Friday, October 19, 2012

Infallible FAIL!


There’s a running joke among Mormons (and perhaps Catholics) that goes: The Pope says he’s infallible, and the Catholics don’t believe him.  The Prophet says he’s not infallible, and the Mormons don’t believe him.

The official LDS quote on this matter goes something like: The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray.  This is doctrine in the D&C.  It has been taught from the pulpit at general conference.  It is in official church manuals.

Is it true?

Earlier in 2012, after controversy surrounding statements by a BYU professor Randy Bott on the history of blacks and the priesthood, the church released a press statement that read: "It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago...We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church."



This statement is very profound.  It tacitly admits that the previous statement, that the Lord won’t allow a prophet to lead the members astray, is false.  For nearly 150 years the prophets have led the people astray with racist policies and the current prophet administration does not know why this happened, they just know firmly, racism is wrong.  That repudiation of the former policy, of hundreds of statements made by Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Bruce McConkie, and many more effectively opens the gate to an understanding that the current administrating prophets could be absolutely dead wrong on policies they have in place currently.

Many members believe this is in fact happening.  Without be-laboring a point I have made over and over on this blog, the focus on profits by the prophets is, in my opinion, absolutely a modern equivalent of the money changers at the temple square. 

For those members that agree, believe it or not, we can make a change.  The leaders often fall to peer pressure on many issues that trouble members as well as society at large.  Examples include the manifesto on polygamy, changes in meeting blocks, missionary age requirements or length of service, ordaining blacks and allowing entrance to the temple of minorities, changes in the view of what defines a Lamanite, going silent on the ban against oral sex, removing of acerbic & violent penalties in the endowment.  You may think that these were changed purely through inspiration, but don’t fool yourself.  If they were inspired to begin with, what changed in the world that caused a needed change in policy?  What changed were societal lack of acceptance on plural marriages, civil right pressures, scientific understanding of DNA and Amerindians, complaints about the violent pantomimes, exhaustion from prolonged meetings and more.  The inspiration changed because the people and evidence demanded it.

Actually, one could argue that the common element of change was the drop in donations or the loss of financial holdings, either wrongly by the government or correctly withheld by wavering members. Eventually, the emphasis on profits may ironically hurt the bottom line when tithing drops and profits at the mall cannot compensate that loss.  At that point, the leaders will be inspired to go back to basic charity and preach love and service like never before, in an effort to raise donations again.

Announcement:  This is likely my last blog as a member of the LDS church.  Something is about to happen.  Stay tuned…


18 comments:

  1. Well, don't keep us in suspense. What is it that is about to happen? You probably realize how many of us stay in the shadows, the borderlands as Jeff Burton likes to call us, and yet really want to be out there in the open like you are. Thank you for all your courage and plain speaking. It is so sad the closed mindedness that continues in our Church. I was so taken aback by Elder Quentin L. Cook's remarks at conference. Just so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Easy. You're either resigning from the LDS church or your resigning as managing editor of MT. Since you seem to enjoy your current role at MT, I'm inclined to believe that you're going to resign from the church.



    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for your courage and your sharing the pages of your unfolding story. I am a former member who submitted my resignation with a very big smile---it was VERY important to me to make a statement and to have my name removed from the cult LDS membership roles. Your choosing to talk with the press was big and also made a statement; that the Truth, the most important gift in life, is vital to fight for, making those who speak truth feel free to do amazing things.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Joseph's Myth Was A Real ProfitOctober 20, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Thank you for this blog. You're doing very important work by helping people learn the things that Mormon leadership tries to hide or downplay in order to keep the money rolling in.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How much traffic does MormonThink get? http://www.quora.com/MormonThink/How-much-traffic-does-Mormonthink-com-get

    ReplyDelete
  6. David: I hope you don't resign from the church. I hope you will continue to seek answers about troublesome facts in our church. I am a faithful, but troubled member. We all know we can't "go public" with what we've learned. Silence is required. You went public, which makes you our voice. It isn't fair to you, but it's true. We need you.

    That said, I understand whatever you decide, and wish you all the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon. What are you talking about? There have been sites answering troubling mormon questions for decades. Every issue has been answered over and over again. What are you going to do wait wait for the Morg to tell you that there was no 1st vision since there was no one in the church that knew about it and even BY in 1855 said that the Lord didn't come Himself, but angels, that joseph was fooled by the BOA papyri, that joseph actually lusted after woman and was wrong about polygamy/polyandry, that since 90+ percent of all of his prophesies didn't pan out that he was a false prophet, and on and on and on. If you are waiting for answers from the church you aren't ever going to see complete, truthful answers. Admit it, you've been had. I realized that 30 years ago, left, and never looked back.Try a little moral courage, Anon and the rest of you sitting on the fence.

      Delete
  7. David,

    I would suppose that there are two ways to 'make change happen', one is to vote with your feet, the other is to stay in and engage the Church in meaningful dialog as a member thereof.

    The Middle Way -- one that avoids the extremes -- would suggest that we need to remain engaged in the church, whilst constructively objecting to those elements that cause disaffection. Once one leaves voluntarily, then one has less opportunity to engage from the Middle, and it's easy to dismiss those that leave as 'dirty apostates'.

    I prefer to stay in as a heretic, a word meaning 'one who thinks for oneself'. By staying in, I find that I can influence people on some polar issues more effectively than if I were to leave. I don't know if the Church will always accept me, but that is their choice -- I choose to remain actively part of it.

    My hope for you is that you might stay in, if it is your call to do so. If they take the action, then so be it. I think you maximize your credibility and impact if you do not resign.

    Just my take and opinion. Like previous comments, whatever you decide, all the best to you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. For those who aren't aware of the events of last weekend, Dave resigned his membership publicly while attending the Exmormon "Conference" here in Salt Lake City. Only a few of his closest confidantes were aware of his decision beforehand, and we all gave him the dignity of listening to his own conscience. I know for a fact it wasn't a choice he made lightly.

    I'll go on record as predicting the LDS Church will "let him go quietly" in hopes of avoiding another PR disaster such as occurred with the firing of Jeffrey Nielsen last year or the notorious "September Six" episode.

    Still, the actions of the fanatics at FAIR are particularly loathsome. They've repeatedly demonstrated that they are unable to reconcile their doubts about the church and engage in sheer myth making with their defenses of all the doctrinal and historical anomalies. When that fails them, as it always does, they engage in trying to punish or discredit the messenger. Some of them have claimed that essentially "nothing new" has been written in church criticism in 160 years--citing the works of John Hyde--but the fact is this practice has been going since the days of Samson Avard, William McLellin, and William Law.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have said that I investigated this church for a year and a half before converting. I wasn't looking for change, I attended a mainstream church at the time. I have always had questions regarding the Bible and many pieces that were illogical. However, I wasn't looking to change my religious beliefs. What started me on the path to investigating this church was a former co-worker who is Mormon. He would make statements about the Mormon church and I felt challenged to prove him wrong. That is how I ended up reading everything I could get my hands on including the negative. One of the things that I noticed about people that are raised in the church is how they perceive the church. From my experience most native Mormons tend to view everything about the church in a microscopic way. I recall the first ward I was in. One of the women I found made sure she and her family made sure they followed every single thing she could about the church. And she tried to make sure myself and my child followed everything as well. That is until I made it clear she needed to back off. What I noticed about this woman is she followed because she believed to fall off track is to lose the Celestial Kingdom. However, what she missed out on was the lessons. She wasn't learning anything, nor were her children. No doubt one or more of her kids probably are having doubts like the people on this blog.


    Another thing I noticed. This church can't win, if they were admit to one issue being wrong, people would hold it up and flag it forever as why this church is totally completely wrong. If they choose not to recognize something that is wrong, then they are hiding something. In your eyes, and anyone else looking to down this church this church would be in a no win situation.

    So, who is to judge what Heavenly Father has inspired through the prophets? Jonah,a prophet, ran from doing what the Lord would have him do. He wasn't a perfect prophet. However, at what point would or should a prophet stand in front of its people and say, "I'm not perfect! It is my feeling that we should do....I may be wrong, but hey nevertheless follow me." I some how doubt the church members would feel inspired to follow. Take a look at how we as a nation take apart the presidential candidates. That can't be done in any church.

    Does that mean you can't disagree? No, of course not. However, it is one thing to disagree, another to advertise it to the world that you disagree. I for one do not care for the investments that church has made recently. I agree this should be addressed. But, don't blur the line....like the old married couple that drags out every single thing that went wrong in the marriage. As I have said, there is reason to doubt every single religion. Make your choice as to what and whom you want to follow. Shut up and get on with it. David may have finally made a good choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I resigned over moral outrage. My problem is with the teachings concerning the American Indians. I cannot accept that God cursed their ancestors. I will not pray to know if the massacres and atrocities committed against them happened because God's spirit was with the Europeans (1 Nephi 13:12-15). I refuse to believe in Manifest Destiny.

      "Shut up and get on with it" is entirely wrong. Would Jewish people be expected to remain silent if a religion taught that the Jews deserved the Holocaust because their ancestors had become wicked? No.

      And it is not acceptable to teach whites that they are the chosen ones and that the bad things happened and continue to happen to Indians because they were and are wicked unless they become Mormons.

      I will not "shut up and get on with it". Mormonism's moral obligation to humanity is to renounce the Book of Mormon.

      RIP Russell Means!

      Delete
  10. I think that you stayed longer than most would have. I hope that you stay a part of mormonthink. With it getting millions of hits, that has to tell you that people are listening. The information you provide is helping to get the truth out there and it allows people to make an informed decision. Shame on the LDS Church for punishing the truth seekers. I'm grateful for all you've done. Enjoy your new found freedom!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Coming from the outside as a convert. My family is of mixed race. I grew up in an all black neighborhood, and experienced reverse prejudice. I have every reason to down this church. However, I recognize that people are human, they try to explain and classify EVERYTHING. In doing so, people can and do make mistakes. I haven't read anything in the formal teachings of the church that indicates that the members should hate blacks or Indians.

    In regard to Hell vs Heaven. I think what this church teaches is much more loving and forgiving than any other religion. Even the lowest degree of heaven is said to be one hundred times better than life here....plus, very few people will end up on hell. AND the very best part of this? We humans aren't going to be the ones to decide who goes where!!!

    While converting and since converting I'm amazed that so much of what I have experienced and what I have read, including many of the things written in this blog and on Mormonthink has been total opposite.

    What everyone seems to forget is a lot of things happen as a result of agency. If Heavenly Father interfered and corrected everything that was wrong, then agency goes away. We may not fully understand everything, but he does. You do have the spirit of the Lord to guide you...if you follow the teachings of the scriptures, not what someone tells you it means, but follow the actual teachings you will be less inclined to go wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well, I mentioned this in an earlier comment... You were given a stay due to the election. As soon as the election is over, you'll be pulled into court.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an interesting prediction, Andrew, and it contrasts with my own...

      I'm not totally wedded to my suspicion the LDS Church will want to avoid publicity, which is why I will be following what happens with interest.

      My take is the church usually tries to avoid publicity; the reason Steven Jones was fired from BYU was his advocacy of "9-11 Conspiracy" claims which it clearly found embarrassing, and that's the basis of my prediction. On the other hand, Simon Southerton wasn't exed for "apostasy" even though he's published extensively on DNA findings. He wasn't even permitted to bring his scientific evidence to his hearing, and I know he felt the church was being dishonest by not addressing the issue.

      Anyway, we shall see... Years ago I read a great comment by the "notorious" Sandra Tanner where she noted one could be excommunicated for "murder, adultery, or apostasy." She then told of a friend of hers who chided her for being kicked out as a result of the 'least interesting of the three."

      Delete
  13. "Shut up and get on with it" is missing the whole point. Through study, many have found things we were never taught our whole lives that are true, but very confusing, troubling, or even mindblowing. We ask for clarification and explanation But none comes. The scriptures teach us to ask, seek, and knock, but when you do so about conflicting versions of facts about church history or the circumstances of how scripture came about, you get no answer other than being called an "ark steadier" or "troublemaker" or other such things.

    There is so much pain in so many members lives who have found these troubling issues. Joy in our teachings, joy serving in callings, joy in missionary work, joy in temple service, and joy in studying Mormon scripture has been taken from us. And our beloved leaders just don't care! They call us negative things and call us to repentance in General Conference, and speak condescendingly regarding us. They have no compassion for the crises people are swallowed up in.

    So don't be so holier than thou. If you are not troubled by the things in Mormon history that someone else is, O Happy Day for you! Truly. But your comment is very un-Christlike, and shows your arrogance and judgmentalness. Try being kind. If you hold the priesthood, try living by its oath and covenant. And if you cannot do these things, maybe you should take your own advice.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We should probably give up on trying to save Mormons from themselves. I had a bit of a discussion about this while in the car with my wife today. It's like you said: She does not believe the "prophet" is infallible, even if he says so himself. Also takes issue with my taking issue. What can you do except to bow your head and say, "Yes--it's bloody stupid!"

    ReplyDelete