Roughly 175 years after the terrible accusations of summer 1842, I got an e-mail from a friend. Various family and friends had told my friend all about why Joseph Smith and the Church were wrong. They didn’t know who to ask other than me (which is a sad commentary of some sort).
They trust me to be honest – perhaps a bit too explicit and open mic, in fact. But for this person, they didn’t want to feel like they were being “handled.”
The questions were:
Q: Did Joseph destroy public property?
Q: Did Joseph lie to Emma about Eliza snow? Who caught them in bed? Was it Emma? How old was Eliza when this happened? Why was the revelation received after the incident?
Q: Why didn’t Joseph use the urim and thummim? If those were God’s tools, why didn’t he use them?
Q: To obtain the priesthood, do you have to be a full tithe payer? Are you denied the priesthood if you don’t pay tithes? In particular, did Joseph demand money for ordaining people to the priesthood and did he demand that people pay for the Book of Mormon?
Q: Where in scripture or the Family Proclamation is it stated that those who engage in same sex marriage (or relationships) cannot hope to ever be saved. Why isn’t someone who beats their wife and children, for example, punished the way we punish those who marry someone of the same gender?
My friend, like many of us, no doubt, has someone (or a few) in their extended family who don’t identify as hetero-normal or CIS (i.e., comfortable with the gender one is born with).
My first thought was “you didn’t read my book…!” But when someone is bleeding, you don’t say, “Have you read my thousand page dissertation on transfusion?” You just whip out a bandage or tourniquet and help stop the bleeding. Then you can point them to the academic literature.
So here are a few answers I gave my friend. Posted since I suspect my friend isn’t the only one with these questions. Continue reading