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Craig Paxton

Restoring 'Thomas B. Marsh'S' Good Name

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For those alive at the time there was sufficient evidence of his action to excommunicate him. And yet those who weren't there presume to know all the facts, which clearly have not been detailed. There is no doubt that some members of the church were inciting hostility, but that does not excuse a church leader from further inciting hostility against the church.

And no one has claimed that the milk strippings were the cause of Marsh leaving the church.

Here's how it's presented in the Gospel Doctrine lesson manual:

Thomas B. Marsh declared that he would sustain the character of his wife. Soon afterward, he turned against the Church and went before a government official to declare that the Latter-day Saints were hostile toward the state of Missouri. (See George A. Smith, in Journal of Discourses, 3:283–84.)

President Gordon B. Hinckley said of this incident: “What a very small and trivial thing—a little cream over which two women quarreled. But it led to, or at least was a factor in, Governor Boggs’ cruel exterminating order which drove the Saints from the state of Missouri, with all of the terrible suffering and consequent death that followed. The man who should have settled this little quarrel, but who, rather, pursued it, … lost his standing in the Church. He lost his testimony of the gospel” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 111; or Ensign, May 1984, 83).

It's kind of an odd non sequitur to jump from Marsh "sustaining the character of his wife" to "declaring the Latter-day Saints were hostile toward the state of Missouri".

Does anyone think that if his wife hadn't gotten into a disagreement over the milk strippings, or the high council had decided in her favor, that events in Missouri would have ended any differently?

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Here's how it's presented in the Gospel Doctrine lesson manual:

It's kind of an odd non sequitur to jump from Marsh "sustaining the character of his wife" to "declaring the Latter-day Saints were hostile toward the state of Missouri".

Does anyone think that if his wife hadn't gotten into a disagreement over the milk strippings, or the high council had decided in her favor, that events in Missouri would have ended any differently?

I say it's a very real possibility. I base that on my observation of human behavior and the propensity of a spirit of pride and self-rationalization to make one less tolerant of others. It's like an untreated wound becoming infected and developing in to gangrene.

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No doubt that Thomas B. Marsh has become a lightning rod of sorts for people and even leaders. Just a few months after I joined the church, I read what what our Lord thought about Thomas B. Marsh in D&C 31. One thing is for certain .... he is still doing this ....

D&C 31:10 Behold, I say unto you that you shall be a physician unto the church.

Thomas B. Marsh may have had some failings, but I would hope that people wouldn't continue to use the name of a man, who has repented, and come back to the church as an example of what not to be. Afterall, the man is dead, and probably a lot further along on his journey than any of us are. In the end, he did just what the Lord asked him to do ...

D&C 31:9 Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.

I think its incorrect for people to remember the man only for the bad, and not for the good, especially after he has repented and returned to the church. I understand the need to teach, but dragging the man's name through the mud continually isn't the smartest, nor doctrinally sound way to do it. The reason why is that it appears that church members havent forgiven him, when the Lord has. I'm not so sure thats the example we want to set.

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Ohhhh......., can I answer this one?

HT: I'm sorry to hear that you no longer believe in the Restoration Bro. Brown. Is there anything we can do to help you?

Bro. Brn.: Well since it is out of bounds for me to write directly to one of the Brethren, could you kindly pass it back up the chain that I wish they would stop ignoring the 900 LB. gorilla that's meeting with them every Tuesday morning (or whatever day it is) in the temple and acknowledge that the little people out here are leaving because the foundational stories don't add up for us anymore, the old doctrines that the church tries hard to ignore or pretend aren't really there (or aren't really doctrine), are sticking in our craw and we're gagging on it all. I know they all would like to say we're just the dim-lights who are knuckle draggers and can't figure out that we're just being "antied" to "spiritual death", or that we've been sitting in the pews all these years wishing we could just go out and tie one on with a big bodacious babe who doesn't wear a pioneer dress, but really it isn't so. I know you'll have a hard time believing me Bro. HT., but could you at least, you know, just give it a try......?

H.T.: No response...................................

Uncle Mars the home teacher's response if he's known the guy for awhile:

Well, I can tell you've been sitting on this for a long time. Such a long and emotion filled response tells me you've got some serious consternation surrounding what the Church teaches, what it claims, and how it goes about the two. I have examined many criticisms about the truth claims of the Church, so I'm familiar with them. If you feel it would help you let go of the pain you're feeling, I wouldn't mind having you over for dinner a few times and we can civilly help you come to terms with your faith so you can continue to partake of the blessings of the restored Gospel.

If you have come to believe that the Church no longer is what it professes to be, then I would express my regret and sorrow that you no longer believe. I would also offer you the courtesy of keeping our HT visits purely fraternal, unless you want them to cease entirely. I certainly have enjoyed our visits and wouldn't want them to stop. I will contact your wife's visiting teachers to make sure they are aware of the situation and can respond to your wife's desires with politeness and respect for your position. Thanks very much, Brother Brown.

Uncle Mars the home teacher's response if he doesn't know the guy from Adam:

Well, I appreciate your honesty and candor. Is there anything I can do in the meantime? Would you appreciate home teacher visits that are strictly fraternal? It never hurts to have a friend.

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I think its incorrect for people to remember the man only for the bad, and not for the good, especially after he has repented and returned to the church. I understand the need to teach, but dragging the man's name through the mud continually isn't the smartest, nor doctrinally sound way to do it. The reason why is that it appears that church members havent forgiven him, when the Lord has. I'm not so sure thats the example we want to set.

It must be a matter of interpretation because I don't see his name being dragged through the mud. I see a simple little incident being used to show how someone can begin the path of apostasy. It is a fact, even by his own testimony, that pride was a problem for Marsh. This incident highlights that pride. I suspect that Marsh in Paradise is shaking his head at people debating this when he himself would probably in his present state be happy to show people how little steps can lead even the great to fall. Kind of like Marley visiting Scrooge to warn him of what he would face if he doesn't change.

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The Joseph Smith Papers, v. 1 page 343, footnote states that Thomas B Marsh made a false statement against the Presidency and the church before the authorities of the State of Missouri which was a leading cause of the Governor's calling out the Militia against the church. It doesn't specify what that was but it obviously was more serious than mere disaffection.

Interesting that you can find an obscure footnote referencing Thomas B. Marsh's supposed "false" statement against Joseph Smith...but no one can find a single reference to a church court dispute that went from a supposed bishop’s court over Milk Strippings all the way up the church court chain of command to the First Presidency. How could this be? Purhaps the dog ate these records.

Curious Deborah, if you know what this supposed false statement that was attributed to Thomas B. Marsh actually was? We know that many thing that Joseph claimed to be false accusations actually turned out to be true items that Joseph merely wanted kept out of the public perview…could Thomas B. Marsh’s statement been one of these true statements that Joseph didn’t want to be exposed?

If this supposed false statement is referring to his affidavit...well his affidavit was acually true and was therefore not a false statement.

If anyone cares to read Marsh's avidavit...here's a link http://www.tungate.com/TBMarsh.htm

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Nothing is obscure on the internet. ;)

Church court records I believe are confidential aren't they? Or is there a time limit?

You know, my great grandpappy knew a bit about the hatfields and mccoys. I think it was the pig's fault myself, but that is a different line of theory. Alot of heartache, shoot'n, cry'n n die'n. All about clearing up someone's good name or another. Usually though, when you looked past the veneer of all that, the arguments boiled down to someone just wanting to pick a fight, and not really caring about anything else.

Amazing how, in some ways, people are the same everywhere. ;)

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Interesting that you can find an obscure footnote referencing Thomas B. Marsh's supposed "false" statement against Joseph Smith...but no one can find a single reference to a church court dispute that went from a supposed bishop’s court over Milk Strippings all the way up the church court chain of command to the First Presidency. How could this be? Purhaps the dog ate these records.

Curious Deborah, if you know what this supposed false statement that was attributed to Thomas B. Marsh actually was? We know that many thing that Joseph claimed to be false accusations actually turned out to be true items that Joseph merely wanted kept out of the public perview…could Thomas B. Marsh’s statement been one of these true statements that Joseph didn’t want to be exposed?

If this supposed false statement is referring to his affidavit...well his affidavit was acually true and was therefore not a false statement.

If anyone cares to read Marsh's avidavit...here's a link http://www.tungate.com/TBMarsh.htm

Ok, since you aren't related to Bro Marsh, I'm curious as to who died and left the responsibility of his legacy and good name up to you? Who gave you absolute moral authority on the matter?

Brother Marsh was re-baptized, meaning the Lord (who is the only one who matters) forgave him and he once again became a productive member in the Church. Isn't THAT the important part?

Why are we crying over split milk in Brother Marsh's behalf again??

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Ok, since you aren't related to Bro Marsh, I'm curious as to who died and left the responsibility of his legacy and good name up to you? Who gave you absolute moral authority on the matter?

Brother Marsh was re-baptized, meaning the Lord (who is the only one who matters) forgave him and he once again became a productive member in the Church. Isn't THAT the important part?

Why are we crying over split milk in Brother Marsh's behalf again??

Why? Because the truth matters. As I've stated in earlier posts in this thread...Thomas Marsh is being used by the church to support a false premise...that members leave the church over seemingly insignificant trivial issues. Its a false premise.

The truth is always much more complicated...why not just be honest and address the 900lbs gorella in the room.

Personally I believe that much good and healing could be accomplished if some GA would just be honest and say...

"Many formerly active believing members are leaving the church over very complicated issues. These are our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our husbands and our wives and our neighbors. These are good well meaning people and lovers of truth. We should love them and not discount the reasons for their departure or think that they have left over some trivial matter or some desire to sin. As a church we do have some difficulties in out past that are not faith promoting, many of these things we just don't fully understand. These difficulties can cause loss of faith and belief. While we understand that many members of the church are very aware of these issues and can maintain faith...other's do end up leaving over these same issues. We need to do a better job of being more open and honest. This is a problem with the church not these people.

We as an organization, have not done a very good job of being as forthcoming or honest in dealing with these difficult issues. As members of the church we need to love these good people, welcome them back and find room inside our tent for all Mormon's of every stripe...whether inside or outside of the church organization".

I'm not going to be holding my breath....

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Why? Because the truth matters. As I've stated in earlier posts in this thread...Thomas Marsh is being used by the church to support a false premise...that members leave the church over seemingly insignificant trivial issues. Its a false premise.

The truth is always much more complicated...why not just be honest and address the 900lbs gorilla in the room.

I disagree that the truth is ALWAYS more complicated. Sometimes it just is that simple. Why address a 900lbs gorilla when you are already addressing another 900lbs gorilla.

Yes, I have known people who have left the church over being offended by their Bishop.

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I disagree that the truth is ALWAYS more complicated. Sometimes it just is that simple. Why address a 900lbs gorilla when you are already addressing another 900lbs gorilla.

Yes, I have known people who have left the church over being offended by their Bishop.

I agree there are shallow members who do get offended over seemingly trivial matters. My remareks were not directed to this ilk. Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not...the church is losing multi-generational, pioneer stock, temple married, full tithe paying, leadership holding members over very complicated doctrinal, historical, foundational claims. the church can continue to sweep these issues under the rug or they can acknowledge that they have a problem and try to address the problem.

I think a good start would be to acknowedge that...Salt Lake...we have a problem...

On an unrelated subject...do the active believing members of this board ever conceed a point? Do any here even acknowedge that there is a problem?

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I agree there are shallow members who do get offended over seemingly trivial matters. My remarks were not directed to this ilk. Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not...the church is losing multi-generational, pioneer stock, temple married, full tithe paying, leadership holding members over very complicated doctrinal, historical, foundational claims. the church can continue to sweep these issues under the rug or they can acknowledge that they have a problem and try to address the problem.

I think a good start would be to acknowledge that...Salt Lake...we have a problem...

Is it Salt Lake that has the problem?

And as a multi-generational, pioneer stock, full tithe paying, once leadership holding, once excommunicated member of the Church. I can tell you the fault wasn't within the doctrine, foundation, or history of the Church; it was mine.

Also, the Church and the Lord are no respecter of persons. There is nothing better about a "multi-generational, pioneer stock, temple married, full tithe paying, leadership holding member" than a brand spanking new non-English speaking convert.

So I really fail to see your point.

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Is it Salt Lake that has the problem?

And as a multi-generational, pioneer stock, full tithe paying, once leadership holding, once excommunicated member of the Church. I can tell you the fault wasn't within the doctrine, foundation, or history of the Church; it was mine.

Also, the Church and the Lord are no respecter of persons. There is nothing better about a "multi-generational, pioneer stock, temple married, full tithe paying, leadership holding member" than a brand spanking new non-English speaking convert.

So I really fail to see your point.

Thanks for your reply "ELF1024"...I'm going to go smash my head into a brick wall now....I think it will make me feel better...

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Thanks for your reply "ELF1024"...I'm going to go smash my head into a brick wall now....I think it will make me feel better...

Good, it usually works for me (you smashing your head into a brick wall that is.)

If the sheltered happy valley Mormons are finally having to have their faith tested by the influx of people in to Utah, good. Just more pruning of the olive tree. Those of us in the mission field are used to have our buns kicked up around our ears by those wanting to test our faith.

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Thomas Marsh is being used by the church to support a false premise...that members leave the church over seemingly insignificant trivial issues. Its a false premise.

The false premise is yours.

No one teaches that people leave the Church over such trivial issues. That is a strawman, nothing more. (Leaving, or going inactive, over being offended, btw, is a very frequent occurance, and I remove it from the challenge below. I've seen sevral dozen people do just that, talked to them, and this is the real problem.)

What we teach, and the reason Brother Marsh's experience is a teaching tool, is that the trivial issue (especially when wrapped in pride), can lead to further fault-finding, further rationalizations, further "investigating" that can result in leaving The Church of Jesus Christ.

Please show where anyone has said that Thomas Marsh left the Church over milk strippings. Except as a form of "shorthand", and after telling much more of the story than just the Mrs. O'Leary's cow part, no one does.

Lehi

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Isn’t it about time we all just let Thomas B. Marsh rest in peace?

Just so I'm clear, can you explain to me in what way Thomas B. Marsh has a "good name"?

Is it your belief that he acted admirably in Missouri, and that by telling the truth about what he did, people would think more highly of him? I can understand people leaving the Church, but Marsh's affidavit against the Church seems to have had some untruths in it, and regardless of what events were already "set in motion", the affidavit would certainly only fan the flames or work to makes things worse.

Wherever Thomas B. Marsh is right now, if given the choice between having LDS believe he left the Church over the milk strippings, or because he was ex'd for signing a false and inflammatory affidavit against Joseph Smith and the Church, I suspect he might prefer the milk strippings story.

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Just so I'm clear, can you explain to me in what way Thomas B. Marsh has a "good name"?

...

Wherever Thomas B. Marsh is right now, if given the choice between having LDS believe he left the Church over the milk strippings, or because he was ex'd for signing a false and inflammatory affidavit against Joseph Smith and the Church, I suspect he might prefer the milk strippings story.

Like Oliver Cowdery, the important part of the story is not that he left, but that he came back, humble and repentant.

Wherever he is right now (and I have a good idea), he cares a lot more about the "rest of the story" than milk or inflamatory statements.

Lehi

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Like Oliver Cowdery, the important part of the story is not that he left, but that he came back, humble and repentant.

Wherever he is right now (and I have a good idea), he cares a lot more about the "rest of the story" than milk or inflammatory statements.

Lehi

As usual, this isn't about Bro. Marsh, nor was it ever actually about him. It's about Paxton, his pride, his desires, and what he thinks the Church should do. It's just more personal apostasy, plain and simple.

Second verse, same as the first, little bit louder, and a whole lot worse.

"Many formerly active believing members are leaving the church over very complicated issues. These are our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our husbands and our wives and our neighbors. These are good well meaning people and lovers of truth. We should love them and not discount the reasons for their departure or think that they have left over some trivial matter or some desire to sin. As a church we do have some difficulties in out past that are not faith promoting, many of these things we just don't fully understand. These difficulties can cause loss of faith and belief. While we understand that many members of the church are very aware of these issues and can maintain faith...other's do end up leaving over these same issues. We need to do a better job of being more open and honest. This is a problem with the church not these people.

We as an organization, have not done a very good job of being as forthcoming or honest in dealing with these difficult issues. As members of the church we need to love these good people, welcome them back and find room inside our tent for all Mormon's of every stripe...whether inside or outside of the church organization".

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On an unrelated subject...do the active believing members of this board ever conceed a point? Do any here even acknowedge that there is a problem?

No, Not really. It always has been and always will be the dissenting member's fault. It was built into the culture at an early stage and is deeply entrenched.

Don't "steady the ark" even when you know it's just an empty box people are carrying around.........

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Like Oliver Cowdery, the important part of the story is not that he left, but that he came back, humble and repentant.

Wherever he is right now (and I have a good idea), he cares a lot more about the "rest of the story" than milk or inflamatory statements.

Lehi

Yeah, but if I were excommunicated for signing an inflammatory affidavit against the Church (and coming out against the Prophet) and then someone started a rumor that I apostatized because my story ideas for the Roadshow weren't accepted, I'd happily go with the Roadshow story and hope history forgot the other stuff.

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No, Not really. It always has been and always will be the dissenting member's fault. It was built into the culture at an early stage and is deeply entrenched.

Don't "steady the ark" even when you know it's just an empty box people are carrying around.........

If there was Ark Steady-ing to be done, it would be done by those with the Authority and Responsibility to do so, and would not happen on an Internet Forum.

Who are any of us to "Steady the Ark"?

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do the active believing members of this board ever conceed [sic] a point? Do any here even acknowedge [sic] that there is a problem?

No, Not really. It always has been and always will be the dissenting member's fault. It was built into the culture at an early stage and is deeply intrenched [sic].

One could turn the question around and point it at you even more effectively.

Do the disaffected here ever concede a point? Do they acknowledge their own contribution to the problem?

I suspect that the fact of people in your camp continually blaming the Church for their decision is as big an issue, or more so, than any supposed error at 47 E South Temple or 50 E North Temple.

One is tempted to ask, "Why not take responsibility for your choices and acts?" But I suppose that would be still more fodder for your cannon. It sometimes seems like watching a three-year-old's tantrum: it's not his fault he's throwing himself on the floor and kicking his mother, is it?

Lehi

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I disagree that the truth is ALWAYS more complicated. Sometimes it just is that simple. Why address a 900lbs gorilla when you are already addressing another 900lbs gorilla.

Yes, I have known people who have left the church over being offended by their Bishop.

My personal experience with former members of the Church (I only know 5) supports your statement. Not one of these friends started their "journey" out, because they had deep theological or historical questions--that all came later. For example, the "spark" that ignited it for one childhood friend was when his wife took issue with a request to provide a loaf of bread for a RS service project. Mole-hills of offense can and do turn into mountains of apostasy. At least that is what appears to be true of the former members within my sphere.

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