The temple is the invisible bindings on Mormons. To them, it's the opposite. They are taught from the earliest ages through primary posters of temples to look to those buildings for salvation. Young women see it for a castle where they marry a prince. Young men see it as entering the elite guard and knighthood where they will be given privy, key information regarding their rise in callings and status of the church culture.
(75¢ primary poster you can purchase to teach
Jr. Primary kids how important the temple is to eternal salvation)
The temple is the keystone to the LDS Corporation earnings. If the LDS Corporation can convince members of its essential nature in the highest of the highest treasures and mansions of eternal life in the upmost heaven, then they secure huge profits. Because to get there, you must obey, pay and not look at internet-hearsay.
The threshold to the temple is the temple recommend worthiness interview. Looking at the worthiness test questions one must pass is enlightening in perspective of the Mormon Fraud Case Summons, put out by Tom Phillips.
To wit, here are the questions members must answer correctly to get into the homey of holies.
1. Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?
What the church teaches: The firsthand source about God comes from Joseph Smith and especially his 1820 first vision—which the missionaries teach, Sunday school manuals expound and seminaries instruct to teens—that Joseph Smith saw God the Father with Jesus Christ on his right side as separate personages. D&C 130 is the most explicit in teaching the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as separate beings and was given in 1843, almost a quarter century after the first vision.
What the church has hidden: There were multiple versions of the first visions, some of which only explain that an angel visited Joseph, not God. Joseph Smith taught monotheism—especially in the Book of Mormon and Book of Moses, and that God is spirit in one place, then later that he is flesh and bone in another. The teaching of the trinity—of separate personages in the Godhead—did not appear as a belief that Joseph Smith taught until at least 1832 (D&C 76) or perhaps as late as 1835—more than a decade after the first vision. Why is this an issue? Because it undermines the first vision as an actual event. The multiple accounts vary greatly, as to how Joseph Smith defined God, and he founded the church on a very different premise of God, versus (later) a Godhead of three.
If a Christian convert understood that Joseph Smith could not get his first vision correct, and that the definition of God evolved after the boy-prophet supposedly saw different personages, they might rethink whether Mormonism’s start was based on falsehoods. In the words of Gordon B. Hinckley, “If the First Vision did not occur, then we are involved in a great sham. It is just that simple.” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 227.)
The LDS Corporation knows these problems exist, but they have not traditionally taught them to investigators or included the details of various first vision/Godhead inconsistencies in their gospel instruction manuals. This might be willful deceit to promote black-n-white thinking and ignore flaws in their founding prophet’s sermons.
2. Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
What the church teaches: The LDS Articles of Faith say that “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
LDS scriptures teach “if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end” (2 Nephi 2:22).
If Adam and Eve had never fallen into mortality, then “they would have had no children” (v. 23) and no one but Adam and Eve would have existed.
Furthermore because they fell, “the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall” (v. 26).
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22).
The LDS scriptures also teach: The Book of Mormon clarifies the tie between the atonement and the fall of Adam—that there were no other humans before Adam and Eve. They say: Eve “was the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26) and Adam is “the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also” (Moses 3:4) and “the Ancient of Days and father of all” (D&C 138:38) who together “brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth” (2 Ne 2:20) and of “every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam;” (Mormon 3:20). Finally, that the age of the “earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence” since Adam fell (D&C 77:6).
What the church has hidden from members and investigators: The evidence of evolution is overwhelming against the concept of a literal Adam and Eve, and by implication, undermines the atonement they place so prominently in the order of their worthiness test. Science shows clearly that humans arrived in America arrived before Adam and Eve were on the earth. And yet, the LDS doctrine teaches clearly that Adam and Eve are the parents of all living people, only living for less than seven thousand years. If as in all people arose from Adam and Eve and in them all people die, and because of sin and death, Christ atoned and resurrected to save mankind—then if Adam and Eve are fictional (according to science they tend to ignore or dismiss) then the atonement is at least undermined and at most even unneeded.
Since the evidence that Adam and Eve are figurative is overwhelming, then the atonement may be unnecessary since whatever sin and impurity was introduced by God through evolution can just be dismissed with a change by God in evolution. This is not dependent on so-called free agency and eliminates the mysterious sacrifice to atone for God's oops in evolution. That, however, is not what the LDS Corporation teaches. They hide this by proclaiming against scientific evidence that Adam and Eve are the parents of all humans, and thus, a plan of redemption came because of the fall (which never actually happened). Without the atonement, repentence and absolute law which they can use to judge us all as sinners, they don't have an offering to free you from the sin they say you freely choose to commit.
The LDS Corporation can’t afford to truly clarify their stance on evolution because it would pull aside the curtain and reveal the man behind the premise of their case to keep you tied to them for salvation.
3. Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?
What the church teaches: The main argument for the restoration is the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. That the Book of Mormon is an ancient record about Hebrews arriving by boats, filling certain lands, warring with each other, having God destroy over a dozen major cities when Jesus was crucified across the world, and about a Utopian Christian society rising up from that destruction to fill the land with innumerable people in 200 years – all in ancient America. This book is the basis of the biggest difference between Christians and Mormons. The Book of Mormon is the main tool used by missionaries to convert new Mormons, by asking them to pray and believe the book is true, and if true, thus the entire LDS Corporation is also true by implication because its founding differences are based on the book that Joseph Smith copyrighted and called “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.” (BoM intro)
What the church has hidden: The bizarre claims of the Book of Mormon--the wars, dozens of cities destroyed in days, rise of vast centuries-peaceful Christian nations--can be disputed by DNA evidence, by archaeological, linguistic, anthropological and more scientific evidence. The LDS Corporation weakly acknowledges they know about the contrary evidence, but have not taught this to members or investigators. They have misled about the source of the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is not all that Joseph Smith claimed it to be, as the keystone and most correct book, and it appears significantly flawed compared with many areas of science, then it undermines the credibility of Joseph Smith as founder, and the religion he founded. Traditionally, they do not teach details about archaeology, DNA science, linguistics or other scholarly work unsupportive of the Book of Mormon to investigators or in their gospel studies classes. Rather, they affirm over and over that “secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon” and that “the primary purpose of the Book of Mormon is more spiritual than historical.” They prefer all investigators and members pray about it and feel in their heart it is true, against all the secular evidence that it is false.
The LDS Corporation can’t afford its members to view the Book of Mormon historical claims against overwhelming evidence in archaeology, anthropology, DNA science and other academic work that shatters the Book of Mormon assertions, because it would crumble their restoration foundation.
Additionally, the summons raises two other issues (from so many to pick) that undermine the restoration. The credibility of Joseph Smith is called into question regarding his role in the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor—the LDS Corporation claims that it was destroyed because it printed "lies" about Smith. And likewise, the LDS Corporation raises the character of Smith to "martyr" but fails to teach that Smith engaged his jailors in a gun battle, not dying as an innocent in the way they portrait in their D&C or other historical documents.
4. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?
What the church teaches: The priesthood keys held by the current only authorized president, seer and revelator came directly through Joseph Smith, who claimed to have received them through a restoration by angelic visitation of Jesus’ apostles Peter, James and John. In order to accept the current prophet as the only person with the priesthood keys, as a seer and revelator, it is assumed that you accept that Joseph Smith was also a seer and revelator, and the tradition carried forward in a line of succession.
What the church has hidden: Two ways in which that claim can be falsified: 1) a broken line of succession, 2) Joseph Smith never had the authority in the first place. The latter, Smith as a seer and revelator, can be tested many ways. One primary way it has been tested is Joseph Smith's claim that he could translate ancient languages and revealed foundational scriptures based on his revelatory and seer talents. However, the test for this ability shows a grand failure in the Book of Abraham. The summons claims that:
“All experts in Egyptology agree the ‘Book of Abraham’ is not a translation of the papyri the Church has in its possession. There are no references to Abraham and Joseph and the interpretations of the facsimiles reproduced in the book are not true. The papyri are, in fact, common funerary texts found on countless Egyptian ‘mummies’. The Church leaders have been informed of these facts, yet still state it is a translation. Rather than admit their founder (Joseph Smith) lied about this matter, they deliberately and dishonestly repeat the falsehood in order to deceive their Church members and potential converts.”
The LDS Corporation has been marginalizing the Book of Abraham for many decades and it may go slowly down the memory hole as less and less of its instruction refer to the book over time. They prefer the members to just forget about it, and that investigators learn about it well after their baptism.
However, if Joseph Smith provably failed to translate regular Egyptian, then why would we trust he could translate "reformed Egyptian" of the Book of Mormon? It's ultimately impossible based on actual evidence.
However, if Joseph Smith provably failed to translate regular Egyptian, then why would we trust he could translate "reformed Egyptian" of the Book of Mormon? It's ultimately impossible based on actual evidence.
Likewise, the charges in the summons about the credibility of Joseph Smith as a martyr and his culpability in the ill-posed destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor are relevant to this worthiness question.
5. Do you live the law of chastity?
The LDS church teaches: Chastity is directly tied to sex only within marriage. They excommunicate members who routinely engage in sex outside of marriage.
What the LDS Church has hidden: The morality of their founder, Joseph Smith, who “married” multiple wives, including girls as young as 15 and wedded women who were already married and continued to stay married to other men (adultery by most Christian standards). The founding prophet of the Mormon Church failed to live the standard of chastity required by those attending the temple in his day and in modern times. In today’s world, Joseph Smith would be just like many players, with a pretty bizarre pick up line (“Hey, Baby, wanna see my angel’s flaming sword?”).
Despite not directly discussing the details of Joseph Smith’s secret married philandering, the LDS Church expects that all of its young men are quite like Joseph, and unable to show restrain at the slightest temptation. This is why in the March 2014 edition of the Ensign, in the article “The Lord's Standard of Morality” they have this quote by general authority Tad Callister:
"The dress of a woman has a powerful impact upon the minds and passions of men. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure. Men and women can look sharp and be fashionable, yet they can also be modest. Women particularly can dress modestly and in the process contribute to their own self-respect and to the moral purity of men. In the end, most women get the type of man they dress for."
Women, dress for the kind of man you want, says Callister. By that reasoning, I’m surprised more women don’t wear Ben Franklin pasties. After all, young men, even pure ones, cannot control themselves. Something tells me this justification will extend to Joseph Smith’s inhibitions. Apparently, the plural wives made Joseph do it.
6. Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
The summons does not address this one. But, the LDS Church routinely has hidden abuse cases that come to a bishop, resulting in legal problems. Please review this and this and this for more information.
It is interesting that family relations are of great importance regarding worthiness and, in a underhanded way, used as a crux to keep people worthy and paying tithing. The summons says abou this that members “cannot attend the [temple] wedding ceremony unless they too are members of the Church and, among other conditions, pay a full tithe. If they have been amiss is paying, but are willing to pay the arrears of the past year, they may be allowed. Therefore, they have to pay to attend their child’s (sibling’s) wedding... Thus, they take away a normal parental right and then charge you money if you want the ‘benefit’ they have taken from you. Nobody would agree to such a regime unless they believed the false representations to be true.”
The LDS Corporation decides if you are not in harmony with teachings regarding your family relations and will hold that relationship hostage if you don’t obey and pay.
7. Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
The summons does not address this one directly, but, if you’re reading this blog, you probably might have put your recommend in jeopardy, given what the LDS Church teaches about doubting your doubts, or rather, ignoring your doubts, don't look behind the curtain, even to pretend blindness about that curtain. President Monson, named in the summons, has taught LDS youth:
"Should doubt knock at your doorway, just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts: ‘I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people. I know that happiness and contentment are there, and I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith. I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it. I grant that I cannot explain the miracles of the Bible, and I do not attempt to do so, but I accept God’s word. I wasn’t with Joseph, but I believe him. My faith did not come to me through science, and I will not permit so-called science to destroy it.’ "
He prefers you not look to science for any answers unless they agree with the LDS Corporation, because faith in falsehoods are more important to him.
Other LDS authorities (apostles) have taught fear of outside information, such as on the internet:
"Some have immersed themselves in internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases, invent shortcomings of early church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed." (Elder Quentin Cook, 6 Oct 2012)
"There have always been a few who want to discredit the church and destroy faith. Today they use the internet. Some of the information about the church, no matter how convincing, is just not true." (Apostle Neil Anderson, 2012)
"Those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few culture hors d'oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the restoration and leave the rest of the feast." (Apostle Jeffrey Holland, 2012)
And most recently, in its manual for paid ministers (seminary teachers):
“Much unreliable information pertaining to plural marriage exists on the Internet and in many print sources. Be cautious and wise with such information. Some authors who write about the Church and its history present information out of context or include partial truths that can be misleading. The intent of some of these writings is to destroy faith.” (p. 479 "Seminary Teacher Manual on Doctrine and Covenants and Church History", 2014.)
When members are commanded to avoid looking at unapproved source material, to not honestly examine contrary information, because their authorities have told them to beware of the internet, it appears very cultish to outsiders. Members should ask themselves: Do you think your elders have actually read the “unreliable information” themselves? If so, then they should have very well articulated responses to them if they are so obviously lies/wrong and the brethren can see it.
Where are the well-articulated responses? At the least, Mormons can read their Elder-approved responses without fear of losing the spirit. But no, those responses don't exist.
You know why?
Because the LDS Corporation is frightened of you even hearing about the issues. They warn you not to go looking and they refuse to provide you cover with their own teachings. Don’t look behind the curtain. You'll lose the spirit, and perhaps even your temple recommend.
8. Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
The summons does not address this one. It’s clear that obedience is important to the LDS Corporation. Obey, pay, and don’t look at internet-hearsay, could be a mantra.
9. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?
The summons does address the general honesty of LDS Corporate officers, such as Monson. Details to be given during the case. See this for now.
10. Are you a full-tithe payer?
The LDS Corporation requires a new convert to commit to paying tithing for baptism. Active members must continue this to go to the temple. This is the crux if the Mormon Church Fraud Case. You are required to accept many misleading teachings (shown here) in order to pass a temple worthiness interview to get your saving/exalting ordinances. And Tithing is tied directly to that salvation along with requiring that you accept the fraudulent teachings.
The initial filing of the summons has the following words:
“The purpose of these untrue and misleading statements is to facilitate the conversion of individuals to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to pay to said church 10% of their income on a continuing, permanent basis. A second purpose is to mislead those individuals who are already members of the said Church, so that they will continue paying 10% of their income.”
I was asked by a journalist last week how acceptance of LDS doctrine was tied with tithing. Because, I explained, you wouldn't pay a tenth of your money if you felt the LDS Church didn't have a monopoly on truth. The unique claims of restoration, new scripture and pedestal-high stance on family values are the unique motif attracting people to become Mormons. But if the restoration and new scriptures were falsified, if the family values are founded in the first prophet's extreme adultery--how many would actually join? They have to mis-represent all of these weaknesses to keep members in place and attract new converts. Then, tithing is absolutely required for salvation offered by the "only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys". And that "only person" is Monson, the name on the summons.
11. Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?
The summons may well address this one, as there are claims in the Word of Wisdom that can be challenged by scientific studies.
12. Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
The summons does not address this one. But rest assured, the LDS Corporation likes to get into your financial affairs, but don't ask them to return the favor. Financial secrecy is extremely important to them, and as a member, you have no business speaking ill of the Lord's anointed, or questioning how they use your donations. The sole discretion on how they use your money is up to the LDS Corporation Sole.
13. If you have previously received your temple endowment: Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple? Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?
The summons does not address this one. It is worth noting that in the summons, it mentions the desire of the church to keep members paying on a permanent basis. In the temple, they put their members under life-long covenant to give all of their posessions, talents and time to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which is effectively the name of the Corporate Sole). The covenant in perpetuity will net a lot of time and income by keeping members Obeying, Paying and not Hearsaying.
Oh, and don't be gaying either.