Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ending, Trending, Pretending

It's time for a quick report of the oddities and updates that aren't big enough to be their own posts, but nevertheless ought to be noted. Sorry about all the charts and graphs. I'll attempt to balance them with scintillating commentary, and I'll bring it all together at the end.

1. The "Hastening" theme is dead:

It may yet take awhile to die out at the local level, but as far as headquarters is concerned, the hastening is no longer worth talking about. Though we were assured repeatedly that the Lord was Hastening His work, He evidently now is not.

Don't let this bother you.



It's a matter of no importance, but the curious may note, the blog post that got me called in to my Stake President's office for eventual excommunication was the one that pointed out the myth of the hastening.

I wonder how much longer the "Hastening the Work of Salvation" website will remain up? Keep in mind this was the worldwide leadership training site for 2013. Every stake was required to hold stake-wide meetings on Hastening the Work.

Incidentally, the 2014-2015 training is on following the handbook. In a video message, President Monson teaches that there's safety in following the handbook, and it will be a "treasure" and "blessing" to you. He even bears testimony of the handbook as if it were scripture, while rather obviously reading from a teleprompter.

Don't let this bother you.

2. I Hope they Call Me on a Mutual:

The "hastening" death may have to do with the following information. It appears the only thing hastened was the age at which missionaries could serve. (I've highlighted the "hastening" period; click for larger graphs):



As you can see above, missionary levels were stable until the "Raising the Bar" policy change of 2002, which cut the missionary force by nearly 20% in 2 years, and more thereafter. (Does that bar look raised to you?) The age-change policy of 2012 temporarily reversed this trend, returning missionary levels to their pre-2002 average. When considered as a percentage of church membership, the missionary force is currently staffed at the same levels as the late 1980s and 1990s, though this level is forecasted to drop as the surge missionaries return home.

Church growth is nowhere near what it was in the 80's and 90's, and has actually suffered a slight drop during the "hastening:"




And, as has been reported in a major news outlet, the number of converts per missionary is also down considerably, due to the rise in missionary numbers with no appreciable rise in converts:


The LDS church has addressed this issue in an article in church-owned LDS Living, based on an article in church-owned Deseret News. As it turns out, missionary work is not about baptizing converts after all. It's actually about converting and retaining the missionaries themselves.

In other words, it's a youth program. A mission is an extension of mutual.

Now, I certainly agree going on a mission can strengthen one's testimony and provide valuable experience in preparation for future church service. Heck, when I was a missionary, there were plenty who were even sent on a mission in hopes it would reform them. And in some cases, it did. Nothing unusual there.

What's unusual is to attempt to explain the lack of converts by emphasizing that missions are mostly just about converting the missionaries. The headline in the piece calls this "a good reason why the church has more missionaries, but not more baptisms."

I guess I'm confused. This is comparing apples and oranges. Yes, missionary service can convert missionaries—always has—but this doesn't explain the lack of baptisms.

Don't let this bother you.


3. Joseph Smith Subvehiculated:

This graphic sums it up. Take a look:




Throw under the bus (verb):
(idiomatic, transitive, of a person or group) To betray or blame (something or someone), as a scapegoat or otherwise for personal gain. To distance oneself from someone with whom there was previously a close association. To discard or disown.

It has now apparently become nigh-on taboo to even mention the Prophet's name in General Conference. Presumably, this is a result of the bad PR surrounding the charges against Joseph Smith of improper sexual relations.

What surprises me the most is that the LDS Church made almost no attempt to defend its founder, but rather did serious damage to his legacy and memory with their polygamy essay.

Ironically, the best, most powerful, logical, and cogent defense I've read of Joseph Smith was written by a man who has been excommunicated for writing about church history and defending Joseph Smith.

Read it here. It's worth reading.

Meanwhile, the church is distancing itself from "the man who communed with Jehovah," about whom the Lord said the following (with references to Joseph Smith in bold):
Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith. Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. (D&C 21:1-2, 4-5)
But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses. And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him...(D&C 28:2-3)
Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come; Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church. And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house. (D&C 90:3-5)
We ought to be exceedingly careful about accusing Joseph of dishonesty, crime, sin, and sexual improprieties. God vouched for Joseph Smith in no uncertain terms. The fact that the LDS Church has become a critic of its founding prophet is beyond disappointing. It is dangerous. Evil speaking of the Lord's anointed, indeed.

DO let this bother you.


4. President Monson has still not testified of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon

At the April General Conference, President Monson retained his perfect record of never testifying of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon since October 2005. He's almost reached the ten-year mark without once bearing public testimony of the foundation of the church he leads.

Don't let this bother you.


5. President Packer has still not testified of President Monson

But to balance things out, President Monson's successor-in-waiting, President Packer, still has not born testimony in conference that President Monson is a prophet. Ever.

Don't let this bother you.


6. The Definition of Pretender

I've heard the word "pretender" used in reference to spiritual leaders before, but I never realized it doesn't just mean, as I had assumed, "one who pretends to be something they're not." Here's the actual definition:

A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished.

In other words, one who lays claim to the position, rank, or seat occupied by another, is a pretender.

I think the best way to summarize everything I've written so far is to say that there are those who lay claim to Joseph Smith's position, seat, and keys, while failing to demonstrate any of his gifts. They flail about, tinkering with policies, ignoring scripture, persecuting believers, and disparaging Joseph as they fundamentally alter the purpose and mission of the church Joseph founded and destroy the truths Joseph taught.

But you mustn't raise an opposing vote to any of this. Doing so may subject you to persecution, threats and vitriolic rejection by the "Christlike" followers of these pretenders. It will almost certainly get you cast out from among them.

Do let this bother you—very much.


7. Now, About Those Opposing Votes at General Conference


I think Rock Waterman already covered well the bizarre claims that:


a) One shouldn't have a dissenting opinion

    and

b) If one does have a dissenting opinion, it certainly should NOT be brought up at General Conference.

Read his post for an excellent, eye-opening analysis.

46 comments:

  1. Adrian--thank you for all the effort you put into your messages. I'm curious if you've ever read David Whitmer's "An Address to all Believers in Christ", and if so, what are your thoughts on it?

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    1. I have read part of it, but it's been awhile. I would have to re-read it to make any comments. Lots on my plate right now.

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  2. Adrian... these statistics are absolutely devastating.

    My former Stake President in the summer of 2013 split the stake into eight wards from six. The reason... Hastening the Work. We were about to see new converts flood in!! Results.. don't know, but anecdotally the stake probably is the same size. Fail. There are real consequences when you believe false prophets.

    I don't know how anyone can look at Monson not bearing testimony of Joseph and The Book of Mormon for TEN years and not begin to question. These are stunning details.

    The chart on the mentioning of Joseph Smith in General Conference is one to watch. Is it an aberration, coordinated effort, coincidence or something else? Thirty four to four can't be a coincidence. I find the timing very interesting.

    Wake up people! These guys are false prophets. They receive no revelation, no prophesy, and perform no acts of seership. What have they produced that comes anywhere close to what Joseph did? The mere thought is farcical. Joseph was a true prophet. These others are pretenders. Wake up to your awful situation. Destruction is coming and it is going to sweep the earth. These pretenders are telling us that tomorrow will be like today, only better. This is not the case. All is not well. Will you believe before your cities lie in ruin??? Beg the Lord for mercy. Humble yourselves before Him and recognize your nothingness. There will be few that remain. The harvest is coming. Don't be like the Nephites of old and recognize too late that your souls are not saved and that the devil has all power over you. The Lord's hand is moving again. Grab hold before it is too late. Accept it while the shakings of your sandy soil are gentle. They will increase in ferocity. Repent and turn to the Lord, that he may heal you. What do you believe that The Book of Mormon is telling us? Do you really believe that America will be cleansed and all of your pristine LDS chapels will remain in tact? Do you believe there be a magical shield around all of the active LDS people? Do you believe the Lord will come in an instant and all the wicked will be instantly vaporized and all that remain will be Zion? There will be years of judgement. Beg the Lord for knowledge, that you may not perish for lack of it. Fear your ignorance of the scriptures. Come, come, come to Lord. Bow down before Him and worship Him with all your might, mind, strength and your whole soul.

    Gary

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    1. Awesome testimony Gary! Thank you both for the warning.

      D&C 88:
      81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
      82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.

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    2. Wow, what an awesome testimony! I wish we would hear that kind of warning in general conferences - given by men who have seen the Lord and been given the instructions to warn the people (i.e. true prophets).
      Toni

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  3. What happened in 1989 that caused the uptick in Church annual growth?

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    1. Daren. I'm curious also.

      My two son left on their missions in January of 1989. My oldest went to Brasil and had amazing success. My other son went to Spain and his success was moderate for that period of time. Spain is a tough mission but he had above average conversions for that particular mission (which by today's conversion rate... his mission baptism rate would be considered very high. )

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    2. Daren,

      You are very astute to notice and ask. Nobody has brought it up yet, which surprises me.

      To answer your question: I don’t know. The numbers don’t make any sense and don’t add up in the least.

      Here’s what I mean, in simple numbers:

      If you ended last year with 100 members, and ended this year with 110 members, you had a net gain of 10. Now perhaps 2 died during the year, 9 converts were baptized, and 3 children of record were baptized. 100-2+9+3=110. Easy enough.

      But here’s the mystery.

      1989 started with 6,720,000 members listed, and ended with 7,308,700, for a net gain of 588,700. But converts baptized for the year is only listed at 318,940, and children of record baptized is listed at 75,000, so there is a completely unaccounted-for gain of an additional 194,760 members from…nowhere. This assumes nobody died during 1989, which is, of course, impossible. Therefore, the mystery gain is much more than 200,000.

      Now, of course, there is always an unaccounted gain, and lately, since children of record baptism are no longer reported, we assume the unaccounted gain is due to them.

      But for reasons unknown, in 1989 the church reported a mystery gain of over 200,000 members, above and beyond convert and child of record baptisms.

      I believe there must have been a fundamental change in the way members are counted that year. It’s certainly an anomaly, and no explanation was given. It’s a mystery number. And it’s a big spike on the graph.

      The statistical report for that year (delivered at the April 1990 conference) the following statement appears:

      “Membership figures include estimates based on 1989 reports available prior to conference.”

      Those must be some wild estimates.

      In reality, because there is never a full accounting given, I believe the membership numbers are mostly fiction. There is no evidence to the contrary, and no details are provided by the church. Much more has been written online about how these numbers are potentially inflated. You can look into it if you’re interested.

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    3. I served my mission from 88-90 and of course remember the focus on flooding the earth with the BOM. Is it possible that a BOM focus made a difference? Just curious. Great post!

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    4. There was a huge upswing in church growth really began in 1987 with the peak number of converts per missionary in 1989 and the peak number of converts in 1990. Why you ask? Who was the Church President and what was he pushing? Then what happened in 1990? If you know the answers to these questions then it is pretty plain.

      Answers: President Benson, Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon, Major overhaul in the Temple ordinances removing some of the most important, plain, and precious parts.

      Anyone with eyes to see can see...

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  4. I'm guessing the large number of JS mentions in 2005 was due to JS' 200th birthday. Great post, great graphs. Thanks for writing so clearly.

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  5. What does oracles mean in the above scripture? The written revelations that Joseph received. A key point.

    The changes are rolling in so fast that everyone should start to feel cognitive dissonance. Just recently I was asked to give a talk on prophets out of "Preach My Gospel." PMG came out only 10 years ago. Still, what do you gather about the state of the current church based on it's lack of focus on the words of God through Joseph Smith when you read the following?

    "One important way that God shows His love for us is by calling prophets, who are given the priesthood—the power and authority given to man to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children. Prophets learn the gospel of Jesus Christ by revelation. They in turn teach the gospel to others and testify of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer." (Preach my gospel, Lesson 1)

    "All people have the gift of agency, which includes the freedom to accept or reject the gospel as taught by the prophets and apostles. Those who choose to obey are blessed, but those who ignore, reject, or distort the gospel do not receive God’s promised blessings." (PMG, Lesson 1)

    "Whenever people choose to disregard, disobey, or distort any gospel principle or ordinance, whenever they reject the Lord’s prophets, or whenever they fail to endure in faith, they distance themselves from God and begin to live in spiritual darkness. Eventually this leads to a condition called apostasy. When widespread apostasy occurs, God withdraws His priesthood authority to teach and administer the ordinances of the gospel." (PMG lesson 1)

    "Biblical history has recorded many instances of God speaking to prophets, and it also tells of many instances of apostasy. To end each period of general apostasy, God has shown His love for His children by calling another prophet and giving him priesthood authority to restore and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ anew." (PMG Lesson 1)

    "Prophet: A man who has been called by and speaks for God. As a messenger of God, a prophet receives priesthood authority, commandments, prophecies, and revelations from God. His responsibility is to make known God’s will and true character to mankind and to show the meaning of His dealings with them. A prophet denounces sin and foretells its consequences. He is a preacher of righteousness. On occasion, a prophet may be inspired to foretell the future for the benefit of mankind. His primary responsibility, however, is to bear witness of Christ."

    If PMG were rewritten today, I promise it would not contain these quotes.

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  6. Hmmm good observation. So you are saying even in the last 10 years the changes have been drastic? What type of quotes would it have?

    "Follow the Prophet" etc?

    Thanks for the insight.

    Vince

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  7. Rob, I'm not smart enough to know what cognitive dissonance is but it sure bugs me when you bang two keys next to each other on the piano!
    I took the time to read the 48 pages Adrian suggested about the prophet Joseph. Thanks Adrian, its nice to have conformation of my own conclusions.Years ago researching for gospel doctrine class I remember reading the account of Hyrum telling Emma about the revelation on plural marriage in the History of the Church. I don't have a fight in the dog either but recently have read some including the Prices two volume Joseph Fought Polygamy. What I find amazing is Todd Christofferson's interview!! The blatant hipocracy! Claiming revelation after deciding in councils yet, waiting for the science to come in WoW! I also was A bit surprised
    at my same gender attraction we all have? I will stop there on the myriad of problems I have wIth his responses to legitimate questions. My take is Obama's legitimizing Mormons as Christians, Pay back for the nation leading LGBT 296 legislation to show its all political I mean spiritual. Run from the prophet of the restoration and all Joseph was trying to teach line upon line under the bus.Thanks again Adrian for your sincere warning posts and direction to other thoughtful writing. As for me I am about done with following where the wind blows these fellows and take that time deciphering Isaiah as Christ commanded.

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  8. Adrian, I really like your blog and you provide some very good information, but the claim about Monson not bearing testimony doesn't seem to be very strong at all. At least FAIR has given us several examples that disprove the point.
    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_prophets/Revelation_after_Joseph_Smith/Thomas_S._Monson/Claims_that_President_Monson_doesn%27t_bear_witness_of_foundational_doctrines

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    1. Cachemagic,

      Yes, this one gets brought up from time to time.

      According to LDS.org:

      "A testimony is a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost."

      This is different than talking ABOUT something. I can talk about the life of Christ, his works, the scriptural record about him. This is different than proclaiming that the Holy Ghost has born record to me that he is my Savior. Talking about Christ is not the same as bearing personal witness that I believe him.

      Talking about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon is NOT the same thing as testifying of them. President Monson has not testified.

      Here's the response to the FAIR article you cite, showing this assertion is accurate:

      https://www.scribd.com/doc/213378803/Correcting-FAIR-and-Looking-Empirically-at-Monson-s-Testimonies

      But the real question is this: Should one have to dig deep and strain through every talk to find meager evidence that the church President has even mentioned Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon? Then should we call that a testimony? Should it be so hard to find? Must we put the words in his mouth?

      I hold that he has not testified of the truthfulness of these things in ten years. Yes, he has talked about them in a few cases. But even primary children are taught the difference between a talk and a testimony.

      Delete
  9. Once again, Adrian, you've hit it out of the park! This post should open some eyes. Shows what can happen when the Brethren decide to institute their big ideas without including God in the planning process.

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  10. By just looking at thecharts, I would like to see one that shows 1-How many times Jesus Christ is mention at General Conference 2-family 3-restored gospel 4-blessings 5-type of blessings and why is it being promised. Shall we walk by faith not by sight? Shall we judge them by their fruits? Shall we ask and it will be given freely? Thats what Jospeh Smith did. I invite all of you that have doubts to do the same. Instead of finding faults in the "Fullness of the Restored Gospel" I invite you to ask God for he knows the truth of all things better than you, and this is his church. Why would he not want his children to have good gifts if he said "I am your Father in Heaven" I have no doubt of this relegion since the day i got baptized. BUT if theres faults in the work it is of men. You can change my knowledge and understanding of this gospel, but you will never change my Testimony. No one convince me to believe it. It is between me and the Lord God of whom i prayed for confirmation of the doctrines i have been taught. And thats the right thing to do. I ask him since its his church. I did not ask the bishop or the preacher from another church, I Ask God my friend.

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  11. Rob, far be it from me to have the temerity to explain anything to you, as you are an author who has guided me to knowledge I had no inkling of. So I doubt there's anything I could share with you that you don't already know. Nevertheless, others may benefit from my own investigation into the meaning of the word "oracles" as you asked about in your query above. A while back I was curious myself as to the meaning of the word, as it seemed to have several uses depending on what and when I was seeing that word.

    As variously defined, "oracles" can have multiple interpretations. They can be divine communications, or they can be the medium through which divine communications are received. So in one sense, the Urim and Thummim are oracles, as would be Joseph Smith's peepstones. Today we mistakenly refer to the Church leaders as God's oracles, because they are (supposedly) the medium through which God sends his communications.

    But in reading the way Joseph Smith used the word oracles, it is clear to me he is not referring to the medium (such as himself), but to the communication, or the message given through that medium. In other words, our modern revelations, as received through Joseph Smith, are the oracles of God. "Where there is a prophet, a priest, or a righteous man UNTO WHOM GOD GIVES HIS ORACLES," Joseph preached, "there is the kingdom of God...If we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God, and if they do not have the oracles of God, they are not His people."

    So the oracles are the messages, the communications, the revelations God conveys to us. That seems to be the proper interpretation we Latter day Saints should gain from the word when it is used by our founding prophet.

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  12. might want to do some more research.
    #5 is not accurate https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/the-twelve?lang=eng
    #4 is not accurate https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/priesthood-power?lang=eng and https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/welcome-to-conference?lang=eng

    that was with only a couple minutes of using google. pretty sure more could be found as well

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    1. I find it unfortunate that you believe "a couple of minutes using Google" is sufficient to overcome what other, more careful researchers have spent many hours examining and documenting. You have not even read their summaries, let alone done any of the actual research yourself.

      But your couple of minutes did what you wanted it to do--that is, give you a thin thread to grasp so you could write off the uncomfortable ideas presented here in their entirety. Nothing to see here. Go back to sleep.

      I suggest you need to read more carefully. In each of the examples you cited, there is no personal testimony borne. It is possible to talk about something, even to use carefully parsed language, and never bear personal witness of it. Again, as both of the studies I've cited point out, there has been no personal testimony borne. Even primary children understand this. Why this need to put words in the leaders' mouths that then never said?

      From the study:

      Why These “Testimonies” Fall Short

      FAIR’s list of 47 quotes, all of which I had already read and many of which I pointed out and addressed in my paper, consists of:

      -Stories about the Restoration (including the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith)
      -Stories about others who have testified of it
      -Stories about others who have gained a testimony of it
      -Admonitions to gain a testimony of it
      -Instructions on how to gain a testimony of it
      -Testimonies of concepts that seem loosely related to it
      -Mere mentions of keywords related to it
      -Impersonal, objective assertions regarding it
      -Expressions of gratitude for it
      -Statements of belief in others’ testimonies of Christ (which need to be read in context)

      FAIR would have us classify these all as testimonies, but if such statements can all be considered testimonies, then the term “testimony” is practically meaningless. If a word can mean anything, it means nothing.

      In order to call these testimonies, we would have to define the term as follows: Testimony: A statement about an idea that seems to imply belief in it.

      By this definition, I would also have to classify “I had eggs for breakfast this morning” as a bearing of testimony that a person did in fact have eggs for breakfast that morning. There would be no need for testimony meetings
      or for instructions to “teach with testimony” because teaching and testifying would be synonymous and every lesson, talk, prayer, and comment given in church would be a testimony or a long string of them. Clearly, the implications of such a definition are highly problematic.

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  13. Tui,
    I think you have misunderstood the thrust of this post. The author, as well as most of us who have commented so far, has a firm testimony of the Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the fullness of the restored gospel.

    The very point of this post is, as you say, "if there's fault in the work, it is of men." The problems we are now seeing in the Church, are the result of men trying to institute their ideas without including God in the planning process. As we have been raised to notice, "by their fruits ye shall know them."

    Indeed. We're not seeing a lot of good fruit in the Church these days, but that isn't the fault of the religion. The religion is true. We need to return to the religion. We need to repent.

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  14. I enjoyed your post, and agree with it on a lot of terms. But I'm not so sure when you say that we must be careful on what we say about Joseph. Do you really feel a just god would condemn someone who questioned Joseph's motives for seducing a fourteen year old girl, when evidence clearly points to it? Upon discovering things that didn't add up with the church, I looked into Denver Snuffer and his overall message, but there's problems with the foundation. Have you all checked out http://mormonthink.com/?

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    1. Anonymous, what problems with Denver's foundation are you referring to? Would you please be specific?

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  15. Adrian...thank you for this post and btw most of it did bother me but the truth has a tendency to do that. I was so impressed that I reposted it on LDSFF in the HG area. One question was raised about your item #5 about Bro Packer and his never testifying about TSM. Can you please provide the source for this? Thanks in advance and continue the good work of righteousness that you are doing here.

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    1. Hi Leonard,

      Thanks for reading. The source for number 5 is me. I read all of Pres. Packer's talks since Pros. Manson was called, and found that though he talks about Pres. Monson being "called by prophecy" he never says Pres. Monson is a prophet. It's interesting to read the careful wording.

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  16. I'll have to find the source, but I saw another graphic about JS references in General Conference that was something like a 30 year timespan, and the recent drop isn't quite as drastic or abnormal as the graphic in the post portrays it. All in all, great post.

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  17. Wow, Adrian! You're continually grasping at ANYTHING to speak negatively against the Prophet. I feel sad for you and your family and I feel you are so cynical and you are leading them astray. It seems like you're just picking and choosing what part(s) of the gospel work for you and then you seem to be on a crusade to be the martyr.
    Just because President Monson doesn't say "I'd like to bear my testimony..." at every general conference, it doesn't mean he's not bearing his testimony or witness of Joseph Smith or The Book of Mormon. How about you quote the entire part about testimony from lds.org because it ALSO says "Part of a testimony's development comes when it is shared..." Nowhere does it say you have to formally declare statements as your testimony for it to count as a testimony. It also doesn't say how many words have to be spoken for a statement(s) to count as a testimony. It's like you're trying to say that a minimum quota of words is necessary for something to be considered a testimony. Totally ridiculous! By the way, below is a full definition of the word testify and I'm quite certain that Pres Monson's "statements" (in quotes because you call them that) have been him testifying of Joseph Smoth and The Book of Mormon.

    Testify:
    -to talk about or say (something) in an honest and confident way
    -to show that something is true or real
    -to give proof of something
    -to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief
    -bear witness
    -to serve as evidence or proof
    -to express a personal conviction

    Also, The simple definition of a prophet on lds.org is "a person who has been called by and speaks for God." Pres Packer saying that Pres Monson is called by prophecy is declaring exact that. You are getting so ridiculous with getting hung up on ANY little thing you can try to twist to disprove the church and our prophet.




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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Please feel free to use whatever definitions of "prophet" and "testify" work for you. I've written at length about prophets and prophecy, and don't need to rehash it here.

      Get the definitions right, and you will find the Lord. Get them wrong, and your eternal life is forfeit. I've done what I can to raise the warning.

      Similarly, if you view the issues I raise as "little things" then you have no need to waste your time reading them or feeling uncomfortable enough about them to chastise me.

      The beauty and terror of the test we face in mortality is that we're each free to heed whatever voices we choose. If you're comfortable with such testimonies as are offered you from those you call prophets, then I wish you peace and happiness enjoying your religion.

      Your discomfort with the points I make either comes from God or Satan. You may be uncomfortable because I'm spouting nonsense and garbage. Or you may be uncomfortable because I'm speaking truth that's increasingly hard to deny. You get to choose.

      Whoever you are, I wish you love and light. Your soul is precious. May you and I both heed God's direction to truth.

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  18. I guarantee that my discomfort comes from knowing that what you're saying is untrue. I have feelings of sadness for your family being led astray by you. I brought up definitions because YOU focus so much on the wording of things you've read or what you've heard the Prophet say. Like I said, you're totally twisting things and your family members are the ones who are going to suffer from it.

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  19. Another great article Adrian, thank you for the time effort you put into sharing your knowledge & testimony. I will forever be indebted to you for the awakening that has occurred in my life.

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  20. Hi Second Anonymous (Name?)

    Prophet and Apostle have been defined by the Prophet of the Restoration. Joseph taught that an apostle is not qualified unless the steps taken to see the face of God are complete. You read this blog, you must be in search of something. Maybe in your subconscious? If I may suggest, read the transcript of Todd D. Christofferson's interview of Friday the 13th of March. If that does not send up a warning flag of the direction of the corporate church??? His testimony is developing alright, as public opinion evolves.
    Your comment is one that leads me to believe you are not familiar with Adrian's posts. This is not some sort of ego thing or entertainment for him. He spends a lot of time ( I am sure that he would rather spend with his family) warning his neighbor, as he has many, myself included. Adrian does not need my simplistic words to defend him, but I feel your "feeling sorry for his family" does nothing positive.I find his warning and your chastisement and your attempt to spur a guilty conscience far different. His guilt would only come from the exchange of the one soul he desires to warn and his family. If you were truly sincere in your sympathy, you would do more for them than words on a screen.
    I also wish you peace in your journey, and hope your searching leads to the light you desire.

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  21. Anonymous, you accuse Adrian of "speaking negatively about our prophet."

    Didn't you mean to say "our president"? A prophet is one who conveys direct messages from God in the voice of the almighty, such as Joseph Smith did on numerous occasions. A president is one who presides over an organization or a meeting.

    I have seen Thomas Monson demonstrate the ability to preside over various functions, but have not seen him perform any acts that would warrant bestowing upon him the title of prophet, seer, or revelator.

    We should not toss around the label "prophet" on just anyone who holds high office. It cheapens the word.

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  22. 2nd anonymous, you slay he pays too much attention to little things the prophet says. Well details are everything, and as far as Adrian deceiving people, I'll tell you what's deceiving.

    It's deceiving to pressure nineteen year olds to swear their life away and leave their homes to spread mormonism, without letting them know information that if they had previously known they wouldn't have chosen to do those things.

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  23. I was the anonymous that mentioned problems in the foundation. I apologize, as I wasn't as clear as I could have been. Even though Denver contradicts himself by saying in 2nd Comforter we should sustain the brethren, and never speak ill of them, and then changes his mind in PTHG I was talking about problems in the foundation of the Restoration.

    There's problems with Joseph coercing fourteen year old girls to have sex with him, his multiple first vision accounts, the lost 116 pages and many more. Just look at Ether 2:23. From my understanding windows weren't even invented then. Think about all the animals in the barges rolling around, and it almost seems comical.

    I wanted the gospel and scriptures to still be true when I saw things that didn't add up with the leaders of the church. But It's to the point now that it seems it was all a sham from the beginning. It seems we've been cherry picking our data and only finding things that confirm our beliefs, while ignoring those that don't. (Confirmation bias)

    I would love nothing more for it all to be true, and to become a god one day, but I just can't ignore some things. But if you're happy with it then, I'm glad. I can't picture a perfect and just god condemning me for losing faith in something that was full of inconsistencies, and things that simply didn't add up. I Wish you all the best though in your search for truth.

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  24. What evidence do you have confirming Joseph Smith coerced 14 year old girls to have sex with him? I have heard rumor and hearsay to that effect, but you state it as if it were a known historical fact.

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  25. You're right, in the sense that I don't know it as absolute fact. But Helen Mar Kimball's journey seems to indicate it. when she said

    "I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it."

    http://mormonthink.com/joseph-smith-polygamy.htm#teens

    I would like to give Joseph the benefit of the doubt, but it's difficult to do so.

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    1. I think it's worth remembering that in a criminal court, the standard of proof required is "beyond a reasonable doubt." In other words, if there's a reasonable doubt as to criminal behavior, the accused is presumed innocent.

      Hence the phrase you used, "the benefit of the doubt."

      The evidence that Joseph had sex with teenage girls is very unreliable. In fact, the evidence that Joseph had sex with anyone other than Emma is fraught with contradictions, doubts, and historical tampering by agenda-driven successors.

      Contemporary accounts and records show Joseph actively fighting against the "spiritual wifery" sexual relations that were happening in Nauvoo, while "recollections" written 40 or 50 years after the fact by those who were heavily invested in defending polygamy claim Joseph was participating.

      In a case where you, by your own admission, "don't know it as absolute fact" the safest course is to avoid being Joseph's accuser, lest you should err and accuse an innocent man.

      I think it's worth reading Snuffer's polygamy paper I linked in the post, if you haven't read it yet.

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    2. I had reason to ponder about Joseph´s ”indiscretions/sins”, or whatever people call them, this past weekend. It got me thinking about the time I worked at a court of law.

      In order to get someone convicted of felony, you first have to have to be able to decide what they’ve done and then measure it against a standard of ”non-criminal” behavior, that is, you have to be able to match the actions of the accused person to a rule which says that that sort of behavior is intolerable and unacceptable before there can be a verdict.

      When thinking about Joseph´s polygamy or whatever other thing he’s reported to have done which is thought to be in dire contrast to morals, God’s law or whatever other standard, we first need to, beyond reasonable doubt, determine what he actually did. A witness speaking 40 years after would most likely not have sufficed.

      But, if the witness would be reliable, then we need the ”standard of correctness”, without which there can be no sentencing. Since we are talking about commands from God to Joseph which aren’t written down, we can’t be sure of what standard to measure his actions against. We might conclude that, since we feel uneasy about what he’s done and that it contradicts the ”morals” of almost all people living in Western civilisations, then it can’t be wrong. But the righteousness of God can’t be defined by what goes for a depraved society.

      So, we are left with no real way to, for certain, judge Joseph of wrongful behavior in this regard. If we still do so, then it’s our choice. And we might need to analyze or motives for doing so since we might entertain an unloving approach towards our fellow men, and thereby showing that we don’t keep the first nor the second commandment (I believe there is an element of non-judgmentalism in the concept of loving God, the neighbor and oneself).

      This same principle is applicable to every other human being. Since we don’t know according to which divine mandate they are acting, we can’t say that they are unrighteous or mistaken. We can only love, persuade, and shoe forth long-suffering. The rest is up to God.

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  26. Helen Mar Kimball's recollection, which is frequently touted on the internet as having been written in her diary when she was 14, was actually written when she was in late middle age, and one of the plural wives of Orson F. Whitney. I think it should be noted that even if she were correct in stating she was sealed to Joseph, a sealing is a far cry from being coerced into having sex. Brigham Young was sealed to many men, but there is very little evidence he had sex with any of them. The sealing ordinance in those days was intended to provide a chain of connections between people going back to Joseph Smith. It did not include carnal relations. Men sealed to men was quite common, but it would be wrong to apply the sealing ordinance to those folks back then simply because our definition has come to mean being married.

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    1. This is wishful thinking and just doesn't make any sense. Volumes of evidence cry against it. Put simply, it's completely reasonable to assume sex did take place, and very hard to believe that it did not. Is this fantasy scenario you describe possible, sure, but not likely. And either way it solves nothing. Whether Joseph went off the rails or BY did, same either way. This issue is no different than race/priesthood. The bottom line here is that you had a man with the title of "prophet" who screwed up in a huge huge way. And that's the bottom line. Could he/they still have been inspired in other ways, sure, absolutely. We just need to be honest about the reality of our world though.

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    2. Note your word "assume." If this were a trial, you would would not get a conviction. You cannot convict on assumptions, in the absence of proof. But the fact that you want to do so reveals what is in your heart.

      Brigham produced over 50 children with his polygamous wives. Joseph produced none. What shall we assume from that?

      And yes, it matters whether Brigham or Joseph was corrupt. It matters immensely because Joseph is the dispensation head, and this has broad implications I won't list here. But it matters a great deal.

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  27. What sources are used with the graphs? Does anyone know, Adrian do you?

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    1. The numbers come from the published statistical reports of the church, as reported in General Conference.

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  28. I just attended a stake leadership training meeting taught by Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy. He described the top leadership of the Church™ deciding in the temple that the best way to hasten the work and stem the spiritual drift taking place among the members is to re-emphasize the Sabbath day.

    If they really were interested in hastening something they could open their accounting of church finances like many other churches do and start apply more of those billions of dollars towards easing the suffering of the poor. The Lord will work his strange work in his own time. We, on the other hand, seriously need to hasten our own repentance.

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