Sunday, January 31, 2016

Intellectual Honesty in Gospel Study

“The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God.” 
—Joseph Smith, HC, 3:295–96

A friend asked me a question about intellectual honesty in gospel study. I thought it was a good question and an important one. Here's how I replied:

In my opinion, the following are vital ingredients to being intellectually honest with the gospel:

1. No pre-conceived agenda when searching for truth. The search for truth is not the search for evidence to support the viewpoint already held. You must not have a hard heart.

And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. 
And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:10-11)
2. A fair reading of scripture, taking it to mean what it says it does. If my view and the scriptural view collide, my view must change.
Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. (D&C 1:37)
3. Recognition that history is usually written to support the view of the author, and that some historical sources are very much compromised. Primary, contemporary sources are usually more reliable, regardless of what later authors claim. (Faulty historical sources and phony quotes in church manuals are what motivated me to start blogging.)

4. Recognition that my understanding is infantile. If I don’t understand or agree with something, it doesn’t mean I’m right, or that God doesn’t understand it. This really is kindergarten. Humility is mandatory. 

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend. (Mosiah 4:9)
5. The search for truth is a lifetime pursuit. There is always more to learn.
The great thing for us to know is to comprehend what God did institute before the foundation of the world. Who knows it? It is the constitutional disposition of mankind to set up stakes and set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty. … That which hath been hid from before the foundation of the world is revealed to babes and sucklings in the last days . (Joseph Smith, HC, 5:529–30)

And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. 
—D&C 88:67

 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
—D&C 93:36

 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.
—D&C 93:24

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Questions about Fellowships

And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.
—Moroni 6:5-6

Jana Riess, a senior columnist at Religion News Service, and author of the Flunking Sainthood blog, interviewed Denver Snuffer about the various independent fellowships that have formed in hopes of preserving the restoration.

I thought the answers were helpful and important. This is what decentralized Mormonism looks like. My own experience with it has been delightful. 

Click Here to read the interview.

Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
—D&C 10:66-68

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Scripture Overhead, Conclusion:
The Doctrine of Christ

Part 1 Part 2 | Part 3 Part 4 | Part 5 Part 6 | Part 7

Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.

Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.
—Alma 32:16-17

Before we discuss the most important meaning of this final blood moon of the tetrad, let’s review the information we’ve already discussed. Here are a few points to recall:
  1. This blood moon is the most meaningful and most emphatic of the four. It was a super moon, harvest moon, and last blood moon of the tetrad—a tetrad in which all four moons appeared on Jewish holy days. It’s the Lord’s exclamation point.

  2. The moon appeared between three constellations: Pisces (the two fish), Cetus (the whale) and Aquarius (the water bearer.) All these constellations represent water, fire, or both.

  3. The moon also appeared between three heavenly bodies: Neptune, Uranus, and Vesta. Likewise, all three represent water or fire.

  4. This blood moon appeared on the first day of Sukkot, the Jewish feast of tabernacles. It points to the Lord’s coming wedding feast.

  5. This sign vividly recalls Jonah, Ninevah, and coming destruction. It can be properly considered the sign of the prophet Jonah. 

  6. As such, this blood moon is also the sign of the dove (“Jonah” literally means, “dove.”) The sign of the dove always testifies of truth. 

  7. The Age of Pisces (Time of the Gentiles) has ended, and the Fulness of the Gentiles is upon us. The covenant is reverting back to scattered Israel, and the Gentile nations will be destroyed.

  8. World events are aligning to complete the Father’s work. The refugee flood is one of the ways prophecy is being, and will yet be fulfilled. Others are underway as well.

  9. The items I’ve covered in this series are BY NO MEANS exhaustive. There’s more to the story, but I’ve covered what essentials I can, given the constraints of time and post length. Everything in this series has been leading up to this concluding post.
And now, with that refresher in mind, let’s discuss the most important meanings of the testimony overhead.

Historical Context

Humanity’s history demonstrates a continuous cycle of apostasy and restoration. God calls, instructs, and empowers servants to teach His word, and mankind quickly spurns the servants and rejects the message, causing God to withdraw for a time. Then, after each loss, sooner or later, God tries again by sending another servant to teach truth, starting the process again.

The restoration through Joseph Smith found itself in jeopardy as early as 1832, when the Lord condemned the whole church for taking lightly what had been received (D&C 84:53-58)

By 1841, the fulness of the priesthood was taken from the church, and by 1844, the prophet and patriarch were dead. Thus ended the restoration of the gospel in modern times. Incomplete vestiges remained, of course, until they were altered, ignored, and rejected sufficiently that no saving power remained. 

A Return to what was Lost

Now that adequate time has passed, the Lord has followed the prophetic pattern again, by calling, teaching and empowering a servant, and sending him to teach truth. The restoration continues, but it depends on first remembering what came through Joseph Smith. 

The Lord’s message is found in the book, Preserving the Restoration, published only days before this blood moon sign. I’ve read this book and studied its message extensively. It is true.

The book lays out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in purity, reminds us of what the Lord offered through Joseph Smith, and extends the invitation to begin the Lord’s work anew, according to the pattern received by Joseph.

At the beginning of the restoration, Joseph Smith spent the night discussing scripture with an angel. Among the passages considered, we find the following:
In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come. (JSH 1:40)
The angel therefore referenced not only the Lord setting His hand again the second time to gather His people (Isaiah 11, see also D&C 113), but also the prophecy that Christ’s voice would be heard again (Acts 3:22-23). Those who reject Christ’s voice would be “cut off” from among the people—a term reminiscent of Jacob 5 and pruning the vineyard.

Now that the Fulness of the Gentiles is upon us, Christ’s voice sounds again in our ears. The prophecies the angel came to discuss are being fulfilled before our eyes, and yet we, like all humanity since the beginning, largely don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear. As in days of old, God’s marvelous work moves forward by small and simple means, and the world ignores it.

A New Dispensation

Eleven days before his death, in his final public discourse, Joseph Smith taught the following:
It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send a new dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood. (HC, 6:478–79)
A new dispensation is upon us. Please don’t fail to grasp the significance of that statement. A new dispensation. Now. God speaks again and His work continues.

Much remains to be accomplished by the Lord and his servants before His return, yet He has set it all in motion and it will not cease until it is completed. Some few will rise up and accomplish the work. The prophecies WILL be fulfilled. All of them. Zion will come and the Lord will return. 

The work will require prepared servants, filled with God’s spirit and power. This need is reflected in the next prophecy the angel referenced in Joseph’s bedroom:
He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. (JSH 1:41)
And here are the soon-to-be-fulfilled verses quoted by the angel:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (Joel 2:28-29)
These verses bring us right back to Aquarius the water bearer, and the testimony overhead. God is indeed pouring out His spirit, inviting all to receive what is now offered. I add my witness that He is, in fact, sending dreams and visions, even to the very least of us.

The remainder of the quoted verses also remind us of the signs overhead, and the work yet to be accomplished:
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:30-32)
When the Lord sends a new dispensation into the world, He invites us to accept His word and renew our repentance by baptism. This was true in His mortal ministry, it was true when He visited the Nephites at Bountiful, it was true in Joseph Smith’s day, and it is true today. The way He has prescribed for us to renew our covenant with Him is through baptism, or rebaptism. This ordinance signifies to heaven our repentance and acceptance of His word to us today.

And so, in conformity with established pattern, God has proclaimed through His servant the invitation to baptism—not into any organization or group, but as a personal covenant with God. Those who accept God’s word will manifest it by water. Even if youve already been baptized, the invitation is renewed. A new dispensation requires a new covenant. 

This invitation, finally, brings us to the most important testimony of this final blood moon.

Fire and Water

When Christ visited the Nephites at Bountiful, the first item he taught was His doctrine. Said our Lord:
And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. 
And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. (3 Nephi 11:32-35)
And so we see the symbolism of water and fire—present in the signs overhead, including Vesta, whose symbol is fire, Pisces and Cetus, both representing water creatures, Neptune, named for the god of waters, and Aquarius, pouring out water and fire. 

Click to Enlarge
The earth was baptized by water at the time of Noah’s flood. It will be baptized by fire in a coming day. In like manner, each of us is invited to receive the baptism of water, then the Father’s outpouring of fire and the Holy Ghost. The fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy is not automatic, but requires us to rise up and seek the fiery outpouring of God’s spirit. As with every new dispensation, the covenant must be renewed.

Is it in You?

Neptune is the ruling planet of Pisces. Yet we find it located in Aquarius. Uranus is the ruling planet of Aquarius, yet we find it located in Pisces. Pisces is in Aquarius and Aquarius is in Pisces. Again, we’re pointed to Christ’s Doctrine:
And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. (3 Nephi 11:27)
We are invited to be one with them, by honoring Christ’s invitation, following His doctrine, and receiving the Holy Ghost. Those who do so become one with the Father and the Son.

Born of Water

I’ve written previously about the Born of Water website established to help those seeking baptism find someone with valid priesthood to provide the ordinance. But here’s what I haven’t written:

I was one of those involved in building the site. The process languished for several months in the idea stage, encountered technical hurdles with implementation, and required skills beyond those available in the group. It likely would have continued to languish if it weren’t for the Lord intervening in specific ways. 

As the blood moon drew near, there was a growing sense of urgency that the site needed to be finished before the final sign. And so, with some effort and the Lord’s help, the site went live on September 26, the day before the blood moon. 

It was only much later, in studying the testimony overhead, that I came to see the significance of the symbols: Outpouring. Flood. Water. Fire. Invitation to the wedding feast. Even the site’s name, chosen months before, came suddenly into focus, as did the reason it needed to be ready before the blood moon sign. 

God’s testimony overhead was an invitation to all. Come and be born of water, so He can fill you with fire.

The Sign of the Dove

We come at last to the sign of Jonah, or sign of the dove, where we began. Recall the following from part 4 of this series:
The original sign of the dove was given when Christ obeyed the Father’s will and submitted to baptism. By this, He signified His obedience, showed His humility, and fulfilled all righteousness. The Father testified to the truth of the event by sending the sign of the dove. Said Joseph Smith: 
“The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove…The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence.” (TPJS, p. 276).  
If the sign of the dove represents the Holy Ghost testifying of truth, we ought to ask ourselves what truth heaven is proclaiming in our day. What does the super blood moon sign proclaim? What could be so important that the sign of the dove has appeared again in the East?
And now, at the end, we can answer that question. Here are the truths proclaimed:

Early on, the decision was made that the Born of Water website should have a logo identifying it as a reliable and bonafide source for authoritative baptism. Much prayer and thought by a committed group of people went into the logo, and the final result is rich with symbolism—the primary symbol being the sign of the dove (it’s seen flying upward.)

The logo design was completed months before I began studying this blood moon. As I discovered the blood moon’s connections with Jonah, the sign of the dove, and Christ’s invitation to baptism, I was thunderstruck to realize the sign in the logo, chosen and created months before, matched the sign overhead of the Lord’s invitation. I was not even willing to believe it when I saw it—and yet it is true. The testimony overhead bears witness even of the website where one may seek authoritative baptism. Only God could have done this. The people involved had no idea of the coming testimony overhead. But now you do.

Looking Beyond the Mark

Millions viewed this unique blood moon tetrad as some sort of sign. Many expected marvelous things to happen; some even expected the end of the world. Millions of dollars changed hands, as book sales, talk show appearances, and Youtube videos heralded God’s coming message in the sky. And the next day, everyone forgot and life went on. Most were looking for the wrong sign entirely.

Just as the babe born in Bethlehem was obscure, unheralded, and uncelebrated by nearly all, God’s amazing testimony overhead was nearly universally dismissed as just another astronomical curiosity. The day of the Lord comes, indeed, as a thief in the night.

And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you—
Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath. (D&C 45:36-40)
Do you have eyes to see? Will you heed the Lord’s invitation while it is yet possible? 

The sign of the dove logo now appears on three trustworthy websites where you can take the steps the Lord has outlined: (each is a clickable link)

All are invited to come.

Will you accept the Lord’s invitation? 

Or are you waiting for a sign?

The sign has been given. Remember the Lords statement: “And there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. (Luke 11:29, Matt. 12:39, Matt. 16:4) 

Now is the time to act.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—

Yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
—2 Nephi 31:13

Postscript: The day after I published this, a massive winter storm hit the East coast of the U.S., breaking snowfall records in major cities, and burying the nation’s capital, as well as the financial capital and most populous U. S. city under a crippling, two-foot snowfall. A storm surge also brought coastal flooding. At least 27 have died so far. This was the largest snowfall ever recorded in New York City and Washington DC.

The storm, which struck under a full moon, was named “Winter Storm Jonas”

As Ive said before, you just cant make this stuff up. Are you watching?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Manufacturing Noitalever

As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:9

Some time ago, I wrote about the mission-age-change related “Hastening the Work” emphasis of the LDS church, and how it came to be called revelation, even though the LDS prophet never said it. As I pointed out in that post, the process worked exactly in reverse. There was first a trial run, followed by a policy change, then explanations and clarifications, and ultimately the pronouncement that it was revelation.

But good precedent existed for this backward process. For example, when the ban was lifted on black men receiving priesthood, what started as a policy change, mandated by social, financial and political expediency, ended up being called revelation, though there never was a revelation. (If there was, please tell me where I can find it. I realize Official Declaration 2 says there was one, but the actual revelation has never been offered.) Those who were present describe a decision-making process, not a revelation.

A “revelation” requires something to be revealed. And while it’s possible to claim a policy change “reveals” a new direction in policy, I’d reply that my breakfast order “reveals” what I want for breakfast. It’s technically true, but devoid of any real meaning or new understanding.

The priesthood ban has been lifted, but no clarification has ever been offered to explain over a hundred years of LDS prophets and apostles declaring doctrines now regarded as false. In this case, the silence on the subject is the most revealing part of all.

New Revelation

This brings us to President Nelson’s declaration on Sunday—that the recent policy change denying baptism to children of gay parents, was actually not just a policy change, but the result of a revelation to President Monson. (As was the missionary age change, noted President Nelson.)

Of course, no revelation has been offered to the membership of the church on this matter. No explanation of why the LDS church is now contradicting the Doctrine of Christ has been provided by the Lord or the prophet. The last pronouncement I’m aware of was given by the Lord Himself:
Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. (3 Nephi 11:23)  
I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. (3 Nephi 11:32-33)
Note the requirements preceding baptism include faith and repentance. No more, no less. 

The Lord, in explaining His Doctrine, also insisted it must never be changed by men:
And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. (3 Nephi 11:40)
Backward Revelation

So here’s the point. LDS revelation now seems to be operating in reverse. Rather than the prophet receiving a message from God and presenting it to the church, we instead see policy changes secretly implemented, then discovered, protested, explained, and eventually declared revelation well after the fact. Or, as one Facebook commenter put it:
I find it interesting that we now find out this was a revelation received by Monson, which was declared by Nelson, after being “clarified” by Church PR, after being explained by Christofferson, after being published by an apostate, after being leaked by an anonymous source, after being published in a document most most members cant see. 
Gods work is mysterious indeed.
It seems this backward revelation is coming from the wrong end of this process. I thought that only happened to Balaam.

But Why?

Well, since you asked, let me lay out what I think is happening. 

  1. There’s only one doctrine left in the LDS church: “Follow the Prophet.” Everything else, including scripture, must bow to this prime directive.

  2. This prime directive is held sacrosanct at all costs because it is the only means by which current leaders can maintain control. Do not question them; they cannot lead you astray. Or so they tell us. Sit down, shut up, stay in the boat.

  3. Polling shows this doctrine has been received very well by LDS membership. The vast majority of church members will gladly surrender their own thinking the moment they’re told the prophet thinks differently (see proof below).

  4. Therefore, if the LDS church makes a controversial policy decision, the best way to instantly shore up member support and quell controversy is to declare the decision was actually a revelation. BAM! End of discussion. Got it?
Here are a couple of examples of the above:

When the LDS church was reconsidering its support of scouting last August, a professional poll showed 63% of active church members were against scouting. But once the church announced its intent to stay with scouting, a new poll showed that among the same demographic, 81% were in favor of scouting. Thats a massive swing. In fact that’s an absolutely unheard-of swing! To go from 63% against, to 81% in favor, in less than a month, demonstrates just how powerful LDS leadership is in forming the opinions of active members.

Similarly, though polling suggests that only around 10% of LDS church members favor ordaining women to the priesthood, that number goes up to 77% who would favor it if the prophet said so. 

It's a Lever

In other words, LDS thought is not shaped by scripture, study, reason, understanding, or even personal revelation. One item trumps all these. Propose any idea, then pull the revelation lever, and the membership robotically falls in line. Period. 

It doesnt matter if the revelation comes precisely backward, starting as a policy change, then morphing through explanations and PR claims until its finally called “revelation” to rally acceptance and maintain control. Come to think of it, the whole process makes more sense when you spell revelation backward: 

NOITALEVER... No, it(s) a lever. 

Politicians lie, scramble, scheme and agitate just to move a poll a point or two. They would kill for this sort of power over thought, by simply pulling a lever. It's leverage, you see.

One lesson to learn is that LDS leadership can easily change a wide variety of church policies, teachings, or even doctrines. They can contradict scripture, past leaders, even themselves...and the active membership will unthinkingly fall in line, supporting and defending whatever they’re told to. This is worth noting and remembering. 

When the prophet directly contradicts the words of Christ in scripture, we all have the opportunity to show who we worship.

LDS church leaders tell us it’s impossible for them to lead us astray. Therefore, by definition, everything they say or do is correct, and the de facto will of God, even when later church leaders tell us that earlier church leaders were wrong. In the end, when everything is revelation, nothing is. The lever only works as long as people dont pay attention or think.

A much better, and certainly safer approach, is for each of us to learn to hear the Lords voice for ourselves. Then it wont matter what men and institutions tell us. Ultimately, He is the only source of truth. 
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
How Far will YOU Follow?

This all begs the question of just how far true believers will go in following the prophet, when every pronouncement is unquestioningly accepted as revelation. To potentially answer this question, we need look no further than the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or FLDS church. 

***Warning: Graphic Content Follows *** 

The following is not family friendly or pleasant. But it is true and worth understanding.

As you may be aware, Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the FLDS church, is currently serving a life prison sentence for having sex with children as young as 12, whom he called his wives. But despite his incarceration, he still pronounces “revelation” and controls his congregation from prison, through his brother, Lyle Jeffs. 

Warren has made a number of strange pronouncements since being imprisoned, but perhaps the strangest is that members of the FLDS church are no longer allowed to have sex, even within marriage. If married spouses have sexual relations, even once, they will be excommunicated. 

Sexual privilege is now reserved for certain inner-circle men Jeffs calls “seed bearers who have reluctantly shouldered the sacred responsibility of impregnating all the FLDS women. Only the chosen seed may reproduce. 

Further, Jeffs has required that other men, who are not chosen “seed bearers must hold their wifes hands while the chosen man spreads his seed. 

In laymans terms, the 
“prophet” has banned husbands from intimate relations with their own wives, instead requiring those husbands to hold their wives hands and watch while their wives are raped by another man or men. The prophet alone dictates the adultery. Thus saith the Lord, through his prophet, after all. 

I hate even having to point out something so repulsive and offensive to God. But remember, these are Saints who claim to believe the same scriptures you do, who accept Joseph Smith and his successors as prophets, who worship in a temple, and who follow the prophet in the same way LDS people do. They consider that their very salvation hangs on obeying this man, just as LDS leaders teach about themselves.

How far would you follow the prophet?

Is this Criticism?

One final thought. Ive been asked why I refuse to simply leave the LDS church alone and go on my way. Some assume I am an enemy of the church, or that I get some sort of pleasure from publishing criticism. This is not the case.

I write about tragedy in an attempt to help us avoid it. 

How can we ever become godly if we dont know scripture? If we lack understanding and refuse to study? If we cannot reason? If we fail to think? 

How can we ever exercise agency if we immediately surrender it to whatever PR announcement results from corporate polling, or gets leaked from a secret manual? 

How will we ever come to know God if we unflinchingly fall in line behind every false pronouncement made by another mortal? 

These things matter. Faith in Christ and personal revelation matter. The words of Christ in scripture matter. He never told us to unthinkingly, blindly, follow a man. Doing so leads to damnation, and too many good people are blinded by this subtle craftiness. (D&C 123:12)

As Ive explained in the past, the building is burning. But I dont care about the building. Im trying to reach the people inside.

And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him. And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.

And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord...

—1 Nephi 8:5-8