society today takes covenants very lightly. If a man risks too much in business, all he need do is declare bankruptcy and he can go ahead with his life, where as in the past he would go to debtors prison, or, under the Law of Moses, he'd have to do all within his power to restore, even to becoming an indentured servant.

In the days of Moses, Phinehas took the law into his own hands when one of the Israelites took a Midianite woman into his tent in open defiance of Moses and the Lord. "And when Phinehas...saw it, he rose and left the congregation, and took a spear in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body."

How was this wanton act of vigilantism greeted by the Lord? "And the LORD said to Moses, 'Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel in that he was zealous for my sake among them, so I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy." (Numbers 17)

I agree a lot with this. If there were enough support to begin such a movement I would try to criminalize adultery.

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Some observations after reading the thread:

1. wes has owned you all.

Not the first time I've been owned, probably won't be the last. Keeps me on my toes. Thank you for your observation.

<---- Has also been leased.

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