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Guest stovepipe

Official church resources for those who have doubts?

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Guest stovepipe

I am having a hard time finding official church resources that address issues that are challenging my faith.  I am not sure that this is the right place to ask these questions, but I have investigated a few other forums and they seem to have an overwhelming amount of anti-mormons posting on them.  I want guidance from members of the church who are strong in their faith.  This forum seems to have a good amount of faithful LDS people. 

My brother, who just got back from his mission, told me that lds.org is the best source that is officially affiliated with the church and there to answer questions.

I found this article.

https://www.lds.org/youth/article/when-you-have-questions?lang=eng

There is a lot good in this article and I wish I could just be satisfied with this and move on, but doubts keep entering my mind. I have asked some of my LDS friends for advice and they always tell me "just pray and have faith" or something of that sort.  I have been praying and reading the scriptures. It is hard for me to say this, but prayer and scripture study doesn't seem to be enough to dispel my doubts. I want some answers from the church!

I am trying to avoid anti-mormon sources, but there is so much out there in comparison to actual church released information on these issues!

I suppose I should say what these issues are and how they came to be. I was reading about church history and found some information about Joseph Smith that disturbed me. This lead me to me questioning a few other things.

Here are my main questions:

These ones have to do with Joseph Smith: Why did Joseph Smith get sealed to women that had living husbands? Why did Joseph Smith lie to Emma Smith about some of the marriages?
Is it really true that an angel said he would kill Joseph if one of his wives did not agree to marry him?

Questions about prophets: I didn't even realize that the church came out and disavowed its past teachings on race last year. Were the former prophets wrong? Why would God allow this false doctrine to be in place for so long!? I am actually glad that they disavowed this. It is a relief in some ways but it raises some questions for me. If the prophet receives direct revelation from God, then why would there be falsehoods? This really makes me questions whether or not the prophets are true prophets of God. I just want to say that it is painful for me to say this. I have always had faith in the church's prophets and believed it is such a cool thing that we have a true, living prophet to guide us. I am sort of in shock that I am questioning this.

I guess those are the two main things that are bothering me at this time, but the more I read from non-church sources, the more I question. I am also starting to have questions about the Book of Abraham and about whether or not the Israelites really lived in America. 

I am trying hard not to get sucked into anti-mormon sites, but I am finding it to be a struggle. I know the best thing for me to do is to pray and read the scriptures, but I just can't stop thinking about these things in question! When I think I am feeling the spirit, I often question if its truly from God. I want it to be true so badly and am worried that I might just be just trying to believe what I want to believe. This is causing me so much stress!  Part of me wishes that I never stumbled across what triggered my doubts.  I was happy and my faith was strong!  I am now stressed and unhappy.

Here are my questions for you guys:

Have any of you struggled with the things I am struggling with and overcome these struggles? How?

Do you guys know of any official church released information about these issues that address the issues head on?

Do you try to not read anti-mormon sites?

Do you think this is abundance of information in the digital age is an issue in the church? To be specific, I mean that you can google and find controversial stuff that they typically don't teach you or talk about at church. If you do believe this is an issue, what should the church do about it? What has it done already?

I want to make it clear that I am just questioning and I still really hope to find the church to be true!

I appreciate any insight! Thank you.

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Hi Stovepipe -

 

The LDS Church prefers to keep apologetics at arm's length.  There are some great sources out there (Maxwell Institute, FairLDS.org, Mormon Interpreter, JeffLindsay.com); but the Church doesn't generally officially endorse any of them--rather, it focuses on teaching members to approach God and get answers directly from Him.

 

Why did Joseph Smith get sealed to women that had living husbands?

 

I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all explanation.  I've posited some theories in a post to these forums here.  You might also want to take a look at Brian Hales' website at http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/.

 

Why did Joseph Smith lie to Emma Smith about some of the marriages?

 

Meg Stout (who did a series of blog posts at millennialstar.org entitled "A Faithful Joseph") posits that Emma knew more than she let on.  This is a minority view, though--the majority of scholars believe Joseph did indeed mislead Emma about some (not all) of his polygamous marriages.  The reason, bluntly, is that Emma was extremely hostile to the marriages and (in spite of her other virtues) was not above doing some pretty ghastly things to women she suspected Joseph of having married.

 

Is it really true that an angel said he would kill Joseph if one of his wives did not agree to marry him?

 

I believe two or three of Smith's plural wives recalled hearing him say something to that effect--though they were pretty clear that Smith also gave them a great deal of time to consider and that they entered the matches freely.  These anecdotes, and later teachings from other Church leaders, do make it clear that it was vitally important--at least, for a time--that the Church teach and practice the principle of plural marriage.

 

I didn't even realize that the church came out and disavowed its past teachings on race last year. Were the former prophets wrong? Why would God allow this false doctrine to be in place for so long!?

 

Not everything a prophet says is inspired; and sometimes they haven't been terribly careful about which of their sayings the Church should formally embrace and rely upon versus which of their sayings are expressions of their own, potentially misguided opinions.  The promise we do have is that we will not be led "astray from the oracles of God, or from [our] duty" (see the explanatory material to Official Declaration 1)--or, as President Uchtdorf put it last year, "God will not allow His Church to drift from its appointed course or fail to fulfill its divine destiny."

 

I am also starting to have questions about the Book of Abraham . . .

 

There's been a lot of research done on this by LDS scholars--see Maxwell Institute, FAIR, etc.  Bottom line, in my opinion:  No, the scrolls weren't written by the hand of Abraham itself--they date to thousands of years later.  No, the Book of Abraham as we have it is not a literal translation of those scrolls.  There are lots of interesting theories as to how the two relate--from the notion that the Egyptian funerary rite (which is what the remaining fragments of the actual papyri appear to contain) was a convoluted version of an earlier, pure, divinely inspired endowment; to the idea that the actual papyri were thirty to forty feet long and we only have three to five feet of them at present; to the idea that the scrolls in their entirety were nothing more than a "catalyst" that inspired Joseph to seek further revelation from God and led to the revelation of new scripture (much as the Joseph Smith translation did).  We do have precedent for Joseph Smith working with one text, then getting a revelation restoring the content of another text that no longer existed--see D&C 7.

 

By all means, do your homework on this one.

 

. . . and about whether or not the Israelites really lived in America.

 

Oh, they were here, all right.  Where we get tripped up is when we assume they were the only people here.  :)

 

Have any of you struggled with the things I am struggling with and overcome these struggles? How?

 

Yep.  You look for explanations, pick them up, weigh them out, and decide which ones make sense and which ones don't.  I also don't expect all of my questions to get answered (though many, many of them have been)--sometimes you just put something "on the shelf" and come back to it later when you have a little more light and knowledge.  The bottom line is that God has revealed Himself to me and given me a testimony; and I'm not going to let the things I don't know lead me to throw away the things I do know.

 

Do you guys know of any official church released information about these issues that address the issues head on?

 

The closest you'll get that comes with official Church imprimatur is the Gospel Topics section of the Church's website.  The section is continually being updated, and there have been some really good articles generated in the past few months addressing some of the hairier historical issues.

 

Do you try to not read anti-mormon sites?

 

I don't completely shut them out, but I don't seek them out either.  If I already have a question about the Gospel and I do some googling and an anti-site comes up--sure, I'll skim the entry as part of the study process.  But I don't read through anti sites looking for more questions or expecting to find "the truth".  If you go digging underneath an outhouse, you might find a few interesting things--but mostly, all you're gonna get is excrement.

 

Do you think this is abundance of information in the digital age is an issue in the church? . . .  If you do believe this is an issue, what should the church do about it? What has it done already?

 

Oh, sure, it's an issue.  LDS leadership has been pretty candid about it.  I think the Church has (belatedly) evolved from a view of history as something that should be specifically written to be "faith promoting", to more of a sense of comfort that even a warts-and-all history can still be just as edifying (perhaps more).  I have a few good friends that left the Church over historical issues, and they are all pretty clear that they could have dealt with the issues themselves--it was the fact that the Church hadn't addressed the issues in a more public way that made them feel "lied to". 

 

The Church is getting better about this sort of thing; but I think there are limits to how far it should go.  Historical interpretations are always evolving; and I don't think it's generally a good idea for the Church to hitch its wagon to any particular theory of history any more than it should come out and endorse particular scientific hypotheses, political platforms, or any other man-made philosophy.  These will eventually stand or fall on their own merits; and the Church will focus on the work of bringing people into communion with God.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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The blunt fact of the matter is that having explanations give concerning these issues will not suffice in resolving doubts. There is only one sure way to knowledge of truth, and that is through the enlightenment of the Holy Ghost.

 

I'm not saying don't bother looking for apologetic reasoning behind these things. That's great. I'm saying it is insufficient. The only way you'll get past any of these issues is by turning to the Lord in prayer and fasting and humility, and carefully learning to listen to His guidance.

 

Gaining truth and knowledge is a matter of being given light. It is impossible to see clearly without light. And light comes to us from God and from the Spirit, not just from study. Looking closer doesn't work if we're in the dark. We must have light to see.

 

I recommend doing some scripture study on light and truth; Start with, for example:

 

Alma 19:6, D&C 88:11-13, 1 Jn 1:5-7, D&C 84:45, John 8:12, Luke 11:34, 3 Nephi 13:22, John 12:35-36, 1 John 1:5, John 11:9-10, D&C 93:26,

 

Particularly:

 

D&C 93:28-40

 

"28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.

 

...

 

"31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.

 

"32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.

 

...

 

"36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.

 

"37 Light and truth forsake that evil one.

 

...

 

"39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

 

Note how we receive light and truth. It's not just by study. It is by keeping the commandments.

 

So, yeah...seek and learn and get explanations and all that. But your real objective is to get more light and truth, which comes through obedience to God's commandments (including prayer, scripture study, fasting, service, etc.) and having an eye single to His glory.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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There is a gentleman named Don Bradley, an LDS church historian, who recorded a series of really wonderful audio sessions that described his own faith journey from faithful Mormon to doubter to agnostic/atheist back to rebaptized member of the LDS Church.  The interview is quite long and is broken up into several parts, and the first 15-20 minutes are a bit tedious, but then they get utterly fascinating.  I listen to them every few months because they are so enriching.

 

They're on YouTube.  It's audio only, but the audio is quite clear.  Simply go to YouTube and search for "Seeing with an eye for faith Don Bradley."  I believe these audio files live elsewhere on the Internet as well and can be downloaded, so you could Google for them.

 

Many people oscillate from faith to doubt over different periods of their lives.  Each time I have swung out from faith into doubt and back into faith again, I feel stronger in my faith.  It may be a lifelong process. 

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"Beware the Theologian or the Intellectual lest they ruin your faith." -anonymous

 

I was in a debate team way back when.  The way debates work, you don't get to choose your side.  You are assigned your position and then you research, study, research some more to debate your position.  So, when I look at religious studies, I can debate from a position of faith just as effectively as from a position of disbelief.  When it comes to Spiritual Studies, we are asked FIRST to have a deposit of faith.  So that in the application of the scientific method into your religious studies, your intial hypotheses is faith in God (or in the case of Joseph's polygamy, that God commanded Joseph to marry other women after Emma).  Then see where the experiment takes you.  Because, you can research ad naseum and nothing - NOTHING at all - will prove to you that God commanded Joseph, or even that this church is true, or even that there is a God.  That can only come from the confirmation of the Holy Spirit.

Edited by anatess

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For someone that doesn't want to do the Anti-Mormon thing...  You are currently highlighting all there current talking points

 

On polgamy..  All we have are historical record (and sometimes incomplete ones at that)  Trying to divine a person's motivation from historical record is always going to be speculative and subjective.   The answer you are going to get is going to be the one that fits what you want to believe.  For example  I find that Husband's lie to their wives for two reasons to protect themselves and to protect their wives (and they can do both at the same time)  Generally it is unwise to do so because the lies will fail at some point.  If you think poorly of Joseph Smith you can easily see it as him trying to protect himself from Emma.  If you think highly of Joseph Smith then you see a man caught between trying to follow the commandments of God while also trying to keep harmony in his home with is wife.

 

On Blacks and the Priesthood.  Did you know that when it was being taught that it was a curse it was also taught that at some point the curse would be lifted?  Therefore one does not have to see the lifting of the restriction as the older prophets and apostles as being wrong in any fashion.  Assuming it was a curse that is now lifted, what practical reasons are there to talk about it?  Other then to inflame tensions and make accusations?

 

The problem with the Book of Abraham is simply answered with, we don't know what Joseph Smith translated it from.  The documents we do have are not the complete set Joseph Smith had.  And we don't know if documents were simply a stepping off point for Lord to reveal something not there (Which happened several times).

 

As for Jews being in the America's I will cite a source not yet given.  The Mormon Codex http://deseretbook.com/Mormons-Codex-John-L-Sorenson/i/5102381  Its an apologetic source so not official but it give serious answers to Anti questions around the Book of Mormon.

 

As for you having doubts...  Everyone will go through them.  It is the nature of this life.  So you need to understand a few things to get through this.  One we are here to walk by Faith.  Not by knowledge.  Therefore in this life it will not be perfectly laid out before us logically and irrefutably.  There will alway be room for doubt it you allow it.  Two the all knowing and all powerful God will not trump your agency.  Read the D&C section where the Lord teaches Oliver Cowdery how to receive revelation.  Notice how God requires Oliver to make a choice based on his studies and understanding.  Then after making that choice he then had to choose to take it to God.  Then God answered letting him know.  Then Oliver had the choice on if he wanted to Listen to what God told him.  This pattern holds for everyone.  You need to study it, you need to make a choice on it, you need to take it to God.  Then you need to take whatever answer he gives you and hold on to it and build out from it. No matter what anyone else might say to 'prove' it wrong.

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One thing I've never understood on the Blacks and the Priesthood criticism: If one does not believe the church is true, then nothing was denied to anyone, because the Priesthood is a made-up bunch of nothing. If one does believe the church is true, then it doesn't matter, inspiration or mistake, tradition or truth, it just doesn't matter, because the church is true. So really, it comes down to: is the church true?

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Above all things remember that no one will be able to prove or disprove the Gospel. ALL things that would prove the Church to be true cannot be confirmed as authentic, and all things that would prove the Church false also cannot be confirmed as authentic. It is like this on purpose.

A testimony of God and his church must be based on faith. It is a must. After faith is exercised the knowledge may be given, but it may take years, and may never happen on this earth.

A testimony is received by the gift of the Holy Ghost, not by studying church history or trying to resolve controversy that happened almost 200 years ago. That stuff is nice to know and learn about, but if there is no spirit in the studying it can become confusing and easily misunderstood. Many times we tend to compare things that happened long ago by our current cultural environment. This always leads to incorrect interpretation.

Study the scriptures. Pray and pray with honest, sincere desire and a willingness to obey if truth is confirmed. Look at the fruits of the Church, and look at the fruits of those who fight against it. If you already have done that, do it again while fasting. You may get an answer right away. It might take a long time. You will get an answer, just make sure it's from God and not the adversary.

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In some ways, what you have is not a problem with doctrine or with teachings, but a problem with expectations.  I don't think it's an uncommon problem, and I think it drives feelings behind the exoduses of people who feel like the Church has lied to them about its history.  When we build up a particular idea in our mind of what historical figures were like, it can be devastating to find out that our image isn't at all realistic.

 

And once those images and expectations are entrenched in the mind, it's very hard to alleviate them.  For instance, my wife once dated a guy who is aggressively committed to adhering to every single word that comes from a member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve because he's convinced that the Savior himself makes regular Thursday morning appearances to them.  How am I supposed to tell somebody like that about the documentation one of my friends (a historian writing a Biography of Joseph F. Smith) has put together of Joseph F. Smith stating flat out that no prophet had seen the Savior since Joseph Smith.  Or of David O. McKay telling a member that he had never seen the Lord.  I suspect his soul would be crushed to learn of those statements because it is so far removed from the vision he has created for himself.

 

The same thing tends to happen with Joseph Smith.  We talk about him and all the great things he did and kind of gloss over the less favorable ones.  That's common for us to do with people we admire.  But we also tend to mythologize historical figures.  Discovering the ugly truths that lie under the mythological veneer is unsettling.  

 

And so we enter the big debate about how much the Church should teach history and how much members should be responsible for seeking out on their own.  I find a lot of the comments I read from people who have left tend toward blaming the Church for whitewashing the history and suppressing the ugly parts.  To some extent, that is true.  But their proposed solution that all of these things should be taught in Church is a bit over-the-top.  The Church is an institution committed to teaching principles and values of eternal significance.  I have my doubts that it should be responsible for educating members about the historical nuances (and yes, sometimes failings) of its past and its past leaders.  The more moderate comments tend toward wishing the Church would more openly acknowledge that this stuff exists. 

 

Recently, they have done that with authorizing the Historical Department to publish articles about hard historical topics.  I'd like to see more of it, and, if I had my way, I'd like to see the Church encourage more peer reviewed research in Mormon History.  The solution, as my friend says, is not less information, but more information.

 

And that's really where the answer to your faith crisis is.  You need to learn more.   You can't discount a lifetime of learning based on a few weeks of reading on the internet.  And you can't discount a lifetime of feeling based on that same amount of reading.  The issues involved here are complex, and twisted, and intertangled, and every bit as messy as human nature.  Don't try to unravel it all so quickly.

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The same thing tends to happen with Joseph Smith.  We talk about him and all the great things he did and kind of gloss over the less favorable ones.  That's common for us to do with people we admire.  But we also tend to mythologize historical figures.  Discovering the ugly truths that lie under the mythological veneer is unsettling. 

 

 

Yep. Honest Abe, George Washington and the Cherry Tree, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, the Noble Savage, and so on and so on. I think the thing that makes the destruction of the mythical conception of Church history difficult for some people is that for things like the Book of Mormon or Bible all that has survived is the myth*. So it's a bit of a disconnect when one portion of religious history is treated to the lens of reality. All we can know is Nephi the Prophet whereas the records exist to learn about Joseph Smith the Human, and the contrast can be startling if you aren't prepared for it.

 

*I use this in the more academic sense of a traditional story meant to teach/explain, not in the sense of myth = falsehood.

Edited by Dravin

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I will address your other questions when I have time, but on Blacks and the priesthood. As far as I know it was never church doctrine, but rather church policy to not give them the priesthood. There is a difference. 

 

I think it was a travesty and a blight on the church during the period in which it happened, a lot of close mindedness started by Brigham Young. It was certainly never taught by Joseph Smith that the priesthood should be restricted.

 

Were we as members get into trouble, and outside observers as well is that we put our leaders on pedestals. Big high tall ones. When we discover that they were normal people like you and me we become disillusioned. 

 

Joseph Smith was a normal guy just like you and me, he put his pants on one leg at a time, he practiced polyandry, lied to his wife, believed in magic and was a treasure hunter in his youth, swore, and drank. The list goes on and on. 

 

The fundamental question is: Was he a prophet of God? Yes with out a doubt!!

 

We are imperfect individuals, and so was he and so are our current leaders, our religion is a religion of faith. If you can wrap your head around the idea that God communicates with imperfect beings in an effort to bring forth his work and glory none of the extra stuff really matters because it is temporal. Imperfect. Of man.  

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RESPONSE not finished but i hav eot save it to resume later sorry.

 

 

I am having a hard time finding official church resources that address issues that are challenging my faith.  I am not sure that this is the right place to ask these questions, but I have investigated a few other forums and they seem to have an overwhelming amount of anti-mormons posting on them.  I want guidance from members of the church who are strong in their faith.  This forum seems to have a good amount of faithful LDS people.

Response: well for every truth there are a million untruths, the hardest untruths are ones sandwiched between 2 truths and almost as bad is whent there is a void of information regarding anything. Anti mormon sites tend to be full to the brim of both.

 

 

 

My brother, who just got back from his mission, told me that lds.org is the best source that is officially affiliated with the church and there to answer questions.

I found this article.

https://www.lds.org/youth/article/when-you-have-questions?lang=eng

There is a lot good in this article and I wish I could just be satisfied with this and move on, but doubts keep entering my mind. I have asked some of my LDS friends for advice and they always tell me "just pray and have faith" or something of that sort.  I have been praying and reading the scriptures. It is hard for me to say this, but prayer and scripture study doesn't seem to be enough to dispel my doubts. I want some answers from the church!

cliche and sometimes frustrating it is.

BUT, yes having an answer of some sort from the spirit is what you need first. My advice, slow down, be patient, don't rush, don't panic, and choose your priorities (ie be sure that it's God you want to know and follow) you may want to think on what you are willing to give up to achieve that. I'd say don't rush to jump on the LDS bandwagon but don't be too quick to leave the trail that leads to it either (unless you get a definitive answer from the spirit either way, in which case do what it tells you).

If you really want to follow God what are you willing to give up to acheive that? if youre not ready to give up everthing yet, are you on that path? If youre not sure about what and how the LDS folks say about God, then I suggest start taking some small steps- perhaps try swearing a bit less, try to avoid anger a little more, do you watch videos that have violence swearing or sex in them (if you do try putting them off), read the scriptures a little more, pray a little more- just some ideas... basically the idea is showing god that you are serious about this.

These things usually take time. also you have to be more of an open mind, answers can come from some very unexpected sources (i've found reality tends to be more strange than expected, and usually a lot more harsh). just remember when moses split the sea, the israelites had to get their feet wet first before anything happened (if experience has taught me anything they probably had to go in up to their necks before anything happened)

In my case all I really know for sure is, 1) God and Christ exist, 2) they love us, 3) the book of mormon is their doing, 4) Joseph Smith is their servant and was given authority, 5) that authority was passed on to the LDS church.

-----------------------------------------

 

 

 

I am trying to avoid anti-mormon sources, but there is so much out there in comparison to actual church released information on these issues!

Naturally. they designed to put a ton of doubt into you. lies sandwitched between 2 truths, information that has gaps in it, and preying upon people's expectations can do that very well.

Compounding that is that its much easier to fabricate something than get the truth- hence unreliable sources will be a million times more available than reliable ones.

also Prophets, and by extension the church is not really about dictating history, save perhaps where it touches upon christ directly- their job is to be the man on the watch tower to lead and guide people away from harm and towards God, however god dictates to them or inspires them. so there's not really an official sanctioned canonized history outside what the scriptures have (probably the closest is "History of the church" but i doubt it has all the nitty gritty details you want at this moment in time). What the church does instead is collect everything it can from what it considers to be reliable and then uses for resources. There's definitely a bias in what they put forward- for example the church puts more weight in what Joseph smith says about himself or what his close relatives say about him rather than what joe schmoe down the street say he saw joseph do.

But you need to remember they are drawing off a lot of different resources when they do so (in general better sources than what most people draw off of), but all these sources are things like minutes, personal letters, reports of what so-and-so said to so-and-so, diaries things like that which while are good, are also still prone to human error.

--------------------------------------

 

 

 

Edited by Blackmarch

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How am I supposed to tell somebody like that about the documentation one of my friends (a historian writing a Biography of Joseph F. Smith) has put together of Joseph F. Smith stating flat out that no prophet had seen the Savior since Joseph Smith.  Or of David O. McKay telling a member that he had never seen the Lord.  I suspect his soul would be crushed to learn of those statements because it is so far removed from the vision he has created for himself.

 

 

I understand and am not particularly bothered by the suggestion that not all prophets/apostles since JS have seen Christ; but it seems like a heckuva thing to say that <i>none</i> of them between JS and JFS did.  Lorenzo Snow claimed, to his daughter Alice, that He had indeed seen Christ in the corridor outside the celestial room of the Salt Lake Temple shortly after Wilford Woodruff's death.  The matter appended to Official Declaration 1 doesn't specifically claim that Wilford Woodruff had a face-to-face encounter with Christ; but it points to some very remarkable revelations/visions.  In D&C 138:18, JFS himself relates that he <i>saw</i> Jesus ministering in the spirit world.  And McKay did relate an "inspired dream" (as Chapter 9 of the Presidents of the Church student manual calls it), received in 1920 or 1921, in which he saw the heavenly city and the Savior Himself.

 

Again--the idea of apostles who have not received the Second Comforter doesn't really bug me; but I think some people are entirely too eager to believe that most of them (or all of them) have no unique witness of Christ at all.

 

I think it was a travesty and a blight on the church during the period in which it happened, a lot of close mindedness started by Brigham Young. It was certainly never taught by Joseph Smith that the priesthood should be restricted.

 

 

The official Church position, of course, is that we don't know why it happened.  We don't know means "we don't know".  It does not mean so-and-so hijacked the Church in order to fit his own sociological prejudices; and while there's no direct and reliable record of Joseph Smith encouraging such a policy, asserting a negative as a "certainty" is often a dangerous proposition.  :)

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The official Church position, of course, is that we don't know why it happened.  We don't know means "we don't know".  It does not mean so-and-so hijacked the Church in order to fit his own sociological prejudices; and while there's no direct and reliable record of Joseph Smith encouraging such a policy, asserting a negative as a "certainty" is often a dangerous proposition.  :)

Joseph Smith ordained Black Elders, this is documented fact. Brigham Young was the president of the church and in charge of policy. It's ok...he was a racist (this is my opinion only) and I am OK with that.

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Joseph Smith ordained Black Elders, this is documented fact.

I don't want to hijack so I will be brief. Contemplate this:

All of the sudden, a church that not only allows black members but ordains them to leadership positions shows up........in the early 1800s.........and moves to the South.

That alone is a recipe for tremendous persecution. The vast majority of churches at that time, even in the north, would not allow blacks to be members.

So, maybe the Lord prevented blacks from having the priesthood because society at the time was too wicked to understand and be blessed with such a thing.

And about calling Brigham Young a racist- Compare apples to apples. By today's standards, yes, he could be seen as a racist. By the standards of the 1800s he was certainly not out of the norm on race issues by any means.

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Joseph Smith ordained Black Elders, this is documented fact.

Of course he did. The big question is whether he (or the Lord) thereafter determined that circumstances warranted a change in practice.

And again, the Church's position is we don't know the reason. In this context, a person who claims the policy was "certainly" due to racism is just as out-of-line as someone who attributes the policy to the "curse of Cain" or some such theory. We do know that David McKay, as president of the Church, prayed for permission to rescind the policy and received an expressly negative response; which suggests that the Lord had more of a role in the institution of the policy than many of us are prepared to admit.

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Of course he did. The big question is whether he (or the Lord) thereafter determined that circumstances warranted a change in practice.

And again, the Church's position is we don't know the reason. In this context, a person who claims the policy was "certainly" due to racism is just as out-of-line as someone who attributes the policy to the "curse of Cain" or some such theory. We do know that David McKay, as president of the Church, prayed for permission to rescind the policy and received an expressly negative response; which suggests that the Lord had more of a role in the institution of the policy than many of us are prepared to admit.

Ever read the journal of discourses? I have read it, and when I read it I try to put myself in an 1860's mind set. The country was racist in general and not accepting of our fellow man which lead to this terrible policy. We are derailing the thread but here is a small quote  

 

“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.” – JoD: vol.10 p. 110: (March 8, 1863)

 

This was extreme thought even for the time period. He certainly could not have been speaking as a prophet when he wrote this.

 

Once you make a policy how hard is it to retract that policy? Especially when you make that policy under auspice of being a prophet of God.....

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Ever read the journal of discourses? I have read it, and when I read it I try to put myself in an 1860's mind set. The country was racist in general and not accepting of our fellow man which lead to this terrible policy. We are derailing the thread but here is a small quote  

 

“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.” – JoD: vol.10 p. 110: (March 8, 1863)

 

This was extreme thought even for the time period. He certainly could not have been speaking as a prophet when he wrote this.

This concept was not unusual at the time.

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Ever read the journal of discourses? I have read it, and when I read it I try to put myself in an 1860's mind set.

I haven't made a project of reading all twenty-six volumes cover-to-cover as you imply you have; but I am familiar with the sermon you cite.

You may be interested to know that we can date the policy's origin to an eighteen-month-ish period between late 1846 (when Young expressed support for a black elder) and mid-1848. Maybe instead of pointing to sermons given fifteen years later, you should take a closer look to what was happening in Church history at that particular period.

And while Young's racism is pretty low-hanging fruit, I still would be interested in your thoughts as to why David McKay apparently did get a revelation to leave the ban in place at a time when he, of himself would have ended it and had the requisite position in the Church to make it happen.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I would like to point out that you can point out Brigham Young's racism all day, it doesn't actually prove that the ban was implemented because he was racist.


I also don't believe David O. McKay's revelation to leave the ban in place is proof that the ban was enacted by God. It shows God did see it fit to leave it in place, one reason I could think of that God might leave a ban enacted by man in place is it's potential to cause a rift in the church at that time.

This is one of those issue's that is on the shelf for me, and I'm perfectly happy with the "we aren't really sure" answer to be honest. I can see it both ways.

Edited by jerome1232

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This is one of those issue's that is on the shelf for me, and I'm perfectly happy with the "we aren't really sure" answer to be honest. I can see it both ways.

After the ban was lifted, Elder McConkie was approached and asked why it was in place for so long and now suddenly lifted. His answer was, "We were wrong. Let's move on." And, then he quietly walked away.

It is interesting that the ban was lifted after Mark E. Peterson passed away. He told the church that they would fall into apostasy and incur the wrath of God if they ever gave blacks the priesthood.

Personally, and I agree that no one knows for sure but, I believe it took as long as it did because that was the first time, since President Young, that every member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve were in agreement to lift the ban.

Speaking of that explanation, there may be some modifications coming once President Packer passes away. Those of you who follow the stories will know that President Hinckley, and I believe others as well, have posed modifications that allegedly do not sit well with President Packer and he opposed. I don't know. We'll see.

Edited by Urstadt

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