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Craig Paxton

Restoring 'Thomas B. Marsh'S' Good Name

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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.

The mote in my own eye became a beam...

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Wow.

First of all, let me reassure you that I am not related in any way to Thomas Marsh. Or to Craig Paxton in case that comes up.

And yet, the Thomas Marsh story is important to me. Why? Because the way this man's story is told by latter-day prophets and apostles and in church-produced videos like "If They Harden Not Their Hearts" is not exactly honest.

Let's just go with the idea that the milk strippings story is factual and true. This story is used to show that apostasy can be born from little things. Fair enough.

Maybe the story starts there but as other posters have said, there was so much more to why he left the church, and those specific reasons are at best only hinted at in the video or in the General Conference talks or the lessons. But whatever, let's leave that alone for the moment.

The video shows Marsh walking up to Vilate Kimball's home, her children gathered around her, and tells her angrily that her husband's mission in England will fail. Where does that story come from? Where is the reference for this story? Is it factual? Marsh was still in good standing in 1837 when Kimball left on his mission to England, he was still defending Joseph Smith even as other good friends, leaders and supporters were abandoning Joseph. Maybe the story is true, I just would like to know where it is referenced.

The video also shows Marsh, old and much more feeble, in 1857 was it? Being kindly helped to the stand by Brigham Young in a Salt Lake bowery. This is what is recorded in the Journal of Discourses. Not quite the haloed Brigham Young of the film, in my opinion:

I presume that Brother Marsh will take no offene if I talk a little about him. We have manifested our feelings towards him, and we know his situation. With regard to this Church’s being reconciled to him, I can say that this Church and people were never dissatisfied with him; for when men and women apostatize and go from us, we have nothing to do with them. If they do that which is evil, they will suffer for it. Brother Marsh has suffered….

He has told you that he is an old man. Do you think that I am an old man? I could prove to this congregation that I am young; for I could find more girls who would choose me for a husband than can any of the young men. Brother Thomas considers himself very aged and infirm, and you can see that he is, brethren and sisters. What is the cause of it? He left the Gospel of salvation. What do you think the difference is between his age and mine? One year and seven months to a day; and he is one year, seven months, and fourteen days older than brother Heber C. Kimball. “Mormonism” keeps men and women young and handsome; and when they are full of the Spirit of God, there are none of them but what will have a glow upon their countenances; and that is what makes you and me young; for the Spirit of God is with us and within us.

When Brother Thomas thought of returning to the Church, the plurality of wives troubled him a good deal. Look at him. Do you think it need to? I do not; for I doubt whether he could get one wife. Why it should have troubled an infirm old man like him is not for me to say.[4] In the Journal of Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 5: 210

The point is that the reputation of Thomas Marsh HAS been reduced by the church -- in film, in talks, in lessons -- in the past right through to the present -- to a shadow of what the man's reputation in the early church should have earned him.

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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.

Excellent response Bro. Mars and I appreciate your sincerity.

Now let's turn the tables just for a moment. Please be honest here.

Would you allow the Jehovah's Witnesses to come into your home and spend thirty to forty-five minutes each month giving you and your family a lesson or message from their publication? Where they set the agenda and expect you to nod and be receptive without challenging anything that they say that is a departure from your personal beliefs?

O.K., What if they just wanted to come every month and spend thirty minutes just "being your friend", because after all everyone can use a good friend. Would that be acceptable to you?

Bro. Mars, as a Christian I welcome you into my home, because I know you have a good heart and are well intentioned. If you feel you want to leave a message with me that's fine, but what you need to know is that my loyalty is to Heavenly Father and TRUTH. I do not, as the scripture say, put my "trust in the arm of flesh". I like when things are spoken honestly, openly and without dissembling.

I will challenge you at every turn where I think more light has been shed on a subject than you are giving. If you would like to infer that the conclusions I draw are incorrect, please expect reciprocation.

Thanks for your concern, let me now what if you still want to come.

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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

Excellent point Lehi. Now......could you just tell me (since you know me and my situation so well) what my "contribution to the problem" was? Maybe I'm missing something here that you could help me with.

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I think the whole point of my response, Palerider, was to discover whether not any visits were further desired, and if so, what the nature of those visits would be. If I've been visiting someone for awhile, and they came to the conclusions you have, I'd be perfectly fine changing into being a non-message bringing home teacher if that was desired -- or ceasing all visiting activity whatsoever. On the other hand, meeting someone who has come to the conclusions you have for the first time and trying to see if they wanted home teachers, I would offer non-message-bringing visits out of sincere courtesy without much expectation of an affirmative response.

But if you want my direct answer: If the shoe were on the other foot with Jehovah's Witnesses or whatever analogy that would apply, I would most likely decline further visits. I probably also wouldn't frequent their message boards and engage in discussion with them, though, I'd just plain and simple decline. ;)

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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.

I don't doubt anything you say here, just be careful not to generalize it across the board. I have met just as many who do have doctrinal and trust issues as those who have simply been offended. Pesronally there were numerous times that I could have taken offense with things that happened to me but, why? That's just a "people problem" that everyone has to contend with in one way or another. No need to leave the church over it.

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I think the whole point of my response, Palerider, was to discover whether not any visits were further desired, and if so, what the nature of those visits would be. If I've been visiting someone for awhile, and they came to the conclusions you have, I'd be perfectly fine changing into being a non-message bringing home teacher if that was desired -- or ceasing all visiting activity whatsoever. On the other hand, meeting someone who has come to the conclusions you have for the first time and trying to see if they wanted home teachers, I would offer non-message-bringing visits out of sincere courtesy without much expectation of an affirmative response.

But if you want my direct answer: If the shoe were on the other foot with Jehovah's Witnesses or whatever analogy that would apply, I would most likely decline further visits. I probably also wouldn't frequent their message boards and engage in discussion with them, though, I'd just plain and simple decline. ;)

I had missionaries and home teachers come to our home as often as the would come when I was an excommunicated member. But then I wasn't hostile towards the Church and I accepted my own role in my excommunication.

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Would you allow the Jehovah's Witnesses to come into your home and spend thirty to forty-five minutes each month giving you and your family a lesson or message from their publication? Where they set the agenda and expect you to nod and be receptive without challenging anything that they say that is a departure from your personal beliefs?

I haven't "signed up" for visits from the Witnesses. I have done so for Home Teachers.

However, were I to actively oppose their visits, I'd ask that they not come by.

'Snot gonna happen, though: I love Home Teachers, even when I don't particularly like the ones assigned to me.

Lehi

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I had missionaries and home teachers come to our home as often as the would come when I was an excommunicated member. But then I wasn't hostile towards the Church and I accepted my own role in my excommunication.

A scary proposition to the missionaries going there the first time, I'll bet.

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A scary proposition to the missionaries going there the first time, I'll bet.

They usually stumbled on us as part of their normal search. We (the family and I) weren't active at that time...

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I don't doubt anything you say here, just be careful not to generalize it across the board. I have met just as many who do have doctrinal and trust issues as those who have simply been offended. Pesronally there were numerous times that I could have taken offense with things that happened to me but, why? That's just a "people problem" that everyone has to contend with in one way or another. No need to leave the church over it.

Yes, I appreciate your caution. I apologize if it seemed I was generalizing--that was not my intent.

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I think the whole point of my response, Palerider, was to discover whether not any visits were further desired, and if so, what the nature of those visits would be. If I've been visiting someone for awhile, and they came to the conclusions you have, I'd be perfectly fine changing into being a non-message bringing home teacher if that was desired -- or ceasing all visiting activity whatsoever. On the other hand, meeting someone who has come to the conclusions you have for the first time and trying to see if they wanted home teachers, I would offer non-message-bringing visits out of sincere courtesy without much expectation of an affirmative response.

But if you want my direct answer: If the shoe were on the other foot with Jehovah's Witnesses or whatever analogy that would apply, I would most likely decline further visits. I probably also wouldn't frequent their message boards and engage in discussion with them, though, I'd just plain and simple decline. ;)

In some ways I agree with your final analysis here. It would be easier (and less painful) to stay away from this board and leave all of the TBMs (not meant disrespectfully at all) to just have an unchallenged love-fest or arguing over "limited geography" scenarios. Heaven knows there are plenty here that would like to see me go.

But you know, there are also many who come here just looking and reading (not participating) trying to see if there is anyone who feels the same way they do (and that I do) and isn't afraid to say it. Maybe that's why I come back from time to time.

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Excellent point Lehi. Now......could you just tell me (since you know me and my situation so well) what my "contribution to the problem" was? Maybe I'm missing something here that you could help me with.

As I do not know you, your snarky remark notwithstanding, I would not presume to tell you anything about it.

However, I have met no people from your camp (disaffected but either still ostensibly members or excommunicated) who take responsibiilty for their choices. It's always, "The Church lied to me," or "No one told me ... ."

You may be the exception.

Lehi

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In some ways I agree with your final analysis here. It would be easier (and less painful) to stay away from this board and leave all of the TBMs (not meant disrespectfully at all) to just have an unchallenged love-fest or arguing over "limited geography" scenarios. Heaven knows there are plenty here that would like to see me go.

But you know, there are also many who come here just looking and reading (not participating) trying to see if there is anyone who feels the same way they do (and that I do) and isn't afraid to say it. Maybe that's why I come back from time to time.

Ah.

Fair enough.

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I haven't "signed up" for visits from the Witnesses. I have done so for Home Teachers.

However, were I to actively oppose their visits, I'd ask that they not come by.

'Snot gonna happen, though: I love Home Teachers, even when I don't particularly like the ones assigned to me.

Lehi

I don't necessarily oppose the visit. But when I'm in "your house" (meaning that when I'm at the church attending meetings), I try to bite my tongue and not disrupt what you're trying to accomplish. After all, It's "your house". You get to have the final say on what is true and what isn't in your house.

So when you come to "my house" I would expect the same courtesy. In my house I have the final say.

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I'm encouraged that the Thomas Marsh milk story has been dropped from some references to him. If it's not true, why use it at all?

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I don't doubt anything you say here, just be careful not to generalize it across the board.

You mean like this?

On an unrelated subject...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.

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As I do not know you, your snarky remark notwithstanding, I would not presume to tell you anything about it.

However, I have met no people from your camp (disaffected but either still ostensibly members or excommunicated) who take responsibiilty for their choices. It's always, "The Church lied to me," or "No one told me ... ."

You may be the exception.

Lehi

Sorry to come across as "snarky". It might have been triggered by the comparison by "tantrum" analogy:

"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?"

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I'm encouraged that the Thomas Marsh milk story has been dropped from some references to him. If it's not true, why use it at all?

It's true. Not the reason he was excommunicated but it was an actual event.

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As I do not know you, your snarky remark notwithstanding, I would not presume to tell you anything about it.

However, I have met no people from your camp (disaffected but either still ostensibly members or excommunicated) who take responsibiilty for their choices. It's always, "The Church lied to me," or "No one told me ... ."

You may be the exception.

Lehi

I am responsible for my decision to leave the church. The Church didn't really change over the course of my life but my opinion and perception of the church changed to the point that I chose to distance myself from it.

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I'm encouraged that the Thomas Marsh milk story has been dropped from some references to him. If it's not true, why use it at all?

mistakes.jpg

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I am responsible for my decision to leave the church.

Okeh, that's one.

Lehi

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Why? Because the church uses him as a prop. They tell a distorted story of his disaffection to propagate the myth that apostates leave the church over petty issues. It’s dishonest and disingenuous. Even as a former member, I still hold the church to a high standard of honesty…I would hope that church leaders share that same perspective.

How interesting. You have tried to fulfil the directions in Hugh Nibley's "How to Write an Anti-Mormon book." I give you a B for effort.

For those who haven't read it, please do so and compare with the OP: http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=77&chapid=973

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How interesting. You have tried to fulfil the directions in Hugh Nibley's "How to Write an Anti-Mormon book." I give you a B for effort.

For those who haven't read it, please do so and compare with the OP: http://maxwellinstit...d=77&chapid=973

Hugh Nibley's style of writing in this books makes him come off sounding like a real ****. I have no doubt he is an intelligent man but I hate his way of writing. Still, I think in most instances he was a pretty fair observer of things LDS.

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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.

Uh, with all due respect, I'm not buying this for a second.

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