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Do The Essays Confirm "anti-Mormon Lies"?


Do the Essays Confirm "Anti-Mormon" Statements?  

62 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you recognize any information in the new Gospel Topic Essays as what members had previously told you were only "anti-Mormon lies"?

    • Yes
      41
    • No
      21
  2. 2. If "yes", then approximately how many of these previously "anti-Mormon lies" did you find confirmed in the Gospel Topic Essays?

    • N/A (Chose "No" to Question 1)
      22
    • Only 1
      1
    • A Few
      9
    • Several
      12
    • Many
      22


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Please do not put words into my mouth. I understand now that you're not interested in discussing anything with me. Carry on.

 

something something.... shifting goalposts... something something...

 

Read my other response please.

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Except that the vast majority of members in 1840 also didn't know about it, including Emma.

I also find it interesting that in all the comparisons to Biblical prophets, speaking of human error, and Joseph not knowing all the ropes, the fact that Joseph's polygamy did not follow the revelation in 132 at all is never considered. Did biblical prophets manage to follow God's commands (although I don't see any command by God for polygamy), was God not revealing the practice clear enough or did he purposefully leave Joseph in the dark, and what of his compete failure to fulfill nearly any of 132's specifications?

 

What wasn't followed by Joseph from Section 132?

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Read it again.  

 

He presents source materials and allows the reader to draw their conclusions.

 

Emma (as some have said here) was not always consistent in her support, feelings, and reports of the principle.  I don't see her as villain.  Goodness knows she tried to support Joseph in a very difficult task.  

 

Joseph seems to have struggled with how to live the commandment God gave the Saints while still honoring Emma.  Again, quite human of him.

 

The mockery and shock tactics that anti-Mormons use is very effective against those who have been taught faith promoting rumors (aka there weren't enough men).  It is easy to knock down a testimony build on a false premise.

 

However - the reality of the Saints situation, their humanity, and their faith in trying to live a very difficult principle, while staying under the radar of a hostile anti presence in their own midst, compounded by the counterfeit and manipulative actions of people like Bennett...  add that up and you can see the great difficulty in living the commandment historically, and the great difficulty in presenting it in proper context today.

 

I believe the Saints were commanded.  But as with many commandments and revelations we are sometimes asked to keep them sacred, protect them from those who would use them to harm us.  Mordecai and Esther is a good example from the Bible of this kind of thing.  Also as with many commandments this one shattered cultural customs and norms.  It was very difficult for all the Saints, not just Joseph to adapt.

 

Essays like the ones the Church is publishing seek to get past the superficial understanding that anti and pro Mormons sometimes have about these complex issues.  It educates the Saints more fully, but it also takes away a favorite anti-Mormon tactic of "shock and awe" or "see they lied to you" away from those who seek to shake the faith of the Saints.

 

So "context" is important to see a truer picture of things that happened.  

 

I have no problem with Joseph Smith being a flawed human, as we all are. I never expected perfection from anyone, church leaders or not. As I said, what seems to be so jarring to people isn't that the church's history is filled with fallible humans, but that the essays are so completely at odds with the Disney-esque version of church history many of us were raised with. I'm glad the church has put out the essays, even if I don't find them entirely forthright.

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I did, but now I wish I hadn't.

 

I guess I should have turned the other cheeky response.

 

Regarding your serious reply.  I am NOT a fan of Disneyesque history precisely because it does as much harm as it does good.  However I have a hard time faulting the brethren who wrote curricula from the early 1900s to the 1980s.  Partly because Sunday School is a place for faith promotion, not necessarily academic debates over the history of the church.  Secondly because there is so much written in opposition to the Saints, and I suspect the faithful were attempting to counter that with faith promotion.  In the broader American culture patriotism and faith promotion was a staple of education through the 1960s and even 1970s.   

 

Look at the Saints transformation from outcasts seeking their own country, to hyper-patriotic citizens lobbying for statehood.  What our culture becomes is often a reaction to the forces of our environment.  In 100 years one might wonder why the Saints were so obsessed with sex, drugs and rock 'n roll in all of their teachings.  That is because pornography and substance abuse is a big problem for us today.

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I guess I should have turned the other cheeky response.

 

Regarding your serious reply.  I am NOT a fan of Disneyesque history precisely because it does as much harm as it does good.  However I have a hard time faulting the brethren who wrote curricula from the early 1900s to the 1980s.  Partly because Sunday School is a place for faith promotion, not necessarily academic debates over the history of the church.  Secondly because there is so much written in opposition to the Saints, and I suspect the faithful were attempting to counter that with faith promotion.  In the broader American culture patriotism and faith promotion was a staple of education through the 1960s and even 1970s.   

 

Look at the Saints transformation from outcasts seeking their own country, to hyper-patriotic citizens lobbying for statehood.  What our culture becomes is often a reaction to the forces of our environment.  In 100 years one might wonder why the Saints were so obsessed with sex, drugs and rock 'n roll in all of their teachings.  That is because pornography and substance abuse is a big problem for us today.

 

this sums up how i feel

 

i don't think the essays 'confirm' the 'lies'.  they most certainly deal with content that many people have seen get dismissed out of hand *as* lies.  but the treatment of the information is vastly different.

 

the essays represent the next stage in how we deal with the changing landscape of things that challenge us.  it's clear we're learning some tough lessons about the way we present our history.  like you call it, "disneyesque."

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Ever hear of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon?

I still don't know where members get Isaac into this list. I know Brethren use this list all the time and that might explain members, but what's the source that says anything about Isaac having more than one wife? Can anybody help me out with a cite? This had bugged me forever.

Thanks

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I still don't know where members get Isaac into this list. I know Brethren use this list all the time and that might explain members, but what's the source that says anything about Isaac having more than one wife? Can anybody help me out with a cite? This had bugged me forever.

Thanks

 

I was wondering the same thing.

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I still don't know where members get Isaac into this list. I know Brethren use this list all the time and that might explain members, but what's the source that says anything about Isaac having more than one wife? Can anybody help me out with a cite? This had bugged me forever.

Thanks

 

The Saints have equated the blessings of Abraham and his "tribe" with the principle since Brigham's time.  It is an easy leap to think that was a common practice among the patriarchs in his line.  There is no indication in the Bible that Isaac was a polygamist.

Edited by KevinG
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This is not a good argument.  Would you accept this kind of an excuse from one of your teenage kids who was caught stealing (that others had done it or even worse)?

 

Can you name a Prophet in the Bible who was commanded by God to live polyandry?  How about polygamy?

 

That was not my argument.  I do not believe that it was right for Joseph Smith to practice polygamy simply because the Biblical prophets did.  Neither does the LDS church.  Indeed the point of the relevant Book of Mormon verses (Jacob) was that even if one accepts that God commanded the Biblical prophets to practice polygamy, one cannot conclude that it is/was therefore right for anyone else to do so.
 
I was simply pointing out the inconsistency of those who argue that Joseph Smith could not possibly be a prophet because he practiced polygamy, yet accept Biblical prophets despite the fact that they also practiced polygamy.  
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That was not my argument.  I do not believe that it was right for Joseph Smith to practice polygamy simply because the Biblical prophets did.  Neither does the LDS church.  Indeed the point of the relevant Book of Mormon verses (Jacob) was that even if one accepts that God commanded the Biblical prophets to practice polygamy, one cannot conclude that it is/was therefore right for anyone else to do so.
 
I was simply pointing out the inconsistency of those who argue that Joseph Smith could not possibly be a prophet because he practiced polygamy, yet accept Biblical prophets despite the fact that they also practiced polygamy.  

 

 

Did someone here make that argument? Maybe I missed it.

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People throw around the word "lie" a lot. I hope the people who criticize Fawn Brodie's claims to know peoples mind states and motivations don't make the all too common mistake of assuming the intent of people who may just be mistaken. One is not lying if they are just mistaken or otherwise not consciously deceiving.

carbon dioxide, you seem to be stating that you consider them lies solely because you don't agree with them. Is that what you really meant?

Let me be more specific.  It is one thing to simply raise an issue (say Joseph Smith was sealed to a 14 year old which is true) and drawing a conclusion from that which may be a lie (Joseph Smith was a pedophile and just wanted a lot of sex).  There is simply no evidence to suggest that Joseph ever had a sexual relationship with that 14 year old.  Having read enough anti-mormon material in my life I can say with confidence that truth can be found in their claims that is also mixed with lies, misrepresentations, ect.   People can use truth and abuse that truth through evil motives to get people to arrive at conclusions that the truth never really supports. 

Edited by carbon dioxide
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Is there a thread where these kind of claims have been discussed already, because I'm only seeing a lot of unsubstantiated generalizations here, on this thread...

 

If memory serves, there are several such threads.  I  have heard the same sort of arguments long before MDDB, most memorably from some of my family members. In my experience, it is hardly uncommon for someone who accepts the Biblical prophets despite their polygamy to claim that Joseph Smith could not be a prophet because he practiced polygamy.
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The downfall of my belief came when I discovered a chart of Joseph Smith, Jr. married to 33 (?) wives, some married to other men and some extremely young, IMO. I got up and went outside and saw my neighbor across the street. I went over and chatted and then told her what I ran onto by accident online. She told me it was all anti lies. Her mother was anti and told her many things, probably some on the essays. MMM was one I discovered soon after, they just kept coming and my world changed.

Interestingly, Leonard Arrington published his book in the late 70s. Joseph's polygamy is in that book. It was widely read by many members and it was the buzz of my old ward in NYC. He was the church historian. Of course, many people do not read books. However the ensign was full of great articles. Here is an interview with leonard from 1975:

 

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1975/07/history-is-then-and-now-a-conversation-with-leonard-j-arrington-church-historian?lang=eng

 

It is quite an interesting interview about church history.

 

And here is the book:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mormon-Experience-HISTORY-LATTER-DAY/dp/0252062361

 

As I see it there has been a dumbing down of populations since the arrival of the internet. People skim here and skim there, mainly from critic sites who tend to skrew the facts to their own liking. What the church did not understand was that members would readily believe what they read without checking to see if the church addressed this issue whether through the books published by lds scholars etc. Maybe the church misjudged the intelligence of its members. Now they understand that they need to spoon feed the membership.

 

Leonard was also giving lectures on church history not to mention firesides. We were very informed back then. Of course, not everyone was interested in church history  nor in history in general. What was important for the members was also the spiritual experiences they had with their church membership. These experiences confirmed the truth claims of the lds church. And now? Well, times have changed.

Edited by why me
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Let me be more specific.  It is one thing to simply raise an issue (say Joseph Smith was sealed to a 14 year old which is true) and drawing a conclusion from that which may be a lie (Joseph Smith was a pedophile and just wanted a lot of sex).  There is simply no evidence to suggest that Joseph ever had a sexual relationship with that 14 year old.  Having read enough anti-mormon material in my life I can say with confidence that truth can be found in their claims that is also mixed with lies, misrepresentations, ect.   People can use truth and abuse that truth through evil motives to get people to arrive at conclusions that the truth never really supports. 

 

There is also no evidence that his relationship with Helen Kimball was not sexual, so it's problematic to speculate one way or another.

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Let me be more specific.  It is one thing to simply raise an issue (say Joseph Smith was sealed to a 14 year old which is true) and drawing a conclusion from that which may be a lie (Joseph Smith was a pedophile and just wanted a lot of sex).  There is simply no evidence to suggest that Joseph ever had a sexual relationship with that 14 year old.  Having read enough anti-mormon material in my life I can say with confidence that truth can be found in their claims that is also mixed with lies, misrepresentations, ect.   People can use truth and abuse that truth through evil motives to get people to arrive at conclusions that the truth never really supports. 

 

That is the spirit of President Packer's oft criticized remarks that not all truths are useful.  It is an easy remark to poke holes in if you remove the context and meaning from it.  

 

It is entirely possible to obscure Truth (big Truth with a capital T) by selectively sharing truths out of context and order, or by omitting key truths when painting a bigger picture. 

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If memory serves, there are several such threads.  I  have heard the same sort of arguments long before MDDB, most memorably from some of my family members. In my experience, it is hardly uncommon for someone who accepts the Biblical prophets despite their polygamy to claim that Joseph Smith could not be a prophet because he practiced polygamy.

 

 

Joseph wasn't a martyr because he defended himself with a Pepper Box Pistol...

 

Joseph wasn't an oracle because he failed to predict the financial crash...

 

Joseph wasn't a inspired because Zion's March didn't relieve the Saints in Missouri...

 

A common theme is correct.  Of course if you take away the non-doctrinal but oft abused notion that a Prophet is inerrant, that tactic crumbles into dust.

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There is also no evidence that his relationship with Helen Kimball was not sexual, so it's problematic to speculate one way or another.

 

That bugaboo context comes in again. If you look at the practice of sealing early on, there were many platonic sealings to men, women, and family groups.  It was not until later when Wilford Woodruff conselled the Saints to be sealed to their own families that the practice of sealing became more synonymous with sealings of husbands to wives.

 

Again after reading Bushman and other sources I suspect some of those sealings did involve physical intimacy and some did not.

 

(I think you missed my last comment on the previous page.  I'm interested in your serious thoughts about that).

Edited by KevinG
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"what's the source that says anything about Isaac having more than one wife"

D&C 132:37https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/132.37?lang=eng#36

Thanks calmoriah. I had forgotten that verse. However, the sentence structure seems to go out of it's way to include Isaac and Jacob only in respect to the more general activity of keeping God's law.

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Thanks calmoriah. I had forgotten that verse. However, the sentence structure seems to go out of it's way to include Isaac and Jacob only in respect to the more general activity of keeping God's law.

 

Yes, it's possible to read that sentence either way. But thanks, calmoriah. I had forgotten about that verse.

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Except that the vast majority of members in 1840 also didn't know about it, including Emma.

I also find it interesting that in all the comparisons to Biblical prophets, speaking of human error, and Joseph not knowing all the ropes, the fact that Joseph's polygamy did not follow the revelation in 132 at all is never considered. Did biblical prophets manage to follow God's commands (although I don't see any command by God for polygamy), was God not revealing the practice clear enough or did he purposefully leave Joseph in the dark, and what of his compete failure to fulfill nearly any of 132's specifications?

Joseph did put forth trial balloons in the 1830s on the issue.  He spoke privately to individual members to see how he reacted.  He generally got a negative reaction.  I think it is safe to conclude that Joseph Smith did not think the Church was generally ready to hear about it based on the sampling he did.  So it was kept back from the Church until it could accept it better.   Emma knew about the subject.  She had a negative view towards it.  Emma went through denial but she was informed on the subject.  There are things that she probably did not know but that was because of her negative views towards it.  Had she had a better attitude, she would have been more informed. 

 

I maintain that Joseph Smith understands D&C 132 better than anyone else.  I think he knows the intent of the revelation what is said and what is not said and he did the best he could under the circumstances.  I am sure Joseph Smith awaits the time to be lectured by people living today about all his mess ups at some point in the future.  I hope to get an opportunity to be allowed to see how Joseph responds to them in the spirit world  It should be interesting.

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