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Craig Paxton

Restoring 'Thomas B. Marsh'S' Good Name

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I taught this lesson a few years ago and the emphasis was on small steps leading to apostasy. ... The milk incident wasn't the reason for the excommunication but it was an example of how such things can begin if a person doesn't watch himself.

Indeed. Faith, like virtue, is not lost in a blowout, but in a series of (unrepaired) slow leaks.

Lehi

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Why? Because talking frankly about apostasy has the unfortunate side-effect of causing further apostasy!

You think that Thomas March talking frankly about his apostasy had the side effect of causing further apostasy?

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nm

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Speaking of Lyman Johnson mentioned earlier, President Faust said:

October conference 2005,

"One of these was Lyman E. Johnson, a member of the original Quorum of the Twelve who was excommunicated for unrighteous conduct. He later lamented his spiritual downfall. He said: “I would suffer my right hand to be cut off, if I could believe it again. Then I was full of joy and gladness. My dreams were pleasant. When I awoke in the morning my spirit was cheerful. I was happy by day and by night, full of peace and joy and thanksgiving. But now it is darkness, pain, sorrow, misery in the extreme. I have never since seen a happy moment.”3He died in a sleighing accident in 1856 at the age of 45."

This seems to be a second hand quote from Brigham Young not a direct quote from Lyman, which I am doing more research on. Additionally, Lyman Johson died in 1859 at age 48 as a result of drowning in the Mississippi river, not a sleighing accident.

Just seems one would be a little more certain of these things before making the statements.

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I do note there are no sources from either Ryder or Marsh that give these as their own reasons for leaving. The lesson manual goes out of its way to quote from others long after the fact who give these explanations for why they left the Church. Marsh didn't leave over cream, and Ryder definitely didn't leave over a misspelled name (he himself spelled his name several different ways. There's no record of him complaining about it).

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Milk stripping stories aside, the Church does a pretty poor job whenever they attempt to identify the actual reasons why apostasy occurs.

Having too much "Pride" and getting "Offended" might cause inactivity, but not apostasy.

Actual apostasy (according to the definition of the word) is caused by factors never discussed in any church manual or Sunday school class.

Why? Because talking frankly about apostasy has the unfortunate side-effect of causing further apostasy!

I don't concede that apostasy has nothing to do with pride or taking offense.

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You think that Thomas March talking frankly about his apostasy had the side effect of causing further apostasy?

No I think Mormons talking frankly about apostasy has the side effect of causing further apostasy.

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I was going to ask this...trying to figure out what triggered the thread, with such passion.

Yes... He is my great great great grand father....and gosh dangit I'm tired of my family name being besmirched all the time...

Not really no relations that I'm aware of...But I do feel bad for him being used as a prop to promote a false premise. If church athorities used their version of events as a parable...such as..."Their once a was a man who foolishly threw away yada yada yada... I'd have no problem with this distortion...but when you connect a real historical figure to a fictional story...it's just not right...particularly when there is enough real reasons in the life of Thomas Marsh to make a teachable example of. But for what ever reasons...the petty, shallow distortion is what is used rather than the true reasons for his disillusionment.

I should add that in the version of the story given by President Monson...he states that..."Sister Harris was faithful to the agreement, but Sister Marsh, desiring to make some especially delicious cheese, saved a pint of strippings from each cow and sent Sister Harris the milk without the strippings. This caused the two women to quarrel. When they could not settle their differences, the matter was referred to the home teachers to settle. They found Elizabeth Marsh guilty of failure to keep her agreement. She and her husband were upset with the decision, and the matter was then referred to the bishop for a Church trial. The bishop’s court decided that the strippings were wrongfully saved and that Sister Marsh had violated her covenant with Sister Harris.

Thomas Marsh appealed to the high council, and the men comprising this council confirmed the bishop’s decision. He then appealed to the First Presidency of the Church. Joseph Smith and his counselors considered the case and upheld the decision of the high council".

Yet despite the fact that copious records were kept by the the various church courts...no one can produce a single record entry showing that the Milk Strippings story is based in any reality. The ONLY record of this event is the one given by George A. Smith in his 1867 address. This is also the only referrence given for every talk on this subject since. Yet by all acocounts, George A Smith made the story up whole cloth

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Yes... He is my great great great grand father....and gosh dangit I'm tired of my family name be besmirched all the time...

Not really no relations that I'm aware of...But I do feel bad for him being used as a prop to promote a false premise. If church athorities used their version of eevents as a parable...such as..."Their once a was a man who foolishly threw away yada yada yada... I'd have no problem with this distortion...but when you connect a real historical figure to a fictional story...it's jsut not right...particularly when there is enough real reasons in the life of Thomas Marsh to make a teachable example of. But for what ever reasons...the petty, shallow distortion is what is used rather than the true reasons for his disillusionment.

Well heck, I'll volunteer to be the new whipping boy if it makes you happy.

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Just when you are afraid they might run out of things to attack the church on. Hey Brother Marsh took care of this problem when he was still alive. Me thinks ye have an ulterior motive.

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We discussed apostasy a few months ago in High Priests, basically coming to the concluions that it explains a process, not really a single act. From that standpoint the Marsh story presents an excellent and strong point. It is one reason we refer to it so often. It does a great job of showing the beginning process by which members fall away.

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No I think Mormons talking frankly about apostasy has the side effect of causing further apostasy.

Why?

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Additionally, Lyman Johson died in 1859 at age 48 as a result of drowning in the Mississippi river, not a sleighing accident.

It was a sleighing accident. He was riding a sleigh which fell through an air hole in the ice on the Mississippi and he subsequently drowned.

Just seems one would be a little more certain of these things before making the statements.

Indeed!

T-Shirt

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Yes... He is my great great great grand father....and gosh dangit I'm tired of my family name be besmirched all the time...

Not really no relations that I'm aware of...But I do feel bad for him being used as a prop to promote a false premise. If church athorities used their version of eevents as a parable...such as..."Their once a was a man who foolishly threw away yada yada yada... I'd have no problem with this distortion...but when you connect a real historical figure to a fictional story...it's jsut not right...particularly when there is enough real reasons in the life of Thomas Marsh to make a teachable example of. But for what ever reasons...the petty, shallow distortion is what is used rather than the true reasons for his disillusionment.

OK, I understand now. But hey I feel bad for the “Man at the Inn”.

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Yet despite the fact that copious records were kept by the the various church courts...no one can produce a single record entry showing that the Milk Strippings story is based in any reality. The ONLY record of this event is the one given by George A. Smith in his 1867 address. This is also the only referrence given for every talk on this subject since. Yet by all acocounts, George A Smith made the story up whole cloth

Other than your obvious personal dislike for George A. Smith, you've furnished no reason for us to conclude he lied about the incident.

Sometimes records get lost or destroyed; doesn't mean the event never happened.

A witness's recollection must be regarded as evidence. George A. Smith, a cousin of Joseph Smith, was present during the turbulent Ohio, Missouri and Nauvoo periods of Church history. Among other things, he was on the Zion's Camp march, probably the youngest participant.

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We discussed apostasy a few months ago in High Priests, basically coming to the concluions that it explains a process, not really a single act. From that standpoint the Marsh story presents an excellent and strong point. It is one reason we refer to it so often. It does a great job of showing the beginning process by which members fall away.

Its seems that LDS people are more comfortable with the notion of people leaving the Church over trivial offenses than they are with real doctrinal issues. As I left the Church I was continually asked who had offended me. The truth is no one offended me. I simply do not believe much of the doctrine.

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It was a sleighing accident. He was riding a sleigh when the ice on the Mississippi broke through and he subsequently drowned.

Indeed!

T-Shirt

Sounds reasonable, although wikki has it listed as a boating accident:

From Wilkki:

"Lyman Johnson died in 1859, drowning in the Mississippi River in a boating accident at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. He had four children."

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Milk stripping stories aside, the Church does a pretty poor job whenever they attempt to identify the actual reasons why apostasy occurs.

Having too much "Pride" and getting "Offended" might cause inactivity, but not apostasy.

Actual apostasy (according to the definition of the word) is caused by factors never discussed in any church manual or Sunday school class.

Why? Because talking frankly about apostasy has the unfortunate side-effect of causing further apostasy!

Very true. My LDS friends are very comfortable and accepting of inactive members who they think are too lazy to go to Church, or who are engaged in moral sin, or who were offended. They are very uncomfortable with the notion that I don't go to Church because I don't believe in the LDS Church. They don't know how to respond to that. (over time we have all decided that is a topic best not discussed)

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Very true. My LDS friends are very comfortable and accepting of inactive members who they think are too lazy to go to Church, or who are engaged in moral sin, or who were offended. They are very uncomfortable with the notion that I don't go to Church because I don't believe in the LDS Church. They don't know how to respond to that. (over time we have all decided that is a topic best not discussed)

Just out of curiosity, if you were your own home teacher/friend, how you would you approach/handle it?

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Why?

Imagine the following scenario in High Priests quorum:

Brother X: "Did you hear Brother Jones has apostatized."

Brother Y: "That's, too bad. Did he get offended?"

Brother X: "No, he read on the internet about Joseph Smith marrying other mens' wives."

Brother Y: "Oh. Wait. What? What are you talking about 'other mens' wives'?"

That's why apostasy is sometimes contagious.

And the reason why the real reasons behind apostasy are not discussed at church.

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Its seems that LDS people are more comfortable with the notion of people leaving the Church over trivial offenses than they are will real doctrinal issues. As I left the Church I was continually asked who had offended me. The truth is no one offended me. I simply do not believe much of the doctrine.

Are you saying nobody ever leaves the Church over trivial matters -- or that trivial matters never play a part in the process?

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Very true. My LDS friends are very comfortable and accepting of inactive members who they think are too lazy to go to Church, or who are engaged in moral sin, or who were offended. They are very uncomfortable with the notion that I don't go to Church because I don't believe in the LDS Church. They don't know how to respond to that. (over time we have all decided that is a topic best not discussed)

I'm not surprised-it seems like human nature.

If someone has a great relationship with their mother and they've never felt unloved by her or seen anything in her conduct or personality that could be described as dublicitous or be harmful to others, that person is going to be uncomfortable around anyone who declares that their mother was a liar, or evil, etc.

Likewise, the person would probably look for 'other' reasons that someone believed such bad things about their mother, rather than just accept their version of her as true.

Such reactions to hearing bad things about someone or something you love is natural and have no bearing on whether or not such declarations are actually true or false. We all have biases and those biases often determine our reactions.

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Just out of curiosity, if you were your own home teacher/friend, how you would you approach/handle it?

Well, for one you could just ask why someone is making that decision without assuming it is over a petty offense. My specific experience with my LDS Church Leadership and friends is that they were very uncomfortable talking doctrine.

I may have already relayed this but as I was leaving the LDS Church many people gave me reasons why I should not do it. (its a good life; I need to teach my kids something; I'm mormon until I find something better). Only one friend actually said he stays in Mormonism because spiritual experiences have led him to believe in the LDS Faith. I respect his position and he is the LDS friend I have retained the best relationship with. The others......not so much.

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Are you saying nobody ever leaves the Church over trivial matters -- or that trivial matters never play a part in the process?

No I'm not saying that.

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Well, for one you could just ask why someone is making that decision without assuming it is over a petty offense. My specific experience with my LDS Church Leadership and friends is that they were very uncomfortable talking doctrine.

I may have already relayed this but as I was leaving the LDS Church many people gave me reasons why I should not do it. (its a good life; I need to teach my kids something; I'm mormon until I find something better). Only one friend actually said he stays in Mormonism because spiritual experiences have led him to believe in the LDS Faith. I respect his position and he is the LDS friend I have retained the best relationship with. The others......not so much.

I'll keep that in mind, hopefully I've learned something today :)

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