Wednesday, August 6, 2014

History, Hearsay and Heresy Part 4:
Never Led Astray

I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. 
—2 Nephi 4:34

In the previous posts in this series, we've examined some manufactured quotes--falsely attributed to Joseph Smith--which are used to promote false doctrine. Among the ideas promoted:

  • The majority of the twelve can never go astray.
  • The records of the church can never go astray (not sure how they could...)
  • The majority of the church members can never be misled.
  • The majority of the church members will go to the Celestial Kingdom, and
  • Anyone who says otherwise is on the high road to apostasy.

Oh yeah...and the moon is inhabited by people that dress like Quakers.

Now make no mistake, the above ideas are FALSE, never taught by Joseph, not supported by scripture, and frankly really stupid if you think about them. They were made up in an effort to strengthen an agenda and win a historical power struggle with other branches of the restoration movement. Yet we persist in believing and teaching these ideas, even featuring them in our official church manuals. We find it more important to win an argument than to be on the side of truth.


Not good, but it gets worse. 


If we really want to get to the root of the problem we must consider the holiest of the holy grails of unbelief.

Warning: Confronting unbelief is never easy. You may find the following uncomfortable to consider. I sympathize with you; this wasn't easy for me, either. All I can do is plead with you to please hear me out. If you love God, value truth, and want to develop real faith, you'll need to confront your unbelief and seek truth above tradition. Saving faith can only be founded upon truth. If it is founded upon anything else, it is not faith. If confronting unbelief is the only way to know God, I'll gladly make that trade.

OK, on to the problem. This is the 800-pound gorilla of false doctrine that affects every part of the church from top to bottom. It is simply stated as follows:

The Prophet can never lead us astray.


The mantra begins in primary, where we march to the drumbeat of "Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, don't go astray."

By the time we reach adulthood, we take great comfort in the idea that no matter what, as long as we're following the prophet, we're A-1 guaranteed entry into the celestial kingdom, because there's just no way the guy can ever make a mistake.


So pervasive is this unbelief, that we've now placed the prophet in a place of priority above the scriptures, above the truth, and even above the Lord. These are bold statements to make, but they are absolutely true in our religious practice and beliefs.


For examples, look to Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, a talk given by the apostle Ezra Taft Benson in 1980. In this talk, Elder Benson asserted, among other things, that words of the prophet are more important than what is written in our scriptures, that anything that comes out of the prophet's mouth is revelation, and that even if the prophet tells you to do evil, God is bound to honor you for doing it. 


When this talk was given, it was roundly rejected by Spencer W. Kimball, who was the prophet at the time. In fact this talk very nearly earned Elder Benson a formal rebuke from the First Presidency, and he was required to apologize to the Quorum of the Twelve and explain himself to a combined meeting of all the general authorities of the church. In short, President Kimball was MUCH displeased with what was said, and considered it false doctrine.


Oddly enough, the same talk, filled with the same false doctrine, was just given in General Conference in 2010, without a peep from the Twelve, the First Presidency, or the general membership of the church. Nobody bothered to address how the doctrine could be false in 1980, but true 30 years later. Did God change the doctrine? Or did someone else?


So consider this: Brigham Young taught many things that the church has since flatly denied and openly called false (polygamy, Adam-god theory, blood atonement, refusal to ordain blacks, for example.) Obeying Brigham in these items nowadays will get you excommunicated. Yet when Brigham taught these things, he insisted he was speaking the word of the Lord. 

Was Brigham wrong? Or is the church today wrong? Remember saving doctrine never changes. God does not vary. Somebody was wrong. Somebody misled you. Was it Brigham, or is it today's leaders? They can't both be right.


This deserves careful thought. Your salvation is at stake.


Since this series is about origins of doctrines, let's go back and take a look at where this particular doctrine of infallibility came from. Like many issues in our history, it all starts with polygamy.


As you may be aware, during Joseph Smith's day, the practice of plural marriage was limited and secret. But Brigham Young went public with the teaching in 1852, advocating plural marriage as a necessary part of the LDS faith, which he practiced with gusto.


Due to national backlash about this practice, government persecution threatened plural marriage in the LDS church. Seeking protection under the first amendment, Brigham began forcefully teaching that polygamy was not only part of the LDS religion, but a fundamental part of the belief system--so essential, in fact, that exaltation was simply impossible without polygamy. It was polygamy or damnation. Period.


By insisting plural marriage was so fundamental a part of the religion, Brigham hoped the religious freedom guarantee in the first amendment would protect the practice. 


The church then commenced a 30-year series of court battles against various laws and attempts to curtail polygamy. Losses mounted for the church as government pressure and threats increased.


By 1890, in a final blow, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Edmunds-Tucker act, disincorporating the church and seizing church assets, including the temples. Though Wilford Woodruff, church president at the time, had previously vowed that the church would never give up polygamy, he found himself in a tough situation.


On the one hand, there had been 40 years of insistent teaching by prophets that polygamy was absolutely necessary for exaltation, that the church would never abandon it under any circumstances, and that the Lord would uphold the church against all its enemies. 


On the other hand, there was the U.S. government, which had already disincorporated the church, seized church assets, and publicly stated it was coming for the temples next. Meanwhile many church members and leaders were languishing in jail, facing court fines, and living in secret to evade the law.


Wilford Woodruff was indeed in a tough situation. 


Faced with the destruction of the church and no chance of statehood for Utah, under pressure from the government, he issued the press release now known as the Manifesto (Official Declaration 1), in which he stated that the church would no longer perform plural marriages. This statement was designed to mislead congress into believing the practice would actually stop. 


Not to be misled, congress insisted that the statement not only be published in the press, but actually presented at General Conference and sustained by the church membership as a binding policy change.


And so it was that on October 6, 1890, Wilford Woodruff found himself standing at the tabernacle pulpit, before the church and the world, reading a statement that said he now intended to do what he swore he would never do, and which he himself had taught the Lord would never allow. He intended to publicly abandon polygamy. But he needed political cover for this fundamental change in the very foundation of then-practiced LDS Mormonism. As one doctrine was abandoned, he needed another to justify it. 


So he said the following:

"I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty."
And thus was invented the doctrine of infallibility, now applied to each President of the LDS church. 

Why can't the President lead you astray? Because he said so.


Of course, the doctrine has since grown and expanded to the point that rational people actually believe they can safely entrust their salvation to another fallen mortal man, despite pointed scriptural warnings to the contrary. They actually consider it safe to surrender their agency to another, not realizing that this was Lucifer's plan from the beginning!


The doctrine teaches that it is impossible for the prophet to lead us astray, and that if he attempts to do so, the Lord is obligated to kill him. Seriously. And we're OK with that? Knowing how many mistakes I make, I'm sure glad I'm not the prophet...


This doctrine is not scriptural. This doctrine did not originate with Joseph Smith--Joseph actually taught the opposite. I'd say more along these lines, but there's no way I can possibly hold a candle to the summary given by Rock Waterman in his blog, Pure Mormonism:
"You can search the scriptures and the general conference archives until your eyes swim and never find one instance of a recorded revelation from God declaring the prophets will never lead us astray, or that God wants us to "follow" them.  We didn't get that doctrine from God. We have it because one fine day in 1890 Wilford Woodruff just pulled it out of his butt." 
Not much I can add to that. 

Wilford said it, he got the vote he needed to convince the congress he was serious, even though he wasn't (the church secretly continued polygamous marriages until at least 1904), and Utah got statehood. 


As a by-product, we were left with a lie.


We've since repeated the lie so often and so well, with so much passion and embellishment, that it's become THE new foundational doctrine of the LDS church. A recent example from General Conference states, "We have the Lord’s personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray." I'd love to know when and where the Lord made that "personal promise." But all I can find is an apocryphal premise.


We've replaced polygamy with infallibility. 


Today, the prophet can do no wrong, and therefore, by extension, the church can do no wrong. And if it's impossible for the church to be wrong, then there's really no need for individual LDS members to do anything other than "follow the prophet" right into the Celestial Kingdom. 


We've traded the Savior's injunction of "Come, Follow Me" with Satan's imitation, "Go, follow him."


Cursed, indeed, is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)


Speaking of our day, Nephi said, "...they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (2 Nephi 28:14)


Therefore, in our day:

  • ALL are astray
  • Except a few who are humble followers of Christ
  • And these humble followers are misled by their leaders in MANY INSTANCES.
Therefore if you're not astray, you're likely misled. 


So what's the solution?


There's really no need to despair. The gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to save you without the need for a man to act as the intermediary between you and God. Remember, "the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel, and He employeth no servant there." (2 Nephi 9:41) Salvation is an individual endeavor between you and God. It always has been. 

Certainly the church offers important things we need: Ordinances, opportunities to serve, a community of believers to love--in short, a lab in which to practice the gospel. 

But when it comes to the one you should follow, you can go to God yourself. You can receive the revelation you need. You can even commune with angels and know the Lord face to face. The most important first step is to actually receive the Holy Ghost. Know why? Because the Holy Ghost is the one who truly can't lead you astray.

I'll talk more about that in a future post. Until then, ponder this:

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3)

 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:5)


30 comments:

  1. Well, nothing particularly surprising here, except for presenting a couple of very quotable statements that I haven't heard before;

    "We've replaced polygamy with infallibility." That's a pretty good one.

    and; "Certainly the church offers important things we need: Ordinances, opportunities to serve, a community of believers to love--in short, a lab in which to practice the gospel.", notably, the phrase, "...a lab in which to practice the gospel.", which is the only reason I'm not anxious to get too far out of "mainstream of the church", (not anything to do with following any mortal man, regardless of position or title).

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  2. Beautifully put. Thank you, Adrian, for taking the time to write this out so clearly.

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  3. Thank you for digging into this. I appreciate your thoughtful organization, explanation, and diligence in rooting out the origins of these damnable unbeliefs. These are deeply rooted too, ones that I've been taught my whole life. I even taught these falsehoods to others because I believed them too. I will not teach them again, but I know I will be in lessons and such where this falsehood is taught. I don't really know what to do then, do I stay silent and let them continue on in unbelief? Do I make a big stink and try and teach the truth and origin like you've laid out? This is a difficult one because the church cherishes this unbelief and if I were to say aught against it, I don't think I or the truth would be received well.

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    1. Yeah...I agree. This is a really hard one. Once you know the scriptures well enough and have been taught by the Spirit, it becomes just intuitively obvious that replacing the gospel of Jesus Christ with "just following the prophet" is very wrong.
      But like you said...what do you do when you hear hogwash repeated in Sunday school?
      I teach Relief Society, and made the brave (or stupid) mistake of mentioning during one of my lessons how much I dislike the song "Follow the Prophet", and explained briefly why. Woah. Nelly.
      I can't tell you the crazy backlash I got. It was like all the air had gone out of the room, and several people's heads started exploding. The next 5 minutes were crazy. I actually had the seriously real fear that I was going to get called into the Bishop's office afterwards. ( I didn't).
      And I live in Seattle Washington for goodness sake, where people aren't as entrenched in "cultural" doctrine.
      It was really upsetting. And I'm pretty sure that there are a number of people (and their husbands) that really dislike me now. And that's fine, I don't care who likes me...but I do care about being able to feel charity amongst fellow Saints.
      So, really, unless you feel prompted by the Holy Ghost, then I would be very careful, or you may end up in a bad place. This is SUCH a huge subject for people. So much so, that's it's a little ridiculous. So you have to be careful. People who can't handle the truth on this subject are going to freak out on you, and that can destroy charity (theirs and yours, if you're not careful).
      Of course, truth and the Spirit above all. So if Heavenly Father asks you to say something. You say it.
      Otherwise, I think you should be careful and wise.

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    2. Micah,

      We have a group of like-minded people in Seattle. We'd love to have you join us.

      Steve

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  4. I have gone down this road. I have spoken up...and I have been "taken down"...even excommunicated.

    The advice I would give would be this: speak by the Spirit, tell the truth, stand up for what is right, don't be afraid (even if they excommunicate you).

    What do you have to lose by standing up for the truth? Membership in an organization that doesn't embrace it? Affiliation with those who reject it when they hear it? The Church will not be healed by keeping silent.

    That being said...be kind. Be respectful. DON'T ARGUE! Don't get mad. Be prepared to be rejected, "disciplined", etc. DON'T expect the bishop or stake president to understand. (They almost certainly won't.) Even if you say the "right" things after you "reveal your hand" (i.e., "I follow Christ, not an imperfect man"), they will "construe" what you say to mean you reject their leadership, even if you say you "support and sustain" them...and keep ALL the commandments.

    They will make you an offender for a word anyway.

    I'm finally coming to peace with not being a Latter-day Saint. I say this as I sit in the LDS chapel during Priesthood Meeting. (I even brought my non-member neighbor to Church today. How ironic! The "excommunicated" guy introducing his "visitor" in Priesthood opening exercises!) But my daughter was making too much noise to remain in EQ; I had to step out.

    I sat in hours of meetings today and didn't hear one inspired thing. Not even a scripture quoted in sacrament meeting. (Sunday School was about the scriptures, but there was nothing about Naaman we hadn't already heard many, many times.) The Church is, for all intents and purposes, spiritually "dead" now. "We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healings, interpretation of tongues, and so forth'' -- just as long as it doesn't happen here and now, except in some ethereal, nebulous, "only the bishop gets it" sense.

    The Holy Ghost is still working with "these people", but they want "religion", not a relationship with Deity. And they've been "talked out of" seeking one.

    If you don't speak up, who will?

    Seek Jesus. And when you find Him, speak up!

    I did. (It didn't make me "popular", believe me!)

    I don't know how much longer I can continue to bring my seven children here. They are so bored, so malnourished with what they receive here. They know the difference. And they hate it. So do I.

    But, like many, I don't know where to take them (yet) on Sundays.

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    1. Thank you, Good Will, for your kind response and thank you for your sacrifice for the truth! Sorry you've had to go through that. I agree with you about standing up for truth without fear. I am reminded of some scriptures that apply:

      Matt 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

      Matt 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

      I have also sat through those meetings for hours, hungry for spiritual nourishment; a scripture, mention of the Savior, new doctrine, feeling the spirit... anything, please! It is frustrating, so I've started studying the gospel on my own during those times.

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  5. This is nothing that I haven't read, pondered and studied before.

    I struggle then with the question:

    "What is a prophet for if not to lead by example?"

    We find Paul asking the Saints of his day to follow his exame.

    "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample."

    Philippians 3:17

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  6. Ryan , that is only one of several examples of Paul teaching erroneous doctrine. Just as modern prophets aren't infallible neither was Paul

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  7. Adrian,

    Can you please provide a reference for this statement from your post?

    "When this talk was given, it was roundly rejected by Spencer W. Kimball, who was the prophet at the time. In fact this talk very nearly earned Elder Benson a formal rebuke from the First Presidency, and he was required to apologize to the Quorum of the Twelve and explain himself to a combined meeting of all the general authorities of the church. In short, President Kimball was MUCH displeased with what was said, and considered it false doctrine."

    I appreciate that you are very thorough in providing references for your statements everywhere, but don't see one here. I'd really like to see that for myself.

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    1. It was in Edward Kimball's biography of his father "Lengthen Your Stride."

      Sorry, don't have the page number at the moment.

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  8. Hi,
    Thank you for the time you put into these posts, I have appreciated reading them. I have come to many of the same conclusions that you have with regards to infallibility. Can I request a source on Kimball calling Benson to the mat on his talk? I would love to have it to add to my study and sources.
    Thanks

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    1. It was in Edward Kimball's biography of his father "Lengthen Your Stride."

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    2. So it is hearsay then.

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    3. Well, that depends on where Edward Kimball got it. If it was from Spencer W. Kimball's own journal, it wouldn't be hearsay. I haven't read the biography, but I'd like to, and I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss.

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    4. Thanks Adrian, I appreciate the reference. I'll have to read the biography sometime. And it only took you 10 minutes to respond! Wow! And it took me 2 days to check for a response.
      Original Anonymous asker.

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    5. Original Anonymous asker here. Thanks to the glories of Interlibrary loan I have sourced the book. According to Anonymous on Oct 30, the incident I inquired about is in the public relations chapter. Indeed it is referenced, and I will quote, from p. 160:
      Many people looked for political messages where none may have been intended. In February, 1980, Elder Benson gave a talk at Brigham Young University titled "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet." It emphasized that the living prophets' statements take precedence over those of earlier prophets. He also asserted, "those who would remove prophets from politics would take God out of government." (note 11: The talk may have been an impassioned response to a full-page anti-Mormon advertisement in the Salt Lake Tribune two days before, trumpeting inconsistencies between latter-day prophets.)
      Spencer was concerned about the talk. He wanted to prevent any misperception that the church espoused ultraconservative politics and wanted to discourage an unthinking follow-the-leader mentality. (note 12: Camilla speculated that if one of the other apostles had given the same talk there would have been much less reaction.) Church spokesman Don LeFevre told the press the day after the speech that it is "simply not true" that the Church President's "word is law on all issues-including politics." The uproar continued, however, and a week later President Kimball and his counselors issued still another statement to "reaffirm that we...exercise no constraint on the freedom of individuals to make their own choices in these matters."
      And end of quotation from the book.
      This is embedded in a section on politics, with Benson arguing for the church taking a more conservative activist stance, which he abandoned in 1984, and Kimball trying to rein him in. So, not as scandalous as made out to be in your piece, Adrian, but still pointing in the same direction. Then again, I have only read 10 pages in the book, not the whole thing.

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    6. Three "versions" of the book actually exist. In order for the book to be carried in Deseret Book (which would imply endorsement by the Church), some things were left out of the published volume. The full manuscript was included on a CD included in the back of some volumes which goes far beyond merely providing documentation. It includes three versions of Lengthen Your Stride: (1) the text of the book as printed, but also (2) the same text with about 1,600 footnotes, and (3) the “working draft” that in- cludes much additional text and about 3,200 footnotes. Obviously the third version is the “real” book before it was trimmed down for publication.

      Though the concern was motivated by politics, the implication Benson conveyed in his talk was that anything the president said represented the very word of God, and that is where Kimball wisely felt it was necessary to rein him in.

      I recommend you also visit this link, and look at footnotes 61-63:
      http://www.mormonliberals.org/ezra-taft-benson-and-politics

      You can also read more at this link: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,856352,857318 and in D. Michael Quinns book, “The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power" as cited in this link.

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  9. Well said, "We've traded the Savior's injunction of "Come, Follow Me" with Satan's imitation, "Go, follow him."

    Polygamy is one of the worst doctrines ever introduced into the church and absolutely condemned in the Book of Mormon. If members truly believed it was the word of God none of them would have been led astray because of it. http://gregstocks.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/polygamy-vs-the-book-of-mormon/

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  10. for the ref to the quote see the book, Lengthen Your Stride by Edward Kimball. Look for the chapter titled: Public Relations, Public Issues.

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  11. I posted a blog with some quotes by LDS leaders about following God and not the prophet or any other man. If interested here is the link: http://mdb651.blogspot.com/

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  12. In light of President Kimball rebuking Elder Benson for the '14 Fundamentals talk', it is intriguing that Elder Kimball himself is quoted saying something similar 29 years earlier in General Conference. The last word on following the prophet and apostles in Lesson 6 of the current Gospel Doctrine New Testament course is a quote by then Elder Kimball from 1951 April Conference:

    “No one in this Church will ever go far astray who ties himself securely to the Church Authorities whom the Lord has placed in his Church. This Church will never go astray; the Quorum of the Twelve will never lead you into bypaths; it never has and never will” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 104).

    Whether that strikes you as delightfully reassuring or heretically alarming depends, I suppose, on whether you believe it or not. What caused President Kimball to see the claim of infallibility so very differently as President of the Church™ 29 years after he apparently championed it? To maneuver the original quote from Kimball's days as an apostle in an end run around the subsequent stand against the concept when he was actually serving as president of the Church™--is a remarkable example of proof texting at any cost. Whether this was done out of ignorance or by design the result is the same–we're encouraged to trust and believe something that is unscripturally false. Spiritual disaster awaits.

    But wait, there's more. '14 Fundamentals' seems destined to continue poisoning our hearts and minds in a big way. Elements from '14 Fundamentals' have been woven into Chapter 11, 'Follow the Living Prophet' in this year's priesthood and Relief Society manual. It's astonishing. As a gospel doctrine teacher last year I was impressed that the ancient Israelites apostatized from the top down. It was most of the kings, the prophets and priests that went whoring after Baal and Ashteroth with the ordinary folks happily followed their lead.

    While the manuals are written by committees of scholars, someone at the very highest levels of leadership has to green-light the final result. Do the very highest levels of leadership believe they are infallible? Do they suffer from holy envy for the Catholic Magisterium who openly claim infallibility? Let the humble followers of Jesus Christ say 'no' to such perverse mischief.

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  13. Hi Adrian,

    I just read this post, and remembered reading something from Wilford Woodruff's Journal under the date of January 21, 1883:

    "J. F. Smith spoke upon the Priesthood and revelation. It was a very interesting discourse. He said God will not keep any man on earth to preside over the Church to lead the Church of God astray. He will take him away first and all men should sustain the authorities of the Church or Priesthood."

    Wilford thought it was "very interesting", perhaps because it was news to him at the time.

    I remember reading something Heber C. Kimball stated in regards to taking Lucy Walker to wife - he said he hoped the Lord would take him before he ever apostatized. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find the source of that again.

    I think this definitely fits these other instances of how myths get started and become doctrine.

    Great post!

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  14. I love this post. I would love a source to back the story of Elder Benson nearly getting a formal rebuke and needing to explain himself to a committee. Can you tell me where you got that information?

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    1. Please see above in the comments discussion.

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  15. Here's a scripture to challenge the follow b the prophet mantra too.
    1 Kings 13:11-29.

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  16. It is one thing to say that the Lord will never permit any man who stands as President of the Church to lead the people astray (wilford Woodruff regarding the 1890 Manifesto), it is quite another thing to say "The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice" (from the last pages of the D&C). I lately read in "Zion's Redemption" by Francis Michael Darter (p. 81) that President Woodruff years later made a statement that he did not receive such divine revelation. So who is leading astray whom here? If what Darter writes is true - and I assume it is - that sure would make President Woodruff feel very uncomfortable where he is at right now, don't you think?
    Darter did not provide any source though, unfortunately.

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  17. Where is your documentation for
    When this talk was given, it was roundly rejected by Spencer W. Kimball, who was the prophet at the time. In fact this talk very nearly earned Elder Benson a formal rebuke from the First Presidency, and he was required to apologize to the Quorum of the Twelve and explain himself to a combined meeting of all the general authorities of the church. In short, President Kimball was MUCH displeased with what was said, and considered it false doctrine.

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    1. Hi Julene, Please read through the comments thread, where your exact question has already been asked and answered at length.

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  18. Adrian said, "As a by-product, we were left with a lie."

    It is interesting that the "doctrine" of polygamy (as a requirement for exaltation) was a lie as well.

    So a lie was replaced with a lie.

    I do find Pres Kimball's rebuke of Benson astonishingly hypocritical. As was pointed out by Patty above, Kimball had publicly taught the SAME false and wicked doctrine in 1951. Did he really believe "this Church will never go astray; the Quorum of the Twelve will never lead you into bypaths; it never has and never will”?

    Let me answer that question with a timeline populated with 3 dates:

    Feb. 1980: Elder Benson delivers his false doctrine talk.

    1980: I assume it was in 1980 that Pres Kimball privately rebuked Elder Benson and called him on the carpet.

    Oct. 1981: That pernicious quote of Wilford Woodruff was added to OD 1!! So UNDER Kimball's watch (and within months of his rebuke of Benson), the Church canonized a few excerpts from addresses Wilford Woodruff gave, by adding them to OD 1 in the D&C. The key anti Christ precept that was added was that the Lord would not permit the president of the Church to lead the Church astray. At the Oct 1981 General Conference there was no Church vote on this addition to our canon, and in fact, there was not ANY announcement in General Conference the excerpts would be added. The only "announcement" one can find is in an article buried in the Ensign Magazine in October 1981.

    Our rapid institutional apostasy may be directly attributed to this insidious, unapproved addition quietly inserted into our Scriptures in 1981.

    What I find obviously blatantly hypocritical of Kimball is to rebuke Benson in 1980 and the VERY NEXT year preside over the canonization of the SAME teaching he supposedly privately rebuked!

    The proper way to rebuke or correct false teachings would have been to do it PUBLICLY, so that future generations would be properly instructed and warned. The fact he did it privately gives insight into how little Kimball cared about preserving an important truth for posterity.

    The argument could be made he gave the rebuke for vindictive or political reasons.

    Keep in mind Benson had on occasion called out priesthood leaders for being cowards and derelict in duty for not standing up for freedom. He was very caustic and condemning of such leaders. I'm not aware of much evidence, if any, that Kimball was remotely of the patriotic stature of Benson in fighting for Liberty. So there's a reasonable chance that the private rebuke of Benson was vindictive, as a way to put Benson in his place, after years of being tormented by Benson's calls to repentance.

    In reality, the far GREATER sin was committed by Spencer W. Kimball for authorizing the canonization of the very same precept (WW's excerpt from 1890) the very next year in Oct 1981.

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