Best and Worst of Mormonism: Quotes!

A Zen Buddhist/Freemason friend of mine has put together some great posts of “Best and Worst Bible Verses.” I have been trying to convince him to make the series into one of those daily calendars. Would it not be great to wake up in the morning and read: “Happy shall they be who seize your infants and dashes them against the rocks!” (Psalms 137:9)?

With his blessing, here are some “best and worst” Mormon quotes. To keep it balanced, each best and worst will come from the same person in LDS history. The intent here is not to “speak evil of the Lord’s anointed,” and I value being able to look back at our missteps with a little humor. I am sure when I review my life someday, there will be plenty of ill-advised quotes to assemble. Looking at our blunders with openness and not getting defensive about them are, in my view, attributes of godliness.

David O. McKay
Worst:
“Although, I do not care much for a negro, still I have a warm spot in my heart for those beautiful singers.”

Best:
“There is not now, and there never has been a doctrine in this Church that the Negroes are under a divine curse.”
“Children are more influenced by sermons you act than by sermons you preach.”

Bruce R. McConkie
Worst:

It is also to the Book of Mormon to which we turn for the plainest description of the Catholic Church as the great and abominable church. Nephi saw this ‘church which was the most abominable above all other churches’ in vision. He ‘saw the devil that he was the foundation of it’ and also the murders, wealth, harlotry, persecutions, and evil desires that historically have been a part of this satanic organization.”

Best:

“I feel, and the Spirit seems to accord, that the most important doctrine I can declare, and the most powerful testimony I can bear, is of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. His atonement is the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from Creation’s dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity. It is the supreme act of goodness and grace that only a god could perform.”

I believe in Christ; he stands supreme! From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain, His voice is heard: ‘Ye shall obtain.’”

Brigham Young
Worst:

“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man mixes who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”

Best:

“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. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.”

Are there other quotes, best or worst, that stand out to you? If you share one, please try to keep with the dissonant nature of the post.

Why is it often looked down on to recognize our blunders? I have had a few leaders in my church life admit past mistakes or prejudices, and if anything my respect and admiration for them increased. I realize that a lot of us value the “warts and all” version of history, but some get defensive in trying to explain it or rationalize it away, or suppress it, lest it damage someone’s testimony. Debate is one thing, but defensiveness is a form of contention… and we all know what contention is. 🙂

When Edward Kimball was writing his father’s (Spencer W. Kimball) biography, he was told that “the story of a life should be told candidly, ‘warts and all.’  His concern was that there should not be unfair emphasis on the warts.” That is a challenge I think, to give weight to but not overemphasize the bad, and also not to “canonize” (i.e. hold them up as more than human) our leaders (something I once heard Elder Maxwell warn against in a fireside). In that spirit, I will put out some posts in the future regarding best and worst in history, politics, speculation, teachings, etc.

We all make mistakes, we all have a lot growing to do in some areas, and most of us occasionally say things we later regret. In that light, I think it is a healthy and non-defensive stance to recognize the flaws along with the greatness of ourselves, and our leaders. May we all work on focusing on the good, but recognizing and being non-defensive about the bad.

Comments

comments

61 comments for “Best and Worst of Mormonism: Quotes!

  1. Moe Nogamous
    May 22, 2009 at 1:36 am

    WORST

    “It is a fact worthy of note that the shortest lived nations of which we have record have been monogamic. Rome…was a monogamic nation and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.”
    – Apostle George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 202

    “The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious.”
    – The Prophet Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128

    “…the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people.”
    – Prophet John Taylor, Millennial Star, Vol. 15, p. 227

    “Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire….Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers…. Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ it is the only popular religion there,…”
    – The Prophet Brigham Young, The Deseret News, August 6, 1862

    “This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans,…”
    – Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195

    “We breathe the free air, we have the best looking men and handsomest women, and if they (Non-Mormons) envy us our position, well they may, for they are a poor, narrow-minded, pinch-backed race of men, who chain themselves down to the law of monogamy, and live all their days under the dominion of one wife. They ought to be ashamed of such conduct, and the still fouler channel which flows from their practices; and it is not to be wondered at that they should envy those who so much better understand the social relations.”
    – Apostle George A Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 291

    “I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality [of wives] looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business. I do not know what we would do if we had only one wife apiece.”
    – Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses Vol 5, page 22

    “Just ask yourselves, historians, when was monogamy introduced on to the face of the earth? When those buccaneers, who settled on the peninsula where Rome now stands, could not steal women enough to have two or three apiece, they passed a law that a man should have but one woman. And this started monogamy and the downfall of the plurality system. In the days of Jesus, Rome, having dominion over Jerusalem, they carried out the doctrine more or less. This was the rise, start and foundation of the doctrine of monogamy; and never till then was there a law passed, that we have any knowledge of, that a man should have but one wife. ”
    – The Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 12, page 262

    BEST

    “Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.” (Said by all the leaders quoted above.)

  2. brjones
    May 22, 2009 at 2:17 am

    Joseph Smith Jr.:

    Worst:

    “I have more to boast of than ever 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 a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet . . . ”

    “What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjerurs”

    Best:

    “We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.”

  3. Foshaben
    May 22, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Wow… another blog better left unwritten. Is this meant to instill faith and trust in our leaders of the past? or to just stir up old dirt? Maybe I just don’t get it, but showing the “best” and the “worst” ends up making folks forget the best and remember the worst. I just don’t see how bringing up the faults of our leaders helps anyone… especially the occasional inquiring non-member who stops by. Come on, guys… we can do better than this. Re-read section 50 of the D&C, check to see if this is really meant to “edify”, and keep in mind that “that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.”

  4. AndrewJDavis
    May 22, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Foshaben — while you raise some good points that must be considered by the poster about whether or not something is truly edifying, also remember that what edifies one person may not edify or uplift another. I agree with what Pres. Kimball said to remember the warts and all, just not to overly focus on them. For me, I am uplifted when I remember that those whom I admire may make (and indeed have made) mistakes — just as I do! That gives me hope that when I sin, I may be forgiven too.

  5. brjones
    May 22, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Foshaben, I think it’s a mistake to assume that any post that isn’t celebrating or promoting the church or its leaders is bad or should be left off this site. I can’t speak for the actual site, as I’m not administrator, but my perception has always been that this site is not an extension of the church, nor is it merely a missionary vehicle for those who support it. It’s a forum for people to share their thoughts and feelings about things related to the church, and unfortunately, some people’s thoughts and feelings include some negativity. I think as long as those things are expressed with respect for other people and their beliefs, they are appropriate in this forum. As it turns out, this is a great venue for people to share thoughts and feelings that generally reflect positively on the church, but the point is, this isn’t lds.org, and I’ve never gotten the feeling that we should avoid discussing something just because it isn’t “pro-church.” If this is a post that people don’t want to read it will die a quick death. I would make one other point – while I respect your beliefs, Foshaben, please keep in mind that not everyone has the same definition of what is edifying. Some people might find something edifying and uplifting that doesn’t paint church leaders in a flattering light (see “The Problem With Tolerance” currently with about 150 comments). For those who aren’t interested in pointing out or discussing the “warts” of church leaders, you should avoid this post, but please don’t tell the rest of us what is or isn’t edifying or what we should or shouldn’t be discussing.

  6. May 22, 2009 at 8:24 am

    I just don’t see how bringing up the faults of our leaders helps anyone…

    When I was a young convert to the Church, I’d read “faith-promoting” stories from the lives of the prophets and I’d think, “Well it’s nice that they’ve always been so perfect all their lives, but what does that have to do with me? Because I’m sure as heck a long way from perfect.” It would have helped me a lot if I’d known that they were just as human as the rest of us. At least I could have related to them a little bit. Knowing that even the best of us can make mistakes or once in a while say really stupid things can give hope to the least of us.

    • Xboxdvdplayer
      March 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      dude its just fun. you close-minded fuck

    • BIG JOHNSON
      April 26, 2011 at 2:53 am

      Because your leaders where murders and rapist you dumb shit and anyone who believes there radical idea’s are brain dead i see no one has found the gold tablets yet you guys are a cult not a relgion!!

      • Carpenter_1961
        September 16, 2011 at 12:53 am

        Your comment only show ignorance, bigotry and a total un-christian attitude. I wonder, if with the comments and feelings your are expressing here would take you to heaven or a LDS person.

  7. Ray
    May 22, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I have no time right now, but fwiw:

    I have no problem whatsoever with the general concept of this post (or the way Adam approached it), but, in all fairness, Church leaders say LOTS of wonderful things and relatively fewer “worst” things.

    I’ll try to get back and leave a substantive comment later, but I think fairness would dictate approaching this as Adam did – with a one-to-one list.

  8. May 22, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I will address the comments in greater detail, but I need to go now as well… I will just say that I agree with Ray, the “best” quotes definitely outnumber the “worst”. Honestly, I had to do a lot more search to find the worst quotes.

  9. May 22, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I think the whole point of a post like this is summed up in Adam’s “best” quote from Brigham Young. We love and respect our leaders, but to put 100% faith in their word alone would be doing our own spiritual growth a disservice.

    Heavenly Father wants us to gain our own testimonies, to pray and receive confirmation that the words the prophets speak are true.

    Knowing that prophets in the past have said things they believed to be truth, based on the time and culture in which they lived but which were later recognized as incorrect teaches us all to be a little more diligent in developing our own personal relationship with Heavenly Father.

    (plus, as Adam said, it’s good to be able to laugh at ourselves)

  10. brjones
    May 22, 2009 at 9:41 am

    But it’s REALLY good to be able to laugh at others.

  11. Holden Caulfield
    May 22, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Joseph Fielding Smith

    The best (only kinda, sorta):
    “The Latter-day Saints, so commonly called “Mormons,” have no animosity towards the Negro. Neither have they described him as belonging to an “inferior race.”

    The worst:
    “Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race.”

    Sorry, the devil made me post those.

  12. Derek
    May 22, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I think that the Church, both it’s leaders and a great many within the membership, fear to discuss mistakes and blunders because it will challenge people’s confidence in the revelatory authority of their leaders. And they are correct; it will make people wonder and question. But isn’t that a good thing? Rather than blind faith, it will force people to think and to seek the Lord’s guidance in understanding and recognizing truth, which is an essential element of the Gospel. We are supposed to be looking to develop that spiritual maturity, not blindly accepting everything which comes from our leaders. God wants potential divinities, not lemmings!

    It has always bothered me that the Church (leadership) focuses so much on covering up errors rather than acknowledging them. I had a mentor who ended up as an institute director in California. He admitted to me that he had been counseled upon taking the position by a member of the Twelve to never admit any meaningful personal sin to any of his students (of which he had a few; he had a drug problem in his teens and had been unchaste with girls). I know a girl who brought up a historical aspect of the Church in an institute class which the instructor flatly denied and rebuked the girl for having been deceived; when she later confronted him in private with evidence to support her contention, he admitted it was true but that it was inappropriate for the class to discuss. This is why I have no support for the CES! If we are to be spiritually mature, we must be able to see the mistakes of our leaders and the less savory aspects of our history for what they are. If the only way to keep the Church together is by covering up the past and rigidly upholding some officially approved narrative, than the Church isn’t worth maintaining.

    Moe Nogamous.

    Hilarious quote by Cannon…Yes, the roughly thousand-year history of the Roman Empire (if you include the colonial period of the Roman Republic) was pitifully short compared to so many other empires, and was obviously a result of monogamy…

  13. brjones
    May 22, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I don’t know if this is a discussion that is better suited for its own thread, but this is something that I have been thinking about a lot the past couple of days, and Derek’s comments, along with some others, strike to the heart of it. One of the things that always really drew me to Joseph Smith, and honestly still does, was his (sometimes startling) candor about his own faults as a mortal man. Obviously there was also the other side of him which could be arrogant and brash, and I’m not suggesting that he never tried to cover up anything he ever did. But one of his signatures was that he was a true man of the people. One of the messages I think he tried to drill home was that he was essentially just like everyone else in the church. Obviously he claimed the exclusive prophetic mantle, but he went out of his way to acknowledge his shortcomings and frailties and to let people know that they could receive everything he received through diligence and a personal relationship with god. He was a true populist, and he never made an effort to appear unblemished by the world; in fact he actually celebrated that. When did the church decide to go away from that model? Today the general authorities are so antiseptic they are almost without personality, in my opinion. You could live to be 1,000 and you will never hear a story of a member of the 12 doing anything wrong. Sure, they all acknowledge generally that they’re not perfect and they say they’re just like everyone else, but there’s no real effort made by the church or the individual leaders to really make them relatable to the common member, is there? It seems like the church has moved to a model where they want the general leaders to be put up on a pedestal as an ideal that we should all work towards. The problem with that is that it can be very disheartening. We’ve all heard the stories of some GA who had the chance to be a pro ballplayer, but he refused to play even a single game on sunday as a child, and it set the course for the rest of his life, or the GA who refused to drink a coke with his non-member buddies, and they were all converted, etc. For those of us who have had serious missteps, how are we really supposed to relate to these people? For me it was always very difficult. It’s very hard for me to see the humanity in many of the current leaders, and in the current leadership culture generally, whereas Joseph Smith oozed humanity.

    I just think it’s pertinent to some of the conversations on this site lately to draw the distinction between a church that used to openly welcome criticism and questioning of its leaders, and that was founded and led by a man who celebrated his fallability, and a modern church that openly and overtly seeks to discourage if not suppress questions and is led by a group of men who are portrayed as the pinnacle of righteousness and seem to be without any real sin at all. Any thoughts?

  14. May 22, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Dallin Oaks:

    BEST:
    “Our doctrines obviously condemn those who engage in so-called “gay bashing”–physical of verbal attacks on persons thought to be involved in homosexual or lesbian behavior.”

    WORST:
    (Responding to a question about how LDS parents should handle situations where an adult gay child wishes to bring their partner along for a visit to the parents’ home.)
    “I can imagine that in most circumstances the parents would say, ‘Please don’t do that. Don’t put us into that position.’ Surely if there are children in the home who would be influenced by this example, the answer would likely be that. There would also be other factors that would make that the likely answer. I can also imagine some circumstances in which it might be possible to say, ‘Yes, come, but don’t expect to stay overnight. Don’t expect to be a lengthy house guest. Don’t expect us to take you out and introduce you to our friends, or to deal with you in a public situation that would imply our approval of your ‘partnership.’ There are so many different circumstances, it’s impossible to give one answer that fits all.”

  15. Rick M
    May 22, 2009 at 11:29 am

    We are mortal men (and women) and we most certainly have our frailties. Our hearts tell us what is true through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are, at times, more in tune with the spirit than at other times. I am grateful that our leaders have their mortal problems. I would not see any hope for myself if I did not see these men, inspired of God, make mistakes or misstatements from time to time. The Prophet Joseph lost his ability to translate for a time due to his human weaknesses.

    I look at our leaders as men. Noah, Jonah, Moses, Aaron, Alma the younger ALL were men and you cannot tell me that they did not have the same temptations and weaknesses as other men. What I have learned is that all are called to a calling and mission in this life. Could someone else have done what Joseph Smith did? Yes, and the Lord lets us know this. But Joseph accepted that calling and worked to magnify that calling.

    I am not going to quibble about what is best or worst concerning the teachings of our prophets because it is all a matter of personal opinion. I can see from entries here that certain issues seem more important than others to different people. I am only going to strive to be more Christ-like and hope others learn from my example.

    Quotes by past prophets are our link to recognize our faults and mortal shortcomings. I have them and am loath to expose these to my friends and others so I fight to keep them in check every day. Is it a losing battle? Usually but striving for perfection is what I must do. The motivators that I have, though, help me out tremendously. I have found great men within and without the Church. None are perfect yet so many wish to be the first to cry “hypocrite” and dismiss the message because the messenger is not perfect. It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t even work when the messenger and message ARE perfect.

    I think we need to not only lead and speak with the Spirit but also to LISTEN with the Spirit.

  16. May 22, 2009 at 11:51 am

    At the risk of stirring up a hornet’s nest that’s already been discussed ad nauseam on the ‘nacle, here’s my contribution.

    Julie B. Beck:

    Best:
    “Sometimes people get casual about repenting. I have heard some people say that repenting is too hard. Others say they are tired of feeling guilty or have been offended by a leader who was helping them repent. Sometimes people give up when they have made mistakes and come to believe that there is no hope for them. Some people imagine that they will feel better about themselves if they just leave the restored gospel and go away. It is Satan who puts hopeless thoughts into the hearts of those who have made mistakes. The Lord Jesus Christ always gives us hope.”

    Worst:
    “Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world.”

  17. May 22, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I’m glad nobody publishes the worst things I’VE ever said.

  18. brjones
    May 22, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Arthur, we’re awaiting a return call from some of your family members.

  19. Hawkgrrrl
    May 22, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Bruce R. McConkie (BEST, and IMO, one of the best quotes in Mormonism evah):
    “As a people, we are in the habit of saying that we believe in latter-day revelation. But, ordinarily, when we talk in this way, we are thinking of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or Spencer W. Kimball. We are thinking of apostles and prophets. But what I desire to point attention to is the fact that revelation is not restricted to the prophet of God on earth. The visions of eternity are not reserved for Apostles—they are not reserved for the General Authorities. Revelation is something that should be received by every individual. God is no respecter of persons, and every soul, in the ultimate sense, is just as precious in his sight as the souls of those who are called to positions of leadership.

    “Now I say that we are entitled to revelation. I say that every member of the Church, independent and irrespective of any position that he may hold, is entitled to get revelation from the Holy Ghost; he is entitled to entertain angels; he is entitled to view the visions of eternity; and if we would like to go the full measure, he is entitled to see God the same way that any prophet in literal and actual reality has seen the face of Deity.

    “We talk about latter-day prophets; we think in terms of prophets who tell the future destiny of the Church and the world. But, in addition to that, the fact is that every person should be a prophet for himself and in his own concerns and in his own affairs.”

    Brigham Young, perhaps no surprise given his era and marital status, has said many blood-curdlingly sexist things, but I’ll just leave it at that.

    And I agree with Arthur that I’ve said many things I would wish unsaid. Which is one reason I find it more faith-promoting and engaging to acknowledge the fallibility of leaders than it is to pretend they are perfect paragons of virtue. Likewise, I think we do our progeny a disservice when we only include what makes us look good in our journals.

    BTW, Adam – great idea for a post series! Love it!

  20. Moe Nogamous
    May 22, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Foshaben, posts like these are valuable for testing the truthfulness of the oft-invoked Mormon doctrine that LDS leaders will “never lead us astray.” Personally, it’s difficult for me to accept that doctrine when I consider the quotes I posted above.

    If the doctrine that they will “never lead us astray” is false, then we ought to be disabused of it and recognize Church leaders for what they really are: hard working men who have devoted much of their lives to serving others in a Christlike manner and who, as a result, have much wisdom and insight to share with us. At the same time, we can respect and honor them while recognizing the idea that they “will never lead us astray” is not only historically demonstrably false, and is not only in itself a prime example of a statement that has led us astray, but is also completely inconsistent with numerous admissions from Joseph Smith and scriptural examples that show prophets and apostles can and do get things wrong.

    We need to heed Brigham Young’s warning above (quoted by Adam) and not allow the Church to be turned into an Obedience Cult similar to those led by other folks who likewise teach their followers they will “never lead them astray,” like Warren Jeffs.

    Arthur, I’m glad people don’t post my worst statements either. But I guess the big difference here is that I don’t go around claiming that I will never lead mankind astray if they unconditionally obey and do everything I tell them to do. If I made that kind of a claim, I think it would be fair for people to test the validity of my claim through publishing my previous statements where I was obviously been dead wrong.

    Bottom line: we don’t have to believe Church leaders “will never lead us astray” to believe their are good and beneficial and wise and inspired (at least most of the time). And therefore pointing out the reality that we have, on occasion, been led astray (for example, by being taught previously that monogamy is essentially a Satanic counterfeit of God’s true order of marriage, which juxtaposes nicely against the fact that Mormons are now being told by their leaders to wage political crusades to ensure that monogamy, and specifically man-woman monogamy, is the only legal form of marriage.

    Has the modern LDS Church gone the way of the evil Roman Empire? Or were those speakers quoted above in #1 unwittingly leading us astray when they spoke so disparagingly of monogamy? I vote for the latter.

  21. Dexter
    May 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    So God is the same forever. But monogamy was an evil, pernicious practice organized by satan and his legions throughout much of the history of the world (according to former prophets and apostles of the church), but today, the monogamous family is under attack by satan and his legions and the Proclamation to the World clearly shows that monogamy is an inspired doctrine. If BY and Hinckley were both prophets of the same God, the war in heaven could be taking place right now. I hope Hinckley wins in the battle against he Lion of the Lord.

  22. May 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    #1 Moe Nogamous – I love the name! Your comment is bordering on not quite dissonant enough though! 🙂 A great collection of quotes, however!

    #3 Foshaben – Thank you for your input. I can see your reasoning, i.e. “not all history is useful.” Your comment offers insight into how some members and leaders of the church may feel about discussing the “warts and all”… Question for you: What does the balance look like between “stirring up old dirt” and being open and non-defensive about some of our skeletons?

    #6 Kuri said, “Knowing that even the best of us can make mistakes or once in a while say really stupid things can give hope to the least of us.” Well put. I don’t have much to add, other than what some others have said, and I agree with, that discussing these missteps or even “stupid things” can indeed be edifying.

    #12 Derek said, “Rather than blind faith, it will force people to think and to seek the Lord’s guidance in understanding and recognizing truth, which is an essential element of the Gospel. We are supposed to be looking to develop that spiritual maturity, not blindly accepting everything which comes from our leaders. God wants potential divinities, not lemmings!”

    Great addition to the discussion! I agree, when a faith matures, one is able to recognize and understand truth for oneself, rather than following blindly, which really seems to be easier. I say that from experience of being in both places at times in my life. Perhaps some are concerned that open discussion of the “warts” will cause young faith to falter. I’m not saying I agree with hiding things, but just trying to understand those who feel put off by these types of posts and etc. Ultimately I completely agree, it is better to be open. I believe if it is done gently over time, faith can mature along with knowledge of the frailties of us all.

    #13 brjones
    Interesting thoughts! I wonder if some people are unable to take the good and the bad together. I know many (both in the church and some who have left) who have a very dichotomous way of thinking, and any significant fallibility really does some damage, so they either reject the leader, for those who leave, or they rationalize it or come up with all kinds of interesting explanations (for those who stay). I for one have learned to love (well, most of the time!) ambivalence and ambiguity, and love learning (esp. if it’s straight for the horse’s mouth) about mistakes of others–ESPECIALLY from those that I highly respect. If an institute instructor tells about a past mistake, and someone else uses that to go out and sin, it says to me they’re still stuck in the “lemming” phase—they’re still following without really thinking much.

    #16 Keri – My wife would agree, I think. 🙂 When my efforts regarding washing and dishes, etc. are not up to speed, ther is definitely need for repentance on my part! Every couple must work it out for themselves, but Women do way more of the housework, even when both partners work the same hours out of the home. I think that quote belongs in the “worst” category because if anything, there needs to be an emphasis on men doing more dishes and laundry!

    #21 Dexter – Pres. Hinckley did have a photo of BY in his office… this could be interesting… 😉

  23. Foshaben
    May 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    adamF – I’m the ultimate optimist. I look for the good in people. I want to forgive, overlook faults, and focus on the good. The gospel in and of itself is the “good news”, not mix the bad in with the good. Of course I understand these leaders are human and make mistakes. Moses made mistakes, Jonah made mistakes, Joseph Smith did, Brigham Young did, Pres. Hinckley did, I’ll bet that Pres. Monson will as prophet. However, you’ll never catch me talking bad about them, or bringing up their bad points. Why? Because I revere these men as prophets… as great men called of God. I have the utmost respect for them, and would gladly defend any of them with my life. I recognize that they are just as human as you or me, but at the same time, they are prophets of God and deserve to be spoken of as such… not scrutinized or criticized. But revered and respected.

    I remember when Elder Christofferson of the 12 came to visit last year to our stake, one of my young men before the event was asked candidly if he was looking forward to seeing an apostle. Living in the south, this was an extremely rare occurance for us, and one that hardly happens within the lifetime of a member of the church here. His words were, “Its probably going to be boring… I don’t wanna see some old man talk for a long time.” Being the young men’s president, I scolded him pretty sternly. I told him that this man that was coming was an Apostle of the Lord, and as such deserves a bit more respect than that.

    So, where do we draw the line between speaking about our leaders’ faults respectfully in an attempt to use their lives as lessons applied to our own(which was hopefully the point of this post), and speaking of our leaders’ faults in such a way that instills doubt, disrespect, and hard feelings in the hearts of others?

    As for me, you’ll never hear me bring up the faults of my priesthood leaders… not about my bishop, not about my stake president, nor about my prophet. Never. Not online, not in private, and certainly not in public. Why? Because to me it focuses on the wront thing, and I would NEVER want to see anything that I have said (whether it be from my mouth or from my keyboard) lead to driving someone away from the gospel. This is a public forum, and more than just members of the church read this… nonmembers, struggling members, investigators, anti-mormons…they can access this just as easily as I have. I think that one of the main problems with those who blog about the church is that they think they’re just speaking to their own kind, not realizing that sometimes bringing up your own doubts or problems can (and do) lead to the downfall of those who have weak testimonies.

    Just my two cents, but many mormon bloggers tend to be quite negative and contraversial with their posts… especially here at MM.org. Not sure if this is to stir the pot and get more readers or what. That’s the tone in which I read your post… sorry if I interpreted your post in a way in which it was not intended, but when so many focus on our bad things, it gets tiring to read. Give us something interesting, uplifting, something with doctrinal meat attached… not something that makes me think of the times when our leaders have tripped up. I certainly would want not want my faults pasted all over the world to be analyzed and criticized. Hopefully I have been forgiven of mine, as I’m sure our leaders have been repentant when the occasion arises. Good day!

  24. May 22, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks again Foshaben. I think we have different perspectives on this issue, but yours makes sense.

  25. Dexter
    May 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Foshaben,

    You said you “certainly would not want [your] faults pasted all over the world to be analyzed and criticized.” But, you just pasted them on this website. I think you owe that kid an apology whom you “scolded pretty sternly.” It’s leaders like you that make members run to sites like this where they can honestly say how they feel without being scolded, or, at least, if they are scolded, it is by someone who doesn’t know who they are. Just because you define the leader as an apostle of god doesn’t mean the young man has to define him that way. He can define him as a boring old man if he wants. And he’s more likely to come to appreciate the old man as something special if he’s not simply ordered to revere him. Let the kid think for himself. If he’s willing to attend you’ve won the battle. If he decides the man is special for himself, it will have a much more lasting effect than just paying attention because you scolded him.

    And your fear to say anything remotely negative at all about the church for fear it could drive some away from the church is a bit over the top. What if the church isn’t true? What if you die and you are given ten minutes to deal with that fact before you blink out of existence? Will you be so glad you spent your whole life defending it? People should be open to say what they want, be it positive or negative. We had a person comment on a different thread that Ray wrote about the death of a very great man, from what Ray said. The person said, very rudely, that Mormons don’t worship the real Jesus and so the man who died was not saved. I think you would agree that whoever did that was very rude. But he is using the same logic you are, just the opposite position. He believes that one cannot be saved through the LDS church, so he felt compelled to post even on that sensitive subject, that no mormon would be saved. He can justify this in his own mind bc of his personal conviction that his religion is the only true religion. Therefore, at all costs, he must spread the good word. Meanwhile, you are doing the same thing but your allegiance lies with the LDS church. Just because you are convinced that the church is the only way to be saved, and therefore you never criticize your leaders, etc., is no reason to criticize others who are willing to discuss the good and the bad of the church and its leaders and its history. Your view simply does not lead to growth.

  26. May 22, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    And your fear to say anything remotely negative at all about the church for fear it could drive some away from the church is a bit over the top. What if the church isn’t true?

    And if it is true — especially if it is true — why be so defensive? Why not trust that truth will prevail, warts and all? Why not trust that the better and more completely people know the Church and its leaders, the more likely they are to believe it?

    I mean, it seems really strange to me to say essentially that “People will only believe the truth if you hide part of it.” But that’s what Foshaben seems to me to be saying.

  27. Dexter
    May 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Great point Kuri, and one I have considered many times. If the church is true, why the fear or letting seminary students or anyone else learn the truth? If it is the unstoppable stone rolling forth why is Boyd K Packer telling people to only teach the positive history?

    I would be much less offended about the history of the church if the church didn’t thrust in my face all the pioneer legacy while obscuring many true historical facts. If the church simply stressed its history less on all counts (the good and bad), I would be much less annoyed. But they avoid certain topics while encouraging the youth and BYU and institute students to memorize tons of historical facts.

  28. Derek
    May 22, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    re: 26

    I’m with you, Kuri. If we have confidence that the Gospel is true, and that the Spirit is real and will comfort, confirm, and teach, then we should have nothing to fear from the whole truth, warts and all. To me, it seems that efforts to hush up less pleasant aspects of our history, to enforce a conformity to the company line, seems to show a lack of confidence in the Gospel.

  29. Ray
    May 22, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    “To me, it seems that efforts to hush up less pleasant aspects of our history, to enforce a conformity to the company line, seems to show a lack of confidence in the Gospel.”

    Derek, there are LOTS of varying reasons for the way history is presented (in all its manifestations) – and most of them have nothing to do with lack of confidence. I’m for open study of everything, warts and all, but what’s the good of taking the polar opposite stance of someone whom you are criticizing for taking the other extreme than the one you take? (That’s the generic “you” – not the personal “you”. My point is that it’s . . . iffy . . . to criticize someone for choosing to focus on only [or almost only] the positive by focusing on only [or almost only] the negative.)

    Let’s try to keep this focused on the topic, not the perceived motivations of the commenters.

  30. Herb Marcuse
    May 23, 2009 at 12:06 am

    “After 30 years of observing and studying the fruits of Martin Luther King Jr., in the light of President McKay’s declarations re: above, I can honestly know that he exceeded Lucifer in his ability to deceive the masses with impressive oration and dedication in spite of his addiction to alcohol, tobacco and sex.”
    -Ezra Taft Benson, Prophet Seer & Revelator, 1968

  31. Ray
    May 23, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Adam has asked that those who comment provide both a good and a bad quote. Herb, even someone like yourself who calls Mormons diseased, dysfunctional in-breds should be able to come up with a good quote from Pres. Benson. Adam didn’t write this post to be a dumping ground for anti-Mormon comments. Please respect the stated focus of this post and add a good quote from Pres. Benson. There are hundreds, at the very least, from which to choose.

    I looked at the very first talk of Pres. Benson’s I found by searching his name at lds.org and pulled this one from it – with almost no effort whatsoever:

    “I pray that we will be obedient to God, learn His will and do it, and, above all, that we will keep the first and great commandment—to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

    If you don’t want to give credit to someone you despise, feel free to allow this one to stand in for you.

  32. May 23, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Ray: I love how you’ve edited my reply and made baseless accusations. Why would you do this? [Note from Ray: I did neither. Every word Herb wrote is still in the comment, and I didn’t add a single word to it. His comment is exactly the same as when he submitted it – word-for-word. The only “editing” I am doing to this comment is to respond within it with my own words, so that those who read it will understand the tactics Herb is using here – deny, make up allegations to deflect blame and attention, attack character, etc.]

    Your dishonesty does the Mormons and the Church you attempt to protect no service. [Ray: What dishonesty? What protection? I never questioned the quote; I only asked you to follow the spirit of the post itself. That’s common internet courtesy.] I’m as much a Mormon as you, and my criticism is aimed at your type of Mormon exclusively [My type of Mormonism?], not at Mormons as a whole. You’ve done a disgraceful thing. [Since I didn’t change a word in your initial comment, what, EXACTLY, have I done that is disgraceful?]

  33. Latter-day Guy
    May 23, 2009 at 4:07 am

    I really like this post. I think that it can be very beneficial to know some of the unpleasant teachings and actions of our church leaders. Information like this is so readily available that we might do a disservice to those who are learning the gospel, if we are not open about these things ourselves.

    Take, for instance, the Elder I heard answering a question on the phone at the MTC. Evidently, he’d been asked how many wives Joseph Smith had. He adamantly replied, “Only one.” He ought to have been extremely embarrassed; however, I think that he might have really believed his answer to be accurate.

    On the other hand, if we are conversant with these uglier teachings/incidents, then when are questioned, we will take the wind out of the sails of those who would be adversarial, and we can share from a confident position, with those who might be troubled by this. I think that for the investigator and the struggling member it can be very encouraging to realize that you are not the only person aware of these facts and that others have found a faithful way to cope with them. If we never bring them up ourselves, it can leave the impression that the church cannot stand up to scrutiny.

    It’s akin to inoculation: you introduce a weakened or dead version of the disease so the body can learn to cope before there is a live infection. Similarly, we can discuss these issues so that people will have already dealt with them before they’re bombarded with the Church’s deep, dark, spooky secrets. This is the cognitive equivalent of “filling your lamp with oil.”

  34. May 23, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Herb Marcuse – You have illustrated quite well one of the main points of the post. I called on everyone to be non-defensive. Ray corrected you, and your response was quite defensive, when a simple “good point, I’ll put up a positive quote as well” would do wonders! Even when we feel wronged (just guessing–I obviously can’t know how you feel), we can still express our views without attacking back. Is there a way you could express what you were trying to say in your two comments without causing more contention? Thank you for your participation (I sincerely mean that).

  35. GBSmith
    May 23, 2009 at 9:55 am

    This is not turning into a thread with much enlightenment. There’s so much anger and resentment smoldering here that my screen is getting a headache. I think it’s time for some to take a breath, take a break and lighten up a bit. Remember the advice of Thumper’s mother.

  36. May 23, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Great points L-dG. While I understand that some who have commented feel that we shouldn’t mention anything negative about our leaders, and we are “grateful no one publishes our mistakes” or whatever, but the fact is they do lead the church we belong to, and for many of us the church is one of the biggest thing in our lives, outside of our immediate family, perhaps. So I agree, it is very important to be aware of the bad as well as the good. I had not thought of it as equivalent to filling one’s lamp, but I like that.

  37. Holden Caulfield
    May 23, 2009 at 10:19 am

    While it would have been nice for Herb to have left a “best quote”, let’s face it, that is a powerful quote on a couple of different levels, if true. OK to malign leaders of others, but not ours. The statement also disrepects his work. Seems to fit perfectly with this rather wobbly discussion. Citation please, Herb, if you are still out there.

  38. May 23, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Holden, Amen!

  39. Ray
    May 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I didn’t edit Herb’s original comment (#30). Every word he wrote is still in the comment, and I didn’t add anything to it. I didn’t even question his quote; I merely asked him to add a positive quote, as well, since that is what this post is about. After he wrote his attack on my character (#32), I added my own response to the body of that rebuke (#32), so that everyone can see when they read it the tactics he is using – deny and deflect and attack.

    The “baseless accusations” are taken word-for-word from his website. He has a post that says he can spot a Mormon in any crowd because of their in-bred features (complete with a picture of a man and a woman wearing nothing but garments), and he speculates that Pres. McKay’s extension of missionary work was a calculated attempt to change the genetic makeup of the membership to reduce the occurrence of birth defects from having an in-bred population. The website is dedicated to ridiculing social and organizational aspects of Mormonism with which Herb does not agree or approve – from prophets to jello. I have no problem with someone doing that, but it is disingenuous to then portray himself as constructive in any way.

    Calling me dishonest and attacking “my Mormonism” in his response is the height of hypocrisy.

    I also have no desire to continue this type of fight within this thread. It only cheapens and detracts from the purpose of the post, and Adam doesn’t deserve that. This is a compelling post, and I won’t contribute to derailing it further.

  40. shannon
    May 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Wow….Great post! I know it’s bad to snicker but I couldn’t help myself in reading a couple of those quotes

    All I know is if I never let anyone criticize me or correct the things I have said I would be worse off. There have been instances when I have said something and the person I was talking to me corrected me because I said something offensive. I am glad people tell me that because I usually say it out of ignorance. The leaders are not perfect, they may not know when something is offensive. I’m not saying it’s our job to correct the leaders of the church but I don’t think criticism is always bad…

  41. Margie Miller
    May 23, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I am a member of Community of Christ and also John Whitmer Historical Association. We as a church spent a hundred years denying what was actually true…that Joseph Smith Jr. not only taught polygamy but also practiced it. Now the thing I like best about my church is that we are finally willing to tell the truth about our history and let the cards fall where they may. And in doing so, we have nothing to fear from our leadership.

  42. Ray
    May 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    #37 – Holden, Herb’s quote comes from “An Enemy Hath Done This” – a book written by Elder Benson about his view of communism. It is an excellent example of why I believe we shouldn’t give extra weight to the words of apostles when they are not speaking of religious concepts – when they are speaking of science or politics or history or any other such topic.

  43. Holden Caulfield
    May 23, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks, Ray.

    Margie–I don’t know much about the CoC’s current teachings. Are you saying the church itself now accepts that Joseph Smith, Jr. taught and practiced polygamy?

  44. BLI
    May 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for the great quotes (both varieties). I’m either too lazy or too busy (reading blogs, etc.) to contribute any quotes. However, I would like to respond to some of the dialogue that has commenced on this topic.

    It is my opinion that by demonstrating both the good and bad, we ensure that our leaders will, in fact, “never lead us astray”. I have a reverence for those who hold various offices (religiously, politically, etc.). Being willing to serve warrants respect for the individual and the position or office warrants respect in and of itself. Still, that in no way should handcuff me to be a blind follower or even someone who agrees and accepts all that is presented by these folks as being for me. God gave me a mind and a body and a spirit (same as them) and He expects me to use all for my best interests and the best interests of those around me. When someone else (regardless of who) contradicts those for me, then I must choose (carefully I might add) to follow my own conscience rather than the specific leader in question.

    While this thread may be disheartening to some because it does show how, despite their best efforts, past and present leaders are still fallible and have misconceptions of their own. That doesn’t demean them or diminish them in my eyes; it only enhances my own perspective of MY responsibility in this whole affair!

  45. Joe
    May 25, 2009 at 10:51 am

    The worst:

    “. . . he that abideth not this law (polygamy) can in no wise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.” (D & C, 132:27)

    “Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law [polygamy] and ye shall be saved.” (D & C, 132:32)

    ‘”The only men who become Gods . . . are those who enter into polygamy.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269)

    “I bear my solemn testimony that plural marriage is as true as any principle that has been revealed from the heavens. I bear my testimony that it is a necessity, and that the Church of Christ in its fullness never existed without it. Where you have the eternity of marriage you are bound to have plural marriage; bound to and it is one of the marks of the Church of Jesus Christ in its sealing ordinances.” (George Teasdale, Journal of Discourses, vol. 25, p. 21)

    ‘”The Lord has said, that those who reject this principle [polygamy] reject their salvation, they shall be damned, saith the Lord . . . they will finally go down to hell and be damned if they do not repent.” (0rson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 17, pp. 224-225)

    “The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers,” (Journal of Discourses, v. 8, p. 115).

    The best:

    “In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints ‘do not believe in the traditional Christ.’ ‘No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.'” (LDS Church News Week ending June 20, 1998, p. 7).

  46. Andrew Price
    May 25, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Well there we have it Joe’s ‘best’ contribution whether serious or tongue in cheek perfectly summarizes the Mormon problem and lies at the heart of why it is to be rejected as being Christian . As Hinckley said – ” No , I dont . The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak …”

    Naturally I would not select any part of the Bible as being better than another , but in terms of its relevance to Hinckley’s quote I would ask people to honestly face up to the words of the Apostle Paul when he said ” For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus whom we have not preached , or if ye receive another spirit which ye have not received , or another gospel which ye have not accepted , ye might well bear with him ” 2Corinthians Ch11v4

    The [blasphemous adjectives deleted] Jesus of Mormonism is not – “…the Lord from Heaven ” It is that realisation which has led many Mormons from out of darkness into the light of God’s truth .

  47. Ray
    May 25, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Andrew, please understand that blaspheming the Jesus we worship is not accepted here. The rest of your comment has been left untouched, but using direct, insulting, mocking terms when speaking of Jesus crosses every line of civility and is not acceptable.

    The 2 Corinthians quote is easy to “face up to” from a Mormon perspective – and it is the exact same answer you give from your perspective. You see us as fulfilling it, and many Mormons see the preachers of the early Catholic Church, the Dark Ages and the Protestant Reformation as fulfilling it. The easiest, most logical understanding points to those who would come after Paul and actually during his ministry, especially since he wrote to the saints in Corinth about falsehoods that already were creeping into their worship. (For example, 1 Corinthians 15 is his treatise on the resurrection, and it is addressed to saints in Corinth who were denying the reality and universality of the resurrection – which, btw, many modern Protestants also deny.)

    Back to my main point:

    Post what you will, but don’t directly insult and blaspheme the Lord we worship. We might disagree in our interpretations of Jesus of Nazareth, but we are speaking of the same man and the same Lord. When you call him disgusting, vile names, you are speaking of the same Being you worship – and this is the second time in the past few days you have ridiculed him using vile and disgusting terms. Please stop.

  48. Joe
    May 26, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Ray,

    1st point… I thought you were done posting here? Was your previous sign-off (lamenting your departure) a ruse?

    2nd point… The Jesus of Mormonism is not the same being that Christianity worships (Hinkley even said so). Could you please stop ridiculing and using vile and disgusting terms to defile the real Jesus?

  49. Ray
    May 26, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Joe, read the post again. I said I will be greatly reducing my participation on the group blogs. I have done so – practically ceasing on many of them. I will be cutting back further next month, as I begin my new job. I am trying to remain fairly active here, even as I have had to cut back even here.

    I agree totally that we interpret Jesus very differently than the rest of Christianity. I’ve never said otherwise. He is, however, the same historical person and Lord. That does not excuse blaspheming Him in the words we use when speaking directly about Him. I have never done that and never will – even when talking of how others view Him.

    If you can’t see the difference, I have no clue how to say it differently.

  50. Joe
    May 26, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Ray,

    We will have to disagree that your Jesus is, “the same historical person and Lord.”

    We will also have to disagree that your behavior is not blasphemous. I understand that you don’t see your behavior as blasphemous. However your view of Jesus matches a definition of blasphemous behavior perfectly: Blasphemous behavior; the act of depriving something of its sacred character. Because you do not believe that Jesus is mighty God, and the Everlasting Father, you are depriving Jesus of his sacred character.

    Mormon men (by claiming that they can someday become a god) fit another definition of blasphemy: The crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.

  51. Ray
    May 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Joe, I can understand that viewpoint from an evangelical or “mainstream Christian” perspective (and I can respect it), but can you agree that ANYONE who believes differently than someone else can say the exact same thing about that other view – that anyone can define blasphemy so broadly that merely disagreeing about the nature of God can be seen as blasphemous? If you can say that about my beliefs, then I can say it about yours – and the only ultimate difference is if one of us is right and the other is wrong. (For example, I believe that your second objection is one of the most widely taught and central concepts of the Bible, so, to me, it is nowhere near blasphemy.) If both are sincere (which we are), and if both are scripturally defensible (which they are), neither can be called blasphemous in isolation. What makes each of them blasphemous in context is the existence of competing interpretations.

    Let me try to be perfectly clear:

    Andrew’s words to which I object – that are the very core definition of objective blasphemy – are specific adjectives used in conjunction with the name of Jesus, not a generic defense of overall belief. I believe when you attach derogatory words to His actual name, you use it blasphemously – you take it in vain in a very real and direct way that does not apply to civil discussions of His nature. I believe there is a line between holding views that others consider blasphemous and actually using vile and disgusting words as adjectives that blaspheme his very name – and I personally think that’s a bright (not fine) line. One is subjectively blasphemous; the other is objectively derogatory and blasphemous.

    You and I disagree about a lot of things, but I don’t consider your views to be objectively blasphemous. The moment you or I step across the line and start using disgusting and vile adjectives, however, in direct conjunction with his name, I believe objective blasphemy has occurred.

  52. May 26, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Ray, it would seem that “objective blasphemy” can only happen in regard to a true deity. For example, an LDS member cannot truly “blaspheme” Zeus, who he or she believes to be a fictional deity.

    I’m sure you’ll agree that your belief in the divinity of Rabbi Jeshua of Nazareth is subjective, rather than objective. Until we have an objectively-proven deity, it seems rather impossible to be “objectively blasphemous.”

  53. May 26, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Andrew Price, I have to thank you for staying on topic this time. 🙂 That was a joke, btw. I thank you for the comment, although I didn’t see it before the “blasphemy” was removed, so I’m not completely sure about my gratitude, lol.

    Joe, I have to ask, are you a Calvinist? If you are not, your Jesus and Andrew Price’s are definitely NOT the same Jesus. Just sayin’. I also think Ray has not been able to stay away from the blog because he just really loves talking about who has the “real” Jesus with you. 🙂 Again, good-natured joke.

  54. Joe
    May 26, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Ray… Your claim that if one of us is “wrong” we are committing blasphemy against the other is (in my humble opinion) invalid and does not meet the definitions of blasphemy that I described.

    BTW, I can’t comment on Andrew’s particular comment because I didn’t see what he said before it was removed.

    I ask again that you please examine the two definitions I provided.

    Blasphemous behavior; the act of depriving something of its sacred character. Mormonism is guilty of this. Christianity is not. The Christian Jesus is God (not a god). He is not deprived of his sacred character in any way. The Mormon Jesus is simply our spirit brother, his sacred character is lowered to the human level.

    Blasphemy; The crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God. Mormonism is guilty again. Christianity is not. Christian men do not assume the rights of God upon themselves. Mormon men do. The Mormon man tries to elevate himself to Godhood. In doing so he must bring an eternal, omnipresent God down to his level…

  55. May 27, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Joe, this is an argument over definitions and interpretations. Let it rest. There is no way for you or Ray or anyone else to prove who is “right.” However, if your intent is to show how YOU feel about this aspect of Mormonism, feel free to continue if you like.

    I do have to add – could all the “Christians” who comment here at least say what their particular brand of Christianity is? Looking around a bit I found out that Andrew Price is Calvinist. There is quite a diversity among protestants, and it helps to know their perspective. Perhaps some Christians like to keep that a secret (only speaking from personal experience) but I really am interested.

    For the sake of your comment, it makes sense to me why you would feel that we are blasphemous and the “Christian” Jesus’ (again, I am not sure if I like that because one Christian’s Jesus is not always the same as another’s) believers are not.

    With your second definition, it almost sounds like you are saying that people cannot have ANY rights or qualities of God. That would mean we could not love, or forgive, for example. Please help me understand your view. Again, though, one Christian man is different from another, however.

    I never thought I would say something like this, but it seems that Andrew Price’s Jesus is really the only one who is not blasphemed on a regular basis. E.g. if you even say you have to accept Jesus into your life in order to be saved, you are depriving Him of sacred character, and are assuming you have some say in the matter.

  56. DrewE
    June 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I’m reading this post a few days removed. I know this isn’t related to the topic, but I just wanted to say that Ray is an awesome, stand-up guy. I personally appreciate all of his posts and comments in the bloggernacle. He is the perfect example of respectful blogging. Thanks Ray! I am glad you are finding time to contribute while beginning a new job.

  57. Heather
    December 11, 2009 at 10:05 am

    “Never give meat, when milk will do.”
    Robert Millet, a Professor at BYU

    “IT’S WRONG TO CRITICIZE LEADERS OF THE (MORMON) CHURCH, EVEN IF THE CRITICISM IS TRUE”
    Dallin Oaks, LDS apostle

    “Some things that are true are not very useful.”
    Boyd K. Packer

    “The merciful companion to truth is silence. Some truths are best left unsaid.”
    Apostle Russel M. Nelson

    “Loss of virtue is too great a price to pay even for the preservation of ones life – better dead clean, than alive unclean. Many is faithful the Latter-day Saint parent who has sent a son or a daughter on a mission or otherwise out into the world with the direction: ‘I would rather have you come back in a pine box with your virtue than return alive without it.’”–Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (all editions), page 124.

    ” . . . Your virtue is worth more than your life. Please young folk, preserve your virtue even if you lose your lives. Do not tamper with sin . . . do not permit yourselves to be led into temptation.”–President David O. McKay, quoted in THE MIRACLE OF FORGIVENESS by Spencer W. Kimball

    “…There is no true Latter-day Saint who would not rather bury a son or daughter than to have him or her lose his or her chastity — realizing that chastity is of more value than anything else in all the world.”–Heber J. Grant, quoted in THE MIRACLE OF FORGIVENESS by Spencer W. Kimball

    “You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind….Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290).

    There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses vol 2 p142)

    “I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today as against that of only fifteen years ago. Truly the scales of darkness are falling from their eyes, and they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people….

    The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos;…The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation.

    At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl…was several shades lighter than her parents…There was the doctor in a Utah city who for two years had had an Indian boy in his home who stated that he was some shades lighter than the younger brother just coming into the program from the reservation. These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated.

    The day of the Lamanites has come….today the dark clouds are dissipating.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Improvement Era, December 1960. pages 922-23)

    And here’s one that always confused me when people explain away these things by saying that the prophets were speaking as men, not as prophets:

    “I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 212–13.)

    “I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home … Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’ ” (Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.)

    Both of these quotes seem to indicate that God is strong enough to prevent his real prophets from ever making a mistake or, “speak as men.”

    Hmmmmm….

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