Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Basis for My Belief

James summed up religion in James 1:27 when he says pure religion is all about charity and virtue. The basis for my belief in the LDS Church and religion is based on the ability of the LDS Church to help me and my family live a charitable and vituous life. It's nice to feel you are forgiven of sin, but sin has painful consequences. The real power of religion has helped me and is helping my children avoid most of the pitfalls and pain of sin.

Most importantly, after Christ ascended to heaven, He promised to give belivers another Comforter, the Gift of The Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon together with the Bible has brought me closer to God and closer to His Spirit. And through prayer to My Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ and personal revelation by that same Comforter, I know the Book of Mormon is God's word and Joseph Smith was God's prophet called to restore His true Church. You can't argue against revelation.

The following addresses questions in an online survey:

1. “Shall I tell you the law of God in regards to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot.” - Brigham Young *
Do you believe Young felt compelled by God to say this?

"Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever 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" -Bruce R. McConkie, after the Priesthood Revelation

I believe the Joseph Smith had to pick his battles and accordingly limited priesthood accessibility to blacks due to residual racism pressure within and without the church that have nothing to do with the values of the newly restored LDS Church or the LDS concept of God. The LDS God is no respector of persons with regard to skin color or gender (2Ne26:33).

Joseph Smith never gave specific reasons why he 1. opposed slavery, 2. baptized blacks, 3. initially ordained several blacks 4. later decided against further ordaining of blacks. LDS leadership believed Joseph Smith was directed by God to limit priesthood temporarily just as God has done in the Bible regarding the oldest birthright son, or tribe of Levi, or Jews before Gentiles.

However, some LDS leadership began to speculate on the reasons behind the priesthood limitation. This led some LDS leadership to recycle historical southern protestant Bible interpretations used to justify stavery. They then added to these traditional interpretations the unique LDS concept of a preexistence.

The LDS Church which started out ahead with regard to race, after the Civil Rights Movement, found itself lagging behind the rest of America. Despite the outward pressure, the slowness to keep up was due to: 1. the LDS Church doesn't act until there is unity at the top (not just a 2/3 majority, but a 100% unity). 2. A special revelation and manifestation was required to convince a few holdouts like Elder McConkie. But he was convinved and humbly retracted.

2. Joseph Smith also founded the practice of polygamy within the Mormon church. By the time he was assassinated at Carthage Jail, he had been wed to 27 women outside of his first wife, Emma. Two were as young as fourteen and others were already married when Joseph proposed. *
Do you believe this is morally acceptable?

1. Morality involves doing no harm to others.
2. Polygamy was practiced in the Bible by Abraham, Jacob, King David, and in other religions
3. Jewish Levarite marriage was a type of polygamy.
4. Ex 21 may speak of polygamy that if a man take another wife, the "duty of marriage" of the first he should not diminish.
5. It may be that Paul's direction to Elders and younger widows in, 1Tim5, to remarry and for Elders to receive and support widows was a kind of polygamy, Levarite Marriage, and church welfare system.
6. LDS pleural marriage was not practiced like the Fundamentalist Mormon of today.
7. LDS polyamy was set up as a calling and responsibility and not indiscriminately entered into.
8. 2 wives meant 2 separate households to provide for and 2 "honeydo lists".
9. Polygamy raises the bar for men by making eligible females the minority as "all the good ones" are still in the market and not necessarily "already taken".
10. If 3 consenting adults enter into a social arrangement, then no harm is done.
11. During the Reed Smoot Hearings in defense of pleural marriage , Senator Smoot warned America of exactly the kind of moral and social decay we see today.
12. Why make eternal commitments with, and take eternal responsibility for someone when you can have illicit and casual extramarital relationships without commitment and without responsibility.
13. Joseph Smith begun the practice of pleural marriage with a number of "symbolic sealings".
14. A few "symbolic sealing" involved young women between 14-16, with parental consent. and assent of the young woman.
15. Dr. Woodward from BYU has done DNA annalysis on rumored offspring by Joseph Smith to various polygamous wives showing that Joseph Smith likely did not consummate nor father any children associated with these "symbolic sealings".
16. The orginal problem arose with Fanny Alger. She was, with Emma's consent "sealed" to Joseph Smith. Soon after Alger becomes pregnant and accusations fly. Joseph chose to protect Alger and never "threw her under the bus". The incident destroyed Emma's confidence, but Dr. Woodward's DNA studies on the desendants of Orison Smith prove that Joseph Smith was not the father. Alger left the church but the remaining Hancock family who knew the details remained strong.

3. The Mormon church claims that the Lamanites descended from Israel and are the principle ancestors of Native Americans. Recent DNA studies claim that Native Americans are descendents of Asian lineage. *
Do you still believe that Lamanites/Native Americans were descended from Israel?

1. Principle does not mean "a majority of" but can also mean "the most important".
2. The Book of Mormon itself says only a "remant of the seed" would survive into the Last Days. Remant of the seed does not mean majority of DNA.

"And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved. "(Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi, Chapter 15:14)

3. Lamanites were mixed. Nephites were pure. The Nephites were wiped out by genocide and only the mixed Lamanites remained.
" I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi." (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi, Chapter 5:20)

4. mtDNA studies show that major founding Native American haplogroups are ABCD. However, more recent studies show that Haplogroup X is also a major founding haplogroup which comes directly from Northern Israel.
5. Now if you are Christian and argue that haplogroup X dates to 10,000 BC, you should remember that you also likely reject scientific dating in association with creationism and Adam living only 4000bc. Therefore scientific dating cannot be used to attack the Book of Mormon in this case. MIT published papers that Mitochondrial Eve lived only 2000BC. Climate Science disproving man-caused climate change shows c14 and nuetrino levels from the sun fluctuate. Scientific dating techniques fail to account for these fluctuations and assume there is no change in isotope formation or decay rates.

4. 10% of a Mormon's income goes to tithing. Although the church does not publish its financial records, it can be estimated that <1% of our yearly tithe is donated to humanitarian aid every year *
Do you believe divine inspiration influences the dispensation of our tithing money?

1. Tithing is NOT for hummanitarian aid. Tithing is for running the LDS Church programs. 2. A good portion of tithing from the US goes to the third world to run the programs there. So your statistics data is misleading. If my tithing goes to pay for a temple is Bolivia, a temple I will never visit, how is that not charity?
3. Having recently visited the temple and attended church and the Bishops storehouse in the Dominican Republic, I think the LDS Church enjoys a great amount of equality. We do nor have rich churches and poor churches.
4. Fast Offerings are what is used for Humanitarian Aid and this is in addition to the 10%
5. LDS Foundation gives a lot more money away in the form of Humanitarian Aid from its investments of tithes that are not reported. Having worked for soup kitchens and detox centers in Salt Lake, I know that the LDS Church contributes without reporting it at General Conference. What the Church reports is Fast Offering contributions because members should only take credit for what they have given and not for what the Church gives to maintain its non-profit status.
6. Charity is an individual responsibility, 10% Tithing is to run the Church programs, the other 90% is left to me to do my own charity and humanitarian aid with.

5. The LDS temple ceremony, originated by Joseph Smith on May 4, 1842, mimics the handshakes, passwords, secret signs and penalties of the masonic rituals used by the freemasons. Smith was initiated into the Masonic Lodge seven weeks prior to creating the LDS temple ceremony. *
Do you believe this was coincidence?

1. The Mason's acknowledge that their ritual symbolism is borrowed from Solomon's Temple. LDS Temples are a restoration of Biblical temples.
2. Joseph Smith was impressed that the Masonic teaching system using ritual symbolism placed the common illiterate man on the same level as the elite and learned.
3. We take for granted that everone reads today, but anciently, literacy was reserved for the privileged few. Consequently a teaching system like a Powerpoint presentation or chalkboard lecture would put the illiterate at a disadvantage.
4. Ritual symbolism similarities between Masons and LDS ritual are only in the teaching mechanism. Claiming anything further would be like arguing that a Powerpoint presentation on quantum physics is identical to a Powerpoint presentation on 18th Century art history.
5. The content, the covenants. and moral values, and the symbols between the Masonic presentation and the LDS presentation couldn't be more different. I am aware but cannot comment on the Masonic presentation but the LDS presentation is Jesus Christ-centered, and the covenants involve Biblical Christian obedience, sacrifice, and consecration.

6. Since the Book of Mormon's initial publishing in 1830, there have been 3,913 revisions with more due later this year. *
Do you believe that the scriptures are the "unalterable word of God?"

The words as seen projected into Joseph Smith's Seerstone was the Revelation. The dictation, scribing, typesetting, printing and the interpretation of the revelation involves fallible human involvement.

The Book of Mormon retained some awkward sounding grammatical Hebraisms, which were rendered more intelligable to modern ears as our language has evolved. When prophets edit prophets, its still inspired by God.

7. During a stake conference in 1961, Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said, “We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen.” *
Was he projecting a personal opinion over the pulpit or do you believe this was divine inspiration?

Too bad we can no longer ask Stanley Kubrick? The true principle being taught here is that this Earth will be the eternal home of the righteous and no other planet or heavenly body.