Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Attacking the Foundations, Part 1

Quentin L. Cook said the following in the October 2012 General Conference.

   "Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  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." - Quentin L. Cook, Can ye Feel so Now? October 2012 General Conference

What about those who have given all of their energy into making it work?  What about those who did everything they mention in general conference, as well as anyone else?  What about those who, in spite of all their devotion and desire, still remain completely abandoned in one of these "spiritual droughts?"  Obviously, they were just doing something wrong.  If they claim to have done things right, then they are just making it up.  I cannot count the number of times I saw, and even did, this on my mission.  Seeing people who said they did everything we asked them to, and yet didn't get an answer to their prayers.  We always assumed they just weren't sincere enough, now I know there are some people who weren't sincere, but many of them were trying hard, I am sure.

Also, apparently you aren't supposed to look up information on the Internet.  You might lose your testimony.  If the church is so true, why do they need to censor what their membership sees?  This sounds like several undesirable groups, some of the cults of the 20th century, some of the polygamy groups, and communist countries.  "We can't let people be misinformed, or they won't believe us!"  they say.  Why?  Is your foundation that shaky?  Can you not stand when compared to alternatives?  Is your truth so unbelievable that you have to hide the alternatives?  Also, apparently you are sinning and need to repent if you hear other voices.  So, you better repent if you are reading this.  If the church leader's shortcomings can be magnified and exaggerated that easily, then maybe there is more truth to it than at first meets the eye.

Let's look at another example of why this censorship is unnecessary if the church were true.  Do we need to censor information about American presidents?  Do we need to hide what people see about the founding fathers of America so that people don't doubt how good America is?  Do we need to hide information about Jesus, Martin Luther, Buddha, or any other religious leadership so that people only hear things from one source?  I realized that everything I ever heard was from the church itself.  They carefully selected and approved (look in the church books and you can even find the month and year this happened) every bit of information I consumed about church history.  Why not let any and all information through?  If it is true, it should stand on its own, without censorship.  The fact is, that it doesn't.  There is no truth to be had.

Just as an aside note of things bothering me right now, why is it that Mormons are so Pharisaical?  They set up hedges around the law so that they don't break the law, see things like the BYU honor code.  Not only is it 10x more strict than actual LDS doctrine, but most of the students will be 10x more strict than the honor code requires.  Here is one example.  Honor code says that members of the opposite sex cannot be in your bathroom area unless civility would dictate otherwise.  Most students will, to be safe, never allow anyone of the opposite sex anywhere near the bathroom.  Go find a place across the street or in some other apartment in the complex to use the bathroom.  When is it ever civil or okay to tell someone (under normal, every day circumstances, of course) that they can't use your bathroom?  The funniest part is that most of the people I see are lackadaisical about their religious observance, unless it comes down to a handful of things where they decide they need to be strict.  They kind of muddle their way through Sunday meetings, barely care about temple observance, scripture study, prayer, or keeping the sabbath day holy.  They will be cruel to their neighbors because they do evil things like swearing, drinking alcohol, or have sex out of wedlock.  They are totally okay dehumanizing people in this way.  Yet, they are the ones that will be strict about rule observance, and will get up on fast Sundays and bear a long and drawn out testimony about how much of a testimony they have of President Thomas S. Monson, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon.  I mean, most Mormon meetings are heavy on church specifics (current prophet, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, church organization, etc.), but will never even mention Jesus Christ even though they claim to be Christian.

Speaking of Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, there is an interesting quote I found from Joseph Smith.

   "I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet." - Joseph Smith, History of the Church vol. 6, Page 408-409

How is this sentiment okay?  If Joseph Smith is who he says he is, then how could this sentiment be anywhere near to true, or even okay for him to express?  Isn't Jesus Christ supposed to be the only perfect one?  The greatest of them all?  Where does God fit in, except for under Joseph Smith, according to this quote?

Also, what is Joseph Smith doing denying his polygamous practices, as in the following quote?

   "What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one." - Joseph Smith, History of the Church vol. 6, Page 412

This is not okay.  It is proven that he had many more wives than that.  Supposedly, some of them still married to other men, others being as young as 14, many behind the back of his "real" wife Emma.  Kind of creepy, especially when he flat out denies it.

Continuing further.  How many weird things happen in the Book of Mormon that just cannot be true, or at the very least are serious inconsistencies?  Try these three prime examples.  First, what about when Nephi cuts off Laban's head?  How are the clothes not covered in blood?  This one always baffled me.  Basically, he uses a ceremonial sword, to cut off an armored, drunk man's head in one blow, alone, and then takes the, somehow, unstained clothes, and tricks this man's servant into coming with him?  Was the servant drunk too?  Was it that dark?  Was Nephi somehow a copy of Laban?

Second, what about when Shiz's head gets cut off in the book of Ether?  How in the world is he capable of doing a push-up?  There is way too much activity there for him to have just been decapitated.  I can see simple activities, but that just stretches it a little too far for me.

Third, the ships that Jared builds are a little hard to believe.  He builds a bunch of wooden submarines?  Where does all the excrement go?  What do they do when they run out of air and have to open up part of the ship and water comes in?  How do you drain the water?  What about the glowing rocks, can we reconstruct these somehow?  If the ship is rotating so much that they need holes on top and on bottom, how are the people inside not killed with all that tossing and turning?  And if the turning is slow, what do they do if both holes are covered by water and they run out of air?  It just doesn't add up in many ways.

Here are a few more interesting quotes from church leadership.

   "That negro race.... Have been placed under restrictions because of their attitude in the world of spirits, few will doubt.  It cannot be looked upon as just that they should be deprived of the power of the priesthood without it being a punishment for some act, or acts, performed before they were born."  - Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection Page 43

So, basically black people are somehow lesser than everyone else because they sinned in the premortal existence.  Once this teaching becomes unpopular enough, the church simply changes it's stance through revelation.  Surprise!

Here is one that really disgusts me.

   "...The one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people." - John Taylor, Millenial Star Vol. 15, Page 227

Having one wife is physically and intellectually degrading now?  Because having a harem is somehow more intellectually stimulating?  I fail to follow.  Plus, I have seen recent studies that suggest that polygamist families tend to have a higher disease rate than the general populace.  That probably explains my family rather well.  This shows the church's true stance on polygamy.  They may change it due to pop politics, but the doctrine is still there in the teachings of the presidents of the church and in the doctrine and covenants.  The church never said that polygamy was wrong, just that it shouldn't be practiced anymore.

This brings up an interesting point.  If the old presidents should be ignored for what new presidents are teaching, this brings the same discord and chaos that the church claims to prevent.  The church has a prophet so that we know who to follow, but if each prophet teaches conflicting doctrines, then the problem isn't solved at all.  Or, we can just ignore past prophets, then at that point what is the purpose of a prophet at all?  Once he is dead, we can ignore him anyway.

Speaking of prophets, what is the deal with the lack of continued revelation?  Check out this graphic to see what I mean.

Why don't modern day prophets prophesy?  Why is it that we received 136 chapters of doctrine and covenants, two other books of scripture, along with numerous day to day revelations from Joseph Smith, when in the last almost 200 years since there have been about 6 revelations.  The two things that president Monson has done is to open a shopping mall and to lower the missionary age.

I am just getting going on this information.  I will have more in the next post.

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