Amazing CoC Statement

The RLDS church was founded in 1860.  Joseph Smith III was the first prophet.  Recently, they have changed their name to the Community of Christ (CoC), and have begun to distance themselves from former beliefs and teachings.  I found the following statement issued by their current prophet, President Stephen M. Veazey, quite startling.  The RLDS church had long held a position that Joseph Smith never practiced polygamy.  Many thanks go to FireTag for letting me know about this statement.  I want to quote a small part of the interview here, but the full interview can be found on the CoC website.

Your address called the church to put our early history into informed perspective, including being open to new information and insights. You cited how we have typically talked about violence in the early church as one example. What is another example?
Another example is how we have viewed the origin of celestial or plural marriage in the early church. There is no doubt the early Reorganization endeavored to distance Joseph Smith Jr. from the doctrine and practice of plural marriage. Such separation was viewed as critical to church identity and survival.

However, during the past fifty years or so, RLDS/Community of Christ historians cautioned us not to be so certain in our conclusions. Unfortunately, many ignored their findings. Even worse, some attacked their integrity and harassed them and their families.

The vast majority of church historians have persuasively concluded that Joseph Smith Jr. was involved prominently in the doctrine and practice of celestial or plural marriage. There is also some evidence that shortly before his death, Joseph approached William Marks, Nauvoo Stake president, and said that he (Joseph) had “been deceived” in the matter of plural marriage and that every effort must be made to rid the church of the doctrine. Unfortunately, he was killed before anything could be done.

So, where does this leave us? The Reorganized Church has always said that plural marriage in the early church was wrong, regardless of its origins. We need to let it go at that. Reigniting old debates over this issue will be unproductive and only serve to distract us from more important endeavors.

There is another step we can take. As we continue to take the path of healing and reconciliation, it would be good to say how sorry we are for the hateful actions of some toward those who sought to bring uncomfortable historical information to the church’s attention.
Why might the idea that “our history does not have to be without blemish to reveal the hand of God working in the movement” be so difficult for some in the church? How does affirming both their shortcomings and triumphs reveal the true character of Christian discipleship?
As I indicated in my address, we have had a tendency to write church history in a way that placed the church and its leaders in the most favorable light possible. This kind of approach is not unique to the church, but can be seen in various biographical, cultural, and national histories that are meant to affirm certain origins or ideals. Unfortunately, one outcome of this approach is that we do not always hear “the rest of the story” that may include information that is not as favorable. If we have placed our faith in a person or institution based on a polished version of history that is eventually found to be incomplete, we can become anxious or fearful that our faith has been misplaced.

The church’s “History Principles” offer a different perspective that I think is helpful as we attempt to be more open about our history. [See October 2008 Herald, p. 10; www.CofChrist.org/OurFaith/history.asp.] Instead of placing our faith in a particular version of history, we are encouraged to see the ultimate source of our faith as God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. Having established “first things first” we are then able to put our history into proper relationship with our faith. This frees us to view personalities from our past as inspired without having to deny their humanity and struggles which is also part of the story. In fact, their humanity and struggles become an opportunity to see more clearly how God worked in their lives and in the movement. This hopefully encourages us that we too can become instruments in God’s hands despite what we perceive to be our human limitations or weaknesses.

So, what do you think of the CoC’s perspective?  How would you react to a similar statement by the LDS church?

41 comments on “Amazing CoC Statement

  1. MH:

    The statement is extraordinarily challenging within the CofChrist because it acknowledges serious error by the prophet’

    The statement may be challenging within the LDS because the prophet suggested that something he taught (and that indirectly relates to a lot of things that LDS still believe about the structure of family life) had been because of “being deceived”.

    There is, of course, no point in reigniting arguments about who was or is right in the particular issue. But EACH church has consequences of its beliefs in the past for pastoral care of its people today.

    Maybe the most startling thing about the interview is that the questions were being asked of the Prophet/President by a FEMALE Apostle.:D

  2. Yes, FireTag, I couldn’t agree more with your statements. I am certain this is why the LDS church fails to acknowledge similar mistakes (like the priesthood ban.) Are you concerned that the CoC will continue to shrink out of existence, or do you think that it will shrink for a time only to rebound stronger later?

  3. I’ll answer this by inserting something I wrote in an unpublished paper last year. Please note that since the LDS are in a different statistical regime than the CofChrist, the argument that led me to this quote does not necessarily apply to your denomination.

    “Attempts to revitalize our congregations may succeed here and there for a time. Congregations have been revitalized in the past with no discernable long-term effect on the larger church’s growth. An apostolic leadership will, of course, continue to look to see how we can maintain and reinvigorate our institutions in order to try and carry out our mission. Yet, sooner than we wish, our denominational infrastructure, regardless of how desirable it might be to have, is going to disappear for most of our people; most of the people of the West have already launched our society’s future toward another course. “Evolutionary pressures” from that society are driving us toward a time of increasing individual ministerial autonomy in which church leadership cannot even monitor, let alone direct, most of what our people do in the name of Christ. And most of that work will not be carried out through congregational structures or programs.

    The recently published Pew Religious Landscape Survey confirms the increasing disconnect between denominational life and religious life in the United States, with more than half of American adults either having left the denomination in which they were raised or regarding themselves as religiously unaffiliated, even though 83% of the adult population still regards itself as religious.

    For our denomination to adapt the gospel faithfully in our cultural setting, and hopefully even to thrive, requires that we become a denomination that glories in sending people OUT of our denomination, to where God calls them to best serve in the culture.”

  4. I should have added this as well:

    “So, to reiterate, I believe our continued value as a corporate entity to the work of the Lord at this point in history involves the church supporting our people in dispersing out of our “corporation” and moving wholeheartedly into participation in the multiple, cross-cutting communities that make up a modern society. This is almost like the early Christians moving into the catacombs of Rome where they could refresh themselves beneath Rome’s notice, yet continue to provide enriching ministry to their neighbors in their daily lives as God opened doors. None of the turmoil of the Empire could ever dig them out of the society once they were so dispersed, and these “meek of the earth” did inherit the Empire.

    In our time, such distributed efforts will send us into fellowships with groups made up of differing Christian, non-Christian, and/or secular backgrounds. The unity or preservation of our faith community and its institutions will no longer be primary, for the time has come for many of us to expend ourselves. Should that not be enough to fulfill our part in the mission of transforming the world, then we can best hope that God will grant us the opportunity to prepare the path for the work of our successors, and perhaps even allow the youngest of us to participate in the movement of our successors.”

  5. Wow Firetag, it sounds to me like the church is working toward its own extinction. This must be quite unsettling to the general membership. I think your statement is quite troubling,

    “For our denomination to adapt the gospel faithfully in our cultural setting, and hopefully even to thrive, requires that we become a denomination that glories in sending people OUT of our denomination, to where God calls them to best serve in the culture.”

    This seems quite fatalistic, IMO.

  6. John Dehlin talks about the LDS church’s stand on the “truth” being absolute. That attitude and behavior of being absolute (ie/ the church is true implying that all other churches are an abomination)is what the church counts on as building credibility. If the church messed with that by almost apologizing or back tracking on a previous prophet’s revelation then the current leaders may lose their credibility as church authorities. One might say, if they were wrong back then, who’s to say that they are not wrong today? It could prove chaotic and I think that the Mormon church only knows and thrives on absolute organization. It would be very difficult for the church to admit something that is wrong from the past b/c of how it might impact the present and the future of this church. Maybe that’s why President Hinckley could respond to the 60 Minutes question about why blacks were not granted the priesthood until a certain time by only saying “We don’t know”. It’s better than getting too specific and opening up a can of worms.

  7. SimplyMe, I wonder if time will heal. For example, I look at Galileo, one of my favorite heretics. He was right, but was forced to recant. Now, some 500 years removed, the Catholic church is starting to embrace him, and apologize for railroading him. So, I wonder if the church will do the same regarding the priesthood ban–of course, none of us will be here to know if it takes that long. But I’m wondering if the proper amount of time will allow the church to “save face” instead of going through a real damaging process that is happening with the CoC. The Catholic Church was able to overcome Galileo, or the Crusades, because there is a bit of distance between today’s pope and the former ones who obviously screwed up badly.

  8. While the CofC’s approach to these difficult subjects by such a statement may result in its self-destruction, I have to say that I admire its openness and integrity by even releasing this statement.

    I can’t really imagine the LDS Church at the present time making any such admissions, for the reasons that MH and SimplyMe outline, and it is perhaps for the best if the survival of the Church is at stake. (Although there have been small admissions of error within the LDS Church, just imagine how such a bold admission of error would shake up the core base of the Church.) But this is a case where I have to ask whether the ends justify the means. Mormons like to pride themselves on being an honest, upright people who place enourmous value on truth and integrity. I can’t help but think that we’re surviving because we’re living a lie — or at least a half-truth in some cases. I think it’s kind of sad that we have to avoid certain things or white-wash them for the sake of the Church’s survival.

    One more thing, about that theory of JS admitting that he had been deceived regarding polygamy, I can’t tell you how much I hope that it’s true. 😀

  9. MH:

    My statements above are mine, and do not represent the policy of the church in any way. The church is seeking to revitalize its institutions, but I do not believe that is what God wants us to concentrate on doing.

    When you folks went west to Salt Lake, we had nowhere to go without embracing doctrines like polygamy that we could NOT, in good conscience, embrace. Left behind, our movement became coupled to our “gentile” communities in a way that yours never did until you were large enough to reenter at least partially on your own terms.

    And that coupling means we can’t progress very far spiritually unless we bring the ENTIRE culture along with us at the same time. Resources leaked into and out of the church — to family, to neighborhood, to profession, to social or political activity — in whatever way maintained the spiritual “water level” between the church community and larger society.

    By focusing on “growing the church” we’re like the tail trying to get big enough to wag the dog. The only way the tail gets bigger is for the dog to get bigger, and the tail is never going to get to be big enough to wag the dog. In fact, as shown by trends across the entire religious “mainstream” (liberal) denominations, the society since post-WW2 has not been “eating well” spiritually, and the tail is starving.

    Fatalistic? Well, maybe I do read Moroni a little more often than I should.:D But God shows us things, whether through scientific study (in my case) or through inspiration in order that we can act to further His will. In this case, if the disease is in the dog, we’ve got to get the medicine into the dog and stop worrying about maintaining the tail. My church needs a lot of us working out of the church and in the society because that’s where God is deciding the future of my church.

    Hope that makes it clearer what I mean.

  10. FD:

    I want to repeat that the situation in my church is not the same as in yours; we’re coupled to the larger society in a way you are not, and that might make all the difference in your denominational responsibilities to the Lord.

    But, having said that, Jesus didn’t let a little thing like apparent self-destruction get in the way of following what God asked. And His disciples resisted because they couldn’t see how God’s will and the cross could possibly make sense together. But, we know looking back that Jesus’ apparent self-destruction in going to Jerusalem was EXACTLY what was required.

  11. Firetag, I’m not completely sure I understand your analogy, so let me try to restate it and see if I get it right.

    Regarding the tail wagging the dog, it seems to me that you are saying that the CoC is the tail, and Christianity as a whole is the dog. The CoC is trying to become more mainstream (liberal) in order to effect a positive change in Christianity. This could mean that the tail gets quite sick and quits growing, but in order to do God’s will, we all have to get the dog better, and then the tail will be more healthy. So, in a sense, the CoC is trying to get more inline with mainstream Christianity, and then the tail will start growing again. (Of course, the tail may need to be amputated in the process of healing the dog too, so there is a risk here.) Is this correct?

  12. MH:

    Substitute “North American society” for “Christianity” and you understand the analogy. We have to change the ENTIRE culture toward God before we can grow, not just the Christian church, but we keep thinking we can revitalize the church and THEN change the society from a position of greater strength.

    The equations that govern our growth say that cannot happen. If society doesn’t change, we can’t grow to GET to a position of strength to change the society. But if society becomes less receptive to our message, as it did 50 years ago, we can’t sustain ourselves and rapidly decline. That’s the paradox we have to find a way around.

    Because my work is published in a copyrighted document by our seminary, and not on the internet, I can’t post the full article, but I can e-mail you an “author’s copy” for your private reading if you wish.

  13. Yes, FireTag, I’d love to see that. My email is mormon heretic at gmail dot com.

    So, just to make sure I understand. You’re saying that the CoC has 2 options for growth: (1) society needs to change to be more receptive to the CoC message, or (2) the CoC needs to get big enough to enact change in society. So, as I understand it, the CoC is going with option 1 because option 2 hasn’t worked very well in the past. So, as a way to accomplish option 1, the CoC is trying to work with more Protestant and/or governmental organizations (through world peace initiatives) to facilitate option 1. Is this correct?

  14. MH:

    The e-mail will be on the way in a moment.

    I am saying option 1 is the only option for our growth. Period.

    We have to give up worrying about growing or shrinking and worry only about how we build peace and justice. If we build peace and justice, I’m not sure God cares whether we shrink or grow. Remember, the CofChrist no longer argues it is the “one true church”, so OUR growth shouldn’t be that important to us if growth stops being a means to a greater divine purpose. Christian institutions, like individual Christians, have no guarantee they won’t be asked to give up their lives for the Lord.

    The church is now torn by competing drives. Our rhetoric says we should make decisions as if we will build peace and justice, whatever the cost. Our emotions haven’t caught up with our rhetoric, so we spend much of our time as an institution still futilely (and perhaps fearfully) trying to make option 2 work.

  15. MH:

    Thanks for that info. When you look at change over such a long period of time it makes sense. I am currently working to establish a program addressing family violence in our community. Information states that it takes approximately four generations to change the behavior and attitude regarding relationship abuse. I agree that it would take several generations for the LDS church to instill change in order to save face. From that perspective it will take generations to change society’s attitudes and behaviors regarding God and it will therefore take generations to build CoC.

    What I like about this thought, however frustrating it might seem if one is a mover and a shaker, is that my part, while very small, is very important. In the grand scheme of things, we are all an important part of change in one way or another.

  16. SimplyMe:

    Prayers for your attempts to deal with family violence. But pronounced changes are possible for a percentage of cases in a single generation, so there will be SOME immediate fulfillment for your work.

  17. Fire Tag,

    Thank you for your words. It’s nice to be encouraged to look for light at the end of a short tunnel as well as the long tunnel.

    I appreciate your comments throughout as well.

  18. If you think this statement is “amazing,” you’ll drop dead reading retired prophet W. Grant McMurray’s address to JWHA, published in vol. 27 of the journal: “‘Something Lost, Something Gained’: Restoration History and Culture Seen from ‘Both Sides Now'”.

  19. John, are you just trying to tease me? Please–I need some more details! (I don’t have any JWHA volumes.)

    Thanks for getting a gravatar! I hope others do as well. It’s nice to have a face with a comment (though I fully admit that I look nothing like my gravatar.) 🙂

  20. I don’t think the Community of Christ is going anywhere for a very long time. It struggles with issue, that is true. But it does attempt to resolve those issues with the membership on board instead of issuing ultimatums from the leadership. The church leadership…note that I don’t say hierarchy…tries to educate the membership before their conferences so that those who become delegates can vote intelligently.

    The Community of Christ may shrink and grow even smaller because of their attempt to come to consensus. But smaller may always be better. Jesus began with twelve and ended with none. They all ran away. But his message was so powerful that the movement recovered. That may be exactly what will happen with the Community of Christ as we attempt to remain relevant to the culture. The Kingdom of God on earth has never been needed more.

  21. BewaretheChicken just informed me that the second part of the Steve Veazey interview has now been posted in the “What’s new online” portion of the News Menu on http://www.cofchrist.org . It has some specific relevance to the Book of Mormon discussions we’ve been having on recent threads in this blog.

  22. I’ll definitely have to check that out when I have more time. If it is as good as the first statement, I may have to do another post on it.

  23. “For our denomination to adapt the gospel faithfully in our cultural setting, and hopefully even to thrive, requires that we become a denomination that glories in sending people OUT of our denomination, to where God calls them to best serve in the culture.”

    Wow, that is nearly how I feel The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needs to start acting. I’m all for missionary work and seeking converts (the lifeblood of the Church), but there needs to be more emphasis on getting the unrepentant OUT of the Church. You didn’t put it, and probably don’t feel, like this. It is, however, how I have felt about particular members of the LDS Church. There is no room, and I believe the scriptures support this, for “cultural members” in a divine institution. They become traitors to the cause of faith and hinder the mission to perfect the Saints. To be honest, I think that the CofChrist should do more missionary work among the LDS-Brighamite population because they obviously hold beliefs a lot more similar.

  24. Jettboy:

    Since you are quoting me (not the official statement of the CofChrist), but completely misinterpreting what I said, I feel obligated to respond.

    There is a very real sense in which if people are primarily worried about being saved, they aren’t ready to be. If exaltation is their goal, Heavenly Father can’t trust them with the power.

    Enoch is rebuked because he is so happy to be in Heaven that he can’t understand the mourning of God for the suffering of his lost children. The Book of Mormon prophets repeatedly agonize over those that are lost, praying unceasingly for their salvation, and suffering all the pains of the flesh — not to BE saved in Heaven, but that perhaps they may save even one other soul. If people aren’t getting that passion for the lost, they’re sleepwalking through the sacraments.

    What I said, and I stand behind, is that the CofChrist was created to take up its cross and follow its Lord into service, not to be a lifeboat to bring in the saved.

  25. Jettboy,

    You almost sound like you want some sort of Spanish Inquisition to root our apostates out of the church. I don’t like that idea, though I understand some of your rationale.

    What is interesting to me is that the CoC seems to have the opposite effect. The people leaving the CoC are the conservative members–just the opposite of what you would like to see in the LDS church.

  26. Sorry Firetag, I don’t buy your interpretation of scripture (and therefore why I am not a member of the CofC). Of course they prayed fervently for those who went astray, but the scriptures are just as adamant that if they don’t repent then they are out for the sake of the believers.

    “There is a very real sense in which if people are primarily worried about being saved, they aren’t ready to be. If exaltation is their goal, Heavenly Father can’t trust them with the power.”

    I find this to be non-scriptural and false doctrine. The Scriptures demand that you be worried about getting saved. Those who aren’t are the ones most likely not too. If exaltation is the goal, and what other reason do you have to even care about loving G-d, then that is what you work toward. Paul constantly begs us to fight the good fight, win the race, get rid of evil in our lives, and be saved.

    “You almost sound like you want some sort of Spanish Inquisition to root our apostates out of the church.”

    Almost? I thought I have made it clear for a very long time that I do wish for a Spanish inquisition LDS style. Too many members are behaving very badly or hold beliefs that are counter to the divine nature of the institution, seeking to make it into the image of the CofC’s liberal skepticism. They wish for woman to hold the Priesthood, express polygamy as a false doctrine, dismiss angels and miracles, and deny the divinity of the Book of Mormon or other modern scriptures. I would gladly trade some CoC conservative members for a lot of LDS liberal ones.

  27. Sorry, I didn’t know you wanted an Inquisition. You must have mentioned that elsewhere. Ok Jettboy, if I’m in charge, you’re the first one I’ll put to the water torture test of LDS faith. Perhaps I’ll burn you at the stake until you realize that women did hold the priesthood during the life of Joseph Smith, and even performed blessings until the 1940’s. Perhaps I’ll put you on the rack until you admit that the priesthood ban was a racist policy, which was never endorsed by Joseph Smith. Does it still sound like a good idea?

    Perhaps it is you that should join with the FLDS or RLDS conservative break off groups.

  28. Jettboy:

    I know that you don’t buy my interpretation. With that attitude, I think you’re proving my point for me better than I ever could, so I’ll not debate it with you further.

  29. Wow, Jettboy, I don’t think you represent the spirit of the LDS church…at all. In fact the only organization I can think of right off would be akin to Nazi or Skinhead. That may seem harsh and is likely off track, but your statements stray close to those sentiments.

  30. MH, lets have that fight on who is in charge, because I know that it wouldn’t go your way. The fact your blog is called “Mormon Heretic” seems to prove that point. At least we would stop side-stepping the issues and consequences to get to the heart of the matter; what is and who is in charge of modern Mormonism. I am not the one (speaking about the blogernacle and Sunstonites as a whole and not individuals) who is always talking about how much of an outsider I am, how I don’t like going to church, how gospel doctrine classes teach false doctrine and false history. I am not the one who says how the LDS leadership are out of touch, scriptures are pious unhistorical literary inventions, some day my political belief will become doctrine by revelation, the LDS Church is not the One True Church, Joseph smith was a sinful sexual libertine, etc.

    By the way, the Mormon Inquisition would simply be intense interviews followed by possible excommunication with no actual torture. That would be illegal and without scriptural support as per rules of the Doctrine and Covenants.

    Bishop Rick, thank you for calling me a racist and bigot. It is a badge of honor meaning there isn’t anything better you can say or argue. I am not afraid of scare tactics like that and feel vindicated when they are used.

  31. Jettboy you completely missed my point, but I don’t think you actually want to understand. Your mindset is no different than the Salem Witch Trials. I am appalled by your badge of honor, and frankly feel Christ would be ashamed of you. I hope you don’t attempt to call yourself a Christian, because you certainly are not. You are a Pharisee, more concerned with the Law, than what Christ truly stood for–loving one another. Please re-read Christ’s words to the Pharisees–he is talking directly to you.

  32. Just wow. I am surprised by your vehemence, Jettboy, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Personally, I’d rather see the biggest tent possible for the church – extending the borders to include our cousins in Mormonism (the CoC, Bickertonites, etc.), the Jack and dry Mormons, and basically anyone who doesn’t wish us ill (UU as well!). I’d rather continue to talk to those considering coming or going from the tent than create an enclave of isolationism and elitism in the very center of the tent, with such a stranglehold on that supporting pole that the tent threatens collapse.

  33. Hmmm…interesting to watch this discussion evolve. My theology tends to be much more like FireTag then Jettboy, and I especially agree with FireTag’s thoughts about CofC thinking about God’s redemption of the world rather than worrying about the redemption of the church. Seems to me that if a congregation of 100 has 30 priesthood members, and the twon around the church has 1,000 people in it (just a hypothetical example), there’d be more need for priestly ministry outside of the church then within the congregation. Science would point to diffusion with the high concentration of ministry moving to the lower concentration of ministry area. But I also think that it is more important for each of us to discern how and where God wants us to serve–and not worry to much about where except with the “where” in which we are called. This leads me to my second point…

    HOWEVER, I wonder if there is some merit in Jettboy’s idea of throwing people out of churches. I don’t like the tone in which he would like to do it nor the means, from what I can tell. But I also saw how quickly most of the commentors wanted to throw out his view. If you can agree that God created (or allowed for a means for) diversity (just look in the natural world), then maybe the different churches are all part of the plan…and maybe there is some value in helping people find where they fit. If the LDS is conservative, and the CofC is liberal, but both are interpretations of the Grove Experience of JS, why not do as jettboy says and swap members??

    Something to think about…

  34. Jettboy, sorry to revoke your badge of honor, but I did not use scare tactics and I did not call you a racist bigot. I stated that your comments resemble those of a racist bigot. Really not the same thing. I’m sure you mean well. I just don’t agree with you.

    I do understand where you are coming from though because the scriptures can be confusing and contradicting when you only choose to adhere to scriptures that support your current agenda.

    Example 1: (paraphrased) God would rather you be hot or cold because if you are lukewarm, he will spew you out.

    That example could be used to support Jettboy’s inquisition.

    Example 2: (paraphrased) Do not cast out or banish the prodigal son because there is always the chance that he will return home.

    This example could be used to refute Jettboy’s inquisition.

    On one hand Jettboy would like to throw out just about every LDS member that participates in this blog, because they don’t blindly accept all doctrine or practices as being from God.

    On the other hand, MH has shown that he would like members with little to no faith to increase that faith to some level higher than it currently is.

    Which scenario do you think Christ would sanction?

    It is my opinion, that Christ would not sanction an inquisition, because this would only guarantee that fence sitters would leave and never return.

  35. I do understand Jettboy’s premise, and I did say in comment 25 that “I understand some of your rationale”, so it isn’t completely without merit, but his position strikes me as similar to the priest’s reaction in The Good Samaritan parable (the injured man got what he deserved.) Jettboy want to be judge and jury, and talks more like the Prodigal Brother, rather than the Prodigal Father.

    I recently watched “Life is Beautiful”. I am reminded of a scene where the Nazi’s are having dinner, and discussing how much society would benefit by killing all the invalids and mentally retarded people. From that point of view, they are a drain on society, just as liberal members are a drain on the church. Jettboy’s offer to excommunicate (essentially exterminate) liberal members does make sense from an institutional sense–it would definitely increase productivity within the church. However, it seems rather drastic, and un-Christian, IMO.

    Christ said to let the wheat and the tares grow together. Plucking them out would kill the wheat. It is apparent to me that Jettboy doesn’t appreciate these parables of Jesus.

  36. “On one hand Jettboy would like to throw out just about every LDS member that participates in this blog, because they don’t blindly accept all doctrine or practices as being from God.

    On the other hand, MH has shown that he would like members with little to no faith to increase that faith to some level higher than it currently is.”

    I love how everyone is expressing my extremes (and I admit to some hyperbole to an extent), but miss my other statements. I would be perfectly fine if members with little to no faith increase that faith and if sinners were to seek repentance and forgiveness. The problem is that IT ISN’T HAPPENING. When the Nephites continually sinned against G-d and his prophets, what did G-d do? Sent out a warning that if they don’t take the prophet’s words seriously and gain more faith in Jesus Christ that there would be bad consequences. You even read, heaven forbid, of people losing their membership (names blotted out) for unbelief and not repenting. Moroni warned against dismissing miracles, and other prophets along with him of rejecting the Book of Mormon. Eventually, if you do take the Book of Mormon seriously, civilizations fell into darkness and the Nephites were wiped out.

    I’m just wondering if we as a people, both members and non-members, have become past feeling. How should I know? I’m just a heartless meanie who is too dumb to understand the Scriptures.

  37. I love how everyone is expressing my extremes (and I admit to some hyperbole to an extent), but miss my other statements.

    Ok Jettboy, where were your moderating views expressing “I would be perfectly fine if members with little to no faith increase that faith and if sinners were to seek repentance and forgiveness.”??????

    Oh yeah, the next sentence says, “The problem is that IT ISN’T HAPPENING.

    You’ve said ,

    1. “There is no room, and I believe the scriptures support this, for “cultural members” in a divine institution.”

    2. “They become traitors to the cause of faith and hinder the mission to perfect the Saints.”

    3. “Paul constantly begs us to fight the good fight, win the race, get rid of evil in our lives, and be saved.”

    4. “I thought I have made it clear for a very long time that I do wish for a Spanish inquisition LDS style.”

    Where do any of these statements fit with the Prodigal Son, or the Good Samaritan? Where did you clarify (prior to comment 36) that you wanted to keep liberal members like me in? (I find it ironic that Bishop Rick and Andrew S view me as a “faithful” TBM, yet you seem ready to run me out on a rail.)

    In Comment 30, You distorted or completely misrepresented many things I have said, and now I’m supposed to believe that you somehow can reconcile excommunicating the Prodigal Son, while welcoming him into the fold??? Isn’t the Prodigal Son deserving of your LDS-style Inquisition? Please explain to me where I missed all your moderating comments prior to 36. What specifically did you say to welcome people like me into the tent? I thought you said, “MH, lets have that fight on who is in charge, because I know that it wouldn’t go your way. The fact your blog is called “Mormon Heretic” seems to prove that point.”

    Question for you: weren’t Jesus, Joseph Smith, Galileo, Martin Luther, Abraham, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, Paul, Peter, and Moses also heretics?

  38. “Galileo, Martin Luther” were never Mormons and had no divine authority and therefore were Heaven’s heretics. The rest had been given authority directly from G-d and therefore could only be the World’s heretics.

  39. Jettboy, From your silence on all the issues I raised, it is apparent to me that you would excommunicate the Prodigal Son in an LDS Inquisition, and would rip out the tares from among the wheat. It is rather apparent to me that you do not fully appreciate these parables, and your lame response to my comment about Galileo and Luther shows you’re more interested in trying to win an argument by diversion than addressing anything substantive. You pretend to understand the Savior, but you really have no clue. You are an extremist, and have said nothing indicating tolerance for anything outside your narrow belief system.

  40. […] made the claim that Joseph Smith was a monogamist.  However, current RLDS Church prophet/president Stephen Veazey has made the claim that historical records show that Joseph Smith did practice polygamy.  What does Dr. Brian Hales […]

  41. […] it.  I do know recently President Veazey, the prophet/president of the Community of Christ, to me made a pretty groundbreaking statement when he said, yeah I know we said we didn’t believe Joseph practiced polygamy but it seems like […]

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