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Posts posted by rongo

  1. 5 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

    Do we get to again here how the violence is justified? I hope they listen to the President to keep things peaceful.

    They will be "mostly peaceful." 

    People are reacting emotionally, but it isn't politically astute to rage and freak out when your causes, razor thin Congressional majority, and president are already facing tremendous headwinds. A "summer of rage" (which has already been called for) would tend to push people on the fence more towards "law and order" and away from the causes and politicians supporting (or refusing to condemn) the raging riots. 

  2. 4 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    No, they aren’t. The best thinkpieces that actually analyze the expected fallout and consequences disagree. There is a lot more volume in saying the Left were behind the leak but propaganda serves the people that pay their bills.

    Fortunately they are idiots. They are destroying themselves before our eyes. It is now primarily a question of what will burn down with them.

    Okay, I'll give you a friendly CFR for "the best thinkpieces." ;) Are any of the authors conservative or ostensibly "moderate?" 

  3. 13 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    We had this discussion already. The Right had far more incentive to leak than the left and pushing people to a hard stance was part of the prevailing theory as to why it was leaked. It didn’t backfire. More likely it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

    Nobody but the far left believes this. It's no fair asking for sources, because the sources that say this . . . are all far left. ;) 

  4. 5 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

    It was 5-4. Roberts tried to strike middle ground by allowing a 16 week ban but would not have overturned roe

    Thanks for the correction! My bad.

    My view is that Alito's majority opinion is strictly correct from a constitutional standpoint: there is no constitutional right to abortion in the Constitution, and the 1973 decision made this up out of whole cloth because of political leanings rather than strict constructionism. This reverts back to pre-Roe and leaves it to the states, as it should have been all along (10th amendment). Those wanting a national law need to prevail upon their representatives in the legislative and executive branches to make and pass one.

    I disagree with @JLHPROF that such a law will be passed post haste before the midterms. I don't think this evenly-divided Congress is physically capable of passing anything controversial --- especially with the midterm elections looming. Senator Manchin represents a state that gave Trump over 60% of the vote, and this vote alone would doom him in West Virginia. Democrat frustration with Manchin's stances habitually ignores this political reality. 

  5. 4 minutes ago, Rivers said:

    And conservative parents can choose not to pay to see the movie.  They can even choose to unsubscribe to Disney +.  People vote with their wallet.

    Or never having subscribed to Disney + (or Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc.) in the first place. :) There actually are some of us in existence.

    We're often asked what we did with our kids to have them turn out like they did,and we tell them that they don't really want our life. Not really. They turn around and weep, for they have many possessions. 

  6. 10 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    Not comparable. Every (or almost every) sexual assault comes about through human choice. People grow up without one or both parents all the time with no one sinning to make it happen. I gave an example already. Women die in childbirth. Either parent could die to disease or injury.

    Your example proves your rule. Women dying in childbirth is an astronomically tiny reason for one parent families,compared to divorce or extra-marital sex. Those are almost always the reason why there is only one parent.

    As others have pointed out,tragic death also happens in this fallen world,but where the breakup of the ideal family comes about through agency (and not tragedy), then there is culpability. Somewhere,if not with both parties.

  7. 1 hour ago, mbh26 said:

    I was just surprised when I read an lds living article in which an openly gay man was serving on the high council.  I thought you had to be married in the temple to serve on the high council but apparently not. 

    When we hear of "openly gay" this or that's (a prominent one was the missionary who made Facebook videos), it gives certain impressions that seem shocking. All it means (in your article, or with the missionary) is that they are attracted to men. Not that they are openly living a gay lifestyle (which is the impression that "openly gay" conveys).

    I wish there more precision of language with this (cue @Nehor posting a gif of Katie Holmes from "The Giver"). :)

  8. 27 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

    And this is currently officially taught where within the church?

    Neither side of this (and many other questions) is officially taught anywhere in the Church today. The Church's official stance on most things is that there is no official teaching (gospel topics essays are exhibit A of this). 

    Which leaves members free to think, believe, speculate, and even teach that Adam was literally created out of dust, or that he wasn't. The Church isn't going to touch this (and many other things) with a ten foot pole. 

  9. 41 minutes ago, bluebell said:

    The handbook specifically says that high councilors can be single.  So if a SP says that he won't call anyone who isn't married to that calling then he is going against the handbook.

    "Can be single" makes it an option. It doesn't mean the stake president has to call single men as high councilors. Only calling married men as high councilors is not going against the handbook. Going against the handbook would be doing things that the handbook specifically says you can't do. 

    Like requiring white shirts. :) 

  10. 12 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    I find it hard to take the Proclamation’s stance that children are entitled to a father and mother seriously considering how often this doesn’t happen through no fault of the parties involved. 

    They are entitled to it, but often fall short of that because of the wickedness and selfishness of others' choices and agency. They are still entitled to it, and I like that strong wording.

    13 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    If God so often denies it to children on grounds that to us seem random how much of an entitlement is it?

    Why do you claim that it is God who is denying it to children?

    13 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    Even in the Church the ideal nuclear family is a minority now.

    CFR that the ideal nuclear family is now a minority in the Church. We're certainly heading in that direction, but I don't think we're there yet. 

  11. 36 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

    Which seems to be contradicted by the biblical account of how Adam was created.

    BY also had the Adam God teaching included in the temple so he does not have a great track record when it comes to Adam.

    Ironic, because the portrayal of Adam in the temple was transmitted **directly** through Brigham Young. There is no Adam-God in the temple (yes, I know you're referring to the Lecture at the Veil, which was short-lived and wasn't as blatantly Adam-God as people represent). What is taught in the endowment, and which was transmitted to us directly through Brigham Young, is very orthodox about Adam and God.

    Brigham Young was clear that the story about Adam and Eve being made from dust or a rib was allegorical. We are all made of "dust" in the sense that we are composed of elements that were forged in stars, but literally, we were made through procreation. Adam and Eve were similar, according to Young:

    "When you tell me that father Adam was made as we make adobies from the earth, you tell me what I deem an idle tale. When you tell me that the beasts of the field were produced in that manner, you are speaking idle worlds devoid of meaning. There is no such thing in all the eternities where the Gods dwell. Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth."[1]

    "Some of you may doubt the truth of what I now say . . . You believe Adam was made of the dust of this earth. This I do not believe, though it is supposed that it is so written in the Bible; but it is not, to my understanding. You can write that information to the States, if you please—that I have publicly declared that I do not believe that portion of the Bible as the Christian world do. I never did, and I never want to. What is the reason I do not? Because I have come to understanding, and banished from my mind all the baby stories my mother taught me when I was a child."[2]

    "Though we have it in history that our father Adam was made of the dust of this earth, and that he knew nothing about his God previous to being made here, yet it is not so; and when we learn the truth we shall see and understand that he helped to make this world, and was the chief manager in that operation. He was the person who brought the animals and the seeds from other planets to this world, and brought a wife with him and stayed here. You may read and believe what you please as to what is found written in the Bible. Adam was made from the dust of an earth, but not from the dust of this earth. He was made as you and I are made, and no person was ever made upon any other principle."[3]

    Brigham wasn't the only one. Erastus Snow, for example:

    "Oh, says one, we are told that Adam was created, not born. This is something I am not disposed to dwell upon much at this time. You can think of this as you please, whether he was created or born, or whether a man, because he is born, is not created. I do not understand the term creation as meaning something suddenly made out of nothing. I believe man that is born is as much created as the thing which is made in a mould and turned out to dry, which we call an adobie. It matters not whether it takes a few minutes to make it, or a longer period—it is created or made. And the term create I understand to be synonymous with the verb to make, and what is made is created, and what is organized is formed. And when it is written that God formed man in his own image and likeness, it does not describe the time or manner, but simply the fact of having made or created man in his own image."[4]

    [1] Brigham Young, October 23, 1853. Journal of Discourses 2:6

    [2] Brigham Young, October 9, 1859. Journal of Discourses 7:285

    [3] Brigham Young, April 20, 1856. Journal of Discourses 3:319

    [4] Erastus Snow, January 20, 1878. Journal of Discourses 19:323-324

  12. 1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

    Wasn't Adam (if you think he is a literal figure) created outside a womb?

    Brigham Young taught that he and Eve were born on another world and brought here. According to him, there is no other way for life to be created. So, they did indeed have belly buttons. :) 

    He believed Adam was a literal figure. 

  13. 25 minutes ago, Amulek said:

    But isn't that just a current technological limitation? Say, in the future, we are capable of isolating and combining individual chromosomes then you could simply take 23 from each partner and randomize them to generate an authentic biological child.

    Though, let's be honest, when bio-tech advances to that level we are totally going to be in Gattaca territory and people won't even be interested in having their own children any longer - they will all want custom designed super children instead.

    I agree --- the march towards "Brave New World" is antithetical to the plan. 

    Depending on one's beliefs about how the pre-existence affects mortality (or is intended to impact mortality), this sort of meddling with the "fountain" can be seen as an abomination. It tends towards trying to have the milk without buying the cow (bypassing marriage and procreation and the things children are "entitled" to, per the Proclamation). 

  14. 8 hours ago, Calm said:

    I don’t honestly see much difference biologically between a man and woman deciding to have sex and getting pregnant as to a man with a woman or a woman deciding not to have sex and get cloned and getting pregnant.  Both will result in an embryo that is biologically capable of life. Why would the cloned one not be capable of housing a spirit?  It would have already been proven to be a fully functioning model since the person it was cloned from would be successfully living and with a spirit, correct?  And it would be identical to that source.

    I agree there are ethical issues. But there are ethical issues with getting pregnant. 

    The big difference as I see it is: if a couple produce a child through traditional means, or by in vitro or some other way, it still involves their contribution of gametes (23 chromosomes from dad, and 23 from mom). With cloning, the genotype/karyotype is identical to one of the parents (or a sole parent; no mom/dad required). All 46 chromosomes are the same as the one parent's. 

    I'm not saying a cloned human body isn't "capable" of housing a spirit. It seems to me that it might be venturing into "abomination" territory --- meddling with the plan of salvation (especially if the pre-existence plays a more vital role in earth life than you like to think). In that case, attempting to have spirits dwell in bodies they weren't supposed to would be a "bad" thing.

    What are the ethical hold-ups to human cloning (reproductive, not therapeutic), outside of religious objections? Is it more about the "batting average" of embryonic success and chances of defects?

    ETA: Biologically, if human cloning ever became widespread, it would be a weakening of the species, because it is the genetic diversity via mixing of parent chromosomes that makes us far, far less vulnerable to things. Cloning would put all our eggs in one basket, and if the generations that have that same genotype lose the lottery with a disease or environmental factor, then lights out. 

  15. 44 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

    We have cloned animals and they are alive. If it is true that animals have spirits as well what is the difference?

    I think there are doctrinal ramifications, though, for human spirits being "called into" cloned bodies that makes it different from Dolly the sheep.

    Was it God's eternal will that spirits XYZ enter mortality that way,or is the "pulling"of the spirit into cloned bodies completely at the will,mercy, and beck and call of people cloning? 

    It does raise ethical and theological questions for many.

  16. 4 minutes ago, Durangout said:

    I believe in NDEs.  I do have a couple of caveats when reading them.

    My belief that one is true and not made up is in direct contrast to the level of detail and the length of any given experience.  In other words, the longer it is and the more details that it has, the greater chance that it was made up.  Sadly all LDS authors of NDEs have a greater likelihood of fabricating them than other authors (ex, Julie Rowe, Spencer, Chad Daybell, Sara Menet, Betty Ede …).

    The exception to the LDS thing are the accounts that were not made for publication (e.g., journals, family tradition, etc.). I totally agree with you on the "rogue's gallery" above. 

    I highly recommend Crowther's "Life Everlasting." He heavily uses journal accounts, and the non-Mormon accounts in the newer edition are very interesting and inspiring in their own right. 


    One of my favorite parts is the personal account of when Joseph F. Smith drowned on his mission in Hawaii. He saw his body down below on the beach, and hovered above it. When other missionaries anointed him with oil and laid hands on him, his spirit "snapped" back into his body. Many people (but not all) describe the spirit returning to the body as painful or unpleasant, while the spirit being outside the body is peaceful and pleasant. 

  17. 5 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

    Have you made this publicly available anywhere? I'd love access!

    What I call my "raw notes" is in a pidgin shorthand that I understand. At least it's searchable (yes, honorary Boomer that I am, I was Johnny-come-lately to the fact that Word docs are searchable. That was an amazing discovery! :) ).

    I sold out at a FAIR conference of my self-published batch of what was going to be volume 1 of a series of books on JoD topics (that one dealt with fallibility, blood atonement, debt, preparedness, and affliction). Volume 2 was going to have the First Vision, Adam-God, Zion society, and missionary work; but, there is really no market for it. People don't really read any more, and if/when they do, it's not old Church "history of thought" pieces. It was well worth it to me for the experience and for me and my posterity, anyway. 

    Here's the introduction to volume 1:



     “Starting Right”[1]

    Getting our Bearings on Journal of Discourses


    Journal of Discourses is a 26 volume work of nearly 10,000 pages that contains material from Mormon Church leaders from 1851 to 1886 (with some earlier material from Joseph Smith). Although it has a certain mystique among interested Mormons and non-Mormons (those who refer to or quote from it), almost nobody has ever read any significant portions of it. Almost all knowledge or use of it is derivative; people quote from it based on others’ quotations from it, not from their own firsthand reading or experience with it. People’s perceptions about Journal of Discourses are accurately parodied (many a true word is spoken in jest) by some of Orson Scott Card’s entries in his Saintspeak: The Mormon Dictionary[2]:


    Journal of Discourses --- A mammoth collection of speeches by General Authorities in the nineteenth century, containing many doctrines that were never taught in the Church . . . Today, however, there is no fear of ill effects from publishing the Journal of Discourses, for only Fundamentalists, anti-Mormons, and historians ever read it.


    Blood atonement --- A doctrine that was never taught in the Church, especially by Brigham Young, Jedediah Grant, and Heber C. Kimball.


    The overriding impression is that there are a lot of strange and contradictory things in Journal of Discourses that are a boon to critics of the Church and hard or impossible to explain (or explain away) by Church members.


    The purpose of this series of books is much larger than simply dispelling these impressions, although that is one of the inevitable effects of looking at the total picture of the content of Journal of Discourses. A detailed look at the total contents in context uncovers an immense and untapped treasure trove of insightful observations, humor, useful explanations, original parables and allegories, and other material that is invaluable for preparing talks, serving in the Church, defending the Church, and simply widening one’s background knowledge of the Brethren during the first decades in Utah Territory. Despite the high quality of the material, most of it is almost completely unknown, even to people who are reasonably well-read in Church history. Much of the material is superior to the shop-worn and recycled quotes and anecdotes that have become mainstays in Church manuals and materials.


    My grandfather gave me his mother’s well-marked set of Journal of Discourses in 2000 to look things up as I corresponded for about six months with an anti-Mormon in Webster, New York (John Farkas). When I discovered how effective using the full text and context with cherry-picked anti-Mormon proof-texts was, I decided to carefully read all 26 volumes and take detailed notes on anything of significance. My increasingly expansive involvement in LDS apologetics gave me a good perspective on things that are useful or important, but my service in the Church and what I was dealing with in Church callings during that time also made me aware of other important applications. During the time I read, compiled and organized my notes, I served as a ward mission leader (twice), elders quorum president (twice), and bishopric member (three times; currently serving as bishop). Once I had what I call my “raw notes” (a large three-ring binder with page numbers and pidgin shorthand notes by volume), I grouped the references into around 100 separate topical categories (e.g., missionary work, Adam-God statements, preparedness, polygamy, priesthood, blood atonement, marriage and parenting, etc.).


    Other topics, while interesting, are too small to build major book sections around. For example, I noticed a recurring thread that convinces me that Sandra and Gerald Tanner got the idea for their book title Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? directly from Journal of Discourses. It’s simply too unique of a phrase, in my view, for them to have independently come up with it without being influenced by it.[3]


    Have they knowledge? Go after it, and you will find an aching void, a shadow instead of substance, words which are wind, instead of realities.[4]


    No doubt many of you have had your portraits penciled upon the canvas by the artist, and after he had drawn the outlines, without filling up or embellishing at all, you looked at it and said, "That is not myself, it does not look like me, it belongs to someone else." But when it came to be filled up and embellished, perhaps you were ready to own it. We have the shadows of things that are, and not the real things themselves, in many respects.[5]


    What do men and women who turn away from the faith, as they occasionally do, turn to? To an empty sound, from a reality to a shadow.[6]


    The religions of the day, independent of their moral worth, are nothing but a myth, a shadow; there is no reality in them . . . Take the other road, and you get a shadow for the time being, and you may think you have the substance, but sooner or later you are left as a feather floating in the air, or worse than a ship upon the ocean, without compass or rudder.[7]


    We have got this kingdom to build up; and it is not a phantom, but a reality.[8]


    In a similar vein, President Hinckley’s oft-repeated statement that the gospel makes bad men good and good men better seems to have been influenced by Journal of Discourses. There are other indications that President Hinckley was well-read in Church history, including some of the more arcane items, like Journal of Discourses, but note how closely this expression parallels items like these:


    What are the fruits of this Gospel when it is received into the heart of an individual? It will make a bad man good, and a good man better.[9]


    There is not a word or doctrine, of admonition, of instruction within its lids, but what agrees in sentiment and veracity with those of Christ and His Apostles, as contained in the Bible. Neither is there a word of counsel, of admonition or reproof within its lids, but what is calculated to make a bad man a good man, and a good man a better man, if he will hearken to it.[10]


    Most topics are more “major” than such “smaller” ones. After identifying major topics, I then determined subtopics within each topic in order to organize the topic for commentary. I then drew upon my notes, files, and research to provide commentary and correlation for the subtopics and quotes.


    While the apologetic applications are obvious, I find the Church leadership and devotional material to be much more important, applicable, and useful. I hope that this book series will make these obscure and unknown insights, explanations, and observations accessible and usable to interested people.


    Journal of Discourses statistics


    Journal of Discourses contains 1417 items, covering 9,776 pages. This total includes seven dedicatory prayers (Salt Lake Temple cornerstones, the Tabernacle, and the St. George and Logan temples), two court transcripts, nine 4th of July orations, eight 24th of July orations, two school opening orations, and a Christmas address to public works employees. 38 of the talks are funeral addresses, and 356 of the talks (25%) are General Conference addresses (including General Conference held in May for a few years and in venues other than Salt Lake City, such as Coalville, Logan, and Provo). [11]


    There are 53 individuals who appear in Journal of Discourses, including 22 who appear only once, and another 16 who gave less than 15 talks. This makes roughly 90% of the material in Journal of Discourses the work of the “Big 15.” Among the “Big 15,” it’s interesting to compare the number of talks with the number of pages each covered:[12]


                                                 Number of talks               Number of pages

    1. Brigham Young                           387 (27%)                           2285 (23%)

    2. John Taylor                                  166 (12%)                           1325 (14%)

    3. Orson Pratt                                  124 (9%)                             1298 (13%)

    4. George Q. Cannon                      111 (8%)                               924 (9%)

    5. Heber C. Kimball                         110 (8%)                               517 (5%)

    6. George A. Smith                            78 (6%)                               422 (4%)

    7. Wilford Woodruff                        67 (5%)                               422 (4%)

    8. Orson Hyde                                    49 (3%)                               272 (3%)

    9. Erastus Snow                                 47 (3%)                               264 (3%)

    10. Daniel H. Wells                           38 (3%)                               243 (2%)

    11. Charles Penrose                          29 (2%)                               222 (2%)

    12. Joseph F. Smith                           24 (2%)                               188 (2%)

    13. Lorenzo Snow                             21 (2%)                               152 (1%)

    14. Franklin D. Richards                   20 (1%)                               130 (1%)

    15. Parley P. Pratt                             15 (1%)                               125 (1%)


    The talks were recorded, with few exceptions[13], by trained stenographers who accurately reported what was said. Sometimes people are tempted, when dealing with criticisms using Journal of Discourses proof-texts, to explain away statements as possibly being recorded or published incorrectly. This is not only not the case, in my view, it is completely unnecessary to ever explain away anything in Journal of Discourses on the grounds that it was inaccurately recorded or reported.


    George D. Watt, a British convert (and the first person baptized in the British mission) was the primary stenographer, and he began the project of publishing collected sermons in volumes in the Church’s publishing center in Liverpool, England.[14] Here is a breakdown of the stenographers and how many talks they were responsible for:


    1. George D. Watt            544

    2. David Evans                  264

    3. George F. Gibbs            177

    4. John Irvine                     135

    5. J. V. Long                       108

    6. E. L. Sloan                        18

    7. John Grimshaw                 8

    8. James Taylor                     7

    9. John Q. Cannon                4

    10. Rudger Clawson            4

    11. James Hart                      3

    12. Julia Young                      2

    13. Leo Hawkins                   2

    14. William Thurbood         1

    15. J.B. Milner                       1

    16. James D. Stirling            1

    17. Masters Feramorz         1

    18. C. G. Ferguson                1

    19. Josiah Rogerson            1

    20. John C. Graham             1


    133 talks cannot be linked to a specific stenographer, and Joseph Smith’s King Follett Discourse was listed as reported by Willard Richards, Thomas Bullock, William Clayton, and Wilford Woodruff.


    Talk venues ranged across the spectrum. While most occurred in various locations in Salt Lake City (various ward meetinghouses, the Bowery, the Old Tablernacle [adobe], the New Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall, Big Cottonwood Canyon, temple cornerstones, Heber C. Kimball’s home, Church historian’s office, the public square, the new theater, the council house, the social hall, Utah Territory District Court, and the Young Men’s Literary Association hall), locations in Illinois (Commerce and Nauvoo for Joseph Smith talks), Idaho (Cache Valley, Paris, and Rexburg), and even England (Sheffield; a church conference) are included. Within Utah, locations outside of Salt Lake City appear as venues for talks in Journal of Discourses:  American Fork, Bear Lake, Beaver, Bountiful, Box Elder, Brigham City, Coalville, Ephraim, Farmington, Franklin, Grantsville, Hooperville, Hyde Park, Hyrum, Kaysville, Lehi, Logan, Manti, Mill Creek, Mount Pleasant, Nephi, Ogden, Paradise, Parowan, Payson, Provo, Richfield, Richmond, Springville, St. George, Tooele, Wellsville, and Willow Creek.               


    Make-up of the volumes in this series


    Because I want this work to be as accessible and usable as possible, I chose to divide the commentaries into multiple, smaller volumes. This reduces the printing cost and sales price for each volume, which hopefully will encourage people to decide to buy ones that capture their interest. I also chose to combine two or three major apologetic topics with several doctrinal, historical, devotional, and Church-related topics to give each volume variety in scope and range. This volume includes the topics of blood atonement, affliction, infallibility and blind obedience, temporal preparedness, and debt and credit. Other volumes will include such topics as (but not limited to):


    ---Adam-God statements              ---humor                                                           ---eternal progression

    ---marriage and parenting             ---nature of God                                             ---First Vision

    ---testimony and revelation          ---ministering of angels                                ---seeing God

    ---prayer                                            ---Civil War                                                      ---Stephen Douglas prophecies

    ---returning to Jackson County    ---Constitution hanging by a thread          ---politics

    ---missionary work                          ---blood of Israel                                            ---remnant of Lehi

    ---state of people without            ---Zion                                                               ---priesthood

        the gospel                                     ---blacks and the priesthood                       ---polygamy

    ---doctrine                                        ---background                                                 ---countercharges

    ---prophecies                                    ---Joseph Smith, occult, moneydigging    


    Getting to know the Brethren


    I look back on the years I spent reading, taking notes, organizing material, and sharing good insights or humorous comments with my wife with great fondness. If you read enough of a person’s written or spoken words, you get a good feel for their personality, temperament, and essence, and I feel that I have certain insights into the spirit and manner of both these men and their times and circumstances. I have come away from this project with a greater sense of appreciation for these men, the keys they held, and their unique and personal contributions to guiding the work of the Church in the decades between settling the Salt Lake Valley and the end of plural marriage. When I have shared quotes, stories, and insights from them with others in talks, trainings, counseling, and in personal conversation, people have expressed a desire for “more where those came from.” I think that people and the Church have much to gain by adding the largely untapped and unknown wisdom and insight of Journal of Discourses to their storehouse of reference material.



    I hope you enjoy this book series as much I do, and I hope you find it as useful as I continue to find it.


    [1] Joseph Smith famously noted in the King Follett Discourse: “If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong we may go wrong, and it will be a hard matter to get it right” (History of the Church 6:303). Having a proper grasp of the background and what Journal of Discourses is and isn’t is crucial in fully appreciating it and properly applying it.

    [2] Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1981.

    [3] While I have communicated with and received answers in the past from Sandra Tanner, I never received any response to the question of whether they had these quotes in mind when they chose the title.

    [4] Brigham Young, May 26, 1872. Journal of Discourses 15:42

    [5] Orson Hyde, January 19, 1873. Journal of Discourses 15:304

    [6] Brigham Young, September 17, 1876. Journal of Discourses 18:232

    [7] Brigham Young, June 17, 1877. Journal of Discourses 19:40

    [8] John Taylor, August, 31, 1879. Journal of Discourses 21:8

    [9] Brigham Young, July 11, 1869. Journal of Discourses 13:144

    [10] Joseph F. Smith, April 6th, 1884. Journal of Discourses 25:100

    [11] This was due to raids by federal marshals and many of the Brethren being in hiding.

    [12] Page numbers were determined on a “winner-take-all” basis, with only one person being given credit for each page. This resulted in judgment calls in some instances when two people shared a page.

    [13] The three talks by Joseph Smith are a notable exception. They were compiled using longhand notes by people present: Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, Thomas Bullock, and William Clayton.

    [14] B.H. Roberts made use of the fact that almost all Church materials were published outside of Utah Territory when an association of ministers published a written attack against a General Conference talk by President Joseph F. Smith in 1907. Among other things, the ministers claimed that “the Church deceitfully teaches one thing at home, and another abroad.” Roberts pointed out that all of the references in their review were published and disseminated outside of Utah: “Now where is the Millennial Star published? In Liverpool, England. Where were the Journal of Discourses published? In Liverpool, England. Where was The Seer published? In Washington, D.C. . . . So that your practical charge that we preach one set of doctrines and principles in Utah, and quite another in the world, and that we’re trying to play the double game of having one doctrine for home consumption and another for proclamation abroad, is as shallow as it is untrue” (B.H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints [Maasai: Provo, 2002], 553-554).

  18. The more recent version of Duane Crowther's "Life Everlasting" contains journal material and NDEs from non-Mormons as well. What is striking is that the spirit world seems to be what people expect it to be. That is, it's not immediately a big Aha! moment ("The Mormons were right!"). Missionaries there will run into the same obstacles as here, as people are still who they were when they were here. I believe that even atheists and people who don't believe in a hereafter will be able to explain it away to themselves, if they want. 

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