Elder Steven E. Snow candidly explains why the LDS Gospel Topics Essays are not publicized by the LDS Church. (Source here. Date of recording unknown).
“Woven into the story, the history will be some of the issues that sometimes rise associated with church history and our doctrine. We try to cover those with some essays which are linked to lds.org under Gospel Topics. The Bretheren two years ago gave us twelve questions to answer. They included “Race and the Priesthood”, “Polygamy”, “The tranlation of the Book of Mormon”, on and on. Nine of those have now been answered and three questions remain to be answered and we are still working on those. We should conlude our work by the end of this year. If you haven’t had a chance to look at those essays, we’d encurage you to do so and share them with your friends. We are in the process of letting leaders, stake presidents and bishops know about them so they can be a resource in the event that some of their members are having questions or challenges about those issues. “Book of Abraham” essay was just released in July, that’s the most recent of the nine essays that have been publisched on-line.
I think it’d be helpful to know how we chose to roll those out. It was a soft roll out. There wasn’t an announcement saying “You can go to this website to learn everything weird about the Mormon church you ever wanted to learn”. (Laughter from the audience) But yet we had a lot of people struggling with some of these issues. We were loosing young people particularly. And we felt we owed a safe place for people to go to get these answered. So they were deliberately kind of placed in an existing database, so they wouldn’t …. You know, 90% of the church probably couldn’t care less, they don’t worry about such things. But we do have some folks who are on-line and we felt like they needed a safe place to go to get answers if they had questions. So I don’t think you are gonna see a well publicised campaign to tell you to go to these sites. But we just, you know, the people that are interested seem to kind of pass the word amongst themselves. And the only other thing is that leaders now will have access to them. And I think the long- probably the greatest long-term benefit will be: These are answers that have been vetted by the, reviewed by the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency and they have signed off on these answers. And now curriculum and seminaries and institute can safely weave these essays into a future curriculum to in a sense “inoculate” is a word I use quite a bit for the rising generation. So, they can learn a little bit about these things without being totally shocked when they hear them for the first time. Does that make sense? (“yeah” from someone in the audience) Yeah, OK.
So, don’t expect a big campaign. I think there’s been a lot of interest within maybe a small percentage of church members but my view is most of the church really is not troubled, members are not troubled by these.”
He’s being very honest about when he uses the term “inoculate” the rising generation. A few other words come to mind for this……indoctrinate, brainwash. Unfortunately this is what is going to happen. These essays will be woven into seminary and YW/YM lessons and these rising children and young adults will become use to this new narrative. In a few years the old narrative will have disintegrated and they will never come to know the full truth, the whole story.
I am actually surprised the Church would use the term “inoculate” to describe the intended effect of The Essays. We are not accustomed to The Brethren speaking truth, but in this case, they sure did. They could not have chosen a more accurate word to describe their intentions for The Essays.
Simple Definition of inoculate
medical : to give (a person or animal) a weakened form of a disease in order to prevent infection by the disease
aka Inject clueless members with a weakened, diluted form of Church History in order to prevent their future defection should they ever run into the full strength, undiluted truth.
The disturbing aspect of The Brethren’s inoculation program is that it will work as intended most of the time. Maybe they ARE inspired?
On the other hand, the nuance implication of “inoculate” suggests a tacit acknowledgment by The Brethren that they are fully aware that the unvarnished, true history of The Cash Cow of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will negatively disaffect the revenue stream, hence the need for effective inoculation.
Great analogy, Gary. This post of yours along with the other one discussing “oxymoron” inspired my “LDS definitions.” Even when I was an outwardly dedicated member (but not really aTBM, because there was always something lurking on my shelf that bothered me), it always tickled my funny bone that all you had to do to be a moron was remove the second “m” from “Mormon.” Mormon, moron, oxymoron, Oxyclean, oxygen, gimme some air please . . . gotta keep a sense of humor when dealing with the absurd.
Yes – you are so right.
“Most of the Church (members) not troubled by these (essays issues)” Well they should be troubled
But he’s right, Bob, they’re not, in the same way Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovahs Witnesses and, dear god, Catholics are not – and talk about some crazy baggage! The people in my ward are only there secondarily b/c its “true.” Community trumps all.
Truth should “trump all” not community. But you are right. That is why I used the word “should”.
More like “Most of the Church (members) are [unaware] by these (essay issues)”
Why should they be troubled? What does it matter if there is no DNA evidence for the Book of Mormon or there seems to be no relation between the text of the papyrus Joseph Smith owned to the Book of Abraham. If they want to believe it they can go ahead. If they aren’t troubled more power to them. Maybe it is better for their mental health not to be troubled by things. I am troubled by everything and have to choose not to be troubled just to be able to get out of bed every day. Maybe they are the smart ones.
“I am troubled by everything and have to choose not to be troubled just to be able to get out of bed every day.”
That’s what a big hot cup of good black coffee is all about, Brother David.
I used to wonder how someone could not be bothered by the “cognitive dissonance” that would come from the natural progression of discovering that all of the “leaders” and other members have been lying to us this whole time. I think it’s because they never hold a critical thought as it relates to the Church or it’s history. Maybe that’s why Church members are so naïve when it comes to business schemes proposed by other members looking for investors. They can’t imagine “Brother” Smith not being honest and are easily taken. They’re not taught critical thinking skills at all and in fact avoid all deep conversations and information that doesn’t support their belief.
Right on, Bob! This is a COMMON pattern in the Church, and some other churches or cults. Tho’ it was in “good” faith, I once thought that way too. Your pithy comment should be picture-framed.
The beginning of your response has troubled me as well. I am only at the beginning of whatever my journey is, but that thing you said does cross my mind about others believing and critical thinking skills. I always had critical thinking skills and used them in others parts of my life. I did not use them for the church for over 40 years (I am a convert). However, I cannot turn my back on the truths I am finding out about.
I heard in the last few years that the DNA of the Native Americans in a specific area, the Great Lakes Region did in fact show a mix of Native American with Jewish DNA. I am sorry to say I no longer can find that information but I am 100 percent sure that I saw it, read it and found it convincing evidence that the Book of Mormon is a true history.
https://dnaconsultants.com/cherokee-unlike-other-indians/ (re: Cherokee DNA Native American and Jewish mix)
Anecdotal evidence is useless. If there is DNA evidence that proves that the indigenous tribes of North America are descended from Hebrew people who arrived in North America c.600 bc. the LDS Church would have published an account of the DNA evidence confirming The Book of Mormon. The LDS Church has to somehow accommodate the fact that the indigenous tribes of North America did not come from Israel, rather, Eastern Asia is the place of origin for the tribes of North America, thousands of years earlier than the date given for the family of Lehi’s arrival of c.600 bc as stated in The Book of Mormon. The following publications may be of interest to you with regard the science of DNA and the indigenous tribes of North America; ‘Losing A Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church’ by Simon G. Southerton, Signature Books, Salt Lake City ( 2004 ); ‘The Mormon Delusion: Discarded Doctrines and Nonsense Revelations. Volume 3’ by Jim Whitefield, Lulu Press Inc, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, ( 2011 ) and ‘The Incredible Human Journey : The Story of How We Colonised the Planet’ by Alice Roberts, Bloomsbury, New York ( 2010 ).
Thank you for letting us know about Jewish DNA discovered in Cherokee Americans. And thank you also, William, for additional perspective.
Speaking of Simon Southerton, I had the good fortune of meeting Simon (and his wife Jane) in Utah the first week of October (2019). The three of us happened to be houseguests of my brother and his wife (from Austraila). I was in Utah to join Sam Young’s March to End Child Abuse on October 5.
During the four days at my brother’s house, Simon updated us on the new DNA and Human Genome research findings since his book “Losing a Lost Tribe” was published in 2004. The technology of tracing ancestry has advanced significantly since 2004. Now it is not only possible to trace WHERE one’s ancestors lived, but now in addition, genetic science can trace WHEN particular bloodlines joined one’s ancestry. In other words, the approximate YEAR when various branches merged into any person’s bloodline can be determined with amazing accuracy.
Simon explained that Middle Eastern DNA does indeed appear in a tiny minority of Native American people. However, he added that the TIMELINE data shows the appearance of Middle Eastern DNA to be AFTER Columbus discovered America and Europeans showed up in the Western Hemisphere to mate with some of the Natives. Middle Eastern DNA does show up in some Europeans … so it makes logical sense how …. and very importantly … WHEN … Middle Eastern DNA appeared amongst indigenous American tribes.
So … Elizabeth … you are correct about Jewish DNA in Cherokees … but unfortunately the appearance of that DNA comes over a thousand years TOO LATE … centuries after the Book of Mormon allegedly ended.
Nonetheless, I do respect your right to believe whatever you want to believe for whatever reasons you want to believe it. I also respect your right to cherry-pick needles in haystacks of overwhelming data to convince yourself the Book of Mormon is not fiction.
It is a wonderful attribute of The Human Condition that we each have the power and ability (free agency) to convince ourselves that what WE HAPPEN TO PERSONALLY BELIEVE IS GOD’S ABSOLUTE TRUTH. That means there could be as many as 7-1/2 billion different versions of TRUTH on the planet … and they can ALL BE TRUE … at least in the eye of the beholder.
Back on topic … the Book of Mormon is either a translation of ancient records … or … a creation of the fertile ingenuity and resourcefulness of Joseph Smith.
We all get to decide for ourselves … and we all get to be RIGHT.
Maybe because they’ve never heard of them?
You have to know they exist in order to be troubled by them. I love the word usage. Soft roll out, inoculation!!
The brethren asked us to address the questions? 12 Apostles asking mere men to cover up years of false history. I think there should be an essay for that. Explain why these men we believed to be prophets, seers, and revelators cannot give us gods will. I guess if they could we would not be discussing this in the first place.
The snarky-deliberate deceit continues because we all know that the essays are so dishonest and incomplete to “inoculate” the faithful and to keep them in the fold. Like someone else said, “plausible deniability”. The bastards!
Do we know what the remaining 3 essays will be about?
One’s gotta be BoM historicity, and I am SO looking forward to how they handle that. The fact that it’s taken so long is less a function of gathering “evidence” than it is judging what’s going to fly, based on previous essays, w/ the membership. There’s a calculated reason historicity is last.
Steve Snow’s comments are almost certainly not recent. All the essays (including the three he mentions as forthcoming) are available from here…
BTW, I was listening to your interview with JD yesterday. I loved how you made the connection between the ‘translations’ of JS and his evolving doctrine. It blew my mind!
I appreciate the kind comment.
More specifically, Snow talks about the Abraham essay coming out “last July.” That essay came out in July 2014 (see https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865606520/LDS-Church-publishes-new-web-essay-on-Book-of-Abraham.html?pg=all).
So he’s speaking sometime after July 2014 and before July 2015. My guess is early 2015, based on him saying they would complete the work “by the end of this year.”
I know the essays on Heavenly Mother and women and the priesthood came out last November. But that only makes two more essays. I have heard rumors that the third essay was about the temple and freemasonry, and the brethren decided to scrap it altogether.
One more thing. This talk appears to have been given back when the essays were buried among prosaic topics like “Citizenship”, and before they were all linked from the same page (which happened in June 2015, according to the Internet Archive. See https://web.archive.org/web/20150701000000*/https://www.lds.org/topics/essays?lang=eng). So it appears that the policy he’s describing was revised fairly soon after this talk.
When and where was this talk given?
This sounds like something he would have said a few years ago. (What’s the date and source?) His remarks are outdated given that the LDS church website now has a navigational page dedicated to the topics…
I went to see what was on this link about the “gospel essays” and discovered this:
” Recognizing that today so much information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be obtained from questionable and often inaccurate sources, officials of the Church began in 2013 to publish straightforward, in-depth essays on a number of topics.”
What’s almost laughable is that the “questionable and often inaccurate sources” is the Church itself and for anyone who knows anything about the Church and it’s history, the essays are incomplete and misleading. The essays are hardly in depth and only serve to pretend to offer answers. I wonder if these admissions are sufficient to be an admission of fraud as there doesn’t seem to be any disclaimers though none of the “leaders” have actually identified themselves as authors of the essays.
If you go to the lds.org website, it is still a bit of a hunt to find the essays. You click on the first of five options (“Scriptures and Study”) then under the third of four options (“Learn More”) you click on “Gospel Topics,” then on the right side of the screen under “Gospel Topics” you click on “Explore the essays.” There are currently eleven essays.
My personal experience with every TBM I speak to regarding the challenging aspects of Mormon history and Mormon doctrine, whether they have “heard” of the essays or not is always this: “I don’t need to look at that stuff.”
No matter it is found on LDS.org. No matter that I tell them seminary and institute instructors have been encouraged by church leaders to study them and be familiar with the contents.
THEY JUST DON’T WANT TO LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN. EVEN WHEN THE WIZARD TELLS THEM TO TAKE A LOOK.
From BoA essay:”The Lord did not require Joseph Smith to have knowledge of Egyptian. By the gift and power of God, Joseph received knowledge about the life and teachings of Abraham.”
This is undoubtedly the approach they’ll take w/ aforementioned BoM essay (if the Brethren actually attempt such an essay, which, I suppose, is still an open question). Anything & everything is subsumed within “gift and power of God” rubric, evidence be damned.
Seriously guys, if you want to stay informed (minimally enough to comment) a least click the link and look at the titles.
As Dr Metcalfe as mentioned, this essay has already been written:
This essay does not deal with the complete absence of archaeological, anthropologic or linguistic evidence for BoM, something Michael Coe addressed almost 50 years ago, and BH Roberts almost 100 years ago. Even as an explanation for absence of Semitic DNA markers in Native American populations this essay is quite poor.
Please note that I don’t have a doctorate… but it’s kind of you to think so. :)
My understanding is that they are done with the essays. Monson is too sick to participate and Nelson doesn’t want any more.
I am also interested in when and where Elder Snow said this. How did you come upon his words. Recording? Transcript?
That recording still doesn’t cite when and where.
Thanks so much for this link! I fear one day the church will take down the essays, when there are more and more families like the Lusks.
After reading most of the comments on this page here are a couple to add:
– ‘We retained a few external historians’
‘retained’ : have kept on the payroll ? Like mixing money and research, what could go wrong.
– the look on his face right at the end of the clip as he turns away, as if to say ‘Holy crap I’m just trying to do what I’ve been told to do, I know this is a crap shoot.”
What a joke. He basically said the vast majority of members have no interest in learning the truth about the Mormon religion. It’s like Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the (members) some of the time but you can fool all of the (members) all of the time.” Eventually that group that’s not interested in the essays will mainly be made up of members who put forth the minimum effort and are the least committed as a general rule. If that’s the kind of church the brethren want perhaps they should change the name of the church a fourth time to The Stepford Members Church. Referring to the movie The Stepford Wives.
At the bottom of the right column on the essays navigation page link provided by Brent Metcalfe above are some more sanitized and edited apologetic remarks on the essays again by Steven Snow. Still awkward but more staged than the more candid remarks in this post.
Adam-God Essay might be the last hold out of the 12.
Where and in what context did Elder Snow make these remarks?
Thanks John for posting this. A refreshing read regarding this overall issue is B H Roberts’ “Studies on the Book of Mormon” where it is outlined that his presentation to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve about the 5 questions raised about the BofM that had been referred to BHR to answer. He reported to them that he couldn’t answer them and wanted information from the “prophets seers and revelators” and one asked him if would hurt them or help them to answer and he said it would hurt so they decided not to go any further with it and all stood individually and bore testimony of the truthfulness of the BofM. So it is documented that the fix was on nearly 100 years ago. Can’t do anything to interrupt those tithing funds!
Can you provide a source for this quote? When and where he said this?
I’m grateful these were published, so I can answer people who are troubled. Though I’m an active member, I don’t naively just trust in everything. I find knowledge on controversial subjects insofar as possible, so I can have answers ready for those who have questions. Just my thought.
Spencer it appears that you are naïvely trusting the whitewashed version of the answers in these essays. Have you had a chance to compare and contrast them with real world evidence and research done by scientific and historical scholars?
“So glad the essays are available” which translates to ” So glad these incomplete essays now available that are on the official website but don’t identify authorship that are misleading are now available so I can perpetuate the half truths and keep you from confronting reality”. Not that they matter because most members don’t have an accurate and deep enough understanding to actually see that they’re still being mislead even with the articles. The unwillingness of the leadership to just tell the truth with all of their doublespeak and half truths is telling as much as what they’re actually sharing. As for Snow and any of the rest them with their big broad toothy miles shows just how out of touch with reality any of these people.
I”like” how some of the essays just say “could be”, “maybe” this happen, that happen. They don’t have the answer, just trying to smooth the issue out.
Thank you, Spencer, for checking in.
I will comment on your sentence:
” Though I’m an active member, I don’t naively just trust in everything.”
Please study this definition of oxymoron:
Oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect. The common oxymoron phrase is a combination of an adjective proceeded by a noun with contrasting meanings, e.g. “cruel kindness” or “living death”. . . An oxymoron, however, may produce a dramatic effect but does not make sense. ”
Spencer, you’re certainly on the right track to tell yourself you do not naively just trust in everything. You should look up some of the informed rebuttals to “The Essays” in your quest to “not naively just trust” those essays to be straightforward and honest. I will help you with a few links. Please study this material with an open mind and with your BS detector deployed:
And, Spencer, if you have the stomach for a serious dose of non-faith-promoting observations regarding the essays, you might explore here : (I would avoid this one if you want to continue feeling OK about your Church membership. Milk before meat.)
I apologize in advance for the following play on your words: ” Though I’m an active member, I don’t naively just trust in everything.”
The thought came to me that a good description of the author of that sentence could be: “OxyMormon”. No disrespect intended, Spencer. The fact that you are even reading John’s Mormon Stories blog is a testament to your openness and search for truth. As you know, most of your brethren and sisters at Church would rather suffer their lives to be taken than get caught on this website.
I wish you all the best! You are on a pathway to liberating your psyche and discovering the incredible Universe beyond the small box of approved thoughts The Brethren maintain for THEIR benefit (not yours).
I wonder what Elder Steven E. Snow means by a “safe place?”
A “safe place” is a place where the thinking has been done, of course.
As most of us have discovered, thinking is not safe.
The “thinking” is also sometimes done for us on the non-believing side of our sad divide. The only people more dogmatic & unyielding than orthodox Mormons are exMormons with their own variety of orthodoxy.
Between the assertions “God exists” and “God does not exist” or “I believe” and “I don’t believe” lies a vast and largely unexplored territory. Abandon facile binaries and embrace ambiguity. Work with it. Only this will be productive.
If the essays were honest and accurate, it would be such a relief for members to read them, but they are not.
If the Church continues to expect members to be honest in all of their dealings, the leaders must be honest in all of theirs, including correcting the misinformation in these essays.
I love what Gary said “thinking is not safe ”
What a powerful statement and it sums up the church so simply and perfectly . Such an incredible false sense of safety
I am so grateful for my brain and my ability to think clearly and the freedom that has brought me from the tyranny of complete mindless devotion
Through such heartbreak we find freedom —
Knowing the truth Truly does set you free
” Carl Sagan wrote— “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. it is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we’ve been so credulous. (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.) [Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection]”
When he says 90% dont care, he means they are like sheep and will follow along. I still have a major question- in primary, when they talk about translating the golden plates. Do they show JS with the plates and pen and a paper, or do they show him with his head in a hat reading a rock? Little things like that do matter?
inoculate = indoctrinate
essays = downplays
apologetics = synthetics
clarification = obsfucation
translate = fabricate
seer stone = a mere stone
hat tricks = theatrics
golden plate = sucker bait
gold standard = delusions of grandeur
polyandry = dirty laundry
Rosetta Stone = cover blown
papyrus = obvious
JS Egyptian translation = oops, missed the dick illustration
called by inspiration = summoned in desperation
follow the brethren, right or wrong = sell your soul for a song
believe = naive
question = suppression
you talk = you take a walk
white = pure and light
black = stay back
gay = stay away
Red skinned Lamanite = loathsome sight
brown = stay down
female = curtail
Wandering Wanderer that is brilliant. I copied it to share. I wish I knew who to give credit to.
I already posted Wondering’s brilliant piece of work on RFM with attribution . . .
It’s already a hit!
Wow, what a kick to be called “brilliant.” Thanks Ashley, but I have to give the church all the credit. They supply so much good material. Think what Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert could do with all of it.
Where did Snow get his statistics ie, ‘90% of the church probably couldn’t care less’ about issues concerning LDS doctrine? Did the LDS church survey the total active members of the church to find out if the active members had issues concerning the contradictions about LDS doctrine? Show us the evidence for the claim. For a church that puts much emphasis on the value of evidence pertaining to the truthfulness of statements there is no evidence at all to substantiate Snow’s claim. Snow is merely another ‘LDS SPIN DOCTOR’
“It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” -Mark Twain
I would highly recommend the documentary film “Kumare” (www.kumaremovie.com) to anyone interested as to why 90% of the LDS church is not interested in the so-called “Gospel Essays”. The movie is indeed the “true story of a false prophet” because the filmaker purposedly disguised himself as a guru from India in order to deceive people. He tried to see how far he could get away with his pretentions. Well, guess what? He got very far..:-)
Towards the end of the movie, his victims were confronted with the truth of the deception, and it is amazing how they reacted. Some were utterly disgusted, and could never forgive him, while some could still manage to feel the opposite and see a “deeper meaning” to it all. They would be forever grateful for all the “wisdom” they learned from him. For them, it doesn’t matter if he was a false teacher. What mattered was how he turned their lives for the better.
In other words, truth doesn’t matter. Or more precisely, some truths matter more than others. As Boyd K. Packer once said, some things that are true are not useful. Some truths tend to spoil the party or cause rain during a parade. Therefore, if one desires the party and parade to go on, then avoid those useless truths.
But if they can’t be avoided, try a little a inoculation.
The level of detachment is telling and it’s part of the culture. My former mother-in-law had had hip replacement surgery at age 81 and it popped out so they had to do it again. She was in such pain I could hear her crying from down the hall. She was begging for God to take her life. When I entered her hospital room, I discovered my former wife and her sister having a giggly cocktail conversation right beside the bed almost oblivious to their mother’s screams. When I asked if their mother had been given her pain medication they acted like I had interrupted their conversation. I went to the nursing station and discovered that sure enough they had missed giving my mother-in-law her pills. This was not an isolated case. It’s always caused me to wonder when people aren’t troubled by those things that should cause the red flags to go up and the sirens to sound. That includes a Dalin Oaks suggesting that the “leaders” are above criticism (even if they’re wrong) or that grown adults are willing to accept a new story including Joseph Smith using a rock in a hat and Uchtdorf comparing it to cell phone technology and people accepting that too. There’s no concept of critical thinking or demanding any proof at all. When my former wife’s bishop called me to get permission for her to marry her new husband in the temple, he was laughing and giggling in the conversation like an immature boy talking about sex with his parents. They don’t realize the hole they’re digging themselves into and why they’re always having to reconstruct their story. It’s why they can boast about printing 175,000,000 copies of the Book of Mormon and not be alarmed. If what Grant Palmer said in his article years ago about meeting with general authorities and the top 15 not believing, while they may not say it outwardly, their behaviour shouts it. It’s in the culture to misrepresent the truth. There’s a saying that says “Generals are always fighting last years war”. That’s why they pick 3 new apostles that look the same as the old ones… why they’re building more buildings…more temples…doing more of the same because it’s all they know. The LDS Titanic is sinking and the whole membership has been “rearranging the deck chairs” looking at the night, the stars, the moon, the pretty sky rockets all the while singing “All is Well”.
Thank you for your comment, that my pain and I natively understood, so I could tolerate it.
Thank you for your movie reference, which I bought and watched online. I’m not sure all of the things I’m feeling right now, because the numbing pain in my life, and in my marriage relationship is hard to feel out…but I feel like the movie helps me make a little more sense of what has been happening in the last few years of my faith transition.
I watched the movie, thinking the tone would match the raw feeling of your comment, but instead found a great love for both Kumare, and his followers – and even found myself wondering what Joseph could have been thinking, but this time, with less bitterness and accusation.
When I knew I needed to talk with my wife, I introduced my feelings as softly, but as plainly as I could. (She ended up asking if I believed or not, to which I explained that all my knowledge now required intense faith. As my true believing wife, as she became even more frightened, she pressed me into a corner, and I had to shorten my answer to no.) My soft start to the research was the church essay on the seer stone. I hope I will be successful in watching the full movie with her.
I’ve also talked with my brother over the past half year, and this last fourth of July weekend he recommended that I read Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut as my weekend read. I’ve just started, but having read to page 118 of 287, I like a quote from this that also softens my fall from certainty. The book discusses a false religion, and a false leader. I remembered this quote as the documentary Kumare came to a softer end than my anger initially wanted. (I wanted the plainness from the documentary about James Randi, An Honest Liar.) From page 5 and 6, “The first sentence in The Books of Bokonon is this: ‘All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.’ My Bokononist warning is this: Anyone unable to understand how a useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either. So be it.”
I wish the church, all churches could be so truthful as James Randi, Bokonon, or Kumare. Maybe it would lead to less death and pain. Maybe not. But it would be the honest thing to do, and would acknowledge the pain and loss, and hope and love in each of us.
Our sufferings are not in vain. There is meaning in spite of all the pain. The fact that we think and reflect on our sufferings should tell us there is something more to this so-called “valley of tears”, that something transcends this material world. Just as the human hand is designed to sense and hold material things, our capacity for mental reflection is designed to sense and grab the transcendent.
Although some victims of Kumare could never forgive him, what sets him miles apart from Joseph Smith is this: he confessed and owned up his wrongdoing. He did not let the whole deception go on indefinitely. Perhaps while training to become a fake guru, he accidentally learned ethics, that there are lines in the unseen world that he must never cross. For If the material world is all there is, then there is no reason why Kumare could let something immaterial or abstract like ethics spoil his fun. I don’t think he was ever naive to believe he will be reincarnated as a swine in this world.
On the other hand, this is the Mormon problem: Joseph Smith never admitted his wrongdoing. He denied his adulterous marriages using the cloak of Mormon revelations to justify them. He died in that state of denial. And until today, those who promote his distorted gospel and continue to make lame excuses for him like Uchtdorf or Brian Hales are in the business of prolonging Smith’s deceptions indefinitely. They behave as if this is the only life we have, that there is no God who sees all this iniquity they’re involved, and that they will not be judged harshly. They may believe in God, but they act like they deny Him. Between them and Kumare, Kumare is easier to forgive.
When I said “truth doesn’t matter” I was just being facetious. Of course truth matters. In fact, whether we like it or not, Truth trumps everything else. Because if it doesn’t, then where does all this excruciating pain of discovering how the Mormon church lied and deceived its members come from? Why does discovering the truth hurt us so badly?
“Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). This is why Bushman cannot understand why others feel so betrayed and horribly pained by these recent “Mormon revelations” or disclosures. He sees false narratives as mere obstacles to church growth. He fails to see them as offenses against God. What then will he say if false narratives were instead to boost church growth and ensure its survival? Will he still talk about changing them to conform with the truth?
Iniquity reigns where there is no truth. Lyings, deceptions, and obfuscations are offenses against Christian charity. Those who understand what charity means cannot therefore be happy in falsehoods. Charity and truth go hand in hand. One cannot be without the other. Since not everyone knows what true charity means, then, not everyone will care about the truth. That is, until all hell breaks loose. One does not have to be a Christian to know this. All you need is to experience how it feels to be lied to by people whom you trust. After that, the truth matters.
“You know, 90% of the church probably couldn’t care less, they don’t worry about such things. But we do have some folks who are on-line I think there’s been a lot of interest within maybe a small percentage of church members but my view is most of the church really is not troubled, members are not troubled by these.”
I think deep inside 90%+ of the Church members do care and want to know!
I think the majority of the members are online! Not just a few!
And I think it’s a huge percentage!
Of course members at Church won’t discuss any of this during official Church meetings. But when you get one-on-one with members outside the Church chapel like at work, at the store, on vacation, etc. They have questions and it’s a whole different story. They are more real and genuine. EVERYONE is online. The times are changing. Let’s not be in denial. The Church should survey the members and get accurate data. That’s my opinion.
The key to remaining strong in the Savior’s restored church is to remember it’s the Savior’s church. Not Joseph Smith’s, not Brigham Young’s, not Russel M. Nelson’s church and the Lord meant what He said when He taught, “Cursed be the man that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.”
Don’t put your faith and trust in man, put your faith and trust in the Lord.
Not in the bishop, not in the stake president, not in the apostle, not in the prophet… in no man. Otherwise we are prone to fall, because man will always let us down and we be left without support.
In my stake there have been numerous church leaders – both male and female – who have fallen and been cut off from the church, hurting many as they have made their exit… me and my family included.
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it must be learned.
Thank you ‘truthseeker’ for your comment. I found myself questioning the foundational beginnings of the Lord’s Church earlier this year March-April 2019 and then I said to myself….wait a minute….I know I have felt the spirit of the Lord hundreds of times over the last 42 years and I “KNOW” this is the church of Jesus Christ. Our faith is being tested more than ever now due to the timing of the Lord’s Second Coming. The adversary is doing all he can to pull members out of the Lord’s Church. We may not understand certain things and we may be told that this or that is not true because of some ‘evidence’, however, anyone can lie about their ‘findings’ and words can be misconstrued and misinterpreted. We must go by the witness of the Holy Ghost to discern truth from error; we cannot go by what someone else said, saw or wrote…it must be confirmed by the Holy Spirit or we can be deceived. The Lord has confirmed the truthfulness of this gospel and the first vision of Joseph Smith and that this church is the Church of Jesus Christ and that the Book of Mormon was written by the ancient prophets of God. We are being tested. If we find ourselves being sarcastic or vulgar or mean or mocking others or this Church then we had better remember that those are signs of the adversary of this world and are not coming from a Godly place at all. Everything that is virtuous, lovely or of good report as the New Testament states (as well as the Articles of Faith) is what is coming from God; the opposite feelings and thoughts are clearly not coming from God at all but from the true deceiver and liar of mankind. I know my heart when filled with love for the Lord Jesus Christ will never bring me to a wrong conclusion. The only thing we can know for sure is true sometimes maybe as the world gets more evil and confusing and complex to live in is the love of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit which witnesses to us in a beautiful way when we are on the true path back to Christ. I know Jesus Christ has witnessed to me since my having questioned the truth of this church, that indeed this church is of Christ and He is pleased that I stay in it and believe that it is His church. When I thought leaving it might be the right thing to do briefly earlier this year, I could feel that the beautiful spirit of the comforter was not with me in the same way…..it was beautiful and peaceful and stabilizing when I came back to my faith in the Lord’s true church and I don’t want to lose the Holy Ghost again not even for a minute. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ , Amen. (p.s. Truthseeker, I happened to run across some documentation a few years ago that the DNA of Jews and Native Americans were found in Native Americans living in the Great Lakes region (not the s.w. as many of us had assumed or thought); that concurs with the information my son Luke received from people living in the Alfred, New York area where he lived while attending Alfred, University that there is a huge burial ground or huge number of fallen dead Native American bodies where a great battle once took place (not far from Palmyra, NY area) and when my son and others were visiting that area, a strong spirit could be felt there and he knew that a horrific battle had taken place there. The energy was intense and palpable he said.
thank you for your comment TruthSeeker
I just tried posting a comment and I am not sure it went through so will repeat briefly here
I had questioned the church earlier this year March through April 2019
I later had a strong confirmation by the Holy Ghost that indeed the church was of Christ and was true…
that is when ‘peace and joy and love’ the fruits of the spirit came back into my heart and life, thank goodness…
It is not a good feeling to leave this church on any level, but a bad feeling and that is because we made covenants
when we joined this church and the Lord expects us to keep them.
It is HIS Church and we are blessed when we are a faithful part of it and sustain our leaders.
We do not feel good when we do the opposite.
The Holy Ghost is a bearer of truth; that is what we should go by.
There have been and will be many deceptions by the adversary before the Lord’s return
I for one, want to be found faithful when the Lord returns
Evidence has been found in the DNA of Native Americans in the Great Lakes region that Jewish DNA is mixed with theirs.
We had all assumed that all Native Americans and in the s.w. region should have such DNA; we obviously had the wrong area.
Many think that the family of Lehi came now from the Gulf of Mexico area and up through the east to the Great Lakes region; the DNA now confirms that.
We are being tested.
Also, my son attended Alfred Univ. and experienced a great witness with friends that there was a horrific battle that took place among Native Americans in that region and that the whole area of Alfred, NY is quite aware of. The Native Americans state that a horrible battle took place there and the intense feeling of death and horror is palpable in that area witnessing that before the Book of Mormon plates were buried there was an intense battle and Mormon and Moroni were fleeing the fighting as they were the last two Nephites alive as their brothers had all been slaughtered by the Lamanites. We need to be careful not to run too hastily to judgment against this the Lord’s Church because some writer or some research was found that threatens our faith and we need to understand that we will not understand all things until the Lord’s return; we are being deceived I do believe when we read something and just accept it as true when it discounts everything the Holy Ghost has already witnessed is in fact true. The HOly Ghost is the bearer of truth and that is where we need to place our faith not in books, online bashing, fear-mongering writers who have become vulgar in some cases, sacrcastic and demeaning through their own lack of faith and dip into faithlessness and hopelessness, these feelings are NOT of God but of the Adversary. We seek everything that is “beautiful, virtuous, lovely and of “GOOD” report” etc. etc. not those things that make us feel horrible and come from ‘bad report’ and evil speaking.
“You know, 90% of the church probably couldn’t care less, they don’t worry about such things.” Well gee, Mr. Snow, I wonder why that is? For many of that 90%, it is probably because the church has covered up, lied, or otherwise deceived members into believing some things that simply aren’t true! They couldn’t care less because they probably still believe that the things that are now printed in the topics essays (which they may not have even heard of) are nothing more than anti-Mormon lies. Well, wake up people, yesterday’s anti-Mormon lies are today’s apologetics research. The gospel topics essays are the church’s way of being able to claim that they have been open and honest (in the face of lawsuits) while hoping that they can continue to keep most members in the dark about these things. Even in trying to be honest the church is acting in a shameful and deceitful manner.
It’s what Liars do.
Hello – Thank you for your comments. It is important to point out, as you have done, that Simon Southerton has acknowledged the Jewish DNA found in Cherokee tribal folk is post Columban DNA. With reference to the specific claim made by Joseph Smith and Hebrew origin of indigenous tribes of North America in The Book of Mormon, science has well and truly shown Smith’s ‘Hebrew origin’ claim indefensible. Alice Roberts made reference in her book that DNA analytical techniques has improved post 2004. After the dust has settled with regard to the issue of the science of DNA analysis and the origin of the indigenous people of North America, individuals will always choose which version to accept.
Delusional. It’s the only word that comes to mind when Elder Snow says there has “been a lot of interest within maybe a small percentage of church members.” There has always been at least a “small percentage ” of members who knew anything about these historical and doctrinal questions. The truth is the Majority of members have questions they either ignore, to prove they are faithful or seek the answers. If it was just a “few” the LDS Church would continue ignoring it, hiding it .