Trojan Horses and Mormon Intellectuals

On October 21, 2013, Jeff G. wrote a guest post talking about The Mormon Intellectual’s Trojan Horses.

I wasn’t around M* at that time. However I noticed that suddenly Jeff G.’s post has become very popular. And I don’t know what has prompted that. This post is so folks can comment.

From my reading of the post, Jeff G. had recently come back to the faith after abandoning it eight years earlier due to intellectual “issues.” He clarified that intellectuals aren’t necessarily more intelligent than others, but rather they prize the culture of critical discourse (CCD). For those not familiar with CCD, Jeff G. provided the following quote:

“[CCD] insists that any assertion – about anything, by anyone – is open to criticism and that, if challenged, no assertion can be defended by invoking someone’s authority. It forbids a reference to a speaker’s position in society (or reliance upon his personal character) in order to justify or refute his claims… Under the scrutiny of the culture of critical discourse, all claims to truth are in principle now equal, and traditional authorities are now stripped of their special right to define social reality… The CCD … demands the right to sit in judgment over all claims, regardless of who makes them…

“CCD requires that all speakers must be treated as sociologically equal in evaluating their speech. Considerations of race, class, sex, creed, wealth, or power in society may not be taken into account in judging a speaker’s contentions and a special effort is made to guard against their intrusion on critical judgment. The CCD, then, suspects that all traditional social differentiations may be subversive of reason and critical judgment and thus facilitate a critical examination of establishment claims. It distances intellectuals from them and prevents elite views from becoming an unchallenged, conventional wisdom.” (Against Fragmentation: The Origins of Marxism and the Sociology of Intellectuals, 30-31)

Surely Intellectuals have a problem with Prophets?

Jeff next clarified that those “intellectuals” who value the culture of critical discourse don’t so much have a problem with prophecy. It’s possible to have a worldview where prophecy is just one of the many natural phenomena. So intellectuals don’t have a problem with prophets because they prophesy, but because the prophet has priesthood authority. This priesthood authority puts the prophet or priesthood leader in charge, giving them an authority that not all speakers have.

Applying this to a hypothetical case, a woman might be willing to grant that her Bishop can receive revelation. However she might still reject his authority to have revelation on her behalf, because she believes she is the Bishop’s equal and should be treated equally, that her revelation regarding herself should be considered and even held more important than the revelation some other individual (e.g., the Bishop) might claim to have had on her behalf.

The Four Trojan Horses

Jeff G. submits that the four Trojan Horses of Mormon intellectuals who value the culture of critical discourse are:

  • Overemphasizing the importance of personal revelation.
  • Overemphasizing the importance of “thus saith the Lord”.
  • Overemphasizing the importance of church history.
  • Overemphasizing the fallibility of prophets.

I’m likely going to mangle these, but I think the traps Jeff G. describes are:

Personal Revelation

Everyone has the right to personal revelation. Just because some prophet or ecclesiastical leader had revelation doesn’t mean I have to heed their revelation. I have a right to my own revelation. I am equal to any of them. And I am my own stewardship, so clearly I have a right to revelation for my own life, which would be pre-eminent over any outside guidance or command.

Parsing the Scriptures to Identify the bits actually attributable to “The Lord”

The scriptures may be canon, but when taken in context, we can see that many of these verses are not applicable. Entire chapters and books are wholly irrelevant. I only need to pay attention to the parts where the Lord, Himself, was actually giving commands. And when I do that, the entirety of the pertinent scripture record can be distilled into a thin pamphlet…

Church History is Important

Just as I can reduce the part of scripture that matters to a small pamphlet, we can clearly see that historical context renders most of Church History irrelevant to our modern lives. It is critical that we understand all the details of Church History so we can best understand how completely irrelevant and downright puerile or even abusive so much of our “heritage” actually is.

Prophets are Fallible

They just are. And this is why I don’t have to honor them or pay heed to what they said.

Discussion?

So if I understood Jeff G. correctly (and I may have grossly misunderstood), the trap of the Mormon “intellectual” is valuing their own inclination (aka revelation) more than any outside guide and devaluing sciptures, sacred history, and prophetic counsel.

I’ll be fascinated to know if I got any of this even close to right and what it is about Jeff G.s original post that is attracting thousands upon thousands of views.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD… 1

Notes:

  1. Isaiah 1:18
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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the LDS church for over four decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation, and is working on a midrashic treatment of the events in Nauvoo associated with early polygamy.

62 thoughts on “Trojan Horses and Mormon Intellectuals

  1. It was a really good post from Jeff G. CCD is one of the pillars, not just of intellectuals, but the whole of post-Enlightenment society: science, politics, arts, and religion. Protestantism itself was born entirely out of CCD, Luther and others valuing their own revelation and intelligence more than the authority of the church. Because society it so saturated with it, and it has brought about so much progress, it is difficult for Mormons to recognize that it is not a true Christian principle, but rather a secular humanist innovation.

    Early Mormonism also had this problem in Kirtland, before the Priesthood structure had really set in, when Mormons thought anyone who had a revelation was equal to anyone else who had one. Joseph Smith introduced priesthood hierarchy which solved that problem and stopped the church from breaking up into oblivion.

    It all comes down to authority. Our church is a theocracy, a monarchy, and although you don’t have to always agree with the king, you must respect the power he holds within his realm. He governs by divine mandate. Mormons must go back to pre-Enlightenment, pre-Reformation attitudes towards governance within the church.

  2. I think what has prompted a number of readers to look at this again is a link to it from Daniel Peterson’s Sic Et Non blog on Patheos. Turns out, it’s worth the read.

  3. I think one very important part of the article that was mentioned was the two competing motives that allow the Trojan Horses to work in the lives of ‘Mormon Intellectuals':

    1. “to ignore, reinterpret or otherwise repress sacerdotal social distinctions within the church in order to maintain their ties with CCD”
    2. “to ignore, reinterpret or otherwise repress the first desire in order to maintain their ties with the church”

    I have unfortunately seen these motives, on a small scale, work within my own life and I was glad that they were mentioned in the article. They have allowed me to slowly build up a personal narrative where I can raise myself above the prophets (or priesthood leaders) in some things, all while thinking I’m perfectly faithful.

    The article was a good kick in the pants – priesthood authority really is what is at odds with CCD and really is what defines the true Church.

    I now see how the great deceiver has used the issue of women’s priesthood ordination to subvert one of the foundational pillars of the Church in the minds of many faithful people.

  4. I think the article grossly over simplifies the core LDS world view and the process by which a person of an intellectual bent experiences the Church. One of the fundamental claims of the LDS Church is that all truth is consistent – and as a corollary to that concept God is God because he (speaking of the Father) has both understood all truth and lives in accordance with all truth. As such all legitimate revelation (whether personal, to the Church leaders, or to any level of administration in between) must be self consistent. Given that the Church’s history proves not all statements presented as being the mind and will of God by the Church’s leaders (read The Journal of Discourses or other reports of General Conference talks given in the mid to late 1800s for example, or some of the talks on the “Negros” given in the 1950s, 60s and early 70s, or talks given on homosexuals in the 70s, 80s, or 90s) it is fairly obvious that it is not a completely “safe/reasonable/logical” approach to simply assume the Church’s leaders always get “it” (whatever the “it” of the moment happens to be) correct.

    Now some are willing to say I’m willing to be “wrong” about any given issue if the prophets and apostles tell me to be wrong. Essentially they are saying: “I’ll let the Lord sort it out.” (Primarily I think because our Church’s teachings over the years very strongly imply that if one is following the Church Leaders one would be “held harmless” to use the legal terms.) However the “intellectual” is more concerned with squaring revelation with reality/eternal truth – to the extent possible. It is a much more “dangerous/self responsible” approach to life, such a one is saying that they will be true to that which their own personal analysis has convinced them is God’s will (which because of the nature of God and self consistent truth will be consistent with eternal truth). But of course if they are wrong in that personal analysis they bear the sole consequences individually – there is no “defense” of being able to point to the dictates of someone else based on that person’s (or group’s) priesthood authority.

    Now is it easy for an “intellectual” Church member to get pulled in the wrong directions? Absolutely, that is one of the primary reasons having prophets and apostles has appeal – and why their opinions should be given great weight and deference. But, there is an inherent problem which arises when the Church leaders ask someone to do a thing which contradicts what that person perceives to be eternal truth. Those who are more inclined to the “non-intellectual” respect authority approach will likely tend to do what they are asked to do (think of some of the early Saints who were horrified by the concept of polygamy but who went ahead and did it because Joseph or Brigham asked them to do it, or those who went along with the priesthood ban prior to 1978 – or who still defend it), while those who are dedicated to the “truth is truth” approach will tend towards first critically analyzing the request and agreeing to do it only if they can square the request with their understanding of eternal principles.

    In my mind the concepts of the “Glory of God is intelligence” and “eternal progression” auger for the world view of “truth is truth” – which leads in the long-run to an intellectual approach for me. The article paints with a broad brush and assumes that the intellectual will by definition fight against the Church. I think that is an erroneous starting point. I think it is more accurate to say the intellectual approach requires one to acquire knowledge by evaluating the evidence available. Such evidence can be of any type (spiritual, physical, authority, or logic) but it must bear up well under real analysis.

  5. Hi John,

    Are you reacting to Jeff G.’s original article or my interpretation of his article (a gross simplification likely betraying an incorrect understanding of Jeff G.’s original intent)?

  6. “Given that the Church’s history proves not all statements presented as being the mind and will of God by the Church’s leaders (read The Journal of Discourses or other reports of General Conference talks given in the mid to late 1800s for example, or some of the talks on the “Negros” given in the 1950s, 60s and early 70s, or talks given on homosexuals in the 70s, 80s, or 90s) it is fairly obvious that it is not a completely “safe/reasonable/logical” approach to simply assume the Church’s leaders always get “it” (whatever the “it” of the moment happens to be) correct.”

    Yet you are making a claim for Church leadership that the leadership itself has never made. Church leadership has never made the claim of perfect or ultimate infallibility. And your placing of the “scare” quotes around “Negros” — why is that necessary?

    John, on almost every post of yours I see on here, you’re constantly harping on the issue of the priesthood ban. Are you at all interested in finding peace regarding that issue? It is apparently a huge stumbling block to you. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  7. The problem with saying church leaders have had things “wrong” is that maybe they were “right” at the time the position or principle was preached. I don’t think a whole lot of people died pre-1978, hit the Spirit World, and then thought “Snap – we were wrong about the priesthood limitations — we should have allowed all worthy men to hold the priesthood from April 6, 1830 forward.”

  8. So the biggest issues that I see for “intellectuals” are these:

    1. Polygamy.

    2. Priesthood ban.

    3. Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

    4. Feminist issues (and their corollary progressive axioms, too numerous to list).

    (These comprise 99.1% of all complaints that I see online.)

    Contrary to the popular notion that progressives* excel at seeing nuance and shades of grey, they are startlingly unable to see the nuance of what present-day revelation really means. God can, and has, said to folks, “Do this.” And later He will say, “Now do this instead.” And He can still be perfectly consistent in how He governs.

    Intellectuals/progressives/liberals fail to comprehend this. They take a conception of The Truth ™, which they have formed in their minds using mentalics only, and then extrapolate that out and ask God to conform to that particular bed of Procustes which they have formed.

    Then they go to pieces when God refuses to comply. God really does transcend our limited conceits.

    *Progressives self-identify as “intellectuals” more often than conservatives do. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed. Of course, conservatives or traditionalists have their mental constructs too, but they seem to have the proclivity of staying loyal to the Church.

  9. Elder McConkie said once that apostles could fall short of magnifying their calling just as elders could with theirs. He seemed to mean that some don’t proclaim the gospel as forthrightly as others. The failing of a prophet probably isn’t those things he’s doing and teaching that I happen to disagree with, and it could be that he doesn’t chasten me more.

    (Anyone else remember that bit from McConkie that I’m thinking of?)

  10. Nate is exactly right. The culture of critical discourse is the very foundation of liberal democratic societies and as such largely structures our WASP-ish outlook on the world.

    I really like the point that Doug highlights and I would love to one day expand on it in a few posts of their own. Educated people within the church feel strong pressures to minimize the conflicts, contradictions and tension which exist between the values of the world and those of the gospel. How many of us have approached some gospel topic using the tools of the academy and, having found some kind of tension, find ourselves willing if not compelled to slightly alter our definition or conception of that topic in order to show how “reasonable the gospel actually is” when looked at in the right way? But the gospel was never meant to look “reasonable” to the world and its ways of framing issues.

  11. JSH,

    If my article is guilty of anything, I seriously doubt it is of oversimplifying anything.

    “One of the fundamental claims of the LDS Church is that all truth is consistent – and as a corollary to that concept God is God because he (speaking of the Father) has both understood all truth and lives in accordance with all truth. As such all legitimate revelation (whether personal, to the Church leaders, or to any level of administration in between) must be self consistent.”

    This is another trojan horse which I have dealt with in other posts. Yes, all truth is one and all truth can be circumscribed in one great whole…. But nowhere in the gospel does it say that this oneness or wholeness is structured by logical consistency. Rather, that is a doctrine which we can received from Plato and other such Greek philosophers – a doctrine which has been called “the mirror of nature”. Embracing “truth” and “consistency” in this way is the very definition of embracing CCD in a way which is specifically aimed at sidelining social distinctions such as priesthood authority. Indeed, your entire comment is one long attempt at playing up the importance of logical reasoning and empirical experience at the expense of priesthood authority.

    Rather than writing a tl;dr comment in response, I’ll just post a link to one of my more recent posts on the subject:
    http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/2014/06/priesthood-authority-vs-inter-personal-reasoning/3585/

  12. Michael Towns,

    “Church leadership has never made the claim of perfect or ultimate infallibility.”

    I would go even further than that, since I see your response as being too accommodating to John’s argument. I would argue that just because the church changes its doctrine from A to not-A is no sign at all that a mistake has been made. The whole point of continuing revelation – from my perspective – is that the teachings of the church are under no obligation to remain logically consistent in any timeless or universal sense. To be clear, I am not arguing for the infallibility of our leaders. Rather, I am arguing against the idea that a change in doctrine is evidence for error.

  13. This was a very interesting post.

    It seems to me that not only are we “safe” in submitting to what our religious authorities tell us, but that it’s also a positive virtue, in that it requires humility to submit our judgment to someone else’s, to admit that they may know better, or have access to information that we don’t have, or be in a better position to evaluate it than we are.

  14. My main memory of Elder McConkie was the conference talk where he told us he was going to tell us everything there was to know about the priesthood.

    My brother and I, watching from our grandparent’s home, looked at one another and started to laugh.

    Elder McConkie was a unique and valorous soul, as unique in his way as J. Golden Kimball was in his.

  15. ” Rather, I am arguing against the idea that a change in doctrine is evidence for error.”

    That’s essentially what I try to help people understand — what was true for the church in 1844 or 1952 isn’t necessarily true for the church in 2014. And it doesn’t have to be.

    “My main memory of Elder McConkie was the conference talk where he told us he was going to tell us everything there was to know about the priesthood.”

    Meg, I think you’re a very intelligent soul, but I fear that you may have some conflated or muddled memories with respect to this. I’ve scoured the Internets for this quote, and I just don’t see it. And as a dude who spent an enormous amount of time reading McConkie over the years, this particular soundbite doesn’t quite jive as something he would have said.

    Now, he said a lot of strong things over the decades he spent as a General Authority. I don’t deny that. But this snippet doesn’t quite ring true to me. Feel free to find it and show me.

  16. And now Meg,

    Yes, there were a couple of links put up to the post by Daniel Peterson as well as the BYU Religious Studies Center on their facebook page. I have no idea what caused that to happen though.

    I think you get the basic outline about right, but unfortunately I think the most important point of the post is how subtle and nuanced these trojan horses are. I would emphasize a little more that just as the Trojans sincerely thought they were bringing a hard earned gift into their city, so too intellectuals within the church see their efforts at harmonizing the priesthood with CCD as a good thing for both themselves and the church.

    In a similar way, intellectuals do not deny or contradict priesthood authority. Instead, they merely sideline it. Where a more traditional Mormon would talk about what their priesthood leaders say, the intellectual will instead talk about evidence, logic and scripture – things which are not in anyway the exclusive prerogative of a uniquely ordained few. Since we all must make choices in the words we use, the intellectual has no need to actively argue against or reject priesthood authority. Rather, they simply speak instead of those values with which they have replaced priesthood authority.

    Another way of approaching the issue would be in terms of distortions and obstacles to truth. By the standards of the liberal democratic cultures in which we live, appeals to authority are nothing but obstacles or distortions to truth. I am actually agreeing with this position in order to unmask its flipside which would be that a hierarchical tradition such as the priesthood would also see the egalitarian cultures of liberal democracy as being an obstacle and distortion to truth to the exact same degree. In other words, each tradition serves as an obstacles or distortion to its version of truth – the only question is whose truth do we truly seek? The post was meant to articulate the ways in which CCD systematically distorts gospel truths to its own ends.

    Personal Revelation:

    Once one sidelines priesthood authority, then there is no longer any significant difference between personal revelation and that of our leaders – we are all grouped together in one undifferentiated whole. Thus, personal revelation can be used to correct or even falsify that of our leaders. It’s not that my stewardship over myself conflicts with their stewardship over me – it’s that there is no such thing as stewardship when it comes to our universal access to truth.

    “Thus saith the Lord”

    It’s not that they want to filter out all the human elements of scripture. It’s that they want to check the prophets Sources to make sure that they are not taking “liberties” with them. The rest of the scripture is not irrelevant – it’s just no more relevant than our own experience with or interpretations of God’s words and deeds. Again, the goal is to lump everybody except God into one, undifferentiated whole in the way that liberal democracies insist we should be.

    Church History

    Intellectual do not write off church history as irrelevant. To the contrary – they see it as being just as relevant as the strong majority of scripture. Again, the intellectual doesn’t need to actively argue against those writings which have been backed by priesthood authority. Rather, they simply find ways in which to bring them down to the level of all other writings which come from our one, undifferentiated whole.

    Fallibility

    This is, I think, the biggest trojan horse of them all. It plays up the distinction which exists between the one, undifferentiated whole of humanity and God, thus downplaying the distinction which exists between those humans who have been set apart from the rest of us. In other words, the intellectual insist that ordination does not matter at all in comparison to the fallibility which unites us.

    —————
    I hope this has clarified a few points. Again, the intellectual insists and sincerely believe that they are not compromising their testimonies of the Gospel – something which they roughly define as the information which we have received from heaven. They very much believe in Jesus, prophets, visions and revelations and as such see themselves not at denying but as striving for an enlightened perspective on such things. They are actually not far off, for the values and rules according to which they seek to construe such things just are the CCD of the Enlightenment project. Thus, their mistake comes not in denying gospel doctrines, but in systematically redefining and reprioritizing them along secular lines.

  17. Agellius

    “it requires humility to submit our judgment to someone else’s, to admit that they may know better, or have access to information that we don’t have, or be in a better position to evaluate it than we are.”

    Again, I think this plays into the intellectuals’ hands by tacitly confirming that the source of a priesthood leader’s authority lies not in their ordination but in the information or perspective that they have. They would like to see virtue in the loyalty which we share with our leaders to correct doctrine instead of a shared loyalty to our priesthood leaders. I see no reason to think that the Lord cares more about how our beliefs are organized than He does about how His people are organized.

  18. The Orson Pratt quote that Meg recently posted is especially relevant:

    “Orson Pratt said, “In the Church we take the Law of God and his Priesthood as the Constitution of his Church—here in this Council we have a living constitution not a written one—which we must conform to.””

  19. “Again, I think this plays into the intellectuals’ hands by tacitly confirming that the source of a priesthood leader’s authority lies not in their ordination but in the information or perspective that they have. They would like to see virtue in the loyalty which we share with our leaders to correct doctrine instead of a shared loyalty to our priesthood leaders. I see no reason to think that the Lord cares more about how our beliefs are organized than He does about how His people are organized.”

    To be honest I’m not quite following you. But if you’re saying that we should submit to those with authority to teach simply because they’re authorized, and not because of what they know, then I agree.

  20. Isn’t it interesting how the current crop of Mormon intellectuals who seem to adhere to CCD also has a close correlation to political correctness and progressivism?

  21. I work in a military organization. Chain of command is key. It isn’t about whether the individual in charge is “right” in battle (with eggregious exceptions like the My Lai massacre). There is a military code and one obeys one’s commanding officer.

    I also work with academics. This is a regime where I’ve seen both meritocracies and coercive monopolies. Either way, there tends to be a lot of talking (though I prefer the talking in the meritocracies to the talking in the monopolies).

    Finally, I work with industry. This is a venue where there are ethical people and there are people who are driven by profit.

    Of all of these, the priesthood, to me, seems more like the officers in charge of a military campaign. They have to make tactical decisions for the particular situation in which they find themselves. There is an overarching code to which they are required to adhere, if they would themselves escape censure, but most priesthood folks I’ve talked with are actually surprised by the latitude they find themselves to have, to execute their tactical stewardship. In this they are given training and guidance from their peers and superiors, and have a direct line to the Commander of all. They ignore these lines of communication to their spiritual peril.

    We who are not the tactical commander, which includes the vast majority of Church members, can assist in the work (guided by our own direct line to God), or can prance about as if this is just a democracy, or we can get all jealous of the uniform and pout about wanting to wear it ourselves. Or, of course, we can leave the ranks of those enlisted in God’s work and sit on the sidelines, tossing pointed words or jagged rocks at those who were most recently our comrades.

    We are the army of salvation for the living and the dead, those arrows in God’s quiver to succor all mankind. We are to provide relief to those serving with us, welcome in the new recruits and train them.

    We focus on the trojan horse, since this is a more concrete tale from the Trojan War. But it was Odysseus’ theft of the Palladium that was anciently seen as the cause of Troy’s downfall. In our individual lives, when we lose our faith in God to save us, when we lose our adherence to the code He has asked us to live in pursuit of that salvation, then we have personally lost the security of the Palladium of joys, the protection for our souls, and become subject to every wind of doubt.

  22. The OW discussions used hand picked scriptures and historical references as well as ‘reason’ and appeals to emotion in an attempt to trump current doctrine regarding priesthood authority. There was not so much a Trojan horse as a circus parade of every argument and emotional appeal.
    There are eddies and breezes of what could amount to discordant teaching in the thousands of different meetings and classes in the Church, let alone the bloggernacle.
    I understand that it is Church policy to restrict the publication of talks given in non GC or Church wide (ie. BYU devotionals and similar programs.) In a fairly recent temple worker prayer meeting we were reminded that remarks made by a member of the temple presidency were not for distribution but for the edification and instuction of those present.
    Elder McConkie and Reuben J. Clark both accepted now discounted eclipse information that dismissed April as the time of the Savior’s birth. I know of other instances where the opinions of apostles differed from each other or canon. Our current apostles seem to avoid making similar claims, instead reiterating and emphasizing the truth that we so easily ignore.
    I find spiritual safety in assuming that I am to take the word of the current Prophet as spoken in General Conference or published in the Ensign as guiding truth, whatever other sources past or present say. I also assume that I can trust communications from the Leadership that are meant to be read over the pulpit in sacrament meeting. As for other sources, I seek a spirit of confirmation if there is anything that might affect my understanding or actions. I have seldom had cause to question the opinions or pronouncements of more immediate priesthood leadership.
    I have witnessed how destuctive CCD and other intellectual practices can be to testimony about the authority of priesthood leadership as well as creating resistance to Gospel truth. The post by Jeff G was excellent.

  23. Accommodating variability in what is “truth”, as determined by church leadership at any given point in time, effectively buttresses what has been pronounced at different points in time, and provides an explanation for why things can change and truth follows those changes.

    But this also works against a different concept, that there is a kind of universal “light of Christ” in each of us that signals right and wrong, regardless of the time or circumstances we live in.

    I have no idea how much this concept is emphasized anymore, but I always wondered by about this “light of Christ” notion that transcends culture & time.

    For example, I have no reason to believe that ancient Polynesians, earnestly exercising their faith, did *not* feel the spirit, as they sacrificed slaves to be placed in the corners of the foundations of their temples. But doing so would definitely conflict with the concept of universal morality.

    Likewise, I believe during the debate about slavery in our nation, the pro-slavery side was likely edified and comforted by the spirit, as they read the parts of the Bible used to justify slavery and take strength in their position. “Slavery is sanctioned by Bible”.

    Today that whole thought is repulsive to just about everyone, except perhaps a certain rancher in southern Nevada. But how do we know the rancher is not being informed by the spirit? We don’t.

  24. As for mutable truth, it is like the truth of the statement:

    “Meg is pregnant.”

    Though that statement is not currently true, there were times in the past where over a multi-year period that statement was true a significant percentage of the time. On the other hand, there were days where that statement was true in the morning but no longer true by that evening.

    Inasmuch as there was a benefit to those who were human sacrifices or slaves, one can imagine there could have been “spirit” involved in those respective situations. I will be fascinated at some future date to learn how these events were perceived by those who participated in them and by God.

    If an individual, by agreeing to be sacrificed, brought honor and prosperity to their family, then one can imagine the act of offering one’s life was exalting. The “magic” of a voluntary sacrifice would have been much more powerful than the “magic” of killing a convict, debtor, or other undesirable, as I understand such things.

    Not sure what this has to do with Trojan horses, though.

  25. I like Jeff G, he is very creative in his use of logic to argue the irrelevance of reason. It’s wonderfully entertaining sophistry. But he fails in that he overemphasizes the importance of authority and under-emphasizes the importance of God’s power and truth. Joseph had both God’s authority and His power, in him they coexisted but by simple comparison it is abundantly clear that much of that power has been lost along the way. Ask yourself what becomes of a church with authority but without God’s power and without much respect for the truth.

  26. Hi Howard,

    You assert that the power has been lost, as though that’s a known fact.

    I submit that the bright power Joseph had has been replicated across our millions now. My husband has that power. My stake patriarch has that power, and I see that power in dozens around me. So while I can’t validate that all congregations in the Church are as powerfully endowed as in my portion of the vineyard, the power is still with us.

  27. Close enough, Agellius!

    Bookslinger,

    I agree that there is a correlation, but I would hardly call it an equivalence. There are right-wing intellectuals a plenty both within and without the the ‘nacle.

    Meg,

    “Of all of these, the priesthood, to me, seems more like the officers in charge of a military campaign. They have to make tactical decisions for the particular situation in which they find themselves. There is an overarching code to which they are required to adhere, if they would themselves escape censure, but most priesthood folks I’ve talked with are actually surprised by the latitude they find themselves to have, to execute their tactical stewardship. In this they are given training and guidance from their peers and superiors, and have a direct line to the Commander of all. They ignore these lines of communication to their spiritual peril.”

    I am fully on board with this.

    For a while I’ve been thinking about what it means to live in the democratic world but not be of the democratic world. It seems that most of our democratically motivated distaste for top-down authoritarian organizations stems largely from their inability to constrain and check abuses in power. This, however, is primarily a problem for authoritarian organizations of which membership is mandatory. The fact that our top-down priesthood organization is one of voluntary membership within a democratic society significantly deflates that distaste.

  28. I’m not sure if you’re misunderstanding or simply misstating my position, Howard.

    1) I’m not trying to kill reason… Just dethrone it. Reasoning is fine and dandy so long as it is checked and constrained by priesthood authority.
    2) You assume that God’s truth is distinct from priesthood authority. This is an assumption whose original lies not in the gospel, but in Greek philosophy. (Think Plato’s parable of the cave.)
    3) I would argue that the reason why our priesthood leaders aren’t quite as flamboyant with their revelatory experiences as Joseph was is precisely because of the loss of understanding and respect for priesthood authority. Church members no longer see priesthood pronouncements as being intrinsically binding upon them. If a church leader announced a vision, I have no doubt the immediate response by too many in the church would not be acceptance and compliance, but questions, interrogations and comparisons to one’s (supposedly equally legitimate) personal revelation. Is it any wonder that the brethren have little incentive to announce such things?

  29. Hello again,

    I was really tempted to simply post: “Point demonstrated.” but that would be very counter-productive and needlessly antagonistic. I’ll try to respond to each question or statement above which was directly related to my reply post.

    Meg: I’m responding to both the original and your post. I disagree with Jeff’s foundation assumption/world view. He says the following towards the beginning of his post. “The primary source for the tension between intellectualism and Mormonism lies not in prophecy but in priesthood. Whereas the tension between intellectualism and prophecy can be dissolved within the practical difficulties of vetting speech acts, the deeper tension which exists between intellectualism and priesthood lies in the fact that these are two very different and incompatible ways of vetting or legitimizing speech acts.” I agree they are very different ways of vetting speech acts, but I categorically oppose they idea that they are incompatible. If truth is consistent then regardless of the method used to evaluate any act, event, or theory the end result will be the same *if* the method of evaluation is useful one. To the extent that the holders of high priesthood offices restrict their “official” (and yes I acknowledge that I’m doing what Jeff G gets annoyed about here) pronouncements to things God has told, or inspired, them to say then a self and truth consistent method of analysis will have a high likelihood of arriving at the correct answer. Regardless of what the method is.

    Micheal Towns: I “harp” on the priesthood ban because it is a very problematic episode in the Church’s history. Joseph Smith clearly ordained, or had ordained, multiple black men. One of them Elijah Able continued of as a traveling Elder and Seventy (sort of a low level GA) for decades after the saints came to Utah (well what would become Utah eventually). Clearly the policy was changed by Brigham Young (some what based on false testimony by Zebedee Coltrin). In spite of an intensive investigation by the Quorum of the Twelve no evidence or record of any revelation to change the policy from the one established by Joseph Smith has ever been found. (An interesting side note is that Able’s sons were ordained as Elders also – the last ordination taking place in 1935.) Several talks have been given by Apostles and Seventies over the years on why the Church changed its policy in 1978. Obviously the most important reason was the revelation to do so, but many of the talks also addressed the status of the Church’s previous statements on the issue. McConkie’s BYU devotional talk is the most straightforward. He simple said: “Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. ” and “It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.” (http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1570) The Church is in between a rock and hard spot on this one. They don’t want to say the past practice was wrong, but they also don’t want prophets contradicting each other. The “intellectual” approach solves the problem by simply acknowledging that the guidance for the Church comes through a filter and that filter is the human receiving direction from God.

    I am not claiming infallibility, quite the opposite I am claiming a man can be a recognized Apostle (recognized by God) and still make mistakes.

    I did not put scare quotes around the word “Negro” I put quotes. I put them there because I don’t like using that word and I wanted it clear that I was quoting the Apostles and Seventies who did use that word in their talks and statements.

    I’m not interested in finding peace on the issue if it means amnesia. I am interested in understanding why the Church ended up with the course of events it did.

    IDIAT: This is an example of where you and I disagree, I think just about every single one of the righteous Saints who died between the time Brigham young instituted the policy of banning Blacks from the priesthood and 1978 probably had one heck of “What were we thinking!” moment upon finding the true status of the Black people.

    Jeff G: The semantics of the “debate” matter. You and I simply disagree about what Truth is and what constraints are a result of its existence. I really don’t think we can have much of a meaningful discourse no matter how much either of us wanted to try. There simply is no common ground upon which to base the conversation. Since you start by putting together the following two statements it makes it impossible for me to reason/engage with you in a meaningful manner. 1) “Yes, all truth is one and all truth can be circumscribed in one great whole.” 2) “But nowhere in the gospel does it say that this oneness or wholeness is structured by logical consistency.” If we can not agree that truth is self-consistent I have no basis to evaluate anything you say. Effectively you dismiss all that I would say as a “Trojan Horse” or an intellectual failing. While dismiss your arguments as logically inconsistent or divergent with reality. Using our own tools we each feel we rightly find the other approach to be in error. While we each can easily prove, or demonstrate, the other to be “wrong” (or making errors) in their thinking *according to our own metrics – neither will be able to show the other any fault which the other would recognize. The systems of thought are simply incompatible.

    Agellius: I agree we are safe, and to a significant extent benefited as we are exercising our choice to obey. However, one of the purposes of this life experience is to be able to become like God, to do that *one* of the things we need to do is learn how to live in accordance with eternal truth. We have to become self reliant in terms of learning, understanding, and living truth. We don’t necessarily accomplish that by “doing what we are told” all of the time. In my opinion it is a complicated balancing act.

  30. JSH,

    I, for one, appreciate the thoughtful response. I’m sure you can imagine how dismissive most people in the ‘nacle to an unambiguous defense of appeals to authority.

    “You and I simply disagree about what Truth is and what constraints are a result of its existence. I really don’t think we can have much of a meaningful discourse no matter how much either of us wanted to try.”

    This is exactly right, but I see no reason why we have to leave it at that and walk away. Such a perspective on reason and truth was very much a part of my mindset as I gradually worked my way out of the church.

    The fact that there are different perspective on truth is not the end of the conversation that I would like to have, but the beginning. What are the natures of these different versions of truth? Where do these different versions come from? Which version is found in the scriptures? Similar questions can be raised regarding “consistency” and “oneness”. These are all questions which I am more than willing to discuss since I believe they reinforce the very point I am trying to make.

    “Using our own tools we each feel we rightly find the other approach to be in error.”

    Absolutely right! The question then becomes “according to whose set of tools are you (or I) in error?” Since there are different sets of tools which are largely self-consistent, there is no longer any reason to suppose that those of the intellectual have any right to stand in judgement over all others. We are thus left with a choice in the Kierkegaardian sense of which set of tools we will adopt as our most heartfelt and deep seated ones by which we will measure and judge all others?

    Such conversations, as you can see, are by no means impossible.

  31. “I’m not interested in finding peace on the issue if it means amnesia. I am interested in understanding why the Church ended up with the course of events it did.”

    JHS,

    What if God doesn’t care about you understanding it? What if God isn’t troubled? Like, seriously. He does have a long view of things, after all. Just a thought.

    And by the way, your summary above contained nothing new that I hadn’t already read about or researched. Not one bit. I got the impression you wrote the above as a little history lesson for me.

    (Folks with a beef against the Church always give me little history lessons, as if I have never picked up a book or read a Dialogue or Sunstone article. If you only knew the stuff I’ve read and encountered. And yet, here I am, day in and day out, defending the kingdom of God with a testimony.)

    I might know more this issue than you do (and other “problematic” issues as well. And yet, I sleep well at night, completely loyal to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And you don’t sleep well at night on this issue. What is the difference? You must assume, I suppose, that I am an uncaring or unthinking or uncritical person because the ban doesn’t fill me with angst. However, there must be a difference somewhere. Am I right in assuming that you think I’m stupid because the ban doesn’t trouble me? I am eager to learn. Why the relentless activism on the issue of the ban?

    On the other hand, you could let the issue alone, and find greater peace in your life. You know, smell some roses, kiss a wife or girlfriend, listen to some Bach. The possibilities are endless.

  32. You kiss your grandma to Bach. For something with a little more chutzpah, might I recommend a little Ludwig Von?

  33. Meg, I am still interested in that Bruce R. McConkie quote, if you can find it.

  34. Michael: You asked me why *I* had a problem with the priesthood ban, NOT why I thought you should have one. I simply explained why *I* had a problem. Absolutely nothing to do with you.

    Whatever works for you is great, all I’m saying is that whatever works for you doesn’t work for me in the same way.

    I do find it interesting that the implied response you gave to my second post is that I don’t have a testimony and that I’m not out defending the Church on a daily basis. Just for the record: I do have a testimony, I share it whenever possible, I have a current temple recommend, and currently serve as a high priest group leader (and with exception of about 2 years) have continuously served in Church callings, or on a mission since about 1973. I state this not to say I’m any better than anyone on this site (as I assume there are fellow saints here who have served much longer than I have), but simply to attempt to affirm I am not an apostate who has left the Church.

  35. “So you’re an apostate who just hasn’t left the Church then? ;)”

    While I would reject that classification, from the point of view of at least a few on this forum probably so.

  36. [email protected] on said:

    @MT: dang. Go easy on JSH. He’s been commenting for quite a while, many years if i remember correctly, and i’ve always thought he was one of the faithful.

  37. JSH, you’re welcome here. Keep on leaving your thoughtful responses. We don’t always agree but you always write interesting things.

  38. Hi everyone,

    Do please be civilized and respectful.

    Hi Michael Towns, the conference talk that made us laugh was given in April 1983 during the Saturday afternoon session:

    The Keys of the Kingdom – Elder Bruce R. McConkie

    I realize he doesn’t exactly say he’s going to tell us everything we need to know about the priesthood, but if you listen to the first sentence or two on the video, you might be able to understand why I remembered it that way, and why we laughed.

  39. For several reasons I never considered Bruce R. McConkie to be more special than his fellow apostles, but I have encountered some who sort of lower their voice a little when they speak of him, as with a touch of reverence. He had a way of speaking with an authoritative tone of voice that I found a bit overbearing when compared to some other brethren, particularly Neal A. Maxwell. It is inevitable that someone with Elder McConkie’s record of publishing important work would receive a portion of esteem, but I feel it is all too easy to set some apostles above others and take their words as somehow more important. We are blessed with a rather amazing group of leaders, both male and female. Julie Beck comes to mind as a hard act to follow. For one thing, she speaks like a grown woman with a keen intellect. Yes, I will admit to having favorites, those for whom I sit up a bit straighter when they approach the podium, but I hope that by being aware of my preferences I will give equal attention to the others.

  40. Jeff G wrote: Reasoning is fine and dandy so long as it is checked and constrained by priesthood authority.

    Well we may be a bit closer than I thought. I would say reasoning is fine and dandy so long as it is checked and constrained by revelation. However authority does not equal truth and visa versa, that would be a conflation, authority is a license not content. It’s a strawman argument given the SWK and Hugh B. Brown memoirs, but you think if TSM shared a vision a significant portion of the church wouldn’t buy it? If this is true you’re supporting my assertion that much has been lost since Joseph died.

    Meg wrote: I submit that the bright power Joseph had has been replicated across our millions now.

    So you’re arguing the brightness was diluted by the increased numbers of priesthood holders? Or that there are now millions of Joseph equivalents?

  41. Hi Howard,

    Joseph’s “brightness” was like a candle shining in the night. I believe within our current culture, we have hundreds of thousands and even millions of men and women and children who, if transported back to Joseph’s Nauvoo, could astound Joseph with the purity and brightness of our understanding.

    That isn’t to say we could have been Joseph, any more than we could have been Aristotle. But many of us, given a chance to show the quotidian normalcy of our day to the luminaries of yesterday, could astound those we so revere.

  42. Thanks for explaining some of that Meg. Joseph spoke the D&C as thus saith the Lord revelation, so you’re saying we now have hundreds of thousands and even millions of men who can astound with their understanding of what Joseph revealed? Well that’s very nice if it’s true but what about new revealed doctrine from the President and prophet? The sealed portion remains untapped.

  43. I said men, women, and children.

    I just recall my own experience reading the Old Testament shortly after the release of the then-new editions in the late 70s and early 80s. As I read through Genesis, I recall being bothered by the wording because it didn’t conform to my understanding of the gospel. I would look at the footnotes (so cool and new and shiny) and always I found a JST note that conformed the scriptures to my understanding. After reading like this for the better part of Genesis, I got curious, wondering if there had been any JST bits I’d missed. Going back, I found that every single time there was a JST note, I had twigged to it already.

    Recall that the JST hadn’t been part of the curriculum back when I was forming my understanding of the gospel. It was just the restored gospel and its teachings that I knew. It is that understanding that I say burns bright in the hearts of our hundreds of thousands and millions.

    I think Joseph would have loved to be a regular member in our day – with access to all the truth and his beloved Emma at his side in a monogamous relationship, able to simply drive to a temple and perform saving ordinances for members of his extended family.

    I can’t speak for my imagined modern-day Joseph as a regular member, but I know for me (a female, regular member) I have had “this saith the Lord” revelations that pertained to my life and stewardship(s).

    As for our modern prophets creating many new documents that are submitted to the canon of scripture, even Joseph soon in the 1830s started determining that not every blessing and revelation needed to become canon. Was the new revelation something that added substance to the canon, or did it just add word count? If the revelations just add word count, then why bother formalizing it as scripture? Sufficient to allow those words to be recorded, as we do for general conference addresses and the like.

  44. Well when you say something like “not every blessing and revelation needed to become canon” are you offering it as an explanation for the huge gap between what Joseph produced and the trickle we receive today? The thing that stands out for me is months of work is required for Q15 to receive a single Y/N conformation and only 2 recorder to our canon since the D&C but Joseph channeled the Lord, that is a huge difference. To call Y/N group inspiration revelation is quite a discount to what the Lord was providing through Joseph.

  45. Look at the massive amount Joseph entered into canon in the early 1830s and the tiny amount that got entered into canon from Joseph in the 1840s.

    That doesn’t for a moment mean Joseph stopped having revelations.

    By the way, I’ve gotten “No” revelations. The statement from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve wasn’t a simple “No.”

    Anyway, I think we’ve all got better things to do that rehashing the same points over and over again. Given that I have to manually approve all your comments, I think I’m going to not bother going to that effort if your comments continue to restate the same implication over and over again. Incorrect words, spelling and grammar will also dissuade me from taking this discussion seriously.

  46. When you build and furnish a house there are thousands of decisions and plans to be made. If you have done your work well, months or even years can pass without any major modifications. If your original plans were sloppy or ill considered, you will be making changes regularly. The Lord heaped revelations on Joseph Smith because there was very little left of the true Gospel, even if there were plenty of hints in the scriptures. Some people are hooked on the idea of novelty. If it isn’t the latest fasion, the newest model, they disdain it whatever it is. I am a chronic remodeler, yet once I have things functioning well I turn my attention to other areas. I see the urge for novelty in the yearning for profound new revelation. It seems to me that the leaders of the Church now receive regular revelation, but mostly to maintain and make a few adjustments to a functional and fairly efficient system. Radical changes in a functioning system risk imbalance. On the other hand, there have been some fairly profound changes to usual practices over the years, such as building small temples and metropolitan temples that share space with chapels and other functions as in Hong Kong and Manhattan. I see the spirit of Joseph’s day flowing brightly but in a way that is not flashy. A few years ago, after a change in the way things were funded, a woman in our ward admitted that it was almost to o much for her. ‘It’s like something you’d come up with,” she told me. She also said she thought I followed the straight and narrow in a rather zig zag manner so it wasn’t meant as a compliment.
    Frankly, we are short of carrying through on all the light and knowledge that were given through Joseph. I am amazed that we are granted still more.
    What areas require new, profound revelation? I just don’t see the need. Who among us is already doing all that has been revealed? When the need arises, who will be ready to act on the counsel the Lord will give us through his prophet? Are you out of debt and provided with what you will need for months witout access to stores? We used to think the end would be flashy, but now there are many reasons to stand in holy places and be prepared. I doubt I will be here when the word is given that our long period of relatively quiet preparation has come to an end, but many will realize how much they ignored or belittled when that day comes.

  47. So here’s a revelation.

    We know from Joseph about the need to bind the entire human family together across time and space via temple ordinances.

    In Joseph’s day, the mechanism for this work was merely roughed in. Folks, notably John D. Lee, got the idea that it was sufficient to simply adopt together the faithful into a parody of a family organization, and this would meet the need.

    In 1894, Wilford Woodruff said:

    “I want to say, as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that we should now go on and progress. We have not got through revelation. We have not got through the work of God. But at this period we want to go on and fulfill this commandment of God given through Malachi–that the Lord should send Elijah the prophet, “and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Ye sons of men, I say unto you, in the name of Israel’s God, those very principles that God has revealed are what have stayed the judgments of the Almighty on the earth. Were it not for these principles, you and I would not be here to-day. We have had prophets and apostles. President Young, who followed President Joseph Smith, led us here. He organized these Temples and carried out the purposes of his calling and office. He laid the foundation of this great Temple on this block, as well as others in the mountains of Israel. What for? That we might carry out these principles of redemption for the dead. He accomplished all that God required at his hands. But he did not receive all the revelations that belong to this work; neither did President Taylor, nor has Wilford Woodruff. There will be no end to this work until it is perfected.”

    This is when it was clarified that the sealing work needed to proceed along family lines.

    Thus it was that a mere six years later, in June 1900, that Mormon descendants of Austin Cowles gathered in the temple and performed his proxy work, sealing themselves to him, though he had been one of the key individuals responsible for the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

    Thus it was that Iemke Kooyman, a recent convert in the Netherlands, submitted the name of his honored grandfather for temple ordiances, to perform that “something else” his grandfather had dreamed would be required before he could enter God’s kingdom.

    But the work proceeded slowly. In the latter part of the 1900s the brethren began a major push to microfilm genealogical records, to computerize aspects of the work, and asked the membership to submit four generations of their family.

    Today we find that a mere 2.5% of Church members are actively submitting names of their families for proxy work. But there are locations in the world where the work of salvation is happening at a much greater pace. Brother McConkie at a recent RootsTech conference told of one stake where the involvement of the members is five-fold greater than in the rest of the Church, where 12% of the members are actively submitting the names of their dead for proxy work to be performed, where they schedule a stake temple trip every six months, and have so many names they cannot get all the work done in these trips.

    This faithful stake is in the northern half of the Ivory Coast, where to get to the temple they have to cross a war zone.

    Once, Joseph challenged a select few to accept the temple ordinances themselves. Recently, we’ve imagined we could each do the work for a mere four generations and count ourselves right before God. Now we are being asked to go back ten generations, and then find the descendants of those forebears from ten generations ago and seal those they loved together.

    Those seeking a sign imagine that the next great revelation will involve conforming the Church to the world’s standards.

    I imagine the next great revelation will involve how we are to be granted the names of those lost to documented history, so that we can extend the work of salvation to those no natural man can reveal to us.

  48. “Well when you say something like “not every blessing and revelation needed to become canon” are you offering it as an explanation for the huge gap between what Joseph produced and the trickle we receive today? The thing that stands out for me is months of work is required for Q15 to receive a single Y/N conformation and only 2 recorder to our canon since the D&C but Joseph channeled the Lord, that is a huge difference. To call Y/N group inspiration revelation is quite a discount to what the Lord was providing through Joseph.”

    You are making a host of assumptions that are completely unwarranted.

  49. Howard,

    “I would say reasoning is fine and dandy so long as it is checked and constrained by revelation. However authority does not equal truth and visa versa, that would be a conflation, authority is a license not content.”

    But revelation is structured by revelation such that there is no clear distinction between the two. My personal revelation does nothing whatsoever to falsify or correct TSM’s teachings to the church since, between the two of us, only he can ever receive revelation regarding such things. When it comes to the church or its representation and direction, I most certainly do not have the truth apart from the priesthood leadership.

    In other words, the claim that truth and authority are being conflated is a complete red herring in that nobody is asserting it. Only the intellectual in their attempts at marginalizing authoritative differences in our access (imperfect though it may be) to truth. Yes, all such access is imperfect. So what? The church leaders have imperfect access to the truths regarding the church and its representation/direction while the rest of us have zero access to such truths whatsoever.

  50. “if TSM shared a vision a significant portion of the church wouldn’t buy it? If this is true you’re supporting my assertion that much has been lost since Joseph died.”

    Perhaps, but I don’t think this claim means the same thing to us both. For example, you are assuming that any such revelation would be consistent with your personal revelation. I assume no such thing. If I understand you correctly, your personal revelation is like that of many in the bloggernacle in that it has confirmed a roughly progressive worldview. What would happen if TSM announced that he had receive a revelation that reinstated polygamy, animal sacrifice and the priesthood ban? I think all of us – especially the progressives – within the bloggernacle would have a VERY difficult time with this. Do you have any doubt that they would insist on having access to even single detail regarding the context and content of this revelation in order to critique, interpret or otherwise peer-review it for themselves? There is no doubt in my mind that such people would actively hope and search for any hint of inconsistency, conservative bias or any other sign that the pronouncement isn’t really and truly binding upon them. Just look at what the bloggernacle has done with the 1st Presidency statement released this past week.

    Something tells me that such a scenario isn’t quite what you have in mind when you accuse the church of not believing in our leaders’ revelation.

  51. Meg

    Do you have a link to that statistic that 2.5% of members are actively submitting family names for temple work?

    Many thanks

  52. Hi Dermot,

    The assertion that only 2.5% of members are actively submitting temple names was included in a talk at RootsWeb by Elder Packer (son of President Boyd K. Packer, I assume). The talk was shown during the 5th Sunday combined Relief Society/Priesthood meeting in our ward.

  53. IMHO, the church doesn’t really need polygamy right now with it being an international church of millions as opposed to a regionally confined church in the thousands as it was during the 19th century. The practice simply isn’t neccessary now, in addition to inspired revelation on the matter. The change is also good given that more growth has happened after the end of polygamy than before it. It isn’t concrete proof, but it hasn’t proven to be not beneficial either.

  54. I am not an authority, so I couldn’t care less if you approach my article from the perspective of the culture of critical discourse.

    And critical thinking, per se, is not the same thing as CCD.

    As for whether it would be sin, refer that to your higher power.

  55. Deacon,

    Since the author has no priesthood stewardship over you, it’s hard to see why anybody would suggest such a thing..

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