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Drop Everything! Missionaries Are More Important Than You!
Friday, Jul 25, 2014, at 07:53 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24   -Link To MC Article-
They're somebody's deluded kids. Their church and their families and communities mistreat them, so everyone else is mean if they don't step up, put their own pursuits on hold and take care of somebody's else's adult kids first.

I'm not buying it.

Supplementing mishies a little here or there might be nice. Giving them clues about their delusions might be nice. BUT none of that is required. It's purely optional.

Students in college have their own concerns and budget problems. Their classes, tests, and part time jobs are important to their futures. They need to stay focused. It isn't their fault mishies are sneaking on campus and confronting them.

People on the streets have busy lives taking care of their job concerns, their families, their health, and their personal goals. If they have an interest in halting their pursuits, they are making a choice. They are no more noble than those who hurry by missionaries to get to their medical oncologist appointments or to their eye surgeon's office than those who love missionaries and accept responsibility for them no matter what.

What about people in their homes? They also have lives and limited resources. If missionaries show up at their doors, they have a choice of continuing to do their physical therapy exercise program or postponing it for the sake of somebody else's adult children banging on the door. It's up to them and it isn't mean if a private stranger in their home continues with their phone call or their bath and ignores somebody else's gangly teens on their doorstep.

In my opinion it's disrespectful of a church to send missionaries to school campuses. It's certainly intrusive to send them to homes if the residents have said to stop coming there or if signs are posted against trespassing or solicitation. It's an admission of stupidity for Mormons to claim they can't keep their records in order and don't know which homes and campuses have banned religious proselytizing.

In truth the Mormon church wants these kids to trespass where they're unwanted and stay away from exmos who are excited to talk to them. So the church doesn't keep or honor "no entry" or "no contact" directives when they could if they chose.

I have no problem with anyone who wants to talk to or entertain missionaries. I do think it's inconsistent if anyone gives them preferential treatment over JW or other proselytizers however.

I also think it's a fair choice to ignore or send away any stranger who confronts you when you're trying to live your busy life. Your daily priorities are every bit as important as the goals of religious strangers who happen to pop up when you least expect them.

Every person is someone's child, mother, brother, sister or grandma. It isn't just missionaries who are someone's children. Our loved ones care what happens to us as much as mashie parents care. Anyone who has no loved ones to worry about them deserve special consideration. If they are not someone's child they might feel lonely and abandoned.
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Age Gaps Don't Necessarily Matter At All In Love
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014, at 07:55 AM
Original Author(s): Tal Bachman
Topic: TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 7   -Link To MC Article-
Mormon leaders once had a lot to say about relationships: you should marry someone from your own culture, or your own race, or a returned missionary, and only in the temple, etc. It often seemed like there was a "preferred Mormon type" of couple.

But life outside the cult indicates that mutually-satisfactory relationships come in all different shapes.

One issue is age gaps. In his thoughtful, recent thread, "Forty Year Old Virgin", "anon" worried about finding a partner, since most women his age are now married or in relationships. Thinking about this, I realized that quite a number of the happy couples I know well in town have very large age gaps between partners. All the couples I describe below are real, and I know them well.

1.) B is, I believe, thirteen years older than her boyfriend, . - who, by the way, utterly adores her. They are a match seemingly made in non-Mormon heaven, and cannot get enough of each other. They have been together for years, and I think, will probably always be together. They are trying for a baby.

2.) L, a guy, is 47. His girlfriend is 23. They also utterly adore each other, and often are with L's kids from his previous marriage.

3.) R is a very "young" 52 Belgian guy. His girlfriend is in her early thirties.

4.) My buddy M married C. M is also 52. His wife is, I believe, 30. They are two peas in a pod and now have a child.

5.) A, a young man, is 22. His girlfriend is 31. They live together and are planning a life together.

Speaking for myself, I have gone out with, or just hung out with, quite a few women since my marriage ended in 2008 (I'm 45 now). My experiences have led me to marvel at the sometimes strange ways that attraction works.

One lady I happened to meet on a trip was fifty. She was married, but I have to admit, was fit, curvy, sexy, charming, feminine, service-oriented, and overall, a genuine smokeshow. Her husband (who, coincidentally, was seventeen years her senior) seemed like a lucky guy. Very few guys, even much younger guys, would have not felt attracted to her.

Another lady I met during a trip was single, and not what you would call beautiful by any means. She was very plain looking. She was also, I think, 58. But she was a very young 58, and she was just so damn honest, so at peace with herself, so healthy and full of life and fun, so passionate about her hobbies, that I had to admit to myself that I would rather spend an evening hanging out with her, than her physically hot daughter, who was around thirty.

On the flip side, most of the women I've dated in the past six years were in their mid-twenties (the youngest was 21, the oldest was 32, with most about 26). All but one were full-on smokeshows. But despite them being smokeshows, I only really felt "attracted" to a couple. One I dated for a while, but then broke up with once I realized there was no future. The other moved away to college, met some guy, and is now married. I later met a hottie as nuts as I was (she's 29), and we've been nearly inseparable now for a year.

What is the point? Well, there's a few. One is that there is an element of mystery to attraction and compatibility. It does not necessarily correlate with age, or even physical beauty.

But more importantly, I submit that, especially as ex-Mormons, we should refrain from negatively judging men and women who have found happiness together. Some people in particular seem very upset by couples fitting the older man-younger woman model, and are very free with insults like "creep" and "perv".

But different people find happiness in different ways. Different people have different needs, and different preferences, and who is to say that any one is right or wrong? Where two people find happiness together, regardless of age gap, culture or race difference, sexual orientation, or anything else, I think we ought to celebrate that - especially as ex-Mormons.

I submit that this world is big and wide, and that things like romantic love do not come to one and all in the same ways. Some find it in arranged marriages. Some find it with partners very similar to themselves. Some find it with partners seemingly very different to themselves. Some find it with members of the same sex. And some prefer other things to romantic love altogether. I think that is just what we should expect in a world uncontrolled by religious leaders preaching a "one size fits all" way of living.

The couples I mentioned in my other post would, I think, stare with a kind of stupefaction at anyone who would characterize their relationships as being about "ego", or as being "pervy", as some posters did on the other thread. Why? Because they sincerely love, adore, and respect each other. They have found with each other something they could not find with anyone else. The man loves the woman, and the woman loves the man. How anyone could, from afar, with no insight or knowledge, cast snippy aspersions on something so awesome for them, I'm sure would be nearly unfathomable to them. And I would love for those so keen to judge to be able to see with their own eyes that love can come to different people in different ways, and even more, to celebrate that. Instead of grinding axes, I think we should be sending sincere best wishes.

I think this point is reinforced by the fact that so many marriages, which outwardly fit all the "proper criteria", fail - proper criteria like "close in age", "from the same culture", "from the same race", "speaking the same language", etc. And not only do they fail, but many of the stories I am personally familiar with are shocking and heartbreaking. Often, kids bore the brunt of the destructive behaviour of one or both of the parties.

I already mentioned happy couples I know with big age differences. I also know several very happy inter-racial couples. One is a friend whose family came from Ghana. S is as black as it gets. His wife is as white as an ice floe, and her family is a wealthy, almost aristocratic family from England. They have little kids, and are happy as can be. Two other inter-racial couples I know (man is Canadian, woman is Japanese) are very happy, have lasted a long time, and have children. Another is a white Canadian woman with a black former gang member/former prison inmate from South Central Los Angeles. They are as happy as can be. One happy couple I know currently overcoming a language barrier is a caucasian Canadian man with a woman who recently moved here from Russia. They're married now and expecting a child, and I don't see them ever splitting up. They seem as happy as can be.

My point? There IS no "right way to be a couple"; and if the phrase "proper couples are mostly alike" had any merit to it, the divorce rates in North American wouldn't be in the toilet (unless by "proper couples" you mean "future divorcees").

I think ex-Mormons should be at the forefront of celebrating the rich diversity in personalities, needs, and desires within the human family, and celebrating the fact that love between consenting adults can come in all differerent kinds of ways.

Just my two cents.
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Brian C. Hales Doesn't Know His Church's Own History Either
Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014, at 07:29 AM
Original Author(s): Willroberts038
Topic: BRIAN C. HALES   -Link To MC Article-
Brian Hales may be an expert on Joseph Smith's practice of polygamy, but he doesn't even know his church's own history. I did something really mean to him: I challenged him on something other than polygamy. Something I apparently know much more about than he does: the history of the First Vision. The full exchange can be read here (See: http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/the-j...) , but I'll post some excerpts and a TL;DR here. (See the bolded parts toward the bottom for a particularly interesting exchange.)

Why would I do something so "off topic"? Well, if you're going to defend JS, you had better be prepared to defend the whole package. Trying to defend Jim Jones' practice of public shaming would not be nearly enough to defend the man or his cult, and JS is no different with his practice of polygamy. So how did Brian Hales fare in defending the First Vision?

Me:
As you are a man who appreciates original sources, I'm sure you are familiar with the work of H. Michael Marquardt, who along with the Reverend Wesley Walters, has produced scores of original documents that demonstrate that Joseph Smith's first vision story is full of inconsistencies and contradictions from other primary sources. JS's polygamy doesn't matter if that vision didn't happen. And the evidence against that vision happening the way JS says it did is overwhelming.
BH:
I'm a little surprised to see you appeal to the First Vision allegations. As you probably know, the Joseph Smith's Papers project has published all of the original manuscripts at http://josephsmithpapers.org/site/acc.... There you and I can see the originals documents and make our own decisions. We don't need to get filtered and biased reporting from Wesley or my good friend Michael (he helped with several part of my books). I have read the accounts and am nonplussed by the critics' claims. But this is where I'm very comfortable agreeing to disagree. At least everyone is looking at the originals and not believing secondary sources.
Me:
You probably didn't look at http://firstvisiontimeline.com and you probably don't have time to wade through the dozens of original (and secondary) sources referenced there, including all of the First Vision accounts referenced in the Joseph Smith Papers URL you mentioned.

The apologetic responses to Walters/Marquardt are speculative and problematic in many areas. For example, JS said that his vision happened early in the spring of 1820. The evidence suggests that there was no religious excitement at that time comparable to 1816/17 and 1824/25, so apologists have to make the claim that "camp meetings were common and probably not mentioned that much", and they have to point to meetings of this sort that happened scores of miles away from Palmyra at a minimum, sometimes as many as 209 miles away (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith... ). This is a big stretch to assume that JS and his family would be traveling so far when there were plenty of religious meetings they could attend in their own town. Further, JS specifically stated that this excitement occurred "in the place where we lived". 209 miles away could hardly be considered the place where they lived, especially when travel was done by horse and foot. JS also stated: "great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties". There is no evidence that this happened in 1820 anywhere near where the Smiths lived. This religious excitement matches perfectly to the revival of 1824/25. Literally every detail, such as when some of the Smiths joined the Presbyterian Church, it being after the death of Alvin Smith, it being the second year after the Smiths moved onto their Manchester farm, and the preachers Benjamin Stockton and George Lane mentioned by Oliver Cowdery and William Smith were actively preaching during this revival (George Lane specifically being the same preacher that gave a sermon that allegedly caused JS to ask God which church he should join). It leads one to wonder, how did William Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Lucy Mack Smith all write such relatively consistent accounts, but JS's 1838 account is all mixed up in its details by comparison?
BH:
I visited the website you recommended and appreciate the research, but I'm puzzling over the enthusiasm expressed by critics regarding the First Vision, especially since http://josephsmithpapers.org/site/acc... has published all of the known accounts without any apologetic discussion and apparently not sensing the need for any. I've read them and am nonplussed by critics who worry about the different details that were emphasized in each account.

[An attempt here to change the subject to the Book of Mormon]

However, I did a little research and here is what I found. The Palmyra Register for July 5, 1820 states: "'Plain Truth' is received. By this communication, as well as by the remarks of some of our neighbors who belong to the Society of Methodists, we perceive that our remarks accompanying the notice of the unhappy death of James Couser, contained in our last, have not been correctly understood." You've undoubtedly read this, but it shows that "neighbors" belonged to the "Society of Methodists" in the Palmyra area in 1820. It is a small jump for me to believe they might have exhibited an "unusual excitement" etc.
Me:
There are a few problems with your explanation of religious excitement in 1820. First, show me where the great multitudes joining the various denominations are. See http://firstvisiontimeline.com/#11 for original sources on why 1824-25 is a better fit. Also, you need to explain why Lucy Mack Smith, William Smith, and Oliver Cowdery all seem to think it was no earlier than 1823. Lucy mentions it after Alvin's death in her memoirs, which occurred in November of 1823. And you also need both Rev. Benjamin Stockton and Rev. George Lane to be present in the Palmyra area as they are both specifically mentioned by William Smith. Cowdery also mentions Rev. Lane. You'll find original documents placing them directly in Palmyra at that same link above. Interestingly enough, William recalls the exact sermon that allegedly caused JS to take action, and guess which scripture was the subject of that sermon: none other than James 1:5.
BH:
[More trying to change the subject]

The issue of the First Vision is not a big deal to me. By 1838, Joseph Smith had dictated the Book of Mormon, the Book of Moses, and all the revelations in the D&C up to section 118. He gave us hundreds of pages of revelations and now we are quibbling about his memory regarding details he recalled from an event 18 years earlier. There just isn't enough available evidence to say his story has any errors. As I quoted, the Methodists were in Palmyra in 1820. It seems to me that this is another example of assuming there was no "excitement" etc. and then condemning Joseph based upon that assumption. If Joseph was a fraud, I might expect some documentation stronger than the First Vision criticism sometimes advanced.
Me:
I have a hard time understanding why the First Vision issues aren't a big deal to you. Despite it being 18 years after the fact, the way JS remembered it is just completely, totally, demonstrably wrong. There is plenty of available evidence to say his story has errors - you are just choosing not to acknowledge it. This is confirmation bias and use of defense mechanisms, specifically denial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial ) and intellectualization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectualization[8] ). The evolving story has key inconsistencies, it contradicts his contemporaries, and it contradicts the historical record that we have. Again, that religious excitement perfectly matches what the historical record reflects in 1824-25, including the very specific preachers mentioned by JS's brother and Oliver Cowdery. It matches what the church membership counts indicate. (For sources, see: http://www.fullerconsideration.com/so... ) If it didn't happen like he said, that's a problem. The LDS church sends out tens of thousands of missionaries every year that are teaching an incorrect narrative to people. That's a huge problem! If it happened more like the 1832 account like Richard Bushman and other well-known apologists contend, why aren't missionaries teaching that narrative instead? The church has dug itself into a deep hole with this one and unfortunately it's not the fault of anyone alive and there is no easy way out.
BH:
I'm also a little disappointed in your repeated appeals to alleged problems in the First Vision. You claim "the way JS remembered it is just completely, totally, demonstrably wrong," which is as remarkable as it is unprovable. Anyone who has performed much historical research realizes that little details do not usually persist in the historical record. What is more problematic in my view, however, is the confidence you reflect that Joseph's statements have been disproven. It doesn't work that way. You can't prove a negative. But also, it seems you have only consulted antagonistic sources. Maybe you should look at this article by Steven C. Harper: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/eval...
Me (this is an excerpt from the comment he did not allow on his site):
I'm quite disappointed in your repeated inadequate answers to the problems in the First Vision. If you want to claim my evidences don't prove the First Vision has irreconcilable problems, that is your prerogative, but I'm just having a really hard time understanding how you arrive at your conclusions based on the complete picture. Even Richard Bushman admitted, "Can we reconcile all of the conflicting evidence and get back to the actual chronology of events from 1816 to 1824? At this point, I think we must acknowledge the possibility of an error somewhere in Joseph's chronology, simply because of the internal contradiction." If Joseph's chronology is off, why are missionaries teaching a version of the First Vision that is demonstrably wrong?

Regarding my "antagonistic sources," please tell me what is antagonistic about the Palmyra Road Tax list? Or the Palmyra Town Book from 1820? How about "William Smith on Mormonism"? Or Lucy Mack Smith's memoirs? Or Oliver Cowdery's letters explaining the early history of the church? Or the membership records of the Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist church? These are the primary documents from which I draw my conclusions! Not a single antagonistic source by any stretch of the imagination. I've read some of Dr. Harper's work, including the essay you mentioned. I have more of his work on my reading list. His arguments concerning the First Vision do not refute what I've shown here. He deals with one fact at a time and conveniently forgets to look at the big picture. Intellectualization is indeed a very powerful defense mechanism.

This isn't just about "proving a negative," a phrase you've used repeatedly as if that's what's going on here. What I've quite effectively proven with these evidences is that JS's 1838 account could not have happened the way he told it. While no one knows for sure what exactly happened, I can say with an extremely high degree of confidence that the 1838 account is inaccurate at best. This is why Richard Bushman and other apologists (I believe this includes Steven Harper if I recall) gravitate toward the 1832 First Vision account, knowing full well it doesn't reconcile the many problems the 1838 account presents. It's a convenient intellectualization to avoid the discomfort of the problematic canonized account.

Even if Walters had known about the June 1820 Palmyra newspaper article about the Methodist camp meeting, he would certainly have reminded you that Rev. Benjamin Stockton and Rev. George Lane were not assigned to preside over their respective churches in the area at the time. He would have reminded you that this is still inconsistent with William Smith, Lucy Smith, and Oliver Cowdery's telling of the events (and if you were to guess where Oliver Cowdery heard the story, what would your guess be?). He would have pointed out that your "late Spring could have meant early Spring" argument is speculative and weak. The problem here is, Brian, you are zooming in on one thing at a time, providing a plausible explanation, but you aren't including the rest of the story. This is the typical pattern of Mormon apologetics and why your/FAIR's explanation is inadequate and frankly falls flat on its face.
TL;DR: When challenged on the history of the First Vision, Brian Hales had to resort to regurgitating FAIR/Mormon Interpreter pages to rebut me. He never answered my questions and prevented my final comment from showing on his website (probably recognizing that he couldn't adequately answer my questions).
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Never-Mormon Take On The Swallow-Shurtleff Scandal
Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014, at 07:34 AM
Original Author(s): Thewriterwithin
Topic: MORMON POLITICAL ISSUES   -Link To MC Article-
The son of a friend of mine, Wyatt Levinson McKean, penned this about the unfolding scandal around John Swallow and Mike Shurtleff. I think it is quite good, insightful. He was raised in Salt Lake but has never been a Mormon. I am not sure if it has been published -- I'm a little unclear about that -- but he did appear in a photo with Pat Bagley in a connected story. If I can get a publication verification, I'll share that.

"I don't mean to invoke the stale trope of the Utah Culture Wars, but I consider the following tidbits particularly revealing about the socio-political context of our double-whammy AG scandal:

"Lawson stated... that, if McBride would not back off Robbins and take the website down, McBride would be sitting in jail for a long time because Defendant SHURTLEFF had `things' on McBride. Lawson further told McBride that he, Lawson [sic] was like `Porter Rockwell' and that he took care of things for the then Attorney General, Defendant SHURTLEFF. Lawson also stated that he had guns and `Polynesian friends' who liked to `bust people up' . . . . [at a later meeting between Shurtleff and McBride at Mimi's Caf, {a Cajun-themed chain restaurant} in Murray] SHURTLEFF acknowledged that he knew that Lawson used his name and told people that he represented SHURTLEFF. Defendant SHURTLEFF explained to McBride that Lawson had introduced him to people who became contributors to his campaign . . ."

Today's NYTimes quotes Matthew J. Burbank, a U of U political scientist who says the scandal is "at odds with the state's preferred reputation for economic growth and reliable government." Burbank says: "Utah doesn't think of itself in these terms. This is not Louisiana. This is not Illinois."

Of course, by "Utah," Burbank means members of the state's dominant culture, religion, and political party. The rest of us know better.

The majority still indulges a poisonous fantasy that the state's religious homogeneity somehow makes it impervious to the evils that accompany money, power, and politics everywhere else in the world. But to those of us outside the majority, we know well that the Kingdom of Zion is no city on a hill, and never has been.

Lawson allegedly compared himself to Porter Rockwell. For those of you unfamiliar with Utah history, Porter Rockwell was Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young's personal bodyguard and hit man. Rockwell is considered a bit of a rugged anti-hero in Mormonism-a kind of gunslinger-cum-holy warrior who made the frontier safe for the faithful. To outsiders, he is more like a Mormon Luco Brasi, a brutal strongman who did the prophets' dirty work and an emblem of the violent coercion that was necessary for the Mormon utopian experiment to succeed.

Lawson's purported reference to Rockwell does a few things. First, it establishes that both speaker and listener shared the LDS lexicon, and that both at least understand the history and symbols (and are probably members) of the dominant culture. It shows how Mormonism saturates secular affairs in Utah sub rosa, even in the most unsavory places. Second, it casts the Attorney General in the role of the Prophet, maybe not in the religious sense, but most definitely as a noble and beloved patriarch (Godfather?) whom the speaker serves. Third, and most importantly, it validates the speaker's otherwise vicious behavior. The salient feature of the Rockwell myth is that his violent deeds are forgivable, because they were committed in service of a holy cause, against those who provoked his masters' (and thus God's) displeasure.

This is the original sin of the Kingdom of Zion-and most theocracies, for that matter. Tokens of piety-obedience to church authorities, regular church attendance, upholding the nuclear family, abstaining from various worldly indulgences-become substitutes for morality. Meanwhile, corruption, intimidation, and oppression are justified so long as they are practiced in the name of the faith and the faithful.

I do not mean to imply that this unseemly cast of characters-Johnson, Rawle, Shurtleff, Swallow, Lawson, and all the rest-committed these crimes at the behest of their church. What I mean to say is that the majority should not be surprised at the moral failings of which they stand accused. It should surprise no one that in a culture founded on public displays of piety and moral chauvinism, people in positions of power might actually be more likely to abuse the public trust.

"This is not Louisiana. This is not Illinois," says Burbank. This is how the Mormon majority in Utah sees both the outside world and the outsiders who live next door. We are the objects of sneering condescension-unwashed, irresponsible, morally degenerate, unable to govern ourselves. We are the reason the world outside appears to be rattling itself to bits. We are not like them.

They love to tout Utah's high levels of education, its low crime rates, and its low rates of substance abuse as evidence that their leadership has allowed a moral utopia to flourish while the rest of the country slips into degeneracy and decline. Forbes designated us the "best-run state" in the country. Our wholesome, family-oriented, and industrious workers are held up for their qualities of industry, reliability, and self-sacrifice. This fixation on the most superficial stand-ins for morality and personal integrity make them blind to the deeper, subtler forms of depravity that pervade our political and commercial culture.

They will never admit this. Surely Swallow and Shurtleff are nothing more than isolated freaks, bad apples, aberrations, they will say. None of them will admit that they might actually be fairly representative of the political and business elite at the helm of the dominant culture: middle-aged, white, male, and Mormon; superficially righteous and calculatedly humble; designated for leadership in uncompetitive elections, almost as a matter of destiny; prosperous (though never as much as they appear), savvy about business (ditto), and eager to trade favors on the down-low with anyone meeting right demographic profile. Never would they consider this episode an opportunity for reform-say, by making the AG an appointed rather than elected office, or by enacting campaign finance limits at the state level. There will be no reform either because the Republican leadership is in denial or because many of them are guilty of more or less the same pattern of conduct.

"This is not Louisiana. This is not Illinois." What morally superior hogwash. Utah's culture of homogeneity and obedience is not a prophylactic against corruption-quite the opposite. It enables a self-serving political apparatus that could put Tammany Hall to shame. In our placid suburbs, where a person's moral worth is measured by the number of towheaded offspring and the size of his garage, our crooks, party bosses, and knuckle-dragging Mafiosi hide in plain sight. They are concealed only by the cloak of conformity and religious observance. If the majority can't see that, then they are blind."
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No Persecution Surrounding The First Vision
Monday, Jul 21, 2014, at 07:32 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
Joseph was not persecuted as claimed.

Since Joseph never told anyone about the vision, he wasn't persecuted. There is simply no evidence that he was ever persecuted for the First Vision.

Here's what Joseph said officially about it:
  • "Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist preachers, who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement; and, conversing with him on the subject of religion, I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them.
  • "I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects-all united to persecute me.
  • "It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and dreviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself."
How strange that Joseph says that the neighborhood knew enough about it to persecute this obscure boy, but his own family hadn't heard about it at all. If Joseph's story had actually occurred and caused said excitement, someone would have mentioned it. No one did.

Joseph was persecuted, but not for his first vision account in 1820, but rather from talking about treasure digging and later, in 1827, about the golden plates. No one, friend or foe, in New York or Pennsylvania remembers either that there was "great persecution" or even that Joseph claimed to have had a vision. Not even his family remembers it. It is likely that the vision was unremarkably similar to many other epiphanies of that era and no one took notice of it.

God & Christ visit a young boy, and because of local gossip, he withheld that info from his family. And yet then he receives another visitation three years later from an angel, and immediately he tells his family? Why the inconsistencies?
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A Painful Exodus
Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014, at 07:44 AM
Original Author(s): Jerilyn Hassell Pool
Topic: WOMEN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 3   -Link To MC Article-
Note: As is my way, I made a silly movie and post first, which sparked this much more serious post.

Six weeks ago, I enjoyed the company of several active, LDS women who all hold temple recommends and various ward or stake callings. This last week, I was able to reconnect with them and we talked about something that rocked my entire being.

Nearly every single one of them is considering leaving the church either by resignation or indefinite absence.

The recent crackdown on those of us who live in the borderlands of church membership and dare to question the status quo or advocate for greater inclusion of our marginalized brothers and sisters has left many of us wounded and fearful.

We are fearful, not for ourselves, but for our children. None of us want to raise children in a church that will allow local leadership to discipline anyone based on a vague definition of apostasy. None of us want to raise children in a church where people rejoice at the excommunication of one of our own. None of us want to raise daughters in a church where they are taught their bodies are visual or physical prey for the whims of men. None of us want to raise daughters in a church where they are taught that the only path to happiness for women is marriage and motherhood-experiences removed from their own agency and fully dependent on the choices of men. None of us want to raise sons in a church that teaches them entitlement. None of us want to raise sons in a church that teaches them that their self-control is dependent on the clothing and actions of our daughters. None of us want to raise daughters or sons in a church that privileges boys and men above their own faithful mothers, grandmothers, and sisters.

When women leave the church, they take their children with them, directing multiple generations away from the saving ordinances of the gospel.

I have not slept well for the last several weeks. I've faced some difficult consequences surrounding my own support for marriage equality. I've watched dear friends lose their membership and even their faith. I've listened to tearful women express their pain and anguish over what feels like betrayal.

I cannot bear to see my sisters in such agony. Every time I hear, "I have to leave; I cannot stay anymore," my lungs squeeze a little tighter and my heart grows a little colder. We are losing the best and brightest women I know and I feel each loss deep in my bones.

I won't stop them. I can't stop them. I value their agency and self-respect far above my own comfort. Instead, I mourn with them and feel their pain in my hands and heart and wonder when our pain will be so great that the church as a whole will find it unbearable as well. And when that day comes, how many women will be left?

There is a constant prayer in my heart that someone, somewhere, will find the courage to stand up and stop this brutal expulsion of our sisters.

I am a faithful, believing Mormon. I have faith that those 15 men at the head of the church want to do what is right and good. I want to believe their lungs squeeze a little when they hear of another sister leaving the church. I want to believe their hearts hurt with the pain and tears of their sisters. I want to believe they feel the loss of our sisters in their bones.

And yet, all we hear is silence, and the silence has been the most painful sound of all.

http://www.feministmormonhousewives.o...
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The Mother Of All Paradigm Shifts Is Underway
Monday, Jul 14, 2014, at 07:42 AM
Original Author(s): Kevin Graham
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
This morning David Bokovoy posted on Facebook:
From Brent Metcalfe, one of the world's foremost experts on the Book of Abraham: "Even as a nonbeliever who is well informed on Mormonism's scriptural texts, I see a catalyst theory as a viable option for believers, but as a vehicle for communicating a prophet's struggle to understand God, not a way to recover actual historical events...

I 100 % agree"
David's fringe views have flown in under the radar for the most part, but his message is nothing short of earth shattering for traditional Mormonism. He has also gone on record recently, stating that Abraham never wrote a book to begin with. I know of one other BYU professor - who will remain anonymous because he confided this to me in private - who has asserted, "the Book of Mormon too seems to be more like a midrashic expansion of the biblical text. So yes, I see this as a huge problem for those who argue that the Book of Mormon (or the Book of Abraham) is an ancient text."

This is huge folks.

William Hamblin and Daniel Peterson are the two prominent Mormon scholars who have voiced aggressive opposition to those who would suggest having a Mormon testimony is compatible with rejecting the historicity of Mormon scriptures.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this in the coming years or maybe even months. David isn't shy about making his views known either. And perhaps what is most interesting about all of this is the fact that he is acquiring a loyal following. I've noticed this as of late, more and more people agreeing with him with only a few dissidents questioning his loyalty to the Church. In fact, just yesterday he posted a farewell to a friend who is going on his mission, and he said this kid agrees with him about the papyri having nothing to do with Abraham. Not sure why he mentioned that, but what's certain is that David is on a mission to convert people into the new Mormon paradigm. What isn't so certain is how much the Church leadership is aware of it, and how it would respond if it did.
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For The Blessing Of The Lamanites
Friday, Jul 11, 2014, at 07:53 AM
Original Author(s): Boyd K Packer
Topic: LAMANITES   -Link To MC Article-
For the Blessing of the Lamanites
written by Boyd K Packer
Assistant to the Council of the Twelve
August 1964 Relief Society Magazine

In March of this year almost two hundred teen-aged Indian boys and girls gathered in Sandy, Utah,in a youth conference of the Indian Student Placement Program of the Church. They represented almost twenty Indian tribes, and they came from reservations spread over a wide area from Mexico on the south to Canada on the north. For the school term they had lived with non-Indian Latter-day Saint foster families throughout Utah and Arizona. The theme of their conference, selected by the students themselves, was "Our History Foretells Our Future."

Those who visited the conference and observed the display of talent and leadership during the two days of activity would have agreed that a brightening future awaits these young people. In many ways they reflect the development and progress which is being achieved to an increasing degree by Indian people throughout the land. In fulfillment of Nephi's prophetic words(see 1 Nephi 15:14-14), the Lamanites in our day are, indeed, being restored to their rightful place in the House of Israel. By their obedience to the principles of the gospel,they are beginning to receive the blessings promised to their ancient fathers.

In devising a theme for their conference, the Indian boys and girls gave recognition to the illustrious history and achievement of their forefathers, recounted in the Book of Mormon. Following the time of the savior's visit to this hemisphere, the Nephite-Lamanite remnant reached a peak of perfection and righteous achievement. Fourth Nephi records:

"And it came to pass. . .the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. . .

"And now, behold it came to pass that the people of Nephi did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people. . .

"And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

"There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God" (4 Nephi:2,10,16,17).

Today thousands of Lamanites are coming into the Church. More than one hundred Lamanite branches have been organized among the stakes and within the missions. In many of these branches the leadership is provided by the Lamanite members. They are the branch presidents, the teachers, the auxiliary leaders, the music directors. With increasing effectiveness and with characteristic humility and devotion, they are carrying forward the program of the Church. Lives are being transformed. In some cases whole Indian communities are being affected.

In the small Paiute Indian settlement near Cedar City, Utah, a beautiful new chapel points its spire to the sky. The building,faced with colorful native stone, is a monument to the dedication and energy of the members of the Cedar Indian Branch. Much of the work on the new chapel was done by the branch members themselves. To provide a lovelier setting for their chapel, the Indian people have undertaken a community improvement project.Homes and outbuildings are being painted;yards are being improved;fence lines and empty lots are being cleared of weeds and debris.A new sense of pride and industry seems to pervade the little community.

The development taking place among these people has been reflected in yet another way. Recently the branch presidency was reorganized, and Franklin Benn, an Indian Elder, was installed as the new president, the first Indian to serve in this capacity since the branch was organized.

A growing number of Indian boys and girls are accepting calls to serve on full-time missions. At the time of this writing there are more than thirty Indian missionaries laboring in the two Indian missions. An added number are serving in other missions throughout the world. The Muddy River Indian Branch in the Moapa Stake, with a membership of fifty-five, has three missionaries in the field. If one were to visit the Pomo Indian branch in the Santa Rosa Stake (California), the Omaha-Winnebago Branch in Nebraska, or the Cattaraugus Branch in New York, he would find capable Indian members serving as Relief Society presidents,Sunday School superintendents, and branch leaders.

More than six thousand Indian boys and girls are attending special Seminary classes which are being conducted across the Nation from New York and North Carolina to California and Oregon. Forty-seven Indian students were enrolled in the Brigham Young University during the 1963-64 school year, and there were hundreds in other institutions of higher learning.

But the work is only beginning. Thee is a great deal yet to be done, and all of us share in the responsibility. Brigham Young charged the membership of the church in his day to press forward with the work of redeeming Indian Israel. Speaking to a group of the saints in the Provo area, in 1855, he said, "Now, if this people,male and female, feel to school them (the Indians), spend time and pains to instill into their minds correct principles, to divide land with them. . . and will go to work and restore them to the knowledge of the truth the Lord God will bless them, and they will have nothing to fear. If you live up to this you will rise, while those who do not will go down. If this people will observe this covenant, and follow it one and all..thousands and hundreds of thousands will embrace this gospel, and for ought I know scores of thousands will become members of the Church (J.D. 9:228-229).

Nephi, seeing in vision the important role which the non-indian members of the church would have to play in this great latter-day work,said:"And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wheretofore it is likened unto their being nourished by the gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders"(Nephi 22:8).

The work in behalf of our Lamanite brothers and sisters must go forward. They have waited long years for their restoration to the blessings of the gospel. The Lord has placed a direct responsibility upon the members of the Church to see that the great work of redemption does not falter. Every Latter-day Saint should be a friend and a champion of the Indian people. We must be certain that blessings are not withheld because of any indifference or intolerance on our part. Our patient labor in behalf of Lehi's seed can help them to reclaim their inheritance in this land.

"And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God?

"Behold, I say unto you, Yea; they will be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive-tree" (1 Nephi 15:15-16).
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The New Mormon Paradigm Shift
Friday, Jul 11, 2014, at 07:01 AM
Original Author(s): Kevin Graham
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
And so it seems the new approach which was only started for apologetic purposes, is finally gaining strength in the Church. So now translation doesn't really mean translation after all.

On facebook Pedro Olivarra and David Bokovoy have been getting excited about this development. I've tried to explain my position as best as I can without coming across like an A-hole. I consider many of these Mormons my friends and so I get no joy out of pouring cold water all over their excitement. However, at the same time it really annoys me when I see so many people buying snake oil by the gallons. Here is what I posted last night in one Facebook thread, responding to Pedro's reference to the 1828 definition for "Translation," as well as the claim that Joseph Smith never needed a source document to produce a translation, because that is what he did with the JST.


"Pedro, in the context of language and manuscripts the word translate meant in 1828 precisely what it means today. I think this "translate didn't really mean translate" position doesn't hold water and will go down as one of the many, many apologetic theories that eventually lost its flavor."


"(Facebook User) makes the same point I used to make to William Schryver years ago, when he insisted the translations had absolutely nothing to do with a preexisting ancient text - in his attempt to completely divorce the Book of Abraham from the papyri.

Well, let's think about this for a second. Following this logic the Book of Mormon people fought endlessly, sacrificing life and limb for centuries just to preserve a record which, according to the new apologetic paradigm, wasn't at all necessary since Joseph Smith could have just translated the Book of Mormon without those plates in the first place!

So why go through all that trouble if the centuries long process of preserving a physical record for translation purposes, was ultimately superfluous? This is just one of the many examples in which these new paradigm shifts cause more problems than they intend to solve. Because in the end you're left throwing the early LDS leaders under the bus, effectively ignoring all their comments that undermine said theory. So we're now supposed to believe that the guy responsible for revealing this stuff from God, also has to be the guy who understood it the least?!?! That it took nearly two centuries before Church apologists (not appointed leaders) finally figured this all out?

You see, it seems more logical to me that Smith's references to "translating" things like the JST was the EXCEPTION, and the word he chose was probably for lack of a better term. It makes no sense at all to say this exception became the RULE, therefore none of the literal translations were really literal translations. The way apologists have tried to spin this as the rule doesn't work logically. Even with the early 19th century dictionaries, one cannot just pick a variant definition and apply it just because it is something unusual, and then say "ah ha, Joseph Smith meant it THIS way!" You still have to follow the rules of context in languages, and translation in the context of languages doesn't mean moving things around, or teleporting people to heaven or what not. It means deciphering one language into another, the same way we understand the term today."
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Prediction On How Future Apologists And Members Will Use The New Essays
Friday, Jul 11, 2014, at 10:37 AM
Original Author(s): Curious_mormon
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
For a moment, let's ignore the outright lies. Let's ignore the double speak. Let's ignore the inconsistencies. Let's ignore all of the other deceptions, obfuscations, spin doctoring, selective deletion of history, and unsupported claims.

Instead, I want to try and predict what future members and apologists will say these essays disavow, or what doctrines were never taught because of an implication in the essay. Some are stretches, but they're more supported than many of the apologetic arguments used in the essays themselves.

Multiple Accounts of the First Vision - See: https://www.lds.org/topics/first-visi...
  • Disavows the claim that the LDS church teaches the "First Vision"
  • Disavows the claim that all retellings agree with each other.
  • Disavows the claim that Joseph shared the first vision before 1832 (minister story didn't happen. In fact, it's rewritten).
The Church's relationship with the larger Christian world - See: http://www.lds.org/topics/christians
  • Disavows many scriptures (some previously changed) in the 1830 Book of Mormon.
  • Disavows former temple doctrine that protestant ministers were in the employ of the devil.
  • Disavows 2 churches only doctrine.
  • Disavows the peculiar people doctrine.
Race and priesthood restriction - See: http://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-th...
  • Disavows more than a century of Godly racism.
  • Disavows the parts of the Book of Mormon claiming God marks the cursed with darker skin colors.
  • Disavows the parts of the Book of Mormon claiming darker races are less desirable sexual partners or otherwise lesser beings because of race.
  • Disavows the claim that prophets are somehow more prescience or somehow better than the culture as a whole.
  • Disavows the claim that a revelation was necessary.
  • Sets the ground work for disavowing chosen people.
Plural marriage, including Joseph Smith's involvement - See: http://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marr...
  • Disavows the claim that polygamy stopped in 1890 and turns it into an 1890 discouragement.
  • Disavows knowledge of the doctrinal reasons behind polygamy.
  • Disavows the declaration that God wants a peculiar people, turns that into a self-chosen classification.
  • Disavows the prophetic claim that polygamy was required for exaltation.
  • Disavows Hinckley's claim that polygamy was a restricted practice.
  • Disavows the history that LDS hid from the law and lied about their practice of polygamy.
  • Disavows the claim that Monogamy is a curse.
Book of Mormon translation - See: http://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mor...
  • Disavows the history that Joseph edited and changed the original manuscript
  • Disavows the history that the Book of Mormon was changed.
  • [continues to] Disavow Mother Smith's history that the Book of Mormon stories were told before the translation had begun.
  • Disavows the fact that language structure changes when translating from one language to a completely different language.
  • Disavows the claim that seer stones were different from Urim and Thummims.
  • Disavows the word for word translation appearing on the seer stone.
DNA studies and the Book of Mormon - See: https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mo... Disavows the historical accuracy of the Book of Mormon Disavows the claim that the Lamanites are interchangeable with Native Americans (continuation of teachings from 2005) Disavows the Book of Mormon claim that the Nephites arrived at reserved land, and all but two had died during the Jaredite wars. Disavows all knowledge of genetic origin of the Native Americans. Deification in Church teachings - See: https://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-l...
  • [Potentially] Disavows humans progressing to a point of getting their own planets.
  • [Potentially] Disavows the teachings prior to 1835 on salvation.
  • There are a few other potentials (and quite a bit of doublespeak/deception), but this one seems more direct than most.
Egyptology and the Book of Abraham - See: https://www.lds.org/topics/translatio...
  • Disavows the claim that Joseph translated Egyptian.
  • Disavows the claim that the papyrus was written by Abraham.
  • Disavows that Joseph tried to translate the kinderhook after the Book of Abraham.
  • Disavows the history that Joseph tried to create a grammar.
  • Disavows all scholarly analysis of the Papyri.
  • Disavows the claim that the papyri directly translates to Joseph's interpretation.
Allegations of violence in the 19th-century Church - See: https://www.lds.org/topics/peace-and-...
  • Disavows the Old Testament and Christ's love of violence, implicitly denying Christ was the God of the Old Testament.
  • Disavowed the member's part in instigating early conflicts.
  • Disavowed the Danites were effectively a secret police.
  • Reverse the disavow that the Native Americans were Israelites.
  • Disavowed church involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
TBP:
  • Women's roles in the Church
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Some Questions The BOA Essay Didn't Answer
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014, at 07:35 AM
Original Author(s): Sherlock
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Some Questions the BoA essay didn't answer:
  1. why were the BoA papyri paraded around when the BoM was considered so precious that it couldn't even be viewed by close associates?
  2. if these were just common Egyptian papyri, why did they charge people to view them and what were they told they were?
  3. why no mention of the incorrect translation of the facsimiles?
  4. why is the explanation in the BoA for the founding of Egypt (1:23-24) so patently false?
  5. why should we accept the view that Joseph Smith didn't actually mean 'translation' when he said 'translation'?
  6. exactly what aspects of the BoA do non-Mormon scholars disagree amongst themselves on? How many of these accept any single aspect of the BoA as being accurate and historical?
  7. when the BoA internally references facsimile one (1:12) does it actually make any difference whatsoever whether 5cm or 500 miles of papyri was missing?
  8. why did Joseph Smith confidently proclaim that one of the papyri was the Book of Joseph and another the Book of Abraham? If these were all just common papyri and were simply a catalyst for JS to receive a revelation, why proclaim two separate biblical authors for different portions of papyri?

    "there is a perceptible difference between the writings [of Abraham and Joseph]. Joseph appears to have been the best scribe" --William I. Appleby, Biography and Journal, LDS archives.
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Equivalent Of 93.8 Million Dollars For The Book Of Abraham Catalyst
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014, at 07:26 AM
Original Author(s): Alx71tx
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24   -Link To MC Article-
The church spending $2,400 for the artifacts of the Book of Abraham "catalyst" in 1835 would be like spending $93.8 million dollars today.

My formula is as follows:

$2400 * (709.9)/31 * (15,082,028/8835) = $93,820,968

1. The first fraction is taken from the 1835 and 2014 numbers in the following table.

http://www.minneapolisfed.org/communi...

2. The second fraction is taken from the 1835 and 2013 numbers in the following table.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chur...

3. The $2,400 number for the purchase is found at

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Papyri,_...

Church members purchased for $2,400 "four human figures…with two or more rolls of papyrus" (HC 2:235)

So what did it buy?

https://www.lds.org/study/topic/print...

Rather, the physical artifacts provided an occasion for meditation, reflection, and revelation. They catalyzed a process whereby God gave to Joseph Smith a revelation about the life of Abraham, even if that revelation did not directly correlate to the characters on the papyri.

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The BOA In The New Church History Seminary Manual
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Mormonthinker
Topic: BOOK OF ABRAHAM   -Link To MC Article-
Treating Sensitive Issues in the New Church History Seminary Manual

This article by Meridian Magazine introduces the new edition of the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History manual for seminary students. The new manual includes a discussion of several sensitive topics in church history. These include such things as the various accounts of the First Vision story, Mountain Meadow Massacre and polygamy.

Unfortunately, the lesson manuals don't address many of the most serious problems of each issue. They often only bring up one or two minor critics's problems of each issue and ignore the hardest-to-explain problems.

For example, the Book of Abraham section only brings up one issue which is that the papyri only date to about 100 BC vs the time of Abraham at 2000 B.C. BOA pg 524-527 (go to unit 31, lesson 152)

The lesson manual doesn't say anything that addresses the real problem with the BOA which is that Egyptologists state that Joseph Smith's translations of the facsimiles and papyri are completely wrong.

The manual sums up the BOA problems with a simple:

"Although we do not know the exact method Joseph Smith used to translate the writings, we do know that he translated the book of Abraham by the gift and power of God."

The lesson also has a major contradiction. On page 525 it says:

"The Prophet Joseph Smith never claimed the papyri were indeed the writings of Abraham."

Yet, on the same page right it states:

"In a statement dated 5 July 1835, Joseph Smith, declaring the importance of these ancient Egyptian writings, recorded: ‘I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham."

With these types of superficial answers that don't really address the critics's issues, the next generation of seminary students that use this manual will still be unaware of the most serious problems of Church history. Read full article at http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/13925
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What I Got From The Essay
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014, at 07:23 AM
Original Author(s): Normarae
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
What I got from the essay: Joey never claimed to know Egyptian. And we have no way of knowing how close to the facsimiles the hieroglyphics were. So after he received the text of the BOA by REVELATION, he saw the pictures and assumed they were pictures related to the revelation he'd been given. So he did his best to relate them to the things he'd learned about the ancient world (gotta throw that word "ancient" in there as many times as we can--that makes it authentic). So he was wrong, hey, he tried, but he never claimed to be able to translate. But we DO know the text is correct. It wasn't God's idea to illustrate the book, just a whim ol Joe came up with. Give him a break. He was trying to make it more interesting. He wasn't sure anyone would be cuckoo for kokaubeam.

I love to read these essays and try to figure out at what point in my mormondumb it wouldn't have worked. This one would have made me content as a TBM. It was long enough that I wouldn't have seriously read it, I would just have been ok with the fact that "scholars" (who must know it's schit since no one wants to put a name to it), had addressed this so-called troubling issue and have it covered. And there are plenty of references, which I would not have looked close enough at to see that they are all referencing mormon scriptures, talks, and writers.

However, at my questioning stage, I would have read what the issues were and then gone to the essay for a serious answer and gone, "ummm, that makes no sense. Joe claimed it was written by the hand of Abraham. He identified the facsimile completely incorrectly. Why would God not give him revelation about the correctness of that after he had given him all that specific stuff about the text." So obviously these essays are written to circle the wagons with the base. They are pretty sure that anyone who is seriously questioning is already lost.
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Boa Translation Or Catalyst? You Decide On The Documented Evidence
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014, at 07:21 AM
Original Author(s): Sherlock
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
TSCC and their apologists can try and spin & lie in their revisionist approach to the BoA so let's examine the various original documented comments on the discovery of the BoA as recorded in History of the Church vol 2:

....On the 3rd of July, Michael H. Chandler came to Kirtland to exhibit some Egyptian mummies. There were four human figures, together with some two or more rolls of papyrus covered with hieroglyphic figures and devices. As Mr. Chandler had been told I could translate them, he brought me some of the characters, and I gave him the interpretation, and like a gentleman, he gave me the following certificate:

'This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning the knowledge of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., in deciphering the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic characters in my possession, which I have, in many eminent cities, showed to the most learned; and, from the information that I could ever learn, or meet with, I and that of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., to correspond in the most minute matters.....

.....I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt.....

.....October 1.–This afternoon I labored on the Egyptian alphabet....

......The record of Abraham and Joseph, found with the mummies, is beautifully written on papyrus, with black, and a small part red, ink or paint, in perfect preservation. The characters are such as you find upon the coffins of mummies–hieroglyphics, etc.....

.....Mr. Chandler paid the duties and took possession of his mummies. Up to this time, they had not been taken out of the coffins, nor the coffins opened. On opening the coffins, he discovered that in connection with two of the bodies, was something rolled up with the same kind of linen, saturated with the same bitumen, which, when examined, proved to be two rolls of papyrus, previously mentioned.....

.....He was immediately told, while yet in the custom house, that there was no man in that city who could translate his roll: but was referred, by the same gentleman, (a stranger,) to Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., who, continued he, possesses some kind of power or gifts, by which he had previously translated similar characters....

....Thus I have given a brief history of the manner in which the writings of the fathers, Abraham and Joseph, have been preserved, and how I came in possession of the same–a correct translation of which I shall give in its proper place.....

.....Mr. Chandler first presented his papyrus to the Prophet Joseph Smith, he was shown by the latter, a number of characters which had been copied from the Nephite plates, and found that there were some points of resemblance between some of the Nephite characters and some of the characters on the Egyptian papyrus. Mr. Chandler then asked the Prophet's opinion concerning the antiquity of the Egyptian papyrus, and also requested him to give a translation of the characters. The Prophet gave Mr. Chandler a translation of some few of the Egyptian characters, which agreed with the interpretation given by learned men in other cities, where the mummies and papyrus had been exhibited, whereupon Mr. Chandler gave the Prophet a certificate, stating that fact.....
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Essay On The Book Of Abraham Is Sure Hard To Find
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014, at 07:06 AM
Original Author(s): Mentalgymnast
Topic: LGBT - AND MORMONISM - SECTION 1   -Link To MC Article-
This essay on the Book of Abraham is sure hard to find unless you know it's there and are shown how to navigate to it. I went to:

https://www.lds.org/topics?lang=eng

looking for the essay and couldn't find it until I went back to see that the essay started with the word "Translation". Then I had to go to the Browse Alphabetically drop down and go to the letter "T" to get to the essay. How is the average member that drops in on the Topics Section going to even find this essay unless they start at "A" and finally get all the way to "T"? The essay ought to be under "A" rather than "T".

Kind of like trying to find an air conditioning shop in the phone book and be told you have to first go to the "T's" and look under "Tom's Air Conditioning" rather than intuitively thumb through the A section first.

Frustrating. Almost seems like the essay is being hidden away unless one knows the correct pathway to get there.
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Mormon Church Essay Says One Of Its Scriptures May Not Be A Literal Translation
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014, at 07:04 AM
Original Author(s): Washington Post
Topic: BOOK OF ABRAHAM   -Link To MC Article-
From the Washigton Post:
A new online essay by the LDS Church says its Book of Abraham is inspired scripture but perhaps not a literal word-for-word translation of ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls by the faith’s founder, Joseph Smith.

The article says it is possible that the papyri merely served as a catalyst for revelation by Smith that led to his expanding on the biblical account of Abraham. The book is included in a church volume of scripture called The Pearl of Great Price.

The essay concedes that is impossible to prove or disprove the translation since most of the papyri used have long since vanished and are presumed destroyed.
See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/nationa...
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Aftermath In Kate Kelly's VA Stake
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014, at 11:19 AM
Original Author(s): Brother Of Jerry
Topic: JOHN DEHLIN AND KATE KELLY EXCOMMUNICATION   -Link To MC Article-
I heard from a member associated with that stake that the SP announced he would set aside a day to meet with women in the stake who had concerns about the exing of Ms Kelly.

Presumably he was inundated with requests, because he is now holding meetings at wards around the stake for concerned individuals. I take that to mean men as well as women.

BTW, I mentioned in an earlier post that during Sonia Johnson's excommunication trial at the same stake center back in the 1970s, the Unitarians next door opened their building to let protestors/supporters in to rest, pee, get a drink, warm up (it was late December).

Well, the Unitarians are still next door, and they opened their building again. Kelly's supporters outside the stake center were not allowed into the stake center. Ironic that the quasi-atheist group is the one that shows a little Christian charity.

Anyway, so far this week, that is an SP in Virginia and an SP in Massachusetts running around trying to keep their section of the dike from crumbling. I hope that becomes a trend.
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Key Points From The So Called Church's Book Of Abraham Essay
Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014, at 07:26 AM
Original Author(s): Exodus
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
The Book of Abraham essay was published by TSCC today at:

https://www.lds.org/topics/translatio...

Below are excerpted key points from the essay. Since these excerpts come directly from TSCC, these points cannot be "anti" material (at least not now - who knows what they'll change in the future). These points should give a good baseline to use in discussing the BoA issues with TBMs - they're freebies.

1. Scholars have identified the papyrus fragments as parts of standard funerary texts that were deposited with mummified bodies.

2. The papyrus fragments date to between the third century B.C.E. and the first century C.E., long after Abraham lived.

3. Joseph Smith examined the papyri and commenced "the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics".

a. None of the characters on the papyrus fragments mentioned Abraham's name or any of the events recorded in the book of Abraham.

b. None of the rules and translations in the Book of Abraham grammar book correspond to those recognized by Egyptologists today.

4. Joseph received knowledge about the life and teachings of Abraham "by the gift and power of God".

5. Excerpts on speculation on the Book of Abraham translation method:

a. Need to assume a broader definition of the words "translator" and "translation".

b. Records indicate that Joseph and others studied the papyri and close observers believed that the translation came by revelation.

c. Joseph's translation was not a literal rendering of the papyri as a conventional translation would be. Rather, the physical artifacts provided an occasion for meditation, reflection, and revelation. They catalyzed a process whereby God gave to Joseph Smith a revelation about the life of Abraham, even if that revelation did not directly correlate to the characters on the papyri.
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Seems To Me That Joseph Did Explain His Process Of Translation In Pretty Clear Prose
Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014, at 07:03 AM
Original Author(s): Allbymyzelph
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Joseph Smith said "... with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commence the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc. - a more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth." (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 236).

What the essay on lds.org says: "Neither the Lord nor Joseph Smith explained the process of translation of the book of Abraham, but some insight can be gained from the Lord’s instructions to Joseph regarding translation."

Huh? Seems to me that Joseph did explain his process of translation in pretty clear prose, unless the words "translation," "characters." and "hieroglyphics" don't actually mean what I or any other reasonable person think they mean. But far be it from me to question the strained logic of the essay's anonymous author.
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Comments On The New Book Of Abraham Essay
Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014, at 01:18 PM
Original Author(s): Anotherclosetatheist
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
TL;DR
None of the characters on the papyrus fragments mentioned Abraham's name or any of the events recorded in the book of Abraham. Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists agree that the characters on the fragments do not match the translation given in the book of Abraham
NOTHING ELSE IN THIS ESSAY MATTERS NOW
Speaking of the translation of the Book of Mormon, the Lord said, "You cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me."
Okay, so this means that the Church says the BoA comes from God, NOT from Smith.
Due partly to the exploits of the French emperor Napoleon, the antiquities unearthed in the catacombs of Egypt had created a fascination across the Western world. Chandler capitalized on this interest by touring with ancient Egyptian artifacts and charging visitors a fee to see them.
So some random dude decided to make money off of a recent fad.
After Joseph Smith examined the papyri and commenced "the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics," his history recounts, "much to our joy [we] found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham."
Pretty lucky.
Joseph Smith worked on the translation of the book of Abraham during the summer and fall of 1835, by which time he completed at least the first chapter and part of the second chapter.16 His journal next speaks of translating the papyri in the spring of 1842.
Seven years? Why didn't God just, ya know, reveal the translation in a weekend? I don't want to hear "because he just doesn't give you the answers!" Smith was the only one who would be doing any work, while the rest of the members would just be given the answers by Smith.
the book of Abraham was recorded in the language of the King James Bible. This was the idiom of scripture familiar to early Latter-day Saints, and its use was consistent with the Lord's pattern of revealing His truths "after the manner of their [His servants'] language, that they might come to understanding."
No, that was NOT the manner of 1840's New England speech.
Of course, the fragments do not have to be as old as Abraham for the book of Abraham and its illustrations to be authentic. Ancient records are often transmitted as copies or as copies of copies. The record of Abraham could have been edited or redacted by later writers much as the Book of Mormon prophet-historians Mormon and Moroni revised the writings of earlier peoples. Moreover, documents initially composed for one context can be repackaged for another context or purpose. Illustrations once connected with Abraham could have either drifted or been dislodged from their original context and reinterpreted hundreds of years later in terms of burial practices in a later period of Egyptian history. The opposite could also be true: illustrations with no clear connection to Abraham anciently could, by revelation, shed light on the life and teachings of this prophetic figure.
So everything is nothing, nothing is everything, and possibly a lot of in between. This is just shit.
Eyewitnesses spoke of "a long roll" or multiple "rolls" of papyrus. Since only fragments survive, it is likely that much of the papyri accessible to Joseph when he translated the book of Abraham is not among these fragments.
So just like how we haven't dug up every single acre of North and South America to disprove the BoM, we haven't found every scrap of papyri that ever existed to disprove the BoA.
The book of Abraham speaks disapprovingly of human sacrifice offered on an altar in Chaldea.
YOU'RE TELLING ME THAT ABRAHAM DISAPPROVED OF HUMAN SACRIFICE?
Elkenah. This deity is not mentioned in the Bible
The deity Elkanah is not found in the Bible, but the Hebrew word totally is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elkanah
The book of Abraham is consistent with various details found in nonbiblical stories about Abraham that circulated in the ancient world around the time the papyri were likely created.
Durr, this makes sense because the Bible was the only book that Smith ever read. Totally, there is no way that he could have read other books on ancient religion.
The veracity and value of the book of Abraham cannot be settled by scholarly debate concerning the book's translation and historicity.
So the book can't be verified.
The book's status as scripture lies in the eternal truths it teaches and the powerful spirit it conveys.
How do you know those things are truths? What truths... Planets?

Oh, and it feels good.
The book of Abraham imparts profound truths about the nature of God, His relationship to us as His children, and the purpose of this mortal life.
There isn't much there.
The truth of the book of Abraham is ultimately found through careful study of its teachings, sincere prayer, and the confirmation of the Spirit.
Ahh, the Feels.
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New Book Of Abraham Essay
Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014, at 12:50 PM
Original Author(s): Jdovew
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
No...no, they didn't really just release an essay on the BoA did they?

Is it my birthday?

Every time I think the Church can't do anything dumber, they come out with something like this.

EDIT:

Good Lord, this is honestly worse than FAIR, which I thought was impossible.
this evidence of ancient origins, substantial though it may be, cannot prove the truthfulness of the book of Abraham any more than archaeological evidence can prove the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt
Are you kidding me? You're really going to claim that the exodus is a matter of faith now? Guys, we now officially don't need historical validity for anything.
an entrepreneur named Michael Chandler arrived at Church headquarters in Kirtland, Ohio
What a nice way to say "traveling salesman came to Smith's house."
Other times, his translations were not based on any known physical records ... Alternatively ... According to this view, Joseph's translation was not a literal rendering of the papyri as a conventional translation would be. Rather, the physical artifacts provided an occasion for meditation, reflection, and revelation. They catalyzed a process whereby God gave to Joseph Smith a revelation about the life of Abraham, even if that revelation did not directly correlate to the characters on the papyri.
Oh my gosh, they just said that. They went directly contrary to literally every record we have about the process and every single piece of evidence. They pulled a FAIR.
Phelps apparently viewed Joseph Smith as uniquely capable of understanding the Egyptian characters: "As no one could translate these writings," he told his wife, "they were presented to President Smith. He soon knew what they were."
I'm reminded of the South Park episode: "Wait, Mormons know this story and still believe it?"
Of course, the fragments do not have to be as old as Abraham for the book of Abraham and its illustrations to be authentic. Ancient records are often transmitted as copies or as copies of copies
Actually a good argument for the "By his own hand" statement.
None of the characters on the papyrus fragments mentioned Abraham's name or any of the events recorded in the book of Abraham. Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists agree that the characters on the fragments do not match the translation given in the book of Abraham.
NONONONO! Wait! You forgot to mention that none of the hieroglyphics Joseph translated match his translations either. That's what we're concerned with, not whether the pictures are the source of the whole book; that's obviously not the case. We have the pictures with his translation; that's what we need to focus on, and you conveniently skipped past that.
The book of Abraham speaks disapprovingly of human sacrifice offered on an altar in Chaldea. Some victims were placed on the altar as sacrifices because they rejected the idols worshipped by their leaders. Recent scholarship has found instances of such punishment dating to Abraham's time.
You're kidding again, right? LOTS of ancient peoples practiced human sacrifice, almost invariably on altars. Most notable of these were civilizations in South America. Funny how that's not mentioned in the BoM though. It's almost like you're picking and choosing.
The book's status as scripture lies in the eternal truths it teaches and the powerful spirit it conveys.
So, if it makes you feel a powerful spirit and teaches "truth," it can be scripture. It can be a complete fabrication and lie from a prophet, but that doesn't matter. Even if everything points to it being a fraud, and we outright admit that, what really matters are your feelings about it.

This is almost as bad as the Race and the Priesthood essay, maybe worse if you're familiar with the BoA issues.
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Brigham The Book-Burner
Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014, at 08:30 AM
Original Author(s): Book Of Mordor
Topic: BRIGHAM YOUNG   -Link To MC Article-
Okay, we don't know if burning was his preferred method of destruction, but he certainly tried to rid the world of Lucy Mack’s "History of Joseph Smith by His Mother." We know he failed dismally of course; the book still exists. But at least Brig's heart was in the wrong place.

James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency (1965), Vol. 2, pp. 229-30

"Hearken, O Ye Latter-day Saints," August 23, 1865 Millennial Star, Vol. 27, pp. 657-63

"Happening lately, while on a preaching trip to Cache Valley, to pick up a book which was lying on a table in the house where we were stopping, we were surprised to find that it was the book bearing the title, on the outside, of 'Joseph Smith, the Prophet;' and on the title page, 'Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his progenitors for many generations, by Lucy Smith, mother of the Prophet; published for Orson Pratt by S. W. Richards, Liverpool,' &c. Our surprise at finding a copy of this work may be accounted for, by the fact of our having advertized [sic] some time ago that the book was incorrect, and that it should be gathered up and destroyed, so that no copies should be left; and, from this, we had supposed that not a single copy could be found in any of the houses of the Saints.

We now wish to publish our views and feelings respecting this book, so that they may be known to all the Saints in all the world. In Great Britain diligence has been used in collecting and in disposing of this work, and we wish that same diligence continued there and also exercised here, at home, until not a copy is left.

The inquiry may arise in the minds of some persons, 'Why do you want to destroy this book?' Because we are acquainted with individual circumstances alluded to in it, and know many of the statements to be false. We could go through the book and point our many false statements which it contains, but we do not feel to do so. It is sufficient to say that it is utterly unreliable as a history, as it contains many falsehoods and mistakes. We do not wish such a book to be lying on our shelves to be taken up in after years and read by our children as true history, and we, therefore, expect the High Priests, the Seventies, the Elders, the Bishops, and every one in the Church male and female, if they have such a book, to dispose of it so that it will never be read by any person again. If they do not, the responsibility of the evil results that may accrue from keeping it will rest upon them and not upon us."

[remainder of statement not copied]

BRIGHAM YOUNG

HEBER C. KIMBALL

DANIEL H. WELLS
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Refuting Mormon Apologist Greg Trimble's Top Ten List
Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): Axeldc
Topic: APOLOGISTS   -Link To MC Article-
In response to Jr. Mormon Apologist Greg Trimble's "So you think the Book of Mormon is a fraud" list found here: http://www.gregtrimble.com/so-you-thi...

1) Could an uneducated boy come up with 531 pages of ancient scripture on his own that was historically accurate and prophetic in nature?

A) it is not historically accurate. No trace of the Nephites have been found while older cultures have been. There were no horses, sheep or wheeled vehicles in the New World. B) JS had the help of a school teacher, OC, so JS was not "uneducated". Even JS admits that the "translation" went a lot faster when the school teacher was doing the writing.

2) Would it be possible for that boy to understand and include ancient Hebrew literary writing styles such as idioms and Chiasmus, some of which weren't even discovered until long after Joseph Smith was gone ?

This is an LDS myth perpetuated by people who know nothing about Semitic languages and Hebrew literature. How many Jews have converted from this line of thinking? Not many.

3( How would Joseph Smith have been able to know so much about the Middle East, especially the Arabian Peninsula where Lehi and his family traveled? The book includes findings in that region that no one had discovered yet.

Atlases. OC was a school teacher who traveled around upstate NY and had access to libraries.

4) How could Joseph Smith come up with roughly 200 new names in the Book of Mormon and then have them turn out to be Semitic in nature?

Shakespeare coined thousands of words, and JS ripped off the Bible.

5) If you think Joseph Smith couldn't have written this book, then where did it come from? If one says the devil put him up to it.then why would Satan want to publish another testament of Jesus Christ and a book that does nothing but promote righteousness. Jesus said that a house divided against itself would fall.

I do believe JS wrote the BoM with OC, but as a novel to make money. He ripped off the Bible and Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews. OC lived in the same town in VT as Ethan Smith and likely attended his congregation.

6) Who were the "other sheep" that would hear Jesus's voice in John 10:16?

I am no Bible scholar, but it could have been the Romans and all the Europeans who later became Christians.

7) Why are there volumes of books written by non-LDS authors stating that Christ came and visited the America's a couple thousand years ago just like it says in 3rd Nephi? (See Example "He Walked The America's") How would Joseph Smith have known this when at the time no one even considered it?

Sorry, I know of no works like this.

8) If we have the stick of Judah (record of the Jews or the Bible), then where is the stick of Joseph that is referenced in Ezekiel 37:15-20? The Book of Mormon is the only explanation for this scripture. Lehi was a descendant of Joseph. Think Joseph Smith could have gotten that right by sheer chance?

Maybe JS ripped this out of the Bible like so many other things. He was trying to retrofit his religion to the Bible.

9) How could there be so many witnesses of the Book of Mormon and the plates and not one of them deny their testimony even when some of them became bitter toward Joseph Smith? With so many people involved.a hoax of this magnitude could never go uncovered.

This is not at all true. Most of them fell away from the church and several of them later denied their "testimonies". The 8 witnesses never saw the plates except in their "mind's eye". http://packham.n4m.org/witness.htm

10) How could the Book of Mormon never contradict itself while being an extremely complex book? After all these years.someone would have found something.but no.

The BoM contradicts Mormonism. Jacob condemns polygamy, which is still a tenet of Mormonism. Most of LDS theology is not found in the Book of Mormon.

As for being complex, trying reading a Song of Ice and Fire, Dune, Gormenghast, the Silmarillion or even Harry Potter. Mormons pretend the Book of Mormon is this amazing piece of literature, but William Shakespeare (an uneducated man) and Dante wrote more lasting, compelling works.
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CES Letter Makes It Through Leadership Ranks At U Of U - Families Leaving
Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014, at 07:32 AM
Original Author(s): Mclovin
Topic: CES LETTER   -Link To MC Article-
I know a bishop at the University of Utah...

He seemed to have a hard time understanding the scope of my concerns until I sent him the CES Letter a few weeks ago. After reading it we had a great discussion. Felt like I was talking to a mirror. He totally gets it.

He said he's talked with a few other bishops in his stake (with their offices being next to each other) and they seem to be experiencing a trend with couples having problems with or leaving the church over these same issues (not necessarily the CES Letter itself but the issues in general, which people are getting from a variety of sources).

He's even shared the CES Letter with other bishops and his stake president in order to help them understand what's going through the minds of many troubled members. "Buckle up", he tells them "this is a tough read".

One of the bishops in his stake, who's only held the calling for a few months, told him that 7 families have approached him over this stuff. 4 of the couples are resigning their membership, and the others are still trying to figure out what to do next.

The bishop I know met with one of the strongest, well-educated families in his ward a couple weeks ago and indicated they were leaving the church as well. Same reasons.

Apparently his stake president shared the CES Letter with Richard Turley. The stake president came back and reported that Turley said he "could rip these arguments to shreds" but offered no specific feedback at the time.

Does this remind anyone of the Hans Mattson experience?… "Oh, we've got answers right here in our briefcase but you'll have to wait until we publish it, which is scheduled for the day after never."
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Freedom From The Press? Justice Dept Investigating LDS Church/Deseret News
Monday, Jul 7, 2014, at 08:06 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: SALT LAKE TRIBUNE   -Link To MC Article-
I recently spoke with Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoonist, Pat Bagley (Pat and I drew political cartoons for BYU's Daily Universe campus paper back in the 1970s). Pat filled me in on his trip in the last few days back to Washington, D.C., where he was answering questions posed by Congressional staffers, as federal investigators hone in on matters involving the Mormon Church, the Deseret News and the role and flow of information behind the Zion Curtain.

(I will be meeting up with Pat in a few weeks in SLC, where we will be able to continue our conversations on this matter, ones that have in the past included getting together in Salt Lake with him, a former Trib reporter and other interested parties).

It appears that LDS Inc.--Navuoo Expositor style--may be attempting to kill bad press through disingenuous and devious attempts to strangle the Salt Lake Tribune--in order for the Mormon Church's compliant theocratic organ, the Deseret Snooze and Schmooze, to emerge as essentially the sole and uncontested source of "news" in Salt Lake City, where major independent newspaper counterweights to the Mormon Church-owned and -controlled press would be rendered extinct.

It's a very fishy deal that the U.S. Justice Department is now looking into.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It Here--then spread the word (before the Mormon Church kills the word).

From the Columbia Journalism Review:

"A deal reached last fall between Salt Lake City's two main newspapers is unraveling into an angry controversy as the Justice Department looks into allegations that the Salt Lake Tribune, in return for a lump-sum cash payment, is quietly ceding the market to the Mormon Church-owned Deseret News.

"The deal, an amendment struck last fall to a longstanding Joint Operating Agreement, would give the News 70 percent of the print revenues generated by the two papers, in return for the payment, the amount of which is undisclosed. The one-time payment, critics claim, would benefit the New York parent, Digital First Media, owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, while choking off revenue needed to sustain the Tribune's newsroom.

[NOTE: Pat Bagley told me that the alteration to the JOA is not an "amendment" but, rather, a fundamantal reconstruction of the JOA itself].

"'The hedge fund guys get what they want, which is a big pile of cash,' says Jim Dabakis, a Utah state senator who this week started an online petition asking the Justice Department to reverse the deal. 'And the Deseret News gets what it wants, its generations-long dream [fulfilled] to extinguish the other voice in the community. And they get a monopoly from now on.'

"Joan O'Brien, an ex-Tribune reporter who now teaches has taught media law and runs a local group opposed to the amended JOA, wrote a detailed letter to the Justice Department saying the pact will cripple the Tribune, 'drastically intensifying the media monopoly power of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Northern Utah.'

"Earlier this month, the Tribune reported that the Justice Department has begun reviewing the deal. Dabakis and O'Brien both say they've been contacted about the deal by DOJ lawyers. A department spokesman declined to comment.

"The chiefs of both Digital First and the Deseret News reject the idea that the JOA will undermine the Tribune and said the opposite was the case.

"In an email, Digital First's chief executive, John Paton, declined to comment, but referred to recent remarks he made to the Tribune:

"'We continue to believe the recent revisions to the joint-operating agreement are important to The Salt Lake Tribune's continued success and are consistent with our strategy of controlling our digital future while limiting our exposure to legacy costs and practices. We are also confident that under the restructured JOA, The Tribune will continue to be a strong independent voice, which has been and remains the goal of both parties to the JOA.'

"Clark Gilbert, chief executive of the Deseret News' parent, sent a statement saying that the deal was reviewed by the Justice Department last fall and includes substantial benefits for the Tribune, including the fact that the paper pays no rent for the use of the plant and presses bought by the Deseret News as part of the deal.

"'The Deseret News is committed to the market's demand for multiple editorial voices and the amended JOA upholds that commitment,' the statement said.

"The fierce struggle over the deal has deep roots in the history of the two newspapers, a rivalry that dates to 1873 when three Kansans bought the Tribune and promptly launched a campaign of anti-Mormon vitriol. While the language has tempered over the years, the Tribune has remained a formidable rival to the Deseret News and an important independent check on its owner, the powerful Mormon Church. In the 1950s, the papers, which had been fierce commercial as well as journalistic competitors, struck a deal under which they would share distribution and other business costs, an agreement later made into a formal Joint Operating Agreement and sanctioned under the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970. Traditionally, the Tribune has been the larger paper (and remains so today with 2012 circulation of about 107,000 to 76,000 for the Deseret News). As a result, the Tribune received the larger share of revenues, 58 percent, under the original JOA.

"Despite the JOA, the editorial rivalry remained fierce. And for non-Mormons, the Tribune is a potent symbol of independence in a state where the media is dominated by church-owned outlets. A Church spokeswoman declined to comment on the dispute.

"The larger backdrop behind the JOA amendment is the shifting landscape of the newspaper industry, which, after its dramatic plunge in the last decade, is gearing up for what insiders predict will be a year of consolidation as financial players who entered the business during the crash now seek to exit. Earlier this month, for instance, media analyst Ken Doctor reported that Digital First Media's parent, Alden Global, was planning to put its newspaper holdings on the auction block. Representatives of Alden Global didn't return a phone call seeking comment.

"The amendment to the long-standing JOA was quietly reached last October when, according to the Deseret News' statement, Digital First approached the paper to renegotiate the deal. The new agreement was sent, as is required under the Newspaper Preservation Ac, to the Justice Department for review.

"Terry Orme, a longtime Tribune reporter and editor who was named editor and publisher around the time the deal was struck, says Paton, Digital First's CEO, told him about the deal in general terms but wouldn't discuss details of the new arrangement. 'John Paton was pretty clear he wasn't going to get into specifics,' Orme said in a telephone interview.

"After receiving a tip about the deal, Tribune reporters asked the Justice Department for the JOA, a public record, and reported the details shortly afterwards.

Orme says he expressed his concerns to Paton at the time. 'When you get your revenue cut in half, that's concerning,' he says. 'How can you not be concerned about that?' The new deal gives the Tribune the operation's digital revenues, but that's a much smaller number. Orme also says the lump sum, which he didn't disclose, was used to pay down Digital First debt, but "to my knowledge, none of that debt was our debt. That grates as well."

"Orme says, though, that Paton has been very explicit about his strategy of moving away from print and toward digital revenue, and that the strategy should be given a try. He added that 'we're going to know soon, no later than June, what the impact is going to be.'

"In an email, Paton declined to comment on Orme's remarks.

"Opposition has built steadily lately. O'Brien, who is married to Tribune reporter Tom Harvey and is the daughter of the late Jerry O'Brien, a longtime publisher of the paper until his death in 1994, formed a group calling itself the Utah Newspaper Project, now numbering about 50 and including several ex-Tribune staffers. In February, O'Brien wrote a 14-page letter of complaint to the anti-trust division's litigation chief, alleging that the deal violates both antitrust law and the Newspaper Preservation Act and 'threaten(s) an indispensable journalistic voice.' The new 70-30 split represents a dramatic reversal of the previous arrangement that, the opposition group says, 'denies the Tribune revenues sufficient to finance its essential editorial and newsgathering functions.' The group says the new JOA amounts to an 'acquisition scheme' by which the Deseret News can achieve what the group says is a longstanding goal: the elimination of the Tribune.

"The controversy gained steam this week when a local radio station, KUER, broadcast a discussion of the deal that included Orme. In a segment quoted in a Tribune story on the discussion, Orme publicly expressed misgivings about the deal and said the smaller cut from print operations had made the paper's financial future less certain:

"'It doesn't make it any better, let's put it that way,' Orme said. Print revenues continue to be "the biggest single source of income."

"'We've been relying on this stream of income for 60 years and to all of a sudden change it isn't a small thing; it's a big thing,' Orme said. 'You better know where you're going and you better have a high level of confidence in where you're going before you do that.'

"O'Brien says she pleased the Justice Department has begun what appears to be an extensive review. 'I am a reluctant activist,' she says. But few people in Mormon-dominated Utah are in a position to challenge this publicly. I sort of have to.'"

("A Newspaper Deal Threatens Utah's Main Non-Mormon-Owned Daily, Critics Say--And the Justice Department is Looking Into It," by Dean Starkman, "Columbia Journalism Review," 25 April 2014, at: http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/a_newspa...)

From the Salt Lake Tribune's own reporting:

"The U.S. Department of Justice is scrutinizing a deal between owners of Salt Lake City's two daily newspapers, at least in part for its apparent similarity to a past attempt by the Mormon church-owned Deseret News to buy The Salt Lake Tribune.

"Two sources confirmed the DOJ's inquiry, which comes as Utah's largest newspaper faces another round of budget cuts mandated by its corporate parent, New York-based Digital First Media.

"The leader of a group of community members and former Tribune employees challenging the latest joint-operating pact between The Tribune and the News said she had been interviewed at length by a senior antitrust attorney.

"Attorney Justin Dempsey also sought legal background from a nasty fight over Tribune ownership more than a decade ago, said Joan O'Brien, a former Tribune reporter and editor and daughter of the late Tribune Publisher Jerry O'Brien.

"'I'm encouraged and gratified that they are looking at this deal,' she said. 'I hope they actually do something, but at least they're looking at it.'

"A second source, who asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the federal review, also confirmed the DOJ's interviews. A spokesman for the DOJ declined to comment on its review of the joint-operating agreement, or JOA, which took effect between the two newspapers Oct. 18, 2013.

"Since last fall, the community group led by O'Brien has launched utahnewspaperproject.org and held several community meetings in an effort to draw attention to its cause.

"One prominent Salt Lake City resident who joined the effort, retired University of Utah administrator Boyer Jarvis, said he welcomed signs the DOJ was getting involved.

"'What's at stake here is an institution that is one of the most significant, important and valuable organizations in Utah,' said the 90-year-old community activist. 'It would be a tragedy of the first order if The Tribune doesn't continue to be independent.'

"Attempts by The Tribune in recent days to reach several Utah officials connected with the News and the JOA were unsuccessful.

"According to an Oct. 15, 2001, court deposition by L. Glen Snarr, then-chairman of Deseret News Publishing Co., the plan involved the News buying additional shares of the newspapers' revenue split and greater management control of joint operations.

"The strategy was developed, Snarr testified at the time, because the Federal Communications Commission appeared likely to challenge the News' purchase of The Tribune, given the LDS Church's existing ownership of other Utah broadcast and print outlets.

"The scenario came to light as former Tribune owners in the McCarthey family fought a protracted legal battle with newspaper magnate Dean Singleton, then CEO of the MediaNews Group chain, over The Tribune's ownership. Singleton took over The Tribune after the News' own efforts to buy the paper failed.

"Beginning in 2010, The Tribune and other newspapers owned by MediaNews Group came under management by executives at Digital First, which controls some 280 daily and weekly U.S. papers on behalf of Alden Capital.

"Considered an innovator in adapting to news industry challenges from the Internet, Digital First has struggled in recent years in the face of shrinking advertising revenues.

"Last September, The Tribune, as a precursor to the renegotiated JOA, laid off nearly 20 percent of its staff, a loss of 17 full-time and two part-time reporters. Then-Tribune Editor Nancy Conway and editorial page editor Vern Anderson also stepped down.

"Last week, Paton announced further cuts at Digital First, including closure of Project Thunderdome, a company initiative launched in late 2011 to centralize portions of national news gathering and production functions for the chain.

"In addition to eliminating Thunderdome and its 52-member staff in New York, Digital First is seeking another 10 percent reduction in costs at its newspapers. Tribune Editor and Publisher Terry Orme said Tuesday managers were continuing to explore reductions in purchased content, newsprint and staffing to achieve those cost reductions."

("Feds Scrutinize Salt Lake Newspaper Deal: New Pact Eyed in Light of Past Bid by LDS Church-Owned D-News to Buy Tribune," by Tony Semerad, Salt Lake Tribune, 9 April 2014, updated 5 June 2014, at: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/577...)

NOTE: A key lawsuit has recently been filed to stop this deal, as significant additional efforts are being made to save the Salt Lake Tribune from the press-destroying jaws of the Mormon Church.

Watch this space.
 
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Current Blogged Items
Fri, Jul 25, 2014:
Drop Everything! Missionaries Are More Important Than You!
Thu, Jul 24, 2014:
Age Gaps Don't Necessarily Matter At All In Love
Wed, Jul 23, 2014:
Brian C. Hales Doesn't Know His Church's Own History Either
Tue, Jul 22, 2014:
Never-Mormon Take On The Swallow-Shurtleff Scandal
Mon, Jul 21, 2014:
No Persecution Surrounding The First Vision
Wed, Jul 16, 2014:
A Painful Exodus
Mon, Jul 14, 2014:
The Mother Of All Paradigm Shifts Is Underway
Fri, Jul 11, 2014:
For The Blessing Of The Lamanites
The New Mormon Paradigm Shift
Prediction On How Future Apologists And Members Will Use The New Essays
Thu, Jul 10, 2014:
Some Questions The BOA Essay Didn't Answer
Equivalent Of 93.8 Million Dollars For The Book Of Abraham Catalyst
The BOA In The New Church History Seminary Manual
What I Got From The Essay
Boa Translation Or Catalyst? You Decide On The Documented Evidence
Essay On The Book Of Abraham Is Sure Hard To Find
Mormon Church Essay Says One Of Its Scriptures May Not Be A Literal Translation
Aftermath In Kate Kelly's VA Stake
Wed, Jul 9, 2014:
Key Points From The So Called Church's Book Of Abraham Essay
Seems To Me That Joseph Did Explain His Process Of Translation In Pretty Clear Prose
Comments On The New Book Of Abraham Essay
New Book Of Abraham Essay
Brigham The Book-Burner
Tue, Jul 8, 2014:
Refuting Mormon Apologist Greg Trimble's Top Ten List
CES Letter Makes It Through Leadership Ranks At U Of U - Families Leaving
Mon, Jul 7, 2014:
Freedom From The Press? Justice Dept Investigating LDS Church/Deseret News
5,879 Articles In 370 Topics
TopicImage TOPIC INDEX (370 Topics)
TopicImage AUTHOR INDEX

  · ADAM GOD DOCTRINE (4)
  · ANCESTRY.COM (1)
  · APOLOGISTS (57)
  · ARTICLES OF FAITH (1)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD (31)
  · BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD - PEOPLE (16)
  · BLACKS AND MORMONISM (12)
  · BLACKS AND THE PRIESTHOOD (12)
  · BLOOD ATONEMENT (5)
  · BOB BENNETT (1)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 1 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 2 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 3 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 4 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 5 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 6 (19)
  · BONNEVILLE COMMUNICATIONS (2)
  · BOOK OF ABRAHAM (53)
  · BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 1 (25)
  · BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 2 (25)
  · BOOK OF MORMON - SECTION 3 (16)
  · BOOK OF MORMON EVIDENCES (18)
  · BOOK OF MORMON GEOGRAPHY (24)
  · BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES (5)
  · BOOK REVIEW - ROUGH STONE ROLLING (28)
  · BOOKS - AUTHORS AND DESCRIPTIONS (12)
  · BOOKS - COMMENTS AND REVIEWS - SECTION 1 (26)
  · BOOKS - COMMENTS AND REVIEWS - SECTION 2 (20)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (2)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG (25)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY - SECTION 1 (25)
  · BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY - SECTION 2 (30)
  · BRUCE C. HAFEN (4)
  · BRUCE D. PORTER (1)
  · BRUCE R. MCCONKIE (10)
  · CALLINGS (12)
  · CATHOLIC CHURCH (5)
  · CES LETTER (1)
  · CHANGING DOCTRINE (14)
  · CHILDREN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 1 (24)
  · CHILDREN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 2 (24)
  · CHRIS BUTTARS (1)
  · CHURCH LEADERSHIP (3)
  · CHURCH PROPAGANDA (6)
  · CHURCH PUBLISHED MAGAZINES (55)
  · CHURCH TEACHING MANUALS (10)
  · CHURCH VAULTS (4)
  · CITY CREEK CENTER (23)
  · CIVIL UNIONS (14)
  · CLEON SKOUSEN (3)
  · COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (2)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 1 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 2 (21)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 3 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 4 (22)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 5 (40)
  · CONCISE DICTIONARY OF MORMONISM (14)
  · D. MICHAEL QUINN (1)
  · D. TODD CHRISTOFFERSON (6)
  · DALLIN H. OAKS (104)
  · DANIEL C. PETERSON (92)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (24)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (9)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DAVID WHITMER (1)
  · DELBERT L. STAPLEY (1)
  · DESERET NEWS (3)
  · DIETER F. UCHTDORF (13)
  · DNA (25)
  · DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS (8)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · ELAINE S. DALTON (5)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · ENSIGN PEAK (1)
  · ERICH W. KOPISCHKE (1)
  · EX-MORMON FOUNDATION (33)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 1 (35)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 10 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 19 (26)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24 (41)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 3 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 4 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 5 (23)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 6 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 8 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 9 (26)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 1 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 10 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 24 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 25 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26 (62)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3 (21)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 4 (22)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 8 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9 (26)
  · EXCOMMUNICATION AND COURTS OF LOVE (19)
  · EZRA TAFT BENSON (31)
  · FACIAL HAIR (6)
  · FAIR / MADD - APOLOGETICS - SECTION 1 (25)
  · FAIR / MADD - APOLOGETICS - SECTION 2 (24)
  · FAIR / MADD - APOLOGETICS - SECTION 3 (21)
  · FAITH PROMOTING RUMORS (11)
  · FARMS (30)
  · FIRST VISION (25)
  · FOOD STORAGE (3)
  · FUNDAMENTALIST LDS (17)
  · GENERAL AUTHORITIES (30)
  · GENERAL CONFERENCE (15)
  · GENERAL NEWS (6)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · GORDON B. HINCKLEY (68)
  · GRANT PALMER (8)
  · GREGORY L. SMITH (9)
  · GUNNISON MASSACRE (1)
  · H. DAVID BURTON (2)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HATE MAIL I RECEIVE (23)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HEBER C. KIMBALL (4)
  · HELEN RADKEY (17)
  · HELLEN MAR KIMBALL (4)
  · HENRY B. EYRING (5)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HOME AND VISITING TEACHING (9)
  · HOWARD W. HUNTER (1)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · INTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM (18)
  · J REUBEN CLARK (1)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JEFF LINDSAY (6)
  · JEFFREY MELDRUM (1)
  · JEFFREY R. HOLLAND (35)
  · JEFFREY S. NIELSEN (11)
  · JOHN DEHLIN AND KATE KELLY EXCOMMUNICATION (19)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JOHN L. SORENSON (4)
  · JOHN TAYLOR (1)
  · JOSEPH B. WIRTHLIN (1)
  · JOSEPH F. SMITH (1)
  · JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH (8)
  · JOSEPH SITATI (1)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - POLYGAMY - SECTION 1 (21)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - POLYGAMY - SECTION 2 (23)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - PROPHECY (8)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 1 (25)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 2 (23)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 3 (22)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 4 (31)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SEER STONES (7)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - WORSHIP (13)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · KEITH B. MCMULLIN (1)
  · KERRY MUHLESTEIN (9)
  · KERRY SHIRTS (6)
  · KINDERHOOK PLATES (6)
  · KIRTLAND BANK (6)
  · KIRTLAND EGYPTIAN PAPERS (17)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITE PLACEMENT PROGRAM (3)
  · LAMANITES (38)
  · LANCE B. WICKMAN (1)
  · LARRY ECHO HAWK (1)
  · LDS CHURCH - SECTION 1 (20)
  · LDS CHURCH OFFICE BUILDING (9)
  · LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS (37)
  · LDS SOCIAL SERVICES (3)
  · LGBT - AND MORMONISM - SECTION 1 (45)
  · LORENZO SNOW (1)
  · LOUIS C. MIDGLEY (6)
  · LYNN A. MICKELSEN (2)
  · LYNN G. ROBBINS (1)
  · M. RUSSELL BALLARD (13)
  · MARK E. PETERSON (8)
  · MARK HOFFMAN (12)
  · MARLIN K. JENSEN (3)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MARTIN HARRIS (5)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MELCHIZEDEK/AARONIC PRIESTHOOD (9)
  · MERRILL J. BATEMAN (3)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MISSIONARIES - SECTION 1 (25)
  · MISSIONARIES - SECTION 2 (25)
  · MISSIONARIES - SECTION 3 (25)
  · MISSIONARIES - SECTION 4 (25)
  · MISSIONARIES - SECTION 5 (25)
  · MISSIONARIES - SECTION 6 (26)
  · MISSIONARY BLOGS (6)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · MORE GOOD FOUNDATION (4)
  · MORMON CELEBRITIES (14)
  · MORMON CHURCH HISTORY (8)
  · MORMON CHURCH PR (13)
  · MORMON CLASSES (1)
  · MORMON DOCTRINE (35)
  · MORMON FUNERALS (12)
  · MORMON GARMENTS (21)
  · MORMON HANDCARTS (12)
  · MORMON INTERPRETER (5)
  · MORMON MARRIAGE EXCLUSIONS (1)
  · MORMON MEMBERSHIP (38)
  · MORMON MEMBERSHIP PURGE 2014 (9)
  · MORMON MONEY - SECTION 1 (25)
  · MORMON MONEY - SECTION 2 (25)
  · MORMON MONEY - SECTION 3 (25)
  · MORMON NEWSROOM (5)
  · MORMON POLITICAL ISSUES (7)
  · MORMON RACISM (18)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CEREMONIES (39)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CHANGES (15)
  · MORMON TEMPLES - SECTION 1 (25)
  · MORMON TEMPLES - SECTION 2 (25)
  · MORMON TEMPLES - SECTION 3 (24)
  · MORMON TEMPLES - SECTION 4 (42)
  · MORMON VISITOR CENTERS (10)
  · MORMON WARDS AND STAKE CENTERS (1)
  · MORMONTHINK (13)
  · MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE (21)
  · MURPHY TRANSCRIPT (1)
  · NATALIE R. COLLINS (11)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (2)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL - SECTION 1 (1)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE (1)
  · NEIL L. ANDERSEN - SECTION 1 (4)
  · NEW ORDER MORMON (8)
  · OBEDIENCE - PAY, PRAY, OBEY (15)
  · OBJECT LESSONS (15)
  · OLIVER COWDREY (6)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (5)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS (20)
  · PERSECUTION (9)
  · PIONEER DAY (3)
  · PLAN OF SALVATION (5)
  · POLYGAMY - SECTION 1 (22)
  · POLYGAMY - SECTION 2 (23)
  · POLYGAMY - SECTION 3 (15)
  · PRIESTHOOD BLESSINGS (1)
  · PRIESTHOOD EXECUTIVE MEETING (0)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROCLAMATIONS (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS (11)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · RELIEF SOCIETY (14)
  · RESIGNATION PROCESS (28)
  · RICHARD E. TURLEY, JR. (6)
  · RICHARD G. HINCKLEY (2)
  · RICHARD G. SCOTT (8)
  · RICHARD LYMAN BUSHMAN (11)
  · ROBERT D. HALES (5)
  · ROBERT L. MILLET (7)
  · RODNEY L. MELDRUM (15)
  · ROYAL SKOUSEN (2)
  · RUNTU'S RINCON (79)
  · RUSSELL M. NELSON (15)
  · SACRAMENT MEETING (11)
  · SALT LAKE TRIBUNE (2)
  · SCOTT D. WHITING (1)
  · SCOTT GORDON (5)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SERVICE AND CHARITY (24)
  · SHERI L. DEW (4)
  · SHIELDS RESEARCH - MORMON APOLOGETICS (4)
  · SIDNEY RIGDON (7)
  · SIMON SOUTHERTON (34)
  · SPAULDING MANUSCRIPT (8)
  · SPENCER W. KIMBALL (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 1 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 11 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 12 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (14)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 3 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 4 (25)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5 (22)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 6 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 7 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 8 (13)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 9 (19)
  · STORIES - SECTION 1 (1)
  · SUNSTONE FOUNDATION (2)
  · SURVEILLANCE (SCMC) (12)
  · TAD R. CALLISTER (4)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 3 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 4 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 5 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 6 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 7 (12)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TEMPLE WEDDINGS (6)
  · TEMPLES - NAMES (1)
  · TERRYL GIVENS (2)
  · THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE (1)
  · THE SINGLE WARDS (5)
  · THE WORLD TABLE (3)
  · THOMAS PHILLIPS (26)
  · THOMAS S. MONSON (33)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 3 (22)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · UNNANOUNCED, UNINVITED AND UNWELCOME (36)
  · UTAH LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY (3)
  · VALERIE HUDSON (3)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VAUGHN J. FEATHERSTONE (1)
  · VIDEOS (30)
  · WARD CLEANING (5)
  · WARREN SNOW (1)
  · WELFARE - SECTION 1 (0)
  · WENDY L. WATSON (7)
  · WHITE AND DELIGHTSOME (11)
  · WILFORD WOODRUFF (6)
  · WILLIAM HAMBLIN (15)
  · WILLIAM LAW (1)
  · WILLIAM SCHRYVER (5)
  · WILLIAM WINES PHELPS (3)
  · WOMEN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 1 (24)
  · WOMEN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 2 (25)
  · WOMEN AND MORMONISM - SECTION 3 (38)
  · WORD OF WISDOM (7)
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