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  STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15
Total Articles: 12
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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Mormons Say They Are Big On The U.s. Constitution. Alrighty Then, How Constitutional Was The Mormon Secret Temple "Oath Of Vengeance"?
Friday, Oct 5, 2012, at 07:10 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
It's not surprising that Mormons howl in protest--screaming "SACRED!" at the top of their latter-day lungs--when honest efforts are made to examine the history of their secret, violence-laden Mormon temple oaths and rituals.

One of the more notorious ones in this regard was the infamous “Oath of Vengeance,” which Mormons swore against the United States government.

Into the first two decades of the 20th century, faithful, temple-attending Mormons, secretly took this Oath of Vengeance. The U.S. Senate considered it a serious enough threat to convene hearings on this Mormon temple vow and other matters related to the LDS church.

Below are some pertinent historical details regarding this Oath of Vengeance that Mormons are not inclined to talk about in openly:

“Following Joseph Smith's martyrdom [actually, Smith, armed with a pistol, was shot to death in a jailhouse gunfight after being place behind bars for ordering the destruction of a newspaper press], Brigham Young [Smith's successor] introduced an oath in the [Mormon temple] endowment which required members [of the church] to swear vengeance 'upon this nation.' It became the subject of a United States Senate investigation.

“Reed Smoot was a Mormon Apostle who had been elected a Senator from Utah. In 1903 a protest was filed in the United States Senate to have [the] Hon. Smoot removed from office, on the grounds that he had taken this treasonous oath in the endowment ritual.

"The complete record of this episode was published in 'U.S. Senate Document 486 (59th Congress, 1st Session) Proceedings Before the Committee on Privileges and Elections of the United States Senate in the Matter of the Protests Against the Right of Hon. Reed Smoot, a Senator from the State of Utah, to hold his Seat,' 4 vols.[+1 vol. index] (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1906).”

When questioned about it under oath during U.S. Senate hearings, Smoot refused to divulge this secret Mormon temple Oath of Vengeance. (for a “New York Times” account of Smoot's cover-up in this regard, see: “Smoot Would Not Tell of Endowment Secrets,” in “New York Times," 23 January 1905, at: http://1857massacre.com/MMM/PDF/Smoot... ; and “Oath of Vengeance,” at: http://1857massacre.com/MMM/oath_of_v...;)

This secret Mormon temple ritual's multi-generational Oath of Vengeance against the U.S. government was worded as follows:

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children's children unto the third and fourth generation.”

(“Oath of Vengeance,” at: http://www.lds-mormon.com/veilworker/...)

With word leaking out of its existence, the Mormon church eventually removed this Oath of Vengeance was from its secret temple rituals.

Below is an overall history of this vow of vengeance and retribution against their own government, as temple-attending Mormons promised to obey it:

“One of the oaths which was formerly taken in the temple ritual was the source of so much trouble that the Mormon leaders finally removed it entirely from the ceremony. This oath was printed in 'Temple Mormonism,' pa. 21, as follows: 'You and each of you do solemnly promise and vow that you will pray, and never cease to pray, and never cease to importune high heaven to avenge the blood of the prophets on this nation, and that you will teach this to your children and your children's children unto the third and fourth generation.'\

“A great deal of testimony has been given concerning this oath, and although all of the witnesses did not agree as to its exact wording, there can be little doubt that such an oath was administered to the Mormon people after Joseph Smith's death. John D. Lee related that the following occurred after Joseph Smith's death:

“' . . . Brigham raised his hand and said, 'I swear by the eternal Heavens that I have unsheathed my sword, and I will never return it until the blood of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum, and those who were slain in Missouri, is avenged. This whole nation is guilty of shedding their blood, by assenting to the deed, and holding its peace.' .. . . Furthermore, every one who had passed through their endowments, in the Temple, were placed under the most sacred obligations to avenge the blood of the Prophet, whenever an opportunity offered, and to teach their children to do the same, thus making the entire Mormon people sworn and avowed enemies of the American nation ('The Confessions of John D. Lee,' p. 160).

“Some Mormon apologists have maintained that there was no 'Oath of Vengeance' in the temple ceremony, but the 'Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon' makes it very plain that there was such an oath. Under the date of December 6, 1889, Apostle Cannon recorded the following in his diary:

“'About 4:30 p.m. this meeting adjourned and was followed by a meeting of Presidents Woodruff, Cannon and Smith and Bros. Lyman and Grant. . . . In speaking of the recent examination before Judge Anderson Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs.' ('Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon,' December 6, 1889, pp. 205-06).

“Apostle Cannon went on to relate that [eventual Mormon church president] Joseph F. Smith was about to murder a man with his pocket knife if he even expressed approval of Joseph Smith's death.

“The Oath of Vengeance probably had a great deal to do with the massacre at Mountain Meadows, in which about 120 men, women, and children were killed, and other murders which were committed in early Utah (see 'Mormonism–Shadow or Reality?' pp. 493-515, 545-59).

“Just after the turn of the century the Mormon leaders found themselves in serious trouble because of the oath of vengeance. They were questioned at great length concerning this oath in the 'Reed Smoot Case.' The Oath of Vengeance remained in the temple ceremony, however, even after the 'Reed Smoot Case' was printed . . . . It must have been removed sometime between then and 1937, because in a lecture delivered on February 28, 1937, Francis M. Darter complained that 'The Law and prayer of Retribution, or divine judgment, against those who persecute the Saints, has been entirely removed from Temple services. . . . The reason why it was taken out, says one Apostle, was because it was offensive to the young people.' ('Celestial Marriage,' p. 60).

“. . . [T]he oaths taken in the temple were originally very crude. . . . [O]ne example here [From the Smoot hearings]–i.e., the testimony of J. H. Wallis, Sr., who had been through the temple about 20 times:

“MR. WALLIS: ' . . . [A]nother vow was what we used to call the "oath of vengeance.' . . .

“MR. TAYLER: 'Stand up, if it will help you, and give us the words, if you can.'

“MR. WALLIS (standing up): 'That you and each of you do promise and vow that you will never cease to importune high heaven to avenge the blood of the prophets upon the nations of the earth or the inhabitants of the earth.' ('The Reed Smoot Case,' vol. 2, pp. 77-79).

“The next day Mr. Wallis corrected his testimony concerning the oath of vengeance:

“MR. WALLIS: 'In repeating the obligation of vengeance I find I made a mistake; I was wrong. It should have been 'upon this nation.' I had it 'upon the inhabitants of the earth.' It was a mistake on my part. (ibid., pp. 148-49).

(“Temple Work,” at: http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...)

Rest assured, you will not hear Mitt Romney speaking publicly about any of this.
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Holy "How May I Help You?": Utah Walmart Helps Makes The Brigham City Temple's Dedicatory "Hosanna Hanky Shout" Possible
Tuesday, Oct 9, 2012, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
It was confirmed to me a few days ago by a good friend of mine living behind the Zion Curtain that when the Brigham City temple was dedicated, Mormon church meetings were cancelled from southern Idaho down into northern Utah so that temple-worthy Mos could attend and participate in the event.

Part of the proceedings involved holy hanky waving.

My friend told me that he saw a sign at his local Utah Walmart that read, "To purchase white handkerchiefs, please see the customer service desk."

Below is a "Church News" description of this solemn hanky shakey, as led by then-Church prez Gordon Hanky Hinckley when the Mormon Church Conference Center was dedicated back in 2000:

"After instructions from President Gordon B. Hinckley and following his dedicatory prayer, the Conference Center congregation rose from their seats, most holding white handkerchiefs. Led by him, they waved the cloths above their heads with a united 'shout' of 'Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna, to God and the Lamb,' spoken three times.

"Because the practice is considered sacred to Latter-day Saints, President Hinckley asked the media to be sensitive in its coverage and comments about the proceedings.

"According to a statement issued by the Church, the practice is 'reminiscent of the praise of the followers of Jesus as he descended the Mount of Olives (in the New Testament account, Matt. 21:1-11) and of the outcry of the multitudes in America while surrounding the temple in the land Bountiful' as chronicled in 3 Nephi 11:17 in the Book of Mormon, revered by Church members as scripture on par with the Bible."

"'It also parallels the 'praising and thanking the Lord' by voices and instruments at the dedication of Solomon's temple,' in 2 Chronicles 5:11-14, the statement said."

("Audience Joins Pres. Hinckley in 'Hosanna Shout,' published in "Church News," 8 October 2000, at:http://www.google.com/url?q=http://ww...)

Sacred? Really?

How sacred can it be when a Utah Walmart in the heart of Moville is openly advertising "Hosanna-Shout" holy hankies at its customer service desk? It's enough to want to make you blow your nose.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2136/1...
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Misleading The Mormon Masses And The Mainstream Media: How LDS Inc.'s Leaders Have Historically Siphoned Money From Their Members To Support Their Own Lifestyles And Cover Their Debts
Monday, Oct 15, 2012, at 07:37 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
Misleading the Mormon Masses And the Mainstream Media: How LDS Inc.'s Leaders Have Historically Siphoned Money from Their Members to Support Their Own Lifestyles And Cover Their Debts-

And that's not the whole of it.

Anyone who claims that leaders of the Mormon Church have not, as a matter of historical LDS practice, raided member wallets and dipped into Church funds in order to (among other things) cover their personal expenses or to receive a Church salary is either:

(a) deliberately not telling you the truth; or

(b) not up to speed on the truth.

(The following comes from D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy--Extensions of Power," Chapter 6, "Church Finances" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, in association with Smith Research Associates, 1997], see pp. 198-225 and footnotes for Chapter 6, pp. 502-513); also, from Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise," Chapter 7, "Mormon, Inc." [San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999], pp. 119, 127)

--Mormonism's Badly-Kept Secret of a Paid Clergy: LDS Scriptural Excuses for Putting Joseph Smith and Subsequent General Authorities on the People-Provided Payroll--

"Before the Church even had a tithing requirement, it had a paid ministry. In November 1831 a revelation declared: 'He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire . . .' (DandC 70:12). This was the doctrinal basis for giving financial support to Joseph Smith, and later to a hierarchy of General Authorities."

("Paid Ministry and Voluntary Service," p. 204)

--But Wait There's More!: Mormon Church Justification for Pay-Outs to the First Presidency, the General Authorities and Other High-Ranking Officers--

"In May 1835 an official Church council voted that the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and First Council of Seventy 'have particularly to depend upon their ministry for their support, and that of their families; and they have a right, by virtue of their offices, to call upon the churches to assist them.' When Bishop Edward Partridge gave the first definition of tithing in December 1837, part of the tithing was for 'remunerating the officers of the Church for the time which they were necessarily employed in doing the business of the same.' Six months later the stake high council voted 'to instruct the Bishop to pay the First Presidency, J. Smith, and Sidney Rigdon, whatever sum they agree with them for.' However, there was 'such an uproar' over this decision that the First Presidency dropped its request for a fixed annual salary."

(ibid., p. 205)

--The Laying On of the Wallet: Mormon Church Patriarchs Get Cash and Donations for Giving Blessings--

"For several decades only the Patriarch had a set compensation, while other General Authorities depended on haphazard donations from the rank-and-file or ad hoc appropriations from general Church funds. In 1835 the Presiding Patriarch was authorized a salary of $10 a week, plus expenses.

"Both the Presiding Patriarch and local stake patriarchs charged a fee. In the 1840s the fee was $1 per patriarchal blessing at Nauvoo; by the end of the nineteenth century it had increased to $2 per blessing. Joseph Smith, Sr., gave patriarchal blessings without payment of a fee, but would not record them. 'Uncle' John Smith commented that he 'lived very poor ever since we left Kirtland Ohio' in January 1838 until January 1844. Then his nephew Joseph Smith ordained him a patriarch 'through which office I obtained a comfortable living.'

"Financial incentive is another explanation for the fact that individual Mormons received more than one patriarchal blessing in the 19th century, often at the invitation of the patriarch. In October 1877 John Taylor criticized the monetary motivation of some stake patriarchs. He said they were using their patriarchal office as 'a mere means of obtaining a livelihood, and to obtain more business they had been traveling from door to door and underbidding each other in the price of blessings.'

"In addition, patriarchs received fees for giving unrecorded blessings of healing to the sick. In fact, Apostle Francis M. Lyman commended Patriarch Elias Blackburn for 'doing a great deal of good among the sick, without receiving very much pay for his services.'

"Patriarchal blessing fees ended in 1902, although patriarchs were allowed to accept unsolicited donations. Not until 1943 did church authorities prohibit patriarchs from accepting gratuities for giving blessings."

(ibid.)

--Also Eating from the Tithing Table: Local Mormon Church Leaders--

"In the 19th-century American West, local officers of the LDS church obtained their support from the tithing they collected. As early as 1859 Brigham Young wondered 'whether a Stake would not be better governed when none of the officers were paid for their services.' During Young's presidency, ward bishops drew at will from the primarily non-cash tithing Mormons donated. He complained at October 1860 General Conference 'against a principle in many of the Bishops to use up all the Tithing they could for their own families.'"

(ibid., p. 206)

--Tracing the Tithing-Takers to the Tracters: Funding Full-Time Mormon Missionaries--

"Even full-time missionaries benefitted from tithing funds in the 19th century. The senior president of the First Council of Seventy commented in 1879 that the families of married missionaries should be supported from tithing funds. However, at best that practice barely kept struggling wives and children out of abject poverty while their husbands and fathers served two-year missions."

(ibid.)

--Bellying Up to the Tithing Trough: The Quorum of the Twelve Gets Its Turn, While the Local Leaders Feed Bag Gets Turned Off-- "In 1884 Church president John Taylor limited bishops to 8% of tithing they collected (now primarily cash), while stake presidents got 2% of tithing collected by all the bishops of the stake. In 1888 Wilford Woodruff established set salaries for stake presidents and provided that a stake committee would apportion 10% of collected tithing between the bishops and the stake tithing clerk. At April 1896 General Conference, the First Presidency announced the end of salaries for local officers, in response to the decision of the temple meeting 'to not pay Salaries to any one but the Twelve.'"

(ibid.)

--Tithing-Funded Salaries of Stake Presidents: Put on Hold (Temporarily)--

"Nevertheless, ending salaries to stake presidents in 1896 was temporary. For a while stake presidents and their counselors were allowed to draw 'from the tithing fund . . . no more than the limit which had been previously specified, and not to entertain the idea that a stipulated compensation attached like a salary to certain offices in the Church.' By April 1897 the First Presidency spoke about 'the subject of compensation to presiding men' in a meeting with stake presidents and other local officers. The First Presidency urged 'the brethren to give their services so far as possible to the church without remuneration.' In 1898 'the regular 10% of tithing [was] allowed Bishops and clerks for handling the same,' but the First Presidency balked at allowing even more to cover expenses for supplies.

"By 1904 set salaries were back again for stake presidents, who were allowed $300 per year. As late as 1910, local officers continued to receive 10% of locally-collected tithing 'for handling tithes.' Recently a Mormon said that his father received a cash allowance as bishop in the 1920s, which was a later period of such compensation than my own research has verified."

(ibid.)

--Raking It in for Retirement: Church Allowances Given to Stake Presidents and Bishops--

"In addition, since the 1880s stake presidents and bishops of long tenure had received retirement allowances in monthly or annual payments. In 1901 even the parsimonious Church president Lorenzo Snow said that a financially-struggling stake president 'ought to receive his remuneration after he was released as well as before.' Retirement allowances for stake presidents continued into the early 1900s."

(ibid., p. 207)

--Regular Payouts for General Authorities: Complaining Rank-and-File Church Members Told to Quit "Whining"--

". . . [F]inancial compensation for Church officers began with the General Authorities in the 1830s but did not become systematic until 1877. During these decades there was evidence of rank-and-file dissatisfaction with the Mormon hierarchy's financial privileges. In 1847 Brigham Young told a public meeting: 'Be contented with your lot and station and stop whining and babbling about the Twelve, saying that Brigham oppresses the poor and lives off their earning and that you can't see why you can't have some of his good living, and so on. Did Brigham Young ever get anything from you, did you ever help him to any of his fine living, you poor curses, or was it through Brigham's influence that thousands of the poor have been fed?' After Young and the Apostles spent the next 12 years directing the expanding settlements of the Great Basin, 'Erastus Snow spoke Concerning the feelings of many of the people against seeing the Twelve prosper in temporal things.'"

(ibid.)

--Mormon Church Leaders Eventual Cave to Protests and Lower Their Demands for Member Money: (They Resume Taking More Soon Enough)--

"Following discussion of this criticism in February 1859, the First Presidency and Apostles restrained their financial activities. For the next five years Salt Lake County's annual assessments showed a steep decline in the wealth of Brigham Young, his Counselors, and the Apostles. By contrast the assessed wealth of the Presiding Bishop and his counselors initially increased and then only gradually tapered off during the same period. The rank-and-file expected the Presiding Bishopric to have extensive financial activity. In fact, the pendulum had swung so far that in December 1865 Apostle John Taylor '[p]rophesied that the Twelve should be delivered from the bondage of poverty under which they have been weltering for years.'"

(ibid.)

--Making Out Like Bandits: Brigham and His Inner-Circle Buddies Hit the Jackpot--

"Although the rate of this financial decline had been equivalent for the First Presidency and Apostles, the burden was far less on Brigham Young and his Counselors who had massive personal wealth compared to the Apostles. In 1859 Young's own property assessments were only slightly below those of the entire Church for Salt Lake County. Young's totalled $100,000, while the Trustee-in-Trust's was $102,250. In

First Counselor Heber C. Kimball 'observed that Mormonism had made him all that he was: he was worth $20,000 now; and if he had remained in the States he would have been a poor man to this day.' Brigham Young estimated his personal wealth at about $600,000 in a legal deposition of 1875. That was three years after he paid $100,000 in 'the tithing of his own personal means.' By contrast, during Young's presidency the Twelve's average assessed wealth reached a high of $6,672 in 1874, and several apostles individually had only $500 to $2,000 in assessed wealth annually from 1860 to Young's death in August 1877."

(ibid., pp. 207-08)

--Ringing the Dinner Bell: General Conference Announcement of General Authoritiy Compensation (Overdrafts Follow)--

"At the October 1877 General Conference, the hierarchy announced a policy of 'reasonable recompense for their services' to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and to the First Presidency, when organized. In John Taylor's view, this was actually a way of stopping the previous abuses in the personal use of tithing funds. 'Some of my brethren, as I have learned since the death of President Brigham Young, did have feelings concerning his course,' Apostle George Q. Cannon wrote. 'It is felt that the funds of the Church have been used with a freedom not warranted by the authority which he held.' Of General Authorities still living, Joseph F. Smith wrote in December 1877: 'One man, for instance, who has drawn $16,000 per year from the tithing office for his support, has been cut down to 2,000 per year. Thus some of the leaks are plugged up and we hope to be able by and by to build the temple.' Smith was apparently referring to Brigham's son John W. Young, who served as his father's Counselor for 13 years (first secretly and later with public acknowledgement).

"However, Taylor's 'reasonable recompense' of 1877 did not cover the needs of the Apostles. At an Apostles' meeting on 3 May 1880, '[t]he question of over-running salaries was brought up. Several of the brethren had overdrawn their allowance . . . ' They voted to forgive the overdrafts and to increase their annual allowance. In addition, the Apostles decided to give an allowance to the Presiding Patriarch in addition to his per-blessing fee."

(ibid., p. 208)

--Setting Up a Salaried System of Siphoning: Members, and Even Apostles, Complain That It's Getting Out of Hand--

"In September 1887 this became fixed allotments, which one Apostle opposed Twelve draw a salary.'In April 1888 the First Council of Seventy also began receiving financial allowances, to which one council member replied: 'I would prefer to receive no salary.' A 'permanent' allowance to members of the First Council of Seventy was not established for another decade."

(ibid.)

--Pangs of Conscience?: Mormon Church Presidents Start Feeling Guilty About the Gluttony--

"Nevertheless, LDS presidents themselves expressed discomfort about using their allowances. When the First Presidency and Twelve discussed the salary system again in 1896, President Wilford Woodruff said that he had not drawn money from the church until after 1877. Apostle Lorenzo Snow, Woodruff's presidential successor, said that despite the allowance system, he had not drawn from Church funds for 40 years. This resistance to making personal use of Church funds reached its climax in President Heber J. Grant, who rode public street cars rather than use tithing funds to have an automobile and chauffeur for the First Presidency."

(ibid., pp. 208-09)

--Mormon General Authorities Put Aside Their Guilt: Member Money Is Kept Flowing Their Way--

"Despite discomfort over receiving tithing funds for living allowances, a salary system for LDS General Authorities continued without significant interruption from 1882 on. As indicated by Joseph F. Smith's 1877 letter and by Wilford Woodruff's diary, the Apostles received $2,000 to $2,500 annually during the first five years of the salary system. Then significant financial stratification occurred, with the senior apostle receiving $5,000 annually, Apostles of middle seniority $3,000, and junior Apostles $2,000. In September 1887 the Apostles adopted a uniform compensation, with each receiving $3,000. Although there was not yet a fixed allowance for the First Council of Seventy, in 1888 the Presiding Patriarch's 'annuity' increased from $1,000 to $1,250."

(ibid., p. 209)

--Power and Seniority Rankings: Setting of Salary Levels for Mormon Top Leadership: --

"By the turn of the 20th century, the hierarchy's allowances were stratified by ecclesiastical position and seniority. In 1890 the monthly allowances of the Quorum of the Twelve and Presiding Bishop were identical, with the counselors in the First Presidency receiving $50 more a month and the church president receiving another $100 monthly. By 1907 the monthly allowances were stratified into a six-tiered system: (1) the lowest allowance for junior members of the Seventy, (2) the next higher allowance to mid-level members of the Seventy and the Presiding Patriarch, followed by (3) the eight junior members of the Twelve, (4) the Presiding Bishopric, two senior members of the Seventy, and four senior members of the Twelve, (5) the counselors in the Presidency, and (6) the president of the church. In those 1907 allowances, $100 monthly separated the top two tiers, and only $50 monthly separated each of the lower tiers. By 1932 there were only four strata in the monthly allowance system: (1) the lowest allowance was for counselors to the Presiding Bishop and for the entire Seventy, (2) an extra $50 monthly allotment for the Presiding Bishop, the Presiding Patriarch, and all members of the Twelve, (3) an additional increase of $100 monthly for counselors in the First Presidency, (4) and a $150 monthly bonus for the Church president. David O. McKay's presidency (1951-70) adopted uniform allowances for all general authorities, regardless of quorum or seniority."

(ibid.)

--More Riches for the Rulers: Fees Charged for Divorces, Cancellations of Sealing and Setting Apart of Missionaries--

"There were also miscellaneous fees which the General Authorities collected for ecclesiastical services. Brigham Young charged men 'ten dollars for each divorce' or cancellation of sealing, which policy continued until the end of the century. In addition, until 1899 the General Authorities charged a fee for setting apart all departing missionaries."

(ibid.)

--Wanting More, More, More: Mormonism's Highest Keep Insisting on Competitive Compensation--

"Periodically the Mormon hierarchy has made a significant increase in monthly allowances to General Authorities. In 1950, for example, there was a 30% increase. Nevertheless, in view of the financial empire administered by the LDS General Authorities, their compensation from Church funds has always been paltry compared to the salaries and perks of corporate America. In 1949 First Presidency Counselor J. Reuben Clark wrote that 'the General Authorities of the Church get precious little from the tithing of the Church. They are not paid as much as a first-class, stenographic secretary of some of the men who run industry.' That disparity was probably the reason for the next year's increase in allowances to the General Authorities.

"For example, as a newly-appointed Assistant to the Twelve in 1941, Marion G. Romney found that his Church 'allowance amounted to less than half of what he was earning from his law practice when he was called as a General Authority.' Appointed an Apostle that same year, Harold B. Lee found that his financial allowance was less than the salary of some staff members at LDS headquarters. As was true in the 19th-century hierarchy, a significant drop in income and personal wealth occurred when a man accepted the calling of LDS General Authority."

(ibid., pp. 209-10)

--Big General Authority Bonuses: The Book Business

"Although not a formal salary, General Authorities can also receive significant income from the books they publish. When he published 'The Way To Perfection' in 1931, Joseph Fielding Smith specified that all its future royalties would go to the LDS Genealogical Society. However, he was not as generous with the royalties from his dozens of other books. For example, when President Smith died in July 1972, his royalties from Deseret Book Company totaled $9,636 for the previous six-month period. Presiding Bishop (and later Apostle) LeGrand Richards set a remarkable example by accepting no royalties for his 'Marvelous Work and a Wonder' which had sold 2 million copies by the time of his death in 1983. However, a president of the LDS church's publishing company has observed that very few General Authorities have declined royalties for their books. Mormons purchase books written by General Authorities primarily because of the church office the author holds, rather than for the book's content. Although many General Authorities do not write books, such royalty income is a direct consequence of being an LDS leader."

(ibid., p. 210)

--Hiding the Financial Facts: Gordon B. Hinckley Fudges on the Extent of General Authority Living Allowances--

"Speaking of LDS Church-owned businesses and stock-portfolio in 1985, First Presidency Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley said that 'the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people. However, tithing was the source of these 'living allowances' from the 1830s until the Church's corporate success in recent years.

"Moreover, President Hinckley's description of the hierarchy's income as 'very modest' depends upon one's own concept of wealth. For example, when Joseph Fielding Smith died at age 95 in 1972, he had worked nearly all his adult life at LDS headquarters, first as a paid employee in the Historian's Office and then as a General Authority with a Church living allowance. At his death, President Smith had $245,000 in bank deposits, $120,000 in cash, $120,574 in stocks/bonds, and $10,688 in uncashed checks (including Deseret Book royalties of $9,636). Even 25 years after his death, few rank-and-file Mormons have such 'modest' amounts of cash and liquid assets available to them in old age."

(ibid., pp. 210-11)

--Wiping Out Personal Debt with Mormon Church Money: Another LDS Presidential Perk--

"The LDS ministry is still a volunteer, lay ministry. In the 20th century, Church offices have become unpaid to a degree they never were in the 19th century. Of more than 160,000 ecclesiastical leaders at the beginning of 1996, fewer than 500 were authorized a living allowance from church funds. Many of these LDS officials decline to use their authorized allowances.

"However, on occasion Church presidents have personally benefitted from Church finances by simply cancelling their indebtedness to Church funds. On 23 April 1834 a revelation ended the Kirtland United Order and distributed its real estate assets among Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Martin Harris, Newel K. Whitney and John Johnson. The revelation said, 'it is my will that you shall pay all your debts' (DandC 104:78). However, Joseph Smith privately required Whitney to balance 'in full without any value recd.' the $1,151.31 Whitney had loaned to the prophet, as well as $2,484.22 of the other men's debts to Whitney. Bishop Whitney had to personally absorb this loss 'because Joseph said it must be done.'

"The next two Church presidents did likewise. Three weeks before he died in August 1877, Brigham Young obtained a cancellation of his debts in Ogden, Utah, extending back to 1849. Despite the previously stated objections of his own counselor, John Taylor also persuaded the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1880 to allow him a $10,000 claim for sugar machinery, which claim Brigham Young had refused since 1853."

(ibid., p. 211)

--Presents to the Prominent: Floating Church Loans to Big-Name Latter-day Saints--

"By contrast, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith did not use their office as Church president to cancel their personal indebtedness, yet they allowed tithing funds to serve as a loan pool for prominent Mormons. In a sharply-worded report in 1911, the Church auditors noted: 'If certain members of the Church are entitled to borrow money for private ends, is this not a right of all members, for the same purpose? If this policy is admitted, would it not result in confusion, jealousy, loss and consequent wrong?' The committee observed that 'the debtors frequently look upon their obligations as being due to a rich and indulgent relative, to be paid (if at all) at their own convenience.' Among the debtors was Apostle Heber J. Grant for a 'cash loan of $34,000.' In 1913 the committee renewed the subject of Church loans to individuals, and commented that 'it is not within the purview of the Trustee-in-Trust to make advances of this kind . . . And any loans made on plain notes are legally uncollectible.'

"It is important to recognize that General Authorities borrowed from the Church's general fund because their living allowances were insufficient to meet their needs. In 1910 Apostle Anthony W. Ivins recorded that the following members of the Twelve were in debt: Francis M. Lyman, George Albert Smith, Heber J. Grant, Rudger Clawson, Hyrum M. Smith, George F. Richards and David O. McKay. Grant was the most candid about his apostolic indebtedness: 'A president of the stake begged and pleaded with me to quit paying tithing. He said I did not owe any tithing until I got out of debt. Would not that have been a fine record for a man who now stands as president of the Church, not to have paid tithing for 32 years?'"

(ibid., pp. 211-12)

--Bankruptcy: A General Authority Way to Get Around Paying Off Personal Debts--

"Many General Authorities repaid their debts after long years of effort, while others died in debt. On the other hand, some chose to declare legal bankruptcy. In 1842 Joseph Smith, his counselor Sidney Rigdon, Presiding Patriarch Hyrum Smith, and Presiding bishop-designate Vinson Knight sought relief from their indebtedness by filing for bankruptcy. Seventy's president J. Golden Kimball was the next current General Authority who filed for bankruptcy. In 1899 he had $11,126 in debts but only $2,031 in assets. By 1902 the First Presidency was unwilling for a member of the Presidency or Twelve to declare public bankruptcy, and Apostle Reed Smoot quietly persuaded the creditors of John W. Taylor to settle the Apostle's $140,000 debts at ten cents on the dollar."

(ibid., p. 212)

--Putting the Squeeze on Church Finances: General Authorities Accept Stock to Cover What They Owe--

"On 27 December 1919 recently sustained Heber J. Grant obtained the approval of his Counselors to accept $30,000 worth of his stock (at par) in the Utah-Implement Vehicle Company to cancel loans he received as an Apostle from the Trustee-in-Trust. However, accepting stock to cancel personal loans caused enormous losses to the Church during Grant's administration. In 1930 First Counselor Anthony W. Ivins computed that the Church lost $900,000 in personal loans to Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley. Upon his appointment as Second Counselor in the First Presidency in 1925, Nibley had used stocks and bonds to repay his indebtedness to the Church."

(ibid.)

--Mormon Church Volunteer Work: It Only Goes So Far--

Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, in their book. "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, " write that "in the Mormon system there is that large amount of free administrative and mundane labor from lay volunteers at the lower levels, which remains a huge-costing saving factor."

(p. 119)

Note that the Ostlings confine that observation to the unpaid Mormon worker bees at "the lower levels." No mention is made of the long and significant payment history of Church members at other levels--from bishops, stake presidents, patriarchs and missionaries up to the highest LDS leaders in the General Authority ranks.

The Ostlings do mention, however, that "Mormon Inc.'s" adminstration of member welfare services includes the operation of "[f]acilities [by] paid professionals as necessary . . . ."

(ibid., p. 127)

Money.

That "as-necessary" commodity in the supposedly "we-work-for-free" LDS Church. Now, what were you saying about that non-paid, non-professional Mormon thing?
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On My Dishonor: Information Now Emerging on Mormon Church Connections to the Boy Scouts of America "Perversion Files" Document Dump
Monday, Oct 22, 2012, at 08:15 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
The Mormon Church's relationship to cases of alleged pedophilia by LDS Boy Scout leaders is coming to light in the wake of a massive court-ordered release of documents known as the BSA's led "perversion files" dating back to 1953--evidence, which indicates a systematic and wide-ranging cover-up on the part of Boy Scout national headquarters.

Some of the details involve the Mormon Church.

--Examples of Cases Found in the BSA's Pedophilic "Perversion Files" Relating to the Mormon Church

*from the "Capital Gazette" in Maryland:

"An assistant scoutmaster in 1974 was accused of taking nude photographs of two boy scouts in [a Maryland-area] Arnold scout troop and later reportedly said he couldn't be held responsible because he was 'under the influence of the devil.'

"A month later, he was accused of harassing the troop at Sandy Point State Park. And though he was banned in Arnold from the scouts, he allegedly was allowed to be alone with them again five years later in Bedford, Pa. . . .

". . . [T]he case file shows the scout master attempted to be a scout leader in several states after being banned in Arnold. He moved to Scottsdale, Ariz. and attempted in 1976 to apply as an adult leader there, but his attempts were refuted. In 1978, however, files indicate he was allowed alone with scouts in Pennsylvania. A letter from a scoutmaster there, dated May 1979, identifies him as a former scoutmaster of a troop sponsored by the Church of Latter Day Saints or Mormon Church in Bedford, Pa."

("Boy Scouts `perversion files' include seven cases in Anne Arundel County, about 90 in Maryland," by Alex Jackson, "Capital Gazette, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, 19 October 2012, at: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/fo...l)

*from an Australian newspaper:

"'What these files represent is ... the pain and the anguish of thousands' of scouts, said lawyer Paul Mones, while presenting details of the files at a press conference in [Oregon].

"Mones said the files `demonstrate the depth and breadth of the BSA's vast knowledge about the threats to scouts by scoutmasters and adult leaders who used their authority . . . to sexually molest generations of boys".'

"The lawyers highlighted a 2010 court case, in which an assistant scoutmaster in a Mormon Church-sponsored troop sexually molested a boy in the 1980s."

("US Boy Scout 'perversion files' released," by Michael Thurston, "The Australian," 19 October 2012, at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/...)

--Possible Legal Consquences Facing the Mormon Church

*from a "Forbes" analysis:

"Nobody likes seeing an institution like the Boy Scouts dragged into litigation. Especially over something as disturbing as child sexual abuse. But the very public data dump of "perversion files" that an Oregon judge authorized yesterday does represent one positive attribute of the U.S. legal system: It forces large institutions to rethink how they deal with problems that can affect thousands of individual victims.

"The value of these lawsuits is really not directed to any particular jury verdict or outcome," said Timothy Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School . . . . `These lawsuits tend to frame the issue as an institutional problem, and not a personal problem involving a couple of bad apples.

"The lawyer who forced the public release of the Boy Scouts files probably won't win too many popularity contests. Kelly Clark won a $20 million verdict against the Scouts on behalf of six plaintiffs in 2010, and his website lists other areas of practice that include `Mormon abuse' . . . .

("Boy Scout Case, Hate It Or Not, Shows Social Value Of Litigation," by Daniel "Forbes," at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfis...)

--How the Mormon Church May Have Tried to Shield Itself from Liability

*from LDS columnist Joanna Brookes, writing for "Religious Dispatches"

"[The] release of previously confidential files on child sexual abuse perpetrators maintained by the Boy Scouts of America from 1959 to 1985 are raising new questions about the relationship between the LDS Church and the BSA. Since 1918, the Church has partnered with the BSA, hosting scout troops in most of its United States congregations. . . .

"Today, a whopping 34% of Boy Scouts troops nationwide are co-sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But sources who have scrutinized the BSA's so-called `perversion files' report that fewer than 2% of the cases documented therein are connected with Mormons. It is believed that LDS Church may have handled child abuse cases internally rather than reporting them to BSA officials.

"The LDS Church confronted patterns of child sexual abuse within its own ranks in the 1990s after several high-profile child sexual abuse cases resulted in multimillion dollar payouts to victims and their families. The Mormon Alliance, a grassroots Mormon organization that monitored abuse within the Church, published a study documenting negligence on the part of local members and leaders in addressing abuse-and even the excommunication of some victims and accusers. In 1995, the Church established stronger guidelines and new protocols for reporting abuse, including a 1-800 number for local clergy."

("Boy Scout `Perversion Files' Raises Questions about Abuse in Mormon Contexts," by Joanna Brooks, 19 October 2012, at: http://www.religiondispatches.org/dis...)

Batten down the hatches, Brethren.

The chickens are coming home to roost--and they're aiming for your wallets.

**P.S.:

Lisa Davis--a solid and respected journalist who is a stickler for facts, a gifted writer and a former writer for the Phoenix, AZ, "New Times"--wrote a book entitled "The Sins of Brother Curtis: A Story of Betrayal, Conviction, and the Mormon Church" [New York, New York: Scribner, a divison of Simon and Schuster, Inc., 2011], 354 pp].

The LDS Church's defense of "Brother [Frank] Curtis"--a pedophilic LDS Scout leader who had been excommunicated and then, astoundingly enough, re-baptized, where he continued to have Mormon youth under his "care"--was disingenuous, disgusting and pure evil.

Lisa got in touch with me about the Curtis case, requesting background information on Mormon teachings and other matters. (For instance, we also talked about proper language and terminology she needed to use in her book, in order to have credibility with Mormon readers when speaking to Mormon history, doctrine and culture). (Lisa kindly noted my assistance under "Acknowledgements," p. 340; for an online version of the book, see: http://www.amazon.com/Sins-Brother-Cu...).

When in the course of our discussions Lisa informed me that the Mormon Church had advanced the defense in behalf of Curtis that it (the Mormon Church) was doctrinally required to re-baptize Curtis once he had repented of his sins (Curtis was a convicted criminal with a history of sexual molestation of minors), I pointed out to her what I viewed as the relevant portions of Mormon doctrine which clearly applied to such an unwarranted defense.

I emphasized that as a response to the LDS legal/theological argument that re-baptism of repeat sexual offender Curtis somehow cleansed him of his past sins and that he had thus started over with a "clean slate," Lisa should review canonized Mormon doctrine on the matter, as found in DandC 82:7.

This particular "holy scripture" of Mormonism emphatically declares that a person--once forgiven of a sin but who then recommits the same sin--is subject to divine punishment for recommitting that sin, as well as becomes re-subjected to divine punishment for the sin in which he had previously engaged; for which he was originally forgiven; but which he then recommitted.

The pertinent DandC passage reads as follows:

"And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any asin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the bformer sins return, saith the Lord your God."

As one critic observed of this official Mormon doctrine:

"According to LDS Scripture, true repentance is confessing sin and forsaking it or never returning to it again. As former [LDS] prophet Spencer Kimball has said, 'The forsaking of sin must be a permanent one. True repentance does not permit making the same mistake again.' If you repeat a sin, all of your 'former sins return.' Therefore, on the LDS view it is not enough to try your best. Rather, you must stop sinning. Period."

(Brett Kunkle, "The Impossible Gospel of Mormonism," at: http://www.str.org/site/PageServer?pa... ; see also the LDS tract, published by the LDS Church [1984], entitled "Repentance Brings Forgiveness," where the Kimball statement appears, p. 7)

This pathetic and desperate attempt by the Mormon Church's hired guns to absolve persistent pedophile "Brother" Frank Curtis of legal, moral and religious responsiblity for his sins of sexual predation (since he had been rebaptized and therefore was supposedly immunized from accountablity) is fundamentally undercut by Mormon doctrine itself.

Not that that fact matters one whit to the Mormon Church.

Worse than that, the fact that the Mormon Church would even attempt a defense of this perennial pervert is absolutely despicable.

As one reviewer of Lisa's book observed:

"Mormon Church leaders knew that Frank Curtis had a habitual need to molest young boys, yet they continued to place him in positions where he had access to more victims."

(Don Lattin, book review, "'The Sins of Brother Curtis,' by Lisa Davis," Special to "The Chronicle" [San Francisco], 19 March 2011, at: http://www.sfgate.com/books/article/T...)

Indeed, as another reviewer noted, Curtis had "even been excommunicated, then re-baptized and returned to the positions from which he preyed upon children."

("Child Molester + Mormons = Easy Prey," by Ken Munger, "Sacramento News and Review," 15 March 2011, at; http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/...)

It amazes and sickens me the extent to which the Mormon Church ignores its own doctrine in order to protect its bank account (not to mention how it grotesquely ducks its obligation to broader matters of human decency in delivering up for moral and legal accountability those who horrendously victimize young children).

Such an approach is obviously too much to expect of the corrupt Mormon Cult.
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News The Mormons Abuse: Colorado Indian Tribe Genetically Related To The Jews? Stop The Mormon Apologist Presses. (There's Always A Catch With Unschooled LDS Water Carriers)
Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012, at 07:54 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
News the Mormons Abuse: Colorado Indian Tribe Genetically Related to the Jews? Stop the Mormon Apologist Presses. (There's Always a Catch with Unschooled LDS Water Carriers) ...

Occasionally this board sees silly arguments snuck onboard by cranially-cramped posters who don't realize just how silly they really are.

One such claim is that certain Native Americans now inhabiting the Western Hemisphere display signs of Jewish genetics--which dyed-hard Mormons suggest supposedly proves (according to their loony LDS Sunday School logic) that these Native Americans are descendants of Book of Mormon Lamanites who allegedly rowed in from the Middle East hundreds of years before Mormonism's white Jesus entered the scene.

Let's examine the science that puts such faithfully-ignorant, last-stand Mormon arguments to rest in a genetically-marked grave.

From a "Jewish Times" article headlined, "Research Unearths Jewish Roots in Colorado Indians":

"A population of Native American Indians from the U.S. state of Colorado has been found to have a genetic mutation typical of Ashkenazi Jews."

--(Catch #1: These "Colorado Indians" got their Jewishness not courtesy of Book of Mormon travelers from the Middle East back before Mormon Jesus-time, but from European Jews during the time of Christopher Columbus).

Continuing from the "Jewish World" article:

"The finding [of a genetic mutation found in Colorado state Native Americans typical of Ashkenazi Jews] suggests the presence of common roots that date back to the days of [drum roll, please] Christopher Columbus.

" . . . [T]he so-called 'Ashkenazi mutation' is a deleterious modification in [the] BRCA1 gene which increases risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Researchers from the Sheba (Tel Hashomer) Medical Center in Israel found it in the DNA of descendants of those Indians who moved from Mexico to Colorado some 200 years ago.

"The same mutation was earlier tracked in Hispanic Americans whose ancestors also arrived in the United States from Mexico and South America.

"Computer analysis of genetic data has revealed that the two groups should have a common ancestor--a Jewish person who moved from Europe to the New World as far back as 600 years ago [Note: not 600 years before Jesus]--[a]t around the same time that Christopher Columbus discovered America, and the Jewish population was expelled from Spain."

--(Catch #2: These "Colorado Indians" exhibit no signs of Jewish cultural traditions).

Again, from the "Jewish World" article:

"In their publication in the 'European Journal of Human Genetics,' the team, led by Eitan Friedman, notes that Colorado's Mexican Indians do not seem to have any traditions that would link them to Jews."

("Research Unearths Jewish Roots in Colorado Indians," by "Ynet news," on "Jewish World," 1 June 2012, at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,73...)

Actually, this is not really new news at all.

RfM poster/exMormon/molecular biologist/senior research scientist Simon G. Southerton, Ph.D., in his book, "Losing a Lost Tribe; Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church," describes the ethnic group of Jews known as the Ashkenazi--and how they don't factually or actually fit the Mormon myth.

Southerton first explains who, ethnically speaking, the Ashkenazic Jews are:

"Of the estimated 14 million Jews living today, most are derived from two ethnic groups known as Ashkenazian and Sephardim, distinguished by their most recent place of exile. Ashenazic Jews, by far the most numerous (-80%), have resided in northeastern Europe for centurlies, particularly in the Rhineland. Sephardic Jews number about 700,000 and previously lived around the Mediterranean, predominately in Spain . . . . The two communities are culturally linked . . . even though they have been in relative isolation from each other during the past 500 years . . . . Most Sephardic Jews now share present-day Isreal with a similar number of Ashkenazim."

Southerton further writes that although "Jews are more closely related to other Semitic populations than they are to European people or to the more distant African populations[,] . . . somewhat unexpectedly Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews share closer genetic ties with each other than they do with groups in neighboring Semitic communities . . . [and] both have maintained a relatively high degree of isolation from surrounding foreign populations."

Southerton then proceeds to map out the Ashkenazic Jews' European DNA:

"Paternal and maternal genealogies display the strong genetic links [Jewish] Middle Eastern groups have with Europe. Virtually all of the individuals in Middle Eastern populations have maternal DNA lineages found frequently among Europeans. Those European lineages have been classified into distinct lineage families on the basis of specific DNA mutations . . . ."

Citing a 2004 study (Gonzalez, et al) of maternal DNA lineages among Middle Eastern and European populations involving 565 Ashkenazi Jews from 15 different populations in Europe, Southerton notes that "[t]he most common female line in Europe is the HV group, which occurs at a frequency of almost 70% in Spain [Note: Spain was the home country of Christopher Columbus]. A characteristic of the Ashenaizim populations is the high frequency of the K lineage (32%), typically occuring at low frequencies in most other European populations."

Southerton adds that "[t]he research [also] shows conclusively that the inception of the Jewish priesthood predated the division of world Jewry into the Ashkenazic and Sephardic ethnic groups over 1,000 years ago."

(Simon G. Southerton, "Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church," Chapter 9, "The Outcasts of Israel," under the subheadings, "The House of Israel," "Jewish Molecular Genealogies" and "Sons of Aaron" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 2004], pp. 122-23, 126)

Dealing with Mormon apologists who wouldn't know science from a hole in the ground in the Hill Cumorah is like shooting fish in a barrel that is "tight like unto a dish."
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Good And Evil; Light And Darkness; Faces, Mountains And Mars: Explaining The Real World To Faithful Mormons
Thursday, Jan 3, 2013, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
Good and Evil; Light and Darkness; Faces, Mountains and Mars: Explaining the Real World to Faithful Mormons . . .

I had the unexpected, low-key and genuinely pleasant opportunity recently to compare and contrast some ideas with a believing Mormon concerning the concept of light vs. darkness, at least as it is presented in the canonized language of LDS gospel truth, notably DandC 50: 22-25:

“Wherefore, he that preaches and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you.”

The devout Mormon with whom I was exchanging ideas on this subject compared receiving increasing light/truth from God to the breaking of the dawn across the horizon of northern Utah. He noted that as the sun rises and steadily spreads its glow from east to west, the mountainscapes transform from black silhouettes into shapes filled with detail, texture and color. As the morning rays continue to extend their reach before the retreating darkness, more is revealed to the eye until the full picture becomes apparent in all its godly glory.

In short, light = truth; darkness = sin. Put another way, light = purity, darkness = paganism, at least in the true-believing Mormon mind.

Without trying to be too confrontational about it, I proceeded to point out that there is positive value in darkness. In its hand-in-hand working with light, in its observable contrast with light, in its active interplay with light, and in its fuller context with light, darkness serves as light's positive partner in helping us to better understand reality. In short, "truth" can and is found not only in the sun but in the shadows.

Which means it's not a sin to choose not to recoil from the dark. After all, it's just darkness--not devilish--and that darkness might actually teach us something worth knowing.

A self-professed Wiccan explains the positive “pagan value” of darkness (*For the record: I am by no means a Wicca follower and am certainly not a proponent of what I regard as inherently superstitious and irrational belief in magic espoused by Wiccans, but I think the writer is on to something when it comes to the general idea of darkness interfacing with light to bring reality into sharper focus).

This self-described "witch" observes:

“When we write and talk about Pagan values, I think there’s a tendency to focus on those values that we think others who are not Pagan will understand. . . . [V]alues such as honor, hard work, open-mindedness, etc., are the sort of things that most people--religious or not--consider 'good.'

"Lots of people honor their ancestors, even if doing so isn’t particularly a religious value for them; and being devoted to a deity is, even if it’s not your deity, something that, again, we expect other religious groups to understand (although some religions are very wrapped up in proving that their deity is the one, true deity).

"I’d like to talk a little bit about a value that I consider to be--if not a generally Pagan value--then, at least, a Wiccan one.

"I’d like to talk about darkness.

“It’s the nature of Patriarchy to set up good/bad dualisms: man/woman, soul/body, heaven/Earth, abstinence/sex and lightness/darkness.

"The darkness is mysterious, uncontrollable, messy and, as a result, scary. So it’s not surprising that most religions value the light, use it as a metaphor for all things good and shun the dark, considering it evil.

“But Witches value the dark . . . [They] refuse to buy into Patriarchy’s dualism, at least beyond a certain level. It isn’t that Witches aren’t afraid of the dark; it’s that they’re not scared of being afraid. . . . Witches have to master, use and be willing to experience their fear in order to learn from the dark. . . .

“If you want to view night-blooming flowers, you’ve got to go outside at night. If you want to meet and dance with your own shadows, you’ve got to be willing to walk into the dark.

“And so I value . . . what goes on in my compost bin as I value the white daisies and Queen Anne’s lace growing in my cottage garden. . . . "

(“Pagan Values: Darkness,” by "hecatedemeter,” in “Undermining the Patriarchy Every Chance I Get. And I Get a Lot of Chances,” 29 June 2011, at: http://hecatedemeter.wordpress.com/20...)

Darkness, shadows, shades of optical "value" that are on the lower end of the visibility scale actually help one see the light, so to speak. They are good in and of themselves in bringing reality within the range-finder of our physical senses.

In this respect, I shared with the devout Mormon what I regarded as an observable example of the positive effects of the dark-light connection in expanding one's understanding of what is actually going on in the world around us.

I did so by referring to the so-called "face" on Mars--whose fanciful existence is a prime example of how the human brain is hard-wired to see and interpret things in patterns, even if that intrepretation turns out to be nonsensical.

Michael Shermer, in his book, “The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies–How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths” (New York: Time Books, a division of Henry Holt and Company, 2011), addresses the biological phenomenon of “patternicity,” and how humans use it to decipher their world:

Shermer writes:

“Our brains are belief engines, evolved pattern-recognition machines that connect the dots and create meaning out of the patterns that we think we see in nature. Sometimes 'A' really is connected to 'B': sometimes it is not. . . .

"When the association is real, . . . we have learned something valuable about the environment from which we can make predictions that aid in survival and reproduction. We are the descendants of those who were most successful at finding patterns. This process is called 'association learning' and is fundamental to all animal behavior . . . .

“Unfortunately, we did not evolve a baloney-detection network in our brain to distinguish between true and false patterns. We have no error-detection governor to modulate the pattern- recognition engine . . . .

“The problem is that assessing the difference between [making certain] cognitive error[s] is highly problematic . . . so the default position is to assume that all patterns are real; that is, assume that all rustles in the grass are dangerous predators and not the wind.

“This is the basis for the evolution of all forms of patternitiy, including superstition and magical thinking. There was a natural selection for the cognitive process of assuming that all patterns are real and that all patternicities represent real and important phenomena. We are the descendants of the primates who most successfully employed patternicity. . . .

“Although true pattern recognition helps us survive, false pattern recognition does not necessarily get us killed, and so the patternicity phenomenon [has] endured the winnowing process of natural selection. Because we must make associations in order to survive and reproduce, natural selection [has] favored all association-making strategies, even those that [have] resulted in false positives. With this evolutionary perspective, we can understand that PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS BECAUSE OF OUR EVOLVED NEED TO BELIEVE NON-WEIRD THINGS.” (original emphasis)

Shermer then goes on to explain that “[f]ace recognition in humans is [a] form of . . . patternicity and it begins shortly after birth. . . . [T]he newborn brain is pre-conditioned by evolution to look for and find the simple pattern of a face represented by two to four data points: two eyes, a nose and a mouth, . . .

“Facial recognition software was built into our brains by evolution because of the importance of the face in establishing and maintaining relationships, reading emotions, and determining trust in social interactions. . . .

"This is why we are so inclined to see faces in random patterns in nature like: the face on Mars that is an eroded mountain is my favorite example . . . .

"The location in the brain where faces are recognized and processedd has now been established by neuroscientists. In general, inside the temporal lobe of the brain (just above your ears) there is a structure called the 'fusiform gyrus' that we know is actively involved in facial recognition because damage to it makes it difficult or impossible to recognize the face of someone you know, even your own in a mirror!

"More specifically, there are two separate neural pathways: one for processing faces in general and another for processing facial characteristics in particular. This is done through two different types of neurons: large ('magno') cells that comprise the relatively rapid-firing 'magnocelluarl pathway' that processes large receptive fields and carries low-spatial-frequency (coarse-grained data) information (the general face); and smaller cells that comprise the relatively slower-firing 'parvocellular pathway' that process small receptive fields and carries high-spatial frequency (fine-grained data) information (facial details such as eyes, nose and mouth).

"Further, it appears that the brains first processes the global shape of a face, such as the general outline with two eyes and a mouth, and then processes the details of facial features,s uch as the eyes, nose and mouth."

Shermer then demonstrates this naturally-selected human proclivity to see “faces everywhere” by explaining that “[t]he human face is so important in the expression of emotions that we have evolved facial-recognition networks in our brains . . . to the point where we 'see' faces everywhere we look.”

As proof of this hard-wired human trait to "see" things that (truth be told) aren't there, Shermer provides an original NASA photograph of the so-called “face" on Mars, taken by the “Viking” spacecraft mission in 1976. It is an image which some have ignorantly claimed to be an artificial structure of a human-like face that was built, then left behind, on the Red Planet, by an ancient, intelligent, monument-making civilization of aliens.

However, a subsequent, closer, more detailed photograph taken by NASA's “Mars Surveyor” mission in 2000 revealed that the “human” features of this Martian "face" were nothing more than topographical formations that had been created through the natural forces of weathering, all of which produced a play between light and dark interpreted by magical thinkers as an artificial structure put together by sentient beings who have since departed the Martian world for places unknown.

(Shermer, “The Believing Brain,” in “Part II: The Biology of Belief,” Chapter 4, “Patternicity,” pp. 56, 59-60, 69-70 and 71 [Figure 3, "Faces Everywhere," photographs a and b])

Shermer sums up the magic-minded monkey business of the Mars “face” in another book of his, “Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition and Other Confusions of Our Time” (New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1997).

He writes:

“We live in the age of science. It is the reason pseudosciences flourish--pseudoscientists know that their ideas must at least APPEAR scientific because science is the touchstone of truth in our culture. (original emphasis) . . .

“. . . [H]ope springs eternal for not just spiritualists, religionists, New Agers and psychics but for materialists, atheists, scientists and, yes, even skeptics. The difference is where we find hope. The first group uses science and rationality when convenient and dumps them when they are not. For this group, any thinking will do, as long as it fulfills that deeply rooted human need for certainty. Why?

“Humans evolved the ability to seek and find connections between things and events in the environment (snakes with rattles should be avoided); and those who made the best connections left behind the most offspring. We are their descendants.

"The problem is that causal thinking is not infallible. We make connections whether they are there or not. These misidentifications come in two varieties: false negatives get you killed (snakes with rattles are okay): false positives merely waste time and energy (a rain dance will end a drought). We are left with a legacy of false postiives--hypnopompic hallucinations become ghosts or aliens; knocking noises in an empty house indicate spirits and poltergeists; shadows and lights in a tree become the Virgin Mary; random mountain shadows on Mars are seen as a face constructed by aliens. The belief influences the perception. . . . “

(Shermer, “Why People Believe Weird Things,” in “Prologue: Next on Oprah,” pp. 6-7)

The long light and short shadow of it (or visa versa):

Despite the delusional claims made on what Shermer aptly describes in "The Believing Brain" (p. 95) as "the pro-paranormal radio talk show 'Coast to Coast'" (a late-night, unintentional comedy hour that is notorious for featuring guests making bizarre assertions that have "not been documented elsewhere"), there is no alien-built “face" on Mars.

There is just an eroded mountain, which has been mistaken by pseudo-scientific superstitious humans to be (literally speaking) a “face." (After all, subsequent explorations of Mars haven't turned up artificial faceplants, either).

See for yourself here:

(“The Face on Mars: Fact and Fiction,” at: http://www.space.com/17191-face-on-ma...)

And despite what the Mormon "Doctrine and Covenants" quaintly claims, there is no God-delivered “good” or “evil.”

There is just light and dark, which has been mistaken by pseudo-scientific religious humans to be (at the very least metaphically speaking) “good” and “evil.” (After all, the Mormon version of "light and truth" is that God made Black people dark to punish them).

See for yourself here:

("Kaloops Trails," at: http://www.kamloopstrails.net/wp-cont...; and “Saying Goodnight: The Wasatch Mountains After Early Dark in the South Salt Lake UT Valley; The shining white light from the Draper LDS Temple provides a bright beacon of hope for all, regardless of faith.” at: http://dmblood.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54...)

Earth to Mormons: Wake ;up, smell the coffee and enjoy the actual view.

It's much more of a pleasant experience when you're not preoccupied with fleeing the darkness. :)
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How Anti-Fem-For-Men Dallin Oaks Went After Two Award-Winning Women Mormon Authors With A Vengeance For Telling The Truth About Joseph Smith's Sordid Reputation
Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013, at 08:04 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
Below is a brief history of muzzling Mormon women who dare speak, in print, truth to LDS male-abused priesthood "power"--brought to you by one of the Mormon Church''s most notorious and willing attack dogs, Dallin Oaks:

--"Mormon Enigmas: Linda Newell and Valeen Avery":

"John Larson of 'Mormon Expression' did a book review of Mormon Enigma' by Linda Newell and Valeen Avery. I'm not going to/ quote the whole podcast, but John gives a very interesting introduction to the book. In light of my recent post Latter-day Dissent, I thought I would continue the theme of how the church deals with intellectuals"

"'This book was published in the fall of 1984. There sort of a back story to it. Both of the women who wrote the book were faithful, active members. One has passed away; the other is still alive today. They both still remain active members of the church. There was sort of a controversy around the book. A priesthood circular went all, I think all through Utah telling all priesthood leaders that they were not allowed to have either woman speak about the book in any setting.

"'At the time, during the 1980?s there was the 'Know Your Religion' series, and it was really common to have firesides about people who knew something about something or the other. They got stopped immediately. The two women actually requested and were granted a meeting with the top brass; they met with [Dallin] Oaks and [Neal A.] Maxwell [both were apostles]. This would be around the early summer of 1985.

"The meeting went back and forth. What was really confusing to the authors is that they remained members in good standing, although there were rumors going around that they would be excommunicated or whatever, but they were never told anything. That went out into that sort of secret circular letter and they only knew about it because they had friends who were stake presidents who shared it with them. When they met with the Brethren, they said `what's going on?'

"'Oaks said something very informative. I pulled this out of "Dialogue" magazine:' 'If "Mormon Enigma: reveals any information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith then it is necessary to try to . . . stop it's influence and that of its authors.' They basically said, it doesn't matter if what you are saying is true or not, if you're going to say something that's outside the normal line, we don't want you talking about it.

"'Of course the authors were blacklisted. You can read about the blacklisting in Arrington's book, 'Adventures of a Church Historian.' He talks about it quite extensively. The church maintains a blacklist of all the books and authors that are not allowed to be quoted. This effectively ruined the two women's careers for speaking or engaging with the active Latter-day Saints, although you can still buy this book through Deseret Book. It remains sort of an enigma itself, so I guess that's fitting for the book.'

"That's the background of the book. Zilpha's wagging something in my face. What's this?

"Oh yeah, the book won several awards. In 1984 it won an award from the Mormon History Association for best book. It also won an award from BYU, which sort of put the church in a bind because they had recognized it as a great book and then they were stopping it at the same time.

"This sort of action really bothers me. As I mentioned in my previous post, I would like to start writing Mormon history articles and/or books. I'm looking to write good, honest history. This blacklisting just seems a bit sneaky and dishonest to me. I don't think the rumors about these 2 women's reputation is fair or Christlike. It's as if the church is saying in a Jack Nicholson voice, 'You can't handle the truth.'

"Why can't we be honest with our history? Is it really a good idea to suppress unflattering information? None of us are perfect. Joseph and Emma weren't either. Is it really good to believe in whitewashed myths about them? Can't truth be inspiring as well?"

("Mormon Enigmas: Linda Newell and Valeen Avery," on "Mormon Heretic: Stuff they don't talk about in Sunday School," by "Mormon Heretic," 15 May 2011, at: http://www.mormonheretic.org/2011/05/...)

--More on Oaks' vow to silence these uppity LDS female authors:

"When asked about an unflattering (though historically accurate) book about the life of Emma Smith called Mormon Enigma: The Life of Emma Hale Smith which sheds a very unfavorable light on Joseph's practice of polygamy Elder Oaks said this"[23]: "My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Saviour. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its authors".

(Apostle Dallin Oaks, quoted in "Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon, Introduction,footnote 28, p. xliii," on "Lying for the Lord," under "Notable Quotes,? at: http://www.mormonwiki.org/Lying_for_t...}

--An updated account of the initial ban and Oaks' effort to enforce it:

"'Mormon Enigma"' by Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery:

"Avery and Newell's 1984 bio of Emma Smith was referenced quite favorably in the 'Ensign' pre-publication and they were both invited by church groups, particularly Relief Society groups, to give firesides and presentations on their work in church. Then some time after the book was actually published, all of the invitations stopped rather suddenly. Upon investigating, the authors learned that a letter was sent from church headquarters instructing wards and stakes not to allow the authors to address any church group. I believe the two authors were also not to be allowed to speak in their own wards' sacrament meetings.

"They were finally granted an audience with Dallin Oaks, who, according to them, gave as the reason for the ban this gem of a quote:

"'My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Savior. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its authors.' (Linda King Newell, 1992 Sunstone Pacific Northwest Symposium, "The Biography of Emma Hale Smith').

"The ban was lifted a few years later after quiet and persistent efforts by concerned parties behind the scene.

"'MormonThink' review: 'Mormon Enigma' is one of the books that was allowed to be read for class assignment at BYU when I attended there. It's not dedicated to polygamy but deals with it quite a bit - mostly from Emma's perspective. It's available at Deseret Books. Although it if a faithful book, it accurately describes some of the disturbing details of polygamy and mentions the Book of Mormon translation details that most members are unaware of. It's a fairly tame book and probably the best LDS book for members that only want a slight introduction to some of the more colorful aspects of Mormon history.'"

("Mormon Books," at: http://mormonthink.com/books.htm)

"Mormon Women: Isn't It About Time We Shut Them Up?"
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Let's Examine How Poorly The LDS Church's "Special Witnesses" Have Done In Trying To Defend Its Bogus Translation
Friday, Mar 1, 2013, at 06:09 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
In September 1993, I twice met privately (at my personal request and through the assistance of my father, Mark A. Benson--R.I.P.--who helped arrange the encounters), with Mormon apostles Neal A. Maxwell and Dallin H. Oaks in the offices of the LDS Church Administration Office building in Salt Lake City, Utah.

There (among other vain attempts at defending the Mormon Church) Maxwell and Oaks made a futile effort to legitimize the alleged "translation" of Joseph Smith's scriptural hoax--otherwise known as the Book of Abraham. (Before commencing this impossible task, Maxwell and Oaks were apparently worried that I might be taping our conversations and, in fact, asked me if that was the case. I wasn't but I took notes during our discussions and when back home in Arizona recorded my personal recollections on a tape recorder while still fresh in my mind).

Maxwell was much more energetic than Oaks in their jointly-unsuccessful exercise in defending the Book of Abraham.

Maxwell first appealed to other LDS scripture--in this case, the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 7--to argue that the Book of Abraham was translated by Smith in "catalystic fashion." Maxwell told me that Smith had in a vision seen parchments from the writings of John the Revelator. Maxwell also told me that Smith may have had revealed to him Egyptian parchments which he did not touch, physically hold or from which he did not directly translate. In other words, Maxwell said, Smith may have been "accessing" ancient parchments that were not actually with him. Instead, Maxwell proposed, he may have had revealed to him "in some kind of vision" the source from which he then translated the Book of Abraham.

Enter Oaks--who admitted that he personally did not know how Smith translated the Book of Abraham. He did say, however, that Maxwell's explanation seemed persuasive.

Oaks did, however, say that he was familiar with the "Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" (which Smith was magically constructing). I responded by going into brief detail about how Smith, or his scribes, would copy an Egyptian hieroglyph from the parchment into a left-hand column, then apparently from that single hieroglyph, produce a whole series of words and paragraphs. I further noted that the words and dictionary which Smith attached to the facsimiles had absolutely no relationship with the content of the papyri--as indicated and translated by such noted and reputable Egyptologists as Klaus Bauer of the University of Chicago and others.

At this point, Oaks said, "Well, there are some things I just don't understand and just don't know." But he said he was willing to put such matters on the shelf "until further knowledge comes." Oaks asserted that the jury was still out on the Book of Abraham and that we should "wait and see." Oaks admitted that "the scholars" (meaning critics of the BOok of Abraham) seemed to have evidence "in their favor," but that he himself had a "personal witness" that the Book of Abraham was true. Oaks concluded by saying that he did not let evidence "weighted against Joseph Smith on this" persuade him that the Book of Abraham is not true.

Maxwell was more positive, more hopeful--and more naive.

While acknowledging that Smith's former scribe Warren Parrish and Mormon hymn composer W. W. Phelps (of 'The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning' fame) were at one point about ready to leave the LDS Church, Maxwell told me, 'Don't pounce on Joseph Smith.' Maxwell said that the work of Parrish and Phelps on the Book of Abraham manuscript helped bolster the argument that the Egyptian funerary texts were not the actual parchments used by Smith in his translation of the Book of Abraham--or, for that matter, that Smith was even the author of the four extant manuscripts of the Book of Abraham.

In support of that position, Maxwell handed me a FARMS review, written by Michael D. Rhodes, of Charles M. Larson's book, '. . . By His Own Hand upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri' (Grand Rapids: Institute for Religious Research, 1992, p. 240 pp., illustrated).

On closer examination of the paper on which Rhodes' review was photocopied, I determined that the review, in fact, had originated with FARMS. It was printed on fax paper bearing the acronym "F.A.R.M.S," along with the "FAX" date of '09/09/93.' It also bore a dispatch time of "1:55" and a BYU-area phone number of "378 3724."

FARMS, at Maxwell's request, was riding to the rescue in his effort to help sell the Book of Abraham during our discussions.

Maxwell had highlighted in yellow the following excerpt from Rhodes' article (broken out below in paragraphs for easier reading):

"First of all, none of these manuscripts of the [B]ook of Abraham is in Joseph Smith's handwriting. They are mostly in the handwriting of William W. Phelps, with a few short sections written by Warren Parrish. Nowhere in the documents is Joseph Smith designated as the author.

"Moreover, the Egyptian characters in the left-hand margin were clearly written in after the English text had been written. These cannot be the working papers of a translation process. Instead, Phelps and Parrish seemed to have copied down the text of the [B]ook of Abraham and were then attempting to correlate that translation with some of the scrolls in the Church's possession.

"These documents are most likely that preliminary stage of investigation and exploration the Lord prescribed in DandC 9:8 to 'study it out in your mind.' The Lord expects us to first do all we can to understand something (and in the process discover our own limitations) before we seek for direct revelation from him. This is what Phelps and Parrish were apparently doing, although their efforts were short-lived and unsuccessful.

"In fact these same men shortly after this began to turn away from the Prophet Joseph and fell into apostasy. If they had been parties to some fraudulent process of producing the [B]ook of Abraham, they would surely have denounced Joseph Smith for this, but they never did."

Rhodes' apologetics were apparently good enough for Maxwell, since he heaped glowing praise on FARMS, telling me, "We're grateful for FARMS because they protect us on the flank." In fact, Maxwell confided to me that FARMS had been given the express mission of not allowing the Mormon Church to become outflanked. In relaying to me his sincere gratitude to FARMS, it was obvious what Maxwell meant: FARMS' job was to prevent the Mormon Church from being defeated through end-arounds by its critics and, in that quest, was keeping the Mormon apostles themselves from finding themselves outflanked and outgunned.

Oaks was somewhat less enthusiastic about FARMS.

Oaks told me that FARMS sometimes gets "hyperactive" in its efforts to prove the truth of Mormon scripture. He said he becomes concerned when FARMS "stops making shields and starts turning out swords" because, he said, "you cannot prove [Mormon scripture] out of the realm of faith." Oaks said that accepting the truth of LDS holy writ was ultimately a matter of faith.

In the end, however, it was Maxwell who--in reacting to criticism of the Book of Abraham's authenticity--sweepingly declared, "We will not twist or oscillate every time we come across new evidence. The Church is not a jerkwater organization."

Earth to Maxwell: The Mormon Church is not only jerkwater, it's in way over its head.

Since Maxwell and Oaks didn't know what they were talking about when it came to the Book of Abraham, let's turn to a Mormon who does.

His name is Stephen E. Thompson, and he's a real Egyptologist.

Thompson demonstrates on a variety of informed fronts that Joseph Smith didn't actually translate the Book of Mormon and that, in fact, Smith knew nothing of genuine substance about ancient Egyptian language, history, beliefs. culture, art or customs. (Never let the facts get in the way of a Mormon prophet's "revelations").

Thompson's explanations of Book of Abraham realities are found in his article entitled, "'Egyptology and the Book of Abraham" (also paragraphed-out for easier reading).

To better understand what Thompson is referring to in his following article, it is recommended that readers examine the Book of Abraham facsimiles, provided under the heading, "Significant Details and Problems that Most LDS Are Not Aware Of--Per Critics of the [Mormon] Church," at: http://www.mormonthink.com/book-of-abraham-issues.htm

Now, Thompson's anaylsis:

"In the entry on the facsimiles from the Book of Abraham in the 'Encyclopedia of Mormonism' we are told that 'the Prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practice.'

"This is a remarkable statement in view of the fact that non-Mormon Egyptologists who have commented on Joseph Smith's interpretation of the facsimiles uniformly agree that his interpretations are not correct from the perspective of the Egyptologist, who attempts to interpret Egyptian religious literature and iconography as he or she believes the ancient Egyptians would have.

"For example, in the famous pamphlet compiled by the Reverend Spalding in 1912, James H. Breasted--the first person to hold a chair devoted to Egyptology in America--stated, 'Joseph Smith's interpretation of [the facsimiles] . . . very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian writing and civilization.'

"More recently, Klaus Baer, speaking of Joseph Smith's interpretation of the original of Facsimile 1 and the accompanying text, noted that 'the Egyptologist interprets it differently, relying on a considerable body of parallel data, research and knowledge.'

"The matter which I propose to examine is whether the 'present understanding of Egyptian religious practice' supports Joseph Smith's explanations of the facsimiles found in the Book of Abraham. In addition, I will discuss the contribution which a study of Egyptian history can make to our understanding of the nature of this book of scripture.

"Let us begin with Facsimiles 1 and 3 of the Book of Abraham.

"A correct understanding of the original context and purpose of these scenes has been made possible by the recovery of the Joseph Smith Papyri [P.JS] from the files of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1967. Within this group of papyri is the original from which Facsimile 1 was derived.

"A study of the papyri shows that P.JS 1 was originally a vignette belonging to an Egyptian funerary text known as the First Book of Breathings, dating to the first century B.C., portions of which are also among the papyri recovered by the LDS church.

"A comparison of the material found in some of the Kirtland (Ohio) Egyptian papers with P.JS 1 and 11 indicates that the scene was damaged when Joseph Smith received it and that the missing portions were restored when Facsimile 1 was created.

"It is also very probable that Facsimile 3 served as the concluding vignette of this text. This conclusion is based on the fact that the name of the individual for whom this particular copy of the Book of Breathings was prepared occurs as Horus in both P.JS 1 and Facsimile 3, that Facsimile 1 and 3 are similar in size, and that scenes similar to Facsimile 3 also occur in other known copies of the First Book of Breathings.

"'The First Book of Breathings' is an Egyptian funerary text whose earliest attestation is the end of the 30th Egyptian Dynasty (ca. 380-343 B.C.). This text was buried with the deceased and was intended to serve as a sort of 'passport and guide' to achieving a blessed state in the hereafter. This involved the continued existence of the deceased in the company of Osiris, king of the Netherworld, and with the sun-god Re in his celestial bark.

"As a first step in achieving these goals, the deceased had to undergo the proper rituals of mummification. Papyrus Joseph Smith 1 (Facs. 1 in Abr.) depicts the god Anubis (Fig. 3 in Facs. 1) officiating in the embalming rites for the deceased individual, Horus (Fig. 2 in Facs. 1), shown lying on the bier. This scene does not portray a sacrifice of any sort.

"To note just a few instances in which Joseph Smith's interpretations of these figures differ from the way they are to be understood in their original context, consider the fact that Fig. 11 (in Facs. 1), which Joseph interprets as 'designed to represent the pillars of heaven, as understood by the Egyptians,' is actually a palace fa[c]ade, called a serekh, which was a frequent decoration on funerary objects. The serekh originally depicted 'the front of a fortified palace . . . with its narrow gateway, floral tr'cery above the gates, clerestories and recessed buttresses.'

"Furthermore, Joseph interpreted Figure 12 (Facs. 1) as 'raukeeyang' [a transliteration of the Hebrew word for firmament], signifying expanse or firmament over our heads; but in this case, in relation to this subject, the Egyptians meant it to signify 'Shaumau' [another Hebrew word], to be high, or the heavens, answering to the Hebrew word 'Shaumahyeem' [another Hebrew word].'

"In fact, these strokes represent water in which the crocodile, symbolizing the god Horus (Fig. 9 in Facs. 1), swims. Altcough it appears that the water is supported by the palace fa[c]ade, this is simply an illusion produced by the perspective adopted in Egyptian art. Actually, everything shown above the fa[c]ade is to be understood as occurring behind it, i.e., Figure 11 represents the wall surrounding the palace in which the activity depicted in the scene occurs.

"Baer has described Facsimile 3 (in Abr.) as 'a summary, in one illustration, of what the [text] promised: The deceased, after successfully undergoing judgement, is welcomed into the presence of Osiris.' Facsimile 3 shows the deceased, Horus (Fig. 5), being introduced before Osiris, the god of the dead (Fig. 1), by the goddess Maat (Fig. 4) and the god Anubis (Fig. 6). Osiris's wife, Isis (Fig. 2), stands behind him. That Figure 6 is to be identified as Anubis I consider a virtual certainty, owing to the fact that he is black (which is the customary color of Anubis) and because of the spike found on his head, which is actually the remnant of a dog's ear.

"In my opinion, none of Joseph Smith's interpretations of the figures in these scenes accord with the way in which the ancient Egyptians probably understood them.

"So, if this is the way the ancient Egyptians would have interpreted these figures, how can the statement be made that the prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accords 'with present understanding of Egyptian religious practice'?

"First, it is important to note that the originals of these facsimiles of the Book of Abraham were created for a specific purpose--to provide for the successful transition of an individual to the afterlife upon his death. Every figure in the facsimiles had as its purpose the accomplishing of that goal. While it is possible that some of these figures might appear in other contexts and take on other meanings in those contexts, in the context of the funerary papyri their interpretation is related to funerary purposes.

"The approach taken in attempting to support Joseph's interpretations of these figures is to compare them with figures found in other historical and textual contexts. It is simply not valid, however, to search through 3,000 years of Egyptian religious iconography to find parallels which can be pushed, prodded, squeezed or linked in an attempt to justify Joseph's interpretations.

"For example, there has been an effort made to associate Facsimile 1 with an Egyptian royal festival known as the Sed festival, whose purpose was 'the symbolic renewing of the power of the kingship.' [Hugh] Nibley has claimed that 'in [the Sed-festival] the king is ritually put to death and then restored to life. An important part of the Sed festival was the choosing of a substitute to die for the king so that he would not have to undergo the painful process to achieve resurrection.'

"There are serious obstacles which render this comparison invalid.

"First, there is the element of time. The last known depiction of the Sed festival dates to 690-664 B.C., and there is no evidence that the Sed festival was celebrated during the Greco-Roman period--the time during which P.JS 1 was created.

"Second, it is important to note the context in which these supposed parallels occur. Scenes of the Sed festival occurring in a private context, i.e., on an object belonging to a non-royal individual, are extremely rare and I know of none which occur in funerary papyri.

"Third, the so-called 'lion-furniture' scenes from the Sed festival bear no resemblance to the scene in P.JS 1.

"Finally, it should be noted that, while early generations of Egyptologists thought that the Sed festival involved the ritual murder of the king or his representative, more recent analysis has shown this is not the case. So even if the scene were derived from earlier depictions of the Sed festival, it would still have nothing to do with the sacrifice of anyone.

"Nibley has compared Facsimile 3 (in Abr.) with scenes from Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1295 B.C.) Egyptian tombs depicting the tomb owner in the presence of the King, since Joseph Smith claims that the scene shows Abraham 'reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the King's court.'

"Comparison of these two types of scenes runs into many of the same obstacles as the attempt to equate Facsimile 1 with the Sed festival scenes.

"There is a gap of over 1,000 years between the two types of scenes being compared. Nibley attempts to get around this by stating that this is a 'timeless scene recognizable from predynastic monuments on down to the latest times.' He cites no evidence which substantiates this claim. The work which Nibley relies on in making his comparison does not discuss any examples of such scenes from the period from which the Joseph Smith papyri derive. In fact, the scenes with which Nibley wishes to compare Facsimile 3 are atypical when viewed from the perspective of the history of Egyptian tomb decoration. It is also significant that the type of scene with which Nibley wishes to compare Facsimile 3 does not occur in funerary papyri. Comparison of Facsimile 3 to this type of scene is as spurious as that of Facsimile 1 with Sed festival scenes.

"In addition to invalidating comparisons made between the facsimiles and other genres of Egyptian texts, attention to the original context of the facsimiles also serves to settle an on-going debate about whether Figure 3 in Facsimile 1 originally held a knife.

"Before the discovery of the papyri it was argued if this knife was original or if it was added by Joseph Smith. With the discovery of the original of Facsimile 1, it became apparent that Joseph indeed was the source of the 'restoration' of the knife, as demonstrated by [Ed] Ashment. There continue to be attempts, however, to argue that a knife was originally present based on accounts from individuals who saw the papyri in Kirtland or Nauvoo.

"The question never asked in arguments for the original presence of a knife is, '[W]hat would the knife have meant in its original, funerary, context[?]' As stated earlier, Facsimile 1 represents the deceased individual, Horus, lying on a bier undergoing the rites of mummification by the god Anubis. While part of the mummification process did involve evisceration, I am aware of no instance in which this procedure is depicted.

"Given the Egyptians' reticence in depicting things which might be harmful to the deceased in his tomb, it is unlikely that an Egyptian would ever wish himself depicted being approached by a god with a knife. Knives are usually found in the hands of demons, protective deities such as Bes and Thoeris (who were the Egyptian god and goddess responsible for protecting women during childbirth), the door-keepers in the afterworld and the devourer in the scenes of the judgement of the dead. I know of no instance in which Anubis is depicted with a knife. The original context of Facsimile 1 would not seem to admit the possibility of a knife in Anubis's hand and the restoration of a knife does not, in my opinion, represent the original state of the papyrus.

"Facsimile 2 is a drawing of an Egyptian funerary amulet known as a hypocephalus, which was placed under the head of the mummy and was intended to protect the head of the deceased, provide him with the sun's life-giving warmth and to make it possible for him to join the sun god Re in his celestial boat, and thereby insure his continued, pleasant existence in the next life. Hypocephali are attested in Egypt during the Late Period and the Ptolemaic period.

"The interpretation of Facsimile 2 poses more of a challenge to Egyptologists and therefore is a more fruitful ground for those seeking to justify Joseph Smith's interpretations of the figures in this facsimile.

"The challenge arises from the fact that many of the figures in the hypocephalus are not labeled and can only be tentatively identified through citing parallel illustrations and allusions in other texts. In interpreting the figures in the hypocephalus, Egyptologists rely on the fact that 'the image of the hypocephalus presents the rising from the Duat, the rebirth of the deceased with the sun, the scenes are rich illustrations of Ch. 162 of the Book of the Dead.'

"Concerning Joseph Smith's interpretations of the figures in this facsimile, it has been stated that 'his explanations are, in general, reasonable in light of modern Egyptological knowledge.' A comparison of Smith's interpretations with current Egyptological scholarship shows that this statement is also incorrect.

"For example, Figure 5 is identified by Joseph Smith as 'Enish-go-on-dosh,' which he claims 'is said by the Egyptians to be the sun.' This figure actually depicts the celestial cow-goddess known as 'Ih.t-wrt,' or 'Mh.t-wr.t' (the great flood), or Hathor. Varga has identified this figure as 'the most important in a hypocephalus.' These goddesses were thought of as the mother of Re, the sun-god, with 'Mh.t-wr.t' representing the flood from which he arises daily.

"It is important to note that, while this figure is associated with the sun, i.e., as the mother of the sun-god, it is never equated with the sun. The sun is always a masculine deity in Egyptian religion. Joseph Smith's interpretation might be adjudged close by some, but in my opinion it cannot be judged as 'generally correct.'

"As another example of the attempt to justify Joseph's interpretations of the figures in this facsimile, note Facsimile 2, Figure 4, which has been claimed to be an instance in which the prophet 'hits it right on the mark.' The explanation given in the Book of Abraham notes that this figure 'answers to the Hebrew word "Raukeeyang," signifying expanse, or the firmament of the heavens, also a numerical figure, in Egyptian signifying 1,000."

"Admittedly, certain identification of this figure is not possible with the information currently available to the Egyptologist. Varga originally identified the figure as the god Sokar but later resorted to the more vague description of 'the mummy of a falcon with outspread wings.' The problem is that this figure does not match exactly the iconography of any known falcon god, i.e., mummiform with outspread wings. One suggestion is that this figure is to be identified with the falcon who rises from the Duat in Book of the Dead spell 71.

"When attempting to evaluate the correctness of Joseph's explanation of the figure, it should be noted that there is no evidence that the ancient Egyptians ever depicted the sky (firmament of the heavens) as a ship of any sort.

"In order to get around this, Mormon apologists dissect the wings of the bird in the ship and compare them with depictions of the sky as outspread wings. [Michael D.] Rhodes [whose FARMS fax Neal A. Maxwell invoked] identifies the bird in Figure 4 as Horus-Sokar and claims that 'Horus was a personification of the sky.' It should be pointed out, however, that Joseph's interpretation of the figure apparently applies to the whole figure, not to only a part of it. I can see no justification for removing a part of the figure and then claiming to find interpretations which can be forced to agree with Joseph's explanation.

"In order to support Joseph's identification of this figure as the number 1,000, reference is made to a supposed Egyptian 'ship of 1,000' found in a passage from a sarcophagus dating to the Egyptian 26th Dynasty. There we find the expression 'wi3.f n h3 r tpwy.fy,' which Sander-Hansen renders as 'seinem Schiffe der 1000 bis zu seinen beiden K pfen' (his ship of 1,000 up to its two heads). In Sander-Hansen's discussion of the passage, he notes that he understands this phrase to mean a ship 1,000 cubits in length. This text is a later version of Book of the Dead Spell 136a.

"Recent translators have recognized that 'h3' in this phrase does not refer to the number 1,000, but to the word 'h3.' meaning flowers or buds. T. G. Allen, in his translation of the Book of the Dead, renders the phrase as 'the bark with blossom(s) at its ends,' and Faulkner, in his translation, renders it as 'the bark . . . which has lotus-flowers on its ends.' In connection with this spell, Milde notes that 'lotus-shaped prows are very common in various vignettes.'

"In other words, there is no Egyptian 'ship of 1,000,' only a ship with lotus-shaped prows.

"And all this is quite beside the point. Joseph, in his explanation of the figure in the facsimile said that it was 'also a numerical figure, in Egyptian signifying 1,000.' It was not. There is no evidence that any ship was ever used as a numerical figure to represent 1,000 or any other number. It should also be noted that of those who wish to equate the figure from the facsimile with the so-called "ship of 1,000,' none has ever produced an image of this ship and then compared it to the facsimile. It is simply assumed that if a ship of 1,000 can be found in an Egyptian text, it must be the one Joseph Smith was talking about.

"Finally, it has been repeatedly claimed that Figure 6 in Facsimile 2, which is a depiction of the four sons of Horus (also found as Figures 5-8 in Facsimile 1) 'could indeed "represent this earth in its four quarters" in the ancient world, as the explanation to the facsimile in the Book of Abraham says.' As far as ancient Egypt was concerned, there is no evidence currently available to support this claim. There is only one context in which the sons of Horus are associated with the cardinal directions, i.e., the 'earth in its four quarters.' They were sent out, in the form of birds, as heralds of the king's coronation. In this setting, Duamutef (Facs. 1, Fig. 6) went to the East, Qebehsenuef (Facs. 1, Fig. 5) to the West, Amset (Facs. 1, Fig. 8) to the South and Hapi (Facs. 1, Fig. 7) to the North. I must emphasize that it is only in this context, and in the form of birds, that these gods were associated with the cardinal points. In a funerary context no such relationship is evident. Furthermore, the fact that these gods were sent to the four quarters of the earth does not mean that the Egyptians equated them with these directions. There is no evidence that they did so.

"Authorship

"One area in which the field of Egyptology aids our understanding of the nature of the Book of Abraham is in its authorship.

"On one hand, it has been claimed that the Book of Abraham is an actual Abraham holograph. Recently, Paul Hoskisson stated that 'the content of the Book of Abraham did not pass through numerous revisions, the hands of countless scribes. . . . It purports to be a rendering of an ancient document originally composed by Abraham himself' and, as such, he maintains that the Book of Abraham cannot contain anachronisms, i.e., things that could not have occurred during Abraham's lifetime.

"Others have argued that while the contents of the text might in some way go back to Abraham, Abraham himself was not the author of the text of the Book of Abraham as it now stands in the Pearl of Great Price.

"In view of the fact that the heading of the Book of Abraham in the current edition of the Pearl of Great Price states that the text represents 'the writings of Abraham . . . written by his own hand, upon papyrus,' I believe it is likely that many members of the [Mormon] Church believe that the Book of Abraham is the result of a translation of a direct Abraham holograph.

"One way to judge whether the Book of Abraham was translated directly from an Abraham holograph is by whether the text of the book contains anachronisms.

"Of course, the first thing that has to be determined is when Abraham lived. The answer to this is by no means simple and scholarly estimates for the age of the patriarchs range from 2200 to 1200 B.C. Many scholars maintain that it is not possible to define a time-period as the most likely setting for the tales of the patriarchs. Others would argue that while it is not possible to assign a date to the lifetime of Abraham, it is possible to situate chronologically the so-called 'Patriarchal Age.' Many scholars would place this sometime during the first half of the second millennium, i.e., 2000-1500 B.C., while others would narrow the time frame within this period.

"In our search for anachronisms it would be safe to say that anything occurring after 1500 B.C. is definitely anachronistic to Abraham's lifetime and since Abraham is portrayed as the first patriarch, anything occurring at the end of this period is probably anachronistic.

"What, then, are the anachronisms which I believe can be identified in the Book of Abraham?

"First, the association of Facsimile 1 with the Book of Abraham cannot derive from Abraham since Facsimile 1 dates to approximately 100 B.C.

"There are passages in the text of the Book of Abraham which are attributed to Abraham and which refer to Facsimile 1 (Abr. 1:12, 14). The most straightforward reading of these passages indicates that Abraham himself was responsible for the association of Facsimile 1 with his own attempted sacrifice.

"The book opens with Abraham speaking in the first person (v. 1), and there is no reason to think that the 'I' in verse 12, where we read 'I will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record,' refers to anyone except Abraham. These passages are unquestionably anachronistic to Abraham's day.

"Second, there are several proper nouns in the text of the Book of Abraham which also postdate Abraham. I will consider them in the order of their occurrence in the text.

"The first such term, Chaldea, occurs in Abraham 1:1, and subsequently verses 8, 13, 20, 23, 29-30, and 2:4. The Chaldeans (Hebrew: 'kasdim') were a people who spoke a West-Semitic language similar to Aramaic and who appeared in the ninth century B.C. in the land south of Babylonia, and appear to have migrated from Syria. Westermann has noted that the city of Ur could be qualified as 'of the Chaldees' only from the 10th to the 6th centuries, in any case, not before the first millennium.

"The second anachronistic word we encounter in the text is 'Pharaoh.' In Abraham 1:6 we find 'Pharaoh, king of Egypt.' In Abraham 1:20 we are told that Pharaoh 'signifies king by royal blood.' There is one passage in which the term is treated as a name, rather than as a title. In Abraham 1:25 we read 'the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham.'

"The word 'Pharaoh' derives from an Egyptian term for the king's palace, which in Egyptian could be called 'pr-c3,' i.e., 'great house.' This term is not attested as a title for the ruler of Egypt until 1504 B.C., during the reign of Thutmosis III, but was probably used as such earlier in the Eighteenth Dynasty (which began in 1560 B.C.).

"It has been suggested that 'Pharaoh' was simply Joseph's method of translation for a word meaning 'king' and that the word never actually occurred in the text. I would reiterate that in Abraham 1:25 'Pharaoh' appears to be used as a proper noun. That Joseph considered 'Pharaoh' to be an individual's name is apparent from his explanation of Facsimile 3, Figure 2, where we read "King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head."

"The next anachronistic word encountered is the name of the place of the attempted sacrifice of Abraham, which is called 'Potiphar's hill' (Abr. 1:10, 20). ''Potiphar is the Hebrew form of the Egyptian name 'P3-di-p3-rc,' which means 'the one whom Re (the sun god), has given.' The name occurs in two forms in the Old Testament, as 'Potiphar'--the name of the Egyptian who bought Joseph (Gen. 37:36)--and as 'Potiphera'-- the priest of On, who was Joseph's father-in-law (Gen. 41:45). Names of the form 'P3-di DN' are common in Egypt but are first attested during the 11th century B.C. The only occurrence of the Egyptian equivalent of 'Potiphar' is found on Cairo stele 65444, which dates to the Egyptian 21st dynasty (1069-945 B.C.).

"The final anachronistic name in the Book of Abraham is Egyptus. In Abraham 1:23 we read: 'The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden.'

"First, 'Egyptus' is not a Chaldean word, but Greek, and does not mean 'forbidden' in any language. The Greek 'Egyptus' apparently derives from Egyptian 'hwt-k3-pth' [meaning] 'the house of the "ka of Ptah,"' which was the name of a temple of Ptah in Memphis. During the New Kingdom, this term came to designate the town of Memphis, the capital of Egypt, in which the temple was located.

"There is some evidence that forms of this name were being used by foreigners to refer to the country of Egypt. It is attested in a Mycenaean Linear B tablet from Knossos, which is usually dated to around 1375 B.C., i.e., 125 years after Abraham, as a man's name, presupposing that it was already a name for Egypt. Note also that the text (Abr. 1:22-25) implies that Egypt derived its name from an eponymous ancestor, Egyptus. Given the facts concerning the origin of the word 'Egyptus,' however, this cannot represent historical reality.

"From the foregoing discussion, it appears that if one accepts a date of sometime in the first half of the second millennium for Abraham, then there are four anachronistic names in the text: 'Chaldea,' 'Potiphar,' 'Egyptus' and probably 'Pharaoh.' Since these are names, it is not likely that they are translation equivalents of other words in the original text.

"I believe that there is sufficient evidence of anachronisms in the text of the Book of Abraham to conclude that it cannot be an actual Abraham holograph, i.e., that it was not 'written by his [Abraham's] own hand upon papyrus.'

"History

"One of the primary events of the Book of Abraham is the attempted sacrifice of Abraham. We are told that in the land of the Chaldeans the 'god of Pharaoh,' which apparently should be taken to mean 'the god Pharaoh,' was worshipped (Abr. 1:7, 9-10, 13, 17). There was even a priesthood dedicated to the worship of Pharaoh and this priesthood offered human sacrifices to him. We are told that a 'thank-offering' was offered consisting of a child (v. 10), and that three 'virgins' were killed on the sacrificial altar because they 'would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone' (v. 11). Finally, the priest of Pharaoh attempted to sacrifice Abraham, at which point the Lord intervened, rescued Abraham and destroyed the altar and the priest (vv. 15-20).

"From this we can infer several things. Apparently Pharaoh and several other Egyptian deities were being worshipped in Chaldea. We are not told specifically that the other gods were Egyptian but we are told that the worship practices were 'after the manner of the Egyptians' (Abr. 1:9, 11) and the images which are said to represent these gods are Egyptian (v. 14). We can therefore plausibly infer that they were Egyptian deities.

"Part of the worship of these gods involved human sacrifice. The religion of that time and place was intolerant; anyone choosing not to engage in these worship practices ran the risk of losing his or her life. These practices seem to have been endorsed or promoted, or at least encouraged, by the Egyptian pharaoh. We are told that at the death of the priest who attempted to sacrifice Abraham there was 'great mourning . . . in the court of Pharaoh' (v. 20).

"The first thing we have to ask ourselves is to what extent were Egyptian worship practices introduced into Asia. If one accepts that Ur of the Chaldees refers to Tell Muqayyar, in southern Mesopotamia, then from the start the text must be judged historically erroneous because the Egyptians never had a strong cultural influence on Mesopotamia. There have been attempts to locate Abraham's Ur near Haran. This area is also outside of Egypt's sphere of influence, even at the height of its empire.

"In order to evaluate the verisimilitude of the account found in the Book of Abraham, we have to examine Egypt's religious policy toward its Asiatic Empire, which first came into existence during the New Kingdom. The results of such a study indicate that Egyptian gods were only rarely worshipped in Syria-Palestine, and then exceptionally. Rather than introducing Egyptian gods into Asia, the most common occurrence was for Egyptians stationed at posts and garrisons in Palestine to adopt the worship of the local Asiatic gods.

"Stefan Wimmer has recently written that the Egyptians 'never thought about forcing the local population [of Syria-Palestine] to forsake their gods in exchange for Egyptian ones.' Donald Redford states that the Egyptians 'forced no one to accept Egyptian ways.' Concerning the Egyptians' religious tolerance, J. Cerny has written:

"'Egyptians were tolerant to each other within Egypt itself and they were equally tolerant to the gods of a conquered country. . . . towards the native gods they behaved as they so often did in Egypt towards the god or goddess of another town: they simply considered them as different names and forms of their own Egyptian deities. It is clear that in these circumstances no heresy could arise and with the exception of a short period under and immediately after Ekhnaton, nothing is known of religious persecution of any kind in Egypt.'

"One could argue that it is the Chaldeans doing the persecuting, not the Egyptians. In response, it could be said that Chaldeans had nothing to gain from forcing Egyptian worship practices on their people since Egyptians did not expect it.

"Further, there is no evidence that any Asiatic land ever became so thoroughly Egyptianized that they would have adopted such a zealous attitude toward the Egyptian pharaoh on their own. Again, Redford has noted that 'we have no evidence that these "official" Egyptian cults exerted a serious attraction on the local population [of Canaan].' Bleiberg maintains that "in Palestine, traces of the state religion of Egypt can be found. These traces, however are restricted to the Ramesside period [1295-1069 B.C.]. Their influence is superficial."

"So, it appears that in the area over which they had direct control, and at the height of their imperial power in Syria-Palestine, the Egyptians made no effort to introduce their religion to their subject peoples and they, in turn, exhibited little interest in the gods of their conquerors.

"It is therefore extremely unlikely that any of the areas suggested for the location of Ur would ever have adopted Egyptian religious practices to the extent called for in the Book of Abraham.

"Conclusion

"In the preceding I have argued that:

"(1) Joseph Smith's interpretations of the facsimiles in the Book of Abraham are not in agreement with the meanings which these figures had in their original, funerary, context;

"(2) anachronisms in the text of the book make it impossible that it was translated from a text written by Abraham himself; and

"(3) what we know about the relationship between Egypt and Asia renders the account of the attempted sacrifice of Abraham extremely implausible.

"If one accepts that Joseph Smith was using the facsimiles in a fashion which was not consonant with their original purpose, it does not make sense to then insist that 'the Prophet's explanations of each of the facsimiles accord with present understanding of Egyptian religious practices.'

"I see no evidence that Joseph Smith had a correct conception of 'Egyptian religious practices' or that a knowledge of such was essential to the production of the Book of Abraham."



--"Stephen Thompson received his Bachelors of Arts in Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young University in 1984. He received his Masters of Arts and his Doctor of Philosophy in Egyptology from Brown University in 1988 and 1991, respectively."

("Egyptology and the Book of Abraham," by Stephen E. Thompson, at: http://www.lds-mormon.com/thompson_book_of_abraham.shtml

*Interesting Side Note: The story of a Mormon General Authority who concluded (and confessed to others) that Joseph Smith couldn't translate ancient Egyptian and that the Book of Abraham wasn't true

When it comes to the inauthenticity of Joseph Smith and his Book of Abraham, LDS apostle and member of the First Presidency Hugh B. Brown was reportedly on to something.

Brown is said to have admitted his assessment to Mormon amateur archaeologist and eventual LDS non-believer, Thomas S. Ferguson. Ferguson played a prominent role in 20th-century efforts to scientifically authenticate the Book of Mormon. Authors Richard K. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, in their work, "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise," describe Ferguson as "[t]he father of LDS Mesoamerican research"--who ultimately "concluded that the [B]ook [of Mormon] was a piece of fiction."

(Ostling and Ostling, "Mormon America," Chapter 16, "The Gold Bible" [San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999, p. 272)

As to the nature of Brown's opinions that he is said to have shared with Ferguson, Brown reportedly did not accept Smith's claims of having translated ancient Egyptian--with Brown going so far as to also acknowledge that the Book of Abraham itself was not genuine.

Mormonism researchers Jerald and Sandra Tanner point to a letter Ferguson wrote to another member of the Mormon Church, James Boyack, on 13 March 1971, in which Ferguson described a closed-door meeting he had with Brown:

"According to Mr. Ferguson, Apostle Brown had [along with Ferguson] also come to the conclusion that the Book of Abraham was false and was in favor of the [Mormon] church giving it up.

"A few years later, Hugh B. Brown said he could 'not recall' making the statements Thomas Stuart Ferguson attributed to him.

"Ferguson, however, was apparently referring to the same incident in the letter of March 13, 1971, when he stated: 'I must conclude that Joseph Smith had not the remotest skill in things Egyptian-hieroglyphics. To my surprise, one of the highest officials in the Mormon Church agreed with that conclusion . . . privately in one-to-one [c]onversation.'"

(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Ferguson's Two Faces," in "Salt Lake City Messenger," Issue #69, September 1988; included in the article is a copy of Ferguson's actual letter, at: http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no69.htm)

Ferguson's fatalistic doubts about the authenticity of Mormon scripture--and how those doubts were privately shared by him with a sympathetic Brown--is chronicled in telling detail by Stan Larson, curator of the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah, as found in his book, "Quest for the Gold Plates: Thomas Stuart Ferguson's Archaeological Search for the Book of Mormon."

Larson reports how Ferguson's growing disbelief in the truthfulness of Mormonism's canonized scripture led him in December 1970 to make a "pivotal trip to Salt Lake City . . . for a very important purpose":

"Ferguson first paid a visit to ['the liberal LDS apostle'] Brown in his office at LDS Church headquarters and reviewed with him the translations of the Egyptologists had made of the Joseph Smith Egyptian papyri.

"During this conversation Ferguson emotionally exclaimed to Brown that Joseph Smith did not possess 'the remotest skill' in translating Egyptian hieroglyphs.

"Ferguson reported an unexpected response from Brown: 'To my surprise, one of the highest officials [Hugh B. Brown] in the Mormon Church agreed with that conclusion when I made that very statement to him.'"

"['Ferguson, letter to James Boyack, 13 March 1971, in Ferguson Collection, University of Utah. For a reproduction of this letter, see Charles M. Larson, 'By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri' [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Institute for Religious Research, 1992), pp. 182-83]'"

Larson references an additional source that lends credence to Ferguson's description of Brown's expressed reservations about Smith's professed ability to translate ancient Egyptian and about the Book of Abraham as a supposedly divinely-translated work. It came in the form of an interview conducted with Ferguson by LDS Church Historical Department employee Ronald O. Barney on 4 January 1983.

Barney's account of his interview with Ferguson reads as follows:

"Ferguson said the thing that first led him to seriously question the [Mormon] church was the papyri purported to be the source of the Book of Abraham. He said he took he took a photograph of the papyri to a couple of friends of his that were scholars at Cal., Berkeley. They described the documents as funeral texts. This bothered Ferguson in a serious way!

"Later he said that he took the evidence to Hugh B. Brown. . . . After reviewing the evidence with Brother Brown he [Ferguson] said that Brother Brown agreed with him that it was not scripture. He did not say or infer [imply] that it was his evidence that convinced Brother Brown of this conclusion. But nevertheless, he did say that Hugh B. Brown did not believe the Book of Abraham was what the [Mormon] church said it was."

(Barney's interview was typed 19 April 1984 and is located in Box 77, Fd 13, Marquardt Collection, University of Utah)

Larson then notes that the door to closer examination of Ferguson's assertions has been slammed shut by the Mormon Church:

"Brown's harsh indictment [as expressed to Ferguson] of the official position of the LDS Church--the the Book of Abraham is not 'what the church said it was'--cannot be either confirmed or disproved by the Hugh B. Brown papers in the LDS Church archives, because they are closed to researchers."

Larson does mention, however, the release of a carefully-worded and selectively-edited non-denial denial made by Brown regarding his (Brown's) conversation with Ferguson:

"The following is the only available paragraph of a photocopy of a letter purportedly dictated by Brown and sent to Robert Hancock:

"'I do not recall ever having said anything to Mr. Ferguson which would have led him to think I do not believe the Book of Mormon to be true. This is certainly not the case, for I know, even as I live, that Christ is directing this Church and that Joseph Smith was His prophet chosen to restore His Church in its fullness.'

"([Hugh B. Brown], letter to [Robert Hancock], [partial photocopy], 26 September 1974, in Box 77, Fd 13, Marquardt Collection, University of Utah)

Larson points out what is noticeably missing from Brown's partially-released correspondence:

"It should be noted that Brown did not address the central question of whether he and Ferguson discussed Joseph Smith's inability to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics."

Larson further notes that "[d]uring this meeting [with Brown], Ferguson 'seemed to be absolutely convinced that [Hugh B.] Brown did not believe the Book of Abraham,' that is to say, did not believe that the Book of Abraham was a translation from Egyptian. Since it is assumed that Brown believed that it was inspired scripture, this seems to indicate that Brown held a non-historical, 'mythic interpretation' of the Book of Abraham," as suggested by Edgar C. Snow, Jr., in his article, "One Face of the Hero: In Search of the Mythological Joseph Smith."

(Stan Larson, "Quest for the Gold Plates: Thomas Stuart Ferguson's Archaeological Search for the Book of Mormon" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Freethinker Press, in association with Smith Research Associates, 1996, pp. 132, 138-39, 165fn12, 166fn14, 166fn15 and fn16, 212]; see also, Edgar C. Snow, "One Face of the Hero: In Search of the Mythological Joseph Smith, in "Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought" 27, Fall 1994, p. 247n39).

To summarize:

Ferguson reported that Hugh B. Brown personally told him in a meeting with Brown in Salt Lake City, Utah, that:

--Brown did not believe Joseph Smith could translate ancient Egyptian; and

--Brown did not believe that the Book of Abraham was what the Mormon Church claimed it was.

Larson reports that:

--Ferguson's account of meeting with a confessing Brown was backed by an employee of the LDS Church' Historical Department who interviewd Ferguson about the meeting;

--Brown acknowledged having met with Ferguson but insisted in a partially-released letter that he did not recall making any such assertion about the Book of Abraham to Ferguson; and

--the Mormon Church has refused to allow researcher access to Brown's papers in order to further investigate Ferguson's version of events.

And thus, we close the book on the Book of Abrasham.
topic image
Before Mormons Break Their Collective Arm Patting Themselves On The Back Over Now Letting Women Pray In Gen Conf Because They've Been Allowed To Pray In Sac Mtg Since 1978
Tuesday, Mar 19, 2013, at 07:04 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
. . . let's not forget that there was a time in the not-too-mist-shrouded past when the All-Male, Blue-Suit crowd that has always run the Mormon Church wasn't exactly thrilled with the heretical idea of letting LDS females pray in LDS sacrament meetings.

Put aside for the moment the historical footnote that in 1978, then-Mormon Church president Spencer W. Kimball announced that Mormon women would now be permitted to pray in Mormon sacrament meetings based on the well-duhhh idea that they could so since they actually attend Mormon sacrament meetings.

(For Kimball's 1978 statement, see: Peggy Fletcher Stack, "April Mormon Conference May Make History: Women Will Pray--Female Mormons Set to Pray in April, Breaking New Ground for Church," in "Salt Lake Tribune," 18 March 2013, at: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/560...)

OK, just for the record, the following was also reported in the Mormon Church's official magazine, the "Ensign," regarding LDS women being permitted, through the grace of the Mormon Man-God, to pray in Mormon Church meetings:

"The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have determined that there is no scriptural prohibition against sisters offering prayers in sacrament meetings. It was therefore decided that it is permissible for sisters to offer prayers in any meetings they attend, including sacrament meetings, Sunday School meetings, and stake conferences. Relief Society visiting teachers may offer prayers in homes that they enter in fulfilling visiting teaching assignments."

(Marvin K. Gardner, "News of the Church," in "Ensign," November 1978, p. 100)

Many Mormon women have wanted to believe that such nice-sounding words would actually and consistently be put into practice by the Mormon men who uttered them from their power pulpits of patriarchy

Dorice lliams Elliot, former graduate assistant to the Director of Women's Studies at Johns Hopkins University and author of several articles on the status of women in the Mormon Church, expresses hope that when it comes to equality being realized for women in the Mormon Church, "progress will be made." She insists that "[a]ll around me, I see women, in and out of the Church, gaining confidence in their right to speak, write and be heard. I also see the changes the Church is making . . . [including] women pray[ing] in meetings . . . ."

(Dorice Williams Elliott,"Let Women No Longer Keep Silent in Our Churches: Women's Voices in Mormonism," in "Women and AUthority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism," Maxine Hanks, ed. [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1992], p. 212)

Still, even with the LDS Church grudgingly affording LDS women permission to pray in their own LDS Church meetings, the record shows that Mormnism's ruling patriarchal class simply cannot be trusted to honor the inherent right and authority of LDS women to continue to do so.

As excommunicated Mormon feminist, Sonia Johnson, perceptively notes:

"I do not hate men. I hate the male-devised and -imposed system of supremacy called patriarchy. I hate it because it is lethal to both men and women. All persons born into and reared in a patriarchal society participate in the oppression of women and the aggrandizement of men. Most of us particpate unwittingly, but participate nevertheless. . . . It is difficult to understand--or at least, too few men seem willing to try to understand how feeling superior and exerting power over others gnaws away at their own integrity, leaving their souls barren.

"I do not hate men, but neither do I automatically respect and trust them. And neither do I accept any longer the role of guardian of their egos. . . . I have confidence in men. I am not afraid that they will shatter if I say that men have been and are our enemies--beloved enemies, perhaps, but often unwitting enemies, but enemies nevertheless. I expect them to understand that I do not believe all men set out consciously to hurt and stunt and thwart and destroy us. I also expect them to be decent and mature and secure enough to examine the evidence that this is the case without having tantrums or psychotic breaks, and to begin to help put a stop to it. I believe that the majority of men are capaable of this and more . . . .

"I cannot hate men. I have three sons whom I love as much as if they were daughters. But I mourn for them a thousand times more than I do for my daughter. . . . My sons do not understand what is happening to them, the insidiousness of it defeats me, defeats them. It is everywhere--in the very air they breathe--that they must be tyrants to be real. Benevolent, gentle tyrants, perhaps--if they are lucky, they get that message, though many men do not--but still tyrants. And always at the mercy of their egos."

Sonia Johnson's brutally honest assessement is why she holds out so little hope for the Mormon Church's patriarchal hierarchy. She realizes that Mormonism's male rulers are out of harmony with the "so few men horrifed enough at what sexual bigotry is doing to the men as well as to the women of the human family that they have dedicated their lives to establishing equality."

(Sonia Johnson, "From Housewife to Heretic: One Woman's Struggle for Equal Rights and Her Excommuncation from the Mormon Church" [Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1983], pp. 400-03)

Thus, her warning to Mormon women about the proven and notorious track record of the LDS Church's sexually-abusive male priesthood system:

"Encyclicals [have come down over the years] from the Brethren . . . which took away women?s right to pray in major Church meetings. ([T]his right has since been restored but women will not be safe from the Brethren?s capricious meddling with our inalienable human rights until we attain positions of power and authority in our Church)."

(Sonia Johnson, "Patriarchal Panic: Sexual Politics in the Mormon Church," paper presented at the American Psychological Association Meetings, New York City, 1 September 1979, typescript copy in my possession)

Indeed, it bears noting that when it comes to Mormon women praying in Mormon Church meetings, it hasn't always been Jell-O and cream.

As one inconvenient bit of history notes:

"Actually, it [the issue of LDS women praying in Mormon Church meetings] is a bit more complex. It [the ban on women praying in Mormon Church meetings] was established by a 1967 'Priesthood Bulletin' and was included in the 1968 General 'Handbook of Instruction' (no. 20, p. 44):

"' . . . Prayers in Church Meetings

"'Prayers in all Church meetings should be brief, simple, and given as led by the spirit by the one who is voice. Their content should pertain to the particular matter at hand.

"'Brethren holding the Melchizedek or Aaronic Priesthood should offer the prayers in sacrament meetings, including fast and testimony meetings. Those praying should use the pronoun forms of Thy, Thee, Thine, Thou in addressing the Lord.

"(. . . 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Handbook of Instructions,' No. 20 (First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, 1968), p. 44.)

"[Barely three years before the LDS Church relented and said Mormon women could pray in its Church meetings], [t]he 1975 'Ensign' also had this:

"'Prayers in Sacrament and Priesthood Meetings. Attention is called to the following instruction which appeared in the July-August 1967 'Priesthood Bulletin.'

"'The First Presidency recommends that only those who bear the Melchizedek Priesthood or Aaronic Priesthood be invited to offer the opening and closing prayers in sacrament meetings, including fast meetings. This also applies to priesthood meetings.'

"The draft Kimball bio says that Kimball was the one to get rid of it ([the] 'Church News' quote being cited). Now, the ordering of prayers, that is an odd thing and I would love any documentation of the [Ezra Taft] Benson anecdote."

(post by J. Stapley, 5 May 1999, under article by Kevin Barney, "Not Letting Women Open Sacrament Meeting Redux" of same date, at: http://bycommonconsent.com/2008/05/05...)

The "Benson anecdote" referred to above is found in Kevin Barney's article (also cited above) and reads as follows:

"On November 14, 1999, Elder [and member of the First Quorum of Seventy Monte J.] Brough said that a few weeks before his death, President Ezra Taft Benson made a comment about prayers that was misinterpreted by a few to mean that only men could open meetings. Unfortunately, some of those disseminated this information. Although this was officially retracted 'within weeks,' it had spread far enough to become 'policy' to some who had heard various versions of it.

"Elder Brough was 'adamant" that it was not policy, was not ever given as policy from the First Presidency and simply wasn't true. He said that the Church policy is that it doesn't matter who gives prayers.just as it is written in the 'Handbook.' He then asked that the message be disseminated by the high council throughout the stake so that no further misunderstandings would occur--which is how I came to hear the information."

This alleged episode of my grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, supposedly saying just a few weeks before his death that Mormon Church policy was being misinterpreted as far as women giving invocational prayers at Mormon Cnurch meetings is far-fetched, to say the least.

A few weeks before his death in May 1994, Ezra Taft Benson was physically debilitated, mentally incapacitated (through two serious cerebral hematomas) and strictly confined to his Eagle Gate apartment, where he eventually came to be bed-ridden; where he was unable to speak, communicate or act in any meaningful way; and where he finally died, attended to only by his in-apartment domestic help.

In fact, Apostles Dallin H. Oaks and Neal A. Maxwell told me personally, privately and directly in the LDS Adminstration Office Building in September 1993 that no major Mormon Church administrative decisions were being made during the last years of Ezra Taft Benson's term as Church president because he was not capable of making such decisions.

Ironically, the last word (and I mean the last "word") I ever heard my grandfather speak was the word, "Amen." We were gathered as family members with him in his Eagle Gate apartment. He was hunched over and in a wheelchair. In that infirm condition, he was wheeled over to the living room couch where we all knelt for evening prayer (except for him, who remained in his wheelchair). Another member of the family gave the prayer, my grandfather weakly responded at the end with an "amen"--and he did not add any comment about how women should be allowed to open up Mormon Church meetings with prayer.

If my grandfather had ever actually made a statement about Mormon women being properly allowed to open Mormon Church meetings with prayer (contrary to his supposed concern that LDS Church prayer policy was being misinterpreted in that regard), that bit of "prophetic" information would certainly have been bandied about in Benson family circles. In reality, I never heard one word about it--and my faithful Benson family is well-known for its faith-promotings stories about ETB.

So, I call bull pucky, big-time, on this faith-promoting rumor.

The fact of the matter is that even though Mormon women have theoretically been allowed since 1978 to pray in Mormon Church meetings that they attend, it's only now--35 years after the fact--that they are being permitted to pray in LDS General Conference sessions.

Why did it take God's "one and only true Church" to actually get around to letting Mormon women pray in Mormon General Conference sessions--which are Mormon Church meetings that Mormon females have long been allowed to attend?

This is nothing more than putting lipstick on the Mormon Church's presiding patriarchal pig.
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Photos Of Joseph's Dead Body Exist-Death Mask Mismatched With Hyrum's Skull
Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at 08:24 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
Photos of Joseph's Dead Body Exist-Death Mask Mismatched with Hyrum's Skull

The question is (with the answer provided below):

Where are those photos pf the dead Joseph Smith (which some on this board claim to have seen posted on unspecified internet sites).

What those photos show (with updated information since added) . . .

--Photographing the Dead Bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith Uncovers Some Basic Identity Problems

"In the Smith Family cemetery in the Community of Christ [formerly the RLDS Church] section of old Nauvoo, there is one large tombstone/monument that lists the names from left to right 'Hyrum Smith Joseph Smith and Emma Smith.' Joseph actually lies beneath Hyrum's name and Hyrum lies beneath Joseph's name; this in effect makes Joseph apart from Emma.

"Here is the rest of the story:

"A public viewing was held on 29 June 1844, after which empty coffins weighted with sandbags were used at the public burial. (This was done to prevent theft or mutilation of the bodies). The actual coffins bearing the bodies of the Smith brothers were initially buried under the unfinished Nauvoo House, then disinterred and reburied under an out-building on the Smith homestead. The exact location of the gravesite was soon lost to memory.

"In 1928, Frederick M. Smith, president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and grandson of Joseph Smith, fearing that rising water from the Mississippi River would destroy the gravesite, authorized civil engineer William O. Hands to conduct an excavation to find Joseph and Hyrum's bodies. Hands conducted extensive digging on the Smith homestead and located the bodies. The remains--which were badly decomposed--were examined and photographed and the bodies were reinterred beside Emma Smith on higher ground. They did not notify Joseph Fielding Smith--who was the closest descendant of Hyrum--that they were doing this. It really made him mad when he found out.

"Anyway, one of the skulls had a missing facial area. The other skull still had much of the face intact. Since it was known that Hyrum had been shot just to the side of his nose, the RLDS assumed that the skull that was missing a facial area must have been Hyrum's, so when they reburied them they put the name of Hyrum over the skull with the missing facial bones.

"Then in 1993, a forensic team compared the death masks of Joseph and Hyrum to the photographs of their exhumed skulls and found that Joseph's death mask fit the skull with the missing facial bones. Apparently, 'when Joseph fell from the second-story window at Carthage Jail in June of 1844, he suffered facial fractures. Because death occurred only minutes after this event, the bones never healed together and as decomposition of the soft tissues progressed in the grave, the fragments fell from the face, leaving a void in the skull." Hyrum's skull is intact, except for the piece missing where he was shot."

("Title: Top 10 Things You Didn't Know about Joseph Smith's Death." posted in commentary section by "Hueffenhardt," 28 April 2006, at: http://forum1.aimoo.com/theviewfromthefoyer/category/Top-10-Things-You-Didn-t-Know-About-Joseph-Smith-s-Death-1-463255.html)

Another account, from which the above was apparently borrowed:

"Joseph and Hyrum Smith's bodies were returned to Nauvoo the next day [28 June 1844]. The bodies were cleaned and examined, and death masks were made preserving their facial features and structures.

"A public viewing was held on June 29, 1844, after which empty coffins weighted with sandbags were used at the public burial. (This was done to prevent theft or mutilation of the bodies). The coffins bearing the bodies of the Smith brothers were initially buried under the unfinished Nauvoo House, then disinterred and deeply reburied under an out-building on the Smith homestead.

"In 1928, Frederick M. Smith, president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and grandson of Joseph Smith, fearing that rising water from the Mississippi River would destroy the grave site, authorized civil engineer William O. Hands to conduct an excavation to find Joseph and Hyrum's bodies. Hands conducted extensive digging on the Smith homestead, and located the bodies, as well as finding the remains of Joseph's wife, Emma, who was buried in the same place. The remains–-which were badly decomposed–-were examined and photographed, and the bodies were reinterred."

("Death of Joseph Smith," under "Internment," at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Joseph_Smith)

--More on the Joseph Smith Skull/Death Mask Mismatch

In an article entitled, "Forensic Evidence: A Closer Look," the claim is made that--based on archival material provided with the permission of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the death mask of Joseph Smith has actually been mismatched with the body of his slain brother, Hyrum:

"I opened up the hybrid image of the skull and jaw [of Joseph Smith] in Photoshop Image Editor and created a new layer to receive the death mask and pasted it into that layer. I had to work with the scale of the death mask so that it would correspond to the size of the skull images.

"The software I used allowed me to maintain exact ratios as I moved the scale up and down. I was thus able to keep the image in a correct aspect ratio to the original image as I worked with it. My first discovery was that Joseph's death mask needed to be tilted back more at the top. Joseph had a high, sloping forehead.

"In order to capture the full facial features, George Cannon apparently tilted the plaster cast down at the top of the head to cover the full detail. This would explain why Joseph's mask makes his chin look weak and recessed when the mask is laid flat on a table.

"When Joseph's mask is compared to Hyrum's, it is immediately clear that they were not cast at the same angle. Joseph's mask must be rotated upward at the bottom to be in the same plane as Hyrum's. I needed to rotate the image of Joseph's mask out at the bottom and back at the top to correct this discrepancy.

"I made the necessary adjustments of rotation and scale and moved the transparent image of Joseph's death mask over the image of the skull and jaw.

"They matched perfectly!

"The death mask lined up at almost every location of the front skull profile. In fact, the only adjustment needed was caused by eight-degree rotation of the skull photo from a perfect right angle. Once that was corrected, I had no doubts. This skull (the one the RLDS officers had identified as Hyrum's) belonged to Joseph's death mask. Joseph's skull [when aligned] with Hyrum's death mask [was] [n]ot a match." . . . "[A] 3D model of Joseph with skull [and] death-mask overlay [of Joseph Smith is a match]."

"The likeness itself was striking. I was looking at an image of Joseph based on physiological data never before used in examining his appearance. I believe this image to be more accurate than anyone had seen in over 150 years. I wasn't finished yet. Much would yet need to be done to prepare and present to the world an image of Joseph that was accurate in every respect. But I could see him before me now, on the screen of my computer, and I knew that we were going to have enough information to complete the work and allow people to see Joseph with more accuracy than he had been seen since 1844."

("Forensic Evidence: A Closer Look," at: http://web.archive.org/web/20040406094315/http://home.fuse.net/stracy/forensic.htm)

--The Photographs, Along with Their Revealing Details, are in Possession of the RLDS Church/Community of Christ

The photographs taken by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Community of Christ of Joseph and Hyrum Smith's dead bodies are acknowldged to presently be in existence but are reportedly being kept confidential for privacy reasons.

In an article entitled, "The Skull: A Missing Link," the following is noted:

"While researching the death of Joseph Smith Jr., we came across information that he and his brother Hyrum were exhumed, examined and photographed in 1928 by the RLDS Church.

"Out of respect for the Prophet and the Smith Family, we will not publish the actual photographs.

"However, back in 1993 the authors received permission from the RLDS Church to have copies of these exhumation photographs studied by a team of experts in Forensic Pathology, This was first time the RLDS Church allowed the photographs to be taken from their vaults for study. Years prior to this, tracings of these photos were made by Utah artist William Whitaker.

"These will be used here to illustrate the findings of the experts.

"A study of the RLDS photographs shows that Joseph's skull is missing the facial area. That his facial bones were missing was made even more puzzling when we found that his brother Hyrum's facial bones were intact, even though he was shot in the face at the time of his death.

"We therefore considered that when Joseph the Prophet fell from the second-story window at Carthage Jail in June of 1844, he suffered facial fractures. Because death occurred only minutes after this event, the bones never healed together and as decomposition of the soft tissues progressed in the grave, the fragments fell from the face, leaving a void in the skull."

"[From] Fig. 6: The remains of the skull of Joseph Smith [as] traced by William Whitaker from the exhumation photographs taken by the RLDS Church in 1928: Notice that Joseph's skull is missing the facial bones. Previously it had been assumed that this void resulted from decomposition in the grave. Evidence reveals that there is more than just decomposition to the story these bones reveal.

[From] Fig. 6A . . . : The remains of the skull of Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph, [as] traced by William Whitaker from the exhumation photographs taken by the RLDS Church in 1928. The fact that Hyrum's skull is intact, except for the piece missing where he was shot, proves that decomposition is not the reason for the void in Joseph's skull. Hyrum was buried right next to Joseph."

"This is not the end of this study, currently there are other experts and scientific analyses scheduled. We are confident that their findings will continue to add insight into the face, life and times of Joseph Smith."

--Originial, Follow-up and Expanded Research

For graphics and illustrations with accompanying text on Joseph Smith's skull, see:

--"The Skull: A Missing Link," at: http://comevisit.com/lds/CHAP3.HTM; update, "The Skull: Thie Missing Link," at: http://www.photographfound.com/Photograph_Found/The_Skulls.htm; and update, "Another Daguerreotype," at: http://www.photographfound.com/Photograph_Found/Appendix_D.html

For detailed examination of Joseph Smith's death mask, see:

"A Comparison with the Death Mask," at: http://comevisit.com/lds/CHAP2.HTM; update, "A Comparison with the Death Mask," at: http://www.photographfound.com/Photograph_Found/The_Death_Mask.html; and update, "Another Daguerreotype," at: http://www.photographfound.com/Photograph_Found/Appendix_D.html

For analysis of facial fractures found on Joseph Smith's skull, see:

--"Did Joseph Smith Receive Facial Fractures?," at: http://comevisit.com/lds/CHAP4.HTM; update, "Did Joseph Smith Receive Facial Fractures?," at: http://www.photographfound.com/Photograph_Found/Facial_Fractures.html; "Facial Fractures Explain the Differences Between the Death Mask and the JS Photograph," at: http://comevisit.com/lds/CHAP5.HTM; and update, "Facial Fractures Explain the Differences Between the Death Mask and the Photograph," at: http://www.photographfound.com/Photograph_Found/Differences.html

For access to and assessement of the research, see:

"How Can I Get the Graphic File?," at: http://comevisit.com/lds/CHAP6.HTM; and update, "Nearing Twenty Years.... A Perspective...," at: http://www.photographfound.com/Photograph_Found/Conclusion.html

For the overall, expanded site on the research per Joseph Smith's skull and supporting daguerreotype, see:

"Photograph Found: a 20-year Perspective," at: http://www.photographfound.com/Photograph_Found/Welcome.html

For the death masks of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, displayed side-by-side, see:

"Death on a Thursday Afternoon: The Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, June 27, 1844," at: http://www.woodlandinstitute.com/joseph/martyrdom.php

This puts a whole new face on Joseph Smith (which the Mormon Church--in its own, far less honest way--has been trying to do for years).
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Inside Letter To First Pres: Gneral Authority Urgesthat Fellow GA's Book Not Be Published
Monday, Aug 19, 2013, at 08:46 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
--Introduction: Mormon Church Apostle Assigned to Review and Report on the Problematic Writings of a Fellow General Authority

I have come into possession of copies of some very illuminating correspondence between a member of the Mormon Church Quorum of Twelve Apostles and the Office of the First Presidency. These materials were contained in a Mormon Church-produced, gray-colored, vinyl-covered three-ringed binder stamped on its cover with inset capital letters, "THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS." I received the correspondence through my grandfather and then-President of the Church, Ezra Taft Benson, who had previously made it available within Benson family circles.

The letter from the LDS Apostle was of a confidential nature, so indicated by the fact that it was directly sent as internal mail within the Church Administration Building from the offices of "The Council of the Twelve" (as noted by the Church stationery on which it was typed) to the "Dear Brethren" in the "The First Presidency." Further, it was "cc'd" to no one.

Upon examining the Apostle's letter, a well-respected, seasoned Mormon observer and trusted source of mine remarked, "It's a very nice glimpse into the workings of a system geared more to practicality than to fundamental truths."

The letter--dated 9 April 1987 to the First Presidency of Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson--was written by Apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin. It concerned the possible publication of a manuscript entitled, "The Book of Mormon and the Constitution," which had been authored by fellow General Authority, H. Verlan Andersen. (A copy of Andersen's manuscript was included in the binder, behind the letter from Wirthlin to the First Presidency.) Andersen was, at the time he wrote the manuscript, a member of the First Quorum of Seventy. Apostle Wirthlin had been assigned by the First Presidency to review Andersen's manuscript, then report back to them whether he (Wirthlin) would recommend approval for its publication.

Before proceeding further, some preliminaries.

--Church Employment Backgrounds of General Authorities Wirthlin and Andersen

Joseph B, Wirthlin rose through the ranks of the General Authorities to become a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1986. Prior to that, his Church duties included assignments directly linking him to Mormon interests and activities in Europe: From 1975 to 1978, he was the designated General Authority area supervisor for Europe, followed by assignment as president of the European area (including Communist eastern Europe) from 1984 to 1986 when Wirthlin was in the First Quorum of the Seventy, and where he oversaw the Mormon Church's European interests in collaboration with fellow Apostle Russell M. Nelson. It is not surprising, therefore, that in 1987 the First Presidency assigned Wirthlin to review Andersen's manuscript, which attacked Communism.

Before becoming a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, H. Verlan Andersen was a Professor of Accounting in BYU's College of Business. After retiring from BYU employment, he became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1986 and a year later produced his "Book of Mormon and the Constitution" manuscript which he hoped would be approved by Church leadership for publication. (General Authorities were asked to submit manuscripts to the First Presidency for pre-publication review.)

Andersen's ascendency into the Mormon Church hierarchy was reportedly facilitated through personal connections. According to well-placed and well-inforrned BYU sources, "the feeling around town, i.e. scuttlebutt" was that Mormon Church President Ezra Taft Benson was responsible for getting Andersen into the Seventies in April 1986. (ETB had become LDS Church president in November 1985, following the death of Spencer W. Kimball.) Andersen and Benson were known to be personal friends/acquaintances who shared common interests-notably, extremist right-wing, anti-Communist, pro-Constitution political views.

(Note: During my mission to Japan from 1973 to 1975, my grandfather sent me, as a Christmas gift, a copy of Andersen's book, "The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil" [Orem, Utah: SunRise Publications, 1972, 234 pp., with printings in 1988 and 1994 "by his Sons and Grandsons"]. This was the only book my grandfather sent me during my entire mission.)

In this book, Andersen claimed that the "Great and Abominable Church of the Devil" manifested itself in the form of "corrupted government." Specifically, he identified "the Devil's church" as Communist totalitarianism in the form of state-imposed "socialism" and "welfare" and--more particularly--in the form of "socialized education":

"Prompted by the statement of a latter-day prophet that 'the entire concept and philosophy of Communism is diametrically opposed to everything for which the Church [of the Lamb, i.e., the Mormon Church] stands,' and using a concise statement of this philosophy called the 'Communist Manifesto,' which had been drawn up by the so-called father of modem socialism, we examined the doctrines of the Devil's church. We found them to be as the prophet had stated--diametrically opposed to everything for which the Church stands.

"The program outlined therein proposes that believers in the Devil's plan, i.e., Communists, Socialists, and Welfare-statists seize control of government and then use it to destroy individual freedom by destroying the basis upon which it rests-the right and control of property. It also outlines plans for abolishing the Lord's three organizations-family, Church, and government". . . .

"There may be some who will take vigorous exception to comments made herein regarding public education. But once the decision is made that prostituted government is indeed, Satan's Great and Abominable Church, the conclusions reached herein regarding socialized education naturally follow, because to the extent that the devil is in control of government to that same extent will government schools teach his doctrines. No other result can be expected." (pp, 181 ff)

During his time at BYU, Andersen was known as one of Ezra Taft Benson's "boys on campus." Indeed, the power of Ezra Taft Benson to flex his muscle as Church president as late as 1987 (meaning before his rapid physical and mental deterioration took hold) in order to provide preferential treatment to political friends and personal family members was also well-known, resented and feared. According to BYU sources with first-hand knowledge, university president Jeffrey Holland was, so "anxious" about ETB, becoming "unhappy" that Holland agreed to arrange for ETB's son and oldest child, Reed (my uncle), to be promoted up the chain in the religion department, despite Reed not possessing the necessary academic credentials to justify the advancement.

To an uneasy Holland, ETB was clearly "still a force to be reckoned with." Others were not as impressed. News that Reed was going to receive an undeserved promotion to associate professor led some academic administrators to threaten to resign in protest. To prevent a mutiny, a proposal was made to BYU's academic vice-president team that Reed be given a teaching-professor title-i.e., one not entailing professorial status but as professional teaching faculty, more along "the lecturer line." The VP team agreed to the proposal, whereupon "word came back from Holland" that Holland would agree to the special arrangement if Reed would accept it-and as long as Holland's name was kept out of it. Reed was approached by certain members of the academic VP team and offered the "associate teaching professor" position. To their relief, "Reed was thrilled." That's all that Reed said he wanted to be--a teaching professor. Holland was also relieved, ETB was still "sufficiently with it" that those like Holland who "were very plugged-in" knew they had to "tread lightly.")

--Wirthlin's Concerns Over Anticipated Negative Effects of Andersen's Anti-Communist Views on Mormon Church Interests

As Wirthlin's letter to the First Presidency lays out, in some detail, he strongly urged that it not be published, warning that it was a sincere but ill-advised attack on Communist regimes in Eastern Europe that would harm the long-term political and religious interests of the Mormon Church. (My above-mentioned source offered a far more blunt assessment of Andersen's manuscript, describing it as "a screed in which he's trying to make arguments for pre-determined conclusions" adding that "[t]his guy [Andersen] is a fanatic.")

Anderson died on 16 June 1992 in Orem, Utah, without his manuscript having been authorized by the Mormon Church for publication. But that did not mean the manuscript was destined for its own death and burial. A CD ROM of Andersen's writings--including "The Book of Mormon and the Constitution"--was released in 2007. Even earlier--and most likely under rights extended by Andersen's family--three years after Andersen's death, his manuscript was self-published by Orem-based SunRise Publishing and Distribution under the title, "The Book of Mormon and the Constitution." (It was republished by the same company again in 2008.)

(Note: Andersen's son and political heir, Hans V. Andersen Jr., currently serves on the Orem City Council. As reported in the 13 June 2013 "Daily Herald," he told a fellow council member, "I think God will help; you and you get help if you follow his ways. God has economic principles we don't follow.")

Wirthlin's letter to the First Presidency evidenced his obvious concern that the Mormon Church not approve fellow-General Authority Andersen's desire that he be allowed to publish his anti-Communist "screed"-- this despite Andersen's insistence in the manuscript that the Book of Mormon was replete with divinely-inspired anti-Communist doctrine which had received Mormon Church endorsement by such top-ranking LDS leaders as Ezra Taft Benson, Bruce R, McConkie, David O. McKay, Heber J. Grant, and J. Reuben Clark.

Andersen's manuscript constituted a full frontal attack on Communism, one based on his extremist political reading of the Book of Mormon. Andersen compared Communism to secret combinations and corrupt governments as he said were described in the Book of Mormon. He likened Communism to the Gadianton robbers and declared it to be the source of what he regarded as the modern-day unconstitutional evils of welfare state laws, tax laws, occupational licensing laws (including laws making it illegal to practice medicine without a license), regulatory laws and a corrupted national currency.

Andersen further blamed the evils of Communism for the latter-day proliferation of sex crimes, including abortion, adultery, prostitution, fornication and homosexuality. These offenses, Andersen warned, would eventually lead God to destroy-as Sodom and Gomorrah were obliterated by heavenly fire-all those who engage in such divinely-condemned criminality.

--Apostle Wirthlin's Letter to the First Presidency

Below is the full text of Wirthlin's letter to the First Presidency (with original spelling, punctuation and capitalization):

"THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

"The Council of the Twelve "47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

"9 April 1987

"The First Presidency B U I L D I N G

"Dear Brethren:

"Re: Manuscript for The Book of Mormon and the Constitution

"I appreciate the assignment you gave me to read the manuscript authored by Elder H. Verlan Andersen. I am sure he is very sincere in all that he has written. No doubt he has a good knowledge of the Book of Mormon. I feel, however, a sincere apprehension as to the publishing of this manuscript. My concern is even greater because it is authored by a General Authority of the Church. Misunderstandings could be had by Communistic governments and by a large number of faithful members of the Church.

"The following statements in the manuscript seem to be in question:

"1. (1.3) `The conclusion is drawn herein that almost all of us exercise unrighteous dominion, and that we do so by befriending unconstitutional laws which destroy free agency.'

"It seems to me that a definition, or example, should be given as to what is unconstitutional. Would an unconstitutional law be Internal Revenue, Social Security, national defense, traffic control, or drug enforcement? Does he mean that these are unconstitutional?

"2. (1.6) `President McKay delivered a discourse in the semi-annual general conference of 1967 entitled "A Plea for Unity." In this sermon, he urged Church members to become united, and to reject Communism with its divisiveness.'

"He is comparing today's Communism with the Gadianton Robbers, and secret combinations. While Communism is an evil political force, yet we must remember that we have more than 5,000 members of the Church in Communist-dominated countries.

"3. (8.4) `Communism has a greater appeal to the evil in men than any other political system. While enforced priestcraft provides government paid jobs for teachers, priests, educators and those who administer the system, under Communism where the state owns all property and all means for the production and distribution of goods and services, government jobs are created for every activity whatsoever and the opportunity to exercise unrighteous dominion is virtually unlimited. Furthermore those who control government also own and control all of `the things of this world,' which exist within its jurisdiction.'

"He described enforced priestcraft and Communism. This is all it would take to destroy the work that has been achieved in East Block countries. We learned this morning from Elder Russell M. Nelson that the East Block Communist countries are more friendly to us than are a large number of western countries. The Iron Curtain has been lifted in such a way that we have built a beautiful temple and other chapels in East Germany. The Minister of Religion of East Germany was asked by the Minister of Religion of Russia why his country favors the LDS Church. The answer was, `They are law-abiding citizens. They live high moral standards and set a good example for our citizens.' The other East Block countries are extremely interested in this comment about our Church and are now permitting missionaries to come to their various countries. They also said the uplifting spirit of the Church was good for their citizens. We can see from this report that we are now enjoying peaceful coexistence in these lands. The gospel is brooding over these Communistic countries. Several members of the Twelve declared in this morning's temple meeting that they feel we are on the right track to go into these countries.

"President Benson seemed to be pleased as to what is happening in these Communistic nations. He referred to DandC 84:62: `Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature.'

"Great emphasis is being given on reading the Book of Mormon and seeing to it that all nations receive it. No doubt this sacred book would be banned in all Communistic countries. It would also place the Church and our loyal and faithful members in jeopardy of their jobs, jail sentences, or even their lives. It would close the borders of preaching the gospel to many nations. The East German (D.D.R.) saints are probably the most faithful of all the members of the Church worldwide. Sacrament meeting attendance in Freiberg and Leipzig is very high. Temple endowments and genealogical research are the highest per capita of any stakes in the Church. Therefore, I am more concerned about the publishing of this manuscript in relationship to the harm to our members than any other part that has been written.

"I totally reject Communism, Socialism, and the welfare state as much as Brother Andersen, but I feel that I have mentioned pitfalls that would harm the Church and its members in many countries. The expansion of missionary work and friendly governmental relations is absolutely necessary, rather than a broadside declaration against such governments, which would defeat the preaching of the gospel and slow our preparation for the Lord's coming. I believe it is our challenge to preach the gospel as energetically as we can without alienating governments under which many wonderful people are compelled to live.

"Faithfully your brother,

[signed]

"Joseph

"Joseph B. Wirthlin

"JBW/jc"

--Conclusion: The First Presidency Appears to Have Squelched General Authority H. Vernal Andersen's Manuscript

We do not have a copy of any response by the First Presidency to either Wirthlin or Andersen. They may not have replied to Wirthlin in writing but could have discussed the matter in a meeting or a telephone conversation. However, since the manuscript was not published until after Andersen's death, it is likely that the First Presidency did follow up with him and ask him not to publish this work, .
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Assessment Of Anti-Same Sex Marriage BYU Professor Lynn D. Wardle, From Someone Acquainted With Him
Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014, at 08:12 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15   -Link To MC Article-
As background, Lynn D. Wardle is a law professor at Brigham Young University who recently launched a public tirade against marriage equality (lumping in with that attack his call for criminalization of adultery and cohabitation). Wardle is of the view that society should only provide legal acknowledgment and protection of heterosexual marriage, warning that cohabitating, adulterating and/or same-sex marrying will destroy civilization as we know it. (Wardle, along with two others, was a featured guest on a KUER "Radio West" interview conducted by host Doug Fabrizio (for audio of the interview, go to: "Utah's Marriage Battle," 7 January 2014, at: http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/utahs-...)

Wardle had earlier inveighed against same-sex marriage, in a bigoted, Mormon-believer broadside that was published in the "Salt Lake Tribune," where he stated (without the benefit of foundational facts) the following:

"The Brown decision [against Utah's anti-cohabitation law] departs from both constitutional history and deeply rooted social mores. Nothing in the Constitution (not its text or history or precedents) forbids states to ban adulterous cohabitation.

"Laws prohibiting adultery are deeply rooted not only in American legal and moral tapestry but in the legal and social fabric of most civilized societies. Sexual fidelity to one's spouse is a core, basic element of marriage, and has been for millennia, not merely in American law but in virtually all cultures and societies in the world.

"While those values at times have been honored in the breach rather than the observance, they have persisted as deeply important principles of not just family and social organization but as foundational constitutional values. The form part of the moral substructure upon with our constitutional superstructure is based.

"Likewise, marriage has required the union of man and woman for millennia. In fact, it is only in the past 15 years (and only in a handful of jurisdictions) that marriage has been redefined to allow same-sex marriage. Today, only 16 of 193 sovereign nations (8%) have legalized same-sex marriage--it is forbidden and legally rejected in nearly 92% of the nations of the world.

"There is an important reason why gender-integration has been a core component of marriage in all societies across all time. It lays the foundation for the equality of both genders and for equal respect for the contributions of both genders throughout society. It protects and reinforces the mother-father family, which is the basic social institution.

"When marriages are disregarded and trivialized by public officials, as by the judges in the Brown and Kitchen rulings, that weakens the institution of marriage and subverts the integrity of the relationship of marriage.

"Societies in which marriage is weakened and trivialized suffer severe consequences. History shows that the dependent, the young, the weak, and the aged pay a heavy price when marriage is weakened. . . .

"That some federal judges might have personal views about 'modernizing' Utah's marriage law to embrace novel forms of marriage and diminish the meaning of marriage is not surprising. However, that they would abuse the power of their office to rewrite Utah's marriage laws to impose those views upon the people of this state is wrong and deeply troubling.

"It is truly unfortunate that the judges in these two cases forgot basic principles on which our constitutional system is predicated. Those principles include not only respect for gender-integrating marriage but also for judicial self-restraint.

"In both cases, the courts displayed a remarkable disrespect for the institution of marriage. Both judges severely abused judicial power. Because marriage matters, state and county officials should vigorously and effectively appeal the unjustified."

"The [recent] Brown decision [against Utah's anti-cohabitation law] departs from both constitutional history and deeply rooted social mores. Nothing in the Constitution (not its text or history or precedents) forbids states to ban adulterous cohabitation.

"Laws prohibiting adultery are deeply rooted not only in American legal and moral tapestry but in the legal and social fabric of most civilized societies. Sexual fidelity to one's spouse is a core, basic element of marriage, and has been for millennia, not merely in American law but in virtually all cultures and societies in the world.

"While those values at times have been honored in the breach rather than the observance, they have persisted as deeply important principles of not just family and social organization but as foundational constitutional values. The form part of the moral substructure upon with our constitutional superstructure is based.

"Likewise, marriage has required the union of man and woman for millennia. In fact, it is only in the past 15 years (and only in a handful of jurisdictions) that marriage has been redefined to allow same-sex marriage. Today, only 16 of 193 sovereign nations (8%) have legalized same-sex marriage--it is forbidden and legally rejected in nearly 92% of the nations of the world.

"There is an important reason why gender-integration has been a core component of marriage in all societies across all time. It lays the foundation for the equality of both genders and for equal respect for the contributions of both genders throughout society. It protects and reinforces the mother-father family, which is the basic social institution.

"When marriages are disregarded and trivialized by public officials, as by the judges in the Brown and Kitchen rulings, that weakens the institution of marriage and subverts the integrity of the relationship of marriage.

"Societies in which marriage is weakened and trivialized suffer severe consequences. History shows that the dependent, the young, the weak, and the aged pay a heavy price when marriage is weakened. . . .

"That some federal judges might have personal views about 'modernizing' Utah's marriage law to embrace novel forms of marriage and diminish the meaning of marriage is not surprising. However, that they would abuse the power of their office to rewrite Utah's marriage laws to impose those views upon the people of this state is wrong and deeply troubling.

"It is truly unfortunate that the judges in these two cases forgot basic principles on which our constitutional system is predicated. Those principles include not only respect for gender-integrating marriage but also for judicial self-restraint.

"In both cases, the courts displayed a remarkable disrespect for the institution of marriage. Both judges severely abused judicial power. Because marriage matters, state and county officials should vigorously and effectively appeal the unjustified."

("Op-Ed: Illegitimate and Wrong Marriage Rulings," by Lynn D. Wardle, "Salt Lake Tribune," 4 January 2014, at: http://m.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/57...)

I have a reliable source who is acquainted with Lynn Wardle. I spoke with this individual today and asked this individual, based on their personal experience and interaction with Wardle, to describe him. (Note: This individual has allowed me to quote them verbatim, reviewed with me what I am now reporting here on RfM and knows it is being posted on RfM).

This individual noted that they have been "acquainted" with Wardle, both personally and professionally. over a period "of several years."

Wardle was described as being "an a**" and "arrogant," as well as being "dismissive of points of view that disagree with his own."

This person said that they were "disappointed that in public statements, he [Wardle] often relies on assertions rather than on real arguments."

Wardle was further described as a someone who "doesn't[ fit in to social situations where people have differing views from his."

This person also noted that Wardle operated on "pre-determined" conclusions unrelated to new information and facts.

Surprised, anyone?

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  · ADAM GOD DOCTRINE (4)
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  · EX-MORMON FOUNDATION (33)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 1 (35)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 10 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 19 (26)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24 (28)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 3 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 4 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 5 (23)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 6 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 8 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 9 (26)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 1 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 10 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 24 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 25 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26 (61)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3 (21)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 4 (22)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 (25)
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  · NAUVOO (3)
  · NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (2)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL (1)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE (1)
  · NEIL L. ANDERSEN - SECTION 1 (3)
  · NEW ORDER MORMON (8)
  · OBEDIENCE - PAY, PRAY, OBEY (15)
  · OBJECT LESSONS (15)
  · OLIVER COWDREY (6)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (5)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS (20)
  · PERSECUTION (9)
  · PIONEER DAY (3)
  · PLAN OF SALVATION (5)
  · POLYGAMY (60)
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  · RICHARD E. TURLEY, JR. (6)
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  · RUSSELL M. NELSON (14)
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  · SPENCER W. KIMBALL (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 1 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 11 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 12 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 3 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 4 (25)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5 (22)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 6 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 7 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 8 (13)
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