Weak Arguments #2: “None of the eleven Book of Mormon witnesses ever signed their testimonies.” By Fred. W. Anson

Eight witnesses_5-18

An ongoing series of articles on some common and recurring weak arguments that Christians make against Mormonism.

by Fred W. Anson

The Argument:
“None of the eleven Book of Mormon witnesses ever signed their testimonies.”

Why It’s Weak:
Based on the body of available evidence we don’t really know if the eleven Book of Mormon witnesses ever signed their testimony or not.

Yes, it is true that the signatures on the extant manuscript page that we have for the testimony of the eight and three witnesses were done by Oliver Cowdery. However, that manuscript was “P”, the Printer’s Manuscript, not “O”, the Original Manuscript, which P was copied from.  O was water damaged and almost nearly completely destroyed after being placed in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo Temple. As Book of Mormon manuscript expert Royal Skousen explains:

The printed versions of the Book of Mormon derive from two manuscripts. The first, called the original manuscript (O), was written by at least three scribes as Joseph Smith translated and dictated. The most important scribe was Oliver Cowdery. This manuscript was begun no later than April 1829 and finished in June 1829.

A copy of the original was then made by Oliver Cowdery and two other scribes. This copy is called the printer’s manuscript (P), since it was the one normally used to set the type for the first (1830) edition of the Book of Mormon. It was begun in July 1829 and finished early in 1830.

Exhibit A: Testimony of Eight Witnesses, late June 1829 Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Jr., and others, Testimony of Eight Witnesses, Palymra, NY, late June 1829; in Book of Mormon Printer’s Manuscript, p. 464; handwriting of Oliver Cowdery; (credit: Joseph Smith Papers Project)
Exhibit A: Testimony of Eight Witnesses, Palmyra, NY, late June 1829; in Book of Mormon Printer’s Manuscript, p. 464; handwriting of Oliver Cowdery; (credit: Joseph Smith Papers Project)

The printer’s manuscript is not an exact copy of the original manuscript. There are on the average three changes per original manuscript page. These changes appear to be natural scribal errors; there is little or no evidence of conscious editing. Most of the changes are minor, and about one in five produce a discernible difference in meaning. Because they were all relatively minor, most of the errors thus introduced into the text have remained in the printed editions of the Book of Mormon and have not been detected and corrected except by reference to the original manuscript. About twenty of these errors were corrected in the 1981 edition.

The compositor for the 1830 edition added punctuation, paragraphing, and other printing marks to about one-third of the pages of the printer’s manuscript. These same marks appear on one fragment of the original, indicating that it was used at least once in typesetting the 1830 edition.

In preparation for the second (1837) edition, hundreds of grammatical changes and a few textual emendations were made in P. After the publication of this edition, P was retained by Oliver Cowdery. After his death in 1850, his brother-in-law, David Whitmer, kept P until his death in 1888. In 1903 Whitmer’s grandson sold P to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns it today. It is wholly extant except for two lines at the bottom of the first leaf.

The original manuscript was not consulted for the editing of the 1837 edition. However, in producing the 1840 edition, Joseph Smith used O to restore some of its original readings. In October 1841, Joseph Smith placed O in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House. Over forty years later, Lewis Bidamon, Emma Smith’s second husband, opened the cornerstone and found that water seepage had destroyed most of O. The surviving pages were handed out to various individuals during the 1880s.

Today approximately 25 percent of the text of O survives: 1 Nephi 2 through 2 Nephi 1, with gaps; Alma 22 through Helaman 3, with gaps; and a few other fragments. All but one of the authentic pages and fragments of O are housed in the archives of the LDS Historical Department; one-half of a sheet (from 1 Nephi 14) is owned by the University of Utah.[1]

Again, and to summarize, P was copied from O by Oliver Cowdery and two other scribes to prepare it for the typesetting process. Therefore, it’s only logical and reasonable that the dominant handwriting be his. Further, the portions of O that were destroyed were the first outside and last outside pages (water saturation works from the outside in on books – just like it does on a dry sponge) which included the page (or possibly pages) with the testimonies of the witnesses on it.

Therefore, it’s impossible to know for if the witnesses autographed their respective testimonies on O or not. Hard conclusions either way – no matter how dogmatically or emphatically stated – are nothing more than speculation.

Where Did This Weak Argument Come From?
This argument was practically non-existent until a photograph of the page from the P manuscript with the signatures in Oliver Cowdery’s handwriting was published as a part of the Joseph Smith Papers Project (see Exhibit A above). At that point some Mormon Critics who were unfamiliar with the history of the Book of Manuscripts drew wrong conclusions from the photograph based on the presumption that it was the only Book of Mormon manuscript ever created by Joseph Smith and his colleagues. They then went on to make uninformed, absolutist statements publicly which served only to spread ignorant inference as fact to a worldwide audience.

Further exacerbating the problem was Jeremy T. Runnells’ “Letter to a CES Director” in which he used the following as an argument against the Book of Mormon:

The closest thing we have in existence to an original document of the testimonies of the witnesses is a printer’s manuscript written by Oliver Cowdery. Every witness name on that document is not signed; they are written in Oliver’s own handwriting. Further, there is no testimony from any of the witnesses directly attesting to the direct wording and claims of the manuscript or statements in the Book of Mormon.[2]

MormonInfographics Book of Mormon Witnesses
Exhibit B: MormonInfographics meme with the questionable “Book of Mormon ‘Witnesses’ didn’t even sign their names” headline.

Mr. Runnells’ argument is, at it’s core and presented in it’s entirety, for the most part sound. But again, his point can easily be misunderstood by those who don’t have a full understanding of the manuscript history of the Book of Mormon thus leading to misstatement and wrong conclusions.

For example, after the “Letter to a CES Director” was published a graphic (see Exhibit B) appeared on the MormonInfographics website with the words, “Book of Mormon ‘Witnesses’ didn’t even sign their names” as the headline – that is, as if their missing signatures on the original testimonies were an established and verified fact rather than speculation based on the absence of evidence.

The MormonInfographics meme quickly went viral on social media further disseminating this weak argument.  Further, weakening the argument was the fact that Mr. Runnells overstated his case since Oliver Cowdery’s signature as a Book of Mormon witness on the page is legitimate. This oversight was later corrected in the revised 2014 edition of his “Letter to a CES Director”.[3]

And, as they say, the rest is history – this argument continues to be used by critics despite it’s fragility.

The Stronger Arguments:
When it comes to the Book of Mormon witnesses it often seems like there’s no end to strong, compelling, cogent, persuasive arguments against them and their testimonies to choose from. MormonThink has pages of them (click here) as does the aforementioned “Letter to a CES Director” (click here). And if that’s not enough the “Letter to a CES Director” companion piece “Debunking FAIR’s Debunking” (click here) has yet more.  That said, we offer a small sampling of those arguments for your consideration.

First Suggested Stronger Argument:
Use the fully formed and nuanced argument that Jeremy Runnells uses in “Letter to a CES Director” and “Debunking FAIR’s Debunking” in it’s entirety rather than anything short or cryptic:

From “Letter to a CES Director”:

From a legal perspective, the statements of the testimonies of the Three and Eight witnesses hold no credibility or weight in a court of law as there are a) no signatures, b) no specific dates, c) no specific locations, and d) most of the witnesses made statements after the fact that contradict and cast doubt on the specific claims made in the statements contained in the preface of the Book of Mormon.
(page 61, revised edition)

In discussing the witnesses, we should not overlook the primary accounts of the events they testified to. The official statements published in the Book of Mormon are not dated, signed (we have no record with their signatures), nor is a specific location given for where the events occurred. These are not eleven legally sworn affidavits but rather simple statements pre-written by Joseph Smith with claims of having been signed by three men and another by eight.
(page 62, revised edition)

From “Debunking FAIR’s Debunking”:

[LdS Apologist group] FAIR again misses the point, which is that no original, signed document of the witnesses’ testimonies exists.

We do not have an actual document of actual signatures of the Book of Mormon witnesses. We just have a document, in Oliver’s own handwriting, of the names of the Witnesses. We have a claim that there was a document of actual signatures and a claim that this document was “placed in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House” and that it was “destroyed by water damage” years later.

We’re asked to put faith in a claim as opposed to being able to observe and analyze actual individual signatures written by actual individual witnesses. Without the original document, of course, there is no way of knowing with certainty whether the witnesses actually signed it. And, as explained below, subsequent accounts of two of the witnesses (Martin Harris and David Whitmer) conflict with key details of the account given in the Book of Mormon.
(link to source)

Second Suggested Stronger Argument:
Instead of using this argument argue that the body of evidence that strongly suggests that the witnesses never physically or tangibly saw or handled the golden plates. Mormon Researcher Bill McKeever explains:

Several LDS sources give the eleven men who bore their testimony to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon the special title of eyewitness; however, it appears doubtful that any of them actually saw the plates apart from a supernatural and subjective experience. While they all claimed to have handled what they were told were ancient plates, they did so while the plates were covered up and not visible. That being case, how is their experience any different from others who also claimed to handle the plates? Such persons include Joseph Smith’s mother, Lucy Mack Smith. Lucy admitted she never saw the plates, but she claimed to have handled what she was told were plates of “pure gold.” As mentioned earlier, Joseph Smith’s wife Emma also claimed that she handled the plates when she moved them to “do her work” in the Smith home, though she insisted that she never uncovered them.

I maintain that if the eleven are called eyewitnesses, why not Lucy and Emma as well? After all, their experiences with what they thought were gold plates are really not much different than that of the eleven. Mormons might find this conclusion troubling since it tends to take away some of the mysterious sensation associated with the accepted folklore, but it is a consistent conclusion when it comes to comparing the experiences of those involved. If Mormons want to insist that a person can’t be considered an eyewitness to the authenticity of the gold plates unless they actually saw them, then there were no eyewitnesses to Joseph Smith’s gold plates.[4]

Third Suggested Stronger Argument:
Compare and contrast how credible testimony should be done versus how it was done in the case of the Book of Mormon Witnesses. Here’s an example of how to present this argument from MormonThink:[5]

If someone was going to have witnesses to some earth-shattering event, and they wanted people to believe them, they would have done it very differently than Joseph did. The whole witnesses’ portion of the BOM would have been much better served if the following things had been done:

  1. None of the witnesses should have been related to Joseph or each other.
    Most of the witnesses were either related or good friends. Having unrelated people as witnesses would be far more effective than using your brothers and father.
  2. The witnesses should not have already been eager believers.
    There should have been some skeptics.
  3. There should have been no financial motive.
    Martin Harris mortgaged his farm and invested at least $3,000 of his own money into printing the Book of Mormon, so of course he had incentive to ‘promote’ the book.
  4. Each of the witnesses should each have written their own testimony instead of merely signing a prepared statement written by Joseph.
    If the prepared document wasn’t 100% accurate many people would simply sign it anyway as it would be too much of a hassle to have it completely rewritten by hand – especially in the 1800s.
  5. The witnesses should have been much more detailed about this amazing event.
    What did the angel look like? What exactly did he say? How did he speak? There are almost no details provided which can be analyzed and compared. If each witness had simply written their own account and provided significant details then their individual testimonies could corroborate each other.
  6. The witnesses should have been interviewed independently immediately after going public.
    They should have been interviewed the same way police do with witnesses to crimes or that investigators do with UFO cases. Ask questions to see if their stories match; How was the angel dressed? How tall was he? How did he speak?, etc.
  7. The witnesses should not have used subjective language and say strange things like comparing seeing the plates with seeing a city through a mountain or using spiritual eyes instead of their natural eyes to view physical plates.
  8. The witnesses should not have been gullible people that believed in things like ‘second sight’, divining rods, finding treasure by placing a rock in a hat, etc.
    That the Three Witnesses were a gullible sort is illustrated by an incident in July, 1837. Joseph had left on a five-week missionary tour to Canada, only to find on his return that all three of the Witnesses had joined a faction opposing him. This faction rallied around a young girl who claimed to be a seeress by virtue of a black stone in which she read the future. David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and Oliver Cowdery all pledged her their loyalty, and Frederick G. Williams, formerly Joseph’s First Counselor, became her scribe. The girl seeress would dance herself into a state of exhaustion, fall to the floor, and burst forth with revelations. (See Lucy Smith: Biographical Sketches, pp. 211-213).
  9. All of the witness should have been much more vocal and been interviewed much more often.
    There are very few interviews done with the witnesses that provide any additional information or corroboration of their statements. You would think that these people, after seeing such a magnificent sight, would spend their time testifying to the world about their experience instead of largely just signing a prepared statement and avoiding interviews by the media. Only three of the eight witnesses made separate statements that they had handled the plates. They were Joseph’s two brothers, Hyrum and Samuel, and John Whitmer.
  10. And of course it would have helped had all the witnesses remained loyal to the Church for the rest of their lives instead of having most of them abandon it later on.
    It doesn’t make much sense to leave the one, true Church of God if you have really received an indisputable witness that it was true. Why would these people risk being cast in Outer Darkness for all eternity for denying what they KNEW to be true unless they maybe had some doubts?
    (link to source)
The "three witnesses" to the Book of Mormon: Oliver Cowdrey, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris
The “three witnesses” to the Book of Mormon: Oliver Cowdrey, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris

NOTES
[1] Royal Skousen, “Book of Mormon Manuscripts”, article in The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1992 edition. For those who would like to go deeper on this subject the following video is recommended: Royal Skousen, “The Original and Printer’s Manuscripts”

[2] Jeremy T. Runnells, “Letter to a CES Director” (first edition), p.55

[3] Jeremy T. Runnells, “Letter to a CES Director” (revised edition), p.60

[4] Bill McKeever, “Did the Eleven Witnesses Actually See the Gold Plates?”

[5] Author uncredited, “How should it have been done?”, Mormon Think website

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24 thoughts on “Weak Arguments #2: “None of the eleven Book of Mormon witnesses ever signed their testimonies.” By Fred. W. Anson”

  1. Hi Fred and Bobby,
    Just wanted to say keep up the good work, this series is really helping me see how to build the strongest case for The gospel of the one and only true God Jesus Christ.

    Like

  2. Just a few pointers. Keep in mind that these people were already being persecuted at that point and time. And had they gone public, persecution would have spread like wild fire, mobs would have escalated, and the number of murder’s would have grown. As for the spiritual eyes, perhaps they are referring to the veil. Number 8 makes no sense. Please elaborate. Number 9: Again persecution would have risen, they would have been publicly humiliated, taunted, abused ect… Number 10, although some left, they never denounced what they knew to be true, and they did return back to the church.

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  3. I’m sorry brenkmanr654 but your speculation and statements just don’t hold up under scrutiny.

    YOU WROTE:
    “Keep in mind that these people were already being persecuted at that point and time.”

    RESPONSE:
    The translation of the Book of Mormon occurred between 1827-1829. It was published in 1830. And contrary to Joseph Smith’s claims there was NO persecution before (especially and including after the First Vision) or during that time period. That’s because the Second Great Awakening was in full swing, the Restorationist Movement was in full gear and weird religious claims were common in the Burned Out District of the Northeast US where Joseph Smith was working. Religious nuts were the norm at that time and Smith’s claims were mild compared to some others.
    (see http://mormonthink.com/firstvisionweb.htm#josephnotpersecuted )

    YOU WROTE:
    “And had they gone public, persecution would have spread like wild fire, mobs would have escalated, and the number of murder’s would have grown.”

    RESPONSE:
    Again, persecution? What persecution? There wasn’t any. As MormonThink.com notes:

    “The violent persecution against the Latter-day Saints were generally not for their beliefs but rather for their actions. Latter-day Saints often repeat how Joseph was persecuted by the ‘gentiles’ for stating he had seen a vision. That isn’t true. The Palmyra Methodists actually welcomed him into their congregation. It was only when the Saints started doing things like the sexual allegations against Joseph Smith, bombastic sermons, committing bank fraud, inciting violence, preaching how God will take the lands away from the local ‘gentiles’ and give it to the Mormons that any form of violent persecution began.”
    http://mormonthink.com/essays-peace-and-violence.htm

    And the first Mormon martyrdom doesn’t occur until 1838 – eight years after the publication of the Book of Mormon. Simply put brenkmanr654 this is nonsense.

    YOU WROTE:
    “As for the spiritual eyes, perhaps they are referring to the veil.”

    RESPONSE:
    No, they were referring to spiritual eyes – also known as “the eyes of faith”. It was a common concept and term during the Second Great Awakening:

    “[Early Mormon convert] Stephen Burnett in a letter written in 1838, a few weeks after the event, described Martin Harris’ testimony to this effect: ‘When I came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver nor David . . . the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundations.’

    Burnett reported Harris saying that he had ‘hefted the plates repeatedly in a box with only a tablecloth or handkerchief over them, but he never saw them only as he saw a city through a mountain.’ Nonetheless, Harris said he believed the Book of Mormon to be true. In the revelation given the three witnesses before they viewed the plates they were told, ‘it is by your faith that you shall view them’ and ‘ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith Jr. has seen them, for it is by my power that he has seen them.’ There is testimony from several independent interviewers, all non-Mormon, that Martin Harris and David Whitmer said they saw the plates with their ‘spiritual eyes’ only. Among others, A. Metcalf and John Gilbert, as well as Reuben P. Harmon and Jesse Townsend, gave testimonies to this effect. This is contradicted, however, by statements like that of David Whitmer in the Saints Herald in 1882, ‘these hands handled the plates, these eyes saw the angel.’ But Z. H. Gurley elicited from Whitmer a not so positive response to the question, ‘did you touch them?’ His answer was, ‘We did not touch nor handle the plates.’”
    (Marvin S. Hill, “Brodie Revisited: A Reappraisal”, Dialogue, Vol.7, No.4, pp.83-84)

    YOU WROTE:
    “Number 8 makes no sense. Please elaborate.”

    RESPONSE:
    As you wish, but you’re going to have to do some work, this is a big and complex topic. I recommend starting here:

    “Summary of the problem”
    http://mormonthink.com/witnessesweb.htm#significant

    “Facts On The Book Of Mormon Witnesses” by Joel B. Groat
    http://mit.irr.org/facts-on-book-of-mormon-witnesses-part-1

    I suspect that the reason why it “makes no sense” to you is that you’re only familiar with the white washed, spin doctored, faithful history that the Mormon Church provides members. There’s another side to the story: The TRUE Mormon History side.

    YOU WROTE:
    “9: Again persecution would have risen, they would have been publicly humiliated, taunted, abused ect…”

    RESPONSE:
    Again, nonsense. Utter nonsense. Again, weird religious beliefs and convictions were common in 19th Century America after the Second Great Awakening. Once again, the Mormons were NOT persecuted for their beliefs, they were persecuted for their behavior. And again, the persecution didn’t begin in earnest until 1837.

    YOU WROTE:
    “Number 10, although some left, they never denounced what they knew to be true, and they did return back to the church.”

    RESPONSE:
    Again, this is utter nonsense. Pure fiction in fact.

    “Many of the witnesses ended up leaving the church and following other leaders and religions such as James Strang, the Shakers, Methodists, etc. By 1847 not a single one of the surviving eleven witnesses was part of the LDS Church.”
    http://mormonthink.com/witnessesweb.htm#significant

    And in regard to the TWO (that’s right only two of eleven: Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris) who did return:

    “Oliver Cowdery did return to the Mormon church and was rebaptized in October of 1848, but there are questions as to his motivation for joining and how long he remained a member after rejoining. Some Mormons were suspicious of his motives and against his rebaptism. There is interesting evidence that indicates Cowdery was never completely reconciled to the Mormon church. The Gospel Herald of November 1, 1849 carried the following comments: “You will observe also that they make no mention of Oliver Cowdery filling up their organization. The truth is, he is not the sort of man for them. It was a singular fit of mania by which he was led off after them, and seems to have lasted him but a few weeks . . . they would not trust power in his hands a single moment.” (Cited in Case Against Mormonism, by Jerald & Sandra Tanner, 1968, p. 28.)

    Oliver Cowdery died, not in Utah, but at the home of fellow witness David Whitmer, who had also left the Mormon church. Whitmer makes it clear that Cowdery “died believing as I do to-day,” which included a belief that Joseph was a fallen prophet, and that the Doctrine and Covenants contained false revelations (An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, pp. 1-2).

    Martin Harris is also said to have rejoined the Mormon church and died in full fellowship, affirming his commitment to the Book of Mormon. Yet sources contemporary with Martin Harris referred to him as “feeble both in body and mind” (Des Moines Daily News, Oct. 16, 1886, cited in Case, p. 31). In fact, Anthony Metcalf who interviewed Harris wrote, “Harris never believed that the Brighamite branch of the Mormon church, nor the Josephite church, was right, because in his opinion, God had rejected them; but he did believe that Mormonism was the pure gospel of Christ when it was first revealed, I believe he died in that faith” (Ten Years Before the Mast, Anthony Metcalf, p. 73, microfilm copy).

    Mormon writers have also acknowledged that Harris was religiously unstable, saying, “Martin Harris was an unaggressive, vacillating, easily influenced person” (E. Cecil McGavin, The Historical Background for the Doctrine & Covenants, p. 23, cited in Case, Vol. 2, p. 33). Wayne C. Gunnell in his 1955 BYU thesis on Martin Harris wrote, “Martin’s motives in being baptized at that time are not known, but the data of later events would indicate a lack of sincerity.” Gunnell goes on to quote a letter written in 1844 by Phineas Young to Brigham Young, “Martin Harris is a firm believer in Shakerism, says his testimony is greater than it was of the Book of Mormon” (Martin Harris – Witness and Benefactor to the Book of Mormon, Wayne C. Gunnell, BYU thesis, 1955, p. 52).”
    http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/file9

    SUMMARY:
    brenkmanr654 I don’t know where you’re getting this stuff but your sources aren’t reliable. Sorry.

    And if you have any further questions I would recommend that you use the link live that was provided at the end of the MormonThink list (http://mormonthink.com/witnessesweb.htm#howshouldit ) and start reading.

    Thank you.

    Like

    1. Fred W. Anson thanks for your input. But I would like to know if you have ever attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint’s meetings (sacrament, fireside’s etc.…), general conferences and activities. Have you been to their websites https://www.lds.org/?lang=eng and https://familysearch.org/ and http://www.mormon.org/ and done proper research. Have you read, studied, pondered, and prayed about the Book of Mormon earnestly, with a great desire and with real intent. Because if you have not, then you have not read about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints. (In the King James Bible, James Chapter 1:5-6 reads, “5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
      6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” In the Book of Mormon, Moroni chapter 10: 3-5 reads: “3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
      4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things be true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere, heart with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
      5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”)

      Like

      1. brenkmanr654, I have done ALL those things and this was the result:

        I would like to bear my testimony . . .

        I have diligently sought God regarding whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true or not. To that end, I have studied the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon and I have prayed consistently for over 30-years. I have taken the “Moroni 10 Challenge” and I have felt an intense “burning in my bosom” many, many, many times in my life — in fact, I carry it with me every day of my life.

        … and my testimony is this:

        I am utterly convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a non-Christian cult, that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, as is Thomas S. Monson. Further, I am utterly convinced that the Book of Mormon is an uninspired, man created work of 19th Century fiction.

        Here I stand before God and before men – I can do no other.

        In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen.

        Like

      2. And candidly, I find the fact that you’re trying to respond to objective evidence with a thinned veiled ad-hominem argument (coupled with an appeal to emotion fallacy) troubling. My testimony and feelings are no more relevant to determining the veracity of the LdS Church than yours is.

        And the fact that you’re trying to take us down that rabbit trail and away from the issues at hand would seem to indicate that you’re hunkered way down in the Mormon Tank, aren’t coming out, and aren’t willing to evaluate the truth claims of the LdS Church against the body of external objective evidence. I wrote about this tendency of Latter-day Saints in this article: http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/08/13/the-problem-of-the-mormon-tank-revisited/

        This is unfortunate, brenkmanr654. As I said in that article:

        “Internal evidence that hasn’t been validated against external evidence can’t be completely trusted!”

        Thank you.

        Like

      3. Sooooo, then if the Mormon church is false, then which one is the true church, or are they all wrong? They cannot all be true, for they teach and preach different kinds of doctrine. So which one is it Fred? Or are they all false?

        Like

      4. Now that said, what I would REALLY like to discuss is the disparity between the faithful Mormon History that’s taught by the LdS Church (with little to no support from the historical record) and the true Mormon History that’s fully supported by the historical record.

        And the aforementioned Numbers 8, 9 and 10 of the MormonThink “How should it have been done?” article that’s cited my piece (see http://mormonthink.com/witnessesweb.htm#howshouldit ) is the logical starting point.

        Why brenkmanr654 is there a disparity between the two?

        Thanks again.

        Like

  4. Brenkmanr654, your bifurcated, black and white, either/or thinking is the problem here. Simply put only cults talk about THE only true church (and, of course theirs is THE only true one). The Bible is clear that there are churches that teach the truth, churches that teach error, and churches that teach a mixture.

    Therefore, there are churches that are true and churches that are false based on the degree of error. And criteria that they get judged against are the Essentials of the Christian Faith as defined by the Bible.

    I wrote about that in this article: http://mormonisminvestigated.co.uk/2014/10/19/weak-arguments-4-the-bible-says-that-my-sectarian-partisan-non-essential-doctrine-is-the-only-true-truth-by-fred-w-anson/

    Thanks.

    Like

    1. Fred W. Anson, you have made an obvious statement. Yes, I am ‘bifurcated’ as you would call it. But that is only on certain subjects. That, however, is beside the point.
      You wrote, “The Bible is clear that there are churches that teach the truth, churches that teach error, and churches that teach a mixture.”
      Then pray tell me. Which of all the churches in the world teach only the truth?

      Like

      1. Brenkmanr654, the reason I know that you don’t read my articles or comments in their entirety is because the answers to your questions and responses were already addressed in them before you started typing. Your last response is no exception.

        YOU WROTE:
        you have made an obvious statement. Yes, I am ‘bifurcated’ as you would call it. But that is only on certain subjects. That, however, is beside the point.

        REPSONSE:
        Sorry Brenkmanr654, but no. As already stated, such a bifurcation as “the only true church” isn’t Biblical thinking, it’s exclusivist cult thinking as previously stated. Biblically one doesn’t look for THE only true church on earth since the Bible doesn’t teach such a concept.

        YOU WROTE:
        You wrote, “The Bible is clear that there are churches that teach the truth, churches that teach error, and churches that teach a mixture.”
        Then pray tell me. Which of all the churches in the world teach only the truth?

        RESPONSE:
        No church on earth ONLY teaches the truth and none ever will – this is clear from the Bible.

        All one has to do is read the New Testament to see this. Even the “flagship church” in Jerusalem had problems. And all the New Testament epistles written to churches were addressing false teachings that had crept in. Finally, Christ Himself addresses seven churches in the Book of Revelation and not ONLY praises them for their truth but rebukes them for their error. In all seven of the churches in the Book of Revelation there was a blend of truth and error. Ditto for just about every church mentioned in the New Testament.

        The Christian Church has ALWAYS been sloppy and messy – the Bible tells us so.

        Further, notice what the Apostles and Christ DON’T say in the New Testament: They DON’T say, “Well the church you’re in isn’t teaching ALL truth so you need to leave and join this one instead, it IS the ONLY true Church!”

        That too is cult thinking.

        Rather, the Bible instructs the church to TEACH truth not BE true.

        Like

      2. Fred W. Anson,
        You wrote:
        Sorry Brenkmanr654, but no. As already stated, such a bifurcation as “the only true church” isn’t Biblical thinking, it’s exclusivist cult thinking as previously stated. Biblically one doesn’t look for THE only true church on earth since the Bible doesn’t teach such a concept.

        Response:
        Fred W. Anson, your statement suggests that Christ and/or any other person in the bible does not teach that there is a true church. However, that is false. In the King James Bible, John 10:16 clearly states, “16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Or in other words, “16 And other sheep (people) I have, which are not of this fold (church): them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (church), and one shepherd (Christ).”
        You wrote:
        “Rather, the Bible instructs the church to TEACH truth not BE true.”
        Response:
        In other words, Churches that teach both truth and error, teach truth, but are not true. And yes, I would agree with you there. However, if a Church teaches only the true doctrine of Christ, then it is true. And so again, I ask my question, which is the true church? For the Bible clearly states that there is only one.

        Like

  5. Now if you had read the article that I referred you to in the comment that you’re replying to in it’s entirety you would have seen that a church that TEACHES truth is one that maintains fidelity with the Essential Doctrines of the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible.

    A church that does that is a TRUE church.

    Again, please see “Weak Arguments #4: “The Bible says that my sectarian, partisan, non-essential doctrine is the only true truth!”’ for a short list of those essentials as well as links to resources that discuss them in detail.
    http://mormonisminvestigated.co.uk/2014/10/19/weak-arguments-4-the-bible-says-that-my-sectarian-partisan-non-essential-doctrine-is-the-only-true-truth-by-fred-w-anson/

    Like

    1. That article also explains why the LdS Church isn’t a true church – because it deviates from the Essential Doctrines of the Christian faith. The short version goes like this:

      1) Mormonism teaches another Jesus.

      2) Mormonism teaches another salvation – specifically that additional works (baptism into a church, temple ordinances, temple marriage, etc.) are all required for full salvation.

      3) Mormonism gets Christ’s resurrection mostly right but is still wrong.

      4) Mormonism teaches another gospel.

      5) Mormonism teaches a form of henotheistic idolatry.

      6) Mormonism follows a false prophet.

      Again, that link is: http://mormonisminvestigated.co.uk/2014/10/19/weak-arguments-4-the-bible-says-that-my-sectarian-partisan-non-essential-doctrine-is-the-only-true-truth-by-fred-w-anson/

      Further, even by the standard of it’s own scripture, the modern LdS Church isn’t a true church since it’s doctrine contradicts the Book of Mormon (see http://beggarsbread.org/2014/07/26/the-book-of-mormon-v-mormon-doctrine/ ) and it’s behavior contradicts the criteria established in the Standard Works (see http://mormonreformationday2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-95-lds-theses/ )

      Finally, and in closing, I would ask you Brenkmanr654 to please read my comments and the referenced articles in full prior to responding. I’m getting tired of inventing the wheel and repeating myself.

      Thanks.

      Like

  6. And, once again, what I would REALLY like to discuss is the disparity between the faithful Mormon History that’s taught by the LdS Church (with little to no support from the historical record) and the true Mormon History that’s fully supported by the historical record.

    As LDS Thesis #43 states:

    “Gospel Principles explains, “Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.” (see Chapter 31) yet LDS Church leaders mandate that Mormon History must always be presented to members (even privately) in a manner that’s uplifting and only presents the LDS Church in a favorable light – even if the resulting narrative is not true.”
    http://mormonreformationday2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-95-lds-theses/

    And supporting evidence for LDS Thesis #43 can be found here:
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.168646613341523.1073741848.165130067026511&type=3

    So, again, why brenkmanr654 is there such a disparity between the two?

    Like

    1. Fred W. Anson,
      I have read most of the points on the website: states:http://mormonreformationday2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-95-lds-theses/
      However, number 20 states:
      20. By requiring a full tithing to participate in the temple endowment ceremony, and thereby achieve exaltation, the LDS church disregards Moroni’s censure: “Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.”(Mormon 8:32)
      Okay. I can understand were the person is coming from, but it’s been twisted.
      In the scripture it states that people will pay tithes in order to be forgiven of their sins. An example of this would be the dark ages. People did pay tithing in order to be forgiven of their sins. However, Mormons, don’t pay tithing to be forgiven of their sins. They pay it, because it’s a commandment of God.
      You have asked me, (why) is there such a disparity between the two?
      My answer is this. Evil and conspiring men will twist truths in order to get what they want.

      Like

      1. @Brenkmanr654
        YOU WROTE:
        You have asked me, (why) is there such a disparity between the two?
        My answer is this. Evil and conspiring men will twist truths in order to get what they want.

        MY RESPONSE:
        Problem: The overwhelming vast majority of the historical sources that comprise the historical record are from faithful members of the Mormon Church – up to and including Joseph Smith himself.

        So with that statement you have just indicted past faithful members of the Mormon Church as, “Evil and conspiring men will twist truths in order to get what they want.”

        That tells me that you have never actually considered the historical record directly. May I encourage you to do so. Here’s a good starting point: http://mormonthink.com/

        Thank you.

        Like

      2. @Brenkmanr654
        YOU WROTE:
        Okay. I can understand were the person is coming from, but it’s been twisted.
        In the scripture it states that people will pay tithes in order to be forgiven of their sins. An example of this would be the dark ages. People did pay tithing in order to be forgiven of their sins. However, Mormons, don’t pay tithing to be forgiven of their sins. They pay it, because it’s a commandment of God.

        MY RESPONSE:
        You’re missing the forest for the trees. There’s a principle Mormon 8:32 that in order to achieve FULL salvation one has to pay up in full or be left behind thus parceling out salvation for money.

        So here’s the direct question: If one doesn’t pay the full tithe in the Mormon Church will they achieve FULL salvation?

        Of course the answer is, “No!” isn’t it Brenkmanr654?

        I know that you’re trying to dodge and deflect so that Mormon 8:32 doesn’t apply to the modern LdS Church but it clearly does.

        Sorry.

        Like

      3. @Brenkmanr654
        YOU WROTE:
        They pay it, (the tithe) because it’s a commandment of God.

        MY RESPONSE:
        Do Mormons also stone their rebellious children because it’s a commandment of God? Do they refuse to wear clothes made from mixed fibers? Do they observe the Holy Days and festivals commanded in Torah? If not, why not?

        As GotQuestions.org put it well:

        Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.

        The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving.

        The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

        Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/tithing-Christian.html#ixzz3LLilbucd

        Like

      4. @Brenkmanr654
        YOU WROTE:
        I have read most of the points on the website: http://mormonreformationday2013.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/the-95-lds-theses/

        MY RESPONSE:
        I’ve both pleased and impressed Brenkmanr654. Thank you.

        This one just popped up over the weekend (literally) it’s a bit overwhelming but is an interesting read. It outlines the problems that the LdS Church would do well to address if it’s going to become a true church well: http://latterdayperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Latter-Day-Perspective-Text-Only-Version.pdf

        I’m only part of the way through it but it’s a superb addition to the growing body of work regarding how and where the LdS Church needs to reform itself. I don’t agree entirely with everything I’ve read but it’s sure thought provoking stuff!

        Like

  7. @brenkmanr654

    YOU WROTE:
    And so again, I ask my question, which is the true church? For the Bible clearly states that there is only one.

    MY RESPONSE:
    Really? Where?

    The passage you cited earlier in your post isn’t about that at all – I’ll get to that next. And as I’ve pointed out in previous posts the New Testament is filled with true churches that stayed true to the Essentials of the Christian faith but still fell into error.

    YOU WROTE:
    your statement suggests that Christ and/or any other person in the bible does not teach that there is a true church. However, that is false. In the King James Bible, John 10:16 clearly states, “16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Or in other words, “16 And other sheep (people) I have, which are not of this fold (church): them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (church), and one shepherd (Christ).”

    MY RESPONSE:
    To suggest that “fold” = “church” is eisegesis (inserting meaning into the text that’s not there and that the author never intended). The correct translation given the context is “sheepfold” or “sheep pen” nothing more.

    The Greek word in question is “aule” (see http://scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/joh10.pdf ) and is Strong’s #G833. The KJV translates Strongs G833 in the following manner: palace (7x), hall (2x), sheepfold (with G4163) (1x), fold (1x), court (1x).

    If you have any further doubt please refer to this Greek Lexicon:
    https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G833

    And here’s how the passage reads in it’s full context and in a good modern translation:

    John 10 (NIV)
    7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

    11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

    14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

    However, I will give you credit for this “other sheep (people)”. Christ was, of course, referring to the Gentile people as we see fulfilled starting in the Book of Acts and in the rest of the New Testament thereafter.

    Like

    1. @brenkmanr654
      You wrote:
      In other words, Churches that teach both truth and error, teach truth, but are not true. And yes, I would agree with you there. However, if a Church teaches only the true doctrine of Christ, then it is true.

      MY RESPONSE:
      And as stated previously, while there is no church on earth that “teaches only the true doctrine of Christ” on EVERYTHING there are plenty of churches that teach truly on the ESSENTIALS.

      Further, brenkmanr654 based your criteria then the LdS Church isn’t even a true church from two different perspectives:

      First, the Biblical perspective which I’ve already covered;
      Second, from the perspective of the Mormon Standard Works, which I will now cover in some detail.

      Here is a list of “the true doctrine of Christ” found in the Book of Mormon WHICH THE MODERN LdS CHURCH NO LONGER TEACHES:

      – The Book of Mormon teaches that Jesus is Eternal God. And as such, Christ was neither created or procreated.

      – The Book of Mormon says that God is eternal and unchanging.

      – The Book of Mormon states that God is a Spirit.

      – The Book of Mormon states plainly that there is only one God.

      – The Book of Mormon states plainly that the One God consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that is, the Book of Mormon teaches the doctrine of the – Trinity (albeit with a strong modalistic skew).

      – The Book of Mormon states that God created via nothing but His word – that is, “ex-nihilo” (out of nothing).

      – The Book of Mormon condemns Polygamy.

      – The Book of Mormon states that there is only heaven and hell.

      – The Book of Mormon denounces universalism as a “false doctrine”.

      – The Book of Mormon denies that there is a second chance to repent and receive the gospel in the next life.

      – The Book of Mormon states that baptism isn’t an absolute requirement for salvation.

      – The Book of Mormon states that man was created by the power of God’s word not procreated by spirit parents.

      – The Book of Mormon makes a clear distinction between men and angels.

      – The Book of Mormon states clearly that Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world on the cross.

      (This list of orthodox Protestant doctrine in the Book of Mormon was originally extrapolated from the article, “The Book of Mormon v. Mormon Doctine”. A fuller explanation of each of these points – including scripture references – can be found there: http://beggarsbread.org/2014/07/26/the-book-of-mormon-v-mormon-doctrine )

      Further, the modern LdS Church DOES teach the following HERESIES which CONTRADICT “the true doctrine of Christ”:

      – God the Father was once a man, on another world (Kolob), and progressed to godhood by following perfectly the commands and precepts of his Father God.
      God the Father is a person with a body of flesh and bones.

      – The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are separate gods, “one in purpose” only but not one in being.

      – There are a plurality of gods but we only worship the God of this world, God the Father (aka “Heavenly Father”)

      – God the Father, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and other sons of the Father did not create the universe and earth out of nothing, but “organized” them from eternally existing matter that pre-existed God the Father.

      – The Most faithful and worthy Mormons can progress to godhood in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, where they can obtain their own world and with their wife (or wives) procreate spirit children for eternity.

      – The “new and everlasting covenant” of polygamy is necessary for exaltation to godhood.

      – Mormons who are unmarried in this life and do not marry in the next life, cannot be exalted, but will become servant ministering angels to exalted Mormons in the next life.

      – Every human being will find a place in one of the three degrees of glory (or “heaven” in plain English).

      – Temples and temple ordinances pertaining to endowments are necessary in order to pass through the veil and enter the presence of God the Father, and consist of temple marriage, new names, secret key words and handshakes that will be used as an identification of the person in the next life.

      – Baptisms for the dead must be performed by proxy in this life for those who did not accept the gospel in this life, so that their sins can be forgiven and they can enter the Celestial Kingdom after they accept the Mormon gospel message in the next life.

      – Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother procreated the spirits of every human being that has lived, is now living or will ever live on this earth.

      – The spirits procreated by Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother lived with their father on his world as angels in the “pre-existence” before being sent to earth to inhabit human bodies.

      – Jesus Christ is the brother of Lucifer (Satan), every human being past and present, and the angels.

      – Jesus Christ made atonement for sins in the Garden of Gethsemane.

      (This list was compiled from the article entitled “Mormon Doctrine Not Found in the Book of Mormon”. You will find full documentation for each and all of these non-Book of Mormon heresies there: http://beggarsbread.org/2014/07/06/mormon-doctrine-not-found-in-the-book-of-mormon/ )

      So by the virtue of your criteria that, “if a Church teaches only the true doctrine of Christ, then it is true” the LdS Church isn’t a true church by ANY scriptural criteria.

      Thank you.

      Like

  8. @BrenkManr654
    Reflecting on it, I thought it might be beneficial if I gave some concrete examples of the disparity between the “faithful” Mormon History that the LdS Church teaches members and the True Mormon History that’s reflected in the actual historical record. What follows is from the first draft of a forthcoming article and I hope it helps define and clarify the issue for you:

    – The “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young” manual (circa 1997) only mentions his first two monogamous legal wives (he remarried after being widowed), never mentions his illegal plural wives (fifty-three that we know of), and never uses the word “polygamy”, “plural wives”, or any derivation thereof anywhere therein. Further, the biggest scandal of his presidency, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, is never mentioned despite it’s profound historical and social significance. (see https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young?lang=eng )

    – In a similar manner the “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith” manual (circa 2011) limits the subject of plural marriage in the introductory notes to the teacher. Throughout the rest of the manual only his marriage to Emma Hale Smith is mentioned and polygamy is conveniently (and as explained in the introduction, deliberately) avoided. Consider for example, this: “Although their marriage would be tested by the deaths of children, financial difficulties, and Joseph’s frequent absences from home in fulfillment of his duties, Joseph and Emma always loved one another deeply.”[1] The biggest test of their marriage was, no doubt, was Joseph Smith’s polygamy yet it isn’t mentioned at all.[2]

    – Finally, the manual, “Church History in the Fulness of Times” (circa 2014) is a cornucopia of skewed, white washed, historical revisionism. For example, the section entitled, “Missouri Persecutions and Expulsion”[3] goes into great detail about the atrocities and horrors inflicted on Mormons by their Missouri neighbors but fails to mentions the atrocities and horrors inflicted on the Missourians by Mormons during the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri.[4] And the section on the the Kirtland Safety Society[5] absolves Joseph Smith of all culpability concluding with this “masterpiece” of spin doctored white washing:

    Joseph Smith’s losses from the failure of the company were greater than anyone else’s. While seeking to achieve success with the bank and, at the same time, to purchase land in Kirtland and goods for his store, he accumulated debts amounting to approximately one hundred thousand dollars. Although he had assets in land and goods that were of greater value in some respects than his debts, he was unable to immediately transform these assets into a form that could be used to pay his creditors. The Prophet endured seventeen lawsuits during 1837 in Geauga County for debts involving claims of more than thirty thousand dollars. Unfortunately, few people correctly understood the causes of their economic difficulties. Many Saints spoke against the Prophet and accused him of being responsible for all of their problems.[6]

    To compare and contrast, consider this account from the neutral source, Wikipedia:

    Regardless of the reasons for the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company’s (KSSABC) failure, much of the blame was laid upon Smith. Half of The Quorum of Twelve Apostles accused Smith of improprieties in the banking scandal, and LDS Apostle Heber C. Kimball later said that the bank’s failure was so shattering that afterwards “there were not twenty persons on earth that would declare that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.” Woodruff records that Smith had an alleged revelation on the topic, but declined to share it, saying only that “if we would give heed to the commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be well.” Then Woodruff expresses his own hopes that the KSSABC will “become the greatest of all institutions on EARTH.”

    On January 12, 1838, faced with a warrant for his arrest on a charge of illegal banking, Smith fled with Rigdon to Clay County, Missouri just ahead of an armed group out to capture and hold Smith for trial. Smith and Rigdon were both acquainted with not only conflict and violent mobbing they experienced together in Pennsylvania and New York, but with fleeing from the law. According to Smith, they left “to escape mob violence, which was about to burst upon us under the color of legal process to cover the hellish designs of our enemies.” Brigham Young left Kirtland for Missouri weeks earlier on December 22 to avoid the dissidents who were angry with Young and threatened him because of his persistent public defense of Smith’s innocence. Most of those who remained committed to the church moved to join the main body of the LDS in Missouri.[7]

    NOTES:
    [1] LdS Church, “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith” (Kindle Locations 480-482). Kindle Edition. The statement about why polygamy was deliberately avoided in this manual can be found at Kindle Location 204 in the Kindle Edition where it says:

    “This book deals with teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith that have application to our day. For example, this book does not discuss such topics as the Prophet’s teachings regarding the law of consecration as applied to stewardship of property. The Lord withdrew this law from the Church because the Saints were not prepared to live it (see D& C 119, section heading ). This book also does not discuss plural marriage. The doctrines and principles relating to plural marriage were revealed to Joseph Smith as early as 1831. The Prophet taught the doctrine of plural marriage, and a number of such marriages were performed during his lifetime. Over the next several decades, under the direction of the Church Presidents who succeeded Joseph Smith, a significant number of Church members entered into plural marriages. In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto, which discontinued plural marriage in the Church (see Official Declaration 1 ). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no longer practices plural marriage.” (bolding added for emphasis)

    The above statement can also be found on the LdS Church website by clicking on this link: https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/introduction?lang=eng

    [2] There’s ample evidence of the conflict and turmoil that polygamy created in Joseph and Emma Smith’s marriage but probably none more dramatic than this famous incident:

    “A door opposite opened and dainty, little, dark-haired Eliza R. Snow (she was “heavy with child”) came out . . . Joseph then walked on to the stairway, where he tenderly kissed Eliza, and then came on down stairs toward Brother Rich. Just as he reached the bottom step, there was a commotion on the stairway, and both Joseph and Brother Rich turned quickly to see Eliza come tumbling down the stairs. Emma had pushed her, in a fit of rage and jealousy; she stood at the top of the stairs, glowering, her countenance a picture of hell. Joseph quickly picked up the little lady, and with her in his arms, he turned and looked up at Emma, who then burst into tears and ran to her room. Joseph carried the hurt and bruised Eliza up the stairs and to her room. ‘Her hip was injured and that is why she always afterward favored that leg,’ said Charles C. Rich. ‘She lost the unborn babe.’”
    (Maureen U. Beecher, Linda K. Newell, and Valeen T. Avery, “Emma, Eliza, and the Stairs: An Investigation”, BYU Studies 22 (Winter 1982), pp.86-94; https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=5510 )

    [3] LdS Church, “Church History in the Fulness of Times” (Kindle Location 6012). Kindle Edition. You can also click on this link to see the referenced content on the LdS Church website: https://www.lds.org/manual/church-history-in-the-fulness-of-times-student-manual/chapter-sixteen-missouri-persecutions-and-expulsion?lang=eng

    [4] Consider, for example, this incident:

    “The [non-Mormon] Gentiles, who numbered but 36 men, were completely routed and driven from the field in a few minutes. They fought bravely and effectively, but could not withstand the sudden and impetuous attack which was made upon them, and Capt. Bogart led them off in the direction of Elkhorn, but finally fell back to the southern part of the county. The Mormons did not pursue, owing chiefly to the fall of their leader, whose death had a demoralizing effect upon them, chiefly because they had deemed him invincible, as he had repeatedly declared that he could not be killed.

    In this engagement the Mormons lost Capt. Patton and two men named Patrick O’Banion and Gideon Carter killed, and James Holbrook and another man wounded. In the dark the latter fought by mistake, and cut up one another with their corn knives, or ” swords,” as they called them, very severely. Capt. Bogart’s Gentiles lost Moses Rowland killed and Thos. H. Loyd, Edwin Odell, James Lockard, Martin Dunnaway, Samuel Tarwater, and Wyatt Craven wounded.

    Two Mormons attacked Tarwater with corn knives and nearly cut him to pieces. He received a terrible gash in the skull, through which his brain was plainly visible, one terrible blow across the face severed the jaw bone and destroyed all the upper teeth, and there was an ugly gash made in his neck. He kept his bed six months and his wounds considerably affected his speech and his memory, Mr. Tarwater is yet alive, and resides near Orrick, Ray county. Since 1840 he has drawn a pension from the State of Missouri of $100 per year, for the wounds and disability he received in the Crooked river fight. Wyatt Craven lives near Crab Orchard, Ray county. He was taken prisoner early in the fight, and the Mormons started with him to Far West, but after traveling some distance they released him and told him to go home. He started off and was walking away pretty briskly, when Parley P. Pratt, a very prominent and noted Mormon and one of the ” Twelve Apostles,” laid his gun against a tree, took deliberate aim, fired and shot him down. Then, believing he was dead, the Mormons went off and left him.”
    (Ora Merle Hawk Pease, “History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri”, pp.130-131; http://www.archive.org/details/historyofcaldwel00peas%20 )

    And as Mormon researcher Bill McKeever notes regarding the Mormon white washing of the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri:

    “When speaking of Mormon persecution, the tragedy at Haun’s Mill is rarely overlooked. The film spoke of a Mormon who was “hacked to death by a corn-cutter.” The brevity of this episode in the film fails to mention that the atrocities at Haun’s Mill stemmed in part from an incident a week earlier at what has come to be called “the Battle of Crooked River.” Former Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn explained on page 100 of his book, A Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power:

    “A generally unacknowledged dimension of both the extermination order and the Haun’s Mill massacre, however, is that they resulted from Mormon actions in the Battle of Crooked River. Knowingly or not, Mormons had attacked state troops, and this had a cascade effect… upon receiving news of the injuries and death of state troops at Crooked River, Governor Boggs immediately drafted his extermination order on 27 October 1838 because the Mormons ‘have made war upon the people of this state.’ Worse, the killing of one Missourian and mutilation of another while he was defenseless at Crooked River led to the mad-dog revenge by Missourians in the slaughter at Haun’s Mill” (Origins of Power, p.100)

    The mutilated Missourian was Samuel Tarwater who was left for dead by the fleeing state militia. Quinn noted how enraged Mormons mutilated the unconscious Tarwater “with their swords, striking him lengthwise in the mouth, cutting off his under teeth, and breaking his lower jaw; cutting off his cheeks…and leaving him [for] dead” (p.99). Tarwater survived to press charges.”
    (“Part One of ‘The Mormons’ on PBS” reviewed by Bill McKeever. Mormonism Research Ministry website; http://www.mrm.org/mormons-on-pbs )

    [5] Op cit, “Church History in the Fulness of Times” (Kindle Location 5402). You can also click on this link to see the referenced content on the LdS Church website: https://www.lds.org/manual/church-history-in-the-fulness-of-times-student-manual/chapter-fourteen-the-apostasy-in-kirtland-1836-38?lang=eng

    [6] Ibid, (Kindle Locations 5436-5443). You can also click on this link to see the referenced content on the LdS Church website: https://www.lds.org/manual/church-history-in-the-fulness-of-times-student-manual/chapter-fourteen-the-apostasy-in-kirtland-1836-38?lang=eng

    [7] Wikipedia, “Kirtland Safety Society”, “Response in the LDS community”; Also see “Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company” on the MormonThink.com website for a good collection of citations from non-neutral sources. There’s just no denying that the example citation from the church manual is spin doctored, white washed, revisionism. Joseph Smith, along with his First Counselor Sidney Rigdon, legitimately bore a heavy fiduciary burden for the failure of the bank.

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