Sunday, August 1, 2021

Follow the Brethren? Great! You're now a U.N.-loving Pro-Choice Socialist!

Last July, after witnessing an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, Church leaders amped up their support for wearing masks by asking all Utah Church members "to be good citizens by wearing face coverings when in public." [1]  

This isn't the first time the Brethren have counseled us to "be good citizens." Pres. Monson said we should "be good citizens of the nations in which we live." [2]   So did Spencer W. Kimball [3] and Ezra Taft Benson. [4]   

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): New Church beliefs you probably haven't heard of. 

In 2015, all United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, [5]   which provides a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future." At its heart are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for mankind to achieve by 2030. Now, the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development serves as the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the SDGs. [6]  The Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) provides substantive support and capacity-building for the SDGs and their related thematic issues. [7]  

In other words, whatever country you live in, your country supports the 17 SDGs [8] which (admittedly) on the surface seem innocuous:


Remember: Because you're a good Latter-day Saint, you believe in being a "good citizen," which means you support these SDGs, too. Let's take a look at a few of them:

Guess what -- You're now Pro-Choice.

"3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes." [9]  

"5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences" [10]  

See that phrase "sexual and reproductive health"? Those are code words for abortion, taken from the International Planned Parenthood Federation's mission: [11]  


It's a well-known fact that the United Nations is pro-choice. The U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights said, "denial of abortion services may constitute torture and / or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." [12]    And at the U.N. Conference held in Salt Lake City in 2019, Conference organizers canceled a workshop which included pro-life representatives, saying it wasn't inclusive enough. [13]  

I've blogged before about abortion (here) and wondered why the Church doesn't do more to combat abortion. Now I see why not.

Guess what -- You're now Pro-Socialism.

Perhaps the single most striking feature of Agenda 2030 is the practically undisguised roadmap to global socialism and corporatism/fascism. Consider SDG 10, which calls on the UN, national governments, and every person on Earth to "reduce inequality within and among countries." [14]    To do that, the agreement continues, will "only be possible if wealth is shared and income inequality is addressed." [15]  

As the UN document also makes clear, national socialism to "combat inequality" domestically is not enough - international socialism is needed to battle inequality even "among" countries. 

"By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources." [16]   the document demands. In simpler terms, Western taxpayers should prepare to be fleeced so their wealth can be redistributed internationally. In other words, "Socialism."

Why the church loves these SDGs (and thinks you should, too)

I wouldn't think that being soft on abortion and socialism would be a priority of the Church, but its relationship with the U.N. takes a pre-eminent status. The U.N. and the Church have worked together in an official capacity since 2011, when the U.N. recognized Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, as an accredited nongovernmental organization.

As Sharon Eubank (head of LDS Charities and General Relief Society Presidency 1st Counselor) said, "It's important for the Church to have these relationships because we're a multilateral organization, we work in multiple countries, multiple political systems, multiple cultures, and the United Nations does as well. When multiple countries are involved, you have to work with the United Nations. So it's good for us and a sign of the maturity of the organization that Latter-day Saint Charities and the United Nations have this relationship." [17]  

OK, fine, so the church is arm-in-arm with the United Nations. But what about Agenda 2030 and all its SDGs? Here is Sharon Eubank again, speaking as a representative of the church:

"Part of the look forward is in recognizing the importance of mobilizing women of faith to work on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) issues and to acknowledge their faith not as a barrier but the key to progress and success. The 2030 agenda won't happen without religion, and religion won't happen without women. They are the movers.

The SDG goals on gender equality, peace, and justice are tackling how to change culture and behavior. Faith has a power greater than almost anything else to motivate people to act, to change minds, to alter behavior." (Sharon Eubank, G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 3, 2018) [18]  

In this statement, it's clear that Sharon Eubank wants Agenda 2030 to succeed:

"The way forward is to do just what this forum has as its goal. Invite and respect as many faith actors as possible, build understanding among them, and integrate them into every aspect of the 2030 SDG agenda. It will lead to the greatest success possible for equity, justice, and peace." [19]   

If that isn't enough, here is Elder Christofferson endorsing Agenda 2030 in the October 2020 General Conference:

[https://youtu.be/KS3iK9mr40M?t=10]


For context, here's Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying almost the same thing:

The Church is a big believer in being a good "Global Citizen" - enough so that it sponsors numerous United Nation functions and conferences. Top Church leaders -- including other apostles, seventy and mission presidents -- give keynote addresses at these events. 

And the organizations it supports, in turn, also support pro-abortion and pro-socialist agenda. 

What does God say about all this?

We are called to not be of the world:

"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." [20]  

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." [21]  

Instead, we are commanded to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." [22]  

We do this by being a peculiar people…

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." [23]  

…which means we give the world zero place in our hearts.

"Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men." [24]  

The Book of Mormon warned about churches which will someday seek the world's acclimation:

"For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet." [25]  

It's a concern that Joseph F Smith had almost 140 years ago…

"It is very evident that some of us are yet "of the world" [26]  

…and Boyd K Packer reiterated over 30 years ago:

"In recent years I have felt, and I think I am not alone, that we were losing the ability to correct the course of the Church. You can not appreciate how deeply I feel about the importance of this present opportunity unless you know the regard, the reverence, I have for the Book of Mormon and how seriously I have taken the warnings of the prophets, particularly Alma and Helaman. Both Alma and Helaman told of the church in their day. They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity. Each time those conditions existed in combination, the Church drifted off course. All of those conditions are present in the Church today. Helaman repeatedly warned, I think four times he used these words, that the fatal drift of the church could occur 'in the space of not many years.' In one instance it took only six years (see Helaman 6:32, 7:6, 11:26)." [27]  

With the church's endorsement of SDGs which are soft on abortion and espouse socialism, tell me:

How is the church's status of being peculiar, of being in the world not of the world, doing?

How God wants a better world established

Brother Joseph said that:

"We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. … The time is soon coming, when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her stakes." [28]  

Zion is not to be established via the ideologies of man, but instead, the words of God:

"In regard to the building up of Zion, it has to be done by the counsel of Jehovah, by the revelations of heaven." [29]  

There is no indication that Jehovah has been behind the drafting, approval and implementation of SDGs. There is no mention of God in them whatsoever.

What would Joseph say about this state of affairs now?

"So long as unrighteous acts are suffered in the Church, it cannot be sanctified, neither can Zion be redeemed." [30]  

And what if the Church continues to embrace man's ideologies, not the counsel of Jehovah, in building a better world?

"If Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord's anger be kindled to fierceness. Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion; and strange as it may appear, yet it is true, mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of mankind." [31]  

Even though the Church is not intent to forward the work of God on God's terms, you still can:

"Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward." [32]  

Knowing that the building up of Zion should be "our greatest object," here is my question for you:

How does God want you to help build Zion?

Sources

 1.   https://www.deseret.com/faith/2020/7/10/21320807/mormon-covid-19-pandemic-masks-church-latter-day-saints-in-utah
 2.   "Until We Meet Again", October 2008 General Conference.
 3.   "We are on the Lord's Errand, April 1981 General Conference
 4.   "Advice to Youth," April 1959 General Conference
 5.   https://sdgs.un.org/goals
 6.   https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf
 7.   https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/about
 8.   https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sdgs-framework-for-covid-19-recovery/
 9.   https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/
10.   https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/
11.   https://www.ippf.org/sites/default/files/2016-11/SDG%20and%20FP2020.pdf
12.   https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Women/WG/AmicusBrazil.pdf
13.   https://staging-env.liveaction.org/news/united-nations-cancels-pro-life-workshop/
14.   https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/inequality/
15.   https://sdgs.un.org/2030agenda
16.   https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030-goal1.html
17.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/alignment-of-church-and-un-goals-demonstrated-in-service-project-for-hungry-children?lang=eng
18.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/sister-eubank-addresses-global-interfaith-forum-says-religion-wont-happen-without-women
19.   Sharon Eubank, Remarks before the G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 1, 2018; https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2018-10-01/sister-eubank-speaks-about-protecting-empowering-women-at-global-religious-forum-8113
20.   John 15:19
21.   1 John 2:15
22.   Matthew 6:33
23.   1 Peter 2:9; also see Deuteronomy 14:2, 26:18; Titus 2:14
24.   D&C 121:34-35
25.   1 Nephi 22:23; also see 2 Nephi 9:30; Alma 4:8; Helaman 7:12; 3 Nephi 6:15; Mormon 8:28; emphasis mine.
26.   Joseph F Smith, April 1883 General Conference
27.   Elder Boyd K. Packer, "Let Them Govern Themselves", an address given at a Regional Representatives Seminar, March 30 1990
28.   Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:390-91
29.   Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:65
30.   Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 2:146
31.   Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 1:316
32.   D&C 58: 27-28



Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Mormon Pioneer Spirit: One of…Inclusion?

President Oaks was the keynote speaker for SUPer DUPer Day on Monday, July 19, an annual celebration at This Is the Place Heritage Park for the families of the Sons of Utah Pioneers and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. [1]  

His talk emphasized the need for us modern-day saints to identify the eternal principles the pioneers applied for our benefit, and then apply those principles to the challenges of our own day.

When I think of the pioneers, I contemplate concepts such as strenuously hard work, dedication, conservative family values and a deep, abiding faith in the Lord.

I'm sure Pres. Oaks would agree with those aforementioned concepts. In fact, he would add one to the list as well:

"Inclusion."

That's right - "the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups." [2]  

Pres. Oaks told the Church News after the event that "We live in a time when inclusion is needed - in political relations, in cultural relations, in legal relations - and it's not forthcoming in our society. As a Church and as a culture, we need to lead out in demonstrating inclusion, not dissent, diversity, diversion or opposition."

I couldn't agree more with Pres. Oaks. I'm not sure how he's defining "our society," but assuming it's the church's society, then yes, I believe the church does have some work to do in closing the gap between itself and those who are excluded and/or marginalized.

Who might comprise these groups?

Women? Yes. I recently reviewed the speaker-by-gender counts for the most recent five General Conferences. Here is what I found:

General Conference Speakers 

April 2021: 28 men, 1 woman (3.5%)

October 2020: 26 men, 2 women (7.6%)

April 2020: 30 men, 4 women (13.3%)

October 2019: 26 men, 2 women (7.6%)

April 2019: 23 men, 2 women (8.6%)

Total: 133 men, 11 women (8.2%)

Blacks? Yes. In July 2019, a church news release said that "Over the past 18 months, the First Presidency has made its partnership with the NAACP a high priority." [3]  So, how is that high priority doing in the two years since that news release?

Not good. The Church recently purchased a hotel in Maui for $148 million [4] and bought the Easterday ranch properties in eastern Washington for $209 million [5]  -- over a third of a billion dollars in (known) real estate acquisitions within a month. (There has been no announcement yet as to how these acquisitions further the church's four-fold mission). [6]  These combined amounts dwarf (by a factor of 37) the $9.25 million in donations the church is making to the NAACP/UNCF (over a three year period). [7]  The facts make it crystal clear: the church places a higher value on land acquisition than it does helping out human beings who have been historically marginalized.

Gays? Members still cannot be baptized if their parents are gay and married, and the member-child refuses to discredit their parents' lifestyle. 

The less fortunate? Yes. In his address, Pres. Oaks noted the Church's 3,600 humanitarian projects ministering to people in 160 countries during 2020. As of March 26, 2021, Latter-day Saint Charities and its affiliates had provided over $2.5 billion worth of assistance in 199 countries and territories since 1985. [8]  Assuming the church still has somewhere north of $100 billion in liquid assets, that would mean that the church is not even close to donating what it requires its members (10%) in tithing.

The unmasked/unvaccinated? Yes. I have documented here and here how the church, especially local church leaders, are not only excluding unvaccinated members from enjoying full participation in the church, but also painting them as unfaithful members and uncaring Christians. Also, within the last few weeks, prospective BYU-Hawaii freshman Olivia Sandor was rejected admission to the school because she has a condition which makes getting the jab extremely dangerous. Despite a team of medical practitioners submitting a medical exemption for her, BYU administration rejected her exemption - not once, but twice. Please, Pres. Oaks, describe how these actions are indicative of the "inclusion" you spoke about. [9]

   

Do "We live in a time when inclusion is needed"? It appears so.

Does that "Church and as a culture" "need to lead out in demonstrating inclusion, not dissent, diversity, diversion or opposition"? Definitely.

I look forward to Pres. Oaks "leading out" on the issue of inclusion (with respect to the groups I named) as soon as possible.

Otherwise, the church has another word to deal with besides "inclusion":

"Hypocrisy." [10]  

Sources

 1.   https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2021-07-20/president-oaks-pioneer-legacy-inclusion-super-duper-day-219802
 2.   https://www.google.com/search?q=inclusion&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS911US911&oq=inclusion
 3.   https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/naacp-national-convention-detroit-president-nelson
 4.   https://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2021/06/15/residence-inn-marriott-maui-sells-100m-mormon.html
 5.   https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/06/24/latest-mormon-land-church/
 6.   https://www.mormonwiki.com/Four-fold_Mission_of_the_Church
 7.   https://www.deseret.com/faith/2021/6/14/22530395/latter-day-saints-give-to-uncf-naacp-provide-scholarships-to-black-students-lds-mormon
 8.   https://www.thechurchnews.com/global/2021-03-26/latter-day-saint-charities-2020-annual-report-covid-19-207875
 9.   https://www.thecollegefix.com/byu-hawaii-refuses-to-grant-student-exemption-from-vaccine-that-could-paralyze-her/
10.   https://www.google.com/search?q=hypocrisy&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS911US911&oq=hypocrisy

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Are there Modern-Day Non-Prophets and False Prophets?

 NOTE

  • My last post, "Is the Church's COVID-19 vaccine advocacy leading you astray? Could it kill you, or is it OK?", is an in-depth look at the link between "trusting the prophet" and the so-called COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • It contains many, many organized COVID-19 related facts (as of this date, 70 source citations) which the mainstream media has chosen to ignore. 
  • Just so you know, I tend to shy away from rumors and gravitate towards statements by verifiable experts/patients. 
  • Because it continues to be updated almost daily, I encourage you to re-visit it regularly. Be smart. Stay informed.


Last week, the Church released a New Dew video. It was a nine-minute sermon on why we should trust the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve as "unfailing" prophets, seers and revelators. 


Here are some of her quotes:

"I know that President Russell M. Nelson is a prophet of God and that his counselors in the First Presidency and each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are also prophets, seers and revelators. I testify that you can know for yourself that this is true, if you will seek a witness of your own."

"We have 15 prophets, seers and revelators - meaning the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles - and many consider their teachings inconvenient and politically incorrect. But prophets are under covenant to teach truth, which is why they seem unbending at times - especially to moral relativists who love to pretend that there is no such thing as truth."

"Prophets are one of God's greatest gifts to His children. They form an unfailing safety net of truth."

"There is no greater safety in this life than following the prophet."

What's disturbing is what Sis. Dew stated near the end of her video:

"Some get tangled in asking whether prophets, seers and revelators are infallible. That's the wrong question. A better one is, 'Who exactly are prophets?' They are the ordained holders of priesthood keys that authorize the Lord's power to be distributed throughout the earth. They may not be perfect. But they are the most perfectly inspired leaders on earth, and their only motive is perfectly pure - to help us find our way back home by pointing us to Jesus Christ."

For the time being, I'll ignore the implications of her encouraging us to trust in the arm of flesh; I confronted that topic in my last post. Instead, let's focus on just four words - "That's the wrong question" - with which she entirely minimized the importance of prophetic accuracy. 

Should we follow Sis. Dew's lead and just assume that whatever a prophet says is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

The Bible consistently says otherwise. We are told to "PROVE all things; hold fast that which is good." [1] 

How do we prove that a prophet is a true one? Again, I turn to the Standard Works:

"The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him."  [2]

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."  [3]

In fact, the Apostle Paul took discernment of truth in preaching so seriously, he said:

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."  [4]

If God required 100% accuracy for His people in both the Old and New Testaments so they could discern a false prophet,  how much more so do we need that standard for discernment now, when we are told false prophets would abound and that the Anti-Christ would come with lying wonders so good that if it were possible, he would deceive very elect?

It's a dangerous world we live in, and a pretty dangerous time. That is indisputable.

Might I submit that now, more than ever, we need to be "asking whether prophets, seers and revelators are infallible." That's not the wrong question at all. And you know it.

"there came many prophets, and prophesied again unto the people"

I am, however, intrigued by two of the scriptures Sis. Dew included in her video. First, she quoted 2 Nephi 5:6: 

"And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words."

Then, she quoted Ether 11:12-13:

"And it came to pass that in the days of Ethem there came many prophets, and prophesied again unto the people; yea, they did prophesy that the Lord would utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth except they repented of their iniquities.
And it came to pass that the people hardened their hearts, and would not hearken unto their words; and the prophets mourned and withdrew from among the people."

Here, we see accounts of prophets with "warnings" and prophecies "that the Lord would utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth except they repented of their iniquities." 

I don't think they were the only ones. Lehi tells us in 1 Nephi that there were many prophets doing the same thing in his neck of the woods. Samuel the Lamanite prophesied, too. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that there's a strong, scripturally-based correlation between prophets and foretelling doom lest the people repent. 

The Lord says, "For I am the Lord, I change not". [5]   He "is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing" [6]  In fact, anyone who imagines "a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles."  [7]

Sure enough, as I've elaborated in several past posts on this blog, God has ALWAYS preceded plagues and pestilences with warnings by His prophets. And logically, because God doesn't change, if He sent prophets in the past to warn us of calamity and destruction, then I'm sure He would be doing so again, today. 

Yet as I read every General Conference address, and the transcripts of every public video Pres. Nelson has produced, not one of them has linked this pandemic with the need to repent. Perhaps mankind as a whole is getting holier, more righteous, and less inclined to do evil.  But something in me says that's definitely not the case at all; if anything, mankind is headed in the wrong direction these days.  

One truth remains: Prophets who don't "prophesy" are not prophets. Seers who don't "see" are not seers. Revelators who don't "reveal" are not revelators.

With God not being changeable, where are the unique "warnings" and prophecies pronounced by Pres. Nelson "that the Lord would utterly destroy" us "from off the face of the earth except" we repent of our iniquities? 

If you know of one, please include it in the comments below. 

"Nothing but truth"

In his September 17, 2019 BYU Devotional "The Love and Laws of God," Pres. Nelson said,

"It is precisely because we do care deeply about all of God's children that we proclaim His truth. We may not always tell people what they want to hear. Prophets are rarely popular. But we will always teach the truth!"

"Thus our commission as apostles is to teach nothing but truth."

So, there is the bar: Prophets and apostles always teach the truth. A true prophet will bring forth true prophecies. A true revelator will bring forth true revelations. Just like an apple tree will bear apples, not bananas, a true prophet will bring forth true prophecies and not some other work.

A man whom the church believes was a true prophet of God -- Brigham Young - never considered himself such:

"I am not going to interpret dreams; for I don't profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel; but I am a Yankee guesser."  [8]

"I do not profess to be a Prophet. I never called myself so; but I actually believe I am, because people are all the time telling me that I am."  [9] 

"I have never said that I am not a Prophet; but, if I am not, one thing is certain, I have been very profitable to this people."  [10]

I tend to believe Bro. Brigham. After all, if Brigham didn't think he was a prophet, why should we?

Even if we were to consider him a prophet, then how do we explain this statement of his:

"In the days of Joseph [Smith] it was considered a great privilege to be permitted to speak to a member of Congress, but twenty-six years will not pass away before the Elders of this Church will be as much thought of as the kings on their thrones."  [11]  

As far as I understand (and feel free to correct me on this), but I've seen nothing indicating that "the Elders of this Church" were "thought of as the kings on their thrones" 26 years later, or in 1882.  In fact, 8 days shy of that 26 year deadline (on August 23, 1882), Elder Rudger Clawson was tried and convicted of practicing polygamy (in fact, he became the first practicing polygamist to be convicted and serve a sentence after the passage of the Edmunds Act). [12]   He was imprisoned and fined for his marriages. [13]   

Let's call that "Strike One."

In 1961, another "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" -- Joseph Fielding Smith - said at a Honolulu Stake conference in 1961:

"We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen."  [14]

Strike Two.

(Even cooler: A decade later, on September 14, 1971, the Apollo 15 astronauts presented Joseph Fielding Smith a Utah state flag that traveled with them to the moon).  [15]

On March 11-19, 2017, Elder Neal A. Andersen visited the Caribbean. He spent a week visiting the "tropical paradises" of Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, giving all kinds of wonderful assurances to the Latter-day Saints. He presided over a host of different meetings all over the islands.



Speaking of the Caribbean area saints, Elder Andersen said, "The Lord is blessing these people, and He's giving them His peace and His Spirit."  [16]

Elder Hugo E. Martinez, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Caribbean Area Presidency, said "Elder Andersen had a message of hope in the future of Puerto Rico that resonated with many members," [16]

Five months later -- August 30, 2017 to September 12, 2017 - Category 5 Hurricane Irma hit Saint Martin, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. It left 134 fatalities and $1 billion in damages.  [17]

Then, a few days later -- September 16, 2017 - October 2, 2017 - Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean. A deadly Category 5 hurricane, it is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect those islands. 

  • Puerto Rico: Its 175 mph winds killed 2,975 people in just Puerto Rico. A month and a half after the hurricane left, San Juan Puerto Rico Stake President Wilfred Rosa said, "The hurricane was so tough. We still have people struggling just to find food and water. We wait in long lines to get supplies. And, for most people, there's still no [running] water or power." [18]   Three months after the hurricane, 45% of Puerto Ricans (over 1.5 million people) still had no power.  [19]
  • Dominica: More than 85% of the island's houses were damaged, of which more than 25% were completely destroyed, leaving more than 50,000 of the island's 73,000 residents to be displaced. [20] 
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: Nearly a month after the hurricane, electricity had been restored to only 16% of people in St. Thomas and 1.6% of people in St. Croix. [21]   Three months after Maria, about half the entire U.S. territory still had no power, and 25% of the U.S. territory had no cell service.  [22]

Hurricane Maria is still ranked as the third costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricane in U.S. history -- $90 billion in damages.

I don't know very many people who would consider twin Category 5 hurricanes which killed a combined 3,100+ people a "blessing" which led to them experiencing "His peace and His Spirit."

Strike Three.

Ironically, in October 2017, while Caribbeans were still reeling from the after-effects of Hurricane Maria, Elder Andersen gave a talk in General Conference. Entitled "The Voice of the Lord," he stated, "In the commotion and confusion of our modern world, trusting and believing in the words of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve is vital to our spiritual growth and endurance."  [23]

His speech included no mention of Hurricanes Irma or Maria just months after he went and blessed the land and its people as an apostle of the Lord. As the poor saints in the Caribbean had no electricity at the time, they were not favored to hear the Lord speak through his apostle in General Conference as they pondered whether the Lord had forsaken them.

"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."  [24]

"What are we to understand by a Prophet? It is his character to predict things that are in the future. I ask what right has any man or set of men or priest of set of priests to say if a man will not do so and he shall be damn'd. Is he not taking upon himself or assuming the character of a Prophet? Consequently he must either be a true of false Prophet."  [25]

The bottom line:

If these "Prophets, Seers and Revelators" are clearly wrong about a few things, what else are they wrong about?

Again, as has been demonstrated numerous times here on this blog, we are commanded in the scriptures to trust in no man; only Jesus Christ. Those who trust in the arm of flesh will invariably see falsehoods and inaccuracies. In fact, I shutter to think of the fate awaiting those who consider themselves unfailing (a synonym for infallible)  [26]  and therefore like unto God.


SOURCES

 1.   1 Thessalonians 5:21
 2.   Jeremiah 28:9
 3.   Matthew 7:15-18
 4.   Galatians 1:8
 5.   3 Nephi 24:6
 6.   Mormon 9:9
 7.   Mormon 9:10
 8.   Journal of Discourses 5:77
 9.   Journal of Discourses 5:177
10.   Journal of Discourses 10:339
11.   A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, August 31, 1856; Journal of Discourses 4:40.
12.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudger_Clawson
13.   Wikipedia, 19th Century (Mormonism), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/19th_century_(Mormonism)
14.   D. Michael Quinn, Elder statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark (2002), p. 498
15.   http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com/2008/10/september-14th.html
16.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/elder-andersen-shares-message-of-hope-with-members-in-caribbean
17.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Irma#Caribbean
18.   https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2017-10-12/mormon-leader-in-puerto-rico-we-dont-want-to-be-forgotten-15941
19.   Robles, Frances; Bidgood, Jess (December 29, 2017). "Three Months After Maria, Roughly Half of Puerto Ricans Still Without Power". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 2, 2018
20.   Ian Pannell; Emily Taguchi; Ashley Louszko (October 18, 2017). "'It's all gone': Hurricane-ravaged Dominica, on the front line of climate change, fighting to survive". ABC News. Archived from the original on October 22, 2017.
21.   Erdman, Jonathan (October 20, 2017). "Why Hurricane Maria Was Such a Catastrophe in Puerto Rico". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018.
22.   Pérez-Peña, Richard (December 18, 2017). "Recovering What Was Lost in the U.S. Virgin Islands, One Boat at a Time". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 5, 2018.
23.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2017/10/the-voice-of-the-lord?lang=eng
24.   Deuteronomy 18:20-22
25.   Words of Joseph Smith, p. 230
26.   https://www.google.com/search?q=unfailing&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS911US911&oq=unfailing



Saturday, July 3, 2021

Is the Church’s COVID-19 "vaccine" advocacy leading you astray? Could it kill you, or is it OK?

What if you decide not to take the jab?


It's become increasingly obvious that when it comes to taking the COVID-19 vaccination, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

In January (and again in March, in a General Handbook of Instructions update), the First Presidency said, "Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination. In making that determination, we recommend that, where possible, they counsel with a competent medical professional about their personal circumstances and needs."  [1] 

Two months later, they added this statement to the General Handbook:

"Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life. Ultimately, individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination. If members have concerns, they should counsel with competent medical professionals and also seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost." [2] 

So, what happens if your doctor and/or the Holy Ghost recommends not taking the jab, and you obey their advice? Clearly the church would discourage your dissing their advice.

But here's the deal: If you don't get the COVID-19 shot, you're considered a bad global citizen (and by implication, a bad Christian)…

"…the Church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization."  [3]

…who is therefore unworthy to serve in significant church callings, like the Tabernacle Choir…


…and not supportive/sustaining of the Prophet (who got his jab while calling it a "godsend"): [4] 


To underscore its commitment to COVID-19 vaccination:
  • In February 2021, the church humanitarian aid non-profit, Latter-day Saint Charities, gave $20 million to support COVAX, a global campaign to provide 2 billion COVID-19 injections to people in low- and middle-income countries. [4]
  • On June 16, 2021, the church's Church Educational System Administration Board of Trustees (composed of the First Presidency and several apostles) announced that BYU-Hawaii students are required to get the COVID-19 jab in order to attend that school. [5] 
So there you have it: If you don't take the jab, then you don't sustain the prophet, the Brethren and the Church, you aren't a good citizen and you don't care about others' health. 

What if you decide to take the jab?


Obviously, you're going to be perceived as a good, obedient citizen, Christian and member.

But are there consequences as well?

I think there's a pretty good chance. Let's read Revelation 18:23: 

"And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived."

That's a pretty interesting verse right there when you read it in Greek. Take the word "sorceries," for example. In Greek it is the word pharmakeia - the root word for words we commonly use today, like pharmacist and pharmaceutical.

But have "all nations" been "deceived" about a pharmaceutical (specifically, the COVID-19 jab)?

On its way tripping over itself to embrace "the jab," have church leaders missed sight of the fact that the COVID-19 jab harms, injures and even kills people at rates never before seen and in ways which are undeniable?

Could they have been deceived, and in so doing, have deceived church members?

Let's take an in-depth look. Note that in these notes, I am wholly disinterested in conjecture, assumption and ill-founded conclusions. All I'm interested in are facts - and if stated by an expert, then all the much better. And if those facts are unjustifiably censored by Facebook and/or Google, then all the much better (because it's been my experience that those who seek to hide or bury truths are scared of them):



"A Global Faith Leader"

How can something so destructive be so praised by the church and its leaders?

Can a "prophet" ever mislead us? Here is what we are told:

As Pres. Dallin H Oaks recently stated,

“They [the apostles] teach and counsel as directed by the Holy Ghost, with no desire other than to speak what is true. Their voices can be trusted. Their voices are: clear, unpolluted, unbiased. You can always count on them. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord.” [6]

"The Church of Jesus Christ has always been led by living prophets and apostles. Though mortal and subject to human imperfection, the Lord's servants are inspired to help us avoid obstacles that are spiritually life threatening and to help us pass safely through mortality to our final, ultimate, heavenly destination . . . While neither perfect nor infallible, these good men and women have been perfectly dedicated to leading the work of the Lord forward as He has directed." [7] 

Please review the facts regarding the jab I've included above. 
Do these facts demonstrate that "the Lord's servants" 
are helping you to "pass safely through mortality"?

Yet as I demonstrated in my past post, [1] We are told unequivocally NOT to trust in the arm of flesh, without exception and [2] prophets CAN screw up -- big time. It's happened before. Multiple scriptures and early church leaders repeatedly warned us not to trust in the arm of flesh, be they church leaders or not. 

Yet we, as a church culture, are instructed and advised to ignore such warnings, and that despite the absence of such, there's never, ever been an asterisk, exception or escape hatch to the "trust in the arm of flesh" injunctions.

Joseph Smith Jr. is considered the head of this dispensation. Here's what he said about trusting in the arm of (medical expert) flesh:

"I preached to a large congregation at the stand, on the science and practice of medicine, desiring to persuade the Saints to trust in God when sick, and not in an arm of flesh, and live by faith and not by medicine, or poison; and when they were sick, and had called for the Elders to pray for them, and they were not healed, to use herbs and mild food." [8]  

He later warned members about those physicians "going about the country pretending to cure you of all diseases, and you swallow what they give you like young robins, without knowing what it is. I wonder you don't die, taking their nostrums!"

Why is it that some are so eager to throw Brother Joseph under the bus and disregard his words? Why do they instead believe Russell M. Nelson is a prophet who's looking out for your best interests…when multiple, multiple facts prove otherwise?

Which prophet do you believe: Russell M Nelson (who trusts modern medical doctors) or Brother Joseph (who said we shouldn't)?

Could the tiebreaker be "By their fruits ye shall know them"? [9]  If that is the case, then what kind of fruits are the COVID-19 injections producing? What do the facts demonstrate?

Historically, prophets have warned mankind to repent. They were adamant that people not focus on the messenger, but the message, of repentance.  

These days, we are receiving NO message of impending destruction, 
but instead, a message to partake IN destruction.

With the church's steadfast, eager promotion of the COVID-19 injection, I'll leave it to you to evaluate the facts and judge if the church is misleading you today.

After all, the only thing hinging on your judgment is your mortal life (as you entrust your life, and the lives of your family, to pro-COVID-19 injection advocates) and your eternal soul (if you feel God's now OK with your trusting in the arm of flesh).

If (and likely, when) the mass casualties start happening, there's a very good chance that those who followed the prophet and got the jab will be fearful as they see the death count rise. What does one do in such an instance? How do we prevent and combat the inevitable despondency, depression and demoralization? [10] 

SOURCES

1.   First Presidency News Release, January 19, 2021
2.   38.7.13; https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/general-handbook/38-church-policies-and-guidelines?lang=eng
3.   First Presidency News Release, January 19, 2021
4.   https://www.deseret.com/faith/2021/4/29/22407953/president-nelson-on-covid-19-vaccine-comments-speeches-actions-prayers-shot-church-news
5.   https://news.byuh.edu/announcements/covid-19-immunization-requirement-for-students-beginning-fall-2021
6.   “The Lord Leads His Church through Prophets and Apostles”, Ensign, March, 2020.
7.   M Russell Ballard, "God Is at the Helm," Oct 2015 General Conference
8.   Joseph Smith - History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sunday September 4, 1841,Vol. 4:414
9.   Matthew 7:16-20
10.   https://www.bitchute.com/video/TYXeUgOHTohC



Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Doctrinal Absurdity of Prophetic Infallibility

I ended my June 6th post quoting D&C 112:10: "Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers"

The implications of this scripture are staggering: What if a leader ISN'T humble? If that's the case, then he/she will have a tough time hearing the Lord over their own awesomeness, rendering the Lord incapable of leading them by the hand and answering their prayers.

The instant response by members is that regardless of what D&C 112:10 says, the Lord will NEVER allow the church president to lead us astray. It's a teaching even Pres. Nelson pointedly highlighted to a group of youngsters:


(This video is more my speed).



Members will also say that we always have Official Declaration 1, which was formally accepted as scripture and made binding upon the saints on October 6, 1890. AFTER Pres. Woodruff's announcement and President Snow's motion, we are given "Excerpts from Three Addresses by President Wilford Woodruff Regarding the Manifesto". There, we read,

"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty." 

Those statements were NOT included in the portion voted upon by the saints on October 6, 1890. [1]  It is NOT scripture. Like each section's headings, it's additional information providing context which the Church wants you to see.

_____________________________________________________________________________

(Added 7/15/21): If you look at the official publication of OD1, you'll see the following:

"I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me nor any other man who stands as the President of this Church, to lead you astray. It Is not In the programme. It is not In the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray ffrom the oracles cf God and from their duty. God bless you. Amen." (Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, Vol. 23, No. 271, p. 2, column 6)


"I say to Israel" is a far cry from what we would expect from an Official Declaration ("Thus sayeth the Lord"). That's because these words are not the Lord's; they're Wilford Woodruff's...by his own admission.
____________________________________________________________________________

In all actuality, you will never find a scripture stating leaders are infallible. You WILL, however, find multiple scriptures stating that you shouldn't put your trust in man...

Should you put your trust in a man?


"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." [2]

"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." [3] 

True to form, many true believing members will offer an exemption to these scriptures, saying that when a prophet speaks, he is doing so not as a man, but as God's messenger. Here's what several of the church's founding fathers said about this teaching:

"President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel-said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church-that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls-applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall-that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves." [4] 

"What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? 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 the 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, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually." [5] 

"Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a President; if you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support will be gone; but if we lean on God, He will never fail us. When men and women depend upon God alone and trust in Him alone, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside". [6] 

The scriptures contain a curse on those who follow man or put their trust in man's arm. [7] In fact, those who do "follow the prophet" and not the Lord will eventually find themselves consigned to telestial, not celestial, glory. [8] Nephi's final address warns the gentiles how vulnerable they are to this mistake, and how they will be cursed as a consequence. He offers hope, however, conditioned on repentance and return to following the Lord. [9]   

As one fellow blogger stated,

"The phrase "follow the prophet" does not appear anywhere in scripture. It does not appear there because it is an institutional invention designed to reduce resistance to centralized church decision-making. It was implemented deliberately during the administration of David O. McKay. It is an idea which is altogether alien to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead, what appears in the scriptures is a curse pronounced on those who follow man or put their trust in man's arm.  Nephi's final address warns the gentiles how vulnerable they are to this mistake, and how they will be cursed as a consequence. He offers hope, however, conditioned on repentance and return to following the Lord." [10] 

"Mormon" - A case study in contradictory prophets


One example of the ridiculousness of this teaching can be found in the current doctrine regarding usage of the world's newest four-letter word, "Mormon." 

In the April 1990 General Conference, then-Elder Russell M Nelson gave an address titled "Thus Shall My Church Be Called." [11] In it, he condemned the "too frequent use of the term 'Mormon Church.'"

Six months later, in the October 1990 General Conference, then-Pres. Gordon B Hinckley gave a rebuttal talk, titled "Mormon Should Mean 'More Good'". [12] It was a rather lengthy essay into why Elder Nelson's talk was making a mountain out of a molehill…much ado about nothing.

In between 2011 and 2018 (when Pres. Nelson assumed the church presidency), the church aggressively promoted its worldwide "I'm A Mormon" campaign. [13]  The campaign emphasized facts about LDS Church membership through cultural and racial diversity of individuals (especially Mormon celebrities) and tens of thousands of members profiled. 



Fast forward 28 loooong years of Pres. Nelson privately fuming over the public humiliation that Pres. Hinckley inflicted on him. In the October 2018 General Conference, now-President Nelson said that "To remove the Lord's name from the Lord's Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior's name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us-even His Atonement." [14]  

That's a pretty extraordinary statement considering every one of Pres. Nelson's predecessors, lots of Mormon celebrities and church members not only proudly used the word "Mormon", but the church also spent millions and millions of dollars promoting it. Consequently, Pres. Nelson wasted no time in not only nullifying Pres. Hinckley's pro-Mormon enthusiasm, but also classifying its usage by all the aforementioned members as a "victory for Satan." 

Hence, the "Mormon Tabernacle Choir" became the ever-memorable "Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square," and 89 years of name identification evaporated, just like that. That 2014 documentary, "Meet the Mormons" and the abbreviation "LDS"? On the outs.


Here is another video of various prophets and apostles handing Satan a victory:



Now that Pres. Nelson has successfully thrown every one of his predecessors, several of his fellow Q15 members  and tens of thousands of lay church members under the bus (all believing they were doing the right thing), we are now told that those efforts were not only wrong, but were also a victory for Satan?

Why are we told this now?

This situation begs for dozens of questions. Here are a few just off the top of my head:
  • Who was right and who was wrong? Pres. Hinckley/Monson (and their predecessors), or Pres. Nelson?
  • If Pres. Hinckley/Monson (and their predecessors) were in the wrong, then:
    • Why did they encourage we members to score tons of victories for Satan?
    • Why didn't God tell these prior prophets that all of us were scoring victories for Satan?
  • If Pres. Nelson is wrong, then what are the implications of the church's continuing to preach that prophets can never lead us astray? 
  • If we have prophets contradicting each other, then how you can you trust what a prophet says is from God?
  • If one of these prophets was incorrect, then how could a true prophet be so wrong about so many important things?

When "Follow the Prophet" was actually a test of a lying prophet


This "Nelson vs all the other church presidents" feud isn't the only one in recorded history.

Ever heard of Hananiah? Keep reading (this is good). 

Lehi abandoned the doomed city of Jerusalem in the first year of Zedekiah’s eleven-year reign.  At that time, to an unrepentant people, divine prophets appeared to be harbingers of doom, while false prophets were perceived as emissaries of peace and mercy. Jeremiah, for example, wrote to the captives in Babylonia telling them to build homes, plant gardens, and marry off their children so that they would grow during the long years of captivity. The prophet Hananiah, on the other hand, promised in the name of the Lord that within two years, God would bring them all back to their homes in Palestine. [15] While Jeremiah cried war (sword, spear, and fire), other prophets (like Hananiah) pacified the sinful people with “Peace, peace!” [16]

This catalyzed a show-down between Hananiah and Jeremiah, with one prophet telling the truth, and the other making "this people to trust in a lie":

"Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people that stood in the house of the Lord,
Even the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the Lord do so: the Lord perform thy words which thou hast prophesied, to bring again the vessels of the Lord's house, and all that is carried away captive, from Babylon into this place.
Nevertheless hear thou now this word that I speak in thine ears, and in the ears of all the people;
The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.
The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.
Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie."  [17]

Did you see that? Hananiah -- a "prophet" -- was making the people "trust in a lie."

Proof positive that prophets can indeed "lead you astray." It CAN BE in the programme. It CAN BE in the mind of God. And if a prophet attempts that, the Lord MAY NOT remove him out of his place. 

Pick your favorite contradictory doctrine (as endorsed by differing prophets)


Hananiah isn't the only one who went astray. Aaron was a prophet. Go read about how he endorsed the golden calf. His mentor and brother, Moses, disobeyed God and split the rock. Both led Israel astray. Yet neither were removed from their places. 

Brigham Young denied blacks the priesthood. Spencer W. Kimball authored Official Declaration 2. Both said their contradictory actions were approved by God. Neither was immediately removed for their beliefs and teachings. Who was right? (And don't tell me God changed His mind or succumbed to societal pressure). 

The fact is, there are dozens of teachings/doctrines where Prophet A and Prophet B disagreed with each other. And some of those doctrines (like polygamy, interracial marriage, Adam-God doctrine, divorce and more) affected both the temporal AND eternal lives of many people.

What happens when a church president transgresses? Let's consult the D&C.


We also have D&C 107:82-84:

"And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the High Priesthood;
And their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him.
Thus, none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God, that all things may be done in order and in solemnity before him, according to truth and righteousness." 

Why would the Lord include that in the scriptures unless it was necessary? As a matter of fact, the Common Council of the Church was convened in 1844 when members excommunicated Sidney Rigdon in absentia.

So the scriptures contain instances when prophets led people astray. They also contain provisions for when a Church President is out of line. And history shows that prophets can contradict each other on significant doctrines affecting many lives.

It's logical to assume that prophetic infallibility is not the Lord's way. Members of the church get very uncomfortable with this view because it makes them feel vulnerable. Like….you know…you need to be personally accountable for your salvation.



It's very comforting to feel that everything a church authority teaches is straight from the mouth of God.

It makes a person feel relief that they don't have to discern the words - and this is precisely why this teaching is so readily embraced.

Once a person understands that they have to discern the words of their leaders, it puts them in a position of having to answer for themselves for their salvation.

And THAT is the Lord's way.

SOURCES

1.  Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2/
2.  Psalm 118:8
3.  2 Nephi 28:31
4.  Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 237-38
5.  Brigham Young, JD 9:150
6.  George Q. Cannon, First Counselor in the First Presidency, Deseret Weekly, 43:322, Mar 7, 1891
7.  2 Nephi 4: 34; 2 Nephi 28: 31; D&C 1: 19
8.  D&C 76: 98-101
9.  2 Nephi 28: 31-32
10.  http://barerecord.blogspot.com/2018/04/443-spine-tingling-thrill-to-be-in-his.html
11.  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1990/04/thus-shall-my-church-be-called?lang=eng
12.  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1990/10/mormon-should-mean-more-good?lang=eng
13.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27m_a_Mormon
14.  https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2018/10/the-correct-name-of-the-church?lang=eng
15.  Jeremiah 28:1–4; 29:1, 4–7
16.  Jeremiah 6:13–14, 22–29
17.  Jeremiah 28: 5-9, 15. Emphasis mine.

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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Tithe Payers: Look What You Just Bought!

After many years of paying tithing, I think you and I just may have justification for a free trip and hotel stay in Maui.

You see, after having paid many thousands of dollars over the years to the church in the form of tithing, I feel I'm entitled to my free vacay. That's because the church recently spent $100 million to purchase a hotel in Maui.


By Janis L. Magin  –  Senior Editor, Pacific Business News
Jun 15, 2021, 8:16pm EDT
An affiliate of the Utah-based real estate arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has purchased the Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea hotel for just under $100 million, according to public records.

75 Wailea Ike Drive LLC, an affiliate of Laie-based Hawaii Reserves Inc. and Salt Lake City-based Property Reserve, closed on the acquisition of the 200-room limited-service hotel on 6.4 acres mauka of the Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, on March 19 for $99.3 million.

The seller was Piilani Hotels LLC, an affiliate of R.D. Olson Development and Joseph Martelli Real Estate Investments Inc., which developed the all-suite hotel in Wailea that was completed and opened in 2016.

R.D. Olson had acquired the land from Alexander & Baldwin in 2014 for $10.6 million and spent an undisclosed amount to build the hotel, which remained open to airline and cruise crews last year during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was the second limited-service hotel on Maui for the developer, whose affiliate R.D. Olson Construction also built the 138-room Courtyard by Marriott near Kauhului Airport that opened in 2012.

R.D. Olson Construction also recently completed Maui’s first AC Hotel by Marriott in Wailea, a four-story, 100-room hotel built on 3.7 acres just makai of the Residence Inn in Waliea that R.D. Olson bought from A&B in 2017 for $3.6 million. The hotel opened on May 21.

R.D. Olson Development recently closed on the purchase of 6.3 acres at Maui Business Park in Kahului for $10.9 million for a second hotel near the airport.

Hawaii Reserves owns at least one other hotel in Hawaii — the Laie Courtyard by Marriott hotel next to the Polynesian Cultural Center.

The AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea opened on May 21 next door to the Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea.

Wow, check this place out!


Please go here to check out the hotel your tithing dollars invested in: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hnmmc-wailea-beach-resort-marriott-maui/

You'll notice that the Marriott Maui Wailea has lots of room options. For example, the "Garden View Room Guest room, 1 King or 2 Queen" (https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-rooms/details/hnmmc-wailea-beach-resort-marriott-maui/terr/) goes for about $1,400 a night. How about the other rooms? I'll save you some time; most cost a lot more.


Here's the dining area:


I can just see Jesus, the beggars, the lepers and other social outcasts feeling right at home here. Talk about the perfect spot to eat, drink and be merry!


"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:16-21)


"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

Boy does this open up a multitude of questions!

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:

  • According to the church (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/tithing?lang=eng), "Tithing funds are always used for the Lord’s purposes—to build and maintain temples and meetinghouses, to sustain missionary work, to educate Church members, and to carry on the work of the Lord throughout the world." For which of these purposes is the hotel to be used for:. 
    • Building and maintaining temples? (Unless it'll be converted into a temple, doubtful) 
    • Sustaining missionary work? (Very doubtful that it will become the Hawaii MTC)
    • Educating church members? (Unless it's surfing lessons, no)
    • Carrying on the work of the Lord throughout the world? (Also very doubtful)
  • With those stated purposes of tithing money not applicable, then why does the Church need a 200-room limited-service hotel on 6.4 acres of Maui?
  • If it's for investment purposes, then how does the church's investment strategy align with Matthew 6:19-21 (above)?
  • Who will be staying at the hotel?
  • In order for the hotel to be Marriott branded, the church is going to have to pay hefty licensing fees. To whom will these fees be paid? Are they members of the church?
  • With bishops telling ward leaders that budget allocations are based on "sacred funds," what is to be said to those wards struggling to get decent budget funds?
  • It seems like we just went through a pandemic. There were / are a lot of people hurting around the world that could have used some help. What are we to say to those who are unemployed these days and even struggling to pay rent/mortgage, food and astronomical health care costs?
  • What is the scriptural justification for purchasing hotels?
  • Who do I contact for my free vacay? I wonder what they would say if I call the hotel (808-879-1922)?
  • Is there no more need for schools, hospitals, water wells, homeless shelters, womens and childrens shelters, etc?

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Saturday, June 12, 2021

President Nelson: A Leader to Worship

Idolatry 101

The first two of the Ten Commandments the Lord gave the children of Israel were "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," and "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."  [1]

The term idolatry usually refers to the worship of a graven image, or an imagined, unseen deity. But idolatry may also exist on many levels: some worship a different deity, other humans, material possessions or achievements. In essence, idolatry is worshipping anything instead of God. It's substituting something in front of, or even in, God's place.

The Old Testament contains seemingly innumerable instances in which the Lord's prophets -- including Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel -- denounced idolatry.   [2] The Lord constantly warned Israel against idolatry. Yet Israel disobeyed, and was led into captivity.   [3]

We, too, are of the house of Israel. Ten Commandments are just as applicable today as they were for the ancient Israelites. The message is crystal clear to all, throughout history: Go after a different god, or worship someone or something ahead of God, and you, too, will reap the whirlwind. Nothing -- absolutely nothing -- should come between you and God.

Yet interestingly enough, idolatry seems to have dropped off the Lord's radar, because He's not talking about it anymore. "Idolatry" has been mentioned 194 times in general conferences and discourses stretching back to the 1850s. But as we can see in the chart below, it hasn't been mentioned at all lately -- not since Elder Christofferson brought it up in the April 2012 General Conference. 


Wow! That's pretty soothing news! Just when I thought people had hit the zenith in their idolatry, it's not a problem (or at least a topic worth noting) anymore.

Latter-Day Idolatry? Nothing to see Here!

Which leads me to a devotional address given four days ago -- June 8, 2021 -- by Sister Michelle D. Craig (Young Women General Presidency First Counselor) at BYU-Hawaii. [4]  On the surface, her topic -- "The Lurking Danger of Spiritual Complacency" -- is definitely appropriate for these days (IMHO, anyone who equates Sun Tzu's teachings with spiritual warfare gets some bonus points).

Unfortunately, none of the Lord's brilliant spiritual warfare strategies and tactics (as often mentioned in the scriptures) were referred to in her talk. Not. One.

She did quote two scriptures, but neither were from the Lord. And she did quote President Nelson -- twice. So, the tally in this talk on spiritual warfare: Nelson 2, Jesus 0.

She does warn how the devil is trying to set you up away from the church president. But there is no mention of a divide between you and the Lord.  The focus is on the devil dividing you away from the church president:


"Satan wants to create a wedge between you and the living prophet, to use any means or issue to undermine confidence in Him and thereby deprive us of the peace and power that comes from following His counsel," she said.

I think you would agree with me that idolatry could be likened as a wedge in between you and God. But now, church-owned publications (like the Church News, which published this article) and church leaders are taking the spotlight off the Lord and onto a mortal, in direct contravention to all the Lord has said about idolatry. In fact, to underscore this point, the Church News is now referring to the Church President with capitalization -- in this case, capital H for "His" AND "Him." Right up there with divinity.

Editing errors? Or a new era? 

My vote is "Neither." This isn't the first time the church has subtly reinforced this message that "It's OK to have leaders in between you and God." 

Ironically, Elder Andersen said in the April 2018 General Conference, "A prophet does not stand between you and the Savior. Rather, he stands beside you and points the way to the Savior." Yet 11 months later, guess who was doing what in Rome? (I have no idea why Elder Andersen would be standing there grinning as his words are being crushed to powder. Would you?)


This elevation of the 15 -- to a status where it is perfectly natural to expect them to stand in between you and Jesus -- is strictly reinforced. Over the decades, it has become part of rock-solid LDS culture to stand when a leader enters, stay sitting as long as the leader sits, then stand until he has exited the chapel.


This behavior is reinforced by church leaders at all levels of the church. 

Some may say these actions are voluntary, and for some, that's probably true. But (1) that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do and (2) leaders reinforce this behavior anyway. Here is Elder Joni L Koch of the Seventy instructing members to stand upon Elder Gary L. Stevenson's entrance into a chapel:


Members don't equate this stand up / stay sitting / pay extraordinary deference to its leaders as hero worship; they think they are only being respectful to the calling. Yet respect shouldn't mean singling out one person, giving them preferential treatment and ignoring everyone else. It means treating everyone - everyone! - kindly and respectfully.

My bet: Someday soon, it'll be acceptable to bear testimony of the Brethren instead of the Lord. 

Far-fetched? Nope. Here's a portion of an email one member received:


And of course, lest we forget an apostle's birthday…



So much for this scripture:

"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." [5]

Think this is limited to the Brethren? Think again.

Another member informed me that their stake center has a wall with 8x10 framed professional photos of all the stake presidents over the years. This mirrors my own experiences, where high council rooms devoted many square feet of wall space to the 15 brethren. The Lord? He got an 11x17 picture in the far corner.

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory [inordinate pride in oneself or one's achievements; excessive vanity]; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." [6]

"for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."  [7]

"For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." [8]

I shouldn't have to say this, but please…please do the opposite: Come unto Jesus.


QUESTIONS

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:

  • Where are the examples of this type of treatment being lavished upon Christ's original apostles in the New Testament?
  • As a member, are you encouraging vainglory, highly esteeming and even exalting others? Are you perpetuating these beliefs in others, including your children?
  • How do you define "Cult of Personality"? [9]
  • How do you feel about associating with those who continually idolize church leaders?
  • Where is the simple servant-oriented, Christ-based leadership supposedly restored by Joseph Smith?

SOURCES

1.  Exodus 20:3-4
2.  Isaiah 44:6-10; Jeremiah 2; 3:6; 5:7; Ezekiel 6:2-9; 8:6-17; 14
3.  Jeremiah 5:19
4.  https://www.thechurchnews.com/living-faith/2021-06-09/sister-michelle-craig-byu-hawaii-avoid-spiritual-complacency-215695
5.  2 Nephi 25:26
6.  Philippians 2:3
7.  Luke 16:15
8.  Luke 14:11
9.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_personality

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