I’m Right and Everyone Else is Wrong!

guestapologetics, Mormon, mormon, Mormons, religion 44 Comments

Today’s post is by Zane Chartrand.  When I was a missionary I once knocked on a door and after I had introduced my companion and I and identified us as missionaries with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints he welcomed us with open arms and invited us to come into his house and talk to him. We were thrilled because everyone else that morning had rejected us. We went in and were invited to sit in some chairs in his living room and he told us that he was really excited to meet us. I became curious and also somewhat suspicious at the royal treatment that we were being given. In the past anytime anyone acted that happy to see us there was only a couple of reasons. Either they had a great spiritual experience and we were an answer to their prayers or they were setting us up for a big debate because they wanted to show us how wrong we were to have the beliefs that we did have.It turned out that I had now found a third reason. The man introduced himself and said that he used to be the minister of something or other in Iran as well as being a christian. He told us of the persecution that the Christians were receiving in his country and he wanted our help in coming up with a justification for polygamy for them from the Bible. It took a minute to recover from the shock and to realize that he was completely serious. He told us that the muslims in his country were allowed up to four wives and because of that they had a lot more children then the Christians and the muslim population was growing four times faster. He wanted us to help him prove that he was right and everyone else was wrong.

I think that is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the Church today. No matter how much we try and talk our way around it we always come back to one thing. We are right and everyone else is wrong. When Joseph Smith had the First Vision he was told that none of the other churches were right. Today when talking to others about our church it is a hard point to get around especially if they are ministers or reverends for their churches. Unless we can get the spirit involved they have a hard time admitting or believing our claim that we have the full truth.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

The forces against which we labor are tremendous. We need more than our own strength to cope with them.To heads of families, to all who hold positions of leadership, to our vast corps of teachers and missionaries, I should like to make a plea: in all you do, feed the spirit, nourish the soul. “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Cor. 3:6).

If we are going to succeed in convincing the world of the truth of the Church and the Gospel we need to feed our spirit and nourish our souls. I had a discussion with a man who started his own church a couple of months ago and the spirit was not present and I wasn’t able to convince him of anything and the one part that he was really stuck on was how we could say that we were right and everyone else was wrong. I thought about it a lot after that and I realized that without the spirit there was nothing I could have done because he had already made up his mind previously and just wanted to debate it. Maybe he thought that he was right and everyone else (including the poor deranged mormon) was wrong.

Comments 44

  1. We tried but he was looking for something we didn’t have. Anything we could have showed him in the bible he already knew and he wouldn’t accept the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants. I’m afaid that he was a little disappointed after we left.

    It was just interesting to me because we spent a lot of time convincing people that we didn’t participate in polygamy any longer and figuring out ways to get around that sensitive issue and this person wanted us to help him come up with a plausible explanation that would help him get the Christians in his country to accept it.

  2. Incidentally for your Iranian friends information, whatever the situation in Iran, when polygamy was practiced in the Mormon West it resulted in fewer children per woman of childbearing age than among monogamous women. Historians have postulated several reasons for this, but there you have it.

    I believe that our Church does not have the full truth, as you put it, in which case we would have no need for a prophet and the principle of continuing revelation. I’m not sure how much ground you mean to cover with that statement, but does the full truth we have as Mormons include, for example, a reconciliation of quantum mechanics with the theories of relativity? If not, perhaps we should cut out the superlatives.

  3. I stand by my statement that we have the full truth but I will say that it is relative to other churches version of the truth. We have enough information to be able to achieve exaltation which in my mind qualifies at “the full truth”. Granted we don’t know everything yet, hence the need for prophets and continuing revelation but we do know enough to get us to the Celestial Kingdom.

  4. I think one of the problems is when Church members interpret the Restoration of the Gospel to mean that the Church has “the full Truth”. The importance of the Restoration of the Gospel is, primarily, that the priesthood power to perform binding ordinances that are recognized by God and are thus sealed on heaven as on earth, was restored to the earth by the laying on of hands of the resurrected beings Peter, James, and John. In addition to the restoration of the priesthood, the knowledge of key doctrines was either restored or revealed for the first time as knowledge reserved for the last dispensation of time.

    However, the Church does not have “the full Truth”; rather, our prophets and other Church leaders have, for the most part (there have been some outliers, to be sure), taken the approach that Mormonism stands for absorbing all Truth, wherever it may be found. The other churches existing at the time Joseph Smith was called as a prophet had significant portions of truth but were missing key truths. The issue wasn’t that they didn’t have “the full Truth” but rather that they were missing certain truths. Those have been restored but there is still much Truth to be learned and revealed; much of it presumably can still be learned from the world around us, including from other religions. As Mormons, we should take Brigham Young’s injunction to heart that we seek Truth out wherever we may find it. His position on this strongly implies that he, like so many other Mormons, did not view the Church or its leaders to possess “the full Truth” already. Unfortunately, too many Latter-day Saints these days interpret the fact of the Restoration of the Gospel differently, holding it to mean that this Church has “the full Truth” and other churches do not.

    To be sure, by virtue of the Restoration, this Church is the Only True and Living Church on the face of the earth but I take this to mean that the true priesthood has been restored and that essential truths about the necessary ordinances have now been restored or revealed for the first time. Other churches, however, have much Truth, including much that we do not yet have and would benefit from including; because they lack the priesthood and certain key truths in their own mosaics of truths they have not been described as true and living churches. That will always be a sticking point with them when dealing with us and will constitute a provocation. But it is greatly aggravated when rhetoric about the Church having “the full Truth” comes into play.

  5. So I suppose it is safer to say that we have the capacity to acquire the “full truth” at some point whereas other churches could not because they lack certain truths and the authority to obtain them.

    I guess I can agree with that

  6. John F.

    Thanks for your comments and for bringing up the 8th article of faith. Mormonism is more exciting when it’s dynamic than static. It reminds me of Obert Tanner insisting (when he planned the water fountain in front of the Church Office Building) that it be one with jets and fountains instead of a reflecting pool. Mormonism, he said, was a living religion of movement and activity. He referenced Eastern religions as contemplative and more befitting a reflecting pool. Imagine my surprise when a very beautiful reflecting pool was installed adjacent to the Salt Lake Temple a few years back!

  7. I think he means the 9th A of F?
    “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”

  8. I have a hard time with the idea that we have exclusive access to the things that are necessary for exaltation. I guess the real problem is I don’t believe the things we have exclusive access to are actually necessary. Part of it is that if we believe God is perfectly just and compassionate, why would He deprive a person who was worthy but did not encounter or even rejected Mormonism? There are some very respectable reasons why people have no interest in our church, and that does not automatically constitute a lack of being “honest in heart”.

    Personally, I feel that thinking a great Muslim, Hindu, Bhuddist, Jew, or Baptist is somehow deprived of God’s full fellowship unless he/she accepts a Mormon baptism seems to limit the fairness of God. I’m open to the possibility that God does do that, but if so He becomes a bit less ‘worshipable’ to me.

  9. Clay if God seems less “worshippable” to you it’s because you are trying to get him to come around to your way of thinking rather then you come around to his way of thinking. A lot of people don’t like to believe it but there are still black and whites in our world.

    Jesus Christ said that we must be baptized in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Joseph Smith taught that we must be baptized by those with the proper priesthood authority which we believe is found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The great Muslim, Hindu, Bhuddist, Jew or Baptist will have their chance to hear the gospel and if they are close to the spirit will recognize it for what it is and will act on those feelings. They will also get more opportunities in the spirit world and if they accept it there then the work will have been done for them.

    I believe that there are many wonderful and marvelous people in other religions and I interact with them on a regular basis but you can’t have it both ways. Either we have the proper authority from God or we don’t and if we don’t then everyone else is right and we are wrong, but I believe in my heart that we do and I try to live my life around that belief.

  10. Thank you for your post Zane. I think you have taught us a valuable lesson for moderation, respect and understanding.

    I have a firm belief that God wants me to be a “Mormon”…..but does that mean he wants everyone else to be aswell?

    My answer to this is….”I dont think so.”

    Missionary work is important but in terms of helping others to find peace and Christ’s love. But I do, as Joseph Smith did, feel that Mohammad was inspired and was prophetic at times, and I also believe that God has a special relationship with the Jews. They all have important roles to play. For who would Jesus come to and what prophecies would be fulfilled if the Jews all converted to Mormonism?

    I feel God is qualitatively aware just as he is quantitatively aware of his children’s souls and hearts.

    Just my cents worth… Thanks again Zane for that post.

  11. In response to Clay,

    I think you are correct that God will not forsake good people of any faith from his etneral rewards. But, for the most part, “wonderful and marvelous people” tend to be the exception, rather than the rule. The Gospel is meant for us who need to be molded into one of those people.

    I have long thought that it will be a shock to some Mormons come the judgement to see who is line with them to receive their rewards. Good people are good people, regardless. Some who think themselves good are also in for a rude awakening.

    Even the least reward of our Father’s Kingdom is a far cry better than what we now live.

  12. Great poing Stephen. I believe, just as you do, that God knows what is in our hearts and we will be judged by that. I am very grateful for that because there have been plenty of time that I feel I have been unfairly judged and if they just knew what was in my heart they would judge me differently.

  13. Obviously what I said could fairly be categorized as heresy within our tradition. I accept that. Jesus said we must be “born again”. It was Joseph Smith who clarified that to mean specifically by immersion. Of course, what action has any meaning without the heart behind it? So is it the action of the heart, or the ordinance that has real merit with God? Keep in mind that the orthodox view of God having all these black and whites is only supported when you have relatively orthodox faith in Joseph as the kind of prophet who actually can speak authoritatively on whether or not other faiths have validity.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I totally respect everyone’s position and your right to be where you are on the issue. I also feel like this is the right place for me to be right now, but I don’t think it is for everyone.

    On the topic of whose way of thinking is paramount, the difficulty lies in having a surety that “God’s way of thinking” can be clearly discerned from amongst the messiness of man. One thing I’ve been forced to do as a result of having my faith altered by the cold reality of the real history of the church is that I have to be responsible for every thought and belief I hold. I can’t just simply trust that because a man is in the position of prophet that he will always say or do the right thing. In fact, LDS prophets have even taught that we should take this active responsibility. The veracity of the Book of Mormon depends on the process of checking it against your own conscience. Does it feel right? Likewise, I can only use this same method to determine if it is right for me to believe that my neighbor must be baptized and temple-sealed by LDS priesthood authority in order to be together with his family throughout eternity.

    Perhaps that results in me trying to bend God to my thinking, but its all I have. It is the situation that God has allowed to exist for whatever purpose, by letting humans be humans. But I feel happier in the flux of faith and doubt knowing that I own my beliefs, right or wrong.

  14. Clay – That was very nicely explained. I respect your thoughts and feelings and I feel that you are very sincere in your searching.

  15. One thing that struck me in reading the paperback Discourses of Brigham Young when I was nineteen or so was how often he referred to there being truth in other churches that would benefit us and that we should be open to it and seek it out.

    That profoundly affected how I looked at things.

  16. D&C 137:7-9
    “…All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs to the Celestial Kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.”

    I think we’ll be surprised to see who is actually in the Celestial Kingdom and who isn’t. We have exclusivity to the fullness of the Gospel, but not to Heaven.

  17. In response to:
    Personally, I feel that thinking a great Muslim, Hindu, Bhuddist, Jew, or Baptist is somehow deprived of God’s full fellowship unless he/she accepts a Mormon baptism seems to limit the fairness of God. I’m open to the possibility that God does do that, but if so He becomes a bit less ‘worshipable’ to me.

    Amen!!! I agree completely. 🙂

    God must be far more fair, open, compassionate etc… than man, by the very definition of the word “God”.


    In response to:
    Either we have the proper authority from God or we don’t and if we don’t then everyone else is right and we are wrong,

    Proper authority doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Many churches could be right. Just because another church may have the same authority as yours doesn’t make you any less, it just makes them equal and what’s wrong with that?

  18. The “one true church” idea is certainly difficult for people both outside and inside the church to cope with, and I think it’s so easy to be mistaken about what that phrase means and does not mean. Might I humbly suggest reading something I posted about this topic last week, which was done in the context of developing gratitude for other religious faiths:

    I included several quotes from General Authorities about how much truth and goodness there is in other faiths–some quotes might even surprise you.

    Paradoxically, when properly understood, I think our claim to be the true church does not mean everyone else is wrong.

  19. Clay,

    The requirement of baptism by immersion by those who are in authority, which is found in the New Testament and was not formulated for the first time by Joseph Smith, need not make God less worshippable because of the billions of good people who live out their lives more or less living according to the principles taught by Christ in different churches or religions. Your criticism actually holds true for the creedal Christian view of this — or rather the view held and promulgated by many creedal Christians and their pastors — under which all those billions are in fact damned and separated from God.

    As you know, Latter-day Saints diverge from creedal Christians on this point, believing as we do in baptism for the dead and other vicarious ordinances, thus bringing the power of this necessary and exclusive priesthood authority into the reach of all those who did not have an opportunity to make use of it during their lives. I would argue that this extends past merely those who never had a chance to hear about the Restored Gospel during their lives to those who, as you mentioned above, chose not to join the Church because of legitimate concerns associated with the temporal nature of the Church itself at the time they heard of the Gospel (concerns which, as you noted above, might be attendant to the Church but not the Gospel).

  20. John F.,

    I expected that someone would bring up ordinances for the dead. I acknowledge that is the answer from LDS doctrine that tries to solve the problem of divine equity. But what about all the people who refuse to do proxy work (holocaust Jews, for example)? Or just the sheer numbers of persons who have lived without the priesthood? How much time would it really take to do work for them all?

    For some reason, ordinances seem like temporal things to me. They feel like the gestures you make in a temporal world to demonstrate your commitment. The idea of heaven to me is a place where communication is transcendent of the weaknesses of our vocabulary. Who has read Embraced by the Light, the near death experience book? (btw, if someone says that woman is crazy, I am going to hold up a picture of a boy digging some gold plates out of the ground with an angel hovering nearby) I read it many years ago when I used to travel for work and I was always struck by how logical and comfortable her descriptions of the afterlife seemed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Eadie#NDE_account (read the “After” section, too, to get how its relevant to this discussion)

  21. Clay says: “But what about all the people who refuse to do proxy work (holocaust Jews, for example)? Or just the sheer numbers of persons who have lived without the priesthood?”

    Clay, I respect where you are coming from. I suspect we know very little on this subject. However, your specific questions have long since been answered adequetly from an LDS point of view. There is this thing called the millenium where the heavens will communicate with earth and temple ordinances will be done for 1000 years by, eventually, a very very large population of believers.

    There will be no issues of those that don’t want the work done nor issues of constraints of numbers.

    Incidently, the church does do ordinances for holocaust victims if it’s a family member doing it.

    I’ve always liked Betty’s account of the after life, though I don’t think she nailed it. I do believe she had a very real experience, however. But she likely filters it through her own lens and thus I doubt many of the specific details.

  22. A couple of comments:

    1. Baptism of Holocaust Victims – Bruce is right that we can do the work for our own relatives who perished in the Holocaust. Victims that have been previously baptized whose names were extracted are still baptized, endowed and sealed, their names were removed from the IGI. This was done in the spirit of religious harmony not doctrine. I have very strong feelings about the hypocrisy of the folks who requested the removal.

    2. Betty Eadie – Loved the story but had a problem with that fact that she had a much longer, deeper experience than any other recorded experience. A coincidence that her experience so closely aligned with LDS thought on the subject. Of course, she is a member of the Church. She supposedly gained knowledge that no Prophet of the Church ever spoke of. I always wondered why she was entitled to it.

    I wouldn’t call her crazy, but I wouldn’t equate her experience with Joseph’s vision.

  23. Incidently, the fact that we all filter through our lens is precisely why I suspect that much of what we take as “doctrine” today will in fact end up not being literally true. But that, to me, does not imply it wasn’t true. We do the best we can to understand God.

    While I doubt that God really does send a person down to the world to be a drunk so that others can learn to give to him (an assertion of Betty’s) I suspect that the idea that his soul was a beautful angel worthy of respect was completely true. In other words, I think the underlying through she was getting at was right even while the specifics were dead wrong.

  24. >>> Of course, she is a member of the Church

    Correction. Was.

    She wasn’t a member when she had the experience. She isn’t a member today. There was just a period in the middle where she was.

    Many of her ideas are quite beautiful. Many of the specifics go against the word of God in scripture. I do not believe the specifics can be resolved as they are mutually exclusive. But I always see this underlying truth in what she says.

  25. Bruce,

    The descriptions of the Millennium have always been something more like folklore than official doctrine in the sense that we all believe it and know its a Mormon idea, but not quite sure where the idea came from or what level of authority it actually has been given.

    Its similar to the idea that God was once a man, although that one can be traced pretty clearly to Joseph at the King Follett Discourse, and then on to Lorenzo Snow’s famous quote. Yet, the modern church is distancing itself from that idea.

    So I would actually be very curious to know how the picture of the Millennium, in its unique Mormon detail, came to be and if it truly has any official status today. Its a nice idea, but Mormons have this penchant for eating up speculative doctrine and calling it gospel. (Saturday’s Warrior, anyone?)

  26. >>> The descriptions of the Millennium have always been something more like folklore than official doctrine…

    Yes, totally agree. Do you understand what I am saying though? I’m not sure you do.

    I’m saying that there is a possible answer to your question that in fact answers all your objections to ordinances for the dead. It doesn’t really matter to me if it’s true or not. The only thing that mattered was that the issues you raised are easily addressed in at least one possible way.

    I support your right to hold your own beliefs and create your own religious views. Obviously we all do this to some degree.

    But you weren’t explaining your own views, you were posing your views as if they were a problem for LDS doctrine. They aren’t.

  27. If you are interested in a fairly simplistic, Church-approved explanation of the millenium and the afterlife. The Gospel Principle manual has a few chapters:


    Unit Nine: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

    Chapter 41: Signs of the Second Coming 265
    Chapter 42: The Gathering of the House of Israel 271
    Chapter 43: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ 277
    Chapter 44: The Millennium 282

    Unit Ten: Life After Death

    Chapter 45: The Postmortal Spirit World 289
    Chapter 46: The Last Judgment 294
    Chapter 47: Exaltation 301

    That might be a good place to start.

  28. Its official LDS doctrine that people need LDS ordinances like baptism and sealings for exaltation. Its LDS doctrine that you cannot live in God’s presence in the Celestial Kingdom without those ordinances. So, in that, LDS doctrine creates a problem which must be answered in order to satisfy the image of God as perfectly just.

    The problem I have personally is that it appears the answers to the problem are only found in folklore. The church does not give an answer with conviction that brings the issue to rest. You have to speculate in order to make sense of it.

    I hope no one feels like I’m trying to break down faith on this topic. I am just presenting the issues that I think are healthy for every person to consider. Especially if you plan to evangelize your neighbor, at least be prepared to give fair respect to their concerns when they come.

  29. It’s also LDS doctrine that everyone will have their chance to accept the gospel and receive the ordinances. I don’t know if that means one chance or multiple chances. But I agree that God is merciful and wants all his children back with Him.

    We don’t have all the answers. Some folks are so uncomfortable with not knowing that they have to speculate in order to find peace. One thing leads to another and it becomes accepted as possible truth.

  30. Jeff,

    The chapter on the Millennium is pretty interesting. I wish it would give more references, but I will concede that if you take what is produced by the Correlation Committee as the official position of the church then the question is answered. I’m confused where the manual would fall in light of this press release but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

  31. Clay says: “The problem I have personally is that it appears the answers to the problem are only found in folklore. The church does not give an answer with conviction that brings the issue to rest. You have to speculate in order to make sense of it.”

    Ah, I agree with what you are saying. We do indeed have to speculate to make sense of it all. I haven’t the slightest doubt about that at all. I think the only way in which I differ from you is that this doesn’t seem to make me the slightest bit uncomfortable and you feel less comfortable with it.

    I don’t think a discussion like this posses a problem with faith at all, Clay. Keep it up. Now that you have explained yourself fully, I find myself agreeing with you.

    Let me take a quick aside, clay, and admit my own prejudices here. To be honest, I thought that what you were doing was raising an issue that you plain well knew there was a strong explanation (or at least strong possible explanation) for. In other words, I thought you were intentionally being less than candid in your statements. But, I was willing to assume that I was wrong and answer you as if you didn’t know about LDS speculations on the millenium. (Though some things about the millenium, such as it’s existence, aren’t merely speculations.)

    I can see that I misjudged you. You do in fact have an underlying concern. My apologies.

    I do, however, think this misunderstanding on my part is somewhat reflective of the same sort of misunderstandings that take place between some members of this community and their concerns that the LDS Chrurch is being less than candid. The truth is… communication is harder than it seems.

    Jeff says: “We don’t have all the answers. Some folks are so uncomfortable with not knowing that they have to speculate in order to find peace. One thing leads to another and it becomes accepted as possible truth.”

    I agree. I actually see this as a good thing, however, in most circumstances. But it is possible for speculations to get out of control and take a life of their own.

  32. First of all, I think this is a great discussion and worthy of it’s own blog entry. Maybe, I’ll think about it and post something in the next day or so. Unless someone beats me to it.

    Clay, you mentioned the press release concerning doctrine. Here is one statement I pulled out that sums it all up for me:

    “Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines. For example, the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important than doctrine about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.”

    I think this is true. I think you can be pretty confident that the Gospel Principles Manual, which has been around for ages reflects Church Doctrine on those subjects. Moreso than Professor So and So at BYU’s book on the same subject. I infer from your words that you are not sure the “coorelation committee” can write a manual for the Church that is doctrinal? I share some concern having ran afowl of them myself a number of years ago. But, in this case, this manual is been fully vetted, I think. And we are talking about a subject that isn’t so controversial.

  33. I already have blog entry in the works on this very subject. That’s why I posted my first one on creeds. It will be interesting to see other people’s views on this. I have my own strong opinions that I will explain.

  34. From Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:
    Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin doctrina, from doctor
    14th century

    1archaic : teaching instruction2 a: something that is taught b: a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : dogma c: a principle of law established through past decisions d: a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations e: a military principle or set of strategies

    Umm, this doesn’t sound like what we talk about when we are talking about doctrine. What is the Mormon definition of doctrine? Do we say doctrine when we really mean “God’s personal view of the subject of baptism” or when we want to say “truth”? The dictionary definition of doctrine also doesn’t seem to match the usage on the Church’s PR page which Clay links to, which seems to imply something more like “God’s personal view of the subject.” In fact, it makes for entertaining reading of the Church’s “Approaching Mormon Doctrine” press release if you substitute “God’s personal view of the subject” every time you see the word doctrine. It flows amazingly well that way and produces a chuckle or two.

  35. “We do indeed have to speculate to make sense of it all. […] I think the only way in which I differ from you is that this doesn’t seem to make me the slightest bit uncomfortable and you feel less comfortable with it.”

    Actually, Bruce, I am comfortable with speculation, just not always mainstream LDS speculation. The problem for folks like me is that the church culture, which spills over into priesthood authority, wants to treat alternative theories as apostate even though the popular theories have just as little support.

    Bruce, kudos to you for being able to shed your prejudice. I am not into those kind of games. Although I like to enjoy religion and have fun with it, its something I take very seriously.

    To Jeff’s point of being comfortable with not knowing, I am totally down with that partly because I think I have to be. What makes me uncomfortable is other people thinking they know stuff so surely that they should tell other people they have to accept it.

    I don’t really have a strong personal opinion with the correlation committee, nor do I doubt their ability. Its just that committees are organized by men who have been assigned to that task, and can be formed of people who agree with the organizer. I’d feel more confident if there had never been examples in history of ranking church leaders discovering that indefensible things had been taught or promoted because other men had just been trusted to treat their charge appropriately. (baseball baptisms, original publishing of Mormon Doctrine, etc. etc.)

  36. One of the benefits of being an adult convert is that I didn’t have to endure the folk tales taught in primary, YM/YW and seminary by well-meaning teachers that were also taught those things. Anytime I ran accros one of those, my adult mind (such that it is) could just dismiss it for what it was. A myth.

    Two quick stories. My Bishop’s daughter from our old ward told a story in Sacrament meeting when she was a Young Women about a young teenage girl who was so beautiful the Lord gave her acne to protect her from immorality. When she turned 21, it all miraculously disappeared and she lived happily, ever after. My wife and I just looked at each other and shook our heads.

    The other one just happened last Sunday. I was looking through the Joseph Smith Lesson Manual as we were talking about lesson one. The story of Joseph’s leg surgery is in there. Most church members focus on the fact that he didn’t take alcohol as the main “moral” of that sotry. But according to Richard Bushman, there is much more to it. So what if he didn’t take alcohol. What 7 year would? and why is that so important? The Word of Wisdom?

    Anyway, that is one of the story where most member miss the point and emphsize the wrong thing because it fits there beliefs.

  37. Jeff,

    I always wondered about the moral of the Joseph near-amputation story. Joseph preternaturally knew the Word of Wisdom would be revealed later? The meaning I take from it now is that Joseph was one tough dude,that he and Hyrum had a very close relationship, and that his mom did not like the sight of blood…

  38. Re: the teenage girl with acne — So, the Lord is the one who gives acne to all those teenagers? And, apparently, kids with acne never get mixed up with immoral behavior. Your response to this one — shaking your heads — is the only one that makes sense.

  39. John,

    After reading Bushman, I thought the moral of the story was two-fold:

    Lucy Mack Smith would not let the doctor cut off Joseph’s leg and found a doctor willing to try (experiement) a new procedure. To me that took an incredible ammount of faith on her part. And that the Lord does preserve certain people to do His work. The WoW connection is a joke because Joseph drank wine and beer later in his life.

    The acne story – Yes, the Lord takes away their agency, give them acne and none ever have mortality problems and no one get pregnant. That iswhat makes it so ridiculous. But, I’m afraid there are plenty of those type of faith-promoting stories still out there.

  40. Yep its me. Im fairly certain u have all kinds of things filling your world w happiness and im mt trying 2 disrupt that by any means. But u have crossed my mind many times since we were teenagers and i just wanted 2 know u were living life 2 its fullest.

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