General Conference April 2014. Sunday Morning Session, by Vince Mccann



President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

As with many of these presentations by modern LDS leaders, given in conference, there is much general content here that any Christian would agree with (and even many non-religious people). Uchtdorf reminds his listeners to be thankful and grateful for the blessings we have even in the hard trying times.

As is often the case in LDS culture, Joseph Smith is held up as a saintly example. In this instance, Uchtdorf speaks of Smith still maintaining an attitude of gratitude despite being held prisoner in the Carthage jail. Without knowing the full story, one would get the impression that Smith was some sort of innocent party or prisoner to injustice. However, the facts are that Smith was being held due to encouraging a mob to destroy printing presses that were publishing a newspaper exposing his activity around polygamy (The Nauvoo Expositor), not because he was suffering persecution for following Christ.

The scripture in 1 Peter 4:12-16 comes to mind regarding this issue:

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

It was at this prison that Smith met his untimely death at the hands of a those seeking revenge against him. Also lacking in the commonly accepted airbrushed history of this event in the minds of many Mormons is the fact that Smith retaliated back against his attackers by returning fire back at them. After this, Smith jumped from the window of the Carthage jail in an attempt to escape and gave a common Masonic cry: “O Lord, my God!“ in an apparent attempt to find help or some sort of restraint from possible fellow freemasons that may have been present in the mob (yes, Smith was a Freemason as well!). When Smith was announced dead after this attack he was found with an occultic item called a Jupiter Talisman.

Unfortunately, it appears that the majority of Mormons are unaware of the more accurate picture concerning Smith’s death. Rather, most tend to be exposed to an inaccurate and highly romanticized airbrushed version.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

In this presentation Elder Ballard asserts that we should not refer to Christ’s Church by any other name other than the one that the Lord Himself has declared: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and insists that the use of this name (rather than Mormon Church) identifies them as Christian to others. However, nowhere in the Bible do we find Jesus insisting that believers refer to His Church by this title and the Mormon Church was not always known by this name. 

Eric Johnson, of Mormonism Research Ministry, notes the following about the name changes that the Mormon Church has undergone in times past:

Another point is that the LDS Church’s title has not always had Christ’s name since its foundation on April 6, 1830. The Mormon scripture Doctrine and Covenants 20:1 reports that the original name of the church was the “Church of Christ.” In 1834, the name was changed to “The Church of Latter-day Saints” (History of the Church 2:63). This took place at a priesthood conference at which Joseph Smith was present. The vote was unanimous. Note that the name of Christ was completely omitted. This was the church’s official title until April 26, 1838 when it was changed again to its current name. (The Name of God’s Church,)

As for Ballard’s assertion that using the name of Jesus Christ in the title of the Church identifies them as Christian, it is an easy thing for a religious group to claim the name of Jesus but be far removed from a genuine Christian group.  

Ballard then goes on to follow up on a message he gave at the last LDS general conference whereby he urged members to pray and reach out to non-Mormons with the message of the LDS Church. He recounts a story whereby a member reached out to a non-member on Facebook with some success. Mormon leadership have been recently been encouraging members to spend more time in their witnessing endeavours on the internet. This is good news for those of us who seek to evangelize them, as we have more of an opportunity now than ever to share the genuine Gospel of Christ, and make them aware of the errors of Mormonism that many are simply unaware of.

Jean N. Stevens

I didn’t get too much from this presentation and, on the whole, found it to be a very general talk on trusting in God and having faith, which of course Christians in other churches would agree with. 

I did find it interesting that there was a quote by C.S. Lewis and viewed this as another attempt from the Mormon Church to sound more Christian (as with Ballard’s desire for Mormons to be identified as Christian on account of the Church’s name).

Stevens mentions a family who would be together forever on account of the Mormon temple ordinances and belief in the eternal family unit. However, I often think about the numerous problems that this doctrine holds for LDS people when one considers how a family can be together in eternity. For example, how can families be together forever  when each person would inevitably be at various levels of “worthiness” and therefore attain different places in the Mormon plan of eternal progression? What about a family member who denies the teachings of Mormonism?

Bishop Gary E. Stevenson

There appeared to be a little more obvious Mormon doctrine in this presentation than what is often found in the majority of these conference talks. Stevenson speaks about the LDS doctrine of the pre-existence, declaring: “Before you were born you existed as a spirit.” 

Although no scripture is offered up in this particular presentation, the usual biblical passage that is often cited to attempt to back this belief up by the average Mormon is Jeremiah 1:4-5:

Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

However, notice that it is ‘the Lord’ who is saying that He knew Jeremiah before he was born. This shouldn’t surprise us seeing that God is omniscient and eternal. Of course God would know Jeremiah and all people before He even created them. If this text stated that Jeremiah knew God before he was in the womb that would be better evidence of a pre-existence.

Stevenson states: “Your actions will determine whether you win the prize of eternal life.” and: “Certain things are absolutely essential” to attain this prize of eternal life. 

There is quite a list of things that follows that one must do to attain this prize of eternal life: “baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordinations, temple ordinances, and partaking of the sacrament each week” as well as “keeping the commandments” “receive an ordinance” “self discipline” “daily prayer, scripture study and church attendance” and “keeping the covenants.”

In contrast, the Bible states that eternal life is a “gift” not a “prize”:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

We can know that we have eternal life by simple faith in Christ:

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13)

Furthermore, the Bible also states that we are saved by faith alone in Christ not by performing some sort of tick list of good works:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Elder David A. Bednar

Bednar speaks about the load that each person carries and how this is necessary to produce spiritual growth. He then cites Jesus words in the Gospel of Matthew: 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matt. 11:28-29).

However, I find it odd that Bednar cites this passage as the point of it is that Jesus wants to relieve us of our heavy laden and give us rest in Him. However, when one understands LDS theology, with it’s emphasis on performance, and works orientated salvation (whereby Stevenson‘s previous presentation is a prime example of this), it is easy to see how Mormon people tragically miss the simple and liberating beauty of this wonderful passage

President Thomas S. Monson

Monson’s focus is on love in this presentation and how acts of kindness can bring people into the Mormon Church. Monson urges his listeners to love the people that LDS members come into contact with and to take every opportunity to do this.

As with many conference talks, however, I found this presentation to be very general, and one with which the majority of people (including non-religious people) would concur with on many issues (themes such as being forgiving, merciful, patient, kindness, etc.).

Personally, I found that this particular talk (as well as many of the others) lacked any real passion. Without being insulting, I actually found myself losing interest in this talk especially. 

After listening to the entire Sunday morning session I felt that many of the speakers (though not all) simply seemed to be going through the motions, being careful to say what they thought was the right thing to say, trying to fit in as much as possible with other churches, and not really presenting anything very substantial.

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29 Responses »

  1. Just a few notes to ponder.

    Joseph never incited a mob to destroy anything. The city counsel convened, and after duly consulting with the best legal advice available it was concluded that the City Charter of Nauvoo gave the City Counsel to do away with all nuisances, and that the Expositor legally fell into that category. On that conclusion the City Counsel order it shut down. Joseph Smith as Mayor acted under that authority when he sent the Sheriff to carry out the order. He and the City Counsel offered to pay for all damages, and he did admit that the actual destruction may have been more than was needed, but by all the laws at the time the act was justified.

    Also note that no one can know what was going on in Joseph’s mind when the mod attacked the jail. It is, however, commonly excepted that his actions were taken with the idea of relieving the others in the room (if he could get out the mob would no longer threaten John Taylor or Willard Richards).

    These facts are actually fairly common knowledge to my experience.

    • Utter revisionist history, the city council of Nauvoo had no legal authority it was supposed to be a purely administrative body, so the “best legal advice available” was bad advice.
      They did not convene a council meeting, they convened a kangaroo court and called it “a trial”, in order put the owners, publishers and contributors of the Expositor “on trial”, a trial that lasted a whole day.
      They then declared the one and only 4 page Issue of the paper a “Public Nuisance” and rather than order it be closed, ordered that its offices and properties be destroyed, simply because it drew attention to the activities of the leaders of the church and town as sexual deviants, swindlers and hypocrites.
      So much for the God given free agency of these men and their freedom of speech, to say nothing of the freedom of the press in Nauvoo.
      The town “law man” who was also on the council that made this illegal order, then lead a possy of over 200 men to utterly destroy the offices and press of the Expositor. 200 to close down a one room office and a press room?
      When the County and State legal authorities appealed to the governor who ordered the arrest of the entire town council, but specifically the Mayor (Smith) and his brother a leading councilor, Smith had his own town court overturn the arrest warrant (for the second time, a county summons had been similarly ignored previously), basically declaring his town as being above state and county law. Smith then basically declared war on the State and had his own private army defend the town against all comers, in effect imposing marshal law.
      Smith then being the great leader and loving prophet that he was RAN AWAY and left his family and followers to fight his battle for him.
      The Charges on which Smith and his Brother were eventually being held were nothing to do with the destruction of the Expositor, they were under arrest for TREASON for having declared war on their own state and county.

      Smith was thinking of no one but himself when he illegally smuggled a gun in to his prison, engaged in a fire fight and then tried to invoke fee-masonic privileged to save his own skin, when this of course failed he did his usual trick of trying to run away, deserting his fellows and family, but this time was shot while trying to escape alone.
      Nice guy, nice town, nice dictatorship, great American hero and patriot who tried to suppress freedom of speech and start a civil war and these are the widely known, historically attested, ACTUAL facts.

      • Henry Lions,
        It would have been nice to have been able to sort all of the legal stuff out in a trial, but instead Joseph Smith Jr. nor Hyrum Smith were ever permitted that most basic right. They were murdered and it seems like you are good with that :-(

        After the press was destroyed, a nearby newspaper publishes this against the Mormons, “War and extermination is inevitable! Citizens ARISE, ONE and ALL!!!—Can you stand by, and suffer such INFERNAL DEVILS! To ROB men of their property and RIGHTS, without avenging them. We have no time for comment, every man will make his own. LET IT BE MADE WITH POWDER AND BALL!!!”
        (Recall just 6 years prior the Mormons had faced an Extermination Order (Executive Order 44) by the Governor of Missouri which stated,” …the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description”.)

        Under threat of violence from all around, Joseph sends a delegation to inform the Governor and Joesph declares martial law. Governor Ford responds with arrest warrants and a letter claiming that “Joseph has violated the Constitution in four particulars: freedom of the press has been obstructed; unreasonable search and seizure has been inflicted; the Nauvoo council, assuming judicial powers where it does not have any, has combined the legislative and judicial powers into one; and Joseph Smith has forcibly detained people and their property in declaring martial law. That in destroying the press they combined their
        legislative and judicial powers, becoming a “tyrannical power.” Ford attacks the habeas
        corpus power as exercised in Nauvoo, and concludes by demanding that they undergo
        judicial review. Ford says he will not protect Nauvoo with a militia until they “submit to
        the law.”

        Joesph crosses the river (out of the state). In response, Governor Ford “threatens to surround the entire town and blow it up if Joseph and Hyrum are not discovered.” (not exactly what we would expect from a Governor in the 21st Century, but indicative of the mentality Joseph faced)

        Joseph and Hyrum return and turn themselves in. Upon their arrest and the arrest of the entire City Council for “riot” on June 25, 1844: Governor “Ford musters the troops, …and incites the crowd with inflammatory language. Ford makes Joseph and his comrades pass through the midst of the troops…He introduces them to the troops as “Generals,” which crazes them. They walk through the midst, receiving insults the entire time. The Carthage Greys of their own accord clamor for the blood of the traitors. Ford appeases them somewhat by promising them “full satisfaction.”

        That evening, further charges for treason are brought against Joseph and Hyrum after hearing testimony from .Wilson Law declaring “in court that he heard Mr. Smith once preaching from Daniel 2:44, and that the kingdom referred to was already set up and that he was the king over it.”

        “Soon after 5:00 PM on Thursday, June 27, a mob of 150 to 200 in disguise attacked the jail. …They ran up the stairs to the criminal cell at the head, but it was empty. So they next ran down the hall to the jailor’s bedroom.

        They shot off the latch and shot through the door. Hyrum was the first to fall, standing directly behind the door. Joseph ran to his side, then toward the door with his pistol in hand.

        All they had for their defense were two pistols that friends had smuggled into the jail. Hyrum’s single-shot was never fired. Joseph’s six-shot pepperbox misfired twice. But he also fired it four times in defense of his comrades. Said John Hay twenty-five years later (he was from nearby Warsaw and afterwards Teddy Roosevelt’s Secretary of State): “Joseph Smith stood bravely by the door jamb & fired 4 shots, bringing his man down every time. He shot an Irishman named Wills in the arm (there for his natural love of a brawl), a Missourian named Gallagher in the face; Voorhees (a hobbledehoy) in the shoulder, and another man–whose name I choose not to mention, as he has an alibi and besides stands six feet two in his moccasins”

        Although it has been said that one of these men died from wounds inflicted by Joseph, that has never been established to my satisfaction.

        Next the mob pushed inside. John Taylor rushed to the window, drawing fire away from his friends. He was shot first in the back and felt himself going out. Then he was shot twice in front, throwing him back inside. He crawled under the bed, saving the life of the future third President of the Church. His shattered pocket watch was stopped at 5:17. The whole affair took place in less than four minutes.

        Joseph was the next to try this. He was shot first in front then in the back, in reverse order. His last words were, “O Lord, my God.” Someone yelled, “he’s lept the window.” The mob ran back down the stairs, where Joseph was shot again. Willard Richards was the only one not injured, fulfilling an earlier prophecy of Joseph”

        Joseph turned himself in as a lamb to the slaughter and was slaughtered. Regardless of the right or wrong of the City Council of which he presided as Mayor ordering the destruction of a machine, do you really believe the murder of Joseph and Hyrum smith was justified?

  2. Again a very skewed and inaccurate description of the “facts”.
    The trail for riot had already taken place and all of the defendants were out on bail awaiting sentencing when Joseph and Hyrum were arrested AGAIN for treason and placed in Carthage jail to await a second trial because it was expected that they would abscond AGAIN.

    I am not “Good” with mob rule on any side, far from it, but as you sow so shall you reap as some one wise once said.
    You start a riot when you disagree with someone, don’t be surprised when they do the same because they disagree with you. You show a blatant disregards for the law and claim it doesn’t apply to you, don’t be surprised when other decide they agree with you and take the law in to their own hands. Smith could not dismiss the law as earthly and irrelevant with one breath and then ask that same law to protect him with the next.

    Joseph and Hyrum declared themselves Generals, and often insisted on the title, including in a bid for the presidency of the USA, why then say this is inflammatory language when they are accorded the courtesy of their assumed titles?

    Now if you are going to quote great chunks of “The Last Days of Joseph and Hyrum Smith” a 2011 essay from BYU please be so good as to acknowledge your sources, which I do now when I quote from the same essay in pointing out why Joseph actually came back, after in a letter from Emma she his deserted wife, tells how his senior apostles Reynolds Cahoon and Hiram Kimball called Joseph to shame thus

    ” “You always said, if the Church would stick to you, you would stick to the Church, now trouble comes you are the first to run.” They accuse him of deserting the flock when the wolves came, as in the fable. Joseph makes no reply. ”

    Joseph Smith, was more or less dragged back by Hyrum complaining all the way
    “If they had let me alone, there would have been no bloodshed, but now I expect to be butchered.”

    Oddly it was Hyrum, not Joseph who advised
    “let us go back and put our trust in God, and we shall not be harmed. The Lord is in it. If we live or have to die, we will be reconciled to our fate.” both quotes as related in Autobiography of Wandle Mace (p. 144)

    The prophet’s own brother has more faith in God than the prophet himself? Odd that isn’t it?

    There is no other mention anywhere in secular historical sources of the threat by Ford to “Bow up” Nauvoo and few in church sources other than in this critical letter from Smith’s own deserted wife, telling him to do his duty by his followers and family and come home when the problem he had caused was perceived to threatened all of them.

    Regardless of who shot who in the Carthage jail, it was a gun fight, it was not a lamb to the slaughter, it was a lynch mob turning on a traitor and him blasting away for his life.
    Mob rule is never right, but this was not a martyrdom either it had nothing to do with religion, faith or anything else. It was a criminal and the state both being cheated of justice by a rampaging mob of the same kind Smith advocated in his own jurisdiction which had lead to the stupid situation coming about in the first place.
    He died as he lived again proving the wisdom of the wise man who declared “he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword”

  3. Henry Lyons,
    It had everything to do with Joseph’s religious beliefs all the way back to his boyhood when he first declared he had a vision. From that point on, Joseph endured continual persecution and the more success his religious beliefs had, the more intense grew the hatred.

    6 years prior a different governor issued an “EXTERMINATION” order against him and an entire religious community. It was during that time that mobs raped Mormon women, pillaged Mormon homes and farms, tarred and feathered Mormon men and massacred innocent saints which included children. You cannot possibly understand what Joseph was enduring and had endured for so long. Was he human? – obviously! and maybe, just maybe he was finally reaching the limits of his patience, even as a prophet.

    It was Peter who raised the sword in defense of Jesus.upon his arrest For that Peter was reproached. Was Peter human? Obviously

    Joseph used the pistol solely in defense of others and himself as a mob came shooting through the door. Those who destroyed the press didn’t physically harm anyone – just a machine. I’m sorry, but in my book that is reaping much worse than was ever sowed. Are you so blinded by hate to not see the difference?

    Please, stop cheering on the mob!

  4. Please note Section 7 under the legislative powers of the city counsel, as detailed in Nauvoo’s City Charter.
    “Sec. 7. To make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants, to declare what shall be a nuisance, and to prevent and remove the same.”
    This section of the charter gave the City Counsel the legal authority to declare the paper a Nuisance and to have it removed. Thus they did not overstep their authority, despite what people want to claim. To say anything else is to skew and misrepresent history. The reason Joseph and Hyrum were killed was because the mob knew full well that the charges were false and they would be acquitted if they actually went to trial.

    Also note that the actions of Marshal Law were well within the powers granted to Joseph Smith as Mayor, and no one was ever injured or attacked by the Nauvoo Legion. They were stopped and questioned, and most were given a written pass so that they were given no further hindrance in the town. None were ever held or imprisoned and none were injured. This was done in response to such publications as the one quoted by Michael.

    Also note that Joseph Smith called the meeting of the City Counsel because a large majority of those living in Nauvoo were outraged by the publication of the paper, and the people called for the city counsel to act.

    Also note that five other cities in Illinois had charters at the time, three of which had similar sections and authorities as Nauvoo. They exercised the same powers in their cities, and yet no one ever raised any mobs against them because they knew they had the legal right to do so. With this being the case one has to ask why it is that Joseph Smith and the City counsel of Nauvoo were, and continue to be riled against for the same legal actions that others have taken.

    • Because I assume the other cities did not dress up their oppression of free speech as some sort of holy crusade, against the truth being told about bizarre and illegal sexual practices being carried out by a self appointed prophet and supposed guardian of morality?

    • “a large majority of those living in Nauvoo were outraged by the publication of the paper, and the people called for the city counsel to act.”
      If that argument holds for the people of Nauvoo then the same argument must hold for the people who persecuted Mormonism, they too were outraged and calling for their leaders to do something.
      A polemic being popular does not make it right.

  5. Oh, one other thing: the City counsel deliberated for 14 hours over three different sessions. This began on June 8th and ended on the 10th.

    • Just another note, it was not Hyrum that was most believing in God. Joseph Smith knew if he submitted to arrest he would die because God had told hims so. Hyrum’s statement shows his belief that whatever happened they were reconciled to God and so whether they lived or died didn’t really matter. It was said to comfort and persuade, not to declare the will of God.

      • Out of character for God, surely.
        Jeremiah, Jonah, Jesus and others they all pleaded that if they obeyed they would be killed and asked not to me forced to go through with preaching unpopular doctrine, God had them go speak out anyway, Joseph Smith was different was he?
        Jesus asked for the cup to be taken away from him, God said no and this was his won son, Yet Joseph asks “Mind if I run for the hills?” and God say “Go for it!”
        No, Smith was a disloyal coward, without the courage of his own convictions, who knew he was a fraud and ran for his life and then blamed God.

      • Jesus never once asked to die, and, as you pointed out, plead not to go through the suffering required. Yet he was willing if the Father said there was no other way. He submitted to the Father in all things.
        Jeremiah saw little point in preaching to a wicked and idolatrous nation wished death, not because of the doctrine he taught, but because he didn’t see any benefit in continuing to teach it. Israel wasn’t listening.
        Jonah said it would have been better for him to die than to have the people of Nineveh repent. He hated them so much that he would rather die than be the means of bringing them to salvation.

        None of these are very good comparison to Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was not preaching to an idolatrous people, but to a congregation and church that, for the most part, had remained faithful throughout his ministry. He never once turned anyone away from salvation, and never displayed the hatred that Jonah did. And he was no where near what Christ was.
        Joseph Smith feared for his life, and for very good reason. To preserve his life he was willing to go west and establish a new center for the church, and would have called the saints to join him as soon as he had found a place. However, once his friends called him back he submitted, knowing full well that he would die. That is not the act of a coward. A coward would not have cared.
        Joseph Smith returned and submitting to the law is much more comparable to Paul, who was told that if he returned to Jerusalem it would lead to his death, and yet he returned anyway.

    • Yes, as I said a full days worth of a so called “Trial”

      • No, you called it a “trial that lasted a whole day.”

        This phrase indicates that they began and ended the deliberation on the same day. There is no other way to see this, and thus it is what you said. You were called out on your skewing of history and are now trying to hide the fact.
        If you had meant anything else you would have said something to the effect of the equivalent of one day, or you would have listed the total number of hours they spent in deliberation, as I have done. You did not do this.

        And while we are on the subject of skewing history, you need to read up on the events of the destruction of the Expositor. It wasn’t 200 men. It was about a dozen who carried out the order, and they did so, by all eyewitness accounts, in an orderly and calm manner. The militia had been order to stand ready in the event that resistance was made and the marshal was in need of assistance to calm a riot.
        No one incited a mob and there was no riot. It was the efficient and orderly discharge or a legal order from the town government.

  6. “No, you called it a “trial that lasted a whole day.” nitpicking

    “No one incited a mob and there was no riot. It was the efficient and orderly discharge or a legal order from the town government.” You have a strange idea of of “efficient and orderly” and an even odder definition of “no riot” They BURNED THE PRESS DOWN, they publicly BURNED private property and tools of a legitimate business.
    Plaintiff eye witness statements on both sides said their were several hundred rioters, though only 18 (again a strange definition of a dozen) arrest warrants were issued for the ring leaders present at the destruction. these were for Joseph Smith, Samuel Bennett, John Taylor, William W. Phelps, Hyrum Smith, John P. Greene, Stephen Perry, Dimick B. Huntington, Jonathan Dunham, Stephen Markham, William Edwards, Jonathan Holmes, Jesse P. Harmon, John Lytle, Joseph W. Coolidge, Harvey D. Redfield, Porter Rockwell and Levi Richards,
    So as you can see I HAVE fulfilled your requirement ” to read up on the events of the destruction of the Expositor.” thank you for your concern.
    Again do I not recall a wise man’s words, something about motes in your brothers eye?

    ” he [Joseph Smith] was no where near what Christ was”

    Joseph Smith himself would not agree with you

    “I have more to boast of than any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such work as I” (History of the Church, Vol.6, pp. 408-09).

    Neither would Brigham Young

    “no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith…every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are – I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent. He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation – the keys to rule in the spirit-world; and he rules there triumphantly…He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven…t is true. – Journal of Discourses 7:289 (Oct 9, 1859)

    But on the original point
    “Jesus never once asked to die,” I never said he did, where did you get that from, I said he asked NOT to die Jesus prayed on the eve of his execution :
    Mark 14
    35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,[a] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

    A direct plea to be saved from death, but eventually submitting to the will of the father, Joseph in the same position RAN AWAY in his case there was no question of “Yet not what I will, but what you will” it was more a case of “Blow this for a game of soldier, I’m off.” He did not even take his own wife (any of them) and family with him.
    Smith was what he was and that was not a prophet comparable to those of old.

  7. Henry Lyons,
    Joseph left and then RETURNED knowing he was facing the imminent high probability of being murdered. That’s not the actions of a coward. It’s the actions of someone who faced his doubts, dilemmas, fears, conflicts, hopes, aspirations, etc. and then put himself voluntarily in harm’s way for the benefit and protection of others and was murdered as he predicted.

    There were several times that Jesus escaped from his enemies before His final arrest (John 10:39 “Therefore they sought again to take him: but he “escaped” out of their hand,”)

    I wonder what you or I would have done in the same situation as Joseph. Gratefully, I’ve never been in that situation and hope to never be. So many of the early Mormons were placed in similar situations and too many lost their lives or suffered unspeakable harm as a result of the hate against them and their beliefs.

    It’s the same kind of hate that has led to the slaughter of millions among various religious groups throughout history. Even Paul the apostle had been guilty of persecuting the early saints, “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” before his change away from hate to the love of the Lord.

    Many prophets have struggled with human weaknesses.

    The Good News, Henry, is that thousands of years ago the Son of God suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross and rose from the dead so that you and I, Joseph Smith Jr. and everyone else could forgive and be forgiven through faith and repentance through Jesus Christ
    Happy Easter Henry! May His peace be yours!

    • “Joseph left and then RETURNED”

      Exactly, he LEFT his wife, he LEFT his son he left his thirty odd other wives and all of his followers including sixteen of the others for who arrest warrants had been issued and who DID submit themselves to the legal process and were not murdered.
      Running and hiding from the consequences of your conduct are the actions of a coward.
      He came back because his brother made him and it was likely that if he didn’t he would have been hunted down by not only the authorities but an awful lot of angry Mormons too.

      John 10:39 “Therefore they sought again to take him: but he “escaped” out of their hand,”

      Interesting that you choose John 10: 39, because this was an incident where a bunch of Jews rose up against Jesus tell his “truth” declared him and enemy and a blasphemer and tried to stone him to death as a public nuisance. That is a very close parallel to Joseph declaring the Expositor as blasphemous and trying to burn it to the ground.
      This analogy of course casts Joseph appropriately enough in the role of the Pharisees, not the Christ though, you will agree?

      “I wonder what you or I would have done in the same situation as Joseph.”
      I would not have raised a mob and burned down someone’s livelihood to start with. Since there were laws in place, I would have gone to the court, file a petition and Legally applied to have the Expositor declared a public nuisance, by due process and to have become subject to a duely issued cease and desist order.
      This being done there would have been no state and county intervention, no declaration of martial law and no act of treason or riot to be prosecuted for.
      Joseph had these options open to him, but he wanted a show of power and to shut up a detractor who was only telling the truth about him and his many secret wives who his own legal wife was unaware of in contradiction to the rules on such laid out in the book of commandments (later known as the D&C).

      “So many of the early Mormons were placed in similar situations and too many lost their lives or suffered unspeakable harm as a result of the hate against them and their beliefs”
      Hardly, most of the harm that befell Mormons was due to Joseph’s habit of setting up fake corporations and banking concerns that robbed the locals wherever he went. This combined with the flouting of various laws including polygamy and his continued treasure hunting expeditions, lead to persecution and general mistrust of “the Saints” wherever they went.
      “It’s the same kind of hate that has led to the slaughter of millions among various religious groups throughout history.”

      Yes agreed, the Inquisition and the annihilation of the Anabaptists, the crusades, the persecution of the Cathars, the burning of the Catholics, the hanging drawing and quartering of the protestants, the Jones town massacre and the Wako killings to name but a few.
      For a religion that preaches love and tolerance Christians sure do love killing and torturing their own. Mormons of course too followed this hallowed tradition, Blood atonement? The Mountain Meadows massacre? The Danites? and so on…..

      Many prophets have struggled with human weaknesses.
      None more so than Joseph Smith, who if you accept he was a prophet, failed in almost every aspect implied by that title, embodied and epitomised human weakness and died an ignoble death that his followers have been trying to spin in to a martyrdom ever since.

      Thank you for the unexpected pagan good wishes and may the Springtime Goddess Ēostre grant you happiness and peace too.

  8. I’m sure you do feel you mean no harm and that you wish me peace but I am afraid you have no right to apologies to me on behalf of anyone else. This is I am afraid one of the great problems behind the whole of Christian theology, the ridiculous idea that someone can atone for the sins of another and that a “Saviour” is necessary. This whole idea absolves from responsibility the actions of any evil person or organisation and allows for the exploitation of the living without fear of consequence or conscience.
    So I thank you but cannot accept your apology because the LDS church who have hurt me, hurt others, have blood on their hands and continue to destroy without conscience families, apostates, homosexual people, feminists and preach doctrines of hate and prejudice, would neither agree with or abide by your apology and would probably haul you before a “court of love” for doing so without their express authority. :)

  9. And you talk about skewing history? You are the one who has skewed history so much that any knowledgeable person would not recognize it. You are the one filled with hate and prejudice, not the church, and I feel sorry for you.
    Personally, I agree with you on what you say regarding most Christian thoughts on the atonement, but this is not what we believe, and it is not what the church teaches, or has ever taught. Of course, if your mind is so skewed on what is actually historical fact than it is not surprising your view on church doctrine is skewed.
    The LDS church has always taught we will be judged according to our works, and if we do not pay for them in this life we will in the next. The Atonement does not absolve us of anything; it merely makes payment possible.

    “Jeremiah, Jonah, Jesus and others they all pleaded that if they obeyed they would be killed”

    You gave a list of those who asked to die rather than teach unpopular doctrine. In that list you included Christ. As such you most certainly said that Christ asked to die. Once again we have you attempting to rescue your obviously biased and inaccurate statements by denying that you actually made them.

    • Sorry Shematwater the posts are there anyone can read what was written, if you cannot comprehend those words then I feel sorry for you too.
      I am not hate filled, but am righteously outraged at the lies and misdirection peddled by the LDS as “fact” or “matters of faith” and will point them out as such.
      But before you start throwing around accusations of hate and prejudiced, look first at who in this conversation is the one writing angry, and insulting, rhetoric that might be considered an ad hominem attack? Motes and planks again?
      On the matter of atonement, well the faith vs works argument has been going on so long it is a parody of itself now. The LDS try to have it both ways, by relocating the atonement and then having three levels of heaven, rather than a straight heaven and hell, (but still including damnation just in case) so as to have the atonement allow greater degrees of salvation rather than salvation, just another of their little games to market their “faith” to the widest possible demographic.

  10. Henry

    When most of what you say is inflated opinion as to the attitudes and personality of people involved rather than actual facts it is not hard to see the anger and prejudice in your words. If you are insulted by it I am sorry.
    I have read the court records regarding the incident of the Expositor, as well as eye witness statements from people who were completely unconnected to Joseph Smith and the church who stated clearly what I have posted.
    Try reading this, as it is a good start, and contains most of the historical documents involved in the affair.

    Now, your posts are there, and everyone can see exactly what I pointed out. If that is not what you meant than you need to revise your statement to be clearer to the reader, because the way it is worded now it means exactly what I said it means.

  11. Thanks for that link, I’ve read it with interest and found it backs up everything I have said, that Joseph, was acting illegally, was overstepping his authority as mayor, was guilty of inciting a riots and deliberately causing the destruction of private property for his own reasons. Everything the expositor accused him of has since been historically proven true, so he was trying to suppress the truth and stifle freedom of speech as I have claimed.
    So your assistance in providing additional supportive material is much appreciated.
    By the way the dictionary definition of prejudice in this context is “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience” before you falsely accuse me of it a third time I would consider whether or not I have been reasonable in my statements of historical facts and consider my previous experiences as a Mormon (before choosing to leave the LDS) in good standing. I don’t think you fully understand that this is the meaning of the word but if you do then you are being deliberately libelous and that is what I found insulting, however if your use of it in context was simply the result of your own linguistic ignorance then I too am sorry.

  12. If you still claim he incited a riot than I have to believe that you did not read the witness statements at the Nauvoo Court when he applied for Habeas Corpus. Those witnesses clearly show that there was no riot.
    You also seem to ignore the deliberations of the City Counsel, disregard the legal powers that the City Charter granted them, and want to make everything stem from Joseph Smith. Yes, he called the questions in the meeting of the counsel, but it was the counsel’s decision and under the authority the City Charter gave them (which you either have not read or do not understand the legal nature of such a charter).

    Now, I am very familiar with the meaning of the word prejudice. However, I think you fail to recognize the true context of my comment, because the definition I would give to it is “unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.” In this case it is a religious group, with particular focus on the founder. Whether you have reasons for the feelings, opinions, or attitudes is not the issue. The issue is whether or not those reasons are of a reasonable nature, which, from your words and expressions, I have seen very little reasonableness.

    I have not been libelous in any way, as I have stated my honest opinion, and the words I have used perfectly reflect that opinion. Now, you can be insulted by my opinion, and that is your privilege. But an opinion cannot be libelous.

  13. Ah the more things change the more they stay the same

    The Mormon church owned Deseret news are trying to drive the none Mormon Salt Lake Tribune out of business, what a surprise.
    Perhaps if it does go down Pres. Monson will lead a ceremonial burning of the presses, it would be in the Mormon tradition after all?

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