The Alternative Narrative v. Commonsense

Perhaps the major cause of people leaving the Church and even losing faith in God altogether is the question of polygamy. More specifically, the question of how in the world could have Joseph privately taught it and practiced it, but publicly denounced it?

There is an exodus OUT OF the Church now, and many people name their loss of trust in Joseph Smith as the key reason for their departure.

Whether or not OT prophets engaged in something akin to polygamy is another question for another time. That is not relevant here because Joseph didn’t publicly use OT references to justify the practice, and because the conduct under the microscope is the private v. public accusation leveled against Joseph.

The purpose of this thread is to give voice to commonsense. Surely we will ALL agree (?), whether we’re inside or outside the polygamy camp (speaking of having sex with women other than your first and current wife), that these four items are examples of commonsense:

1) The devil would have targeted Joseph and those around him for corruption. There is ZERO doubt.
2) Joseph was young. 14 years old in 1820, and in his mid 20’s during the early years of the Church. He soon became surrounded by grown men in the Church who were older than he was and who had the disadvantage of more time to become familiar with (corrupted by) the things of this world.
3) Satan would ABSOLUTELY use unsanctioned sex to corrupt the young Church. This would be the PERFECT vehicle to corrupt the people around Joseph. And there is plenty of historical precedent where immoral sex corrupted people.
4) Joseph, being presumably a virgin till marrying Emma, and “unacquainted with men and things” and esp being ignorant of conspiring designs of others to commit adultery against their lawfully-wedded wife, would have been the PERFECT PROFILE for Satan to set his sights on, and for treacherous men too, in service to Satan, to prey upon. He was meek. He was humble. He was pure. He was forgiving. He saw the beam in his own eye. He respected others agency to do according to the dictates of their own conscience.

This is basic COMMONSENSE, agreed?

Therefore, I ask, with the safe assumption that Satan would have targeted young Joseph and those around him, and that Satan would have used illicit sex (spiritual wifeism or polygamy, whatever you want to call it), as THE way to corrupt the young Church, Why are there so many opponents in the Church of the alternative narrative which declares: Joseph fought polygamy?

Don’t folks who adamantly disagree with the idea that Joseph fought vigorously against polygamy only argue against common sense? And they also have to explain away with substantial mental gymnastics these two things:

1) How Joseph could privately teach and practice polygamy, even without Emma knowing about it, while publicly denouncing it.
2) Why the Church disavowed the practice in 1890 officially.

In short, common sense is totally suspended. It’s bizarre how so much energy and passion can be summoned to defend the official narrative that Joseph publicly denounced but privately embraced polygamy, and then for that same energy and passion to vanish with the shrug of shoulders saying “meh, who cares,” when the Church changes its story in 1890. Where’s the passionate defense of polygamy members other than the fundamentalists? Now that I think about it, at least the fundamentalists are non hypocritically being consistent!

Yes, the implications are earth-shattering for the mainstream Church if Brigham was the one who popularized and made normal the practice, and even taught it to be a celestial practice that one MUST enter into to receive exaltation. It would mean the Church not only during Joseph ‘s day was under condemnation, but certainly after his death. It would mean that the Church today is heavily influenced by Brigham Young. It would mean there was an apostasy going on in full force when Joseph was alive, and that he was fighting against it. It would mean that the devil was, surprise, surprise, using sex as a way to pollute the holy church of God! And it would raise questions about WHO was behind and supportive of Joseph’s murder?

Do you grant that this alternative narrative, which aligns seamlessly with commonsense, is possible? Or impossible?

If it’s possible, then that means you must, of your own free will and choice, sacrifice a long-held belief. While, I should add, retaining your faith in Christ and the Restoration!

Might God ask you to sacrifice something that big?

Joseph taught:
“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation”.

Lectures on Faith 6:7

In summary, commonsense shreds the mainline narrative that Joseph was duplicitous in publicly denying polygamy and secretly practicing it. Commonsense actually explains that Joseph Smith would have been targeted by Satan, and barring the failure of Satan to corrupt Joseph, Satan would have set his sights on those around him and the chief tool of corruption would have been sex with people other than your wife. This is commonsense, and I believe the light of Christ.

Let your conscience guide you to accept the obvious. Be wary of tradition motivating you to ignore commonsense and accepting a mainstream view of history full of contradictions, and which shows no success of Satan in infiltrating the Church in any significant ways, and basically whispering to you, “All is well in Zion.”

The Amazing Practice of Jesus Never Mentioned…

…even though it’s specified by the Lord as a purpose of the Book of Mormon.

This practice of our Lord hides in plain view on the actual Title Page of the Book of Mormon which lays out the purpose of the coming forth of the record. Quoting from that page, three declared purposes of the book stare us in the face:

1) “…to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and…

2) “that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also…

3) “to [convince] the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, [who manifests] himself unto all nations—”

When contemplating the message of the BoM’s title page, I’ve always believed the BoM was given us by God to convince us that Jesus is the Savior of the world. But I had stopped right there, giving no consideration of the other two quoted purposes. The title page indeed sheds light on a rarely-discussed practice of Jesus: that He manifests Himself.

Sure, it should not be understated that the book has the power to convince us of the redeeming role and divinity of Jesus Christ. Over the years, millions have testified of the book’s convincing power.

But what do the people testify they’re convinced of? Well, of course, that Jesus is the Christ. But the descriptive part of the Savior must not be overlooked, but IS. The record states clearly: the reader should be convinced that Jesus is our Savior who manifests Himself to all nations.

How interesting it is that Jesus, in the title page introducing this “second witness” book, specifically mentions His desire to manifest Himself unto ALL nations in very deed.

The three purposes are intertwined. When Christ manifests Himself, He will show great things to you and make a covenant with you, eliminating any doubt that you “are cast off forever”.

What does “manifest” mean or refer to? The work appears 42 times, plus a handful of times where a form like “manifesting” is uses, and in over half the cases, it clearly refers to the Lord showing Himself to people. The words means “to show”. According to the 1828 dictionary it means to show clearly; make evident; disclose, display.

Therefore the BoM’s stated purpose is to convince you, the reader, both Jew and Gentile, that Jesus is the Savior and that He shows Himself, without prejudice to all nations.

For those who have read the book, was God successful in communicating this within the book’s pages? Do we find evidence of Christ manifesting Himself to people? The answer is a resounding YES. From the opening chapter Lehi sees Christ, then does Nephi and Jacob, his younger brother. Later King Benjamin speaks of receiving angels, and the powerful witnesses of Abinadi, Alma, and his son. Then to Nephi, the son of Helaman whom witnesses saw into the heavens and conversed with heavenly beings (Hel 5), and then to Christ appearing to 2,500 people in 3 Nephi 11 and even earlier to the Brother of Jared, and there’s still Mormon and Moroni, both eyewitnesses of the Risen Lord who conversed with the Lord as a man speaks to another man.

Yes, the book is replete with examples of Christ manifesting Himself and personally ministering. You would expect such testimonies to be contained in a book with the stated purpose of trying to convince you that Christ appears to man!

Why Zion is needed

There is no safe place on earth where a man can be free from the tyranny of the state. America was the great experiment in Liberty. It has failed. Immune from prosecution, the corrupt, lying, sociopath politicians and government officials have their way. Tyranny is, in fact, unfettered and it her appetite is insatiable. The devil laughs at his great victory, and his angels rejoice (Moses 7:26)!

A question was once posed:

How much tyranny will the state impose on the people?

The answer:

As much as the people will submit to it.

And what do we observe in the world today, and more specifically, in America about the level of tyranny the people are willing to submit to?

LIMITLESS TYRANNY.

There is no justice. There is no rule of law. No courts of law exist in America today where a man can hold his own court and appeal to and require submission to Common Natural Law. Even rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights are openly trampled under foot of corrupt judges who have allegiance to the power who grants them their law license.

There is no prosecution of the evil people and institutions entrenched in society. Therefore evil has run rampant. It’s completely unchecked. When given a green light by the people to run rampant, what is the inevitable result?

Or think of it this way: If Satan were allowed to do as he wished without any resistance to those who serve him, how much evil would he unleash on the people?

The clear answer is: he would utterly destroy all humans, attempting a spiritual and physical destruction. He would attempt to destroy God’s creation made in His image. First Satan would destroy liberty and justice, and mock it, and then he would very quickly annihilate, as in murder, the people through every method at his disposal: poisoning the food, water, air, soil. He’d utilize abortions, euthanasia, drugs, pharmaceuticals, state-sanctioned “medicine”, vaccinations, etc. He would use violence of man against man, but the most effective, large-scale, and expeditious means would be the violence of the state against man (democide – genocidal warfare by the government against its own people).

The Book of Mormon gives two accounts of democide, and the abridgers of the sacred history, the prophet-historians Mormon and Moroni, identify the exact root cause of the destruction of the Nephites and Jaredites: secret conspiracies in government that corrupted society, assaulted the God-given rights, persecuted Christians, and initiated catastrophic, genocidal wars. The Book of Mormon explicitly warns the inhabitants of American today that they will be destroyed if they leave the liberty-destroying combinations alone to do their evil works.

How does Zion figure into this discussion?

If you see the inevitable breakdown of civilization into a state of endless bloodthirsty warfare, then you will see that some people experiencing the horrors of such uncivilized, Satanic chaos would appreciate a real refuge to which they could flee. They would now appreciate a safe place to go where the society was genuinely good and where resistance to evil occurred because there were no evil among them.

And before the destruction begins, you would expect some people would humble themselves without being compelled to be humble (Alma 32 says these people would be even more blessed), and that they would seek to build Zion.

But history shows that evil spreads and eventually occupies whatever space it wishes to occupy, if it is not met with resistance. Therefore, for violence and tyranny to not come to Zion, resistance must be present! Because the devil seeks to destroy Liberty and Peace, he will violently seek to destroy anybody who resists him, especially people who live peacefully in Liberty. So FORCE will be used against Zion. This can only mean that God must physically intervene, if even in a self-defensive posture. God Himself must resist tyranny. God will protect Zion.

The question then arises: How do the people qualify for His protection?

They must become His people. If Jesus were dwelling in the latter-day City of Zion, and somebody like a police officer or soldier stuck a gun in his face to enforce tyranny, He’d resist. We are told in Scripture that such police force will never make it to within the property limits. What God calls His land, and where He is sovereign King will be defended by Him.

What an inspiring thought!

Wouldn’t you like to live on God’s land, even in the New Jerusalem, and to merit Christ’s protection from the tyranny of the police state?

66 And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;

67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.

68 And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.

69 And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.

70 And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.

71 And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.

DC 45:66-71

Our main mission today, as individuals and families, should be to become righteous (Christ-like) enough that we are gathered by Christ and His angels into the holy city of refuge, even as a hen gathers her chickens.

Clever Marketing Scheme

I’m sure you’ve noticed the skyrocketing frequent use of “the covenant path” since President Nelson was ordained by fellow apostles to hold the office of president of the Church in January of 2018.

The phrase was virtually never used before President Nelson was set apart as the top official in the hierarchy.

Months ago I researched it. If you were looking at a line graph with the y-axis being the number of times the phrase was used in General Conference and the x-axis being time, you’d visually see something like this.

Beginning in 2018, General Conference Use of “Covenant Path” Skyrockets

Out of nowhere, and beginning with Pres Nelson’s administration in early 2018, the term usage blows up. It’s easily the new catchy phrase in the Church. It was used 38 times in 22 General Conference talks in 2018, and 47 times in 25 talks this year, compared with virtually non existent usage before then!

Why? What’s up?

“Covenant path” is not scriptural, but it is catchy. What is intended by the use of such a phrase, and to where does it point?

I think it’s quite obvious. The term is inextricably tied to the temple and generally ordinances that are administered exclusively by the Church.

In other words, President Nelson is using proprietary offerings of the Church, with the temple being the main product line, so to speak, to convince people to get on Old Ship Zion and stay on. It’s a brilliant marketing ploy. You create a powerful need (your eternal salvation), and propose an exclusive solution!

But what does it mean, to stay on the covenant path? And what covenant are we talking about?

The first question was answered by Elder Stevenson back in April 2014, quoting Elder Bednar. He taught that if you wanted to assess your family’s “progress on the covenant path by essential ordinances” that all you needed to do for each family member is to track on a piece of paper the “plan for the next or needful ordinance.”

Nice tidy checklist, wouldn’t you say.

You make progress and can feel secure in your personal salvation that all is well by, as Bednar taught, “getting your next or needful ordinance.”

Of course, neither of the apostles taught about the secret second anointing ordinance which they have received and administer to elite couples who are specially invited to meet, and then committed to secrecy of said ordinance.

Though they have that secret ordinance in the back of their mind, what they’re referring the common members to are the ordinances such as baptism, endowment, temple marriage. etc.

But is receiving an ordinance a guarantee of ratification by heaven? For example, upon being confirmed a member and so-called “receiving” the gift of the Holy Ghost, does that mean one has really received the Holy Ghost?

What of the baptism of fire which Nephi teaches will come to the true follower of Jesus Christ? Is the baptism of fire guaranteed at any time by an ordinance performed by man?

What about any sealing? Is the blessing attached to that sealing automatic, or might Jesus, the Holy Spirit of Promise, have a say?

Furthermore, what does the word “covenant” mean in “covenant path”?

I would suggest that the most important covenant we enter into is the one that God Himself declares to us by His own voice. This is having our calling and election made sure, illustrated by God covenanting with Nephi in Helaman 5, when God gives Nephi the sealing power. The other scriptural example I can think of is in Mosiah 26:20 when the Lord promises Alma, “I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life…”

THAT is a real covenant testified to by Christ Himself. THAT is what we should all seek to hear and have confirmed upon us by “the testimony of Jesus.”

What the current leadership means is completely foreign to these scriptural examples.

The leadership refers to a Pharisee’s checklist meant to flatter the members by encouraging them to believe that all is well with their salvation if they check off the items on the checklist. Elder Bednar articulated it like a good little Pharisee. Get your “next or needful ordinance”, as only our Church can offer you.

President Nelson’s regime aims to retain tithe-paying members by the clever marketing strategy of funneling members to the temple, where they can receive their next and needful ordinance.

An Obvious Sign that Something is Fishy

I find it remarkable that none of the men in high and lofty callings like the fifteen apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will correct a prevalent misconception.

Most members of the Church truly believe the apostles are seeing Jesus face to face and receiving direction from Him, despite none of the apostles declaring they have seen Him.

The apostles do not publish revelations. Not even one. They don’t publicly claim to be eyewitnesses of the resurrected Lord. They don’t privately claim such either. It’s as if they say there happy with the revelations received through Joseph Smith, and are not to anxious to get more. Do they resemble this famous BoM line, “A Bible, a Bible, we have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible,” or “The Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men” (2 Nephi 29 and 28 respectively)?

Even though they claim not any revelations or prophesies from God, the apostles are expert at implying they are the mouthpiece of God. They know that members believe that and want to believe that the apostles entertain visits from the Lord. So what does it say about them when they do not correct such misconceptions?

Vanity? Could they be vain? Wasn’t vanity one of the reasons the Church in Joseph’s day was brought under condemnation for (DC 84:55)?

Could they be preaching the gospel “to get gain”? There is a warning in the Book of Mormon for the apostles. Here the words of Nephi from 1 Nephi 22:23:

For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.

1 Nephi 22:23

The Lord has warned these men that they will be consumed as stubble. Do they not fit the description to a T?

They and their corporation get billions of dollars of gain. They are wildly popular within the Mormon Church, even akin to deity. They are veritably worshipped by many members of the Church.

There is work that they must do to accomplish their gain and popularity. The work they must do is to convince people they meet with Jesus and are on Christ’s errand.

They use innuendo, but the indisputable main tool they use is members’ own testimonies that they meet with Jesus. They themselves don’t testify of such miracles. But the membership provides ample testimonies. They hear and know of these testimonies, but stand by idly and do nothing to correct the false reputation. Actually, they ENCOURAGE such notions, and are actually guilty of promoting idolatry, because these men have a following. Millions of members are anxiously committed to “following the prophet”, to “following the Brethren”, even though there is no evidence of any interaction with Deity.

In-Your-Face Deception at General Conference

In a talk ironically entitled “Deceive Me Not” to warn the members of the devil’s deceptive tactics, Elder Stevenson himself attempts to deceive the members! He uses the Brethren’s #1 method of choice to fool the membership. That tried and true method, which has proven to be ultra effective on the minds of unwary, trusting members, is to blur the line between the Church and the Lord, or, in other words, to UNITE the Church and its leaders with the Lord.

Remember when Elder Poelman in 1984 clearly distinguished between the two? The Church went to great lengths to pull the original talk and actually refilm Elder Poelman at the pulpit. The fraud is still plain to see at the Church’s website, where you can easily detect the amateur splicing job while viewing the video of Elder Poelman’s talk. The Church has resolutely decided it CANNOT allow its members to distinguish between the Lord and the leadership. The two must be viewed as one in the same. This great deception was restated and reinforced this past General Conference.

Elder Gary Stevenson during the Sunday morning session of General Conference yesterday quoted DC 1:17:

Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

Then Elder Stevenson deceitfully declared with a straight face the logical fallacy that you can replace the name Joseph Smith with Russell M. Nelson, and testified how blessed we are to have the Lord speaking through a modern prophet in Pres. Nelson.

Quoting Elder Stevenson relative to DC 1:17:

“We could restate the verse I just quoted to say, “I the Lord … called upon my servant [President Russell M. Nelson], and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments.” Isn’t that a glorious truth?”

Does this logical fallacy need to be spelled out?

Elder Stevenson drives home his deception with more conflating (grouping two things as if they are one):

“I bear solemn witness that the Lord did in all reality speak to Joseph Smith from heaven, beginning with the grand First Vision. He also speaks to President Nelson in our time.”

No, the Lord in reality speaking to Joseph doesn’t equate to the Lord speaking to President Nelson. But Elder Stevenson wants you to think so!

Elder Stevenson continues his deceit by alleging that God’s commandments are policy changes: “God continues to give commandments to our living prophet today. Examples abound—a more home-centered, Church-supported balance in gospel instruction; the replacement of home and visiting teaching with ministering; adjustments to temple procedures and ordinances; and the new Children and Youth program.”

He then tries to condition members to think that their happiness is tied to obedience to policy changes (which he calls “God’s commandments”): “Obedience to commandments given to our prophet is a key not only in avoiding the influence of the deceiver but also in experiencing lasting joy and happiness. This divine formula is rather simple: righteousness, or obedience to commandments, brings blessings, and blessings bring happiness, or joy, into our lives… As we obey His commandments, we will always be led in the right way and will not be deceived.”

No, Elder Stevenson, administrative policy changes are not God’s commandments.

For kicks and giggles, I asked my sibling-in-law, who is in their 5th decade of life and who has been raised as a TBM, if they agreed with Elder Stevenson’s declaration that Joseph’s name could be interchanged with the names of subsequent presidents of the Church like President Nelson.

The instant, conditioned reply was “Yes.” But, I countered, the Lord in DC 1:17 was specific that He “spake unto JOSEPH, and gave JOSEPH commandments.” The Lord in no way spoke broadly about future men or ANYBODY else. The Lord was clear and unambiguous. He was speaking only of Joseph Smith, Jr.

To which the immediate response from the TBM mind was, “But that’s just semantics. The president of the Church has the keys. Joseph got the keys from Peter, James and John, and those keys have been passed down to President Nelson.”

I replied, “Who ordained President Nelson? Was it the Lord Himself, or angels sent from the presence of God? No, it was a man, the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve.”

I inquired further, “Joseph was a true prophet, seer, revelator, and translator. Those weren’t just titles, but Joseph was given spiritual gifts by God. He demonstrated the fruits of those gifts. My question is, Are such spiritual gifts automatic when one man ordains another man to a position in the Church? Take a EQ president, for example, or a deacons quorum president, or even a stake president. Are any of those people AUTOMATICALLY given spiritual gifts when they assume their calling?”

“No”, was the response. “They would have to qualify and be worthy of any gifts. It’s not automatic.”

“That’s my point about DC 1:17,” I replied. “God called upon Joseph Smith and spake unto him specifically and personally. To suggest any others, and even unborn people are EQUIVALENT to Joseph is nonsensical. It defies logic. It’s unfair, and elevates men who declare priesthood lineage to the stature of a true prophet like Joseph based only on their ordination. Of note, is a fact which is hiding in plain view: the ordination of apostles admittedly happens at the hands of men by the voice of a man.” Quite a difference from the way God gave priesthood authority as described in DC 84:42 when He said priesthood was given and confirmed by His own voice out of the heavens.

What Elder Stevenson WAS doing was a mind-conditioning trick. He and the other leaders desire Church membership to think of the Brethren, and especially the president of the Church, as men on EQUAL grounds with Joseph. They desire members to accept the Quorum of the Twelve as true prophets, seers, and revelators when there is in fact zero evident to suggest that they are remotely on par with Joseph Smith. They do not publish any “thus saith the Lord” revelations. They do not even claim that the Lord has appeared to them. They do not claim that any angelic messenger from God has instructed them.

But they routinely drop sound bites like Elder Stevenson did in his talk on Sunday. In a talk with the purpose of warning members of the deceits of Satan, Elder Stevenson amazingly attempts to deceive the members.

Towards the end of the conversation with my sibling-in-law, the person agreed that she/he has been conditioned by the teachings of the Church to think of the Brethren as true prophets, like Joseph Smith Jr. was. But she/he acknowledged that DC 1:17 ONLY applies to Joseph and not others.

Do you likewise acknowledge the same?

The Hierarchy’s Henchmen

I was going to name this post “The Hierarchy’s Best Friend”, but realized that didn’t have the desired shock effect, nor communicative power that “henchmen” possesses.

The henchmen are today’s TBM’s (true-believing Mormons) who view themselves as righteous, courageous defenders of the faith.

A henchman, by definition, is one who is “a faithful follower or political supporter, especially one prepared to engage in crime or dishonest practices by way of service.”

So you may ask, How in the world do you call faithful members of the Church from local bishops down to stalwart Sunday School teachers “henchmen” (inclusive of TBM women too)?

Let’s examine.

Are they “faitful followers” of the Brethren? Unquestionably YES. They would affirm this themselves.

Are they prepared to engage in service to the Brethren? Absolutely. They call this “sustaining the prophet or leadership.” There is a very big deal in the Mormon Church made out of sustaining. You must state you sustain them to get a Temple Recommend, and we frequently are asked to raise our right hand in public meetings to sustain leaders.

The only question would be the definitional part about engaging “in crime or dishonest practices”.

I will call this behavior “anti Christ” behavior. Their behavior is an affront to Christ, and insults Him, and directly contradicts His gospel. The tricky part is they believe they are doing good deeds, and that they are acting righteously.

Let me scripturally illustrate how a righteous, true-believing, stalwart member of the Church acts in an abusive manner, but which he excuses as righteous. The example I give was characteristic of the Church leaders in Jesus’ day. Virtually ALL of them believed Christ was an apostate renegade and that they were right in thought and deed.

The setting of this one example was at Christ’s faux trial. John 18 shares the detail of the conversation between Christ and the high priest. That would be President Russell M. Nelson today. So imagine a disciplinary council being held at which Pres. Nelson presided and was speaking. The record states:

The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I never taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why thou askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

That answer didn’t sit well with one of the authorities present in the room, likely somebody close to Caiaphas, the high priest. In today’s Church, it would have been perhaps one of the Twelve or a Seventy. The reaction, albeit in defense of the high priest, was swift and punctuated! He physically

…struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?

Jesus then responded:

If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?

The point is the man who slapped Jesus obviously would never had dared strike Jesus if he had believed he was God! He plainly believed Jesus was a blasphemer and worthy of discipline. Furthermore, he believed Caiaphas was the mouthpiece of God. This man believed in the tradition of the Church. He believed God was working through Caiaphas. He believed that he was defending a true “prophet” of God by smiting an impostor who was being defiant and rude to the established authority which God had appointed!

Look what Peter had done earlier that evening. He defended Jesus with the sword by cutting off the soldier’s ear. That same spirit of outrage, and love for his Master, prompted both Peter and the officer in Jesus’ court to strike out.

We can understand their poignant feelings, can’t we?

The point I wish to make here is that stalwart members of the Church, based on what they believe to be a sacred belief, can act abusively towards righteous members humbly following Christ, where they see the humble follower of Christ as evil, rude, and apostate, while seeing themselves as righteous, proper, and in harmony with God.

These stalwart members have been conditioned to be the henchmen, carrying out the dirty work for the leaders.

The leaders mostly stay clear of the ruckus, and let the members at the local level do the dirty work.

All that the top hierarchy (who draw hefty salaries and perks, and get rockstar status bestowed upon them) has to do is keep up the impression in the minds of the people that they are God’s chosen mouthpieces, that they have authority to act for God.

How this is done is a fait accompli. It’s a done deal because the central tenet of Mormonism is that the president of the Church is a true prophet. DC 1:38, though strictly applying to Joseph Smith, has been stretched to cover the General Authorities of the Church and especially the president.

That’s all that has to register in the minds of local leaders for them to be valuable henchmen. “Crimes and dishonest practices” are faithfully carried out by otherwise good people.

Oh, if YOU are one of the henchman, YOU couldn’t be guilty, right?

So you’re greater than Paul, who testified of his crimes in Acts 26:

9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

Paul believed he was doing the right thing by imprisoning the saints, even signing off on them being executed.

I implore TBM’s reading this to examine your foundation. I testify that I made my foundation the Brethren, after all, as the Book of Ephesians teaches, apostles and prophets are the foundation. But the thought that doesn’t occur to a TBM is, What if the Brethren are NOT true prophets or apostles???!

You believe Joseph was. And he had the fruits. PLENTY of fruit.

But what fruits does Pres. Nelson have? What has he prophesied? Or translated? What has he revealed? Zilch is the answer.

I know it’s hard, but Christ says greater blessings await those who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble (Alma 32).

“Their Manner of Dress”

None of us believers of the Book of Mormon want to be considered affiliated with those in the “great and spacious building…[standing]…in the air, high above the earth”. (1 Nephi 8).

Lehi’s Dream in 1 Nephi 8

In fact, in all likelihood, you probably believe you are one of the ones on the straight and narrow path clenching the iron rod making your way towards the tree of life. You probably think others are in that floating building “in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers” at YOU.

What description do we have of those occupying that building?

In verse 27 we are told there are “both old and young, both male and female, and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine”.

Surely Nephi is quite literal when he says there are old and young males and females in the building.

But what about their attire, is it literal or symbolic?

If symbolic, what does “dressing up” point to? Are people who dress up inherently vain or prideful? We can’t say that absolutely. And it would be a hard argument to win to try to say people who value looking nice are full of vanity or pride. No doubt SOME are, but not all. It’s not really a good symbol of vanity, like the floating building without a foundation is such a symbol. We don’t even need 1 Nephi 12:18 to explain that the “large and spacious building…is vain imaginations and pride,” do we? People in a physically high position would be looking DOWN at others. It’s really quite self-evident.

Which brings us to conclude, then, that the fine attire the people wear must be a literal description of what he saw. This is a major clue as to WHO Nephi is referring to.

If it is literal, then such a group of people who mock the humble followers of Christ must necessarily be dressed nicely. That’s what Lehi saw!

There are LOTS of people who are dressed well in today’s society. So narrowing it down to a specific group would be hard, but maybe not even necessary.

The point is: Lehi specifically has called out people who are dressed in fine apparel as vain and foolish people who mock those hearkening to the word of God. Obviously these mocking people, assuming some are well-meaning Christians, would believe they are following God, which creates an awful irony.

Lehi’s dream is a warning that can reasonably be applied to any group of fine-dressed people.

Are latter-day saints nicely groomed and clothed when attending Church? Is this a characteristic of Church meetings? Obviously the answer is YES. The tradition expects people to dress up in their Sunday best. So the LDS would 100% fit the description Lehi saw. This also applies to many other churches, no doubt about it, though not all. Lots of churches are attended by people in blue jeans and shorts.

The question then is, Do the mainstream LDS mock and ridicule people who are humbly following the word of God and trying to “come unto Christ”. The tree represents Christ and eternal life or the Second Comforter. If there are humble followers of Christ seeking the Second Comforter, which is Christ, and they are being ridiculed by the mainstream LDS Church, wouldn’t this mockery be a fulfillment of Lehi’s dream?

I don’t believe any TBM will deny modern LDS tradition requires members to dress up. Everyone has heard a story or been directly involved in helping train deacons to wear a white shirt and tie for the blessing of the sacrament. However, it’s much deeper than a deacon. The LDS Church officially teaches that true prophets dress up, and even carry a briefcase. Let’s look at what new members are taught. See page 39 of the Gospel Essentials Sunday School book:

A prophet may come from various stations in life. He may be young or old, highly educated or unschooled. He may be a farmer, a lawyer, or a teacher. Ancient prophets wore tunics and carried staffs. Modern prophets wear suits and carry briefcases.

I was stunned to hear this in my ward’s Gospel Essentials Class about a year ago. Yes, you can see for yourself by clicking here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/language-materials/06195_eng.pdf?lang=eng

And let’s be honest, nobody even doubts that dressing up not only is the spirit of the law, but the letter of the law!

Are General Authorities, much less the president of the Church, ever caught on camera or in person in shorts or a t-shirt? I’m hard pressed to think of any situation where the president of the Church is ever not dressed in a fancy suit! It just doesn’t happen. If you Google “Russell M. Nelson Tshirt”, you only find pics of him dressed to the nines!

The LDS Church actually teaches that the proper image of a modern prophet is somebody dressed in a suit and tie!

Heck, the typical young teenage deacon receives that message countless times from well-meaning parents, leaders, and teacher. “Remember your white shirt and tie!”

In conclusion, we must honestly ask ourselves, Is it possible that the fine-dressed people in the floating building Lehi saw in his dream in 1 Nephi 8 absolutely INCLUDE LDS Church members of today, especially the General Authorities?

If that is true, then do these mainstream LDS leaders actually ridicule, even persecute, those who are making an honest effort to “come unto Christ” in a quite literal way, even as Joseph Smith exhorted us to do, and as the BoM invites time and time again.

If you’re ignorant of such persecution, then click here, here and here to see some real examples of leaders persecuting the saints with the classic case here! You can see the authoritarian bent of many leaders no doubt in your own ward. The laughing and scorning and pointing of fingers doesn’t have to be and isn’t normally literal. Those who wear the nice suits, and who do the persecuting, don’t outwardly show their disdain for those they persecute. They deign to show “love” in their “still, small voice” that calmly utters this basic message to members they’ve targeted: “Do what I say, or suffer the consequences. We love you. We’re not using force or unrighteous dominion on you. We set the rules. You can choose to obey or disobey. You choose to excommunicate yourself by your actions. We will welcome you back once you obey our directives.”

The member who chooses to “come unto Christ” by seeking the Second Comforter and believing that God reveals Himself to people today outside the LDS hierarchy is not welcome in the Church. There are two things leaders have in common that persecute humble followers of Christ:

  1. They utterly fail to comprehend their anti DC 121 authoritarian bent, instilled from the apostles and enshrined in cult-like fashion in Section 6.7.3 of CHI 1, which requires unapologetic obedience to man, not the Lord.
  2. Their “manner of dress [is] exceedingly fine”!

Ye are saved by grace, after all ye can do.

The quote of Nephi in the header is one of the most famous verses in all of the Book of Mormon. Here’s the context (from 2 Nephi 25):

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

What does “all we can do” refer to? The elephant in the room is, what do we have to do, or how much do we have to do, to be saved by Christ’s grace?

The answer is, since Christ’s grace saves, the verdict must be passed by Jesus Christ. That’s why we have so many Scriptures which unequivocally state that it is Christ, and Christ alone, that saves.

But the tendency of man seems to always be to support preachers who make solemn promises which are popular in the eyes of the world. Every Church will have a constituency, with the leading preachers of that denomination enjoying great popularity within the ranks of that denomination. To retain that popularity, that preacher must keep preaching popular or flattering messages which gratify the pride and vain ambitions of the congregation.

In other words, preachers must preach an interpretation of grace that pleases the people who support them financially. For the Mormons, the false and unequivocal message being preached is this:

Do the Mormon checklist, and you’ll be saved because that is “all you can do.”

I don’t need to review the checklist, do I? We all know it…get baptized, be confirmed a member of the Church, go on a mission (esp if you’re a male), take out your endowments, magnify your calling, serve faithfully in the Church as an active member.

The “checklist” can be succinctly expressed thusly: “maintain a current temple recommend!”

That is what Nephi meant when he uttered those famous words! Right?

But Christ simply says, “come unto me”.

On this hinges salvation

Lectures on Faith 7:16

…And for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed: and on this hinge turns the door of salvation.

…and on this hinge turns the door of salvation.

This is a very apt metaphor. Christ is the door to the pasture, He explains in John ___. He also testified he employs no servant at the gate (2 Nephi 9:41). You must go through Christ to get to the Father.

A door (a hinge) opens gradually. Perfection happens gradually. We grow in knowledge line upon line, and precept upon precept.

LoF 7:8

When men begin to live by faith they begin to draw near to God; and when faith is perfected they are like him; and because he is saved they are saved also; for they will be in the same situation he is in, because they have come to him; and when he appears they shall be like him, for they will see him as he is.

Could it really be the case that just those beings who become like Christ are those who are saved? What is the difference between a saved person and one who is not saved?

LoF 7:9

… And what constitutes the real difference between a saved person and one not saved, is the difference in the degree of their faith: one’s faith has become perfect enough to lay hold upon eternal life, and the other’s has not. But to be a little more particular, let us ask, where shall we find a prototype into whose likeness we may be assimilated, in order that we may be made partakers of life and salvation?  … We conclude as to the answer of this question there will be no dispute among those who believe the bible, that it is Christ: all will agree in this that he is the prototype or standard of salvation, or in other words, that he is a saved being. 

We see that eventually the hinge will open up “enough” that the individual has been judged of God to qualify for eternal life, or knowing the Father and the Son!