Skip to comments.Can Mormons Trust Their Prophets?
Posted on 03/10/2012 8:35:10 AM PST by Colofornian
The topic of Mormon folklore seems to be a popular one right now, following on the heels of the racially offensive comments made by BYU Professor Randy Bott last week (see Did the Mormon Church ever discriminate against black people? on Mormon Coffee). As Mormons scramble to try to distance the LDS Church from its past, over and over they tell the world that the things taught by now-gone Mormon leaders regarding the priesthood banand about black people in a broader senseamounts to nothing more than folklore, speculation and mere opinion. In an official statement the LDS Church said,
It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church [i.e., the ban against blacks holding the priesthood] but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine.
The use of the thats-not-official-thats-just-his-opinion defense among Mormons is not limited to the priesthood ban. For example, if you were to tell a Mormon that LDS apostle Orson Pratt taught that the Virgin Mary was the lawful wife of God the Father, or that Brigham Young taught that interracial marriage between Caucasians and Africans would forever carry a penalty, under the law of God, of death on the spot, more often than not you would hear, Thats not official. Thats just his opinion. (Sources for the teachings cited: Orson Pratt, The Seer, 158; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 10:110. See also John Lewis Lunds The Church and the Negro, 1967, 54.)
In an article addressing this common Mormon objection to many early LDS teachings, Vincent McCann from Spotlight Ministries makes some good points. He notes several reasons Mormons cannot really rest in the idea that official Mormonism is only found in the Standard Works of the Church:
One point Mr. McCann makes is often overlooked by Latter-day Saints. That is, Mormons who want to downgraded the doctrinal teachings of past prophets to mere folklore generally fail to consider the effect these teachings had on real people who believed their Mormon prophets. Mr. McCann writes,
Although many Mormons do not view other LDS writings as official Scripture (for example, The Seer or The Journal of Discourses), it should be remembered that many of these writings consist of the words of very prominent leaders in the Mormon Church. As such individuals commanded great respect they were certainly influential over the rank and file. Their statements must have carried some weight. Mormon leaders in prominent positions, like Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, and Bruce R. McConkie, influenced those who looked to them for leadership. The words of these early LDS leaders did not just go out into a vacuum, they went [into] the hearts and minds of the Mormon people and were incorporated into their beliefs.
Therefore, when Mormon leaders taught people born with dark skin were reaping punishment for premortal behavior, Mormons then treated these people as an inferior race.
When Mormon leaders taught Adam was God, Mormons then worshiped a false god.
When Mormon leaders taught that polygamy was required for gaining eternal life, Mormons then submitted to behaviors contrary to biblical teaching.
When Mormon leaders taught that people must atone for some sins with their own blood, Mormons then helped those they believed needed to shed their blood (e.g., the Mountain Meadows Massacre).
If Mormons want to say certain LDS teachings were merely the non-authoritative personal opinions of the men who taught them, these Latter-day Saints must come to grips with the fact that these so-called prophets, while claiming to speak for God (but presumably knowing otherwise), led thousands of people astray.
Both options that these teachings were mere (faulty) opinions or that these teachings were at one time official doctrines of the LDS Church place a heavy burden on todays Mormons to explain.
The truth is, these prophets (and their teachings) were untrue. They did not speak for God or represent Him in any way.
God calls us to turn away from false prophets:
Thus says the Lord GOD: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations that [you] may be my people and I may be [your] God, declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 14: 6, 11)
May we all, at all times, heed Gods call.
From the blog: The topic of Mormon folklore seems to be a popular one right now, following on the heels of the racially offensive comments made by BYU Professor Randy Bott last week (see Did the Mormon Church ever discriminate against black people? on Mormon Coffee). As Mormons scramble to try to distance the LDS Church from its past, over and over they tell the world that the things taught by now-gone Mormon leaders regarding the priesthood banand about black people in a broader senseamounts to nothing more than folklore, speculation and mere opinion....The use of the thats-not-official-thats-just-his-opinion defense among Mormons is not limited to the priesthood ban. For example, if you were to tell a Mormon that LDS apostle Orson Pratt taught that the Virgin Mary was the lawful wife of God the Father, or that Brigham Young taught that interracial marriage between Caucasians and Africans would forever carry a penalty, under the law of God, of death on the spot, more often than not you would hear, Thats not official. Thats just his opinion. (Sources for the teachings cited: Orson Pratt, The Seer, 158; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 10:110. See also John Lewis Lunds The Church and the Negro, 1967, 54.)
So...why can't the Mormon church...and Mormons...rest upon their apologetical defense laurels of that's just "folklore..." that's just "speculation"...that's just "opinion..." and try to "move on?"
From the blog: Vincent McCann from Spotlight Ministries makes some good points. He notes several reasons Mormons cannot really rest in the idea that official Mormonism is only found in the Standard Works of the Church:
Ah...refreshing words vs. the verbal gymnastics & cartwheels done by the Mormon PR dept & Mormon FREEPERS & other Mormons I've encountered...to stress it again: "THE WORDS OF THESE EARLY LDS LEADERS DID NOT JUST GO OUT INTO A VACUUM, THEY WENT [INTO] THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE MORMON PEOPLE AND WERE INCORPORATED INTO THEIR BELIEFS."
Imagine that. A religion that absolutely EXPECTS and DEMANDS that their beliefs become embodied -- and don't remain abstract words bouncing up within some "vacuum" of people -- has trouble comprehending that its leaders' past teachings actually were absorbed & embodied & passed down, generation by generation...and many of these beliefs are STILL prevalent today!!!
This is where the moral shame comes in...that this won't be acknowledged as a basic dynamic truth of people who interact!
From the blog (bottom-line conclusion): If Mormons want to say certain LDS teachings were merely the non-authoritative personal opinions of the men who taught them, these Latter-day Saints must come to grips with the fact that these so-called prophets, while claiming to speak for God (but presumably knowing otherwise), led thousands of people astray.
Recovery from Mormonism (RfM) discussion forum.
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 14, 2012 10:21PMA Bl
essing from the Bigots: Black Mormon-Owned Slaves in HeavenOnly the Best for the Cursed
One such Mormon-owned slave was Jane Elizabeth Manning Jamesotherwise known among her Mormon friends and White overseers as Aunt Jane.
Aunt Jane was a faithful Black Mormon convert who worked in the household of Joseph and Emma Smith. After years of faithful belief and devotion to clean-up duty, she had the audacity to repeatedly petition the leaders of the Mormon Church to be sealed via temple endowment to her husband, but was denied her request by the Quorum of the Twelve.
Instead, she was made to settle for her White owner, Joseph Smithas his slave for time and all eternity:
The Territory of Utah gave up the practice of slavery along with the slave-holding states; however, the fact that they countenanced it when it was being practiced shows how insensitive they were to the feelings of black people. Even after the slaves were set free the Mormons continued to talk against blacks. In the year 1884, Angus M. Cannon said that a colored man . . . is not capable of receiving the Priesthood, and can never reach the highest Celestial glory of the Kingdom of God. (The Salt Lake Tribune, October 5, 1884)
The idea that blacks were inferior and should only be servants to the whites persisted in Mormon theology. In fact, Mormon leaders seemed to feel that blacks would still be servants in heaven. On August 26, 1908, President Joseph F. Smith related that a black woman was sealed as a servant to Joseph Smith:
The same efforts he said had been made by Aunt Jane to receive her endowments and be sealed to her husband and have her children sealed to their parents and her appeal was made to all the Presidents from President Young down to the present First Presidency. But President Cannon conceived the idea that, under the circumstances, it would be proper to permit her to go to the temple to be adopted to the Prophet Joseph Smith as his servant and this was done. This seemed to ease her mind for a little while but did not satisfy her, and she still pleaded for her endowments. (Excerpts From The Weekly Council Meetings Of The Quorum Of The Twelve Apostles, as printed in Mormonism-Shadow or Reality?, p. 584).
The idea that a black is only worthy of the position of a servant has deep roots in Mormon theology. Mark E. Petersen, . . . [former] Apostle in the church, once said that if a Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory. (Race Problems-As They Affect The Church, a speech delivered at Brigham Young University, August 27, 1954).
(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Changing the Anti-Black Doctrine, Chapter 10, Part 1, in The Changing World of Mormonism, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, at: http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech10a.htm)
Jane Elizabeth Manning James (1813-1908)even in faith, a victim of Mormon bigotry, RIP:
Jane Elizabeth Manning was born in Wilton, Connecticut, one of five children of Isaac and Phyllis Manning, a free black family. Although Jane was a member of the local Presbyterian Church, she remained spiritually unfulfilled until 1842 when she heard the message of a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . . .
Soon afterwards she joined the Mormon Church. One year following her conversion, Jane Elizabeth and several family members who had also converted decided to move to Nauvoo, Illinois, the headquarters of the Mormon Church. After traveling by boat to Buffalo, New York, the African American Mormons, unable to pay additional fares, began an eight-hundred-mile journey by foot to Nauvoo. In Nauvoo, Jane lived and worked in the home of Joseph Smith, Jr. the founder of the LDS Church and his wife, Emma.
Following the 1844 murder of Joseph Smith, Jr. and his brother Hyrum in Carthage, Illinois, Mormon leaders under Brigham Young decided to abandon Nauvoo and look for a safe haven in the West away from forces hostile to the LDS Church.
In the fall of 1847, Jane, her husband Isaac James whom she married in 1841, and two sons traveled across the plains to the new home of the LDS Church in the Salt Lake Valley. They were the first free black pioneers in the Mormon settlement and Jane would spend the remaining fifty-one years of her life in Utah. They shared the hardships of their fellow Mormons and engaged in the spirit of mutual aid and cooperation that characterized LDS pioneer life.
By the 1880s Jane became increasingly concerned about her place in the afterlife. Well aware of the LDS Churchs proscriptions that prohibited blacks from full participation in the rituals that were prerequisite to being eligible for a place in the celestial kingdom, she nonetheless argued for an exemption because of her faith.
Is there no blessing for me? she asked Church leaders for more than a decade. Those leaders refused her requests. They attempted to pacify her by authorizing her limited participation in LDS rituals.
Through it all, Jane Manning James remained a devout Mormon and is generally recognized in LDS history for her unwavering faith. Jane Manning James died in Salt Lake City in 1908.
A special monument to her is located in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, close to her gravesite, to commemorate her life and faith.
(Ronald G. Coleman, Is There No Blessing for Me?: Jane Elizabeth Manning James, A Mormon African American Woman, in Quintard Taylor and Shirley Ann Moore Wilson, eds., African American Women Confront the West, 1600-2000 [Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press 2003], at: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aaw/james-jane-elizabeth-manning-1813-1908)
Ahhhhh, how sweetly describedand deceptively presented.
That limited participation in LDS rituals, as it is euphemistically described above, is more fully laid out on pp. 152-157 of Colemans biography of Aunt Jane. There it is painfully detailed how, despite her faithfulnessand only because of her so-called cursed raceshe was relentlessly denied her personal plea for access to the Mormon temple for her own family sealing endowment.
The First Presidency also rejected her request to be adopted, via temple sealing, into the family of Joseph and Emma Smith, in whose home she faithfully worked as a servant.
The First Presidency eventually, out of the kindness of their white-and-delightsome hearts, did permit her to be eternally sealed to Joseph Smith as his servant.
(Tracking note: Google search Ronald G. Coleman Manning. Up will come African American Women Confront the West, 1600-2000 -Google Books Result. Click on that and Colemans article will appear).
More on the patronizing treatment she received from the Mormon Church:
. . . [H]ave you wondered why Jane walked to Nauvoo? It was because white Mormons would not allow her to ride with them or assist her in paying for passage. And once she arrived in Nauvoo the Beautiful, that Zion on the Mississippi, she was either rebuffed or ignored by her fellow Saints, until finally someone pointed out Joseph Smiths home to her.
Once she finally did meet Smith, he made Jane his house servant, and when Smith was murdered in 1844, Brigham Young then took in Jane James as his servant as well. Despite her faithful service to the church and its wealthy presidents, she lived most of her life in abject poverty.
She arrived in the new Zion of Utah among the first of the Saints in September 1847, the first free black woman in the territory, only to find that slavery was already being practiced there. Mormon Apostle Charles C. Rich owned slaves in Utah, which must have been a great trial of her faith. The only Western State or Territory to practice slavery was Utah.
She wished to be sealed to her loved ones for all eternity just like the white-skinned members of the congregation were allowed to be. For all of her sacrifice, the highest eternal blessing the Mormon church could offer Joseph Smiths former house servant was to seal her to Joseph Smith as his servant forever.
The words recited at this ceremony were that she was to be attached as a Servitor for eternity to the prophet Joseph Smith and in this capacity be connected with his family and be obedient to him in all things in the Lord as a faithful Servitor.
In essence, an eternal slave, bound to service a white master for eternity.
(For more on this final above account, along with a photograph of Jane Manning, see: Nauvoo Pageant 2007: Just Who is Jane Manning?, in Mormon Home Evening: Official Blog of Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach, 17 July 2007, at: http://mormonhomeevening.blogspot.com/2007/07/nauvoo-pageant-2007just-who-is-jane.html)
For all Jane Manning’s faithful service to J.Smith personally and the Mormon church, not only could she never receive the full “rewards” of Mormonhood, if she accepted and adhered to those beliefs and didn’t have the real Saviour in her heart, she died and went straight to hell.
That’s not a judgement on my part, that’s why I said “if” she hadn’t accepted Jesus as the One and only Son of God, she, through what she was taught and evidently accepted, bought into her own damnation.
What kind of justice awaits false prophets who mislead souls as Jane Manning was misled? It’s a rhetorical question because we both know the answer to that one.
1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
3. The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
4. The prophet will never lead the church astray.
5. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
6. The prophet does not have to say Thus Saith the Lord, to give us scripture.
7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
8. The prophet is not limited by mens reasoning.
9. The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
10. The prophet may advise on civic matters.
11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
13. The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidencythe highest quorum in the Church.
14. The prophet and the presidencythe living prophet and the First Presidencyfollow them and be blessedreject them and suffer.
I testify that these fourteen fundamentals in following the living prophet are true. If we want to know how well we stand with the Lord then let us ask ourselves how well we stand with His mortal captainhow close do our lives harmonize with the Lords anointedthe living ProphetPresident of the Church, and with the Quorum of the First Presidency.
Ezra Taft Benson
(Address given Tuesday, February 26, 1980 at Brigham Young University)
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned;
and I will go still further and say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has given,
and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned.
Brigham Young - JoD 3:266 (July 14, 1855)
Trust a prophet and get DAMNED,
or toss him under the bus and have the Spirit of APOSTACY bite me on the butt???
Official sites are sites supported by LDS officials unless said official sites are consider unofficial by said officials.At that point such sites are unofficial unless officially referenced for official purposes by officials who can do so officially.This should not be misconstrued as an indication that official sites can be unofficially recognized as official nor should it be implied that unofficial sites cannot contain official information, but are not officially allowed to be offical despite their official contents due the their unofficialness.Official sites will be official and recognized as official by officials of the LDS unless there is an official reason to mark them as unofficial either temporally or permanently, which would make the official content officially unofficial.This is also not to imply that recognized sites, often used here by haters cannot contain official information, it just means that content, despite its official status, is no longer official and should be consider unofficial despite the same information being official on an official site elsewhere.Even then the officialness my be amended due to the use of the unofficial information which may determine the officialness of anything be it official or unofficial depending on how and where it is used officially or unofficially.
Like the FACT that NONE of the Temple® rituals can be found in ANY of their scriptures?
Seriously; one should consider getting a real life beyond incessant LDS-hating. It isn’t becoming and in all likelihood such a constant fixation year after year cant be particularly good for anyone or their little chorus of synchronized ex-Mormon Freepers.
Hey, JTT...I love you...and that includes loving you with the truth!
What a dilemma.
What and who to believe...