This is a presentation given at the 2000 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium entitled: “The Decade of the Sixties: The Early Struggles in the RLDS Shift from Sect to Denomination”. It is a discussion of how, during the 1960s the RLDS Church made very decisive steps toward shedding its sectarian past. It began the decade clearly rooted in the sectarian world view. But by the end of the decade, many of the church’s leaders and a reasonable number of its members had adopted liberal views, down-playing traditional unique Latter Day Saint doctrines.

Today, the RLDS Church (or Community of Christ as they are now known) has lost not experienced the same growth as the LDS Church — particularly since the 1970s. What lessons can the LDS Church learn from the Community of Christ? What did they do right, and wrong?

Part 1

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  1. Devin January 2, 2008 at 12:30 am - Reply

    Great presentation. The part that affected me most was the idea of “common consent.” In our Church we only have the illusion of common consent – names are put before us, and the response is always the same: “President Hinckley, it appears that it is unanimous in the affirmative.” The concept of hierarchal revelation nullifies our voice making the assumption that our conduit to the divine is not so finely tuned as those called in authority. Common consent is a wonderful form of check and balance that gives the people equal authority with the leadership in the church. It says that our common inspiration, our collective understanding, our access to the divine is real, relevant, and progressive as we work together towards God.

  2. jayspec January 2, 2008 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Very interesting talk. But, as an RLDS (CofC) insider, the speaker does not speak to the point of view of the Restoration Movement. I have had an opportunity to talk to some of those folks and read their materials. It is sad to hear how they lost their Church from their perspective. It was as progressive as the speaker relates, but again the perspective is very different. The one area where I disagree with the resproation folks in the polygamy issue. They put up a very weak and futile argument that Joseph Smith fought ploygamy coming into the Church and that Brgham Young was the chief instigator. This flies in the face of all availble evidence about Joseph’s enthusiatic embracing of the concept.

  3. John Dehlin January 2, 2008 at 12:01 pm - Reply


    Didn’t Joseph publicly (and mostly privately) deny polygamy until his death — even to many very close to him?

    If so, the term “enthusiastic” might need to be tempered a bit.

  4. jayspec January 2, 2008 at 12:49 pm - Reply


    True enough. Of course, If I had taken 30 wives, that would seem a pretty enthusiastic embrace of the concept, even if secret! I guess I was contrasting it with that idea that “Joseph Fought Polygamy,” which is the title of a book I have from Richard Price, A restorationist from Independence, Mo. He has written extensively on the schism in the RLDS Church from the viewpoint of a Restorationist.

  5. John Dehlin January 2, 2008 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Yeah…the RLDS definitely got the polygamy thing wrong — that’s part of what led to their (relative) undoing.

    I’m w/ you on that.

  6. Anonymous January 2, 2008 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Very interesting presentation. I really enjoyed it.
    I think that the LDS Church is pretty insulated from this kind of revolutionary change. While the RLDS had leaders picked by geneaology (thus allowing the possibility that a different thinking leader could rise to the top) the LDS is picked by existing leaders who tend to be fundamentalists who consequently pick like-minded fundamentalists. Also it sounds like the publications of the RLDS was a lot more open to new or opposing views. I don’t foresee such a possibility in the Ensign/Liahona.

  7. Hueffenhardt January 2, 2008 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    To me, integrity is far more important that sustaining membership numbers. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). Or, what profit a church, if it maintain large membership numbers, by sustaining an orthodox, literal belief, when it has to mislead and misdirect its members to do it.

    Dogmatic churches may be strong churches, but at what cost to integrity and ethics? What is more important – large numbers, or a more reality based worldview in which truth and history are not viewed as threatening, women are treated as equals, homosexuals are not shamed, people don’t feel guilt when supernatural blessings don’t come their way, loyalty to an organization is not put above so many other more important things?

    I have much higher esteem for the Community of Christ than I do for the LDS Church right now. Honesty and integrity score major points for me. I was always taught that you do the right thing because it is the right thing. Membership numbers are superficial and should not be a consideration when one’s integrity is at stake.

  8. jayspec January 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    “I have much higher esteem for the Community of Christ than I do for the LDS Church right now. Honesty and integrity score major points for me. I was always taught that you do the right thing because it is the right thing. Membership numbers are superficial and should not be a consideration when one’s integrity is at stake.”

    I guess you don’t really understand what happened to the RLDS Church. The leadership followed a slippery slope of mimimizing significant doctrinal distinctions of the restoration in favor of vanilla christian ideas. They minmized the contribution of Joseph to the doctrine, the Book of Mormon and introduced off-the-shelf Protestant Sunday School lessons. As the leadership liberalized, and the lineage-based succession of the Presidency failed because Wallace B. Smith had no male heirs, decisions were made by the church Leadership unbeknownst to the general membership. Debate at their World Conferences was curtailed and the church liberalized in spite of the protestations of some of the members. As the new concepts were introduced, like open communion, Women in the Priesthood, more and more orthodox members left. The name change to Community of Christ was one more break with their history. The church leadership decided it was more important to belong to the World Council of Churches and be a run-of-the-mill protestant church than to be true to the unique doctrines of the RLDS Church. I can’t see how that is honest and has integrity.

  9. John Dehlin January 2, 2008 at 5:00 pm - Reply


    The honesty and integrity (in their case) was that they were willing to follow their consciences, and to face “the truth” — regardless of the consequences. The whole “do what is right, let the consequence follow” idea.

    This is much different than the, “Not all things that are true are useful” point of view, expressed by some LDS leaders in the past.

    I’m not saying one is right and one is wrong — but I do see some morality implications here.

  10. jayspec January 2, 2008 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Anonymous Said:
    “Also it sounds like the publications of the RLDS was a lot more open to new or opposing views. I don’t foresee such a possibility in the Ensign/Liahona”

    I think the speaker said that the Hearld changed in the 1960’s to an “in-house organ.” The Improvement Era, Instructor, Contributor and Relief Society magazine were pretty free-wheeling until 1971 when the Ensign came into existence.

    You also must remember that at the height of their membership, The entire RLDS Church was smaller than the population of the Salt Lake Valley. You can be a lot more loose about the contents of the magazine just like the earlier LDS publications than when you are a worldwide Church of 13 million members.

  11. jayspec January 2, 2008 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    John Said:

    “The honesty and integrity (in their case) was that they were willing to follow their consciences, and to face “the truth” — regardless of the consequences. The whole “do what is right, let the consequence follow” idea.

    This is much different than the, “Not all things that are true are useful” point of view, expressed by some LDS leaders in the past.

    I’m not saying one is right and one is wrong — but I do see some morality implications here.

    John, Not sure what “the truth” is. Is it what the CofC leaders say it is, or the members? I can’t argue with the “do what is right…” statement, I agree totally with that.

    I think it was Boyd K. Packer who said, “not all truth….” Of course, that is a situational thing, like telling your wife the dress is ugly. That is not very useful!

    I am, like you, for full disclosure of the history, warts and all. The absolute truth, no matter what. What I am not for is convenient changes in doctrine in order to appeal to the world. I am hoping our Church does not do that. And I would like the Church to acknowledge policies which justified hideous teachings and actions which has no basis in Doctrine. I think you know what I mean there.


  12. John Dehlin January 2, 2008 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    I do understand what you mean. Thanks, Jeff.

  13. Hueffenhardt January 3, 2008 at 12:05 am - Reply

    The LDS Church presents a very literal, orthodox view of Mormonism in its General Conferences, periodicals, missionary materials, and Sunday School manuals. If the individuals that compose the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve honestly believe in that literal, orthodox view of Mormonism and do nothing to limit the publication of historical documents that challenge that view, then they would be acting with honesty and integrity in this thing, IMO.

    IMO, Sunstone/Liberal Mormons and Mormon apologists (for the most part) have something in common: neither have that literal, orthodox view of Mormonism that so many regular sacrament meeting attending members do. It seems that as we learn true historical facts, we are forced to accomodate those facts in ways that depart from orthodoxy. Our understanding of revelation changes, the role of prophets, what scriptures actually are, etc, has to change if we are going to continue to believe any of it.

    The rhetoric from the pulpit does not seem to reflect that departure from orthodoxy. Who knows what the Brethern really believe in their heart-of-hearts? If they are uninformed or the departures from an orthodox understanding that they have undergone? If they are preaching an orthodoxy that they no longer believe in in the hopes of retaining members, then I condemn that behavior as lacking in integrity. But, if they maintain orthodoxy beliefs, then I do not fault them for teaching their true beliefs. Only they can answer that for themselves.

    I am just saying that in principle, if they don’t believe in orthodoxy they should not be teaching orthodoxy out of a belief that this will keep their numbers up.

  14. John Hamer January 3, 2008 at 12:59 am - Reply

    Always great to hear a presentation from my friend, Bill Russell.

    Although Jayspec has done a good job outlining Restorationist (schimastic/fundamentalist RLDS) talking points, he has mischaracterized the mainstream journey of the Community of Christ, its leadership and the majority of its membership.

    Despite the prevalance of the wive’s tale, the RLDS church did not change from a lineage-based succession to a merit-based succession because Wallace B. Smith had no male heirs. It would have been very possible to pass the presidency on to one of Frederick M. Smith’s grandsons like Paul Edwards (or any number of patrilineal descendents of Joseph Smith Jr. named Smith that were and are members of the church). Rather, President Smith changed the practice because a royal succession is not appropriate or desirable for a modern, legitimate church organization. I’m sure President Smith will outline this in the keynote lecture he is giving at Sunstone Midwest this April 2008.

    The church’s recent name change is the 5th in its history. The church was organized in 1830 as the “Church of Christ.” It changed its name in 1834 to “Church of the Latter Day Saints” and in 1838 to “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” It continued to operate under that name throughout the 19th and, in some contexts, into the early 20th centuries, but in the late 19th century the legal name of the church was altered to the “Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” in order to protect church assets from anti-LDS/anti-Utah Mormon legislation. This penultimate RLDS name had the twin problems of being incredibly unwieldy and confusing. If it said anything, it sounded like the church was declaring itself to be an off-shoot of the Utah LDS church. The new name was a welcome change that embraces the church’s heritage by hearkening back to the first name (Church of Christ) while highlighting the value Latter Day Saints have always placed on community.

    It was not only the voice of young liberal turks and the RLDS leadership that prevailed in the debates of the 1980s, it was the voice of the membership. Fundamentalist RLDS members were vastly outnumbered and outvoted in World (General)Conferences that approved the changes that ended priesthood discrimination on the basis of gender. The fundamentalists quit the church and formed the Restorationist movement that now has about 10,000 members — hardly a majority of the 250,000 that the RLDS church had at its height. (A similar proportion of liberal / intellectual members have left the LDS church in the past 25 years due to the LDS church’s reactionary conservative tack. They just haven’t all left at once over one issue and they haven’t all formed a separate church. Instead, the free-thinking people who have left the LDS church are lost to the movement altogether.)

    The talk about being more interested in “joining the World Council of Churches” is nothing more than a baseless conspiracy theory like worry that UN black helicopters are fluoridating US water. The accusation that Community of Christ leaders hope to make the church “just another Protestant church” is simply anti-RLDS slander. Community of Christ leaders I have spoken to understand that the church’s history is what makes the church what it is. To illustrate that point, here’s what retired Prophet and President W. Grant McMurray had to say about the importance of the Community of Christ’s Latter Day Saint heriage:

    “I have been a tireless, some would say tiresome, advocate for understanding the importance of our history. I believe that we fail to do that at our peril. Where we have failed over the years is when we confused our history with our theology. That means that a faith crisis is awaiting us in someone’s attic, only an archival document away. Our history is a rich and profound story of imperfect people bumbling their way through life, trying to be faithful, yearning for truth. Just like us. So appreciation of history does not mean slavishly adhearing to the past; it only means embracing it as something that informs and enriches us, personally and collectively.” (JWHA Journal #27, p. 52).

    The goal of the Community of Christ is not to become Methodist. The goal is to be a church that embraces its Latter Day Saint heritage honestly rather than slavishy.

  15. john f. January 3, 2008 at 9:37 am - Reply

    John H., out of curiousity, does the CoC believe that God restored the church established originally by Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith and that resurrected beings appeared to Joseph Smith to restore the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods?

  16. John Hamer January 3, 2008 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    The general rule of thumb is that the Community of Christ today doesn’t believe literally in things that did not happen. The story of the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood was totally unknown in the early years of the church and contradicts the historical record of how the early church actually operated, i.e., there was no Melchizedek priesthood from 1829-1833 at least. As such, it’s clear that Peter, James and John story (also unknown in the early church) was a late addition to the church’s overall origin story. However, understanding a myth for what it is does not undermine the purpose or benefit of the priesthood. If anything, knowing the actual circumstances around which the priesthood underwent inspired expansion can give a truer appreciation of it as a gift from God as well as its value as a Latter Day Saint innovation. Ultimately, building on the rock of reality gives members a stronger testimony; if you build your faith on the sand of believing in a myth as though it were literal history, discovering the truth can shatter your faith.

    The overall question of the restoration of the 1st century Christian church is similar. Did God appear to Joseph in a vision? — yes, the Community of Christ usually invokes the earliest, historically best account of the First Vision to understand the event in a way that is relatively uncontaminated by the later anachronisms that mar the late version canonized by the LDS church. Did the structure or practices of the restored church of the 1830s and 1840s replicate that of the primitive Christian church of the 1st century AD? Do people actually believe that there were Stake Presidencies in the primitive church? High Councils? Patriarchs? A First Presidency? The notion of a literal restoration of structure and practices is a myth that is not supported by the historical record. Here’s what W. Grant McMurray had to say on the subject:

    “We must disabuse ourselves of the notion that the first-century Christian church was somehow restored in its fulness in 1830 in the northeastern United States. For one thing there was no monolithic Christian church in the first century; its various branches were fighting over things like circumcision, a battle I’m profoundly grateful not to have had to fight, or explain to teenagers. But most important is that we understand that historical studies completely refute any notion that our nineteenth-century church conformed even remotely to that of the first century. Our movement was birthed whole cloth as an indigenous American religion, probably the most significant in the nation’s history.”

    The Community of Christ believes that it has walked a special path that was led and inspired by God from time of Joseph Smith through today. They believe their history, warts, foundational myths, triumphs, tragedies and all give them special insights and a special testimony to share with the world today. This is not a rejection of heritage; it is faithfully embracing heritage in a very different way than literalist faith.

  17. jayspec January 3, 2008 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    I would always acquiesce to John and his knowledge of the RLDS/CofC history over mine. However, I do think the word “slander” with regard to whether the RLDS church leaders wanted to join the WCC a bit strong given that the Presidential Position Papers clearly state that they wished to be a part of that organization as well as the NCC. In addition, they wished to join the mainstream of Christian Churches and not be considered as the LDS Church has been and continues to be.

    And you cannot deny that certain doctrinal ideas which were common to both the CofC/RLDS/LDS Church taught by Joseph Smith have been abandoned or set aside.

    What I got out of President McMurray’s statement was that while you respect the history, it doesn’t really matter. And you can change anything you don’t like, regardless of whether is given to man by God or just made up by man himself. Perhaps that is a bit harsh.

  18. john f. January 4, 2008 at 6:05 am - Reply

    John H., there’s no need to defend the CoC’s view of its heritage. I was just asking whether they believe that resurrected beings restored the priesthood. Your answer is that they do not. That is fine enough.

  19. Lincoln January 4, 2008 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Many of us are happy that John Hamer would expend the time to describe exactly why the Community of Christ believes it has walked a special path. This is not a legal deposition, it is a blog, and I for one appreciate the time someone takes in sharing their opinions and views here. No answer should be limited to a yes or no. We are all here to learn and grow in our knowledge of the restored gospel, right john f?

  20. john f. January 4, 2008 at 11:58 am - Reply

    John H.’s answer implied that he thought I was attacking or criticizing the CoC stance, which I was not but was simply asking.

  21. Equality January 4, 2008 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    john f.,

    I think you inferred something which was not implied.

  22. jnilsson January 4, 2008 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    The overarching question for me is what happens to community when doctrine is soft-pedaled. Many of us more liberally-minded LDS find that it’s the community aspects of the Church which mean the most to us. What creates the very strong communal ties we experience as active LDS? Is it our common history? Or is it our doctrine? Will liberalizing our doctrine loosen our bonds to each other? Frankly, this is my only fear if the Church were to travel this path. Everything else I see is a positive. Thoughts?

  23. John Hamer January 4, 2008 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    I didn’t mean to imply that I though John F. was criticizing the Community of Christ. However, with the question framed in LDS terms, I felt that a simple “no” wouldn’t be accurate.

    It’s like Evangelicals asking “Do Mormons believe in grace?” “Are Mormons monotheists?” “Are Mormons Christian?” The simple answers in Evangelical terms are “no,” “no,” and “no.” However, the one word answers would not fairly explain the nuance of LDS belief.

    What I was attempting to show is that it is possible for religious liberals to have a strong, positive vision that is built upon a solid foundation of reality and rationalism. That’s quite a different thing from soft-pedalling that jnilsson mentions.

  24. John Hamer January 4, 2008 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Hey jayspec — I apologize for being over harsh above. I feel like I hear this charge that the Community of Christ wants to become “just another Protestant church” all the time from LDS Mormons along with the charge that Community of Christ intends to drop the Book of Mormon just so they can join the WCC. I tend to view those comments the same way many Mormons interpreted Huckabee’s quesion, “Don’t Mormons think Jesus is Satan’s brother?”

    My interpretation of McMurray’s statement is that we have to understand that you can’t replicate the past and you can never go home again. Life, humans and institutions are constantly evolving and that this is a good thing.

    For example, not only does the LDS church not have the structure of the 1st Century Christian churches, it does not even have the structure of the early Mormon church. The First Presidency in the early church was a separate entity from the Quorum of 12; the president was not merely the seniormost of 15 apostles; he and his counselors were not a member of their body at all. In the LDS church the apostles are not inferior to the presiding High Council, the way they had been. There is no presiding patriarch, there is no Council of Fifty, no anointed quorum, etc. It 1844 was a restoration of the fulness of all things, why have things changed? Because that is the nature of things and there’s no reason to pretend otherwise.

    Nevertheless, McMurray argues that we have much to learn from the past. The failed militancy of the early church (Zion’s Camp, the Missouri Mormon War, the Nauvoo Legion) have taught the Community of Christ the importance of promoting peaceful resolutions to conflict by understanding the vantage of one’s enemies and by respecting diversity and minority rights. We can learn from the past and we should respect it, but we shouldn’t be slaves to it.

  25. jayspec January 5, 2008 at 10:08 am - Reply

    john Hamer,

    Thanks for the follow up. I guess I am overly-sympathic to the Restorationists POV because I think I know more about it having to talked to them.

    I also believe any journey that bring people closer to God is a good thing.


  26. someone January 15, 2008 at 3:48 am - Reply

    Was there some kind of crisis in RLDS church in 1920s? I have heard a rumor that RLDS church wanted to join LDS church in 1920s but didnt want to be babtized again? Is this true to some extent or is it just a rumor?

  27. john f. January 17, 2008 at 10:02 am - Reply

    John H. # 16, The story of the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood was totally unknown in the early years of the church and contradicts the historical record of how the early church actually operated, i.e., there was no Melchizedek priesthood from 1829-1833 at least.

    What do you make of the 1832 account?

    A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr. an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Ch[r]ist the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brough forth and established by his hand he receiving the testamony from on high seccondly the ministering of Angels thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Aangels to adminster the letter of the Gospel and the ordinencs, forthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him and the continuation of the blessings of God to him

    This falls in the blackout period that you mentioned and is only two years after the establishment of the Church in 1830.

  28. James Brian Marshall January 29, 2010 at 9:12 am - Reply

    John Dehlin

    Your comment:

    ” Yeah…the RLDS definitely got the polygamy thing wrong — that’s part of what led to their (relative) undoing.”

    I must respond to.

    Now if Joseph Smith was the only one denying he committed polygamy, that would be one thing.

    The Mormon Church also informs us Joseph Smith was a polygamist. Yet Brigham Young didn’t bring the purported revelation forth till 1852, 8 years after Joseph Smiths death… It’s easy to make dead people say things they didn’t say you know. But I digress.

    The Book of Mormon, Book of Jacob Chapter 2 universally condemns polygamy.
    The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants condemns polygamy. The Book of Mormon was translated in 1830. So Joseph Smith one way or the other as early as 1830 was condemning polygamy. However in more than 7 other places the Book of Mormon condemns polygamy.

    What did Christ say? By their fruits ye shall know them? Search the fruit of Joseph Smiths writings, all of the them and you will know the truth…

    Joseph Smith Gave 1831 LDS Doctrine
    and Covenants Revelation Man Should Cleave To one Wife

    A revelation received on February 9, 1831, and published to this day in the Utah edition of the Doctrine and Covenants as well as our own, commands: “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else” (RLDS Section 42:7; Utah Section 42:22).

    Joseph Smith Gave Second 1831 Doctrine and Covenants Revelation Against Pural Marriage

    The following month, March 1831, another revelation contained this language: “Marriage is ordained of God unto man; wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation” (Doctrine and Covenants 49:3).

    1835 LDS Marriage Ceremony

    On August 18, 1835, a conference of the Church considered the form of marriage ceremony to be used in the Church and adopted the following covenant, which is used in every marriage ceremony in this Church to the present day: “You both mutually agree to be each other’s companion, husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition; that is, keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others, during your lives?” (Doctrine and Covenants 111:2b).
    The same section which includes this marriage covenant incorporates also this declaration of belief from the Church: “We declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband” (Doctrine and Covenants 111:4b. This section was removed from the Utah edition in 1876, and the “revelation” on polygamy substituted).

    The Book of Mormon, which was translated by Joseph Smith, calls polygamy an abomination and states the rule that one man shall have one wife, “and concubines he shall have none” (Jacob 2:36).

    Court Rulings Joseph Smith Did Not Teach But Fought Polygamy

    February 23, 1880, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, by its attorneys, appeared before the Court of Common Pleas, Lake County, Ohio, (see journal entry, February term, 1880) as plaintiff, asking for possession of the Kirtland Temple, an edifice erected during the early days of the church, and prior to the death of Joseph Smith the Martyr. The church in Utah, then presided over by John Taylor, was named with others as defendants.
    Judge L. S. Sherman rendered the following decision:

    “That the said Plaintiff, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a Religious Society, founded and organized upon the same doctrines and tenets, and having the same church organization, as the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, organized in 1830, by Joseph Smith, and was organized pursuant to the constitution, laws and usages of said original Church, and has branches located in Illinois, Ohio, and other States.

    That the church in Utah, the Defendant of which John Taylor is president, has materially and largely departed from the faith, doctrines, laws, ordinances and usages of said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and has incorporated into its system of faith the doctrines of celestial marriage and a plurality of wives, and the doctrine of Adam-god worship, contrary to the laws and constitution of said original Church.

    And the Court do further find that the Plaintiff, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the True and Lawful continuation of, and successor to the said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, organized in 1830, and is entitled in law to all its rights and property.”

    In a case tried before Judge John F. Philips, in the Circuit Court of the United States, for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, at Kansas City, Missouri.

    In his decision, rendered March 16, 1894, Judge Philips said:

    The Book of Mormon itself inveighed against the sin of polygamy…. Conformably to the Book of Mormon, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants expressly declared “that we believe that one man should have but one wife, and one woman but one husband.” And this declaration of the church on this subject reappeared in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, editions of 1846 and 1856. Its first appearance as a dogma of the church (the dogma of polygamy) was in the Utah Church in 1852.

    Claim is made by the Utah Church that this doctrine is predicated of a revelation made to Joseph Smith in July, 1843. No such revelation was ever made public during the life of Joseph Smith, and under the law of the church it could not become an article of faith and belief until submitted to and adopted by the church. This was never done ….

    (History of RLDS Church Vol 5 pp. 238-239)

    John, you say the RLDS got it wrong? Hmmm you’d better do your research. Because there is also U.S. Congressional Investigation saying the same as what I’ve just posted above.

    You’ve not even seen a hundredth part of the evidence Joseph Smith truthfully condemned polygamy

  29. James Brian Marshall January 29, 2010 at 9:33 am - Reply


    Joseph Smith could not have been a polygamist and Prophet to the Church.

    Any man who sins against God has not the Holy Spirit… Therefore he cannot bring revelation from heaven in such a state of sin.

    God does not dwell in unholy temples, ( Book of Mormon, Book of Alma 34:36 )

    Book of Helamen 4:24

    24 And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples—

    Therefore a Prophet who is bringing revelation from God cannot be committing polygamy. Else He would not be able to bring said revelation forth from the Most High God. This is stated in the Doctrine and Covenants also.

    Either Joseph Smith is a fraud, and we’ve all been deceived, or Joseph Smith told the truth in that He never committed polygamy…

    Since the Bible very much prophecies the Restoration Movement, while supporting the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants in condemnation of Polygamy, I would have to judge Joseph Smith didn’t not lie.

    Further the Utah Church lies.

    Eliza R. Snow, a purported wife to Joseph Smith, earlier said Joseph Smith never committed polygamy.

    Eliza R. Snow Signed a Certificate Which Said There Was No Polygamy in the Church at Nauvoo

    1,000 thousand Women Defend Joseph Smith’s Innocence

    Eliza R. Snow reputed polygamous wife to Joseph Smith

    One of the reasons Eliza wanted to barely touch on the subject of polygamy at Nauvoo was because she had helped lead a thousand women in signing a petition, stating that Joseph was not guilty of polygamy as Bennett had charged (see Times and Seasons 3 [August 1, 1842]: 869). After Dr. Bennett left Nauvoo in late June 1842 and published many statements declaring that Joseph was a polygamist, Joseph made a great effort to fight against that false doctrine. Joseph himself published that he “preached … much against it” (Times and Seasons 3 [July 1, 1842]: 840).

    While the Mormon Church wants to say Joseph was a Prophet and Polygamist, the evidence says otherwise.

  30. […] “Right.  Now I’m just going to pause, and I’m going to reference the listeners to episode 110 of Mormon Stories.  I love this episode so much, it was stolen from an old Sunstone presentation by Bill Russell but […]

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