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  STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13
Total Articles: 21
Steve Benson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. editorial cartoonist for The Arizona Republic. Benson is the grandson of former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and LDS prophet Ezra Taft Benson.
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Mike Quinn's Testimonial Road And Personal Trials Along The Way
Tuesday, Aug 9, 2005, at 09:52 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
The following is a merger of earlier comments I made in response to questions about Mike Quinn and his present state of belief vis-a-vis Mormonism.

I added some personal information that I had learned directly from Mike about what he has been through, as well relaying some general knowledge from other sources, all which provide some background into the personal trials and difficulties Mike as experienced over the last few years.

In an earlier post, titled, "Information About Quinn, " "Mad_Viking" asked:

"Anyone know where I can find out about Quinn? . . . I have heard that he is still a believer. I am really perplexed by this. Any insight?"

I replied, referencing from a previous personal post :

. . . [O]ne other matter that I never brought up in my numerous previous posts on this board. It has to do with Michael Quinn, who has been a subject of discussion here lately, and deals with why he has chosen to remain a believer in the supposed truthfulness of Mormonism.

I have known Mike as a personal friend for several years and admire him greatly, both as an individual and as a scholar, although we disagree on some fundamental matters.

After I left the LDS cult in 1993, I had more than one occasion to talk directly, and in person, with Mike about his own perspectives and beliefs pertaining to Mormonism.

As I mentioned on this board before, Mike shared his testimonial belief with me that the Book of Mormon was a literal historical record of ancient and accurate vintage, that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to reveal His divine truth to the world, that through Joseph Smith the golden plates were translated and that following the death of Joseph Smith the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fell into apostasy through the corruption and sin of its leadership--and that this "falling away," if you will, of the Mormon Church from the purposes and designs of God's original 1830 restorative act, has continued up to the present time.

Mike told me that it was his belief that a second Restoration (i.e., one coming after the initial return of God's true Church to the earth in 1830 through the hands of Joseph Smith) was necessary in order to rehabilitate the Mormon Church and again make it the organization through which God would lead and guide His children on earth.

I asked Mike how he could believe such things, especially given what many have considered his devastatingly revealing historical dissection of Mormon origins and its extensions of power.

Mike acknowledged to me that he knew that his belief in Mormonism did not sound logical but that he nonetheless possessed a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon, of the prophetic calling by God of Joseph Smith and of the truthfulness of the Mormon Gospel as God's one and only true Church.

Now, what Mike also told me (which I have not shared before on this board) is a promise made to him by then-apostle Spencer Kimball, at the time Mike was still an active, temple-endowed, well-respected member of the Church.

Mike said that Kimball promised him that if he continued in faithfulness and obedience, he, too, would one day become an apostle.

"Mad_Viking" then asked, "So, was it your impression that he held on to his beliefs of Joseph Smith's divine mission, despite his admission of it being illogical, simply because of this statement made to him from Spencer W Kimball?"

I replied:

Mike Quinn told me he had a testimony of the Mormon Church as God's true Church; the gold plates as genuine, translated artifacts; and the mission of Joseph Smith as being God's chosen prophet of the Restoration.

Mike did not tell me that he held on to those beliefs in the hope that he would someday become an apostle (as then-apostle Spencer W. Kimball promised him, if Mike remained faithful), and I did not draw a link between the two because Mike did not make one. His belief in Mormonism seemed more personal and much deeper than any anticipation of advancement through the ranks. It was a quiet, soft-spoken type of conviction about which Mike did not make a big deal--but to which he appeared truly committed.

I found Mike's testimony startling, incongruous and at significant odds with his unparalleled research that clearly, in my opinion, exposed the fraud, frailities and fictions of Mormonism.

But Mike's ultimate testimony in Mormonism seemed to rest on his belief that it was initially restored by God's hand in pure and true form, then became corrupted through the human-caused downfall of its leaders who subsequently followed Joseph Smith into power in the post-Smith era.

Mike Quinn holds on to the belief that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remains God's true Church on the earth--but that it is in dire need of a complete restorative overhaul in order to bring it back to its original integrity, purpose, luster and exaltation-providing power.

What is all the more amazing about Mike's deep-rooted faith is to see how his devotion to the basic claims of Mormonism has remained strong, despite all that he has been through.

At the peak of his career as an historian, Mike was a highly-regarded profesional in his field, both in out and of the Church.

Then, Mike's daring and ground-breaking research on the Mormon Church's deceptive practice of post-Manifesto polygamy (which the Church tried hard to keep hidden from the public) led to his excommunication on the grounds of apostasy. Dallin Oaks, in particular, was bitterly incensed at Mike's decision to air his findings and told me personally that Mike was a person without character who could not be trusted.

Mike's stake president also darkly hinted to him that he was being investigated on "moral" charges (relating, in all probability, to Mike's honest acknowledgement of being gay).

Mike told me that his home phone was tapped (most likely by Mormon Church security), and that, moreover, he was able to verify the power drain on his telephone line (indicating a deliberate intrusion) through the use of special phone equipment. He said that the likelihood of the drain actually being a tap was supported by employees at the local SLC phone company.

Mike was also the subject of death threats. His heterosexual marriage of many years ended in divorce and his teenage son committed suicide by hanging himself in one of Salt Lake City's surrounding canyons. Mike's professional career subsequently took a nose dive. He found himself unemployed and without the necessary grant funding to continue his historical research.

He moved to Mexico for a time to live with a friend and, at one point, was literally living day-to-day, hand-to-mouth.

Through it all, Mike has maintained his testimony in what he believes to be the truthfulness of the Mormon Church. This bespeaks a personal devotion greater than any hoped-for call to Mormon apostleship. At this point in his life, Kimball's promise to Mike in that regard seems, shall we say, a tad out of reach.

Nevertheless, Mike's sincere belief in the LDS Church--a Church which in its depraved and destructive state has persecuted and maligned him--remains firm.

Go figure.
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Crossing Swords With Sandra Tanner Over Christianity, Miracles And Faith
Wednesday, Aug 10, 2005, at 07:58 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Introduction: Sandra Tanner, A Great Researcher with a Great Blind Spot

First, let me say that I owe much to Sandra and Jerald Tanner for helping grease the skids in the direction of my eventual escape from the Mormon Cult.

Their invaluable assistance in that effort through rigorous, responsible and readily-available research was critical to my freedom break.

Two of their works, in particular, were instrumental in helping me to crystallize in my own mind the utter falsity of the LDS faith.

The first was their review of changes in the LDS Temple Endowment over time, leading me to the unavoidable conclusion that it was nothing but a clunky, unimaginative and blatantly dependent rip-off from Masonic lodge rites.

That Tanner-fueled conclusion ultimately led me to suspend my payment of tithing.

The second significant impact that the Tanners' work had on my decision to leave Mormonism was their book, The Changing World of Mormonism, a devastating compilation of historical evidences against Mormonism's defenses of its history, doctrines, policies and practices.

Over the years, I have made many Mecca-like treks to the Tanners' bookstore in Salt Lake City, across from the Franklin Covey ballfield on 13th South. There I have spent numerous hours, separated myself from hundreds of my own dollars purchasing vital reading material and spoken, both in person and later over the phone, with, in particular, Sandra.

In so many ways, she and Jerald have my deep respect and appreciation for all the years they have devoted to shedding uncompromising light on the Mormon facade.

With that said as genuinely as possible, I nonetheless have a real bone to pick with Sandra Tanner.

In a nutshell, she is not, in my opinion, equally as critically-minded or honest in her research of Christianity as she is of Mormonism.
_____


Preparing to Duel with Sandra Tanner Over Her Research Methodology and Mindset: A Close Encounter of the Christian Apologist Kind

A few years ago, I made one of my stops at the Tanner bookstore. With me at the time was my friend Maxinne Hanks--excommunicated Mormon, outspoken feminist, professional editor, and noted author of the book, Women and Authority.

After browsing through the Tanners' bookstore and making some selections, I noticed that Sandra had taken up her usual spot behind a desk next to the front door, where she would both ring out customers and engage in informal and informative discussions with her inquiring patrons.

I could not help but notice that many of the books in the Tanner establishment promote and defend both the faith and historicity of fundamentalist Christianity.

The Tanners are, indeed, avowed Christians who operate their own outreach ministry and who are uncompromising apologists for their own Christian belief system.

I did not want to unnecessarily offend Sandra but had some basic questions I wished to ask her regarding her research and defense of Christianity.

I knew, however, that it would be wise to approach these subjects somewhat delicately.

So, as I approached her as she sat at her desk, I did so with cautious deliberation, asking the Lord's blessings to be with me (OK, maybe not that last part but I was a bit apprehensive).
_____


Confrontation With Sandra Tanner Over Her Double Standard

As I had done many times in the past, I sincerely relayed to Sandra how much I appreciated her rigorous research on, and deconstruction of, Mormon doctrine and history.

In particular, I mentioned her unparalleled contributions to exposing the Book of Mormon as a demonstrable fraud and 19-century artifact.

I told her how much I respected her work in conclusively demonstrating that the Book of Mormon was pure fiction, both in its character development and its tale spinning--and that these conclusions could be amply, empirically demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt to honest minds.

Sandra graciously took my compliments as I intended them. She knows she's a stellar researcher in the field of Mormon studies and that realization shows both in her carriage and her confidence.

Then I moved into what I discovered, soon enough, was a hostile minefield.

I politely asked Sandra why she did not apply the same rigorous research approach, combined with a healthy dose of skepticism, to questions regarding the historicity and credibility of the Bible--at least as uncompromisingly as she did to the Book of Mormon.

As is Sandra's tendency when she senses she's facing a potential fight on her hands, she bristled and became defensive.

She told me that unlike the Book of Mormon, the Bible was a legitimate, historical record of actual, identifiable peoples who lived in documentable places and times--and, further, that these facts were absolutely confirmed through archaelogical research which employed the Bible as a reliable reference and field guide.

For instance, there were, she pointed out, real Israelites who lived in a real city of Jerusalem. The Bible, she reminded me, served as a valuable scientific roadmap for finding and identifying these populations and locales.

No dispute there.

However, I mentioned to Sandra that the Bible's "miracle stories"--such as Noah's Flood, Jonah being swallowed by a whale, Balaam's ass speaking in human tongue, Jesus walking on water and resurrecting himself and others from the dead--could not be empirically proven through any kind of scientific appeal to the Bible.

That book of Christian scripture, I told her, offers no compelling, testable evidence on which to conclude that these "miracle stories" were actual, literal events.

At this point, Sandra was becoming increasingly upset. She scowled and the corners of her mouth tightened. I figured she would hit back in short order, at least figuratively. And, indeed, she did.

But not before I proceeded apace, determined to get an answer, if I could, from her about what I saw as the clear double standard in her research approaches to Mormonism vs. Christianity.

I asked Sandra why she was so obviously willing to accept Biblical miracles as factual events but was not willing to similarly accept the miraculous tales found in the Book of Mormon.
_____


Testimony-Bearing Time

Sandra looked back at me, her eyes flashing angrily. She said, and I quote:

"I've had miracles in my life. I feel sorry for you."

End of discussion.

I thought I had just finished listening to a holier-than-thou Mormon bearing witness to the truthfulness of the Latter-day Saint Gospel during a fast and testimony meeting.

I went ahead and purchased my items and bid Sandra a civil good day.

She graciously bid me the same.

But we had definitely crossed swords--and maybe even drew a little blood.

Sandra Tanner, the invincible and impeccable crusader against all things illogical and baseless in Mormonism, had shown me a stubborn determination (born of an absolute faith-based conviction that she is unquestionably right) for believing in Christianity.

The same kind of faith-based conviction that she criticizes Latter-day Saints for invoking in behalf of their unwavering belief in Mormonism.
_____


Conclusion: Sandra Tanner and the Mormons

In so many ways, Sandra Tanner and the Mormons are fundamentally different and at insurmountable odds with one another.

But in one important respect, Sandra Tanner and the Mormons are solidly joined at the hip.

They both faithfully accept their respective religions on the basis of "miracles" which defy--indeed, do not (at least in their minds) require--rational explanation or empirical proof.

The kind of rational explanation or empirical proof that Sandra Tanner claims are reasons enough to reject Mormonism--but not enough to reject Christianity.

"I've had miracles in my life. I feel sorry for you."

OK, Sandra, whatever you say.

Mormons say the exact same thing about us, too, ya know.
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How Ezra Taft Benson and Spencer W. Kimball handled my Sabbath breaking
Thursday, Aug 11, 2005, at 07:06 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
In 1980, Mary Ann, myself and our small family moved from Virginia to Arizona, where I was soon to start a new job. We stopped off during our final leg in Salt Lake City.

At the time, my parents were in temporary living quarters, awaiting refurbishing of their new abode up on the East Bench of the Salt Lake Valley. Until that was done, they were living in a small home, directly next door to a house that was occupied by then-president of the Mormon Church, Spencer W. Kimball, and his wife, Camilla.

It was on Sunday when we pulled all we owned in a U-Haul truck over to my folks' borrowed home. We were on a tight schedule, heading down to Arizona the following morning, so we had to keep moving--literally.

My parents had given us some of their old furniture to use in our own home. It was in their house next to the Kimballs and, given our time constraints, I decided to go ahead and pack it into the back of our U-Haul, even though it was the Sabbath.

That same day, a guest at our parents' temporary residence happened to have been my grandfather, then-President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He had come over for a meal with the family.

Being a good Mormon boy at that time, I felt nagging pangs of guilt at the thought of packing up housewares on the Lord's day. So bad did I feel about this that I decided it was worth justifying my actions to my grandfather, in the hope that he would see our predictament as a good enough reaon for violating the thou-shalt-keep-the-Sabbath-Day-holy rule.

So, I said to him, "Grandpa, sometimes you have to pull the ox out of the mire."

I should have known better.

He responded unsympathetically, "Sometimes it's you who put the ox in the mire in the first place."

Ouch. Thank you for your support.

Despite his tough talk, I still had a new job to get to, so I went ahead with the van-loading anyway.

It was late afternoon as I began to pile my parents' donated furniture into the U-Haul. As I was standing at the back of the truck, who should come up to the fence behind me but Spencer W. Kimball.

I felt like a kid caught raiding the cookie jar, as all my sins passed before my eyes.

Fortunately, standing in his backyard just a few feet from me, Kimball's demeanor put me at ease soon enough. He was smiling and pleasant, dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and tie, no suit coat.

Still a bit nervous, however, and feeling a sense of guilt mixed with embarrassment, I explained to the Lord's Prophet, Seer and Next-Door Neighbor that I was having to load up the U-Haul on Sunday because me and Mary Ann needed to head south to Arizona early the next morning.

I further felt compelled to relate to Kimball the exchange earlier that day between my grandfather and me about my decision to go ahead and commit labor inside a U-Haul truck on the Lord's day of rest.

I told Kimball how I had explained to my grandfather that sometimes one is faced with the necessity of pulling the ox out of the mire.

I then repeated to Kimball my grandfather's response: "Sometimes it's you who put the ox in the mire in the first place."

Kimball smiled and said,"That sounds like something your grandfather would say."

Wow--and whew.

With that behind us, Kimball and I exchanged a few more pleasantries there at his fence, then he excused himself and walked back into his house through the rear porch door.

I returned to my task of stuffing furniture into the back of the truck, as Satan looked on approvingly.

A few minutes later, Kimball emerged from his house, walked across his backyard to the fence, smiled and handed me over the fence a plate of fresh tomatoes.

He told me his wife Camilla had picked them but didn't let me in on whether she had done so on Sunday.

I thanked him. Kimball smiled and went back into his house.

It was an interesting and insightful experience.

My grandfather had lectured me on breaking the Sabbath.

In contrast, Kimball had not passed judgment, instead letting me know that he would have expected my grandfather do say what he did, then gave me tomatoes from his own garden.

As they say, by their fruits ye shall know them.

And as the Savior said, he who is without sin, let him cast the first tomato. _____

On that particular day, back when I was still in the tight grip of the not-too-hip Mormon Church, I thought Kimball was one cool dude.

My grandfather?

Well, I figured he was just being himself.
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Did The Founding Fathers Create An American Religious State Through Divine Inspiration?
Friday, Aug 12, 2005, at 09:20 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Introduction: Is “God” Found in the “Inspired” United States Constitution? Inquiring Ex-Mormons Want to Know

Questions raised from time to time on this board have centered on the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers and what, if any, influence those beliefs played in the development of the U.S. Constitution.

Because Mormons are taught that the Founding Fathers were inspired by God to write the American Constitution, an examination of the Founders’ views on matters of faith and government are a proper subject of discussion here.

It is a topic that transcends political partisanship and goes to the heart of Mormon dogma.
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Sourcing the Delegates, the Constitutional Convention and the God Question

An excellent article on the extent that “God” play in the U.S. Constitutional Convention has been authored by Martin E. Marty, entitled, “Religion and the Constitution: The Triumph of Practical Politics.” Originally published in The Christian Century,” March 23-30, l994, pp 316-327, it is available on the web at:

http://www.geocities.com/peterroberts.geo/Relig-Politics/Intro.html


Marty draws heavily on the massive two-volume work edited by Bernard Bailyn, The Debate on the Constitution: Federalist and Anti-federalist Speeches, Articles, and Letters During the Struggle over Ratification, January to August 1788 [Penguin USA: Library of America, 1993].

Marty describes Bailyn’s contribution to the literature as “the best general access to the period in which the Founding Fathers . . . debated their Constitution of 1787 and sold themselves, each other and the public on its ratification.” He praises Bailyn’s work as a “generous sampling of the argument [that] helps contemporary readers assess the religious and metaphysical foundations and contentions of their [the Founders’] thought.”

Bailyn’s volumes (and Marty’s review) are replete with actual statements and arguments made by the delegates during the Constitutional Convention of 1787-1788.
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Beliefs of the Founders on God and Religion

Before examining their arguments, however, a capsulation of the Founder’s views on god and religion is in order.

Marty sums up the Framers’ general attitude toward religion in general and Christianity in particular, by citing the observation of Gordon Wood who, writing in New York History, observed:

"It is one of the striking facts of American history that the American Revolution was led by men who were not very religious. At the best the Founding Fathers only passively believed in organized Christianity and at worst they scorned and ridiculed it."
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God and Religion in the Birthing Documents of the American Nation

The glaring lack of religious references in the text of the U.S. Constitution was explained by Alexander Hamilton who, in admitting their absence, reportedly said: “Upon my word, we forgot.”

(see Flo Wine, “Role of Religion in the American Revolution,” http://www.humanistsofutah.org/1999/genfeb99.html )

Indeed, no mention at all is made of God in the text of the Constitution itself.

Moreover, the only reference to Deity in the Declaration of Independence is to “Nature’s God,” a form of deity has been accurately described as "a God that is vague and subordinated to natural laws that everyone should know through common sense, i.e., ‘self-evident’ truths.”

Neither the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence mentions the Bible.

Furthermore, reference to “God” or “Jesus Christ” is absent from the voluminous writings of the Federalist Papers, aptly described as the so-called “working documents” of the American Founders.

Finally, it has been noted that “the United States was the first Western nation to omit explicitly Christian symbolism, such as the cross, from its flag and other national symbols.”

(see “Is America a ‘Christian’ Nation?, http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/amr/amerc.htm )
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”God-Talk” in the Constitutional Convention Debates

Based on an examination of Bailyn’s work, Marty offers a detailed examination of Convention debate language on religious matters, and provides his findings:


References to Heaven

“My marker found three favorites: at least 30 ‘Heavens,’ as in ‘merciful Heaven,’ and 15 or 20 ‘blessings of heaven’ . . .”


References to the Sacred

“[T]here were 15 usually casual ‘sacreds,’ as in ‘sacred liberties.’”


References to God

“God comes up often, but almost never in biblical terms; ‘God,’ we remember, was generic for deists and theists, philosophers and believers alike. . . . [T]here are about 20 references to God, while the Almighty and the Creator make single cameo appearances. We read at least seven times of Providence; the Supremes are here four times, as in Supreme Being and Supreme Ruler of the Universe; Lord, as in "O Lord!" or "the Year of Our Lord," turns up six times, and there is a Sovereign Ruler of Events, one Grace, two Governors (of the World and the Universe),two Nature's Gods, and, for good measure, one Goddess of Liberty. Whether the general absence of the biblical God is intentional or reflects the habits of the Enlightenment, it is significant.”


References to Governance Under God

“On one occasion, ‘vox populi’ is identified with ‘vox dei,’ a questionable theological concept, to be sure. Once, people are called ‘the sole governors (under God),’ and I spotted another ‘under God’ in connection with George Washington. Writers also refer to ‘the immutable laws of God’ and ‘reason,’ and ‘the laws of nature and nature's God.’ The citation of the Bible as authority is extremely rare. . . .”


References to the Bible

“For a people putatively schooled in scripture, these arguers use relatively few biblical allusions. I counted three references to Moses. In Noah Webster's citation, Moses gets paired with Fohi and Confucius, Zamolxis and Odin and other ‘fabled demi-gods of antiquity’ In another citation Moses joins Montesquieu as a representative genius. There are other casual allusions to the Bible, but they are slight and quickly dropped.”


References to Christianity

“Terribly slim pickings, these. While practical politics was the preoccupation of these debaters, they were debating what was deepest in the people's minds and hearts. Consequently, it seems strange that I found only one reference to Christology or Christian salvation: the ‘blood of the Redeemer.’ ‘John Humble,’ speaking for ‘the low born,’ at one point makes fun of ‘the perfection of this evangelical constitution’ and its claimed place ‘in the salvation of America,’ but that language does not advance the case for seeing America as a Christian country . . .

“Unless my snooping eye missed some references, Americans were Christians. only once in 2,387 pages . . .”



References to Church-Going

“One would hardly know from these collected documents that Americans were churchgoers; I caught them at church in only one casual allusion. Denominations are rarely mentioned, though Quakers are visible, chiefly as pacifists. . . .”


References to the Clergy

"The clergy are almost invisible . . .”


References to Americans as a Chosen People
“Are the American people chosen? James Winthrop thought so, but that is about it . . .”


References to Common Religion and Prayer

“Historian David Ramsay wrote to South Carolinians to ‘consider the-people of all the thirteen states, as a band of brethren, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, inhabiting one undivided country, and designed by heaven to be one people,’ but the religion is unspecified. As for devotion, there is a reference to one's ‘prayer to God,’ but we 20th-century folk hear more such talk in a single presidential inaugural address.”


References to Established Creeds

“The established religion of England gets mentioned ten or 20 times, in every case negatively . . . The Founders allude to creeds once or twice but do not quote them from church history . . .”


Reference to Virtue

“One of the most serious issues in constitutional discourse was the virtue of the people, since constitutional law would be effective only if citizens respected it. Pelatiah Webster of Philadelphia was the most explicit concerning people's response to the divine when he wrote about congressmen . . .

“James Madison, however, balances Webster in a letter to Thomas Jefferson about possible restraints of majorities who might persecute minorities . . .

“The most sustained religious discussion in these huge volumes has to do with the line in Article VI of the Constitution that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.’ Luther Martin, a fierce opponent of ratification, reported that the ‘no religious test’ clause easily had passed at Philadelphia, but went on sarcastically:

"‘However, there were some members so unfashionable as to think that a belief of the existence of a Deity, and of a state of future rewards and punishments would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and that in a Christian country it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism.’ . . .”



References to Religious Diversity

“After the ‘religious tests’ debates, the most significant treatment of religion occurred in debates having to do with pluralism, ‘the multiplicity of sects,’ republicanism and religious freedom. Most of the suspicious antifederalists were pushing for a Bill of Rights, while the federalists, feeling that rights had been assured in the unamended Constitution, opposed it. . . .

“In the event, the United States in 1789 added a Bill of Rights including the religion clause to the Constitution, and the nation became the large republic with many sects that Madison foresaw and wanted.”



References to Divine Inspiration

“Marty also notes the “offbeat” claim by famed Philadelphia Convention participant, Benjamin Rush who argued, in Marty’s words, “that ratification was divinely mandated.”

Marty also mentions Benjamin Franklin’s satirically-expressed hope that “he did not to want to be thought of as arguing that the General Convention was similarly divinely inspired” as was, in Franklin’s sardonic words “the most faithful of all Histories, the Holy Bible. . . . ”

At any rate, observes Marty, “[o]ne could never be too sure from Franklin’s language where he stood . . . “


References to Religious Ambiguity

In the end, Marty writes, “[i]t was Madison who reflected most on ambiguity, obscurity, complexity, the equivocal, and the noncopiousness of language. He also cast the problem against a transcendent backdrop: 'When the Almighty himself condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it must be, is rendered dim and doubtful, by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated.’”
_____


Conclusion: Delegates to the Constitutional Convention Did Not Create An American Religious State

Marty’s ultimate findings on the debates of the Constitutional Convention are as follows:

“[From] my reading of 2,387 pages of ‘cloudy medium’ . . . [i]t's clear . . . that religious references in these primal republican political debates were rare and vague. In addition, almost no one found it easy to speak of a Christian republic or to offer a consistent theological rationale of constitutionalism. The few sustained debates about ‘religious tests’ and ‘religious freedom’ treated the potential for religious monopolies, hegemonies or majorities-and even religion itself-as a problem. Finally, the Madisonian devotion to pluralism won out over attempts to legislate metaphysical or theological solutions or to privilege particular traditions. . . .

“[T]he founders' practical politics displaced and left little room for sustained discussion of the metaphysical, metaethical and theological backdrop to constitutionalism. The debates occurred at a time when there was enough Enlightenment talk about ‘Nature's God’ to compromise evangelical talk about the God of the Bible in the affairs of the United States. When one contrasts outcomes in the United States with those in Europe, one is tempted to conclude that the ‘godless’ Constitution and the reticent constitutionalists helped make possible a ‘godly’ people.”
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The Official Position Of The LDS Church On Organic Evolution: Even Bruce R. Mcconkie, When Put Under The Gun, Wouldn't Give A Straight Answer
Monday, Aug 15, 2005, at 08:02 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Introduction: Meeting with Apostle Bruce R. McConkie in a Futile Attempt to Get an Honest Answer on the Mormon Church’s Official Position on Organic Evolution

When I was a student at BYU in 1978, I decided to commence a research paper on the official LDS position on organic evolution. Much of my effort to write an accurate account on the subject involved repeated, and often frustrating, attempts to solicit answers from the Mormon Church hierarchy.

During my research, I personally met and spoke with Apostle Bruce R. McConkie.

An account of that meeting follows below, taken from personal notes I made of our discussion, which took place at McConkie's private residence, 260 Dorchester Drive, in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, 7 July 1980, from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m.
_____


Ezra Taft Benson Arranges the Meeting with McConkie

Earlier in the day of my one-on-one conversation with McConkie, I had visited for approximately three-and-a-half hours with my grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, then-president of the Council of the Twelve, in his Salt Lake City apartment, located in the Bonneville Towers, 777 East South Temple.

During that visit, the conversation turned to my evolution research project. In the course of that discussion, my grandfather and I talked about McConkie's recent 14-stake fireside address, entitled "The Seven Deadly Heresies," which he had delivered five weeks earlier, on 1 June 1980, in Brigham Young University's Marriott Center.

In his sermon, McConkie listed as "Heresy Two" the "false and devilish" notion advanced by "those who say that revealed religion and organic evolution can be harmonized." Such claims, McConkie told his student audience, did not represent "true science" but, rather, "the false religions of the dark ages . . . some of which have crept in among us."

Moreover, while McConkie noted that "true religion and true science bear the same witness," he declared that the theory of organic evolution could "in no way" be harmonized "with the truths of science as they have now been discovered."

To believe otherwise, McConkie said, ran completely counter to "the saving doctrine" of revealed religion. That doctrine, he said, included that:

. . . Adam stood next to Christ in power and might and intelligence before the foundations of the world were laid; that Adam was placed on this earth as an immortal being; that there was no death in the world for him or for any form of life until after the fall; that the fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world; that this temporal death passed upon all forms of life, upon man and animal and fish and fowl and plant life; that Christ came to ransom man and all forms of life from the effects of the temporal death brought into the world through the fall and, in the case of man, from the spiritual death also, and that this includes a resurrection for man and for all forms of life. Try as you may, you cannot harmonize these things with the evolutionary postulate that death existed and that the various forms of life have evolved from preceding forms over astronomically long periods of time."

As proof that "the theories of men" (i.e., the theories of organic evolution) were out of harmony with "the inspired word,” McConkie cited 2 Nephi 2:22-26, which he quoted in full:

"And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

"And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

"But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

"And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall."

To believe, he said, that "the theoretical postulates of Darwinism and the diverse speculations descending therefrom" can somehow be accommodated by revealed religion denied the very atonement of Christ, which McConkie called "the great and eternal foundation upon which revealed religion rests."


According to McConkie, belief in organic evolution rendered the doctrine of the atonement ineffectual for the following reasons:

"If death has always prevailed in the world, there was no fall of Adam which brought death to all forms of life. If Adam did not fall, there is no need for an atonement. If there was no atonement, there is no salvation, no resurrection, no eternal life, nothing in all of the glorious promises that the Lord has given us. If there is no salvation, there is no God. The fall affects man, all forms of life, and the earth itself. The atonement affects man, all forms of life, and the earth itself."

http://www.lds-mormon.com/heresies.shtml


I asked my grandfather if McConkie's address represented the official position of the Mormon Church on the theory of organic evolution.

In asking that question of him, I also mentioned that my father, Mark A. Benson (Ezra Taft's second son), was seriously considering writing President Spencer W. Kimball to ask the same question.

In response, my grandfather lowered his head, smiled slightly and replied in careful and measured tones that he did not want to say too much, for fear that he "might slip." He did, however, tell me that prior to its delivery at BYU, McConkie's address had been reviewed by "the Brethren." He said that McConkie himself had offered to make any changes in the prepared text, but that none were requested.

Nonetheless, my grandfather twice emphasized to me that "it was understood that the talk represented the views of Elder McConkie."

At this point in our conversation, my grandfather suggested that it might be good for me to speak directly with McConkie on this matter.

Still a true believing Mormon at the time, I replied that I would consider it to be a great honor to meet a man whom I considered to be one of the greatest living scriptorians in the Church.

I added, however, that I did not want to be an imposition. My grandfather assured me that McConkie would be happy to speak with me, assuming that an appropriate time and place could be arranged.

I told my grandfather I would be available to meet with him anytime, anywhere, and would only want to take a few minutes of his time to clarify in my own mind some of the important questions that seemed (at least to me) to be in need of definitive answers regarding the official position of the Mormon Church on the theory of organic evolution.

At this point (approximately 3:45 p.m.), as I looked on, my grandfather went over to the phone and made a personal call to McConkie, who was still in his Church office.

After chatting with McConkie for a few minutes, my grandfather hung up and informed me that the meeting had been arranged for 5:30 that same afternoon, at McConkie's home.

Once the initial excitement had somewhat subsided, I expressed concern to my grandfather that, in the upcoming question-and-answer session with McConkie, I did not want to appear to be lacking faith and testimony in McConkie's divine calling and apostleship.

In particular, I was somewhat anxious that my inquiries, although sincere, might be misinterpreted and prove offensive to McConkie, who was known for his forthright, uncompromising views--which views appeared to some to reflect a certain degree of sternness and even harshness, when "laying down the law" in areas of Church doctrine.

My grandfather reassured me that McConkie was "a very gracious man," with sons my own age (at the time, I was 26 years old). He encouraged me to be as frank with McConkie in my questioning as I had been with him.
_____


Close Encounters with the McConkie Mind

By coincidence, I had already planned to meet my father in downtown Salt Lake City after my visit with my grandfather and be driven to my parents' residence, where I was staying during summer vacation.

When I slid into the front seat of my father's car at 5:15 that afternoon and informed him of the scheduled meeting with McConkie in 15 minutes, he was pleasantly surprised. He offered to take me to McConkie's home, which I hoped he would do, since I had not other means of getting there in the few minutes remaining before the scheduled appointment.

As we drove to McConkie's home, I told my father that while I was certainly not adverse to having him sit in on my conversation with McConkie, I regarded the visit as a unique opportunity to directly ask McConkie whatever questions I felt were necessary to provide a clearer understanding of the LDS Church's official position on the theory of organic evolution, as well as of the connections, if any, between that Church's official position and the position of McConkie, as outlined in McConkie's "Deadly Heresies" BYU sermon.

My father said he understood and offered to drop me off at McConkie's home, then return to pick me up after our visit was concluded. I did not feel that was necessary and suggested that we "play it by ear." If McConkie invited both of us into his home, as I expected he would, I felt I would not be inhibited--as long as my father honored my request to be able to interact freely with McConkie, without interruption--no matter how well intended that interruption might be.

McConkie greeted us warmly at the door, presenting an image quite different from the Bruce the Concrete-Hearted that I, and millions of others, had come to expect from his stiff-as-a-board-for-the-Lord General Conference talks. He was dressed in an open-necked yellow sports shirt, slacks and house slippers. (And all this time I thought he came out of his mother’s womb in a dark blue suit). He turned to me, grinned and asked if there was anything I did not want my father to hear during our conversation. I said no, whereupon McConkie ushered us into his comfortable, sun-lit living room. My father and I sat on a sofa, approximately ten feet across from McConkie, who seated himself in a chair next to a lamp stand on which rested his scriptures and some miscellaneous papers.

His demeanor was relaxed and helped put me at ease. The atmosphere throughout our conversation was open and friendly. McConkie encouraged me, on more than one occasion during our discussion, not to hesitate in asking whatever I wanted.

In keeping with my previous request, my father sat and listened silently.
_____


McConkie, Self-Professed Student of Science

I asked McConkie if he thought organic evolution was true. Not surprisingly, he replied that he did not. In fact, he said the theory of organic evolution was "logically and scripturally absurd."

McConkie told me, however, that he had taken some science classes as a student at the University of Utah "but never felt that they were the ultimate truth." McConkie also confessed that he would answer final exam questions the way he thought his professors expected, in order to pass the courses.

I found this interesting coming from a man who had denounced the education system for teaching deadly heresies.
_____


McConkie Explains the Scriptures, One-Celled Amoebas, Dinosaurs in the Mud and Noah’s Flood

McConkie attacked organic evolution from holy writ, telling me that "Adam was the first flesh of all flesh, more than just the first man."

He also had his opinions on matters of vegetation. "Plants," he said, "are created by seeds being planted. If the Lord has made worlds without number, why would He use evolution from a one-celled amoeba?"

On the question of dinosaurs, McConkie claimed that they were probably killed by Noah's Flood, based on the fact that "large concentrations of their bones have been found in mud."
_____


McConkie Rejects Science in Favor of Religion

In the end, McConkie did not rely scientific evidence (at least as he defined “evidence”) to debunk organic evolution. He told me:

"I don't attempt to harmonize the theory of organic evolution with revealed truth. I'm not going to talk about the truth or falsity of organic evolution. I'll leave that up to biologists. I accept revealed religion. If science and religion don't harmonize, then I reject and discard science."
_____


McConkie’s Wiggle-Waggle on Whether His “Seven Deadly Heresies” Speech Rose to the Level of Official LDS Church Doctrine

I mentioned to McConkie that several members of the LDS Church, particularly students and professors at BYU, were openly asking if his 1 June 1980 "Seven Deadly Heresies" fireside address constituted the official position of the Church.

In response to my direct inquiry, "Does your talk represent the official position of the Church on the theory of organic evolution?" McConkie said that the Church did not have to submit questions concerning doctrine to its membership in order to make them "the stand of the Church" (the latter was a phrase which he emphasized frequently during our conversation).

In reference to his "Seven Deadly Heresies" speech, McConkie said, "This is my view on what I interpret to be the stand of the Church." As he subsequently built a scriptural case to support his interpretation, McConkie often used the same phrase: "This is my view," when explaining the doctrinal stand of the Church on the theory of organic evolution. It was clear, however, that he saw his view as being the right view.

McConkie mentioned that, in the wake of his "Deadly Heresies" sermon, his office had been inundated with requests for copies, with 35 phone calls received by his secretaries in a single two-hour period. In fact, he said, there was greater interest in this particular address than in all other speeches he had previously given.

He went on to say that while he had not intended for his remarks to appear to be directed primarily at the theory of organic evolution, judging from the response he had received to his discourse he perhaps should have devoted his entire speech to the topic.
_____


McConkie’s Opinion on Whether Kimball Knew What He Was Talking About

I asked McConkie about the fact that, in personal correspondence with then-Church President Kimball on the LDS stand regarding organic evolution, Kimball admitted to me that he was not aware of the official position of the Church as found in a First Presidency statement entitled "The Origin of Man," issued in 1909.

(Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder and Anton H. Lund, "The Origin of Man," Improvement Era, vol. 13, November 1909, p. 75-81)

McConkie responded by insisting that Kimball did, in fact, know about it. He said "he just forgot" that he knew. Interestingly enough, that is almost exactly what Arthur C. Haycock, secretary to the First Presidency, had told me over the phone in 1979.
_____


McConkie Trashes the Living Prophets

I asked why President Joseph F. Smith, while Prophet/Editor of the Improvement Era, had told inquiring Church members that God had not fully answered the question of how the bodies of Adam and Eve were created.

McConkie informed me that, in fact, this "was not [Joseph F. Smith's] position." I asked him how he knew that. He said, "Joseph Fielding Smith told me so."

McConkie went on to explain that sometimes the living Prophets just don’t get it:

"A prophet is not always a prophet. I can be just as wrong as the next guy. Prophets can be wrong on organic evolution, of course. And have been wrong.

I informed McConkie that David O. McKay, while President of the Church, had told BYU students in a campus speech that organic evolution was a beautiful theory.

(David O. McKay, “A Message for LDS College Youth." Speech to BYU student body. 10 October 1952)

McConkie responded by saying that if McKay made such a statement, he was "uninspired."

I also told McConkie that McKay and other Church presidents had authorized the sending of letters to inquiring Church members, informing them that the Mormon Church had not official position on the theory of organic evolution.

McConkie dismissed such correspondence as "underground letters" and said it differed fundamentally from the First Presidency's 1909 statement on the origin of man.

(About that statement, McConkie, in his "Deadly Seven Heresies" sermon had warned: "Do not be deceived and led to believe that the famous document of the First Presidency issued in the day of President Joseph F. Smith and entitled, 'The Origin of Man,' means anything except exactly what it says").

McConkie also criticized President Brigham Young for teaching the Adam-God doctrine, which McConkie told me was "false."

Furthermore, he criticized then-Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, telling me he was "out of his field" in trying to use science against organic evolution in his book, Man: His Origin and Destiny. McConkie said, "He should have stayed in the areas in which he was trained: scriptures and theology."

McConkie warned me that straying from the scriptures--even if one was a Prophet--was to ask for trouble because, he said, people end up "quoting authority against authority." In the end, he said, "seeing authoritative statements doesn't solve the problem. People are always seeking authoritative statements. Authorities conflict."
Besides, he cautioned me, "Cults are created by the endorsement of certain authorities."
_____


McConkie Declares That the Truth Concerning Organic Evolution Is Found in the Scriptures, Not in the Statements of the Living Prophets

If the reliability of Church leaders was suspect, then I wanted to know from McConkie where to turn in order to find the official, authoritative Mormon stand on the theory of organic evolution.

McConkie replied slowly:

"This is my view on what I believe to be the stand of the Church: The doctrinal stand of the Church is found in revealed scripture."

With sweeping disapproval, he declared:

"Organic evolution does not and cannot account for a paradisiacal earth, the millennium, an exalted earth and man, the resurrection of man and animals and the pre-existence."

McConkie argued that, ultimately, God's truth was found in the canonized Standard Works, not in the words of living prophets.

He told me that the Standard Works are called such because they are the standard against which all other claims are measured, including those made by Mormonism’s living Prophets.
_____


McConkie Refuses to Directly Answer the Question About What Constitutes the Official Mormon Position on Organic Evolution

I asked McConkie what was the stand of the LDS Church on organic evolution, as found in the scriptures. He replied by telling me that the Church would never accept the theory of organic evolution as being true "as long as it fails to show that there was no death before the Fall of Adam."

I pressed him by asking him to explain for me the actual official LDS Church position on organic evolution.

McConkie responded by letting me in on some inside information.

He said that the First Presidency had been considering whether to issue a statement on the theory of organic evolution for "over a year." Sometime during that period, he said, they had "sat down and listened to the entire 1909 statement." McConkie said they had also sat and listened to him. He claimed he was asked to write a statement on organic evolution for possible use by the First Presidency.

The directive came, McConkie said, after Kimball walked into McConkie's office carrying a letter I had earlier sent to Kimball, along with enclosures.

My grandfather confirmed that his episode took place. In a September 1979 phone conversation with me, he said McConkie had been given a copy of one of my letters to Kimball, together with attached statements made by Mormon Church Presidents Joseph F. Smith and David O. McKay on the theory of organic evolution).

McConkie told me that Kimball and one of his counselors, Marion G. Romney, had "personally agreed" to have McConkie draft the statement. McConkie said the remaining counselor, N. Eldon Tanner, "did not participate" in making the recommendation. McConkie told me he responded by putting together what he called "a special statement prepared for the First Presidency," a 42-page document entitled "Man: His Origin, Fall and Redemption."

(My grandfather, in the same earlier phone conversation, also had informed me that McConkie's paper had been "considered favorably by the First Presidency." He said that McConkie had, in fact, discussed his paper with members of the First Presidency on 30 August 1979 and that they "agreed with it").

I asked McConkie what his document included. He said it quoted President John Taylor, whom he described as "definitely anti-evolution." He also informed me that a scaled-down version of his paper was eventually delivered in the form of his BYU "Seven Deadly Heresies" sermon.

(Following my meeting with McConkie, I wrote him a letter, thanking him for the chance to meet and asking if he might send me a copy of that paper of his, "Man: His Origin, Fall and Redemption," so that, as I told him, I might "more fully understand the scriptural reasoning behind your treatment of these subjects." McConkie never responded).

In our conversation, I also asked McConkie if there would be a current First Presidency statement issued on the Mormon Church's official stand on the theory of organic evolution. He answered by insisting that just because the sitting First Presidency had not issued an official statement on the subject did not mean it did not have one.

I asked McConkie why, if the LDS Church actually had an official position on organic evolution, did it not go ahead and make it known? McConkie said it had not done so because the Church did not want to pick fights with its vulnerable members:

"It's a matter of temporizing, of not making a statement to prevent the driving out of the weak Saints. It's a question of wisdom, not of truth."

He compared it to calling the Catholic Church "the Church of the Devil." He said while such a statement was true, one had to be careful about saying it, so as not to offend Catholics.

By now, I was feeling increasingly frustrated.

I pressed McConkie further, asking him what he thought the position of the Mormon Church on organic evolution might be. He replied:

Don't be deceived. The Church is not neutral. It has taken a stand.

I asked him what that stand was. He replied, "Henry Eyring's position is President Kimball's position."

McConkie didn’t explain what Eyring's position was. In any event, since when had Henry Eyring become President of the Mormon Church?

In 1979, however, I had written Kimball, requesting that he tell me the official position of the Church on the theory of organic evolution. In a 24 May 1979 reply, Kimball asked me, "I am wondering if you have read the book of Henry Eyring, The Faith of the Scientiest [sic].' Undoubtedly, this book will be found in the library at BYU. I would be glad to hear from you concerning this matter."

I was familiar with the book, having been given a copy by my grandfather some years earlier. I wrote Kimball back, taking him up on his offer to share my thoughts about Eyring's book.

In my letter to back to him, I noted how Eyring said that science benefits religion by helping it sort fact from fiction.

I asked Kimball just how scientifically reliable the scriptural stories were that proclaimed the earth to be merely 6,000 years old and that declared there was no physical death before Adam. I suggested the Genesis account did not seem to square with strong physical evidence pointing to old rocks, long-dead fossils and evolved humans.

I concluded my letter by telling Kimball that it appeared to me the Church was avoiding taking an official position for or against the theory of organic evolution. I asked him if he would not mind commenting on that observation.

Kimball never wrote me back.

And McConkie never answered my question.
_____


Conclusion: The Meeting Ends

I sensed McConkie and I had reached the point of no further return on investment.

The visit ended politely, but incompletely.
topic image
The Most Energized I Ever Saw The Wife Of A General Authority
Wednesday, Aug 17, 2005, at 09:24 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
We all know the typical image of the faithful GA wife: silent, supportive and sitting in the shadows.

Well, for me, that image was brutally shattered--in a culturally strange sort of way--back in the 1980s when I had the opportunity to attend a BYU Cougar football game in one of the skyboxes. I don’t even remember who the Cougs were up against that day but what I beheld that afternoon in the skybox was, I'm sure for the Mormons who witnessed it, an experience of shock and awe.

The skybox was a luxurious and sound-proofed place, encased in glass, full of soft seats for the high and mighty, finger food for everyone in attendance and all of it offered in air-conditioned comfort high atop the stadium, far from the maddening crowd.

Indeed, I noticed how quiet and subdued the box was, not at all like being out on the hard seats with the regular folk, shouting and cheering and guzzling whatever they were able to sneak in at the turnstiles.

Anyway, who should come in and sit down a couple of rows in front of me but Robert E. Wells, then-member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife, Helen–the proud parents of Utah's own prim-and-proper Miss America, Sharlene Wells, who as we all remember was subsequently awarded the crown after the previous winner, Vanessa Williams, was busted and bounced down the runway when nude magazine photos of her making passionate love to another woman inconveniently surfaced.

Once the game got under way, Helen Wells started to raise a little hell–and, yes indeed, it was a wondrous sight.

BYU was having a rather tough time on offense that day, struggling to make its typical whopping yardage with its vaunted aerial circus under the command of the Cougars' mythical ringmaster and Moroni-like general, Lavelle Edwards.

During some of the tougher series of downs for the Cougars, Sister Helen Wells would get visibly--and I mean visibly--frustrated with the lack of progress, jump to her feet and scream her big-haired head off, shouting through the sound-proof glass toward the field of play, hundreds of yards down below in the gladiator pit.

The scene would go like this:

Bosco would drop back into the pocket to pass, looking for receivers downfield but in Helen’s opinion, taking way too damn long to get the ball rolling.

At this point, she would leap to her feet, yelling loud enough to permanently disturb the rings of Saturn:

"BOSCO!!! BOSCO!!! THROW THE BALL!!! THROW THE BALL, BOSCO!!!!! BOSCO!!!!!!!

Or, if Bosco wasn't listening and wouldn’t throw, then Helen would decide it was time for him to pick up yardage on the ground.

Again, she would explode out of her seat, hands above her head, and shriek with all her might:

"RUN, BOSCO, RUN!!! BOSCO, RUN!!!!! BOSCO!!!!!"

No one else in the skybox carried on even remotely in such outrageous fashion. In fact, hardly anyone was cheering or making noise throughout the game. It was almost like a Mormon Church meeting, with the only thing missing being the crying babies.

Everyone else in the skybox would just stare at good Sister Wells, some in disbelief, others whispering in embarrassment to each other, as she continued her vocal and opinionated outbursts throughout the duration of the contest.

Meanwhile, being the quiet, supportive husband sitting in the shadows that he was, Elder Robert E. Wells would simply smile at his wife during and after she screamed, not saying much of anything.

In conclusion, my dear brothers and sisters, it is my hope and prayer that in the future, if Sister Helen Wells--wife of our beloved and now First Quorum of the Seventy emeritus member, Robert E. Wells–is given the opportunity to stand before groups of young MIA women or even primary children, that she will raise her hands high above her head and holler with all of her might:

"RUN FOR YOUR LIVES, GIRLS!!! GET OUT OF THIS DAMN CHURCH BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE, BEFORE THEY CRUSH YOU, MOLD YOU, SUFFOCATE YOU, SQUEEZE THE LIFE OUT OF YOU AND MAKE IT SO OPPRESSIVE FOR YOU THAT IT WILL BE SEEN AS STRANGE AND UNBECOMING FOR THE WIFE OF A GENERAL AUTHORITY TO STAND AND SCREAM AT FOOTBALL GAMES, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!!!"

In the name of--Jesus Christ, throw the ball, Bosco!--Amen.
topic image
Tales From The Cult: Personal Accounts Of Patriarchal Abuse At The Hands Of High Mormon Church Leaders
Tuesday, Aug 23, 2005, at 07:23 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Introduction: Making Priesthood Punching Bags Out of Mormon Women

The LDS Cult is an abusive, ham-handed good ol’ boys club, invented and run by men for the benefit of men (just like most religions), whose make-believe God has (in their minds, at least) put them in charge with all of his mighty, imaginary power.

Mormonism represents a dark, depressing and hopeless dungeon for millions of trapped women where, as a matter of LDS doctrine and practice, they are disrespected and depersonalized by their insecure, power-hungry male handlers.

Throughout this demeaning process, Mormon men attempt to brainwash their female hostages into believing that the relentless dehumanization of their gender at the hands of priesthood "leadership" is actually glorious proof of the special status granted females by a loving Mormon male God--a god who places women, bound, chained and gagged, atop his patriarchal pedestal, from which they are commanded not to move, under threat of eternal punishment.

Such hostility toward women can be seen in how Mormonism abuses women in their day-to-day lives.

For purposes of this examination, below are some of the experiences from the lives of my wife Mary Ann and myself, which serve as stark examples of Mormon patriarchal abuse.
_____


Mormon Male Meddling in Our Wedding Plans--From the Head of the Quorum of the Twelve

The Ezra Taft Benson family had an outlandish tradition of screening any would-be marriage partners who were anxiously, nervously and properly poised to join the, ahem, prestigous inner ETB circle.

According to this prehistoric priesthood protocol led by Ezra himself, entry of foreign objects into the Benson sanctimonious sanctuary was strictly forbidden until the wedding applicant was first offered up by a petitioning member of the Benson family to the scrutinizing ETB clan, where the proposed mate was secretly subjected to a sustaining, up-or-down show of hands.

In other words, if a non-Benson prospect didn't get the required vote of approval from the Benson thoroughbreds, they were, well, shuck out of luck.

In the spirit of this sort of master race/family pre-nuptial check-up, my grandfather--invoking his position as President of the Quorum of the Twelve--had intervened years earlier (in the winter of 1979) to break up my engagement to Mary Ann.

He had done so at the insistence of my mother, who thought Mary Ann was too tall, had too big of bones and was using her body to seduce me.

My parents even made snooping inquiries among family members in the Cache Valley area where Mary Ann was from, as to any genetic diseases that she might pass on to our children, in the event that we got married.

(Mary Ann has subsequently noted--in disgust of the Benson superiority complex--that the feared genetic flaws which prompted my parents to do some pre-nuptial investigating were found to actually flow through the "royal" Benson bloodline, in the form of life-threatening asthma and persistent eczema).

But I digress.

I remember the day my grandfather dropped the engagement-ending A-bomb of authoritarian abuse. It was a cold, gray February morning when he phoned me at my off-campus BYU apartment. He told me he was not calling me as my grandfather but, rather, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He commanded me to call off our engagement, go home, "mend the family" and be blessed by the Lord for it.

I objected, telling my grandfather that I loved Mary Ann. He responded by telling me I should follow the "wisdom" of my parents who, he said, had my best interests at heart.

Mary Ann and I were heart-broken. We drove up into the snowy canyons of Provo that day, held each other and cried.

Reluctantly, I did as commanded, pulled out of BYU and left for my parents’ home in Dallas, where my mother had visions for me of socially-elevated young Mormon wedding prospects dancing in her head.

Soon enough, however, I had enough of trying to make others happy at my and Mary Ann's expense. I didn't bother to date anyone during my brief detour in Dallas. Hell, why should I? Mary Ann and I were in love.

So we decided to do what what young people in love do--we went ahead and got married anyway.

I went back up to Salt Lake and met with my grandfather in his Church office during the next General Conference. There, I told him that we had broken off our engagement twice in unsuccessful attempts to appease other family members.

My grandfather acted surprised, confessing to me that he didn't know we had done so twice. (I figured inspired prophets were supposed to know these sort of things but I thought it best to keep my mouth shut).

My grandfather told me there in his office that any young man who had served an honorable mission and who kept his temple covenants was entitled to receive personal revelation as to whom he should marry.

He then told me to go ahead and proceed with plans to get married to Mary Ann. Very well, but I asked him how I should deal with my mother's expected strong objections.

My grandfather told me not to worry--that he would take care of it.

Over the strenuous protestations of my mother who complained loudly about The Priesthood interfering in family affairs (interference which, oddly enough, she hadn’t minded when she manipulated Ezra Taft Benson into breaking up our engagement in the first place), my grandfather performed the ceremony in the Salt Lake temple.

My mother had tearfully predicted (the very night before our wedding in a family testimony meeting at the Benson cabin in Midway, Utah) that we would get divorced. She then got up and ran, literally screaming, out the door and into the night--then showed up the next day at the temple, all smiles for the cameras.

As Mary Ann has noted with delicious irony, over a quarter of a century later we're still married but divorced from the Mormon Church.

I stand all amazed that Mary Ann even put up with such pretensious poop.
_____


Protecting the Personal Piggy Bank Against the Piggish Priesthood

Before making our bolt from the Cult in October 1993, Mary Ann had quit paying tithing altogether, born of her disdain for the patriarchal grip that Mormonism’s chauvinistic leadership had around the collective throat of LDS women.

Mary Ann cut the LDS Church off from access to her personal, hard-earned money because she concluded she could no longer give financial support to an institution that had lied to her about its history and betrayed her about its treatment of women.

The condescending and controlling attitudes of Mormon authorities toward Mary Ann, combined with their attempts to control her, were (for lack of a better word) nauseating.
_____


Permission Denied for Mary Ann to Teach Sunday School Lessons That Praised Strong Women at the Expense of Weak Men

Mary Ann and I had jointly taught a lesson one Easter Sunday to a group of young people in our ward, in which she extolled the courage and loyalty of the women who stood by Jesus at the time of his trial and execution, while his male apostles abandoned him and headed for the tall grass.

Our priesthood-holding stake youth director (who had monitored the lesson from the back of the classroom) waited until after class was over (and Mary Ann and the students had vacated the premises) to tell me that Mary Ann should not teach lessons to the young people of our ward that could undermine devotion to priesthood leadership.

Apparently, he didn't have the guts to tell Mary Ann this himself, so I passed on the news to her.

She was astounded and angry.
_____


Covering Up for Sex Abuse

Mary Ann was also outraged by the Church's deliberate inattentiveness to the festering problem of sexual abuse within its ranks, particularly since members of her own family had been its innocent victims.
_____


Unwanted Visits to Our Home in the Name of Pompous Priesthood Pre-Eminence

Irritating, arrogant Church encroachment into our lives continued.

Later, when my public statements about the Church were causing intestinal upset among the Mormon faithful, our stake president, Craig Cardon (who also happened to have been my younger brother’s mission president in Italy) asked Mary Ann if he could come over to our home to pray and sing hymns with her and the children.

Mary Ann said thanks, but no thanks. She assured him she was fine and would contact him, if and when she felt it necessary.

The stake president responded that he had been prompted by the Holy Ghost to come over and visit her. He somberly informed Mary Ann that if she did not allow him to follow those promptings, then he would become "spiritually blocked" in other areas of his life.

(This same stake president later wrote me letters, instructing me to stop "denigrating" the Mormon Church by doing editorial cartoons calling for equal treatment of women held captive by their priesthood trainers).
_____


The Ward Relief Society Swimsuit Brigade Spies on Mary Ann

The priesthood-controlled Relief Society president of our Emerald Bay Ward in Gilbert, Arizona (and wife of the eventual stake president), also got into the act in attempting to control the life and choices of Mary Ann, who at the time was a member of the Relief Society presidency.

Mary Ann was tattled on to the Relief Society president by our next door neighbor for having been spotted walking over to the community pool dressed ready to swim, rather than in the regulation garments.

This "sin" was considered especially egregious, given Mary Ann’s position in the Relief Society presidency. Mary Ann acknowledged to the Relief Society president that she had made the trip to the pool in her swimsuit but said she had ventured outside so attired in order to prevent the peering eyes of the world from catching a glimpse of Mormonism's holy underwear in the community pool's public dressing rooms.

The Relief Society president responded by saying she appreciated Mary Ann's intent but insisted that it was better for Mary Ann to remain shielded on the way over to the pool by the holy garments of the priesthood. Besides, she said, Mary Ann had to set an example for ward members who looked up to her.
_____


Mormon Male Dominators, Neal Maxwell and Dallin Oaks, Explain to Us the "Proper" Role of Women

Prior to (and shortly before) having our names officially cloroxed from the membership rolls of the Mormon Church in the fall of 1993, Mary Ann and I met with LDS Apostles Neal Maxwell and Dallin Oaks in Maxwell’s Church office in downtown Salt Lake City. The purpose of the encounter was to ask these two men for some direct answers regarding Mormon history, doctrine, policy and practice that were deeply disturbing to us.

During the course of that meeting, we addressed the role of women in the Mormon Church.

Mary Ann, being the no-nonsense straight shooter that she is, put it to the Blue Suits bluntly:

"Where is,” she asked, “the voice of women in the Church?"

Both Maxwell and Oaks seemed unsure of what she meant so she explained her concern that LDS women did not have a female role model to follow. Mormon women knew essentially nothing, she pointed out, about their Mother in Heaven.

She also expressed her concern for the plight of women and children in the Church who had been physically, sexually or emotionally abused by its domineering males.

She shared with Oaks and Maxwell obnoxious comments made by Boyd K. Packer in an address to the "All-Church Coordinating Council" in which he declared, "The woman pleading for help needs to see the eternal nature of things and to know that her trials, however hard to bear, in the eternal scheme of things may be compared to a very, very bad experience in the second semester of the first grade." (Boyd K. Packer, "Talk to All-Church Coordinating Council," 18 May 1993, transcript copy, p. 6)

In response, Maxwell assured Mary Ann that the LDS Church did indeed care about women. As proof of that, he handed her a photocopy of a General Conference sermon he had delivered, entitled, "The Women of God," reprinted in the Ensign.

This sermon of his, Maxwell assured her, demonstrated the high esteem in which LDS women were held.

Mary Ann glanced at the article and was struck by how much younger Maxwell appeared in its accompanying photo than he did in our meeting. She later admitted that her first thought was, "Gee, you look so young in this photograph. Haven't you said anything more recent on the topic?"

Mary Ann, however, kept this reaction to herself and thanked Maxwell for the talk. She then noticed the date it was published: May 1978, 15 years prior to our meeting when Maxwell was not even yet a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

Mary Ann did not bother even reading the article.

Years later, I got around to reading Maxwell’s talk (something Mary Ann has yet not felt inclined to do). His condescending view of women reminded me of the kind of suffocating, insufferable patriarchy that Mary Ann lamented had, in times past, "dripped from the walls" of her "own home."

Maxwell intoned:

"We are accustomed to focusing on the men of God because theirs is the priesthood and leadership line. But paralleling that authority line is a stream of righteous influence reflecting the remarkable women of God . . .

"We men know the women of God as wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, associates, and friends. You seem to tame us and to gentle us, and, yes, to teach us and to inspire us . . . In the work of the Kingdom, men and women are not without each other, but do not envy each other, lest by reversals and renunciations of role we make a wasteland of both womanhood and manhood . . .

"We salute you, sisters, for the joy that is yours as you rejoice in a baby's first smile and as you listen with eager ear to a child's first day at school which bespeaks a special selflessness. Women, more quickly than others, will understand the possible dangers when the world self is placed before other words like fulfillment. You rock a sobbing child without wondering if today's world is passing you by, because you know you hold tomorrow tightly in your arms . . .

"When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling that what happened in congresses? . . .

"No wonder the men of God support and sustain you sisters in your unique roles, for the act of deserting home in order to shape society is like thoughtlessly removing crucial fingers from an imperiled dike in order to teach people to swim.

"We men love you for meeting inconsiderateness with consideration and selfishness with selflessness. We are touched by the eloquence of your example. We are deeply grateful for your enduring us as men when we are not at our best because–like God–you love us not only for what we are, but for what we have the power to become.

"We have special admiration for the unsung but unsullied single women among whom are some of the noblest daughters of God. These sisters know that God loves them individually and distinctly. They make wise career choices, even thought they cannot now have the most choice career . . .

"Notice, brethren, how all the prophets treat their wives and honor women, and let us do likewise!"
(Neal Maxwell, "Women of God," Ensign, May 1978, pp. 10, 11).

During the meeting, Oaks told Mary Ann that he appreciated all the women in his life, especially his wife. He said that because she took care of the household, drove their daughters to music lessons, etc., he was able to do his work for the Church.
_____


Mary Ann Makes Up Her Mind About Further Patriarchal Mormon Mugging–and Decides She's Had Enough

Mary Ann and I had just experienced the unique (and highly disappointing) opportunity of spending roughly three hours in a revealing give-and-take, two-one-two with a couple of the Lord's slickest apostles.

We had come to the meeting wanting, and expecting, to get answers to our deep and growing doubts regarding the Mormon faith.

Mary Ann recalled how she had traveled to meet with Oaks and Maxwell because she had hoped that they could answer her questions and concerns, repair the damage to her belief (which she described as "severe cracks in the walls and foundation" of her Mormon faith) and help her rebuild her testimony.

It did not happen.

After meeting with Oaks and Maxwell, she decided she had had enough.

Upon our return home to Arizona, she felt exhausted and manhandled. As she later told me, "It felt like a wrecking ball had been swung through the remaining walls of my faith and now I was left standing in a pile of rubble."

On 16 September 1993, a week after meeting with Oaks and Maxwell, Mary Ann wrote her no-nonsense, notarized letter of resignation from the Mormon Church, addressed to our bishop and stake president:

"Dear Bishop Annison:

"I am hereby directing you to remove my name from the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I fully understand the ramifications of the decision; i.e., my baptism, temple sealing and blessings will be cancelled.

"I realize that you and others may want to discuss this with me, yet my decision is final. I cannot be dissuaded. Therefore, I do not want you or anyone else to call or in any way try to contact me.

"I want you to immediately forward this written request along with a completed Report of Administrative Action form on to
[Stake] President Cardon as well as remove my name, address, phone number and personal information from the ward roster.

"Sincerely,

"Mary Ann Benson

"cc: President Craig Cardon"


I followed up a few days later by writing my own letter and, together, we hand-delivered them to the homes of our bishop and stake president.
_____


Conclusion: The Meat Grinder of Latter-day Sexism

The male-run Mormon mind-munching machine is a brutally dehumanizing device designed to produce sausage-like Saints who are testaments to linkage without thinkage.

In Mormon production-line brainwashing from cradle to grave, compliant sacrificial offerings to the LDS God-Men are lined up, stuffed in, ran through and spit out as the praying, paying and obeying herds of blindly obedient believers that their patriarchal priesthood pork producers expect--and demand.

What emerges is a product line without substance and without individuality.

What it does demonstrate, however, is a complete willingness to serve as the hot dogs (and “dogettes”) for consumption by the Top Dogs.

Oink.

Burp.

Grin.

Mission accomplished.
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A Confession: How I Helped Build Up The Cause Of Zion By Tearing Things Down
Sunday, Aug 28, 2005, at 06:43 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
On this board there's been a lot of understandable finger-pointing, anger and raised big stink at Mormon, Inc., for its filthy-lucre focus on shopping mall investments and other mogul-minded money-making schemes.

Yeah, the Temporal Temple at Crossroads Mall hardly seems like the kind of devotional center that Jesus had in mind when he commanded his apostles to abandon purse and script and hit the road spreading the Gospel.

http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon...

While I was still a BYU undergrad in 1978 (when Mary Ann and I had been married less than a year), I landed a summer job working for a demolition company, A.J. Mackey and Sons, in Salt Lake City, where we focused on preparing for the great and dreadful day of the coming of the Profits.

Me and another BYU student (a RM who went to Australia on his mission and whose name I can no longer remember, other than it was "Elder" something) would get up early each weekday morning, don our bibs and boots, grab our hard hats and gloves and make the daily round-trip journey to Mormonism's Moneyed Mecca and then back to Provo, on a search and destroy mission.

(One of my regrets is making that trek up I-15 to Salt Lake and, in the process, running over a little white cat around the Point of the Mountain that was ambling down the middle of the freeway, minding its own business when it got pancaked from behind. Had it not been for my subcontract with the Great and Abominable Church of the LDS Devil, that little fella would have lived to procreate like good little Mormon cats should. Returning later that afternoon down the same freeway, I saw the poor thing--now just a tiny blackened tuff of unrecognizable fur--snuffed out on that hell-bent highway of death).

One of our big demolition contracts involved clearing the way for the building of what was to eventually rise from the asbestos ashes as Crossroads Mall.

We spent weeks tearing down old, dilapidated buildings within the shadows of Temple Square, scavenging for resaleable copper tubing, hauling off reusable toilet heads and fixtures and salvaging antique bricks for use in the private homes of rich people.

We'd put our feisty little Bobcat scoopers to work knocking over walls and ripping down ceilings of many a sad and condemned structure, scouring out the downtown area to make way for Deseret Book, the Inn at Temple Square and other monuments to the Almighty God of Mormon Moola, where the hordes of faithful could shop til their garments dropped.

I feel so bad about it now, sniff!

After we had basically leveled the place, I spent some time working a big fire house, tapping down the dust as we cleaned out and prepped the gaping subterranean holes that were to receive holy placement of what were to be the firm foundations of rebarb and poured concrete, upon which was to rise yet another edifice to Mormon Greed.

And I did it back then for next to nothing in Federal Reserve Notes.

I'm so sorry. I confess my sins to you here, for all to see. I hang my hard hat-less head in shame and ask that you forgive me.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd ask for a demolition contract on the Church Office Building.

And would throw in the Temple next door for free.
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A Tale Of Two Present-Day Tyrants--Nigazov In Turkmenistan And Hinckley In Utah: Comparing Their Respective Repressive Rhetoric
Sunday, Aug 28, 2005, at 06:44 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Introduction: Blood Brothers--A Smothering Dictator in Central Asia, Along with His Kissing Cult Cousin in Utah, Preach Against Modern Corruption of the Youth

Religion makes the strangest bedfellows--and some of the worst ones, at that.

Reading through the newspaper recently, I came across an Associated Press article headlined, “Turkmen president bans lip-synching performances” (Arizona Republic, 24 August 2005, section A, p. 17).

The president, Saparmurat Niyazov, has laid down the law in his country with regard to what he has officially declared to be unacceptable in terms of music, dance, hairdos and body decoration don'ts.

Good gawd, for a minute I thought Gordon B. Hinckley had been cloned.

On closer examination, I discovered that he had.

Compare the utterances of these two clowns, er, clones, and see for yourself how both of them rule with iron fists over their own Cult Kingdoms.

Opening with the news story:

"ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan–He has outlawed opera and ballet and railed against long hair and gold teeth, but now the authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is determined to wipe out another perceived scourge: lip synching."


President Saparmurat Niyazov on Bad Music

"President Saparmurat Niyazov has ordered a ban on lip-synching performances across the tightly controlled Central Asian nation, citing 'a negative effect on the development of singing and musical art,' the president’s office said Tuesday."


President Gordon B. Hinckley on Bad Music

"I told the Relief Society of secret underground drug parties that go by the name of Rave. Here with flashing lights and noisy music, if it can be called that, young men and women dance and sway. They sell and buy drugs. The drugs are called Ecstasy. They are a derivative of methamphetamine. The dancers suck on babies' pacifiers because the drug makes them grind their teeth. The hot music and the sultry dancing."

("Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children," LDS General Conference, October 2000, http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-138-22,00.html )
_____


President Saparmurat Niyazov on Bad Television

"Unfortunately, one can see on television old voiceless singers lip-synching their old songs, Niyazov told a Cabinet meeting in comments broadcast on state TV on Tuesday 'Don’t kill talents by using lip-synching . . .Create our new culture.'"

"Under Niyazov’s order, lip synching is now prohibited at all cultural events, concerts, on television and at private celebrations such as weddings."



President Gordon B. Hinckley on Bad Television (as well as on Bad Computers, TV’s Nefarious Twin)

". . . [U]se that most remarkable of all tools of communication, television, to enrich [your children’s] lives. . . . Let those who are responsible for any efforts to put suitable family entertainment on television know of your appreciation for that which is good and also of your displeasure with that which is bad. In large measure, we get what we ask for."

"We live in a season of war. We live in a season of arrogance. We live in a season of wickedness, pornography, immorality. All of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah haunt our society. Our young people have never faced a greater challenge. We have never seen more clearly the lecherous face of evil.’"

"If they [LDS boys] want to get involved in pornography, they can do so very easily. . . . They can sit at a computer and revel in cyberspace filth."

"I fear this may be going on in some of your homes. It is vicious. It is lewd and filthy. It is enticing and habit-forming. It will take a young man or woman down to destruction as surely as anything in this world. It is foul sleaze . . . "


("Living in the Fulness of Times," LDS General Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 2001, http;//www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-225-1,00.html ;
"In Opposition to Evil," First Presidency Message, Ensign, September 2004, http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-225-1,00.html ; and "Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children," LDS General Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 2000, http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-138-22,00.html )
_____


President Saparmurat Niyazov on Gold Tooth Caps and Long Hair

"Last year [2004], he called for young people not to get gold tooth caps and urge authorities to crack down on young men wearing beards or long hair."


President Gordon B. Hinckley on Multiple Earrings, Body Piercings, Tattoos and Long Hair

"Now comes the craze of tattooing one's body. I cannot understand why any young man--or young woman, for that matter--would wish to undergo the painful process of disfiguring the skin with various multicolored representations of people, animals, and various symbols. With tattoos, the process is permanent, unless there is another painful and costly undertaking to remove it.

"Fathers, caution your sons against having their bodies tattooed. They may resist your talk now, but the time will come when they will thank you. A tattoo is graffiti on the temple of the body.

"Likewise the piercing of the body for multiple rings in the ears, in the nose, even in the tongue. Can they possibly think that is beautiful? It is a passing fancy, but its effects can be permanent. Some have gone to such extremes that the ring had to be removed by surgery. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have declared that we discourage tattoos and also ‘the piercing of the body for other than medical purposes.’ We do not, however, take any position ‘on the minimal piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings’--one pair."


("Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children, " LDS General Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 2000, http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-138-22,00.html )

***


More from President Gordon B. Hinckley on the Subject of Mormon-Opposed Body Piercings

"I submit that it is an uncomely thing, and yet a common thing, to see young men with ears pierced for earrings, not for one pair only, but for several. They have no respect for their appearance. Do they think it clever or attractive to so adorn themselves? I submit it is not adornment. It is making ugly that which was attractive. Not only are ears pierced, but other parts of the body as well. It is absurd."

"May I mention earrings and rings placed in other parts of the body. These are not manly. They are not attractive. You young men look better without them . . . As for the young women, you do not need to drape rings up and down your ears. One modest pair of earrings is sufficient."


(Gordon B. Hinckley, "Your Greatest Challenge, Mother," Ensign, Nov. 2000; and satellite broadcast of Hinckley talk to LDS youth and young single adults, Conference Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, 12 November 2000)

***


"'[President Gordon B.] Hinckley Warns Youth Against Tattoos, Body-Piercing'

"At the first Church-wide fireside directed to LDS youth in many years, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley repeated his call for youth to avoid pornography, tattoos, body-piercing and 'lascivious' rock music. Hinckley's remarks repeated his recent calls in the LDS Relief Society's general meeting . . . and the Priesthood session of General Conference . . . for parents to keep their children from these practices."


(Mormon News–All the News About Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church, week ending 17 November 2000, http://www.mormonstoday.com/001117/ )

*****


Mormon Propaganda Published and Aimed at LDS youth, Under the Regime of President Gordon B. Hinckley

"'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? . . . The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are' (1 Corinthians 3:1617).

"Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.

"Prophets of God have always counseled His children to dress modestly. The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages about you to others and influence the way you and others act. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and can exercise a good influence on those around you.

"Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval and that modesty is important only when it is convenient. . . .

"Young men should . . . maintain modesty in their appearance. All should avoid extremes in clothing, appearance, and hairstyle. Always be neat and clean and avoid being sloppy or inappropriately casual in dress, grooming, and manners. Ask yourself, 'Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?'"

"Someday you will receive your endowment in the temple. Your dress and behavior should help you prepare for that sacred time.

"Do not disfigure yourself with tattoos or body piercings. If girls or women desire to have their ears pierced, they are encouraged to wear only one pair of modest earrings.

"Show respect for the Lord and for yourself by dressing appropriately for Church meetings and activities, whether on Sunday or during the week. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask your parents or leaders for help. Read Alma 1:27."


(in For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, under topic of "Dress and Appearance," published by the LDS n Church under the presidency of Gordon B. Hinckley, 2001, cited in Robert T. Robb, "First Peter Chapter 3:1-7," 1 August 2004, http://www.thoughts-for-talks.com/Love-at-Home/1Peter3.html ; see also, Earl C. Tingey, member of the Presidency of the Seventy under Hinckley, "For the Strength of Youth,” LDS General Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 2004, where Tingey admonishes LDS youth, "In the For the Strength of Youth booklet, the following standards, among others, are like a North Star to you: choose friends with high standards, do not disfigure your body with tattoos or body piercings, avoid pornography, do not listen to music that contains offensive language, do not use profanity, date only those who have high standards, remain sexually pure, repent as necessary, be honest, keep the Sabbath day holy, pay tithing, keep the Word of Wisdom," http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-439-19,00.html )
_____


President Saparmurat Niyazov’s Long, Tyrannical Grip on His State of Turkmenistan

"Niyazov has led the former Soviet republic for 20 years."


President Gordon B. Hinckley's Long, Tyrannical Grip on His Church/State of Utah

"[Gordon B. Hinckley] [t]he President of the Church [since 1995,] is the only person on Earth who directs the use of all the keys of the priesthood . . . This means that the President holds the power and authority to govern and direct all of the Lord's affairs on Earth in the Church. . . . [A]ll the keys are exercised by the President alone . . . The authority to perform ordinances and teach the Gospel comes from the Lord, but the orderly use thereof is regulated by those holding keys given to Joseph Smith and passed on to his successors."

(J. Lynn England and W. Keith Warner, "President of the Church," http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/organization/priesthood/President_EOM.htm )

***


"The title of the person making [the Mormon Church’s] articles of incorporation is 'President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.' He and his successor in office shall be deemed and are hereby created a body politic and corporation sole with perpetual succession, having all the powers and rights and authority in these articles specified or provided for by law . . . "

("Articles of Incorporation of the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, United States of America, State of Utah, County of Salt Lake," http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/chorg3.htm )

***


"The Corporation of the President is . . . a special legal entity, embodied in a single individual (traditionally, the minister of a congregation – in this case, the president of the LDS church), which has particular privileges, enshrined in English Common Law, and the actual laws of a number of countries (the US among them)."

("Nick," nickbenn@twinsongs.com , posted on Recovery from Mormonism website, http://www.exmormon.org , http://www.exmormon.org/boards/w-agor... ,26 August 2005, 04:51 hours)

***


"Two certificates of [incorporation] authority filed in May 1989 gave absolute control over the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to counselors Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson."

(Salt Lake Tribune, 15 August 1993 p. C 1; http://www.watchman.org/lds/young.htm )
_____


Conclusion: Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb

One is a brutal political tyrant lording over a remote kingdom in Central Asia.

The other one is a brutal religious tyrant leading his backwater battalions in the mountains of America’s Intermountain West.

Each laying down the law and throttling their respective oppressed citizenry in the name of ultimate goodness and government.

Together, they spell: Gordon Saparmurat B. Niyazov Hinckley.

Blood brothers.

Joined at the hip.

One a socialist; the other a capitalist--but both oppressive opportunists.

Separated at birth but sharing a heart of darkness.

Both on a mission to cleanse the world of all that is corrupt--as they, of course, define it for the rest of us.

Dedicated to remaking the planet--through a combination of brute intimidation and force of law--in their own primitive image.

Lordy, help us all.
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From The Land Of The Book Of Abraham: Calls For Polygamy On The Rise
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2005, at 07:25 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Joseph Smith would certainly be proud of this woman--and even more certainly eager to get her into bed.

In an article strikingly reminiscent of Humpin,’ Jumpin’ Joe’s line that polygamy is the way of Heaven and the solution for what ails society, an Egyptian wife is endorsing multiple wifery.

The news appears in a story by Mariam Fam of the Associated Press--dateline Cairo--headlined, “Egyptian wife promoting polygamy” (Arizona Republic, 29 August 2005, p. A10).

http://www.azcentral.com/php-bin/clic...

_____

Keep married men happy and devoted. Help fight divorce, adultery and other societal ills. Solve problems within the family. Provide single, widowed or divorced women with a well-off man who can look after them. Do God's will.

In short, practice polygamy.

Sound familiar?

_____

Read on:

”Hayam Dorbek wants her husband to get married. Again.

“In urging him, and the rest of Egypt, to be more open to polygamy as approved by Islam, the 42-year-old journalist has set off a lively debate in her country and the rest of the Arab world turning in on satellite TV.

“Durbek says she felt her work was keeping her so busy that her husband needed a second wife. She says he refused, ‘but my son is helping me promote the idea,’ she said.

“She feels the Islamic concept of polygamy is the answer to many of Egypt’s social ills. She has written articles with titles like, ‘One wife is not enough,’ and has helped form an association that promotes polygamy.

“Some are furious, saying it . . . is bad for women, tantamount to ‘displaying them in a slaves’ market,’ according to Nihad Aboul-Qomasan, head of the Egyptian center for Women’s Rights.

“The debate exemplifies the tug-of-war between conservatives and liberals in a country brimming with Western symbols and ideas while also becoming Islamic.

“Many revivalists of conservative Islam have taken up a modern rhetoric, presenting themselves as an alternative to a decadent West. Dorbeck recasts the license that Islam gives men to marry up to four women and gives it a modern flavor.

“'I’m calling for women’s rights: their right to get married even if to a married man,’ Dorbeck told the Associated Press. Polygamy is a ‘license from God to stabilize society and solve its problems.'

“To familiar problems of family life, like adultery and divorce, Dorbeck adds ‘spinsterism’: women remaining single into their 30s and being possibly stigmatized as easy prey for men or temptresses preying on men for sex.

“Her solution: hitch single, widowed or divorced women to married men who can financially support and provide far more than one family.

“This will stop the men from having affairs and provide the women with a caretaker, she argues.

“Egyptian law permits polygamy, but . . . it’s expensive. For another, some TV programs and movies tend to stress its downside: husbands unable to cope with multiple wives, and wives in emotional pain.

“’The secular currents in society muzzle the Islamic voices and drown them out,’ Dorbeck said. ‘I call on Arab and Muslim women to accept God’s laws.’”
(emphasis added)
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The Victims Of Hurricane Katrina Vs. The Self-Sanctified Saints Of Crime-Ridden Utah: Who Are The Real "Wicked"?
Thursday, Sep 1, 2005, at 09:53 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Introduction: Forget New Orleans and Those Surrounding Swamps of "Sin"--Utah is the Den of Iniquity Ripening for Godly Destruction

Arrogant Mormons wax obnoxiously confident in their bigoted belief that the catastrophic sufferings currently being experienced by millions of Americans unfortunate enough to have been caught, injured, killed and/or rendered possession-less in the path of Hurricane Katrina are nothing less than a sure-fire Latter-day sign of God's punishment of the wicked.

Mormon smug self-righteousness is fueled by the bloated boastings of high LDS Church leaders themselves. Exhibit A in this regard is the cocky observation of Joseph Fielding Smith, eventual Dictator of Mormondumb, who declared:

"[Mormons] are, notwithstanding our weaknesses, the best people in the world. I do not say this boastingly, for I believe that this truth is evident to all who are willing to observe for themselves. We are morally clean, in every way equal, and in many ways superior to any other people."

(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol.1, p.236)
_____


This kind of insulting swagger is manifest today in the hateful judgments made of Katrina's non-Mormon victims by pompous Latter-day "Ain't Saints." Sitting contentedly on the sidelines, casting their supposedly sinless stones at those who suffer, they make fools of themselves and disgrace humanity in the process.

Permit a few examples, from their own mouths.

In an earlier RFM post, "Rationalis" noted that on the "we-are-far-holier-than-the-rest-of-the-world" FAIR board, members of the LDS Cult are currently weighing in mercilessly on the plight of those suffering at the hands of Nature.

One monstrous Mormon preached:

”"I think you guys are looking at this in the wrong light. Do I think God sent a vast amount of storms to destroy New Orleans and the surrounding area? No. Could it have been prevented had it been a more Christ-like area? . . . yes."

Another obnoxious "Saint" opined:

"80% of New Orleans is now flooded. A friend expressed to me that it was his understanding that New Orleans is one of--or perhaps the most wicked--city in the USA."

("Here they go again. New Orleans was wicked and so . . . . . . . .," post by "Rationalis," mail address: perapera77@yahoo.com, Recovery from Mormonism board, http://www.exmormon.org, 30 August 2005, 23:03 hours)
_____


Similarly, "Battle-Ax,” in a previous RfM post, detailed the heartless response of a TBM to news that killer storm Katrina had violently slammed into the coastal regions of the United States:

"Early Monday morning I was talking to a TBM business associate about the hurricane that was hitting the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. I was shocked when he started to joke about it and say that, 'Well, I guess God is going to Baptize New Orleans whether they want it or not.' He also said 'it was about time God cleaned out that pit of sin.’

"I was shocked, this was right when we were not sure if we were going to loose thousands of lives. Now we know that New Orleans missed a direct hit and instead hit Mississippi. I guess God has a hook in his aim and he needs to work on it.

"How can someone think this way? As I watch the devastation in New Orleans and in Mississippi today it makes me sick to see what has happened to peoples' lives.

"I bet you money that in many wards this coming week someone will make a comment that, 'Well, this is the last days and God will punish the wicked.'

"How can normal generally good people be trained to think this way? This attitude is not only in the Mormon Church but when the tsunami hit, some Christian leaders said God was punishing Islam.

"The one thing I'm ashamed of is I sat there and said nothing back. Later, I was mad at myself for not saying anything, that will not happen again. In a sick way, I think some Church members take delight in seeing this because it proves the Church is true and the last days are just around the corner.

"It will also be interesting to see that next month in Conference if there is a talk that will express sympathy for the victims and will brag how much the Church has helped out but then go on to say, well you shouldn't be surprised these are the last days."


("A Mormons view on Katrina," posted by "Battle-Ax," Recovery from Mormonism board, http://www.exmormon.org, 30 August 2005, 12:09 hours)
_____


Hold your high-and-mighty horses, you Sons of Helium.

Before stiff-necked LDS gas bags break their collective arms by patting themselves too vigorously on the back (or break their chosen necks by falling off their Rameumptoms during orgies of self-adulation), they should take a closer look at the crime-infested Mormon state of Utah.

Then they should ask themselves, "Where are the sinners, really?"

Look in the mirror, you sanctimonious Morons.

Utah’s own official crime statistics tell the tale of a hypocritical state of wickedness that is very much alive, well and growing in the Tops of the Everlasting Hills.
_____


Utah’s Index Crime Rate (from the Last Fully-Reported Year, 2003) is Increasing in Nearly Every Major Category

Take a look at Utah’s overall index crime rate:

"Index crimes include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson. Utah’s total index crime rate in 2003 was . . . a 0.5% increase over the 2002 rate . . ."

Now, let's break it down.
_____


Utah’s Violent Crime Rate

"Violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Utah’s violent crime rate in 2003 was . . . a 4.9% increase compared with 2002. . . . Although Utah's violent crime rate is about half of the national rate, it is trending upward while the national rate is trending downward."
_____


Utah’s Homicide Rate

"Utah’s murder rate in 2003 was 2.5 per 100,000, a 25.0% increase compared with 2002. This is a large increase compared with the 2002 rate. . . . Over the past 30 years, Utah's murder rate has remained relatively constant, with peaks occurring during some years."
_____


Utah’s Property Crime Rate

"Property crimes include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Utah’s property crime rate in 2003 was . . . a 0.2% increase over 2002."
_____


Utah’s Robbery Rate

"Utah’s robbery rate in 2003 was 53.4 per 100,000, an 8.5% increase compared with 2002. . . .

"Utah's [robbery] rate trended up in 2003 while the national rate trended down."

____


Utah’s Motor Vehicle Theft Rate

"Since its peak in 1997, Utah’s motor vehicle theft rate has been decreasing for the most part, although the 2002 rate was a noticeable increase over the 2001 rate. The 2003 rate was nearly the same as the 2002 rate.

"After converging in the mid-1990s, Utah's motor vehicle theft rate and the national rate have been moving apart. The gap between the national rate and Utah's rate narrowed somewhat in 2003."

_____


Utah’s Hate Crime Rate

"Reported hate crimes increased from . . . 2002 to . . . 2003 [by] . . . 9.09% . . ."
_____


Utah’s Rape Rate

"Utah’s rape rate continues to be higher than the national rape rate."
_____


Utah’s "Crime Clock"

On average, one index crime is reported every 5.31 minutes in Utah.

In an average 24-hour period in Utah, there are 0.12 homicides, 3.38 robberies, 2.31 rapes, 9.32 aggravated assaults, 40.16 burglaries and 196.84 larcenies committed.

("2003 Crime in Utah," Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification, pp. 2-5; and "Utah Crime Statistics Assessment," 2003, Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice)

http://bci.utah.gov/Stats/2003.pdf

http://www.justice.utah.gov/
_____


Utah’s Rate of Domestic Violence

"Domestic violence is one of the fastest-growing and most serious violent crimes in Utah today. Over the past few years the frequency and intensity of this abuse has increased. Countless victims and survivors of domestic violence are enduring more severe beatings and life-threatening situations than those in years past. In Utah, domestic violence is becoming more aggressive and brutal."

In fact, Utah’s domestic violence crime rate is higher than that of 22 other states.

"Utah’s [homicide rate among female victims murdered by males in single victim/single perpetrator incidents] was 1.13 per 100,000 per population. In 2002, Utah ranked 28th in the United States in the rate of female victims murdered by males in single victim/single perpetrator incidents."

(Utah Domestic Violence Annual Report, January 2005, pp. 3, 14)

http://www.justice.utah.gov/DV2005.pdf
_____


Utah’s Rate of Child Abuse and Neglect

"Is child abuse a problem in Utah? Oh, yes! There were more than 7,800 supported cases of child abuse or neglect in 2003. Child abuse cases increased by 33.8 percent from 2000 to 2003."

http://smallbiz.ksl.com/speak-11593i.php
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Utah’s Index Crime Rate in Comparison to the Crime Rate Throughout the Rest of the United States

"Utah’s [index crime] rate has paralleled the national rate over the past 40 years. In 2001, Utah's rate was marginally higher than the national rate, a gap that is widening through 2002 and 2003. Utah's higher than average larceny rate, which accounts for nearly three-quarters of the total index crime rate, drives our total rate higher than the national rate."

("Utah Crime Statistics Assessment," 2003, Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice)
_____


Conclusion: Before Mormons Go Casting Their Stones . . .

these holier-than-thou hypocrites--so eager to declare that innocent, non-LDS victims suffering through natural disasters are somehow deserving recipients of God’s wrath--should look deeply into their Moron Mirror.

When they do, they will find themselves breaking the glass of their own glass house--a dungeon of deceit tucked away in the crime-covered hilltops of Utah's Church/state.

The undeniable evidence shatters the Mormon-mouthed myth of supposed Latter-day Saint superiority.

The truth is in the stark details--a truth that uncovers the cold reality for all to see:

Yes, Brothers and Sisters of the Most High Mormon God, crime of all sorts is wickedly on the rise in the backyard of the supposedly "best people in the world."

So, drag out the sandbags.

Your Lord is coming to get you.
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The Case Of Stormin' Ex-Mormon Norman Hancock: Heralding The Courageous Ex-Mo Who Helped Bring To A Halt The LDS Cult's Arrogant Abuse Of The Excommunication Process
Wednesday, Sep 14, 2005, at 08:12 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
For decades, the Mormon Cult, as a matter of course, used the unjust, immoral, vindictive and personally-violative sledgehammer of excommunicating dissidents as a way to publicly humiliate and punish them--while at the same time sending a not-so-subtle message to other members of the LDS faith that they faced a similar fate should they dare go "too far" in messin' with the Mormon Mafia.

However, this punitive and pernicious process was dealt a formidable body blow when resigned Arizona Mormon and former bishop Norman Hancock boldly stood up to the Latter-day Saint inquisitional hatchetmen and told them in no uncertain terms to take their dirty hands off him, keep their prying noses out of his decision to voluntarily exit the Mormon Cult, do not dare excommunicate him in the process--or face a hefty lawsuit if they didn't back off.

Mormonism's arrogant hitmen made the serious mistake of not taking Hancock seriously.

As one would expect of "we-thank-thee-oh-God-for-our-profits" LDS, Inc., money eventually talked and Hancock walked.

Below are eye-opening and informative links to Hancock's story of personal bravery, resolute determination and independence of spirit in facing down the Mormon Cult's attempt to belittle, besmirch and behead him. They include pertinent suggestions on how to effectively go about kicking the Mormon theological thugs out of the way as one goes about clearing the path for escaping from the LDS Alcatraz.

For those who today are able to leave Mormonism's clutches by simply sending in their resignation directive to the LDS Cult's increasingly busy Membership Removal Department :), they have, in large measure, Stormin' Ex-Mormon Norman Hancock to thank.

http://www.mormonalliance.org/caserep...

http://www.geocities.com/kathywut/htm...

http://home.teleport.com/~packham/lea...
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Drawing The Line On Religion
Friday, Sep 16, 2005, at 08:15 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
This afternoon I received a letter from a colleague of mine in the news business, mentioning an article written less than a year after Mary Ann and I had our names removed from the membership rolls of the Mormon Church. I had not thought about that interview piece for awhile so I looked it up and, for what it’s worth, offer it below:

Drawing the Line on Religion

By Walt Jayroe
for Editor and Publisher
1994

Editorial cartoonist Steve Benson has steered through a stormy year marked by "great distress" in the wake of his 1993 Pulitzer Prize. He now faces the prospect of being remembered more for the spoken word than any of his drawings.

Less than three months after winning the Pulitzer, Benson, now in his second stint at the Arizona Republic, Phoenix, found himself embroiled in a highly publicized feud with the Mormon Church about what he calls a "cocoon of deceit," a flap that brought him to grips with his journalistic principles on one side and his religious faith on the other.

Benson recently traced his post-Pulitzer year in a four-hour interview, a session in which the aftershocks of his emotional odyssey often rose to the surface.

"My training as a journalist began to compel me to seek honest answers to my questions. I wanted the Church to shoot straight with me, and it wasn't," he said.

The cost proved dear. Benson renounced his membership in the Church in October [1993] and to a great extent was ostracized by his family and Mormon friends.

Though a self-described "opinionator," Benson said he knows a hard, objective fact when he meets one.

Few journalists have seen the inside of Church power in the way that Benson has, via family ties. His grandfather, 94-year-old Ezra Taft Benson, is the president and prophet of the Mormon Church, a worldwide religious organization based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. At one time, the elder Benson was a national political figure and served two terms as secretary of agriculture under President Eisenhower.

"A born-in-the-bed Mormon," the younger Benson calls himself. His father, Mark, is a stake president, and an uncle, Reed, is a professor of ancient scriptures at Brigham Young University, the Mormon-run school in Provo, Utah.

The younger Benson was baptized in the Church, graduated from BYU and did missionary duty in Japan. He once held a seat on his stake's High Council in Arizona.

"Cut me," he said, "and I bleed Mormonism. Even though I'm out of the Church, I'll still be, in a cultural sense and a moral sense, a Mormon to the day I die."

The decisive episode in Benson's discontent with the Church arose not long after his grandfather ascended to the presidency in 1985. Family and others of the inner circle noticed a decline in the elder Benson's mental and physical state.

Benson said his grandfather would stumble through sermons and sometimes lose track of his words, leading to long silences and discomfort of audiences. A series of strokes led to impaired speech and invalid status. Personal letters to family began to arrive signed by signature machine, Benson said.

While his grandfather slipped into a "semisenile" condition, Benson said, Church leaders acted as if all was well, that the prophet was in charge of Church affairs. Benson said he soon began to see it as a hoax, a giant cover-up from rank-and-file members. The Church, he believed, had boxed itself into a theological corner.

Benson said Mormons sell their Church on the premise that "it is being led today by a modern-day, living prophet . . . and his name is Ezra Taft Benson. And he is the sole mouthpiece to whom God reveals his truth to a troubled, searching world.

"As long as the prophet's alive, he's got to be functioning, he's got to be leading, he's got to be revealing."

Fearing a loss of power and validation if they admitted that the prophet was incapacitated, Mormon leaders went to great lengths to perpetuate an illusion, Benson said.

"They'd take him out to a function where he's supposed to turn a spade of earth," he said. "They'd put his foot on the shovel and take a picture. Or he'd be seen waving to a crowd with a handler manipulating his arm."

All photos were taken from his grandfather's left side to hide the medical tube permanently affixed to the right nostril, Benson said.

"He's been treated like a dimestore mannequin in a window while the business of the enterprise has been conducted behind closed doors, " he said.

At the interview, Benson wore a cap with "Dave" written in front, an allusion to the movie by that name in which the U.S. president is incapacitated and a look-alike takes over.

Benson said he remained silent for a long time about his grandfather' s condition. He at first thought that if the Church was not open about it, there must be a reason. He said his father urged him to remain silent, saying the press couldn't be trusted.

"And here I was," Benson said, "a member of the press and the oldest grandchild of Ezra Taft Benson. I found myself caught in this quagmire, this dilemma."

Contacted about his grandfather's health by reporters in Utah, Benson said, he soon fell into a role as "deep throat," an anonymous guide.

"I felt," he said, "I had this obligation as a journalist not to hide the truth, to go after the truth, to try to be honest and forthright and deliberate in everything that I said. So rather than tell untruths, I went off the record with reporters and encouraged them through their own investigative effort to come up with the story, and then I would confirm it on conditions of anonymity."

A Sunday morning question from his son, Eric, provided the last straw, Benson said. "He asked, 'Why do they call [great-] grandpa a prophet when he can't do anything?' His great-grandchildren could see it; anyone could see it. It was a dirty family secret."

A short time later, Benson said he called Vern Anderson, an Associated Press reporter in Salt Lake City, and told him that he would speak on the record for the first time about his grandfather's condition should he want to do a story.

"D-Day," as Benson called it, was July 10, 1993. With the Republic' s blessing, Benson said, he first told his story to Anderson. The Republic used Anderson's story as a basis for its own, he said.

The stories revealed a prophet too weak to run the Church. An uproar quickly followed.

Benson said he received more than 100 letters condemning him. One critic wrote, "Quite a guy. He wins the Pulitzer and thinks he can run the Mormon Church."

Benson's cartoons regularly home in on religious issues, including Mormon ones. He rendered numerous unflattering cartoons in the mid-1980s of then-Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham, a Mormon.

But this time, Benson refrained, a noticeable departure from his credo, "I don't aim. I just shoot."

"It was determined," he said, "because I was a player in this story, I was a source, I was a family member close to my grandfather, that it might appear to be self-serving if I were to do an editorial cartoon on it . . .. I think I made my stand unequivocably clear in the observations I gave to the reporters."

Those observations caught many by surprise, especially his parents and siblings.

"My family was dumbstruck," Benson said. "They were aghast. They were angry, disappointed. They could not understand why I would undermine the family."

Benson said a family member told him that he would not be allowed to see his grandfather again, that he couldn't be trusted. The threat later was withdrawn, he said.

"The issue to me was the Church as an institution, taking tithe-payers at the rate of upwards of $15 million a day and doing it in the name of supporting a prophet-led Church," he said.

Though some Church members supported him, harassment continued on a local and individual basis. He was criticized by his local bishop, and fliers attacking his statements were disseminated. Then his alma mater's Brigham Young Magazine decided to delay publication of a profile of him, written in light of his Pulitzer.

The magazine's action stung. Benson has fond memories of his years at BYU and "the glory days of the student newspaper," the Daily Universe. "I still have my pica pole I was given when I left BYU, which says on the back, 'Truth, energy and talent.'"

Benson said he received a review copy of the manuscript, "a pleasant puff piece." The magazine's editor admitted that Benson's public comments about the Church were responsible for the delay in publication, Benson said. He requested that the article be scrapped permanently, and it was.

"I didn't want to be a part of any enterprise allegedly done in the name of good journalism that was kowtowing to fear and pulling its punches . . . for fear of what the boys with the hands on the purse strings might think.

"Ironically, the thrust of the article was 'Steve Benson made his reputation at BYU by poking pontificating balloons of self-importance, goring sacred cows and troubling the administration . . .."

Benson's views seemingly were verified by an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City. A reporter at the paper sifted some eye-popping information from Utah's corporation records. The published report said the corporation that manages the Church effected in 1989 a transfer of power from Ezra Taft Benson to his two counselors, Gordon Hinckley and Thomas Monson. That was done the same year that his grandfather last was seen in public, Benson said.

"This is what's so ironic," he said. "The Church leaders and members are saying, 'Steve, where's your faith? Don't you have faith God could raise Ezra Taft Benson to speak and lead the Church?' But in secret the leaders of the Church had amended the faith that God would do that . . .. They put their faith not in God but in the lawyers who transacted the papers and who actually assured the transfer of power to them."

Benson has made himself available to media in Utah and to other groups interested in hearing his story. He helped line up interviews for a Republic reporter doing a story on the Church's recent wave of excommunications.

In September [1993], Benson was granted a special audience in Salt Lake City with two of the Church's leading apostles, Dallin Oaks and Neal Maxwell. He was allowed to ask questions of a confidential nature about Church matters only because of his family ties to the prophet and his professional status as a member of the media. Later, Benson said, he broke the confidence when he believed that Oaks had lied to a reporter about what was said in the meeting.

"He has committed a public act of deception, dishonesty and moral criminality," Benson said. "What do you do? I really wrestled with that."

Not long after that, he and his wife submitted their resignations from the Church, and in November [1993], the resignations were accepted. The couple will let their children decide on their own whether to stay in the Church, he said.

"I will not allow myself to be abused in this kind of dysfunctional system, where they try to manipulate me, control me, silence me, try to deny my right to speak out," Benson said. "Because if we don't have the individual right to speak out, what are we?"

Months later, old family ties continue to fester, he said, especially those with his parents.

"There's a sense of pain and a loss I detect every time I talk with them. I think they kinda wish things would be back the way they were, but they never will. I know there's a price to be paid."

His grandfather's condition remains unchanged, Benson said.

"This is really the ironic and wonderful thing," he said. "He's the one who encouraged me to go into editorial cartooning. He said, 'We need people to stand up against the established order and tell us the truth as they see it.'"

Benson said he did not time his public criticism of the Church to follow his winning the Pulitzer.

"All the Pulitzer did," he said, "was give additional focus to what I was saying. It was an amplifier. I didn't use the Pulitzer as a platform."

He now refers to his former Church as "Red Square on Temple Square," a reference to the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. The Church is going through "a totalitarian mode," he said. "I wanted to be a good Mormon, but at the same time, I wanted to be truthful, I wanted to be honest and I wanted to be a good journalist. I found over time I could not be a good Mormon and an honest individual. I kinda had to make a choice."

http://www.lds-mormon.com/benson1.sht...
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Joseph Smith's Arrest Record On Glass-Looking Charges--And Hugh Nibley's Warnings About Their Serious Nature, If Proven True
Saturday, Sep 17, 2005, at 07:27 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Recent news accounts have reported the "re-discovery" of original court documents which confirm that Joseph Smith--Mormonism's founding prophet, seer and prevaricator--was arrested multiple times in the 1820s for the crime of "glass-looking," or fraudulently claiming to be able to find hidden treasure by the means of magically-imbued rocks.

http://www.exmormon.org/boards/w-agor...


What is particularly damning about these press revelations is that they further validate the devastating nature of the crimes that Smith committed--as, in fact, admitted by Mormonism's historically pre-eminent apologist and water carrier, Hugh Nibley.

In 1961, Nibley authored a book entitled The Mythmakers, in which he ventured to boldly debunk assertions that Joseph Smith had committed, or had been arrested for, the crime of "glass-looking." Nibley (in words he probably later wished he could retract) went so far as to declare that if, in fact, Smith was actually proven guilty of such nefarious activity, it would constitute the most damning blow that could be imagined to Smith's claim of divine prophetship.

Derick S. Hartshorn, in his work, Bearing the Testimony of Truth, reviews the history of apologetic denials uttered by Mormonism's stoutest defenders--and then compares those desperate defenses to the actual evidence found--evidence that cuts Smith off at the knees.

Under the sub-section, Guilty! Next Case!, Hartshorn exposes the serious nature of the charges against Smith and how they have plunged a dagger into the heart of Smith's claims to divine guidance:

"It was charged that Joseph Smith was accused and found guilt of parting a local farmer from his money in a less than honest scheme, commonly known as 'money-digging' or 'glass-looking.' It was reported to have been an activity that brought him rebuke from his soon-to-be father-in-law, Isaac Hale. It is also historically recorded that he was removed from membership in a local Methodist church because of the activity and trial results.

"Joseph Smith skims over the specific event leading to the trial in the Pearl of Great Price, explaining that he was only a day worker for the man so engaged and not personally involved.

"Mormon writers have continually challenged its doubters to find the records (seemingly lost) and prove Joseph Smith a liar or stop the attacks. Mormon writer Hugh Nibley, the most prolific defender of the Mormon faith, used almost 20 pages in his book, The Mythmakers, in an attempt to discredit this 'alleged' court trial. On page 142 we find:

"'. . . If this court record is authentic it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith' and would be 'the most devastating blow to Smith ever delivered.'
[emphasis added]

"Of course, when that was first published back in 1961, Dr. Nibley undoubtedly felt that after 130 years no such record would turn up in 1971. Once again, the actual evidence, which the Mormon Church had denied ever existed came to light in 1971. You can read about how it was discovered as well as the relevance of other historical documents of that time that Joseph used a 'seer' stone to find money, etc. in the 54=page brochure 'Joseph Smith’s Bainbridge, N.Y., Court Trials.'

"One might wonder why this should be cause for concern among investigators of Mormonism. The fact is the up to then, the Mormon Leaders had denied that there WAS such a trial. Indeed, they claim that the story of Joseph’s arrest was a 'fabrication of unknown authorship and never in a court record at all.'

"The charge that Joseph was known to hunt treasure with 'peep' or 'seer' stones, etc., was serious enough that Mormon scholar Francis W. Kirkham stated that if the court record could be found, it would show that the Mormon Church was false:

"'Careful study of all facts regarding this alleged confession of Joseph Smith in a court of law that he had used a seer stone to find hidden treasure for purposes of fraud, must come to the conclusion that no such record was ever made, and therefore, is not in existence . . .

"'If any evidence had been in existence that Joseph Smith had used a seer stone for fraud and deception, and especially had he made this confession in a court of law as early as 1826, or four years before the Book of Mormon was printed, and this confession was in a court record, it would have been impossible for him to have organized the restored Church.'

"Later, in the same book, Mr. Kirkham states:

"'. . . [I]f a court record could be identified, and if it contained a confession by Joseph Smith which revealed him to be a poor, ignorant, deluded, and superstitious person unable himself to write a book of any consequence, and whose Church could not endure because it attracted only similar persons of low mentality if such a court record confession could be identified and proved, then it follows that his believers must deny his claimed divine guidance which led them to follow him. . . . How could he be a prophet of God, the leader of the Restored Church to these tens of thousands, if he had been superstitious fraud which the pages from a book declared he confessed to be? . . . '

"Well, in spite of 140 years of silence, the records did surface. Rev. Wesley Walters discovered the documents in the basement of the Chenango County, New York, jailhouse at Norwich, N.Y. in 1971. The records, affidavits, and other data show conclusively that Joseph Smith was arrested, went to trial, was found guilty as an imposter in the Stowell matter of "glass-looking." It is not a matter of debate, opinion or religious preference. It is a proven historical fact.

"Initially Mormons denied that Joseph ever participated in 'money-digging' activities, saying that would invalidate his claim as a prophet. Now that indisputable evidence confirms that Joseph was a convicted 'money- digger' Mormons have taken a 'so what' attitude. At least one says, now that the evidence proves that Joseph was a 'money-digger' that it really doesn’t matter. (What could a BYU professor say?) Mormon scholar Marvin Hill says:

"'There may be little doubt now, as I have indicated elsewhere, that Joseph Smith was brought to trial in 1826 on a charge, not exactly clear, associated with money digging.'
[Fawn] Brodie’s thesis that the prophet grew from necromancer to prophet assumes that the two were mutually exclusive, that if Smith were a money-digger he could not have been religiously sincere.

'This does not necessarily follow. Many believers active in their churches, were money-diggers in New England and western New York in this period. Few contemporaries regard these money-diggers as irreligious, only implying so if their religious views seemed too radical . . . For the historian interested in Joseph Smith the man, it does not seem incongruous for him to have hunted for treasure with a seer stone and then to use with full faith to receive revelations from the Lord.'

"Marvin Hill’s appraisal of the treasure seeking activities make it appear that contemporaries of Joseph Smith treated this enterprise with a casual air. One such contemporary that was closer to Joseph than most, could hardly disguise his disdain. This was Isaac Hale, father of the girl that Joseph would later elope with. In an affidavit signed by Hale and published in the Susquehanna Register, May 1, 1834, Joseph’s father-in-law said:

"'I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called ‘money diggers’; and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by what means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure.

"'Smith and his father, with several other money-diggers boarded at my house while they were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards. Young Smith made several visits at my house, and at length asked my consent to his marrying my daughter Emma. This I refused . . . [H]e was a stranger, and followed a business that I could not approve. . . . Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called "glass-looking," and that he expected to work hard for a living . . .

"'Soon after this, I was informed that they had brought a wonderful book of plates down with them . . . The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods.'"


http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/ftruth/ft1.doc
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Secret Inside Stories of Mormon Prophet Glory: Faithful Saints Share with Me Inspiring Myths Involving Ezra Taft Benson
Monday, Sep 26, 2005, at 08:24 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Introduction: Tantalizing, Mysterious Tales from the Secret "Reality Files" of President Ezra Taft Benson

Over the years, I have had various rock-ribbed Mormons contact me, directly or by correspondence, claiming to have been privy to special inside information regarding certain alleged occurences in the life, times and prophesies of my grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson.

These stories have been said by their perpetrators to either be true on their face or to at least be deserving of serious consideration.

Below are some of the tall tales in this vein that have been relayed to me in the dedicated Mormon spirit of awe and conviction.

They are offered here for the purpose of building up Zion in the last days by deepening faith in the wild and wondrous world of Mormon make-believe, as practiced by its desparately-seeking Saints.


President Benson Was Brutally Bludgeoned by Members of the Quorum of the Twelve, Resulting in Permanent Brain Damage

One Mormon breathlessly phoned me from the Northwest, asking me if the following story was true.

It seems, according to this account, that a so-called "Pink Room" had been clandestinely constructed in the upper reaches of the Salt Lake City Temple during the administration of Mormon Church President Wilford Woodruff.

There, in absolute secrecy, members of the Quorum of the Twelve would gather to perform dark and solemn rituals, dressed for the occasion in hooded cloaks.

President Ezra Taft Benson was supposedly brought into this "Pink Room," where it was demanded of him that he go along with certain evil designs of the the Twelve.

President Benson refused, whereupon he was stuffed into a gunny sack by his hooded tormentors and mercilessly pummeled, resulting in permanent brain damage that kept him from leading the Church.

I told the inquiring Saint that Ezra Taft Benson had indeed suffered severe cerebral strokes, but that there was no evidence they were caused by him having been mugged by members of the Quorum of the Twelve.


President Benson Was Spotted in a Las Vegas Casino, Where He Held a Secret Meeting with a Young Mormon Boy

According to this tale passed on to me by an incredulous Mormon, an LDS father and his son happened to be on the main floor of a Las Vegas casino, when they spied Mormon Church President Benson, accompanied by his security detail, walking through the casino.

The LDS father pointed out President Benson to his young son, whereupon the boy said he wanted to meet him. His father took his son and they followed the President Benson entourage up the elevator to a hotel room.

After President Benson and company entered the room and shut the door, the father knocked on the door and asked if his son could meet the LDS Church President. The father was told to wait outside, while the young boy was allowed to enter President Benson's hotel room.

The door closed and the young boy was in President Benson's hotel room for two hours, as the father remained outside in the hallway.

When the boy finally emerged from the hotel room, his father asked him what had transpired. His son told him that President Benson had spent the whole time talking to him and that President Benson had told the child that it was good to be able to talk, since he was not allowed to do so.

However, the boy would not tell his father any more about his behind-closed-doors encounter with the Lord's anointed prophet.

The purveyor of this story asked me if it was true. I replied that I had never heard of any episode involving Ezra Taft Benson being spotted visiting, or staying in, a Las Vegas casino.


President Benson Issued an Inside-the-Temple Warning That It Is Too Late to Start Storing a Year's Supply of Food

According to this faith-promoting fable, President Benson was encountered in an elevator in the South Jordan, Utah, temple.

There, a member of the Church told him that he was accumulating his food storage. President Benson reportedly replied that it was too late to begin that task, given that the end of the world was at hand and that time had run out.


President Benson Ordered Christmas Gifts from Deseret Book, Despite Being Mentally and Physically Incapacitated at the Time

The faithful Mormon relaying this story told me that they knew a fellow Latter-day Saint who worked in one of Salt Lake City's Deseret Bookstores. The employee was said to have answered the phone at work one day, only to hear the voice of President Benson, who identified himself, and then who proceeded to order books as Christmas presents for family and friends.

My response to this story was that, based on my direct observation of my grandfather's severely deteriorated state of physical and mental health at the time that this phone conversation allegedly took place, he would not have been able to find the phone in his apartment, much less have been able to have used it.


President Benson's Private Apartment Nursing Staff Witnessed Him Performing His Prophetic Role but Given The Sacred Nature of These Acts, Has Chosen Not to Talk About What They Beheld

I was told by a devout Mormon that, based on inside information relayed to this believing Saint, one of President Benson's attending domestic nurses saw President Benson do things in his apartment as she cared for him that definitely testified to his calling as God's prophet.

What those things were, however, were never explained.

Personally, I saw my grandfather's nurses patiently feed him by spoon as he sat, stooped over and silent, at the kitchen table in his Church apartment.

I also saw them take President Benson, dressed in a sweatsuit and diapers and wrapped in a blanket, and prop him in a reclining chair so that he could stare out, unspeaking, through the window of his upper-story Eagle Gate apartment toward Temple Square.

I saw his nurses plant him in a soft recliner next to a radio in his aparment studio, so that he could listen to sessions of General Conference he was too weak to attend, as I sat by his side.

I never saw my grandfather do anything remotely prophetic in his apartment.


President Benson Appeared in a Dream to a Faithful Latter-day Saint in Order to Pressure Me to Rejoin the Mormon Church

After I left Mormonism in 1993, a Mormon called me anonymously from California and left two voice messages on my phone. This person informed me that my grandfather had appeared to him in a dream, instructing him to tell me that my grandfather wanted me to return to the Mormon fold.

I figured that if my grandfather wished for me to be re-baptized, he could have appeared in a dream to me--or better yet, in spirit person form--rather than to a complete stranger, where he could have told me directly to my face what he wanted and, in the process, cut out the middleman.


Conclusion: What Can I Say?

Other than, in the name of Jesus Christ, ahem. :)

http://www.exmormon.org/boards/w-agor...
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Never Let Them See You Sweat: Watching My Grandfather Worry That He Couldn't Deliver
Monday, Sep 26, 2005, at 08:24 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
I recall an unusual and illuminating moment where I saw my grandfather and then-President of the Quorum of the Twelve, Ezra Taft Benson, consumed by worry and self-doubt.

It happened while I was visiting with him one afternoon in his downtown Salt Lake City Church office.

My grandfather asked me to read a planned talk he was to give shortly to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. The sermon had been prepared for him by his staff in a loose-leafed, ringed binder, featuring extra large print. I quickly scanned the talk, gave it back to my grandfather and told him I thought it was good.

Nonetheless, my grandfather continued to fret, displaying genuine concern that he would not be able to deliver the sermon the way in which he wanted, and was expected, to. He told me that his eyesight was deteriorating and that he didn't know if he was going to be able to do the remarks justice or present them in a way that would benefit members of the Church who heard it.

He expressed appreciation to his office personnel for having helped put the talk together, but was in a state of obvious worry--bordering on agitation--that I had never seen him in before. My father, Mark Benson, was also present during this ongoing moment of consternation and kept reassuring my grandfather that he would do fine.

It was a very human, non-prophetic moment.

http://www.exmormon.org/boards/w-agor...
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Reflections On Visiting The Site Of The Mountain Meadows Massacre
Friday, Oct 7, 2005, at 07:01 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
While still fresh in my mind, below are some lingering thoughts and images of my visit on October 3rd, 2005, to the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

The highway signs indicating one's approach to the Mountain Meadows Massacre site are innocuous and give absolutely no hint of the horrible atrocity that occurred there. The roadside signs, at both the one mile and half-mile mark on opposite sides of the highway, simply say, "Mountain Meadows."

No mention of "Massacre."

Once one leaves the highway to follow the "Mountain Meadows" sign, one enters a weathered asphalt parking lot. There are no parking lot lights in this area and a wooden, informational backboard covered with plexiglas at the parking lot site is completely empty of maps, brochures or any other informational material.

From the parking lot, a narrow, asphalted footpath snakes up a small hill, with a sign indicating by arrow the direction to a "Mountain Meadows Monument."

This sign, as well, makes no mention of a "Massacre."

Ascending the small hill, one comes upon two small, black-colored, separate signs, mounted on bases at about waist level, on the left side of the trail. The signage indicates that local Mormon settlers, along with native Indians from the area, laid siege to the Fancher party for several days at the Fancher campsite, killing 15 men in that party during that initial period, then negotiating an arrangement with the Fancher party under which the migrants surrendered to the Mormons.

The informational signage indicates that the Fancher migrants were led out by Mormon escort under a white flag and then, without warning, were shot and killed by their LDS escorts.

The posted account records that a total of 120 members of the Fancher party were killed, that several surviving children of the Massacre were eventually returned to Arkansas and that at least one child from the Fancher group remained behind in Utah.

The walkway information says that the Massacre occurred during the "so-called Utah War" and that the reasons for the Massacre's occurrence are not known to this day.

One of the pathway signs indicates that the Massacre occurred on September 11, 1857. Someone has permanently etched a scratchy line in the metal under the date "September 11."

Upon reaching the summit of the hill, one comes upon a granite plaque, several feet in length, upon which are listed in capital letters the names (in some cases, by first name only) and ages of the Massacre's murder victims. This plaque was erected by descendants of the Mountain Meadows Massacre victims in 1990.

Some of the victims identified on the plaque are children, as young as five years of age.

The plaque looks out on the Mountain Meadows Massacre site, which is located in a flat, wind-swept stretch of land that runs for what appears to be about two miles. The Meadow itself butts up against a backdrop ridge of low-lying, sage- and cedar-covered hills. The Meadow is on private property, with a few farm buildings dotting the area near the Massacre site. The Meadow features tall, bent-over grass and squatty brush, is rooted in rocky soil and shows some signs of farming.

Close to the plaque, atop the hill, are three informational signs, facing outward toward the Meadow and located at approximately knee-high level, which provide details about the settlement of the area by the Mormons, together with maps of where the Fancher Party initially camped and faced siege, where from the campsite its ill-fated members were led away to be massacred and where the actual spot of the Massacre site is situated, together with locations of early memorials and burial plots for the victims.

Also atop the hill are two fixed, simple pipes, attached to metal poles. Through the pipe on the left, one can view the Mormon Church-dedicated memorial site, established in 1999 at the site of initial siege at the Fancher campsite. Through the other pipe, one can see the actual site of the Massacre, which is out in the open Meadow, near the right sloping edge of the ridge.

From the hill, one then descends by foot back to the parking lot and follows a vehicular dirt road down to the Mormon-dedicated site, which is also the burial spot for 29 victims of the Massacre.

This site is flanked by a parking lot, with another wooden plexiglas-covered informational backboard that is completely devoid of any information.

The LDS-erected memorial site is surrounded by a wrought-iron fence and gate with a heavy latch. A sign on the fence near the gate requests that one close the gate when leaving.

An American flag snaps and flutters in the strong wind on a pole located outside the fence.

The memorial site features a large mound of stones, approximately 15 to 20 feet tall, in the center of the fenced-in area. On opposite ends from each other, separated by this rock mound, are two informational stones at the base of the rock pile, on which are etched details, among other memorial-related points, of the eventual dedication of the site by Mormon Church President Gordon B. Hinckley on September 11th, 1999.

In one corner of the enclosed memorial is a small, metal plaque, embedded at ground level, indicating in small print that the remains of 29 victims are actually buried at this site. (The remains of these murder victims are, in fact, entombed--along with some Arkansas soil--in a vault at this location after having been accidentally unearthed by a backhoe in the late 1990s during efforts to shore up a retaining wall that undergirds the memorial. Information on the hill up behind the memorial indicates that these victims were originally buried by Federal troops after the Massacre, before being inadvertently uncovered by the earthmover).

Returning to the highway and heading north, the road skirts the area where the members of the Fancher party were actually massacred. After the Mormon attackers duped the Fancher migrants into surrendering, they were escorted by their Mormon murderers several hundred yards away to an area out of sight of the Fancher encampment and, there, brutally massacred.

Although the highway runs very close to, and within clear line of sight of, the spot of the Massacre, there is no signage or other indicators provided to identify this spot from the roadway.

As a personal afterthought, down from the Mormon Church memorial area, off-site, is a small stream, from which I collected three small stones by which to remember my visit. These stones had been washed clean through the years by the waters of that tiny tributary.

The Mormon Church, in contrast, will never be able to wash the blood off its hands for what occurred on September 11th, 1857, at Mountain Meadows.
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The Day The Music Died: Efforts To Shut Up Glen Campbell At A Benson Family Reunion
Friday, Oct 14, 2005, at 12:55 PM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Our Benson family reunion, under the inspired :) personal leadership of my grandfather Ezra Taft, was held in Nauvoo, Illinois, in the summer of 1979.

One of our activities was a boatride on the Mississippi River. After being out on the Mighty Miss for awhile with Grandpa and the clan, things, quite frankly, got pretty boring so I began looking around for something to liven the place up a bit.

I spotted a jukebox at the rear of the boat, on the main deck, so I went over and checked out the selections.

Being a child of the '70s who loved good ol' rock and roll like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly and the Family Stone and Chicago, I was disappointed in the old machine's meager offerings.

Finally, out of desperation, I settled on a Glen Campbell tune that I had never heard before--"Southern Nights"--and dropped in a quarter.

The tune had a mild rock beat--and, as I was soon to find out, unacceptably suggestive lyrics.

Below are the words. See if you can pick out the Satanic verses:

Southern nights,
Have you ever felt a southern night,
Free as a breeze,
Not to mention the trees
Whistling tunes that you know and love so.

Southern nights,
Just as good even when closed your eyes,
I apologize
To any one who can truly say
That he's found a better way.

Southern skies,
Have you ever noticed
Southersn skies,
Its precious beauty
Lies just beyone the eye,
It goes running through the soul,
Like the stories told of old.

Old man,
He and his dog that walk the old land,
Every flower touched his cold hand,
As he slowly walked by,
Weeping willows would cry for joy.

Joy . . .

Feels so good,
Feels so good it's frightening,
Wish I could
Stop this world from fighting,
La-da-da-da-da, da-la-da-da-da,
Da-da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da.

Mystery,
Like this and many others
In the trees,
Blow in the night,
In the southern skies.

Southern nights,
They feel so good it's frightening,
Wish I could
Stop this world from fighting,
La-da-da-da-da, da-la-da-da-da,
Da-da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da.


So, where's the beef?

If you're puzzled over proof of the song's perniciousness, you obviously are stumbling around in sinful darkness, utterly bereft of the guiding light of the Holy Ghost.

The tune was just getting into its oh-so-nasty "feels so good" part when my Aunt Beverly Benson Parker (daughter of Ezra Taft and Flora) came marching over to the jukebox, where I was standing trying to connect to the jungle throbbing of Campbell's corrupt crooning.

Aunt Beverly--smothered as she always was in thick layers of make-up and hair-sprayed so thoroughly that she snapped, crackled and popped when she moved--was a walking, stalking case of Mormon sexual hang-ups on a mission from God.

In short, the Aunt from Hell.

(This, by the way, was the same Aunt Beverly who, at a wedding banquet for my younger sister Meg, had, after listening to the father of the groom get up and offer a few remarks, leaned over and smugly observed, "Well, we know which family was blessed with the spirituality," causing one of the Benson sisters-in-law--May Hinckley who was married to my Uncle Reed--to get up in disgust and leave the table).

But I digress.

Scowling so deeply that I was worried huge slabs of her make-up might fall off, crash through the deck and sink our boat, Bevy the Heavy told me in no uncertain terms that the song's lyrics were completely unacceptable and sternly ordered me to turn off the jukebox.

I informed her that the jukebox could not be stopped in mid-song and that the tune would have to play itself out.

Frustrated, Aunt Beverly suggested that I unplug the contraption but I did not consider that to be a reasonable option.

She became quite perturbed and waited impatiently until the jukebox had stopped its Luciferian lyrics.

In the meantime, I spotted my grandfather up toward the front of the boat, dancing to "Southern Nights" with one of the grandkids.

Which, I guess, made him a fallen prophet and led him to give the sermon, "The Fourteen Fundamentals of Dancing with the Devil."
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Dancing With Dictators: Monson Plays Footsies With Commies
Tuesday, Oct 25, 2005, at 11:21 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Who cares if you're a murdering Communist dictator, as long as you're making money for Mormon entrepreneurs and providing handshaking photo ops with LDS Cult leaders anxious to set up a prophetless profit-making shop in your country?

Take the case of East Germany's (the German Democratic Republic, or GDR) Soviet-backed henchman, Erich Honecker.

For those who may not be familiar with the professional "accomplishments" of Mr. Honecker, below is a brief synopsis:

In 1961 Honecker was in charge of the building of the Berlin Wall. In 1971, he initiated a political power struggle that led, with Soviet support, to himself becoming the [GDR's] new leader . . . During the 1980s, when Mikhail Gorbachev began his reforms, he remained a hard-line Communist. But popular protest led to his resignation on October 18, 1989, and he was replaced by [a] short-lived successor . . . .

From 1989 until 1993, Honecker avoided prosecution over Cold War crimes, specifically the 192 deaths of those trying to escape over the Berlin Wall.

http://www.dictatorofthemonth.com/Hon...

. . . [Following his fall] from power . . . after 18 years, Honecker was extradited to Germany from Moscow, where he fled to escape manslaughter charges linked to deaths of defectors at the Berlin Wall. But the trial collapsed in 1993 due to Honecker's terminal illness.

http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?se...

Oh, but brothers and sisters in the glorious restored Gospel of Jesus Cash Christ, let's not get hung up in the brutal details. Let's put an end to all the negativity and send in the First Presidency to warmly cement a deal with the Communists--against the backdrop of the cold cement of the Berlin Wall.

Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, eagerly flew to East Germany to schmooze the Russian-backed tyrant and shake Honecker's hand, stained though it was with the blood of innocents.

Even some faithful--albeit ultimately apologetic--Mormons had a real problem with Monson’s dancing-with-dictators routine--a song and dance diabolically designed to get a cash-cow temple in place behind the Iron Curtain.

As LDS writer Eugene England reluctantly observed in an essay entitled, "Give Yourself a Christmas Present:"

President Monson seems more forgiving of the Communists than I'm afraid I could be. It is a little difficult, as he describes the delicate, necessarily secret negotiations that began as early as 1978 and eventually led to the first temple in a Communist nation, to reflect that such delicate diplomacy was perhaps the reason Tom Rogers was asked not to continue to produce for awhile his excellent play about the young German Mormon from Hamburg, Helmut Huebener, who in 1942 rebelled against a tyrannous dictatorship--Hitler's--and was executed.

And it is a little difficult to read President Monson's account of his genial meeting, along with other Church leaders, in October 1988 with Erich Honecker, the dictator, under Russian direction, of the GDR . . . not far behind Hitler and Stalin in betrayal and even murder of his own people (who only two years after that meeting overthrew him and put him in jail).

President Monson reports that Honecker praised the Mormons because "we taught our members to obey and sustain the law of the land and to be good citizens, that we emphasize the family, and that our Church members were ideal citizens of that land." . . . I'm not entirely certain I could want to be an ideal citizen of Mr. Honecker's utopian dictatorship.

But the fact remains that President Monson's persistent, forgiving geniality and his faithful, repeated prayer to God, "Wilt Thou intervene in the governmental affairs," succeeded where our own government's animosity and threats had not, and the faith of the German Saints was indeed rewarded--not just with the full blessings of the Gospel but, by 1990, with freedom from tyranny and uniting of the separate parts of the Church in Germany along with reunification under a non-Communist government.


That was a miracle that many of us in the Church prayed for for many years because the Brethren asked us to, though I confess I did so without much faith. But it did indeed happen, and the prayers and faith of a prophet and the German people were, I believe, important factors.

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/...

And speaking of giving presents, the ever-ready Mormon manufacturers of pretty figurines and other sacred knickknacks have proudly noted on their commercial website that Mormon Mafioso Monson gave Communist Criminal Honecker one of their own celestial creations:

President Thomas S. Monson, second [counselor in the] Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shakes hands with East German state and party leader Erich Honecker. President Monson presented Honecker Friday with a gift sculpture, "In The Family Circle," and praised the East German government for its corporation [yes, that's an actual typo] with church members. (emphasis added)

http://www.hansenclassics.com/news.ht...

Who gives a hoot? Praise the Lord and pass the loot.
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How The Mormon God Selectively Respects Sexual "Sinners"
Thursday, Oct 27, 2005, at 10:25 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
Introduction: How the Mormon God Selectively Respects Sexual "Sinners"

Mormons eagerly, and dishonestly, declare at every turn that they, their God and their Church are "no respecter of persons."

As one devout LDS Cult member has proclaimed:

God is no respecter of persons, and every soul, in the ultimate sense, is just as precious in his sight as the souls of those who are called to positions of leadership.

Because he operates on principles of eternal, universal, and never deviating law, any individual who abides the law that entitles him to get revelation can know exactly and precisely what President Kimball knows, can entertain angels just as well as Joseph Smith entertained them, and can be in tune in full measure with all of the things of the Spirit.


(Ted L. Gibbons, “This is the Spirit of Revelation,” Doctrine and Covenants/Church History, Lesson #5 [Doctrine and Covenants 6, 8, 9; and Joseph Smith History, vol. 1, pp. 8-17)
_____


The same claim which holds that the Mormon God is supposedly bound to the eternal law of treating everyone equally is found in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, under the subject heading of "God."

The Cult-selected author (with an appropriate last name of "Yarn") writes:

The Father, as God, is omnipotent, omniscient, and, through his spirit, omnipresent (see Light of Christ). He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness. His course is one eternal round. He is a God of truth and no respecter of persons. He personifies love.

(David H. Yarn, Jr., “God,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992)
_____


Using the Morals Charge to Excommunicate Critics of the Mormon Church and Others Who Threaten the Cult's Institutional Interests

Those unlucky enough not to be well- and powerfully-connected to the Mormon Cult's elite inner circles--and who find themselves caught in alleged hanky-panky--can expect to feel the impact of Mormonism's unholy and hypocritical hammer.
_____


The Case of the Sexually-Active DNA Expert

Take, for instance, the recent fate of Simon Southerton, author of Losing a Lost Tribe. Southerton has been an outspoken critic of outlandish and discredited Mormon beliefs of non-existent genetic connections between Native American and Mediterranean-area Semitic peoples.

Southerton explained what eventually happened to him at the hands of a Mormon ecclesiastical court (known in LDS lingo as a “disciplinary council"):

I was excommunicated for "having an inappropriate relationship with a woman" when I was:

--a) a member of the church (not attended for 5 years at the time and no contact from the church in that period);

--b) married to my wife (separated for several months by then); and

--c) a priesthood holder in the church (they really get into this priesthood, men only crap . . .

The Stake President denied that they were avoiding the issue of apostasy and that the charge they were investigating was more important.

I seriously question this claim.

I am now convinced that they were intent on avoiding a council on the charge of apostasy. I was clearly instructed before the meeting that if I attempted to talk about "DNA" and my apostasy that the council would be
immediately shut down and that it would be completed in my absence.


http://www.nataliercollins.com/weblog/20..
_____


The Case of the Polygamously-Active Apostle

Even those who happen to be high-ranking members of Mormonism’s good-ol’-boy inner circle--and who have been convicted of sexually-sinful heresy--find themselves booted from Church membership when their activities are viewed by Cult leaders as potentially political embarrassments to the interests of the Cult.

Take, for example, the case of excommunicated Apostle Richard L. Lyman:

In 1943, the First Presidency discovered that Lyman was cohabitating with a woman other than his legal wife. As it turned out, in 1925 Lyman had begun a relationship which he defined as a polygamous marriage.

Unable to trust anyone else to officiate, Elder Lyman and the woman exchanged vows secretly. Despite the fact that both Lyman and the woman were in their seventies, Lyman was excommunicated on November 12, 1943 at age 73.

The Quorum of the Twelve provided the newspapers with a one-sentence announcement, stating that the ground for excommunication was violation of the Christian law of chastity, even though many believe the real reason was his practice of post-Manifesto polygamy.

For years after his excommunication, some apostles worried that Apostle Lyman might join the Mormon fundamentalist movement.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_R._Lyman
_____


Reality-Checking the Double Standard: The Mormon God Very Much Respects Persons--As Long as They Have Important Family/Power Connections to the LDS Cult Which Serve the Cult’s Interests--And Even If They May Have Engaged in Cult-Condemned Sexual Activities

Two examples come to mind, the details of which I have been provided by highly-credible sources within the Mormon Church. (Names, detailed family background information and other potentially identifying factors are withheld here for confidentiality purposes).
_____


The Case of the Well-Connected, Sexually-Active Returned Missionary

In this case, I personally know, and have spoken directly with, the individual involved.

This individual is closely related to a former high-ranking (now-deceased) Mormon Church leader and has a name that would unmistakably identify him as such.

This individual returned from a two-year mission several years ago and subsequently became sexually-involved with a young woman in his stake.

Eventually, he went to his stake president, acknowledged that he had been sexually-involved with the woman, informed the stake president that he had instigated the sexual relationship and requested that he, not the young woman, be punished.

This person told me that his stake president responded by telling this individual that no person having that young man’s family name would be excommunicated from the Mormon Church.
_____


The Case of the Well-Connected, Sexually-Active Mission President’s Wife

In this case, I spoke with sources, very well placed within Mormon circles, whose credibility and reliability are unimpeachable.

I was informed that several years ago, the wife of a mission president then serving in a United States mission field, became sexually involved with two Mormon elders in that mission.

The mission president was related, through family, to prominent authorities in the high ranks of LDS leadership (also now deceased). Furthermore, the mission president did professional work for the Church that LDS, Inc. viewed as highly important and necessary.

The wife of the mission president was in a very unhappy personal situation with her husband at the time her sexual relationships with the young, in-the-field missionaries occurred.

The matter eventually became known to Mormon Church authorities, a Church disciplinary hearing was held and the woman was not excommunicated.

When later asked by a personal friend how she was doing, the woman replied that she had contemplated suicide but said that what had prevented her from doing so was her fear that she might go to the other side and discover that God was related to the family of her husband
_____


Conclusion: How "Respect" Works in the Mormon Cult

For all the high-minded, moralistic talk of Mormon Church leaders about God supposedly being no respecter of persons, the plain fact of the matter is that if you want to engage in so-called sexual "hanky-panky" as a Mormon--and happen, at the same time, to be connected by power and family to the inner circles of Mormondumb--there exists a good chance you’ll get off scot free, to be sent on your way with a wink and a nod.


In short, with Mormonism, family and business connections talk.

The "guilty" walk.
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Big John Vs. Little Joe: Comparing Their Dying Declarations
Monday, Oct 31, 2005, at 08:00 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13   -Link To MC Article-
The last words of Pope John Paul II:

. . . "Let me go to the house of the Father," according to documents released by the Vatican.

His words were spoken in his native Polish to aides hours before he died last April [2005].


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4257994.stm


[Hearing that the Pope was near death], [t]housands of people rushed to the Vatican, filling St Peter's Square and beyond, and held vigil for two days. At about 15:30 CEST, John Paul II spoke his final words, "Let me go to the house of the Father", to his aides in his native Polish and fell into a coma about four hours later. . . . He died in his private apartments, at 21:37 CEST (19:37 UTC) on 2 April, 46 days short of his 85th birthday.

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II


VATICAN CITY - Struggling to swallow and breathe, Pope John Paul II mumbled his final words weakly in Polish: "Let me go to the house of the Father." Six hours later, the comatose pontiff died, the Vatican says.

The account of John Paul’s final hours appears in a meticulously detailed official report on his last weeks just released by the Vatican in what might be an effort to ward off any doubts about how forthcoming it has been about his illness and April 2 death. . . .

Swallowing and breathing problems were consequences of the progression of Parkinson’s disease, which the 84-year-old pope suffered from for years, doctors have said.

Six hours before his death, John Paul said in Polish, "with a very weak voice and with mumbled words, 'Let me go to the house of the Father,'" the report said.

The official account is quite close to one offered last month by John Paul’s longtime personal secretary, now Krakow Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz. He told an Italian TV interviewer that a nun who was near the pontiff heard him say: “Let me go to the Lord.”

Media accounts published at the time of John Paul’s death said he looked toward the apartment window and whispered "Amen." The Rome newspaper La Repubblica quoted a Polish priest, Jarek Cielecki, as saying the pope died "an instant" after he made a great effort to say, "Amen."


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9377134/


_____


The last words of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith:

"Oh Lord, my God!" [as he was] crying out while being shot by a mob inside his room [at Carthage Jail in June 1844].

Some assert Smith's cry was a Masonic distress call for help as Smith and some of those within the mob which assassinated him were Masons.


http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Famous_last_words


"Joseph Smith's Death–Masonic Cry" (Excerpt Mormonism–Shadow or Reality? p. 485):

"Although Joseph Smith found himself in trouble with the Masons, he gave the Masonic signal of distress just before he was murdered. In his book concerning Masonry, William Morgan gives this information concerning what a Mason is supposed to do "in case of distress": 'The sign is given by raising both hands and arms to the elbows, perpendicularly, one on each side of the head, the elbows forming a square. The words accompanying this sign, in case of distress, are, "O LORD, MY GOD" is there no help for the widow's son?'" (Freemasonry Exposed, p. 76)

"John D. Lee claimed that Joseph Smith used the exact words that a Mason is supposed to use in case of distress: 'Joseph left the door, sprang through the window, and cried out, "OH, LORD, MY GOD, IS THERE NO HELP FOR THE WIDOW'S SON!"' (Confessions of John D. Lee, reprint of 1880 ed., p. 153)

"Other accounts seem to show that Joseph Smith used the first four words of the distress cry. According to the History of the Church, Joseph Smith 'fell outward into the hands of his murderers, exclaiming, "O LORD, MY GOD!"' (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 618)

"Less than a month after Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered, the following appeared in the Mormon publication, Times and Seasons:

'...with uplifted hands they gave such SIGNS OF DISTRESS as would have commanded the interposition and benevolence of Savages or Pagans. They were both MASONS in good standing. Ye brethren of "the mystic tie" what think ye! Where is our good MASTER Joseph and Hyrum? Is there a pagan, heathen, or savage nation on the globe that would not be moved on this great occasion, as the trees of the forest are moved by a mighty wind? Joseph's last exclamation was "O LORD MY GOD!"' (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 585)

"The Mormon writer E. Cecil McGavin admitted that Joseph Smith gave the Masonic signal of distress: 'When the enemy surrounded the jail, rushed up the stairway, and killed Hyrum Smith, Joseph stood at the open window, his martyr-cry being these words, "O Lord My God!" This was NOT the beginning of a prayer, because Joseph Smith did not pray in that manner. This brave, young man who knew that death was near, started to repeat THE DISTRESS SIGNAL OF THE MASONS, expecting thereby to gain the protection its members are pledged to give a brother in distress. In 1878, Zina D. Huntington Young said of this theme, "I am the daughter of a Master Mason; I am the widow of the Master Mason who, when leaping from the window of Carthage jail, pierced with bullets, MADE THE MASONIC SIGN OF DISTRESS, but those signs were not heeded except by the God of Heaven."' (Mormonism and Masonry, by E. Cecil McGavin, page 17)

"On page 16 of the same book, Mr. McGavin quotes the following from the Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 26: 'Joseph, leaping the fatal window, GAVE THE MASONIC SIGNAL OF DISTRESS.'"


http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/josephsmithsdeath.htm


******

(Personally, I kinda like actress Joan Crawford's reported final expression):

"Dammit. Don't you dare ask God to help me."

. . . This comment was directed towards her housekeeper who began to pray aloud.


http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Famous_last_words
 
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