What’s up with Brigham Young and all those racist statements he made?

This post was created to answer questions posed by commenter MQ_2 on the comment thread for If Joseph Smith was a fraud where did the Book of Mormon come from? Since it was off-topic there, this new post has been created to facilitate the conversation. Here is the comment in its entirety:

“Turns out slavery was permitted by Brigham Young in Utah for about 10 years. Did you know that?”

Did you know that BY accepted a slave for tithing? Thats pretty crazy. If you win money in Vegas now the church doesn’t want your money for tithing. BY would take a slave though?

Here is a few quoted from the Second Prophet of this dispensation.

“When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and HAVE RECEIVED THEIR RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 143, 1854

“They [blacks] will GO DOWN TO DEATH. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the Holy Priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which WE now are entitled to.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p.272, 1866

“I would rather undertake to convert five thousand Lamanites [native Americans], than to convert one of those poor MISERABLE CREATURES [Jews] WHOSE FATHERS KILLED THE SAVIOR…. Yes, I would rather undertake to CONVERT THE DEVIL HIMSELF, if it were possible. …I would say, LEAVE THEM, AND COME HOME, THE LORD DOES NOT REQUIRE YOU TO STAY THERE, FOR THEY MUST SUFFER AND BE DAMNED. …[L]EAVE THEM TO LIVE AND DIE IN THEIR SINS and IGNORANCE. …[T]HEY TAKE PLEASURE IN THEIR WICKEDNESS….” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 143, 1854

“But let me tell you further. Let my seed mingle with the seed of Cain, that brings the curse upon me, and upon my generations…. On that very day, and hour we should do so, the priesthood is taken from this church and kingdom [,] and God leaves us to our fate.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Brigham Young Addresses, Ms d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, Feb. 5, 1852, as quoted in Bob Witte’s book entitled “Where Does It Say That?”, p. 2

“Shall I tell you the LAW OF GOD in regard to the AFRICAN race? If the WHITE MAN who belongs to the CHOSEN SEED mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is DEATH ON THE SPOT. This will ALWAYS be so.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p.110, 1863

“You see some classes of the human family that are BLACK, UNCOUTH, UNCOMELY, DISAGREEABLE and LOW in their habits, WILD, and seemingly DEPRIVED OF NEARLY ALL THE BLESSINGS OF THE INTELLIGENCE that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been KILLED, and THAT WOULD HAVE PUT A TERMINATION TO THAT LINE OF HUMAN BEINGS. This was not to be, and the Lord put A MARK upon him, which is THE FLAT NOSE AND BLACK SKIN. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race — that they should be the “servants of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 290, 1859

“Ham will continue to be servant of servants, as the Lord decreed, until the curse is removed. Will the present struggle [the U.S. civil war] free the slave? No…. Can you destroy the decrees of the Almighty? You cannot.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 250, 1863

“How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will REMAIN UPON THEM, and THEY NEVER CAN HOLD THE PRIESTHOOD or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favourable position, THE CHILDREN OF CAIN CANNOT RECEIVE THE FIRST ORDINANCES OF THE PRIESTHOOD. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion.” LDS “Prophet” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, pp. 290-291, 1859

Why is that the Church with a prophet appointed from God to recieve direction could be so far off on Social issues? Shouldn’t the church be setting the bar instead of begrudgingly changing archaic discriminating practices so that BYU can keep it’s sports program. Or to stop allowing (publicly) polygamy so that Utah can obtain statehood. Why with a Prophet to lead and guide the people would we constantly be reacting to outside pressure before we do the right thing? Shouldn’t we be the beacon by which the rest of the world follows suit on these issues? After all we have a prophet to tell us God’s will.

Response:

Rather than respond to each individual quote of Brigham Young, I’ll jump straight to answering MQ_2’s questions at the end of his comments:

1. “Why is that the Church with a prophet appointed from God to recieve direction could be so far off on Social issues?”

To ask this question is to judge Brigham Young based on our present perspective, rather than from the perspective of his time. The views Brigham Young held with regards to blacks were the dominant views of virtually all people in the United States at the time. You would have had to search far and wide to find leaders of any church who preached true equality between blacks and whites who weren’t practically regarded as being on the fringes of society. Brigham Young’s views were quite mainstream. Even Abraham Lincoln viewed blacks as inferior to whites and spoke out against intermarriage between the races. Lincoln also said that if he could save the Union without freeing the blacks from slavery, he would do so.

Does this mean Brigham Young was right? Certainly not, but it is unfair to judge his statements in a modern context, rather than the context of his own time.

2. “Shouldn’t the church be setting the bar instead of begrudgingly changing archaic discriminating practices so that BYU can keep it’s sports program. Or to stop allowing (publicly) polygamy so that Utah can obtain statehood. Why with a Prophet to lead and guide the people would we constantly be reacting to outside pressure before we do the right thing?”

It’s understandable that one would assume the LDS Church changed its position on blacks holding the priesthood and polygamy merely because of outside pressure, but if you look deeper that theory doesn’t explain everything. For example, the Church was under intense pressure in the early 1960’s because of its policy on blacks holding the priesthood, but didn’t change the policy until 1978. Its arguable they were under less pressure when the change was made than earlier. After all, most members of the Church had learned to deal with the criticism. If the only reason for the change was outside pressure, why didn’t they change when the pressure was greatest? In addition, President David O. McKay, decades before the Church came under pressure, had already made statements with regards to his desire to change the policy. If the only reason the Church made the change in policy was due to pressure, then how do we explain the President seeking to change the policy before there was much pressure, and before many other religions were ordaining blacks in their churches?

But your other question is perfectly fair–why isn’t the LDS Church leading the way, ahead of everyone else? If the church is truly guided by God, shouldn’t he be helping us avoid these problems? I mean, c’mon!

The key to understanding this conundrum is to understand how God works with us. What we’ve seen historically is that God rarely answers questions that haven’t been asked. Why didn’t God appear to Joseph Smith when he was 10, instead of 14? Because Joseph didn’t ask his question until he was 14. Why didn’t Joseph Smith receive the priesthood sooner than he did? Because he didn’t ask earlier. Virtually every revelation in Doctrine and Covenants is in response to a question Joseph asked. It would appear that God answers the questions we ask, but is perfectly content to led us struggle through an issue that could easily be resolved with His timely answer until we ask him. Brigham Young’s views on slavery and blacks appear to have been mainstream for the day, and apparently Brigham and many of his successors never saw fit to ask God about them. Evidently David O. McKay did, but couldn’t get the rest of the Apostles on board. Again, the practice of the LDS Church at that time was in line with most other churches and society in general. From what I can tell (bearing in mind I’m no expert on all this and may be wrong) it wasn’t until President Kimball took on the issue that there was sufficient consensus in the leadership of the Church to even ask the question. Maybe God was ready to answer the question 100 years before, but he was patiently waiting for church members and the leadership to get themselves ready to ask it.

3. “Shouldn’t we be the beacon by which the rest of the world follows suit on these issues? After all we have a prophet to tell us God’s will.”

I think there are broad misconceptions, both in the Church and without, about how revelation is received, which leads to a lot of misunderstandings about Church actions. But if it’s understood that the leaders of the Church are men, with shortcoming and failings, and that they only receive revelation when they ask for it directly, then a lot of things start to make more sense.

In theory, it seems like Mormons should be leading the rest of the world in every facet of life. We should have the best artists, musicians, writers, sports teams, politicians, business men, auto mechanics, etc. But of course, we don’t. What we’ve got is a bunch of imperfect people bumbling along and occasionally getting it right. Although God has told us we’re supposed to be a light and a beacon, and many of us try to be, he doesn’t prevent us from failing at it. But that’s ok with me. I don’t look for perfection in LDS Church members, leaders, or even in the system of the Church itself. There are some people who say “The members of the Church aren’t perfect, but the Church is.” I’m not sure I even believe that. What I do believe is that it is the only church with the authority of God, and the only church with a prophet. That’s enough for me to know, and I can deal with all the other imperfections.

By the way, many of the questions above with regards to blacks and the priesthood and Brigham Young’s statements are answered much better than I could do it by Armand L. Mauss in his article The LDS Church and the Race Issue: A Study in Misplaced Apologetics. I can’t vouch for everything he says because I haven’t researched it all, but most of it sounds pretty good to me.

Comments

  1. Hi Josh,

    You stated "Brigham Young’s views were quite mainstream." The only issue I have with BY's remarks/actions is that he was supposed to be a Prophet of God. Being a prophet, wouldn't the spirit tell him that this was not right? One would think that BY's views would NOT be mainstream as he was a prophet of God.

    Yes, Brigham was also a man and therfore made mistakes. I just can't understand why the spirit wouldn't "tell" him that his racism was not acceptable. Or do you think it was?

  2. How can you be a prophet and say that God would put to death anyone who practised interacial marriage or union "to death on the spot" and that didn't happen? With all the mixing of blacks and whites and blacks and Native Americans-producing continued offspring then and now; how could people trust those "prophets."

    It's so crazy to me, and yet I have heard of African Amrticans becoming Mormons!!! When I lived in Nebraska I allowed Mormons to come into my home and discuss their beliefs but I could never consider a possiblility because of that racism and obvious untruth. After all even in the bible when Moses' sister Miriam made fun of her dark sister-in-law Ziporah; God made her understand why that wasn't right by making her as white as she could possibly be: with Leprosy. She learned her lesson.

  3. Hi Taliba, this is a case of Brigham Young's words being taken quite out of context. I agree they sound shocking and unbelievable, but anytime somebody's words sound so strange it's good to take a closer look to see if perhaps by understanding the context in which they were given their meaning becomes something entirely different than what we understand them to be. In the case of Brigham Young's "death on the spot" comments, this is actually "a condemnation of abuse and rape of helpless black women, and not an overtly racist statement condemning interracial marriage," at least according to the explanation over at FAIRMormon.org on Mormonism and racial issues/Brigham Young/Race mixing punishable by death.

    As the entry on that other website goes on to say:

    This is not to say that Brigham did not share some ideas about the desirability of keeping races separate; virtually everyone of his era did. American ethnologists taught that whites and blacks were separately created races, the mixture of which would corrupt both.

    But, when in the same speech Brigham Young condemns the whites for their treatment of blacks, and threatens punishment for white men who have what is likely forced intercourse with black women, it is not fair to portray him as a ravening racist with no concern for the downtrodden. His fire and brimstone is all for the aggressor; his sympathy is for those who were mistreated.

    It's also helpful to understand that Brigham Young's view on interracial marriage were more or less par for the course in his day. Even Abraham Lincoln made statements against interracial marriage. This isn't to say they weren't wrong, but that they can hardly be blamed for accepting what was "common sense" to 99% of the population at that time. Who knows what opinions we hold today, of which it doesn't even occur to us to think of as containing the possibility of offensiveness, that might be found extremely offensive to those who live 150 years from now?

    • You are missing the point here. When the prophet speaks, we are to obey. When BY spoke, members believed him because he was the prophet at that time. You can't compare Abraham Lincoln's view of interracial marriage with that of BY-because according to church doctrine, BY was a prophet who received revelation from God and Abraham Lincoln was not the Lord's mouthpiece on Earth. Do members question the statements made by Pres. Monson and the 12 apostles? No, because members believe they receive revelation from God. Therefore you can't say that BY's statements are taken out of context because you would have never said that if you were alive and a member when BY was a prophet. Please tell me, since when did the church care what the "views of the day" are? Views on gay marriage are changing rapidly in this nation. Does that mean the church will change their stance on it just because Pres. Obama supports gay marriage or just because a majority of society supports it? No, I dont think so. Just because "common sense" at the time meant being racist..didn't make it right.
      If you dont question what the prophet says now..then you have no case to support that the prophets back then should be questioned. Thus, you have quite a conundrum my friend.

      • soprano, we Mormons do not believe our prophets to be infallible. That is, there may be some misled Mormons who do believe they are infallible, but that is not the doctrine of the LDS Church. Can Mormon prophets teach things that are incorrect? Sure they can. They're not perfect. Only one man to live upon the earth was perfect, and so by definition every other man, prophets included, must teach things that are not wholly perfect, and may be far off base. I do question many things modern day prophets say, as do many of my Mormon associates. Therefore there is no conundrum. I have no problem with the idea that Brigham Young may have been quite wrong in his perspective on race, because my belief in the LDS Church does not depend on my being able to believe that everything the President of the Church says is correct.

        • What ever. The church teaches “the prophet will not lead the church astray” sorry but it is such bullshit when you go “well they are men too so they make mistakes”. Yes but they are LEADING a whole organization that way. He is leading what is suppose to be God’s one true church to see Black’s as inferior and then saying “Well screw the Jews, those bastards killed Christ”.

          It doesn’t matter of that was the time period, if it was wrong (yes it was wrong) than the spirit should have revealed so. Yes he is a man and can make mistakes I get that but that isn’t the damn excuse you can use to justify him bring a racist pig who mislead the church. How does no one get that?

    • FAIR is an excuse factory cranking out lies 24/7.

      • And your evidence?

        • Lol. Real zinger there. Um, let me see. I guess the evidence would be…. The website itself , maybe?

  4. Hmmmm. Thinking about that, but sometimes true prophets or saints will disagree with the "mainstream" when it's wrong; think of the abolitionists and Quakers in the days of Southern slavery. It would have been easier for them to just go along with the flow, but they didn't.

  5. Actually, some of the Mormons at the time were abolitionists, but not all of them. It was up to each individual what his beliefs were. I have also read, after doing extensive research on this issue that those Mormons who had slaves were required to give their slaves a choice in the matter after they had joined the church. They could either remain with their masters, as a few did choose to, or their masters could set them free or sell them "as their conscience directed."

    I am researching this issue as extensively as possible because my husband is African American, and believes in many if not most of the principles of the church, but has a major issue with the past association with slavery and racism. We are, however, reading the Bible for as much truth as we can find, and he has even agreed to read the Book of Mormon with me.

    • The original Book of Mormon or today’s edition with it’s several thousand edits? Why shouldn’t your husband be hung up on “past” issues? Any thinking, conscientious person should be, in my opinion.

  6. Just like religious people to twist the disgusting views of the past to be okay as if nothing happened, to try to make it seem as though it wasn't as bad as it seems or it isn't still disgusting because of modern day secular beliefs. Look at how you're justifying this the reason gods chosen people aren't at the forefront of moral standards is because of miscommunication and the fallibility of communicating with god?

    Unfair to judge the actions and thoughts of a man supposedly the head of god's chosen establishment?

    Religious Apologetics is always this horrendous mess of pushing issues to the side as if they don't matter and down playing the bad while accentuating the some what bearable and yes at times the good. This is intellectual dishonesty at it's worst and to ignore that is a very close (if not actually) breaking of the commandment to not bear false witness.

  7. To "twist" something is to intentionally create a falsehood, inaccuracy, or lie. That is not the intent here. Rather, the intent is to know the truth of things. Is it more accurate to judge Brigham Young's statements by modern standards, or by the standards of his time? What comments have you made recently which, 200 years from now, might be seen as being just as bad or disgusting as anything Brigham Young said? If you don't think there are any, then that's the point–there are many things one may believe at a given point in history, simply because it's taken as common knowledge, which are seen later in time as being beyond the pale. It is not unfair to judge any man, but it is unfair to judge a man unfairly. Knowing as little as we do about why Brigham Young said some of the things he said, it would seem rather prejudiced to assume we know his heart and mind and that we can judge his statements with anything approaching 100% accuracy.

    You also allude to a common misconception about the LDS Church. Just because we have a prophet who talks with God doesn't mean the prophet is perfect. The prophet is not perfect, nor any other leaders of the Church, nor are the members of the Church, nor is the Church itself as an organization. And if there's one consistent theme throughout LDS Church history, it is that God doesn't answer questions that go unasked. There may be moments when a prophet should ask God something, but he doesn't because he assumes he already knows the answer. Yes, the prophets are fallible in this way, but that doesn't mean the Church isn't the true church of Christ, only that it's not perfect. But what of it? The Church wasn't perfect in Christ's day when he led it, nor when Peter led it, nor at any time thereafter. A passenger plane also doesn't fly a perfect course en route to its destination. In fact, airliners are off-course 97% of the time. And yet they reach their destinations because they're constantly correcting their course and making refinements. Because the Church is run by imperfect men, it navigates in similar fashion.

    It's not that racism doesn't matter, but what's the point of dwelling on it, other than to try and discredit the Church? If the Church is true, then it's one of those things a member looks at and says "I don't like that bit of Church history, and I don't understand it, but I will some day." and then they move on. If the Church isn't true, then any racism on the part of Church members is not the Church's greatest problem. But a racist past doesn't make the Church true or false, and trying to figure it out doesn't help one live a better life or serve others more fully, so it's best to spend one's time on things that make a difference. It's not that one ignores it, per se, but there is no compelling reason for members to dwell on it when there are a thousand things that are more important.

    • You write as though a casual remark or a tasteless comment of my own in a heated moment would somehow be equivalent to BY preaching what he knows his listeners will take as God’s word, gospel, doctrine, and truth. I’m assuming he thought about, and prayed about, and prepared his comments prior to taking to his pulpit to preach… Do you really not see the difference?

      Another difference–and to me this is the big one–is that I have never claimed to be god’s mouthpiece, have never set myself up in a position of power and influence over my neighbors, have never required 10% of my neighbor’s income, have never had any sway over what kind of underwear they wear or whether or not said underwear features Masonic symbols, how many nose rings or earrings they have, which drinks to consume or not consume, etc. I might also add that I never married a woman I met on a mission to Boston who was another man’s wife and the mother of that man’s children just so I could bring her back to Utah as my third wife. Oh, wait, and I never sent Orson Hyde on a mission and married his wife while he was gone.

      Bottom line for me… Search as I may, I cannot convince myself that this man knew Jesus Christ any better than your average person with access to a Bible. I feel I can state with confidence that my left bumcheek has a better sense of right and wrong than BY appears to have had. When I see my kids running around in BYU attire, two thoughts cross my mind. 1. Take that off. 2. How is it possible that BY had an institution of higher learning named after him?

      • Well Zelph, with everything that you have said about President Brigham Young, you had better hope he wasn’t called from Heaven because you’ll have a lot of answering to do!

  8. I think the biggest truth that we can come to in this situation is that even though the prophets do communicate with God, it does not always mean that they get his message perfectly. They are still men, and men make mistakes.

    I think my husband put it best a few days ago (keep in mind that he is African American). He can judge the entire LDS church based upon the statements of past leaders, but if he does, isn't he doing exactly what he is accusing them of? This was after he had been fighting with me, saying that the entire church must be racist because of what happened over 30 years ago.

    I think we have to realize when we are reading the Bible, or the Book of Mormon, or looking into any faith at all, that we cannot judge today's people by yesterday's standards, nor can we judge yesterday's people by today's standards. It is, in fact, not our place to judge anyone. Church leaders make mistakes, just as everyday people do. In fact, does it not say in the Bible that we are all sinners? That includes the prophets and apostles, and racism is a sin that many people have had to overcome, especially in the past, and especially since some people actually interpreted the Bible in days gone by as condoning racism (it doesn't, but it's obvious from reading it that it happened).

    • Yeah I am a soviet now, I know they murdered millions but that was yesterday, I mean Stalin would have a different view of the Ukrainians, Jews, etc. now than he did. Let’s all forget about those slaughtered by his men.

      Your statement is one of pure ignorance, honestly take a look at the history and you are fine with it? Not even an apology for comments towards blacks and Jews. 5th church doesn’t even give the full truth when discussing things such as smith translating the BoM, he didn’t do it behind a curtain he did it looking into a hat. If the church can’t even be up front about things such as that then how could I see them as the true church?

      Tell you what stop teaching about the Holocaust and join the nazi party

  9. Before I continue this conversation a question are either of you open to the possibility of being wrong about your faith? or is it that engrained in you that in the face of any mountain of evidence against all rationality you will believe in what you've been told to be true and what you personally feel is true? I first have to establish this because if you are so close minded as to say you cannot be wrong about god then the conversation serves no further purpose.

  10. I'm open to believing anything that can be proven to be true, and to giving up believing in anything you can be proven is false. But I'm afraid that's as open-minded as I can commit to being.

  11. See the problem is you can't disprove a negative I cant disprove big foot (as you've probably heard before) because I cannot say that in any point in the history of our universe in any part of our universe a big foot has never lived. It's impossible to with 100% certainty make that claim. If you want to know the truth to as best of your knowledge you can you have to accept that things must have a reason to be believed and its upto you what you determine as a good enough reason to believe in something for me it's empirical evidence or something that isn't logically contradicting of itself.

    I'm glad you accept the fallibility of your leaders, I'd just like to point out a couple of things firstly Brigham Young derived his reasons for believing slavery is alright from the bible, The bible condones slavery and it also goes as far as to say that black people were cursed to forever be the servants/slaves of his fellow brothers. I believe it's Ham who saw Noah naked and was punished for that. So it's not that it was a moral dilemma of his time this is a core belief in the Abrahamic religions that slavery is okay and that black people are cursed servants/slaves. I'd also like to point out that also stated in the bible is that god is never changing and eternal, so what he deemed moral or okay in the past is binding forever "Malachi 3:6

    For I am the Lord, I do not change."

  12. Yes, disproving a negative is virtually impossible and we must utilize incomplete knowledge in making our decisions, but therein lies the rub–there are many people who claim Mormon doctrine is 100% false. My purpose with this website is to show that; 1) nobody can prove it is false, and 2) it is not unreasonable to believe it is true, that is, that all perceptions of the "illogicalness" of Mormonism are merely misunderstandings about Mormon doctrine.

    Beyond that, I don't make much, if any, effort to prove it is true, because I don't believe I have that power and so the effort is fruitless. I'm merely trying to encourage people to maintain an open mind so they can make their own decisions about what they want to believe and how they want to live their lives.

    As for Brigham Young, perhaps someone else can discuss his views on slavery better than I, since I haven't done much research on the matter. I suppose it's reasonable to say he got his views from the Bible, although it's puzzling as to why he had what appears to be rather strong things to say about the African race, whereas Joseph Smith was for freeing the slaves and gave the Priesthood to black members of the Church.

    As for God not changing, yes, he is perfect, and perfection by definition can't change, but people and circumstances do change, and therefore the rules given to men by God also change to meet the needs of his people. Hence one law was given to Moses with specific constraints on diet and Sabbath-day observance, and everyone who believe in God was commanded to offer animal sacrifices prior to the coming of Christ. Then Christ comes and suddenly people don't need to offer animal sacrifices anymore. And while Christ was performing his ministry he only preached to the Jews, but later Peter received a commandment to also preach to the gentiles. So while God tells different people to do different things at different times in history, that doesn't imply that God is changing.

    As for the Bible condoning slavery, I'm not sure it does that. When the Bible says blacks are cursed to be servants and slaves, is that condoning slavery, or merely a prophecy about the future?

  13. Jesus said during his sermon on the mount that don't think he has come to change the laws of the old (mosaic law) not a jot or tittle will change he also says they are there till heaven and earth pass, so there is one of two ways to look at that these laws are still binding and even if we hypothetically said they are not binding Jesus thought the mosaic laws were good, we're talking about laws such as killing apostates and witches and false prophets this is not tolerance this is not loving thy neighbour It is in direct conflict with what we both could agree nowadays are disgusting and immoral things. Also I assume you believe the 10 commandments are still binding which are of course mosaic laws.

    Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT – Enslave anyone but Jews and pass them on to your children

    Exodus 21:2-6 NLT – How to Enslave a Jew and mark him with an Awl through the ear also the loop hole to keep him as a slave forever.

    Ephesians 6:5 NLT – Slaves obey your masters with the same fear and respect you serve god.

    Exodus 21:20-21 NAB – you can beat your male or female slave aslong as they dont die with in a day or two.

    Just a few examples, Honestly this is more of the obvious signs from an outside perspective that this is a man made religion, the religion changes to the moral code of the people of it's time rather than the chosen god providing a perfect moral code for all time. I guarantee within the next 50 or so years a lot more churches will be open to homosexuality as a lot already are changing their views.

    As for Joseph Smith being more accepting of African Americans, I could agree more so than Brigham Young certainly, but again take this for example http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/eldjur03.htm – (page 42) – and http://ldtm.org/HP/EldersJournal/EJVol1Num2_1837…. – (page 28) though this one is the previous edition with just the questions both edited by Joseph Smith.

    To me it is logically inconsistent for an all loving all powerful god who is supposedly all intelligent, to not give a single set of guidelines for all time that apply to all of his chosen species (homo sapiens). A universal moral code that is perfect from a perfect all loving god, even if no one could live up to it to show what the god truly wants of his creations.

  14. The 10 commandments, as well as pretty much any either, are based on underlying principles, which sometimes can be tricky to figure out. For example, God told the Israelites via the 10 commandments "Thou shalt not kill." Then God tells the same people to go and destroy a city and kill all the men, women, children, and animals. What's the principle that undergirds the obviously conflicting rules? That God decides who lives and who dies, not man. Or in other words "Don't kill anyone unless I tell you to."

    Ok, yeah, those other scriptures do make it sound like God is condoning slavery, but let's move on to your other points.

    "Honestly this is more of the obvious signs from an outside perspective that this is a man made religion, the religion changes to the moral code of the people of it’s time rather than the chosen god providing a perfect moral code for all time."

    Ha, well, this is where I sort of agree with you. The way Mormons see it, Christ established the one true church, the one true religion. But Christ was killed, then his apostles, and the ancient church fell into apostasy. By the time the of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, which effectively formed the early Catholic Church, a lot of truth had been lost and much of the purpose of creating the Catholic Church was political and strategic, rather than spiritual. And then of course all other Christian religions branched off from the Catholic Church, and were therefore subject to the same limitations of knowledge. In other words, there are a lot of man-made doctrines to be found in traditional Christianity. The LDS Church is different in that it was created as a restoration of the truths that existed in Christ's own time, coming directly from God, rather than handed down by men over many centuries. It's the difference between playing the telephone game and hearing a message that has gone through 20 people vs. talking to the original source of the message.

    That doesn't mean the LDS Church is perfect, because it's run by imperfect people and we're confused most of the time, despite our sincere intentions. It just means it's the right place to be, and where one can learn more of what God wants for us than anywhere else.

    And since no one set of guidelines works for all people, God gives us a prophet who speaks to him, and gives us regular updates on what we should be doing. Thus the only rule we have to keep in mind is "Whatever God says we should do, that's what we do." That makes it simple, the hard part, historically speaking, has been for people to keep listening to God and not reject him.

  15. While I'm not on about the 10 commandments specifically when it comes to the immoral commandments of the god of the old testament underlying principles should not matter if any god told me to kill another because of their belief (such as the worshippers of Baal) or to kill someone because they stopped believing in god I would reject and say I am better than you, and I'd hope that you would be too but again most people are willing to kill and die for their god.

    When I said that it is signs of a man made religion I did mean Mormons as well for example black people couldn't get the priest hood up until late 1970's.

    Heres the thing you already admitted that the church leaders are fallible and that there can be a lot of miscommunication with understanding the will of god or a lot of unasked questions, the game of telephone doesn't stop you are putting your trust into the prophet in hopes that he has not only communed with god which you can't be sure he has and even if he has communed with god that he has got the right answers and asked the right questions and hasn't misinterpreted something. All religions say they are the right place for the truth you are hinging your beliefs on a self admitted treasure hunter who has been proven to be wrong in his translation at least in the book of Abraham. Which was rediscovered in "1967 in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York" and when read by people who actually could read Egyptian hieroglyphics turned out to be a clipping from the book of the dead.

    Also an all powerful god by definition can create a set of guide lines that apply to every generation of man otherwise he is not all powerful. "whatever god says we should do, that's what we do" that is the very definition of a totalitarian regime.

  16. There is a passage in the Book of Mormon that says we receive things "Line upon line, precept upon precept." God may be unchanging, but that does not mean that man is unchanging. He gives us more to live up to as we are ready for it. His standards haven't changed, he simply knows when we are ready for more and will give it to us at that time. Much like we do for our children. We are not going to let a two year old out of our sight, but as they get older, they become more and more self-sufficient, and are we not "children" of God? Also, because he is our father, we should do what he tells us, but because we have free agency, that doesn't mean we always do. He is there to guide us, and if we obey him, we will be better off for it. There's nothing totalitarian about that.

    As for the book of Abraham, I don't know much about that, but I will look into it and find out for myself.

  17. Conor,

    I have done some studying on what your claims are about the Book of Abraham. Are you aware that many of the scrolls that may have made up part of the Book of Abraham were lost in a fire in 1871?

    There are also other books and documents, such as the Book of Jubilees, that confirm much of the Book of Abraham to be true. If you want to know more about the Book of Jubilees, you can watch a special on the History channel called "Banned Books of the Bible." This confirms what many Mormons have been saying all along, that many things were left out of the Bible that should have been included.

    I don't believe in blind faith by any means, but I do believe in having faith, as well as forgiveness for those who may have had different points of view from the ones we hold today. I have actually been away from the church for several years because of many of the questions that you bring up, among others. While my mind may seem closed to the possibility that the LDS faith is not the true church, it is simply open to the possibility that it is the true church. At the moment, all of my study and research leads me to believe that it is true. If I see something that disagrees with those beliefs, I research it, pray about it and decide for myself.

    Believe it or not, the Mormon church encourages people to think for themselves. While there will always be a few, maybe even many, that just listen to the prophet and take anything he says as doctrine, the scriptures tell us over and over again to pray for ourselves, so that we may know it's true. While there are people who fail to do this, it doesn't mean that it's not taught.

  18. No church promotes thinking for yourself what they tell you to do is pray about it, if you don't feel anything or get no reply you're told to pray harder. If you come to the conclusion you've had no reply then it's because "your heart is not open to god" It's a win win for religion you can never be wrong with that mentality.

    The fact of the matter is even if we don't have the entire of scroll that Joseph Smith translated from we do have fragments and those fragments relate directly to the book of the dead which is understandable due to the fact he bought them from a travelling Egyptian museum.

    Think about your faith, you believe that a man who you know is fallible is giving you the word of a god at this point this is blind faith especially because we have evidence of these prophets believe in immoral or stupid things like men living on the moon "The Young Woman's Journal, Vol. 3, pages 263-264"

    How much do you have to excuse, how much has to be reinterpreted, how much has to fall in to the realm of superstition magic and faith before you accept that it's just illogical to believe and that Occam's razor is the best answer to this.

    Also you'll have to show me how the book of jubilee provides evidence for the book of Abraham.

    Do you know how hard it is for kids who are brought up from birth believing in something to even break the indoctrination nevermind being open to their families about not believing anymore?

  19. @connor – "No church promotes thinking for yourself"

    Really? You've been to every single church in the world, or at least have done in-depth research on every single religion, and not a single one promotes thinking for yourself?

    "Think about your faith, you believe that a man who you know is fallible is giving you the word of a god at this point this is blind faith…"

    Blind faith is believing something without evidence. We Mormons do have evidence for what we believe. It is not objective evidence, but subjective, but this does not matter since salvation is an inherently subjective, or individual, matter. What is important about the gospel is not that it can be proven by one person to another, but whether each person can prove it to themselves. We Mormons have that proof. There is nothing blind about it.

    Occam's razor is a fallacious concept. It is useless because; 1) it has never been proven to be accurate, 2) it relies on limited information, and when one has limited information things can appear quite different than when one has more complete information.

    "Also you’ll have to show me how the book of jubilee provides evidence for the book of Abraham."

    Or else what? You won't believe it's true? Are you saying if someone could show you that the book of jubilee does provide evidence for the book of Abraham that you would suddenly change your mind about everything Mormon?

    "Do you know how hard it is for kids who are brought up from birth believing in something to even break the indoctrination nevermind being open to their families about not believing anymore?"

    What does this have to do with anything? It's hard for anyone raised in a certain context to break out of that context, no matter what it is. This in and of itself doesn't make the context true or false.

    As for Joseph Smith saying there were men on the moon, read this.

  20. "Really? You’ve been to every single church in the world, or at least have done in-depth research on every single religion, and not a single one promotes thinking for yourself?" – Are you implying all religions have churches? have you investigated every religion and found they have churches? (I can play this ridiculous game too but it doesn't do us any good.) My point is and it still stands pray harder if you don't hear anything it's your fault and this is something religion feeds off giving you a disease and offering the cure, do you not think it's dangerous to teach children that if they ever live the church having received the blessings that they will be sent to outer darkness to reside with the devil and be tortured for eternity? Do you not think this puts off doubt and questioning?

    Sorry your faith is blind. your only evidence is something that every religious group will claim and that is a feeling (which we know can be distorted or manipulated in people.) Taliban children have such faith in their god they will fly planes into buildings with certain death awaiting for their god.

    My point with Occam's razor is that what is more believable when it comes to personal prayers being answered the lord and master of the universe stopped the very laws of the universe for a single individual or that you stopped thought for a second quietly and remembered where you put your car keys? It's not the end all be or all of decision making but it is a useful tool when discerning the completely illogical and unlikely from the probable.

    No what I'm saying is that a citation is required for a claim that the book of jubilee proves the book of Abraham, Guess what the bhagavad gita proves the book of mormon wrong I'm sure you'd like to be given the reference there and wouldn't just take my blind assertion?

    My comment on indoctrination was in respect to Elaine saying churches promote thinking for oneself and questioning, Kids have no problem breaking out of the belief in Santa or fairies and that's because when they uncover they don't exist there's no resistance from the parents, when a child loses his or her belief in a god it is almost always an uphill struggle that is enough to put any off "coming out" about it and this is after as I've said going through the almost impossible task of breaking the indoctrination of people raised from birth believing in a religion or Ideology.

    Who mentioned Joseph Smith talking about men on the moon? What I said was your prophets believed immoral and stupid things I'll give you a quick section from Brigham young (actually from that link you put in.)
    "Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon? When we view its face we may see what is termed "the man in the moon," and what some philosophers declare are the shadows of mountains. But these sayings are very vague, and amount to nothing; and when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fellows. So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets; and so will this earth when it is celestialized. Every planet in its first rude, organic state receives not the glory of God upon it,"

    You claimed to have an open mind though really I should of understood as you put it and most religious people often do, you want to be proven wrong indefinitely and not shown that it is improbable and established wholly on blind faith and wishful thinking.

  21. "do you not think it’s dangerous to teach children that if they ever live the church having received the blessings that they will be sent to outer darkness to reside with the devil and be tortured for eternity?"

    I've been a member of the LDS Church for 36 years and have never heard anything like this taught. On the contrary, I've heard it taught over and over again that God is a God of love who wants to give his children every chance possible to return to live with Him, and that everything in this life is set up to facilitate that.

    "Sorry your faith is blind. your only evidence is something that every religious group will claim and that is a feeling (which we know can be distorted or manipulated in people.) Taliban children have such faith in their god they will fly planes into buildings with certain death awaiting for their god."

    Actually, what most of the religious people on this blog are arguing is your perspective. That is, they claim to have no revelation or "feelings" telling them their religion is true, rather, they refer to their interpretation of the Bible to prove the veracity of what they believe. I've also never heard of members of the Islamic faith speaking of receiving revelation from God. Yes, they believe Mohammed received revelation from God, but that it began and ended with Mohammed. They certainly don't appear to believe in the right of every individual to receive revelation from God.

    As for those of the Islamic faith flying into buildings, this kind of behavior isn't restricted to those who belong to traditional religions. Violent behavior has exhibited itself amongst virtually every type of group for all sorts of reasons. And a study into the reasons behind the 9/11 attacks will reveal that the motive was much less religious than you might think. But regardless, to paint every person of religion as a potentially murderous fanatic because of the actions of a very small subset of religious persons, or to even point to the Crusades or other more large-scale religiously motivated massacres would be just as illogical as claiming that because Stalin or Mao murdered tens of millions and they were atheists who said religion was poison that all atheists are therefore also mass murderers just waiting for their chance to spring.

    In truth, there are people who want power and are willing to kill to attain it, and they will use religion to get their way, or they will set up religion as the enemy to get their way. Religion is not the factor, merely a means to an end one way or another.

    With Occam's razor, the problem is that what is "probable" is subjective. From my perspective, Occam's razor proves that Mormonism is true. From your perspective, it proves it is false. But independent of what either of us believe, there is the real truth, which cares nothing for our subjective and limited perspectives.

    I won't speak for Elaine, but with regards to the indoctrination of children, the fact that it's hard for them to break out of it is a good thing if they're indoctrinated with truth, and a bad thing if they're indoctrinated with lies. Of course Mormons think they're indoctrinating their children with truth, not lies, so unless you can prove the religion to be false, why should Mormons feel bad about indoctrinating their children?

    "Who mentioned Joseph Smith talking about men on the moon?"

    Mmm, I believe you brought up the topic. But to respond to your use of Brigham Young's quotation, this is the same issue as with racism–it is incorrect to judge people by a different historical context than that in which they lived. What Brigham Young said was not stupid in his own day. The only reason it seems stupid in our day is because of the scientific progress that has taken place since then. We believe that we know everything there is to know, and we take many things for granted, but 200 years from now much of what we think is common sense may also be labeled as "stupid".

    "You claimed to have an open mind though really I should of understood as you put it and most religious people often do, you want to be proven wrong indefinitely and not shown that it is improbable and established wholly on blind faith and wishful thinking."

    You're asking me to be so open-minded as to accept that 2+2=5 and you are accusing me of being close-minded for not accepting what to me is as obviously false as this simple mathematical fallacy. Could I not turn your logic around and ask why when the Mormon religion has been proven correct on so many occasions and when it is so probably true, that you persist in your blind faith and wishful thinking that it be false?

    But I would not make this case, because I'm open-minded enough to see things from your perspective. I understand where you are coming from, and do not blame you for your views. If I did not have the proofs I have regarding the Mormon faith, and had only a limited knowledge of it, then I would also think it was ridiculous and that anyone who belonged to it was a fool. I am willing to be open-minded enough to consider your point of view, but I am not open-minded enough to reject what I already know to be true. To do so would not be open-minded, but would rather be actively choosing to become blind and ignore what I have already seen.

  22. So children never get taught about Satan or outer darkness? Quite the opposite of my experience in the Mormon church.

    Muslims believe that the Qu'ran is the unaltered absolute perfect word of god that is their revelation protected by Allah and all religious people claim to have the feeling of god being with them telling them right from wrong when they pray. You should know this, James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." Do you not think Christians practice this and believe they too are getting the right answers?

    Of course violent behaviour isn't just religious I would never make that claim what we see though is that if someone truly believes in an ideology if someone truly believes in their god they will kill and they will die for that god if they believe they are being asked, If god asked you to kill someone would you?

    Indoctrination into religion is harmful because you're not allowing the child to make it's own choice (so much for free will eh?) and that's just one of many problems with indoctrination.

    Look back at what I put, "These prophets" I used the plural to mean not only Joseph Smith but other prophets, Do you not see how ridiculous this is that you think you can just white wash all of his immoral and stupid thoughts as a prophet from god with "context" "It was a different time" – Again I'll state how much has to be ridiculous garbage before you will accept the man was obviously not in contact with a god?

    Religion is not just a means to an end for violence when itself instigates in it's dogma to kill, god is very clear on who is to be killed and for what reasons.

    I'm asking you to be open minded to what we can discern through the evidence we clearly already have about the fallibility of the prophets and what they got wrong from translation, to morality in slavery and racism, to the ancestors of the native Americans, to inhabitants of the sun and the moon and other planets, to polygamy, to punishment for apostasy and renouncing the priesthood and it goes on and on. If anyone is asking for the stretch of faith in 2 + 2 = 5 It's you saying we can't 100% definitively prove it wrong so I'm still right, the difference being we can definitively prove 2 + 2 will never = 5 and your reason for believing 2 + 2 = 5 is that you have a personal feeling that we already know through neurology and psychology that the human mind is fallible and capable of being distorted manipulated and moulded by environment and beliefs of the person.

    I'm not only seeing things from your perspective and my perspective but from the perspective of people of all faiths I see you all (though it varies from person to person depending on how much they truly "believe" in their god concept.) Showing the same emotion feeling the same things being overwhelmed and in love with this god figure I see people of all religions earnestly praying and being thankful to these god concepts, but as we both know not all god concepts can be correct and not one of them has more evidence going for them then the other.

  23. "So children never get taught about Satan or outer darkness? Quite the opposite of my experience in the Mormon church."

    Of course we're taught about such things, but for me it was 1% of "You should do what's right or else this bad stuff will happen…" vs. 99% "Here are the good reasons to do what is right…" Or in other words very little emphasis was dedicated to using fear as motivation for doing what's right. Of course your own experience may have been different, but given my experience going to church in various parts of the US as well as other countries, and watching and reading much of what comes from the top leadership in the Church, I have to assume that anyone who had a different experience is in the unfortunate minority.

    "Do you not think Christians practice this and believe they too are getting the right answers?"

    Whether they do or not, I don't know. What I do know is that the vast majority of non-Mormon Christians who talk with me via this website put absolutely no stock in feelings, being guided by the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, etc. and put 100% of their confidence in their interpretations of the Bible.

    "If god asked you to kill someone would you?"

    Of course, or at least I'd like to think so. If God told you to kill someone would you not do it?

    "Indoctrination into religion is harmful because you’re not allowing the child to make it’s own choice (so much for free will eh?) and that’s just one of many problems with indoctrination."

    You assume that there is such a thing as "non-indoctrination". There is no neutral ground. There is no such thing as "letting children learn on their own" because in doing this you are teaching them something. If you try to not teach them one thing, then you are teaching them another thing. If you try not to teach that second thing, you are teaching a third thing. If you want a child to be free to make their own choices, you teach them as much about truth and reality as possible. If you don't teach them truth and reality, then you are teaching them lies and unreality, and then they are much less able to make their own choices.

    "Again I’ll state how much has to be ridiculous garbage before you will accept the man was obviously not in contact with a god?"

    Well, of course from my perspective it's not ridiculous garbage for me to believe what I believe. It's all perfectly logical and reasonable. Nothing you're telling me is anything I haven't heard before, although I'm open-minded enough to hope that perhaps you'll come up with something that is new, at least to me.

    "Religion is not just a means to an end for violence when itself instigates in it’s dogma to kill, god is very clear on who is to be killed and for what reasons."

    That's a good point, but is it that clear? There seems to be substantial debate within the major religions as to things such as when it is just to go to war, whether there should be a death penalty or not, etc.

    "I’m asking you to be open minded to what we can discern through the evidence we clearly already have about the fallibility of the prophets and what they got wrong from translation, to morality in slavery and racism, to the ancestors of the native Americans, to inhabitants of the sun and the moon and other planets, to polygamy, to punishment for apostasy and renouncing the priesthood and it goes on and on."

    I readily admit that prophets have gotten all sorts of things wrong, some larger than others. They have all been imperfect men, but this does not mean they weren't prophets, or that the LDS Church isn't God's one and only true church.

    "If anyone is asking for the stretch of faith in 2 + 2 = 5 It’s you saying we can’t 100% definitively prove it wrong so I’m still right, the difference being we can definitively prove 2 + 2 will never = 5 and your reason for believing 2 + 2 = 5 is that you have a personal feeling that we already know through neurology and psychology that the human mind is fallible and capable of being distorted manipulated and moulded by environment and beliefs of the person."

    I'm merely defending my faith. You can take it or leave it, but you've come with questions and challenges, and I'm giving you my answers. If you don't want to believe any part of what I'm saying, that's fine, because it's not my objective to convince you of anything. You ask, I answer, you challenge, I respond, that's all.

    But what it all comes down to these three questions; is there a God, is it possible for God to communicate with man in a way that is unmistakable, and does God do so? I would posit that the answers are yes, yes, and yes, because I've experienced all three. You can claim that this communication is a figment of my imagination, but how do you know? What proof do you have? By what means has it been revealed unto you that what I have experienced is false? Is your conclusion anything more than the product of your own imagination? Meanwhile, I have the proof of that communication itself.

    • By your own previous comments regarding prophets, even if you’re SURE that you’ve communicated with God, how can you know whether of not you’re interpreting what he’s telling you correctly, or is that just a rationalization we save for the leader guy?

      I guess I must also have misinterpreted the phrase “according to the plainness of the word of God.” As near as I can tell, Joseph Smith said, “when God commands, do it!” Just wondering why Joseph never taught us that God plays cute communication games with us while we stumble around trying to figure things out.

      I guess that’s just one more contradiction to reconcile. Shouldn’t be a problem for you.

  24. Lets sum up the last comment, So yes kids are made aware of the eternal punishment of apostasy even if it's only slightly touched on.

    You're copping out of the question of Christians being sincere in their questions to god by saying you don't know and giving anecdotal evidence from a ridiculously small sample size of people who visit this website when in reality you just don't want to own up to the fact you know that there are very likely to be a lot of Christians who sincerely pray for truth.

    If you thought god was telling you to kill someone you would kill them, THIS is why religion is harmful. If a god told me to kill someone any god, I would say no I have a superior morality to you, I'm not going to kill just because it is ordered by someone who thinks they are above me.

    You're acting as if whats true for you is different than whats true to me and that is not true at all you want to believe in fairy tales and superstition and you think it's just as likely as the natural world which is complete nonsense.

    If you know prophets can be wrong how do you know what they're right or wrong about how do you know their perception of after life is right? How do you know what they tell you god wants is right or wrong if you have fallible leader then what is your basis for believing what you're told other than blind faith.

    You've not answered a single question you continue to dodge questions or accept what I say and move on from the point or just flat out reject my point because you "believe in what you believe and thats evidence enough for your belief"

    You would posit the answers are yes but you have no objective evidence for such and your only evidence is shared with every person who testifies a faith in their chosen god. Does something not seem fishy to you that religious people always turn to I believe because god has told me himself/herself?

    Seriously review what you are saying here "there are religious people out there who testify that god has spoken to them and I don't believe he has however my god definitely has spoken to me and I know this because I believe he has spoken to me." You've not openly come out and said that but that is what you're getting at all other religions are wrong and my personally chosen religion is the only right one and I know because I know.

  25. "So yes kids are made aware of the eternal punishment of apostasy even if it’s only slightly touched on."

    I would agree that kids…well, older kids, are made aware of eternal punishment/outer darkness/hell or whatever you want to call it, but I've never heard of it being taught to children, or adults for that matter, that apostasy from the Church qualifies one for that. I believe one can leave the LDS Church, die, and still end up in the Celestial Kingdom at the highest level, and I've never heard anything taught that leads me to believe otherwise.

    "You’re copping out of the question of Christians being sincere in their questions to god by saying you don’t know and giving anecdotal evidence from a ridiculously small sample size of people who visit this website when in reality you just don’t want to own up to the fact you know that there are very likely to be a lot of Christians who sincerely pray for truth."

    I'm sharing my experience. I haven't taken any surveys nor read any studies that say otherwise. If I were to agree with you I would be doing so without any evidence, which wouldn't make any sense.

    "If you thought god was telling you to kill someone you would kill them, THIS is why religion is harmful. If a god told me to kill someone any god, I would say no I have a superior morality to you, I’m not going to kill just because it is ordered by someone who thinks they are above me."

    It sounds like you and I have very different concepts of God. I believe in a God who is 100% perfect, all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. Logically, if such a being commanded someone to kill someone else, it would be for a 100% moral reason, and it would in fact be immoral to disobey. But if you believe in a different type of God that isn't perfect and doesn't know everything, or don't believe in God at all, then I can see your point of view. For the record, I seriously doubt God would ever command me to kill someone. For some reason it seems to have been an "Old Testament" type of thing.

    "You’re acting as if whats true for you is different than whats true to me and that is not true at all you want to believe in fairy tales and superstition and you think it’s just as likely as the natural world which is complete nonsense."

    There's your reality, my reality, and true reality. You and I are both human and imperfect, so we have skewed senses of reality. As long as we both have figuring out what is the true reality I'm sure we'll be ok in the end and we'll end up in the same place. We're only in danger to the extent that we reject the true reality in favor of our imagined realities.

    "If you know prophets can be wrong how do you know what they’re right or wrong about how do you know their perception of after life is right? How do you know what they tell you god wants is right or wrong if you have fallible leader then what is your basis for believing what you’re told other than blind faith."

    Ah, a wonderful question! The short answer is because I don't have to rely solely on what a prophet says, I can take it straight to God and ask him if what the prophet is saying I should do is what I really should do. A lot of Mormons have a lot of problems with what Church leaders ask them to do up until the point where they go and ask God about it.

    "You would posit the answers are yes but you have no objective evidence for such and your only evidence is shared with every person who testifies a faith in their chosen god. Does something not seem fishy to you that religious people always turn to I believe because god has told me himself/herself?"

    What would you propose as a better way for people to freely discover the truth than by asking God directly? Salvation is an individual matter, so why is there the need for any objective proof? If you can prove to yourself what the truth is, why is there any need for me to be able to prove it to you?

    "Seriously review what you are saying here 'there are religious people out there who testify that god has spoken to them and I don’t believe he has however my god definitely has spoken to me and I know this because I believe he has spoken to me.' You’ve not openly come out and said that but that is what you’re getting at all other religions are wrong and my personally chosen religion is the only right one and I know because I know."

    That's not quite what I would say or think. I believe all religions have part of the truth. I believe the leaders of other religions were, in many cases, inspired by God. Mohammed says he was visited by the angel Gabriel. I find the story of the founding of Islam compelling and believe it is probably true. I think the Jewish faith is a "true" religion, albeit incomplete. I think there are many who today are Hindus, Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. who will be in a substantially better place come the day of the final judgment than many Mormons. But I believe the LDS Church is God's one true church, the only church with God's authority. I don't believe anyone but the prophet of the LDS Church is authorized to say "Thus saith the Lord…" I don't believe any other church has the authority to administer ordinances such as baptism. But I don't think this means everyone but the relatively tiny number of Mormons are going to be saved–I believe 99% or more of us will be saved, regardless of our chosen religion in this life.

    The way I see my religion, I'm not going about trying to save people from an eternity in hell. I'm trying to help people be happy. I believe knowing the truth helps people be happy, and that the LDS Church has more truth than any other organization. If people don't want to accept it, I don't fret about them burning in hell, I just assume they aren't in a place to understand or fully consider what we're offering, and that when God knows they're ready he'll give them another chance, and the only people who will end up in a "bad place" after this life are those who reject the truth because they really don't want anything to do with it.

    • Okay, all right…. I just recovered from the choking fit your last paragraph induced in me… “I just assume they aren’t in a place to understand or fully consider what we’re offering.”

      The LDS church’s own members, by and large, don’t even know 1% of actual church history. Any why is that? For some it may be lack of interest, but I would venture a guess that most of them have never heard anything about church history other than what they’ve heard at church and have never read anything about church history other than what the church itself and its leaders have published.

      I have been a member for almost 25 years, and it wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized what a mess it is to get into church history. I suppose that might explain why the church presents such a whitewashed version of its history to its members, which is understandable. Naturally, any organization is, beyond all other interests, interested in self-preservation. What I truly cannot understand is how people like you post the irrational nonsense that you post. Why is it nearly impossible to find someone you can have an honest conversation with about all of it? It’s always the same condescending, self-deluded approach. And if that makes you feel virtuous and good about being you, terrific. For myself though, I want to hear a true believer stop rationalizing the contradictions and just say, “yeah, um, Brigham? He was dead wrong about that.” If being a Mormon means I have to defend people like Brigham Young, I’m not sure I can, in good conscience, do it. Plus I only have so many hours in a day and a life to get on with. After all, I don’t have any slaves to fix my car or make dinner for my family. Sorry about the last part there… Looking for answers and finding only more disappointment makes me snarky.

  26. Older kids are taught about the punishment for apostasy round about the time they are old enough to start questioning their parents beliefs, do you think this is a coincidence?

    You are aware the church views the apostates as sons of perdition people who have supposedly had the word of god shown to them and rejected it and they receive the worst punishment of all being tortured for ever with Satan and his fallen angels. Lets see what our old friend Brigham Young says about apostates.

    "There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants. To what degree? Will they have to go to hell? They are in hell enough now. " – Journal of Discourses Vol. 3, p. 243-249

    "There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood split upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world.

    I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them." – Journal of Discourses

    Vol. 4, p. 51-57

    Joseph smith said

    "Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power-

    32. They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;

    33. For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;

    34. Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come-

    35. Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.

    36. These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels- (Vision to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 16, 1832) D&C 76:31-36"

    I think we can agree by these quotes that no matter how good of a person you are if you leave the Mormon church (betraying your covenants with god) you are going to outer darkness to be tortured with Satan.

    Sorry but if the extent of your experience with people of other religions is just this small website then It's no wonder you don't understand just how similar your feelings are to people of every religion.

    The huge chunk of text at the top of this reply explains why this next point isn't true I am going to be eternally tortured because of my view of reality and you as you admit later in your response believe since your god is perfect he is justified sending me to hell for my justified beliefs that are backed up with objective evidence.

    This next point also makes little sense, You believe in the god these prophets tell you about and it's been engrained into you for 36 years, do you not think that when you pray you have a certain bias of wanting a certain answer? What is the difference between meditation and thinking through an answer on your own and praying and supposedly becoming divinely enlightened? We have working mechanisms for how the brain deals with things and can cause a placebo effect and trick itself.

    How convenient for you that salvation is a personal matter because that means that you don't have to provide evidence if you can trick yourself into believing that is good enough, this is a terrible argument for the existence of your god or evidence that your belief is justified and it's also again shared by every major religion.

    " I believe knowing the truth helps people be happy, and that the LDS Church has more truth than any other organization." – no, just no, how can you even attempt to say this? Firstly the LDS church has been wrong about more than it has been right about the history it proclaims and it has been demonstrably proven wrong, Second how arrogant with no evidence other than your own anecdotal evidence WHICH IS SHARED BY EVERY OTHER RELIGION (I'm getting tired of having to repeat this point.) how dare you claim your church is the only true church and that it is the one backed by the most truth, such a disgusting display of intellectual dishonesty and arrogance which is shared by every religion.

    Do not claim other religions as misinterpretations of your god trying to spread the message when they are so completely different.

  27. "Older kids are taught about the punishment for apostasy round about the time they are old enough to start questioning their parents beliefs, do you think this is a coincidence?"

    That's not my experience.

    "You are aware the church views the apostates as sons of perdition people who have supposedly had the word of god shown to them and rejected it and they receive the worst punishment of all being tortured for ever with Satan and his fallen angels."

    No, I am not aware of this. Only those who deny the Holy Ghost are capable of becoming sons of perdition. That is a very select group of people. When you say "I think we can agree by these quotes that no matter how good of a person you are if you leave the Mormon church (betraying your covenants with god) you are going to outer darkness to be tortured with Satan." you are making the error of assuming that these statements by Joseph and Brigham apply to any normal member of the Church. They do not.

    "Sorry but if the extent of your experience with people of other religions is just this small website then It’s no wonder you don’t understand just how similar your feelings are to people of every religion. "

    Oh, it goes beyond that, but this is the more recent stuff. I've lived in multiple countries, have traveled the United States, and have studied world religions. I know of no other religion that makes the claims about revelation that the Mormon Church does. If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd love to see it.

    "do you not think that when you pray you have a certain bias of wanting a certain answer?"

    I most definitely do have a bias. I want the gospel I believe in to be true. If I didn't want it to be true, I wouldn't follow it even if I knew it were true.

    But we all have biases. Do you not have a bias against the Church being true?

    "What is the difference between meditation and thinking through an answer on your own and praying and supposedly becoming divinely enlightened? We have working mechanisms for how the brain deals with things and can cause a placebo effect and trick itself."

    That's what unique about an answer from God–it can't be forged or faked. Not that people can't fool themselves into thinking they've received an answer, but when they receive a real answer they know where it came from and what it means.

    "How convenient for you that salvation is a personal matter because that means that you don’t have to provide evidence if you can trick yourself into believing that is good enough, this is a terrible argument for the existence of your god or evidence that your belief is justified and it’s also again shared by every major religion."

    I do have to provide evidence, I just don't have to provide it to anyone but myself. Why should I have to prove it to anyone else?

    "Firstly the LDS church has been wrong about more than it has been right about the history it proclaims and it has been demonstrably proven wrong, "

    Really? Do you have a chart or spreadsheet showing this to be the case? Where is your proof about every point you think the Church is wrong on?

    "Second how arrogant with no evidence other than your own anecdotal evidence WHICH IS SHARED BY EVERY OTHER RELIGION (I’m getting tired of having to repeat this point.) how dare you claim your church is the only true church and that it is the one backed by the most truth, such a disgusting display of intellectual dishonesty and arrogance which is shared by every religion."

    It would be arrogant if it weren't true. To me it's just as clear that what I believe is true as that 2+2=4. Is it arrogant of me to say that 2+2=4 and that anybody who says otherwise is wrong? Why would my claiming I believe my religion is true be arrogant, but making that mathematical claim not be arrogant?

    "Do not claim other religions as misinterpretations of your god trying to spread the message when they are so completely different."

    I'll continue to state what I see as the truth. If you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to visit my website and engage in this discussion.

  28. Yeah this conversations over, stubborn and arrogant as most religious people are conceding points and ignoring them as if it doesn't matter.

    "Posted by: Joshua Steimle on June 28, 2011 at 12:11 am

    “So yes kids are made aware of the eternal punishment of apostasy even if it’s only slightly touched on.”

    I would agree that kids…well, older kids, are made aware of eternal punishment/outer darkness/hell or whatever you want to call it, but I’ve never heard of it being taught to children, or adults for that matter, that apostasy from the Church qualifies one for that. I believe one can leave the LDS Church, die, and still end up in the Celestial Kingdom at the highest level, and I’ve never heard anything taught that leads me to believe otherwise."

    one of the only sins worthy of outer darkness is apostasy the quotes I have already provided are evidence of this stop being so ignorant.

    We established your god condones slavery and that being a perfect god whatever he endorses is moral so you believe slavery is moral.

    You've been shown where Joseph smith and Brigham young stated that any member of the church who has made covenants with god WHICH includes baptism and has been granted the knowledge of the holy ghost which all members are taught about if they reject this then they are sons of perdition and can only repent through blood atonement or forever be cast into outer darkness with Satan.

    Want more?

    Elder Joseph Fielding Smith

    "[Hell is] a place where those who cannot be redeemed and who are called sons of Perdition will go into outer darkness. This is the real hell where those who once knew the truth and had the testimony of it and then turned away and blasphemed the name of Jesus Christ, will go. These are they who have sinned against the Holy Ghost. For them there is no forgiveness, and the Lord said he had prepared a place for them." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:210) TLDP:127

    "After a person is baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders lay their hands on the person's head and, in a sacred priesthood ordinance, confirm him or her a member of the Church. As part of this ordinance, called confirmation, the person is given the gift of the Holy Ghost" – from LDS.org anyone baptised in the church has the gift of the holy ghost anyone who leaves the church after being baptised is a son of perdition. You cannot get around that.

    All religions believe they have had direct revelation from god, thus why they believe and they also believe that god reveals to them as they pray for answers you dont seem to be able to get your head past this..?

    I have no bias against the church being true I have sincerely prayed and received the so called blessings of the church and felt nothing I have objectively studied the church and find that to believe in what I use to believe in I would have to ignore Geography, cosmology, genetics, Biology, archaeology and many many more areas of established fact just to hold on to a superstitious belief that has no groundings in reality and cannot be demonstrated to be true something that has zero evidence for it. Prove to me the church is true YOU are making the positive claim that your church is true and then saying well I can't prove it, you do realise you have an obligation to full fill?

    1 Peter "3:15

    15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"

    The rest of your reply is just inane regurgitation of misinformation and shirking the burden of proof.

    You are the disgusting immoral face of blind faith that religion requires, you ignore immoral doctrine and still claim a 100% perfect god, you try to sugar coat the threat of eternal damnation on children as if it means nothing, you disregard any belief that other religious people have and even then you claim other religions are wrong and just misinterpreting your gods will as if your god is responsible for Hinduism Buddhism Taoism etc.. etc.. Look back at this conversation look at the mental gymnastics you try to preform to ignore points or pretend like it doesn't matter, and look at the blind assertion of you're right because you think you're right and that other people think they're right but really they've tricked themselves into believing their right but you're definitely right and not tricking yourself.

    I'm done talking to someone with such an illogical string of fallacies and lack of common sense I can only hope you never have children to poison and that you never get deluded into thinking god is asking you to kill anyone because you've already admitted you would do it.

  29. "We established your god condones slavery and that being a perfect god whatever he endorses is moral so you believe slavery is moral."

    I wouldn't say we've "established" that. I certainly don't believe slavery is moral. At best we have perhaps established that I don't understand the matter thoroughly.

    "You’ve been shown where Joseph smith and Brigham young stated that any member of the church who has made covenants with god WHICH includes baptism and has been granted the knowledge of the holy ghost which all members are taught about if they reject this then they are sons of perdition and can only repent through blood atonement or forever be cast into outer darkness with Satan."

    "anyone baptised in the church has the gift of the holy ghost anyone who leaves the church after being baptised is a son of perdition. You cannot get around that."

    Mmm, no, I haven't been shown that, and that is certainly not the doctrine of the Church. You misunderstand what has been said on the matter. In order to become a son of perdition one must "deny the Holy Ghost". Merely being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost does not put one in a position where they are capable of denying the Holy Ghost. In order to deny the Holy Ghost one must have a close relationship with God and the Holy Ghost that goes beyond what a new member of the Church would have. The vast majority of church members never attain this during their lifetime. The President of the Church is certainly there. The Twelve Apostles are certainly there. But I'm not even sure that the next level of leaders of the Church are there. Thus we can say there are at least 15 members of the Church who are capable of denying the Holy Ghost, but we cannot judge as to whether any other members have that capability. In other words, the unpardonable sin is a very rare thing, and if you don't understand it, you are certainly not capable of committing it. I'm pretty sure I'm not capable of committing it myself by the simple fact that I'm not sure whether I can or not.

    "All religions believe they have had direct revelation from god, thus why they believe and they also believe that god reveals to them as they pray for answers you dont seem to be able to get your head past this..?"

    I don't need to get my head past it. What other people believe does not influence what I know. If everyone in the world said that 2+2=5, and that they came to that understanding in the same way I came to understand that 2+2=4, that wouldn't impact the truth of whether 2+2=4 or not. If other people want to say they know something else is the truth and that they found out in the same way, that's their right, I don't have to understand it. I know what I know. How they think they know what they know, I don't know, but it doesn't change what I know.

    "I have objectively studied the church and find that to believe in what I use to believe in I would have to ignore Geography, cosmology, genetics, Biology, archaeology and many many more areas of established fact just to hold on to a superstitious belief that has no groundings in reality and cannot be demonstrated to be true something that has zero evidence for it. "

    Well, that's interesting, because I have also objectively studied the Church and have found that I don't have to ignore any of those things to keep believing the Church is true. Ultimately, it comes down to a choice. Everyone believes what they want to believe. If you have studied the Church and don't want to live its teachings, you are making a choice. If you wanted to believe the Church was true, then all the so-called "evidence" against the Church wouldn't have the power to convince you the Church wasn't true.

    "Prove to me the church is true YOU are making the positive claim that your church is true and then saying well I can’t prove it, you do realise you have an obligation to full fill?"

    What obligation? Where is it said that I have the responsibility to prove to anyone else that the Church is true? I have that obligation to myself and no one else. My only obligation to others is to bear testimony of what I know and provide those who are seeking the truth with the information they need as best I can. It is up to them to prove to themselves whether the Church is true or not. Which you can, if you follow the steps. If you tried the steps and didn't receive an answer, it's because you didn't follow the steps correctly or weren't prepared. That seems clear given your current state of mind.

    "I’m done talking to someone with such an illogical string of fallacies and lack of common sense I can only hope you never have children to poison and that you never get deluded into thinking god is asking you to kill anyone because you’ve already admitted you would do it."

    None of what I've said seems illogical to me. It seems to me that you have been the one performing mental gymnastics, twisting what I've said, and misunderstanding Church teachings. You claim I believe things I don't believe, say I've said things I've never said, and generally seem to be quite angry, bitter, and emotional about all this.

    Well, it's been a pleasure chatting with you :) I do have children, and plan on having many more, all of whom I'll raise in the LDS Church. I hope someday you'll be able to drop your prejudiced notions, humble yourself, and seek for truth rather than to vindicate your choices. As long as you seek for happiness in anything other than the truth you'll never find it.

  30. This conversation has certainly taken some interesting turns in my absence.

    The first question I have to ask, and this is to Conor, what harm is it to you that we believe differently than you do? Our beliefs and those of the Mormon church tell us to show love to our fellow man. We understand that there have possibly been mistakes in the past. Even in the days of the Bible, some of the prophets and apostles were fallable, so why would that change today, or should I say, especially today? We believe in forgiving our past prophets, along with everyone else. You, however, seem unable to forgive us for believing as we do.

    There was a long time that I had a weak belief in the Bible, and absolutely no belief in the Book of Mormon, even after reading it four or five times. It was only a short time ago, that my prayers about the Book of Mormon were finally answered, and it struck my heart with such force that this book was true, along with the Bible. It took over 20 years from the first time that I read the Book of Mormon to know that it was true, and a lot of problems during those years, but I do know it now, and I cannot deny it.

    It is not arrogant to say something is true when you truly believe it is. It would in fact be lying to say that it is not true when you are faced with that dilemna. Is it not one of the ten commandments that "thou shalt not bear false witness?" I don't believe in lying, and so if I believe something to be true, I will say it, even when it disagrees with others.

    Joshua,

    I just want to say how grateful I am to have found your website. It has answered so many questions for me, and been so enlightening. It is helping me on my journey back into the faith. There are many forces that seem to be telling me not to believe since I started this journey, and it seems that they are not done yet. Even my own husband has a hard time with my beliefs, but he is still willing to support me, and I think is on the road to accepting the truth himself, but he has many questions, and it is one of his questions that led me to this site, because he is black, and wants to know why blacks were not accepted into the priesthood for so many years. I think that I have foudn my answers with a long exhaustive search, both here and on other websites as well as through scripture study and prayer. I feel like it may not have necessarily been meant to be, but it is the fallability of man that allowed it for so long, and it's a lesson to all of us that we have to pray about it, whether we find it in the scriptures, or hear it from a prophet. I don't believe in blind faith. I simply believe in faith.

  31. Hi Elaine, thanks for the compliments. I would encourage you to read The Autobiography of Helvecio Martins if you haven't already. Martins was the first black general authority in the LDS Church. His son was one of the first black missionaries to be called. His son is now a college professor at BYU-Hawaii. I had the privilege of being able to meet his son when he was working at BYU-Idaho.

    Helvecio Martins, now deceased, was Brazilian, and I served my mission in Brazil where a substantial portion of the population has African blood. In fact, I just realized for the first time that two of the first five people I baptized while a missionary were black. It never occurred to me before. Martins was a hero to the members of the Church in Brazil, as well as to us missionaries, and one of the clearest ways we could counter anyone's claim that we were racists was to open the General Conference edition of the Ensign and show them the page with all the photos of general authorities. Right in the middle was Helvecio Martins, and we would say "Look, here is the leadership of the Church. See that really, really black guy in the middle? That's Helvecio Martins. He's Brazilian. He's as black as black can be. If the Church were racist do you think they'd put a guy who looked like that in a major leadership position?" That usually quieted people down pretty quickly.

    But I understand for anyone but the casual observer the matter might take more than that. That's why I recommend you read Martins' autobiography, and then think about sharing it with your husband. It is a touching story, especially when you read about how Martins joined the Church prior to the lifting of the priesthood ban, and at one point stood with his wife inside the Sao Paulo temple as it was being constructed, realizing that he might never have the opportunity to go inside it once it was finished to be sealed to his family. Martins faced significant challenges to his testimony of the Church, and yet he stayed true to that testimony and was greatly blessed for it as you'll see from reading the book.

  32. why did u delete my post? all i did was expres my opinion on the conversation u let elaine do it but i guess if it disagrees with ur point of view its irrelevant?

    • I generally delete comments that I think are fake or don't contribute anything to the conversation. Your comment strained credulity.

  33. I wont go into lengthy details, and I will add that I'm not a member of the church. I have dealt with your missionaries and may I say that they exemplified the love of Christ. In regards to blacks and the church. That was always one of my questions, why not give them the priesthood? But after studying more about Joseph Smith I see that he went against the grain and not allowed blacks to join the church, but also gave them the priesthood such as Elijah Abel and Walker Lewis. I believe that Joseph Smith gave them the authority to do become priesthood holders, and this authority came from God himself, as Joseph was always clear that all authority came from God.

    As for Brigham Young, well, I think he went a little off course. I know many have done so in the past and we cannot hold that against them. We must move on and let the Lord guide us. I close by saying that Sunday is still the most segregated day of the week. We have all black, Hispanic, white, and any other color you want to churches. Most of them have different views and way they worship God. Great website, glad I found it.

  34. I will have to read that biography of Helvicio Martins. It's actually interesting to note that without even seeing this, I picked up a book called Blacks and the Priesthood by his son Marcus H. Martins over the weekend. My husband and I actually went to Salt Lake over the weekend, and he is interested (depending on the day), in learning more about the church. He also picked up a book, which I read, and would recommend to you in helping you to answer some of the questions you run across on this website. It's called Last Laborer: Thoughts and Reflections of a Black Mormon, by Keith N. Hamilton. It is by far the most enlightened view of the Blacks and the Priesthood question that I have seen to date. He joined the church two years after the revelation about the priesthood, and studied and prayed about it until he came up with the best answers that he could, and I can't help but feel that they are the right answers.

    One thing that I will say about my husband is that he is a very strong spirit, and if he ever joins the church, it will be because he believes beyond a doubt that it is true. He doesn't take anything lightly or for granted, and this is what I fell in love with in him in the first place. When he joins the church, it will be with his full heart and his faith will not waver from that point forward. He did this regarding our marriage, regarding our lives continuing together at all, and he will do no less when it comes to joining the church. Of course, this attribute can be amusing at times, when he wants to do everything regarding the church except join. He watches the church history videos with me regularly, watching the John Tanner story almost nightly. He was the one who suggested that we go up and spend last weekend at Temple Square, and he can't wait to go back because of the feeling of peace that is there. His favorite scriptures are found in the Book of Mormon (Nephi 3:7, and Alma 12:10-11). His favorite person to emulate and follow is Wilford Woodruff, whom he devours information about. He was even the one that picked up the books that we are reading about the blacks in the church. He just wants to make sure that he doesn't get it wrong and I can't say that I blame him for that. Therefore, I do let him take his time and answer his questions when he asks, but try not to push him beyond that. He feels pushed, because he knows that I would like to be with him eternally, and that is something that he wants as well, but he wants to make sure that it is the right thing to do before he does it. I appreciate the way he studies, and thinks things out carefully, because when he joins, he will not fall away as so many new members do who have made the decision to join the church because of outside pressures.

  35. Elaine,

    Where did you find he book, Last Laborer: Thoughts and Reflections of a Black Mormon, by Keith N. Hamilton. I have looked everywhere for this book. I have gone two 2 LDS book stores in Southern California and nothing. I have looked online and I find his website but no book offer.

  36. I actually found my copy at the Deseret Bookstore across from Temple Square in Salt Lake. I devoured the book in less than 3 days. It was actually my husband that picked it up, and he is looking forward to reading it. This is the kind of book that leaves you feeling like a better person just for having read it. I had never seen it before, even after going to the Deseret bookstore here in Las Vegas just a couple of weeks ago.

  37. Has anyone addressed the issues in the Book of Mormon itself speaking of "bad" people getting black skin and "good" people being white, fair, and delightsome? God even changed their skin to white when they behaved, then back to black again once they fell away! I would say that is where all of the racism stemmed from. Also the belief that people who are born black were not very good in the preexistence. These beliefs are far more incriminating than Brigham Young quotes.

    I didn't read through the whole post so just wondering if it's been addressed/explained.

    • I know it has been, but I'm not sure where and don't have the time at the moment to search for it. But there are a lot of resources at http://www.blacklds.org/priesthood that one could peruse.

  38. I must say that these are some of the most pathetic apologies for racism I have ever read. The fact is simple: Mormonism = racism. The single most important idea in the Book of Mormon — the idea without which the Book of Mormon narrative falls apart — is that God punishes people by darkening their skin. If you don't believe that God punishes people by darkening their skin, you are not a believer in the Book of Mormon and cannot possibly believe in the veracity of the Mormon Church and its teachings. If you are a believer in the Book of Mormon and the idea the God punishes people by darkening their skin, you believe an ignorant, scientifically illiterate, racist idea. Everything hinges on this one question, which (for some reason) Mormons virtually never ask themselves. I know I didn't for a very long time.

    • “The single most important idea in the Book of Mormon — the idea without which the Book of Mormon narrative falls apart — is that God punishes people by darkening their skin.”

      I suppose it might be the single most important idea to someone looking to discredit the Book of Mormon, but it’s certainly not even an idea to members of the Church who see no racism in the book, since there are no races to speak of in the book. Just because two people have different color skin doesn’t mean they are of different races. The Lamanites and Nephites are not separate races any more than my wife and her brother, whose skin is significantly darker than hers, are of different races. The Nephites and Lamanites were common descendants of Lehi and the people who came with Lehi’s family. To imply racism is to see what does not and cannot exist.

      I do believe that God punished the Lamanites by darkening their skin. But to make the leap to say “Therefore anyone who has dark skin as been punished by God” is a logical fallacy. It is like seeing a red car and then assuming that anything else that is red must be a car.

      “Everything hinges on this one question, which (for some reason) Mormons virtually never ask themselves.”

      Maybe they don’t ask the question because it’s based on a logical fallacy and therefore there is no point in asking it?

  39. It's a bit of a stretch from reading what's in the Book of Mormon to arrive at the conclusion that it teaches that dark skin is always a punishment of God, or that anyone who has dark skin has been punished by God. There is nothing in the Book of Mormon that says God couldn't lighten someone's skin as punishment, or make their noses turn red.

  40. But he didn't, he darkened their skin. Several times. Along with all the racist comments from BY, I'd say it's more of a stretch to arrive at the conclusion that the BOM doesn't have any racist undertones.

    • Those who don't care about the truth can reach whatever conclusion they want.

  41. The truth is that the Mormon church wouldn't allow blacks to have the priesthood from it's start until 1978. That is a fact and the truth Joshua. It's not "reaching whatever conclusion" we want. I care deeply for the truth.

    I am not saying all Mormons are all racist or anything like that, but when you see all these things in church history you cannot deny that there was some racism or at very least white elitism at it's beginning. It is another fruit of Mormon beliefs.

    • Not true. Joseph Smith ordained blacks to the priesthood, and at least one of them participate in temple ordinances. The ban on priesthood for blacks began under Brigham Young. See http://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood

      “I am not saying all Mormons are all racist or anything like that, but when you see all these things in church history you cannot deny that there was some racism or at very least white elitism at it&#039s beginning. It is another fruit of Mormon beliefs.”

      There’s no doubt there was some racism, and any racism is too much racism. And it wasn’t just there at the beginning, as I’m sure there is still some hanging around today. I make no claim that the Church or its members or its leaders are perfect. Only that it’s God’s true Church, regardless of its imperfections.

  42. And as far as your prophets and leaders just being men who make mistakes, it is not others who set the standard for perfection for them…it's your church members. Your members say your prophet is the only mouthpiece for God on this earth, that he will never lead you astray, and if the prophet says something it is God's truth. Then when people who do have a heart for the truth bring up all of the bad fruit that has come from them, that's when Mormons spout the "he is just a man and not perfect" excuse. I'm sure it helps you sleep at night, but it shows who makes a stretch to reach conclusions not based in truth.

    Should I post again the Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet from your church? Here's three: 1. 1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything. 2. The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture. 2.The prophet will never lead the Church astray. Your church set the standard!

    I'd say all the members before 1978 were led astray, in more ways than one.

    • “And as far as your prophets and leaders just being men who make mistakes, it is not others who set the standard for perfection for them…it’s your church members. ”

      Those church members who do so are mistaken.

      “Your members say your prophet is the only mouthpiece for God on this earth, that he will never lead you astray, and if the prophet says something it is God’s truth.”

      The prophet is the only authorized mouthpiece for God’s church on the earth. God’s inspiration can be found in any person. Do I believe Mohammed received revelations from the angel Gabriel, as Muslims claim? I do. Do I believe Buddha was inspired by God? Sure. Was Martin Luther acted upon by God? I think so. And I think the same about many other religious leaders not of the Mormon faith, both past and present. That is also what is taught by the leaders of the LDS Church.

      As for never being led astray, as stated above “Sure, it does if you misunderstand what those words mean. Do they mean the prophet is infallible and will never do anything wrong? No, those words mean the prophet will never derail the Church, will never take it down the wrong path. When you get on a plane to fly somewhere, you’re embarking on a journey that will only be on course 3% of the time. The rest of the time the pilots or the autopilot system are correcting course. And yet most planes get to their planned destination. Likewise the prophet is not perfect, and the Church is always progressing and is also not perfect. To lead the Church astray would be to put it in danger of not reaching its destination. The statement was never intended to apply a claim of infallibility to the actions of Church leaders.”

  43. Those fundamentals were given by your prophet, so actually it is your prophet who sets his own standards, and the members just "follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, he knows the waaaaay!" When you have sung that song ever since you could talk, I know it's hard to discern between what is truth and what has just been taught.

    Look at the facts of church history. A good tree cannot put forth ANY bad fruit. Not even one. Jesus said so. Brigham Young was definitely a bad fruit! Please people, research Brigham Young further than these comments, you'd be surprised anyone named a college after him. It's all there in U.S. history: the power hungry motives, murder, bloodshed, rebellion, and racism.

    • “A good tree cannot put forth ANY bad fruit. Not even one.”

      By that standard every single prophet of the Bible, and every one of us, is a bad fruit, since only Jesus was perfect and the rest of us all fall short.

      I won’t deny Brigham said some racist things, and yes, he was somewhat rebellious toward a government which had failed to protect the Church’s members from murder, rape, and theft and which was threatening a war against Church members, but murder and bloodshed? What exactly are you referring to?

  44. I'd also like to add: If Blacks not being allowed to hold the priesthood was just a "policy" as you have stated, why did it require a revelation from God to overturn it??

    • I don’t know. Perhaps because Church leaders didn’t know how the policy got started, and so they didn’t want to overturn it without knowing for sure that overturning it was God’s will?

  45. ALL TRUTH transcends time-Past, Present & Future. Maxims of Law:"Equality before the Law",{were there is no equality there is on LAW only injustice} "Truth stands supreme","Truth affects but cannot be affected".(BTW"Maxims of Law" have to do with Self-Evident Truth)

    Truth is ALWAYS Consistent with itself in all it's manifestations.

    In regard to this statement-"If the WHITE MAN who belongs to the CHOSEN SEED mixes his blood with the seed of "CAIN", the penalty, under the law of God, is DEATH ON THE SPOT".-is not supported by the Bible; for the scriptures say- Isaiah 8:20 "To the LAW and to the TESTIMONY: if they SPEAK NOT according to this WORD, it is BECAUSE THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM".

    Now contrast Brigham Young's statement concerning the LAW OF GOD {the Ten Commandments} with that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ-"Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; AND thy NEIGHBOUR as THYSELF."Luke 10:27-In other words-"Supreme" Love to God …and "impartial" Love for one another.

    Now what does this statement of Brigham Young have to do with GOD's Word or his Law?

    Not much of anything! Neither in spirit or in truth! Or rather what Law of God are you referring to?

    As far as Just Law is concerned there should be no difference in treatment, penalty or protection there under.

    Further the Bible particularly does not oppose or forbid interracial marriage.—I know-I know this is all about the Mormon priest hood but my comments here are to cover much much more than that! My comments here are prove through God's word His Neutral(Say it with me Neu-tre-ral!) and Impartial Character{of Love} toward all humanity {the creatures of his hands}the World over—and I am in direct opposition to what this man Brigham Young has said!

    As I said the Bible does not oppose or forbid such marriages.

    Numbers 12:1-"Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman".

    The marriage of Moses to a "Cushite woman" were in this instance events that God himself had especially overruled. Though not an Israelite, Zipporah was a descendant of Abraham & WAS INDEED a WORSHIPER of the TRUE LIVING GOD and therefore the antipathy of Miriam toward Zipporah was in nowise justified in eyes the Creator.

    And Why is That? Well reasons shown in Gods own attitude are presented through out the bible.

    1. Explanation: Zipporah saw the burdens of her husband over Israel were wearing on him & she made known her concern to Jethro{her father/Moses father in law}, who suggested measures for his relief. This was the "main reason" for Miriam's antipathy to Zipporah. she regarded the wife to Moses as the main cause of her being under minded, that her influence had "prevented" Moses from being taken into her counsels. Arron listened & sympathized with her complaints, and came to share her jealousy. Miriam And Arron not knowing the weight of responsibility that weighed on Moses shoulders regarded themselves as equal to their brother & regarding themselves as equally favored by God & entitled to the same position and authority, but God had CHOSEN Moses, and had put His Spirit upon him; and Miriam and Aaron, by their murmurings, were guilty of disloyalty, not only to their appointed leader, but to God Himself. For her envy and dissatisfaction Miriam consequently was smitten with leprosy & had been signally rebuked. Thus it should not be regarded as a light thing to speak evil of others or to make ourselves judges of their motives or actions for the scriptures say- "He that speaketh evil of his BROTHER, and judgeth his BROTHER, speaketh EVIL OF THE LAW, and JUDGETH THE LAW: but if THOU JUDGE THE LAW, thou art NOT a DOER of THE LAW, …BUT A JUDGE." James 4:11, for there is but One and judge–He "who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts." 1 Corinthians 4:5. And whoever takes it upon himself to JUDGE and CONDEMN his fellow men is usurping the prerogative of the Creator.

    2.In the Book of Esther, Esther was a "Jewish queen" wife of the "Persian king"-Xerxes the Great.

    3. In the Gospels the Apostle Paul sets before to the highly cultured Athenians the great & fundamental truth of "human brotherhood" & declares that God "has made of ONE BLOOD all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…"Acts 17:26 The infinite God as a Father, whose children they were. "In Him we live, and move, and have our being," he declared; "as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring". Forasmuch then as WE ALL are the offspring of God.

    4. On the sermon on the mount Jesus pointed His hearers to the Ruler of the universe, under the new name, (KEY)"Our Father." He would have all understand how tenderly the heart of God yearned over them. He teaches that God cares for every lost soul; that "like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." Psalm 103:13.

    While being unloving and unlovely in character, "hateful, and hating one another," our heavenly Father had mercy on us. "After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." Titus 3:3-5. His love received, will make us, in like manner, kind and tender, not merely toward those who please us, but to the most faulty and erring and the sinful.

    I am Black man who's lineage and roots go back to Jamaica, Scotland, India and Africa I AM offended by what this man has said, Priesthood or no I have three nieces two of whom are half Jamaican & half Filipino and one that is half Jamaican & half British I love them and to me they are Gods property-simply. Punishable by death? Chosen seed?!?—?!?

    Listen here; in Gods sight the souls of all men are of equal value.

    Even my Own mother when I asked her one day(reluctantly-I just felt weird asking) if she would have a "problem" with me marring a woman of another race? she said was "NO". I asked her reason why? She said simply, calmly but directly and with rare crystal clarity of thought…

    "God does not recognizes those things" and when she said that I could FEEL the Divine presence attending her words that God was bearing witness & testimony to the truthfulness of what she was saying. I Know(in what she said) this was the case because "aside" from Isaiah 8:20 that basically says that every word, every experience, every miracle must be brought to the test of the scriptures "that" the "TRUTH AND THE GLORY OF GOD ARE INSEPARABLE!" never the less Gods word IS the watch word of everything said or done, but I Know with what I've read in scripture that without distinction of age, or rank, or nationality, or religious privilege, we all are invited to come unto Him and live for "Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference." "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free." "The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the Maker of them all." "The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Gal. 3:28; Prov. 22:2; Rom. 10:11-13.

    The children of God are those who are partakers of His nature. It is not earthly rank, nor birth, nor nationality, nor religious privilege, which proves that we are members of the family of God; it is love, a love that embraces ALL humanity.

    In the sight of God all are on an equality, and to the Creator every human being owes supreme allegiance.

    Maxims of Law say: "Proofs are to be weighed not numbered", "Equity is Equality" & It has been said, with much truth, "Where the Law ends, tyranny begins."

    To the statement of Leah above: I'm not sure whether or not "policy" was the reason for the prohibition of Black people but I will say that which I've heard-"It is only those who are world servers at heart that act from POLICY rather than PRINCIPLE in religious things".

  46. I am of Seventh-Day Adventist belief and I have invited Mormon Missionaries to my house over a dozen times and have shown reverent hospitality{similar to Abraham and the three wayfarer travelers who were later revealed to be angels} toward them. Prayed with them. Our conversations and discussions were mainly about scripture-both the Mormons book & the Bible. I avoided talking about the possible undermining of blacks in the 19th century & mainly stuck to doctrine, but I never knew that statements like that of Brigham Young were expressed in the church all but 4 decades ago! Even this notwithstanding, though I'm not in agreement of all the Mormon doctrines & notwithstanding the lengthy earlier post I still Love and respect the people of the Mormon Church as brother and sisters of one God.

  47. "It is only those who are world servers at heart that act from POLICY rather than PRINCIPLE in religious things”. LOVE IT! World servers at heart is an excellent description of the current LDS leadership. They built a $5 BILLION DOLLAR mall…I would say "for Christ's sake!" but that would be a lie. $5 billion would have fed and clothed a lot of people. Pure religion in God's eyes is caring for widows and orphans (James1:27), not building up a shopping mall so that SLC remains a bustling business area. The almighty dollar is who they are serving.

    Loving Mormons means sharing the truth that will save their immortal souls. We are to love everyone as followers of Jesus, which includes telling them the truth and not letting them continue in error which leads to death. We love our children, and when they do wrong we correct them. Out of love. Love without truth is irresponsible.

    I still haven't received a reply or answer to any of my questions and I am really curious as to the excuses for them. If the "prophet" will never lead anyone astray, did BY and JFS and others lead people astray with racist teachings or not? Were they right in teaching a racist superior attitude? Why would God need to reveal a doctrinal change if it was only based in policy or opinion? Or as Leighton pointed out, why would true prophets of God be operating on bad policy instead of the principles of God?

    If they were wrong, what else have they led people astray on and could they be trusted on anything? Kind of blows the whole "the prophet will never lead the church astray" out of the water.

    • Leah, what if the leadership of the LDS Church received a revelation from God to build a $5B mall? Or maybe God has commanded them to maximize the return on Church savings in preparation for some future event? Should they ignore that direction from God? I’m not saying that is what happened, but I am saying we don’t know why they decided to do it, so why assume they are doing the wrong thing when you don’t know whether they’re doing the will of God or not unless your heart’s true desire is for the Church to be false?

      “If the “prophet” will never lead anyone astray, did BY and JFS and others lead people astray with racist teachings or not?”

      Where is it taught that the prophet will never lead anyone astray? How could the Church teach any such thing, given the Church’s doctrine that Christ is the only perfect individual to ever have lived? By definition, anyone but Christ must be leading others astray to one degree or another.

      “Why would God need to reveal a doctrinal change if it was only based in policy or opinion? Or as Leighton pointed out, why would true prophets of God be operating on bad policy instead of the principles of God?”

      There was no doctrinal change. There was the revealing of doctrine where no doctrine previously existed. It was never the doctrine of the Church to exclude blacks from the Priesthood. That was a policy. Once the true doctrine was revealed, the policy was changed to match the doctrine which previously was unknown. For a better understanding of what Church doctrine is see http://www.staylds.com/docs/WhatIsOfficialMormonDoctrine.html.

      But as for why true prophets of God might act on bad policy instead of the principles of God, maybe it’s because they were ignorant and subject to the prejudices common to their time. Maybe at first it didn’t occur to them to question what seemed to be common knowledge, and if anything is clear from the history of the Church it’s that very few revelations have ever been received that weren’t asked for. President David O. McKay was troubled enough to ask about the ban, but didn’t receive an answer. Why not? We don’t know.

      “If they were wrong, what else have they led people astray on and could they be trusted on anything?”

      Leah, if I remember correctly you are a Christian, are you not? The prophets of the Bible also were manifestly imperfect. Moses, Peter, and many others did things they shouldn’t have, or didn’t do things they should have. How then, can we trust the Bible in anything?

      “Kind of blows the whole “the prophet will never lead the church astray” out of the water.”

      Sure, it does if you misunderstand what those words mean. Do they mean the prophet is infallible and will never do anything wrong? No, those words mean the prophet will never derail the Church, will never take it down the wrong path. When you get on a plane to fly somewhere, you’re embarking on a journey that will only be on course 3% of the time. The rest of the time the pilots or the autopilot system are correcting course. And yet most planes get to their planned destination. Likewise the prophet is not perfect, and the Church is always progressing and is also not perfect. To lead the Church astray would be to put it in danger of not reaching its destination. The statement was never intended to apply a claim of infallibility to the actions of Church leaders.

  48. So who has the authority to objectively decide and/or what objective system is used to clarify when Brigham Young was being the perfect messenger of God or the imperfect man?

    • Church doctrine is established through an orderly, official process which is described in some detail at http://www.staylds.com/docs/WhatIsOfficialMormonDoctrine.html.

      As to Brigham’s status, nobody has ever claimed he was the perfect messenger of God. The only perfect messenger of God who ever lived was Jesus Christ. Every other prophet of the Bible, Book of Mormon, or of modern day, has been imperfect and has made mistakes.

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  50. Excusing BY as being a man of his time brings all statements by all LDS prophets into doubt, even though we are to consider those statements, esp those in conference speeches and those given in answer to questions asking specifically about Church policies & teachings, as being scripture. I guess, as with the Catholics & their history of medieval sinful popes, LDS prophets are now to be considered fallible, even in teachings that last over 100 years with no objection by the prophets during that time.

    • Not all statements by authorities of the Church, regardless of where they are given, are considered the doctrine of the Church. See:

      http://www.staylds.com/docs/WhatIsOfficialMormonDoctrine.html
      http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/approaching-mormon-doctrine
      http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-doctrine-of-christ

      It has never been taught by the Church that its leaders are infallible. Quite the contrary, the express doctrine of the Church is that Jesus Christ is the only perfect individual who ever lived, and that all others are wildly imperfect by comparison.

      It is also incorrect to state that Brigham Young’s teachings were not contested by any prophet of the Church for 100 years. It would be more accurate to say that you have not heard of any prophet contesting Brigham’s views. To give one example, you might find this link enlightening.

      • This quote in your final link: “an article by Edward Kimball. Kimball stated that he is almost certain
        that his father, Spencer W. Kimball, was influenced by the work done by
        Lester Bush and published in 1973 in Dialogue,” is not evidence
        of the teaching being contested. It is a tentative bit (“almost)
        hearsay by a son of Pres Kimball. It is pointless to use that statement
        as evidence that many, or any, past leaders contested BYs teachings
        about blacks but we simply haven’t heard about them. It would be as
        valid to claim that just because we haven’t heard about leaders
        contesting any other statement by anyone doesn’t mean they haven’t.
        That’s only speculation & imagining, and maybe hoping. Certainly, as
        Pres Kimball himself stated, the doctrine & its seeming unfairness
        bothered him greatly, Dialogue article or not. Good for him. I met him
        & spoke with him on one memorable occasion and truly believe he was a
        wonderful man & was glad he was bothered enough to seek revelation
        on the topic.

        Certainly, even Brigham Young warned that LDS
        leaders are not infallible. For all intents & purposes, however,
        practice within the church & from the pulpit follows the commonly
        spoken concept that if the prophet (or apostles) say something, we are
        to pray about it to get our own confirmation of its truth, BUT if our
        answer isn’t the same as theirs, we will ‘know’ who is getting the wrong
        answer.

        Also, when asked by a reporter what the official
        stance of the church is on slavery, as was Brigham Young, the LDS people
        certainly ought to be able to believe that the prophet was speaking as
        the leader, prophet, seer, and revelator of the Church, not voicing a
        personal, imperfect opinion.

        In addition, general
        authorities, when asked about the teaching that what the leaders say is
        ‘gospel’ only if it is said in a circumstance of “thus sayeth the Lord,”
        and why that phrase is never used (or extremely, extremely rarely
        anymore, if at all) so that doctrine can be clearly distinguished, the
        response is that there is no requirement that the phrase be used &
        the people shouldn’t be so weak as to need to rely on such verbal
        assurances, but should know through their own prayers what is doctrine
        & what isn’t – circular argument, see above.

        The teaching
        that the most recent prophet’s statements override all previous
        prophets’ wasn’t followed in the case of BY, either, since BY, &
        later prophets until Pres Kimball accepted BY’s reversal of Joseph
        Smith’s actions related to blacks & the priesthood although Joseph
        Smith holds the keys for the entire dispensation.

        What bothers me
        most is that any past statement by a general authority, even if phrased
        as being ‘official’ as BYs to Greeley was, can be followed for decades,
        then discarded as being incorrect all along later. Who would expect
        that the statements of a prophet to the Utah legislature would be
        equally unreliable? Very few. Statements made to Time magazine – ditto.
        Yet none are willing to tell us “thus sayeth the Lord,” and thus have
        ‘plausible deniability,’ not an admirable practice used mostly in
        business & political realms. This is one reason I never watch a
        politician speak unless I also read the text of the speech. Many times
        an ‘impression’ of an idea comes across in a speech video that takes on a
        sense of validity, but when the pol doesn’t act according to that
        ‘impression’ people got, they fall back on “I never said that – if you
        take a look at what I actually said…” blah blah blah. This is an
        intentionally deceptive practice in politics & advertising, and
        nothing even remotely like it should be a practice in the Church.

        Again,
        the statements & the daily practices (traditions of our fathers,
        maybe?) leave a huge loophole. I hope someday that bothers a prophet
        enough to ask for a revelation that will re-elevate revelation in God’s
        church to a level that will be strong & firm & clear. As it is
        now, our prophet is allowed the latitude of the popes all through
        history, as I said, whether or not we can get technical by finding
        statements here & there that disclaim infallibility. Practice,
        actions, speak louder than words. Actions are what non-LDS consider when
        forming opinions of the Church, not details & technicalities
        carefully pulled out in defense of sweeping changes or small changes in
        long-term practices. How many trusted Pres Kimball’s revelation on
        blacks & the priesthood, coming as it did, during a time of heavy
        criticism of the church & BYU that began in the athletics program
        realm, black players in other schools objecting to a racist church
        policy (as it was proved to be, as BY placed his personal racist beliefs
        into ‘policy’ status). I love & honor Pres Kimball & do not see
        his seeking revelation as a mere ploy to avoid criticism, but non-LDS
        have absolutely no reason not to suspect church motives.

        This
        is all so unnecessary. Where are the firm, unapologetic statements of
        doctrine such as Joseph Smith never hesitated to state? Do we believe in
        a Mother in Heaven? Yes, why try to deflect that? Do we believe Jesus
        & Lucifer are brothers? Of course, we are all siblings. Why deny
        that?
        Are we trying too hard to be accepted in mainstream
        culture? Quite possible. Have we been warned about that? Oh, well, BY
        warned us, so it doesn’t count. But the Book of Mormon also warns us.
        Do we have a doctrine, beliefs, a gospel or interesting couplets and
        imperfect leaders who substitute personal opinion for policy even over
        the pulpit of conference? It’s very hard to tell sometimes, & that
        does nothing good when trying to spread the gospel to others in this
        cynical age

        • Regarding the idea being contested, I was referring to David O. McKay, not Pres. Kimball.

          “For all intents & purposes, however, practice within the church & from the pulpit follows the commonly spoken concept that if the prophet (or apostles) say something, we are to pray about it to get our own confirmation of its truth, BUT if our answer isn’t the same as theirs, we will ‘know’ who is getting the wrong answer.”

          Somehow this isn’t a hang up for me. It’s not as though the prophet is telling me to do controversial things on a regular basis. Be kind to my neighbor, keep the commandments, be honest in my business dealings, be a good dad, etc. I rarely feel the need to even ask God about what the leaders of the Church are teaching, because there is no question in my mind that it’s good stuff.

          “Also, when asked by a reporter what the official stance of the church is on slavery, as was Brigham Young, the LDS people
          certainly ought to be able to believe that the prophet was speaking as the leader, prophet, seer, and revelator of the Church, not voicing a personal, imperfect opinion.”

          That would certainly seems like it would be ideal, but it’s not God’s way. God gives revelation mostly when it’s asked for and only seldom when uninvited. Brigham appears to have been convinced of what he said, but he made mistakes. We might say it would have been better for God to have corrected Brigham and told him what was what, but if God didn’t see that as needful, can we definitively say God was in error? I’m not saying we shouldn’t question the matter, I’m just asking whether there’s any alternative perspective from which to view it.

          “What bothers me most is that any past statement by a general authority, even if phrased as being ‘official’ as BYs to Greeley was, can be followed for decades, then discarded as being incorrect all along later.”

          Yes, it is bothersome. I would prefer prophets and churches that are perfect. But I will take an imperfect prophet and an imperfect church of God over no prophets and no church of God at all.

          “I hope someday that bothers a prophet enough to ask for a revelation that will re-elevate revelation in God’s church to a level that will be strong & firm & clear.”

          Could it be that the brethren have been trying to teach this all along, but it’s the members who aren’t getting the message? It’s pretty clear to me what the doctrine of the Church is, what is policy, and what is merely practice. It seems I continually hear our leaders in general conference explaining doctrine, revelations, etc. (see http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-doctrine-of-christ). The core doctrines of the gospel get repeated over and over again by the church. Other things fade and fall away. The only way I can get too confused is if I go and dig up something said 100 years ago but seldom repeated since and give it the same weight as something that has been preached thousands of times.

          “This is all so unnecessary.”

          Why stop with your wish list? Why not ask why God doesn’t send down angels, perfect messengers, with absolute proof of his existence and of the truthfulness of the Church? God certainly has the ability to prove what is true to every single person, so why doesn’t he? For whatever reason, God allows us imperfect beings to run his church. That means mistakes have been and will continue to be made. That certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question things and suggest improvements, but when we do are we trying to improve things or merely being critical for the sake of being critical? One might well ask “What am I doing to make this church full of imperfect people more perfect?”

        • This arlctie went ahead and made my day.

        • They have had a data room open on Jolly Ranch for quite some time and apparently many companies have taken a look and yet no offer of any kind has come. What does that tell you about the ‘world class asset’ they were banging on about for so long?It was clear that all was not well with the waterflood projects when they suddenly stopped mentioning them! Now they are getting shot after spending a fortune while keeping investors out of the loop.Disgraceful.

  51. Mormons are full of half ass excuses. If your a PROPHET, God speaks to you DIRECTLY!!! Anyone home??? You try to compare him with “mainstream” when the “MAINSTREAM” were not prophets of God. Big difference. Your excuses in your attempt to hang on to him as a prophet, and that’s all this is about, are sad at BEST!!!,

    • Steve, what exactly do you mean when you say that God speaks directly to prophets? Do you mean that everything a prophet says or does comes directly from God? Do you mean a prophet will never make a mistake? Can a man be a prophet and still be subject to biases and personal opinions?

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