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Vort

David Snell article: Why, David?

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https://thirdhour.org/blog/faith/lds-church-leadership/brigham-young-10-quotes/

My frustrating relationship with Brother Snell's articles continues. I haven't been shy about saying how I have liked much of what Snell has written, and that his articles often add badly needed depth to ThirdHour's tendency toward otherwise anemic (read: eye-rolling) articles. But there's another side to that coin, one that seeks to reconcile fidelity to God's kingdom and the Saints with what can only be described as some sort of perverse attempt at wokeness.

Snell recently published an article, the supposed purpose of which was to praise Brigham Young. Snell's first sentence reads:

The second prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young, is often criticized by both members and nonmembers for some of the more controversial things he said and did

Yes, you read right. The very first sentence of his article, ostensibly in praise of Brother Brigham, is where Snell chooses to let us know how "often criticized" this marvelous prophet and lion of a man was. Snell literally cannot even begin an article about Brigham Young without immediate reference to criticisms of the prophet. (And get a load of that link hidden in "controversial things"—a silly, exploitative 1940s movie about Brigham Young, or at least about Hollywood's ideas of Brigham Young. Most relevant. Just oodles to do with Brigham Young's prophetic calling and actions. It certainly buttresses Snell's claim of Brigham's criticism-worthiness about all those controversial things that Hollywood so truthfully and transparently dished up eighty years ago.)

Which brings us to Brother Snell's second sentence:

Personally, I think some of those criticisms are totally fair, [...]

If God is truly a just God, perhaps David Snell will be given the privilege of living the rest of his life as an outcast, driven literally at gunpoint from his home, a social pariah to all the Goodthink folks in the U S of A. His name will be smeared with filthy innuendo and outright falsehood for the next 160 years. Then, in about 2180, some snot-nosed know-it-all will opine that, you know, some of those criticisms are totally fair.

At that moment, I will be waiting breathlessly to see how Snell measures up to the example of Brigham Young, who he's so keen on affirming some of the crtiticisms hurled Brigham's way. Should be an interesting, even eye-opening, comparison. I wonder who will come out on top?

To finish out Snell's second sentence:

but sometimes we focus so much on his flaws that we forget some of the incredible things he said and taught.

I wonder: Who is David Snell to talk about Brigham Young's "flaws"? I know of no other reasonable way to say this except to be blunt: Brigham Young accomplished more before the age of 30 than Snell will probably do in a lifetime. Young was ten times the man that Snell is likely ever to be in this life. He was a prophet of God, anointed of the Lord. Brigham Young is exactly the kind of man that David Snell has promised by covenant to avoid speaking evil of. Apparently, Snell's idea of keeping that covenant is to soften his implicit endorsement of nasty criticisms against the man by listing out ten of his quotations that Snell thinks are pretty nifty. (And sure, they're good enough quotes. You could add hundreds more if you put much effort into it.)

Maybe it doesn't count as "evil speaking" if you just, you know, make reference to nasty things said and believed about President Young rather than actually say those things. After all, our God is a God of loopholes and letters of the law. He will surely justify David Snell's clever ability to observe his covenants about avoiding evil speaking of the Lord's anointed and yet simultaneously demonstrate his wokeness by bravely and manfully giving implicit approval to the criticisms of Brigham Young. (Well, some of them, anyway. You'll have to guess which ones are totally fair and which are only partially fair.) I expect that in the life to come, Snell will probably get a Godly wink and divine butt patt for his article's backhanded "endorsement" of President Young. Hey, Brigham, for a fat guy, you don't sweat much!

David, if this is what you think it means to build the kingdom and honor those called to lead it, then I believe you should immediately and deeply rethink your opinion. Saying, in effect, "Many people hate Brigham Young, and not without reason, but hey, he said ten good things" doesn't do it.

Edited by Vort

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To coin a phrase, 

I feel like shouting Hallelujah, all the time, when I think that have access to the words of Brigham Young, the Prophet whom the Lord raised up and ordained, and to whom he gave keys and power to build up the Kingdom of God on earth and sustain it.

The more of Young’s sermons I read, the more strongly I feel about this; and it’s a blithering shame that so many Church members allow the bulk of their exposure to President Young’s genius to be filtered through the lens of the latter-day libertines.  Brother Snell’s article suggest that his own perceptions, too, may have been initially shaped by a prevailing modern culture that views itself as the apex of societal and theological evolution and regards all predecessors as contemptible inferiors.  But I appreciate Snell’s first efforts to approach Brother Brigham on his own terms, and I would only encourage him to continue his research and keep spreading the good word of his findings.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Some things I've gathered about Brigham Young:

Quote

Salt Lake City, Utah Territory
To the New York Herald
Dear Sir:
I can’t undertake to explain Brigham Young to your Atlantic citizens, or expect you to put him at his value. Your great men Eastward are to me like your ivory and pearl handled table knives...more shiny than the inside of my watch case; but with only edge enough to slice bread and cheese...and all alike by the dozen, one with another.

Brigham is the article that sells out West with us -- between a Roman cutlass and a beef butcher knife, the thing to cut up a deer or cut down an enemy every bit as well.

You, that judge men by the handle and the sheath, how can I make you know a good Blade?
- -From Jedidiah M. Grant, One of Brigham's Councilors, shortly after President Young's death

 

Quote

Many men will say they have a violent temper, and try to excuse themselves for actions of which they are ashamed. I will say, there is not a man in this house who has a more indomitable and unyielding temper than myself. But there is not a man in the world who cannot overcome his passion, if he will struggle earnestly to do so. If you find passion coming on you, go off to some place where you cannot be heard; let none of your family see you or hear you, while it is upon you, but struggle till it leaves you; and pray for strength to overcome. As I have said many times to the Elders, pray in your families; and if, when the time for prayer comes, you have not the spirit of prayer upon you, and your knees are unwilling to bow, say to them, “Knees, get down there”; make them bend, and remain there until you obtain the Spirit of the Lord. If the spirit yields to the body, it becomes corrupt; but if the body yields to the spirit it becomes pure and holy (DBY, 267).

Do not get so angry that you cannot pray; do not allow yourselves to become so angry that you cannot feed an enemy—even your worst enemy, if an opportunity should present itself. There is a wicked anger, and there is a righteous anger. The Lord does not suffer wicked anger to be in his heart; but there is anger in his bosom, and he will hold a controversy with the nations, and will sift them, and no power can stay his hand (DBY, 269).

 

Quote

"Every time you kick 'Mormonism,' you kick it up stairs: you never kick it down stairs. The Lord Almighty so orders it. And let me tell you that what our Christian friends are now doing for us makes more for the kingdom of heaven than the Elders could in many years preaching."

"The wicked kick at "Mormonism," but they will find it somewhat like the old man's stone wall that he built five feet high and six feet thick, to prevent the boys from stealing his apples; and when the boys in their anger tipped it over, behold it was higher than it was before. So with "Mormonism:" every time they give it a kick, it rises in the scale of power and influence in the world."

"Let us alone, and we will send Elders to the uttermost parts of the earth, and gather out Israel, wherever they are; and if you persecute us, we will do it the quicker, because we are naturally dull when let alone, and are disposed to take a little sleep, a little slumber, and a little rest. If you let us alone, we will do it a little more leisurely; but if you persecute us, we will sit up nights to preach the Gospel."

 

Quote

I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually

 Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 150

 

There's also a quote from him about the incredible weariness he felt as he came West, how much he did not want to rise in the morning, how his belt, which fit him when he left Nauvoo, now circled about him a time and a half.  But I've lost it.

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20 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

To coin a phrase, 

I feel like shouting Hallelujah, all the time, when I think that have access to the words of Brigham Young, the Prophet whom the Lord raised up and ordained, and to whom he gave keys and power to build up the Kingdom of God on earth and sustain it.

The more of Young’s sermons I read, the more strongly I feel about this; and it’s a blithering shame that so many Church members allow the bulk of their exposure to President Young’s genius to be filtered through the lens of the latter-day libertines.  Brother Snell’s article suggest that his own perceptions, too, may have been initially shaped by a prevailing modern culture that views itself as the apex of societal and theological evolution and regards all predecessors as contemptible inferiors.  But I appreciate Snell’s first efforts to approach Brother Brigham on his own terms, and I would only encourage him to continue his research and keep spreading the good word of his findings.  

I like your take better than mine. More charitable and more hopeful.

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For whatever reason it does not seem to matter that much as we look back on history - we can find excuse to praise and honor or to defame and criticize any man.  Often the greatness of one man comes from the combined shoulders of those that stood with him.   Together our ancestor pioneers stood up against incredible challenges and forged a victory and left a legacy greater than who and what they were.  And yet there are great pioneers that in my lifetime have forged similar victories in many lands far from the center stakes of Zion - many of who stood just as valiantly for Christ but for much less recolonization. 

I have yet to travel anywhere and not be touched with great appreciation for saints rising to the challenge of some circumstance far beyond those I have faced.  And at the same time it seems that someone - also trying to be a saint of G-d; feels that such have not stood well enough.  I am honored to be a part of the saints of this generation and time and hope that I can finish my life on earth as well as so many that have gone before me.

 

The Traveler

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Guest Scott

There are a lot of things that Brigham taught or said that are not accepted in today's church.  Anyone who reads the Journal of Discourses would agree.

I don't think it is possible to acknowledge that today's church is all true while at the same time saying that older prophets can never be mistaken.

The Adam God theory is one example that could be discussed, but perhaps it is fruitless.

Brigham Young has said that at least one of thre Three Witnesses (Oliver Cowdrey) and at least some of the 12 witnesses denied their testimony of seeing an angel and the Gold Plates.

Our current teaching (I'm not sure if it is canonized doctrine, but it is widely taught, including from Church leadership) is that none of the Three Witnesses ever denied their testimony of the Book of Mormon.  Can Brigham Young and more modern prophets both be correct if what they say contradicts one another?  

Is studying it out further the same as evil speaking?

Brigham Young was often described as bull headed and a mule by church members and even by some of the church leadership.  This definitely qualifies as criticism, but it doesn't mean that those people didn't love him or didn't believe that he was a prophet.  Some went as far as to say that yes, he was a bull headed stubborn mule, but given the trials of the time, it was what the church needed.  Someone more soft spoken or less stubborn might not have been as successful leading the migration west or colonizing the Rocky Mountains.

Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were unlike any other modern prophets.

Today, we may not picture them this way, but both were rough around the edges frontiersmen.  Joseph would get into first fights quite frequently and even JSH says that he kept some unsavory company at times.  He would even swear out loud on occasion and apparently ocassionally during baptisms. 

Brigham Young had a temper and was very stubborn.  He was often hard on people and admitted this later in life.

Yet both accomplished great things.   Being perfect isn't a requirement for being a prophet.  If it were, there would be no prophets.

Prophets are human beings.  They still have flaws.  Some more than others.  But each one just happened to be what the church needed at the time, despite their flaws.

The Lord does not take away a person's flaws once they are called to be a prophet (or with any other church calling for that matter).   Otherwise, that person couldn't learn and grow.

Prophets have to learn and grow just like everyone else.  Wilford Woodruff pointed out the same to Lorenzo Snow, when Lorenzo asked Wilford what the hardest part about being a prophet was.  Wilford said that it was that a lot of people expect that every word put of the prophet's mouth is a direct revelation from God.  He said that that's what the greatest burden of being a prophet was.

Edited by Scott

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3 hours ago, Scott said:

 

 Some went as far as to say that yes, he was a bull headed stubborn mule, but given the trials of the time, it was what the church needed.

 

 

 

Sounds a lot like another leader in our day. 😉

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People seem to confuse the truth that everyone has flaws... with the idea that it is wise to repeatedly, publicly air those flaws..

Lets give an example... Just about everyone here has a spouse... and those spouse's have flaws.  Which means in our marriages we have to but understand and possibly work around or otherwise shore up those flaws (and they do the same with ours)..  Thus we must know about them and deal with them.  However anyone with any experience building healthy and successful marriages understands its generally a bad idea to publicizes those flaws and to keep bring them up again and again.  Yes you might occasionally have to focus on one flaw to deal with an issue, but that is not the same as repeatedly bringing up everything again and again.

So whenever you hear or read someone airing the flaws of someone they say they honor, respect, etc... change the target of their criticism to their spouse... and see if you still think they are being faithful and respectful.  In this case if we change the subject of Snell's article from Brigham Young to Snell's spouse (assuming he has one which I really do not know)... we would have reason to be concerned about their relationship..  Even though Snell is claiming everything is fine.

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5 hours ago, estradling75 said:

People seem to confuse the truth that everyone has flaws... with the idea that it is wise to repeatedly, publicly air those flaws..

Lets give an example... Just about everyone here has a spouse... and those spouse's have flaws.  Which means in our marriages we have to but understand and possibly work around or otherwise shore up those flaws (and they do the same with ours)..  Thus we must know about them and deal with them.  However anyone with any experience building healthy and successful marriages understands its generally a bad idea to publicizes those flaws and to keep bring them up again and again.  Yes you might occasionally have to focus on one flaw to deal with an issue, but that is not the same as repeatedly bringing up everything again and again.

So whenever you hear or read someone airing the flaws of someone they say they honor, respect, etc... change the target of their criticism to their spouse... and see if you still think they are being faithful and respectful.  In this case if we change the subject of Snell's article from Brigham Young to Snell's spouse (assuming he has one which I really do not know)... we would have reason to be concerned about their relationship..  Even though Snell is claiming everything is fine.

Well said.  I have flaws.  I certainly hope that isn't what my wife fixates on and feels compelled to share with her friends.  

I think the new "woke" culture is damaging to people in and out of the Church, and certainly to testimonies.  One of the things I find odd when sharing my testimony is how often people need to talk about the things they have issues with.  I share my testimony more often than I should, probably.  Maybe just because it's so easy since much of it is online.  One of the recurring things I hear people claim they have issues with is the things they perceive as negative from the Church's early years and how it was "hidden" from them growing up or during their conversion.  How it wasn't taught to them.  

It certainly doesn't seem to be hidden to me.  Furthermore, we have so much to share and teach that deals directly with our covenants, staying on the path, salvation, and progression.  Why would someone focus on the things that really have nothing to do with much of that?

Edited by Grunt

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9 hours ago, Phineas said:

Is it evil-speaking to acknowledge the human frailties of a prophet?

What reason is there to discuss the flaws of a Prophet of God except to tear him down or justify one’s own failings?

Edited by Fether

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9 hours ago, Phineas said:

Is it evil-speaking to acknowledge the human frailties of a prophet?

It certainly can be - especially for those that deliberately and intentionally look for them and use such to justify some degree of less forgiveness.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

What reason is there to discuss the flaws of a Prophet of God except to tear him down or justify one’s own failings?

It shows that they are human, which gives us hope.  There are also sometimes lessons to be learned.

At work they tell us that every mistake that you can make on a project has already been made.  Learn from the old timers and how they got through it.

The scriptures themselves discuss flaws of prophets and the Lord's chosen vessels.  Peter denied knowing Christ three times.  Lehi murmured at times against the Lord.  Joseph Smith was rebuked for helping lose the 116 pages. The original twelve apostles were sometimes rebuked for their lack of faith or for not having a full understanding of some parables.

Do these scriptures exist only to tear those people down?  Are these scriptures akin to speaking evil of the Lord's annointed?  Are they only there to justify one's own failings?  In my opinion at least, the answer to all three questions is no.

Acknowledging that someone has flaws isn't always the same as tearing that person down.  It can be, if that's all you focus on.

Edited by Scott

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8 hours ago, Scott said:

Brigham Young was often described as bull headed and a mule by church members and even by some of the church leadership.  This definitely qualifies as criticism, but it doesn't mean that those people didn't love him or didn't believe that he was a prophet. 

Do we really love him, though?  Do we really believe he was a prophet?

I would invite each of us to do a forum search of our own posts for every instance in which we’ve mentioned Brigham Young.  I would suggest that if our positive mentions of him don’t outnumber our negative mentions of him by something on the order of two or three to one, we (and I include myself in this) should probably start asking ourselves some hard questions about a) what we really think of Brigham Young, b) who it is that has conditioned us to think this way, and c) why those individuals/groups may want to drive a wedge between us and the greatness in our own history.  

Just as anything succeeding the phrase “I’m not racist, but . . .” would be considered automatically suspect, we should probably do a double-take anytime someone says “I love Brigham Young, but . . .”

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

What reason is there to discuss the flaws of a Prophet of God except to tear him down or justify one’s own failings?

Leading an article with them, helps you connect with an audience of people who may have similar issues with the flaws.  Once the connection is made, then you can sucker 'em into hearing the good stuff.

(At least that's apparently what BYU's journalism department is teaching kids like Snell.)

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8 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Leading an article with them, helps you connect with an audience of people who may have similar issues with the flaws.  Once the connection is made, then you can sucker 'em into hearing the good stuff.

(At least that's apparently what BYU's journalism department is teaching kids like Snell.)

Just as long as the “good stuff” can be readily condensed into a single tweet.

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2 hours ago, estradling75 said:

People seem to confuse the truth that everyone has flaws... with the idea that it is wise to repeatedly, publicly air those flaws.

 

1 hour ago, Fether said:

What reason is there to discuss the flaws of a Prophet of God except to tear him down or justify one’s own failings?

I agree with these, but I think it's sometimes more fundamental. Joseph Smith proclaimed, "Although I do wrong, I do not the wrongs that I am charged with doing". When someone is focusing on Brigham Young's objectionable behaviors and claims he did this or that wrong, why should I believe him? Obviously Brigham Young did wrong things. He was a man. But he was a great man, and more than that, he was a man of God. That fact alone should cause any believing Latter-day Saint to approach criticisms of him with suspicion

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I want to say something about the early saints - and Brigham Young.  During the Kirkland period as the Church was trying to establish a foothold in Missouri there was a great deal of poverty.  To help offset the problem the Church established the Kirkland Safety Society which was a quasi banking institution.   However the entire world suffered a depression causing most banks to fail.  The Kirkland Safety Society failed as many enemies of the Church demanded money for the society notes.  There were many great men of the church that had gone through many miracles.   And yet there was not one witness of the Book of Mormon that went west with the saints.  The only witnesses that remained faithful died either with or before Joseph Smith.  The two other councilors of the first presidency along with many of the quorum of the 12 apostatized from the church.  Brigham was the one that stayed faithful - both to G-d and the Church.  With all his faults, lack of skills and poor choices about many things that contributed to much suffering of the Saints - Brigham did not ever quit or give up.  Knowing full well his own failures - he did not give up on himself or the loyal saints.

Sometimes there are more important things than knowing what to do and having the skill to do it - sometimes the most important thing is a willingness to continue despite the odds and one's failures.  Sometimes the greatest among us are not the wisest, or the strongest, the best looking are the most able but the ones that do not give up.

 

The Traveler

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2 hours ago, Scott said:

Acknowledging that someone has flaws isn't always the same as tearing that person down.  It can be, if that's all you focus on.

12 hours ago, Phineas said:

Is it evil-speaking to acknowledge the human frailties of a prophet?

Elder Oaks, in a talk called Criticism, quotes Elder George F. Richards:

Quote

“‘When we say anything bad about the leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus working against the Lord and his cause.’

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

I want to say something about the early saints - and Brigham Young.  During the Kirkland period as the Church was trying to establish a foothold in Missouri there was a great deal of poverty.  To help offset the problem the Church established the Kirkland Safety Society which was a quasi banking institution.   However the entire world suffered a depression causing most banks to fail.  The Kirkland Safety Society failed as many enemies of the Church demanded money for the society notes.  

This is a different topic, but the failure of the bank was perhaps only second to polygamy when it came to members (including high ranking leaders) leaving the Church.   A lot of Church members thought that if the prophet endorsed the bank that it could not fail.    They apparently believed that their money was as good as gold just because it was started by the Church leadership (more below).  

The dramatized Church History has an interesting take on this.   In that source, it is acknowledged that the the prophet did do some things illegal with the bank, but that it was unintentional.    

The failure of the bank was really the end of most of the Church in Kirtland.   After the failure of the bank, almost all of those who remained faithful left for Missouri.  

Anyway, some more things should be mentioned concerning the failure.  It's more complicated than the above.  The depression was caused by the failure of banks and the Panic of 1837 that insued, rather than vice versa.  A lot of banks failed during this time period.  

According to our Church history, a lot of the members shared a lot of the blame for the bank failure as well.   Since the printed value of the notes was higher than the coversion rate to hard currency, many members apparently spent a lot of money and incurred debt because they thought that the bank endorced by the prophet was fail-proof.  Some members would spend a lot of money that they didn't have because of this, usually on credit.

Another "flaw" though well intentioned, was that instead of backing up Kirtland Safety Society Notes with gold and silver, they were backed up in land (hindsight is always 20/20, thus the quotations around the word "flaw"-the flaw was unintentional).  When the bank was started, land prices were skyrocking in Kirtland.   Because the population was expected to continue to skyrocked due to the building of the Kingdom, most believed that land prices would continue to skyrocket.  Not long after the Panic of 1837, the price of land in Kirtland tanked rather than continued to rise.  There was no way to back up the value of the notes after this happened.  The currency became worthless.

Anyway, the irony about all of this is that Kirtland Safety Society Notes are now extremely valuable.  Check out how much they're selling for:

https://www.kagins.com/inventory/currency/mormon-notes.html

Five dollar notes that are in good condition are currently selling for more than $15,000 US dollars.   Even tattered notes are selling for quite a bit.

How does this compare to the US dollar?   $5 US dollars in 1837 is worth just over $114 dollars today. 

A five dollar Kirtland Safety Society note in good condition is worth around $15,000 US dollars today.

The notes indeed become very valuable, you just had to wait a long time.   As pointed out earlier, hindsight is always 20/20.  

 

Quote

 

And yet there was not one witness of the Book of Mormon that went west with the saints.  The only witnesses that remained faithful died either with or before Joseph Smith.  The two other councilors of the first presidency along with many of the quorum of the 12 apostatized from the church.  Brigham was the one that stayed faithful - both to G-d and the Church.  With all his faults, lack of skills and poor choices about many things that contributed to much suffering of the Saints - Brigham did not ever quit or give up.  Knowing full well his own failures - he did not give up on himself or the loyal saints.

Sometimes there are more important things than knowing what to do and having the skill to do it - sometimes the most important thing is a willingness to continue despite the odds and one's failures.  Sometimes the greatest among us are not the wisest, or the strongest, the best looking are the most able but the ones that do not give up.

 

 

Yes, this is true.   To add detail, it was 8 of the 12 original quorum of the twelve who were excommunicated.   Some came back.  Most didn't.  

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13 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

Elder Oaks, in a talk called Criticism, quotes Elder George F. Richards:

Quote

“‘When we say anything bad about the leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus working against the Lord and his cause.’

So, what would you consider saying "anything bad"?

If someone on the forum asks "why did Peter deny Christ three times?", and I answer with "Peter is human and he made a mistake.  It was a moment of weakness and he feared for his life.",  is this saying "anything bad" about Peter?   Is it working against the Lord and his cause to provide such an answer?

To me, it is about intentions and context.

If your intention is to discredit Peter and attack him for what he did,  or to faultfind/look for faults, I'd say that this kind of critisism qualifies as working against the Lord.

The scritpures themselves say that Peter denied Christ three times.    Peter obviously also thought that he made a mistake as well because Luke 22 says that afterward Peter wept bitterly.

So does that mean that if someone asked a question, we can never discuss it since doing so would be talking bad about Peter?

Also, there are some important quotes and context in the talk you link to above:

I do not refer to the kind of criticism the dictionary defines as “the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.” (Random House Dictionary, unabridged ed., s.v. “criticism.”) That kind of criticism is inherent in the exercise of agency and freedom.

My cautions against criticism refer to another of its meanings, which the dictionary defines as “the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.”

He continues:

"There is a class of people who find fault and criticize always in a destructive way. There is a difference in criticism. If we can criticize constructively under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, we may change beneficially and properly some of the things that are being done. But if we have the spirit of faultfinding, of pointing out the weaknesses and failings of others in a destructive manner, that never comes as the result of the companionship of the Spirit of our Heavenly Father and is always harmful.”

It must also be pointed out that the leaders in our Church aren't limited to the Prophet or Quorum of the Twelve:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/duties-and-blessings-of-the-priesthood-basic-manual-for-priesthood-holders-part-b/personal-development/lesson-20-developing-leadership?lang=eng

In the above talk the first leader of the Church referred to in the lesson was a scoutmaster and deacons quorum advisor.

Yes, we shouldn't go out looking for faults in others and especially leaders in the Church.   Acknowleging that such faults exist when there are questions that arise isn't the same as going out and looking for faults and backbiting that person.  

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26 minutes ago, Scott said:

So, what would you consider saying "anything bad"?

If someone on the forum asks "why did Peter deny Christ three times?", and I answer with "Peter is human and he made a mistake.  It was a moment of weakness and he feared for his life.",  is this saying "anything bad" about Peter?   Is it working against the Lord and his cause to provide such an answer?

To me, it is about intentions and context.

If your intention is to discredit Peter and attack him for what he did,  or to faultfind/look for faults, I'd say that this kind of critisism qualifies as working against the Lord.

The scritpures themselves say that Peter denied Christ three times.    Peter obviously also thought that he made a mistake as well because Luke 22 says that afterward Peter wept bitterly.

So does that mean that if someone asked a question, we can never discuss it since doing so would be talking bad about Peter?

Also, there are some important quotes and context in the talk you link to above:

I do not refer to the kind of criticism the dictionary defines as “the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.” (Random House Dictionary, unabridged ed., s.v. “criticism.”) That kind of criticism is inherent in the exercise of agency and freedom.

My cautions against criticism refer to another of its meanings, which the dictionary defines as “the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.”

He continues:

"There is a class of people who find fault and criticize always in a destructive way. There is a difference in criticism. If we can criticize constructively under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, we may change beneficially and properly some of the things that are being done. But if we have the spirit of faultfinding, of pointing out the weaknesses and failings of others in a destructive manner, that never comes as the result of the companionship of the Spirit of our Heavenly Father and is always harmful.”

It must also be pointed out that the leaders in our Church aren't limited to the Prophet or Quorum of the Twelve:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/duties-and-blessings-of-the-priesthood-basic-manual-for-priesthood-holders-part-b/personal-development/lesson-20-developing-leadership?lang=eng

In the above talk the first leader of the Church referred to in the lesson was a scoutmaster and deacons quorum advisor.

Yes, we shouldn't go out looking for faults in others and especially leaders in the Church.   Acknowleging that such faults exist when there are questions that arise isn't the same as going out and looking for faults and backbiting that person.  

Look at it this way, Scott... when you are asked to write about Peter, are you going to open your article with... "Let's talk about Peter - you know, that apostle that denied Christ 3 times."  That's how you're going to introduce Peter in your article?

In any case, that's not the only issue @Vort brought up.  More importantly, Vort brought up the fact that Snell introduced Brigham Young by pointing out the flaws that Pres. Young's enemies and a Hollywood movie brought up and Snell validated them as "fair".

That would be like you introducing Peter's flaws by validating accusations against Peter by those who crucified him.

Edited by anatess2

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22 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

In any case, that's not the only issue @Vort brought up.  More importantly, Vort brought up the fact that Snell introduced Brigham Young by pointing out the flaws that Pres. Young's enemies and a Hollywood movie brought up and Snell validated them as "fair".

I must be missing something, but why is the movie even linked in the article?

What criticisms towards Brigham Young are in the movie?    The link mentions self doubt, but that's it mentions.

Almost all of the complaints about the movie I can find online are from non-members complaining that it protrays Brigham Young in too positive of a light and those who are complaining that the whole movie was just an advertisement for our Church.  

Anyway, my posts were more about my thoughts towards the prophets being human beings than Snell's article.

Snell says that Personally, I think some of those criticisms are totally fair, but he doesn't specify as to which critisisms he was referring to.  

Unless I'm missing something, we don't know what "critisisms" he is referring to and which ones he considers to be fair and not fair.  

I must mentioned though that I'm not a big fan of some of Snell's articles.   I had a conversation with him online saying that I thought that his article on the "Baptist Minister" was misleading.  Obviously he didn't edit it, but that's another story.

As to this article, it's hard to decipher as to what flaws of Brigham are being referred to.  Snell never mentions any flaws (but says that some exist).   If there are a lot of criticisms in the linked movie, I guess I'd agree, but to be honest I don't have a clue why the movie is even linked or what is being spoken of in the article.  That alone is enough got me to conclude that it isn't the best article out there, but it's certainly not enough for me to think that Snell is somehow anti-Brigham.  

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4 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

Leading an article with them, helps you connect with an audience

One thing I have noticed about David here and in SU is that he often criticizes BY. In one video he passionately declares that Brigham Young establishes polygamy incorrectly and that it is a sexist way of life.

this isn’t just a writing technique, he is always talking about it when the topic arises.

Edited by Fether

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