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.
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.