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This is the first in a new series of posts we’re going to call, “Bursting the Bubble”. There is far too much false information spread by LDS blogs and someone needs to correct it! If you have any recommendations for posts or ideas you’d like us to correct, feel free to comment below or tweet us or send us a message on Facebook. (Assuming they can be corrected. We’re in the business of truth here, not senseless slamming.)

Meridian Magazine’s latest post online, “New Additions to the LDS Handbook: Do the Brethren Need to Check with Social Media?” claims that the brethren “don’t check what’s trending on Facebook or take a poll or consider what journalists at a national media source might write about a policy when receiving revelation in their role as prophets, seers, and revelators.”

This is a radically incorrect statement. Allow me to provide one example that illustrates why. In 1988, the church gave 3,400 members a lengthy survey to try and find out why temple attendance was low. Click here to see a copy of the survey that was distributed. The survey results showed that many members were uncomfortable with the temple because of things like the death oaths they were required to covenant to. Miming slitting your own throat wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, apparently.

In 1990, the temple ceremony changed to remove the penalties and death oaths.

Here are some quotes that show why this was significant:

“The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, ‘Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed.'” – August 2001 Ensign (page 22)

…the endowments have never changed and can never change; as I understand it; it has been so testified, and that Joseph Smith Jr., himself was the founder of the endowments.”
– Senator Reed Smoot, Reed Smoot Case, vol. 3, p. 185

“Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the last dispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations…. He set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them.
– Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol.4, p. 208

So I mean . . . something’s wrong here.

The temple is just one example of how opinion polls definitely seem to have influenced the brethren’s “revelation” on how things should be. We also know that the church often sends out various surveys to seminary students, institute students, local leaders, and other groups of people within the church. Oh, and they have a killer research team and PR department. And a Strengthening Church Members Committee to figure out what criticism is being leveled against the church online.

In their article, Meridian Magazine also criticized members of the church who spoke out against this new policy, saying that “they assume that they are more enlightened and more tolerant than the prophets and apostles whom they choose to criticize.”

To Meridian, I would ask the following questions:
Has a prophet or apostle ever been wrong?
Would you have spoken out against Brigham’s heretical teachings of blood atonement and Adam-God?
Would you have spoken out against the priesthood ban for blacks? (Because the church only changed their policy and received the very convenient revelation on that when enough people did.)
If someone was in a false church that required strict obedience to a leader, how could they realize it? What kind of things would stop someone from believing they were in a false religion or organization? Remember that many other religions, such as the FLDS church, demand the same cult-like obedience that the LDS church does.

One part of Meridian’s post completely blew me away with its ignorance:

“Sometimes the spirit of an age leads people to higher places, often it does not.

There was, for instance, a sense of freedom, a thirst for liberty and an understanding of a nation under covenant which animated the first people to the shores of America and the founders of this nation. They believed in natural law, which was another way of saying God’s law as the fountain of truth. That sense has faded.”

Sorry, the first people to the shores of America? Are we talking about Christopher Columbus and his child-slavery-endorsing friends here? Or the founding fathers who supported slavery? Either way, I’m confused. In what universe were their morals admirable and the kind that we should feel nostalgic for? Let’s keep in mind that the world has got a lot better since that time.

Meridian — you claim that those who disagree with the new policy have a humility problem. I would argue that you are the ones with a humility problem, for you fail to see that your own church leaders proved your points wrong a long time ago. Aren’t you studying your scriptures and the words of church leaders?!

In other news, I’ve seen LDS Facebook pages calling people “hateful” for quoting former LDS prophets that debunk false notions about obedience in the church right now. Makes sense.

 

Resources

http://mormonthink.com/temple.htm#whychanged

 

 

 



Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young would have been a millennial blogger, but she died in 1901. The wife of Brigham Young, and prior to that Joseph Smith, and prior to that Henry Jacobs, who was sent on a mission by Brigham before he married her, Zina loves writing, long walks on the beach, and playing the field.
  • Chris Coray

    > “Sorry, the first people to the shores of America?”

    Maybe they actually mean the ancestors of Coast Salish people that traveled across the Bering Strait from Sibera during the late Pleistocene era?

    Or maybe they mean the first “white and delightsome” people, like the Norse sailors who considered themselves led by Odin, Thor, Freya, and dozens of other god/desses, most importantly for the case of sea-faring, Njord.

    • Melissa Madsen

      Um, did you forget about the most white and delightsome people of them all, Lehi and Co.? Because they were clearly the first ones here…unless you count the Jaredites. 😉

      • Chris Coray

        …yeah, that was kind of the joke. Ignoring fictional BoM peoples that were obviously being referenced.

  • Jaasiel Rodriguez

    I think the most damning thing of all is that the membership has shown a track record going back at least 100 years of not standing up to the leadership. It’s quite a joke when you have a perfectly legitimate way of challenging the authorities in general conference by casting an opposing vote, and nobody has ever really used it. Just about everyone either just leaves or says they need to follow the brethren and force their will into submission. There’s no in between. Doesn’t anybody think that strange? I mean, what is it for? Do you get excommunicated for casting an opposing vote? Can you talk with your friends about why you did it? What does it mean? Is there any weight put to it?

    I know I keep saying that, but I think that is such powerful evidence that the religion is authoritarian in nature. When people arguing say that others need to pray, the question is: what the heck, do these people not pray already? Are they not worthy of the guidance of the spirit? If they are teaching correct principles, and the members need to guide themselves on that basis, they could theoretically challenge a policy. Is a policy a correct principle?

    The entire experience with the priesthood ban could have been avoided if faithful latter day saints who felt it was wrong had objected to it at general conference. The fact that in everyone’s mind you either submit completely or resign and leave shows exactly how the paradigm has some engendered a dichotomy in the minds of the members. And only the authority can check itself, as suggested here. That’s the bullshit. I’m thinking I might go back into activity and assert my privilege as a latter day saint member and cast an opposing vote. And there is nothing anybody can do to say that I am wrong.

  • Melissa Madsen

    What about the recent poll about garments? It came out around the time the church’s new openness about garments came out. I don’t think there have been any changes yet, but already the garments are radically different than they were in the beginning (high neck, long sleeves, long legs). I mean, they even come in colors for military members! Somehow I don’t think Joseph, Brigham, or anyone else ever intended that for the unchanging doctrine…

  • Arwen Undomiel

    It’s clear that these people just change their doctrine whenever they are pressured by the public and when their public image is in grave danger.

    Just recently we have witnessed that they slightly changed the new policy to discriminate children of same sex couples to “discriminate only the children that are not baptized yet”. Yeah, the other children that are already baptized have nothing to worry about. But discrimination is still discrimination and they call the change “clarification” when it’s clearly a change they made after feeling public pressure.

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