Where Did Mormon Leaders Go Wrong?

Dieter UchtdorfApart from excitement over the fly that plagued Mormon Seventy Terence M. Vinson during his General Conference talk on Sunday (October 13, 2013), much of the Conference buzz on the world wide web (sorry – I couldn’t resist) is focused on Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s Saturday Morning address, “Come, Join with Us.” Apostle Uchtdorf (of the First Presidency) talked about (and to) Mormons who doubt and/or have left the Church. Included in his remarks was what the New York Times called “a groundbreaking admission that ‘mistakes’ by fallible church leaders in the past have sown the seeds of doubt today.” In Mr. Uchtdorf’s own words:

“And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.”

According to Mormon professor, author and speaker Terryl Givens, Mr. Uchtdorf’s concession was of great importance because “In a single blow, it shattered the cultural mythology that has been at the root of the doubt and disaffection that affects our members.”

Yet I wonder – was Mr. Uchtdorf’s “admission” really all that? It seems to me that his words were quite vague. Who are these “leaders in the Church” that are guilty of having made mistakes? What, specifically, has been said or done that is “not in harmony with [Mormon] values, principles, or doctrine”?

New York Times journalist Laurie Goodstein noted that two specific things done by Mormon leaders of the past, things that today’s Latter-day Saints find especially troubling, are Joseph Smith’s polyandrous polygamy (i.e., marrying multiple women who also had other living husbands) and Brigham Young’s barring of Blacks from the priesthood. Are these things that would fall under Mr. Uchtdorf’s admission of “mistakes” made that were out of harmony with Mormon doctrine?

In May 2012 a survey was conducted to better understand Mormon disbelief and the factors that contribute to that disbelief. Topping the resulting list (in addition to the two issues already mentioned) are: the Book of Abraham, DNA and the Book of Mormon, Masonic influences in the temple ceremony, multiple conflicting versions of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, and anachronisms in the Book of Mormon. A little further down the list are: Joseph’s use of peep stones in translating the Book of Mormon, changes in the temple ceremony, loss of credibility of the Three Witnesses, Brigham Young’s teaching on blood atonement, Brigham Young’s Adam-God doctrine, and Joseph Smith’s Kinderhook Plates fiasco. Are these the things Mr. Uchtdorf was referring to? It seems that Mr. Givens thinks so, if indeed Mr. Uchtdorf’s admission “shattered” the very thing that is “at the root of [Members’] doubt and disaffection.”

If we are to accept the interpretation of Mr. Uchtdorf’s words that is being promoted by Mr. Givens (and others), we would conclude that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, while speaking and acting within their calling and capacity as prophets, made an awful lot of mistakes that have led a lot of Mormons doctrinally astray.

I don’t think this is what Mr. Uchtdorf meant – do you?

I think it far more likely that he was referring to local leaders (like those who are blamed for the Mountain Meadows Massacre), Church-sponsored boy scout troop leaders (like those who have been accused of child sex abuse), and those unfortunate leaders who recently excommunicated Denver Snuffer for saying the exact same thing as is being attributed to Mr. Uchtdorf. As Alan Rock Waterman over at Pure Mormonism wrote, “I think what it was that put Snuffer in the doghouse with Church leadership was his assertion that Joseph Smith’s successors sometimes made mistakes.”

So, if Mr. Uchtdorf was not suggesting that Mormon prophets have made significant mistakes that were/are out of harmony with Mormon “values, principles, or doctrine” (in fact, he affirmed “an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable and divine events” spanning the Church’s 200 years of history), his “admission” that God uses imperfect people to accomplish His purposes was hardly “groundbreaking” or myth-“shattering.” For decades Mormons have told me, “The Church is perfect, but its people are not.” This is not news.

Mr. Uchtdorf should have been more specific in his comments at General Conference. As it is, he’s left his remarks open to all manner of personal interpretation. But then, maybe that’s exactly what he intended after all.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Authority and Doctrine, General Conference, LDS Church, Mormon History, Mormon Leaders and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Where Did Mormon Leaders Go Wrong?

  1. Rick B says:

    The topic/question is, where did mormon leaders go wrong?

    Where do I begin?
    Believing js is a prophet.
    Not answering honest questions.
    Unwilling to debate hard topics.
    Cannot agree as to what is doctrine.
    Lds cannot agree with each other, so we have confusion as to who do I believe.

    I could list more, but will start with those.

  2. MJP says:

    Of course he’s intentionally vague. Why would he specifically throw anyone, at the local level or at the very top, under the bus? One thing I have noticed is that LDS protect their own.

  3. falcon says:

    Yea, I’d like to see them produce a list of these unfortunate, what? doctrines, practices, behaviors………. After all, isn’t the LDS church said to be “perfect” but the people aren’t? And who represents the LDS church if it’s not it’s leaders. If these guys have fouled-up over the years doesn’t that cast doubt as to if this (LDS) church is really all it’s cracked-up to be?

    There are some big time Kool-Aid drinkers among the LDS faithful, nice people of course, but who can’t even begin to consider that the religion they are invested in so heavily in terms of time, money, effort and most importantly….emotions is all a great big boondoggle.

    The LDS church has a brand new roll-out every couple of generations and the old religion is moth balled and put in a warehouse to be forgotten.
    I think the LDS faithful need to take a very close look at some of the other Mormon sects and ask themselves, “What do these various groups represent?” In a way it’s an archeological dig that reveals the various layers of Mormonism over the years.

  4. Mike R says:

    Did anyone expect Mr. Uchtdorf to actually do the right thing and admit that Mormon leaders
    have taught false doctrine , misled LDS ? So many Mormons have been enlightened about
    what their leaders have been up to —in teachings and behavior —since 1830 , because of
    ministries like MRM . Many Mormons have come to realize that they cannot trust these men
    who , though well meaning individuals, are not what they have claimed to be —leaders in
    Jesus’ church , the very same church organization He established through apostles long ago ,
    and as a result these Mormons are coming back to anchor their beliefs in the teachings of the
    original apostles and coming to Jesus who has been waiting for them all along . The same old
    excuses some Mormons have bought into in order to rationalize away their leaders teaching
    track record has been seen for what it is —vain attempts by men who want to keep sincere
    people in submission to them . Sadly , but the Mormon people have experienced what Paul
    describes in Eph 4:14 ; Gal. 1:8 .

    The precious Mormon people can take heart that since Jesus long ago predicted the rise of
    prophets in the latter days who would try and mimic the claims of His true apostles , thus
    since Jesus pre warned this would happen then the answer for the Mormon people is to
    dismiss their prophets and come back to the originals and the Jesus they followed . Freedom
    awaits those who can summon the strength to do so , Jesus stands ready to aid those who will
    take the first step .

  5. grindael says:

    Mormon “authorities” today are the KINGS of vagueness. This is calculated. They will say or do anything other than own up to what specific mistakes were made, how they were made, why they were made, and then either apologize or admit that these men were not really “prophets” after all. Sharon is right. You will never see such an admission from them. They will stick to vague in the hopes that it will somehow mitigate the damage being caused by those “mistakes” today, and then punt the ball to apologists like Givens to “interpret” the vagueness. Very slick and worldly.

  6. grindael says:

    He actually admits later in the talk that it ISN’T doctrine he is speaking about, so we can throw that right out,

    But if you seek the pure doctrine of Christ, the word of God “which healeth the wounded soul,” and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost, then here you will find them

    So really, he isn’t doing what Givens says, saying that these men make doctrinal mistakes, because Uchtdorf says that they have “the pure doctrine of Christ”. I guess that includes Adam God, polyandry and the whole laundry list that Sharon put up.

    And if these men actually do have and are speaking by the Holy Spirit, then they will have the “gift of discernment” and won’t be making “mistakes” like trying to translate the Kinderhook Plates, right? So what is he doing? Trying to cover up a multitude of sins with platitudes.

  7. falcon says:

    Let’s see, getting faked-out by Mark Hofmann the grand forger. The first video is about five minutes long. Was it a “mistake” that these big wig prophets and apostles of the LDS church didn’t have the spiritual discernment to see through this guy. BTW, wasn’t Hofmann a Mormon. I do believe he was. Maybe the guy was sort of a Joseph Smith reincarnation; in the broad sense.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL15HZCwLFc

    This second one is a little short of sixty minutes but should be of interest especially to those not familiar with the “Hofmann Affair”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zALYIaVNAM

  8. MJP says:

    Grindael,

    You say they are very slick and worldly. Political comes to mind, too.

  9. Mike R says:

    Falcon, I think what is important to remember about the Hoffman affair is that Mormon
    leaders( and others) had a inner witness that Hoffman was legit so a ton of money was spent
    to purchase his forgeries . If I remember correctly , Hoffman’s father testified in public
    that he had a spiritual witness that his son was innocent of murder —-this was before his son
    was found to be guilty !
    This trust in feelings thought to be from the Holy Ghost, is the what Mormonism is all about ,
    and unfortunately why the Mormon people are in danger for accepting the claims made by
    their leaders .
    Another example of this type of trust / submission Mormons render to their leaders was
    seen in the tragic handcart company crossing Wyoming to late in the season . Mormons
    knew it was late but they chose to trust in the counsel of an apostle ( Franklin Richards)
    who was crossing the plains at the same time . As recorded by some members of the handcart
    company , he reassured them to continue by prophecising they would arrive safely in Utah .
    They trusted their leader’s spiritual witness , and many died as a result of doing so .

    Mormons trust that the doctrines their prophets have revealed to be ” gospel truth ” .
    This trust is propped up by a inner witness they feel . Fortunately more and more Mormons
    are evaluating their leaders teachings in the light of the counsel the apostle John counseled his
    flock —1 Jn 4:1 — and have discovered something is amiss because their latter days apostles
    teachings don’t line up with that of Jesus’ original apostles concerning important doctrines .
    These Mormons recognize that the Spirit of truth would not give a good feeling to someone to
    embrace false doctrine . Good decent people can be misled by their own feelings , trusting in
    appearances or polished speech , and thus end up following imitation apostles in these latter
    days . Bible has sound counsel for everyone to remember : Rev 2:2 ; 2 Jn 7-9

  10. spartacus says:

    Where did Mormon leaders go wrong?

    “things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles or doctrine.”

    Like the vow for vengeance in the temple ceremony untilthe early 1900s? – it violated God’s command not to seek vengeance, but that it was His.

    Like lying “for the Lord”: Joseph Smith denying polygamy to outsiders and members, missionaries omitting crucial info in lessons/talks, Brigham Young, et al. covering up Mountain Meadows – obviously against telling the truth, not lying/deceiving, and against faith/trust in God

    Like broadbrushing all ministries to mormons as “[filtered profanity or slur]” or implying all who leave the LDS church leave for offense or sin, or teaching false caricatures of “other” Christian “churches” – violating the law against bearing false witness.

    Or implicitly blaming God for the racist teachings and continued policy of the LDS church up to 1978 – blasphemy? – thus (dis)crediting God with lying/inconsistency/flip flopping.

    Etc….

  11. spartacus says:

    Whatever Dieter U. was referring to, I hope those members and leaders confessed, forsook, and made restitution or else they have not repented and either still are or died unrepentant sinners.

    Also LDS sure don’t like the word “sin”. I think LDS members and leaders use the weak cover word “mistake” more than politicians do.

  12. falcon says:

    Mike,
    That handcart brigade was a total fiasco. I was reading the account of a couple of the parties that got caught in an early snowstorm and it was really bad news.

    “Soon after the first Mormon pioneers reached Utah in 1847, the Church began encouraging its converts in the British Isles and elsewhere in Europe to emigrate to Utah. From 1849 to 1855, about 16,000 European Latter-day Saints traveled to Utah by ship, rail and then ox and wagon. Although most of these emigrants paid their own expenses, the Church established the Perpetual Emigration Fund to provide financial assistance for poor emigrants to trek west, which they would repay as they were able. Contributions to expand the fund were encouraged.[6]”

    “When contributions and loan repayments dropped off in 1855 after a poor harvest in Utah, President Young decided to begin using handcarts because the Latter-day Saints who remained in Europe were mostly poor. Young also believed it would speed the journey.[7]”

    “Motivated to join their fellow Church members in Utah but lacking funds for full ox or horse teams, nearly 3,000 Mormon pioneers from England, Wales, Scotland and Scandinavia made the journey from Iowa or Nebraska to Utah in ten handcart companies. The trek was disastrous for two of the companies, which started their journey dangerously late and were caught by heavy snow and severe temperatures in central Wyoming. Despite a dramatic rescue effort, more than 210 of the 980 pioneers in these two companies died along the way. John Chislett, a survivor, wrote, “Many a father pulled his cart, with his little children on it, until the day preceding his death.”[2]

    “American West historian, Wallace Stegner, described the inadequate planning and improvident decisions leading to the tragedy when he wrote,[51]”

    “In urging the method upon Europe’s poor, Brigham and the priesthood would over-reach themselves; in shepherding them from Liverpool to the valley, the ordinarily reliable missionary and emigration organization would break down at several critical points; in accepting the assurances of their leaders and the wishful importunities of their own hope, the emigrants would commit themselves to greater sacrifices than even the Nauvoo refugees;

    Interesting last part of the sentence:
    “……and in rallying from compound fatal error to bring the survivors in, the priesthood and the people of Mormondom would show themselves at their compassionate and efficient best.”

    Well yea, they could have just left them out there to die, right? Way to go priesthood!

  13. Mike R says:

    So Mormon professor Givens is saying that his leaders made mistakes , meaning they have taught
    false doctrine ? If that is what he is alluding to then it would be nice if he was a bit more clear on
    this . Since he does’nt teach at BYU he has more freedom to speak out , but still that is risky
    behavior for any LDS .
    May Mormons who , after having examined their leaders teaching track record since 1830 and
    recognized something is’nt right , may they not allow fear of God’s judgement against them for
    dismissing their prophets hinder them from walking away . Jesus stands ready to assist them
    to not only walk away from the controls of a religious corporation , but to walk over to
    a person —- Him , and receive what they were longing for all along —-Heb 7:25 .

  14. falcon says:

    I suppose this is where Mormons invoke the “progressive revelation” rule. You know, the practice where by the current prophet gets word from the Mormon god that was believed, taught and practiced previously, is no longer operational.
    You see that way, there’s never a mistake; it’s just a change in direction.
    Or perhaps the “it was just his opinion” or “it was just folk doctrine” approach that could be utilized. Remember, Mormonism and/or the prophet, can never be wrong. The “church” is true, the “prophet” is true, the only thing that is flawed are the members.
    So where do polygamy, blacks in the priesthood, adam-god and the changes in the temple ceremonies come in? Were they changes in the Mormon gods mind, opinion, folk doctrine or just one of those deals where the Mormon leaders look around and then say, “I don’t know. Where DID that come from.”

  15. falcon says:

    So there we have it. Mistakes were made. Yea but who admitted it? Did anyone in authority say it?

    Mormonism is built on the premise that the original gospel was lost after the death of the original apostles and therefore had to be “restored”. The problem with the premise, which I point out constantly, is that there is no evidence that what the LDS sect of Mormonism based out of Salt Lake City actually believes, teaches and practices, existed in the first century church. This whole premise is based on the word of a guy, Joseph Smith, who these Mormons believe had all sorts of spirit beings appearing to him telling him stuff. So it’s basically his word.
    For example, he said that an angel with a sword appeared to him and said he (the angel) would kill him if he didn’t practice plural marriage. This led him to “marry” adolescent girls and women already married to other men. Could Smith, who obviously would have been very frightened by this angel with the sword pronouncing murder on him, been so over come with emotion that he got it wrong? Maybe the angel had really told him that if he did practice polygamy he’d kill him. Given Smith’s untimely death at the hands of a mob, perhaps we could assume the angel used this means to punish Smith. Speculation is a big part of Mormonism so I thought I’d practice some.

    Was this a “mistake” that LDS leaders wanted to correct? Obviously some did because the practice was sort of outlawed by the LDS prophet in the late 19th century.

    These SLC Mormons have a few choices:
    1. The prophet has heard from the Mormon god.
    2. The prophet was simply giving his opinion.
    3. The practice/belief is “folk doctrine”; that has arisen among the people but was never “official”.

    Then what about all of the changes to the BoM. Were there “mistakes” that needed to be corrected? We could go on and on but I think the picture is becoming pretty clear. The only way Mormonism “works” for a person is if they are willing to ignore all of the evidence that clearly shows that Mormonism and Joseph Smith were/are frauds.

  16. Rick B says:

    Falcon said

    The only way Mormonism “works” for a person is if they are willing to ignore all of the evidence that clearly shows that Mormonism and Joseph Smith were/are frauds.

    I agree 100 percent. I have been saying to LDS here that they dont care about the truth. I believe you said you were a teacher at one time or taught some classes. If a student turned in paper and you asked him for evidence of what he did, I mean, sources for his work to prove and back up what he/she said and they said, Sorry cannot/will not do that, and they said, seems as if your laying a trap, you would think they were lying would you not?

    Well Shem did that, he made claims for evidence to prove what he said, and when I asked for evidence I was told no, and that I was laying a trap. That sounds like he has zero evidence to me and sounds like some one who does not like the truth.

  17. falcon says:

    Rick,
    Evidence? They don’t need no stinkin evidence! I think that’s a line from some movie I’ve watched.

    People get taken in by these types of religious experiences because they buy into revelation, or a vision, or a dream someone thinks they’ve had or that someone else claims to have had. The Apostle Paul warned against this. In fact the Bible is full of such warnings.
    I remember watching some guy who claimed to be some sort of Christian preacher claim that people were having gold crowns appear on teeth while he was preaching. People were taken in by his claims. It’s just a variation on what Joseph Smith was pulling.
    The problem is that people claim some sort of super spiritual gifted and talented status because of their “revelations”.
    Not to excuse Christians who buy into this sort of thing but at least they don’t come up with another god. Although there are/were word of faith preachers teaching that we are “little gods”. Total nonsense.

    Mormons would be right at home with these folks. False teachings like this were one reason I got so involved in Christian Apologetics, studying early Church history and doctrine. It’s a lot more entertaining for some of these folks to roam about talking about what’s been “revealed” to them. That’s why there are so many different sects of Mormonism (see: (Under the Banner of Heaven”).

    The error preached by some Word of Faith preachers? See the following:

    I am a little God! Critics be gone” (Paul Crouch, “Praise the Lord,” TBN, July 7, 1986, quoted in “The kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin pg. 504)

    “We are a class of Gods! You don’t have a god in you, you are one.” (Kenneth Copeland, leader of Kenneth Copeland Ministries; “Christianity in Crisis” by Hank Hanegraaf, pgs. 110, 116, quoted in “Kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin, pg. 504)

    “The eternal life He (God) came to give us is the nature of God…It is, in reality, God imparting His very nature, substance, and being to our human spirits…Many in the great body of Full Gospel people do not know that the new birth is a real incarnation. They do not know that they are as much sons as daughters of God as Jesus…Jesus was first divine, and then he was human. So He was in the flesh a divine human being. I was first human, and so were you, but I was born of God, so I became a human-divine being.” (Kenneth Hagin, “ZOE: The God-Kind of Life,” (1989): 1-2,27,40, quoted in “Kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin, pg. 505)

    “The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.” (Kenneth Hagin “The Incarnation” in the Word of Faith, Dec. 1980: 14, quoted in “Kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin, pg. 505)

    “We are the Word made flesh, just as Jesus was.” (Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Copeland Ministries; Crenshaw, “Man of God”, 202, quoted in “Kingdom of the Cults” by Walter Martin, pg. 505)

    Same old stuff just recycled.

  18. Rick B says:

    Falcon said

    Rick,
    Evidence? They don’t need no stinkin evidence! I think that’s a line from some movie I’ve watched.

    Your right, it was a movie, the movie was/is UHF by Weird Al. The scene is Raoul, And he says, Badgers? We dont need no stink-en badgers. Very funny movie.

    Falcon said

    People get taken in by these types of religious experiences because they buy into revelation, or a vision, or a dream someone thinks they’ve had or that someone else claims to have had.

    I agree with you, but here is the bigger issue, what you said just proves people want to believe what they want to and dont care about the truth. Why do I say that? Because if the Mormons claim JS or some modern prophet heard from God, even if it goes against what a former LDS prophet taught, they dont care. But if we came along and said, Guys, I am a prophet from God, I can hear Him speak to me, and He told me JS was a false prophet, they would ignore me and tell me I’m crazy, no matter how much evidence I provide.

    So it comes down to, they listen to people who claims to believe what they want to hear, vs telling them the truth.

    Now as far as the blab it and grab it teachers, I have lots of experience with them, My wifes entire family and their family are all big time into those false prophets, they would defend them to the death. I cannot tell you how many times I got into it with my wifes family. Stupid things like, my wifes family saying, you have MS because you are living in sin. But when I ask them, why then do you have medicine at your house, I am told, because they are so holy and the devil attacks them, so they use it for headaches and such. So why is it, my wife is living in sin, yet your holy?

    Stupid things like that. I totally ruined Christmas once, because I could not sit their quietly listing to them preach their false message telling other family members that it is truths from God. Boy, lets just say, people think I’m bold or maybe a little to out spoken on this blog, I was never invited back for any family event ever after that, to this day we hardly ever talk, and when we do, it is mostly trivial issues. They know where I stand and they dont want to hear it.

  19. Mike R says:

    ” Same old stuff recycled ” . There is much truth in that statement . When we look at what some
    t.v. preachers have taught in the last 25 years as ” new light ” from God it is truly sad sincere
    people would accept some of this stuff, but these preachers stand to lose much money if they
    did the right thing and admitted leading people astray by teaching false doctrine .

    What do we make of this thread topic about the comments of a Mormon leader concerning
    “mistakes” being made by “some ” ( apparently in lower positions ) in the church ? It appears
    that Mormon apostle Uchtdorf’ won’t be specific about this , but as Sharon , and grindael have
    noted these mistakes he mentioned were’nt any doctrinal teachings by Mormon General authorities . If Mormon leaders have assured their flock that false doctrine would never be
    taught or condoned by them as leadership , then I wonder how many LDS really believe that ?
    Considering how much time , money, emotion , Mormons expend at being in the environment
    that is the Mormon church system , it would be very difficult to leave even after finding out
    that those in leadership had succumbed to error in teaching on an important issue such as
    about God / Jesus , or what was necessary to gain God’s approval and affect one’s relationship
    with Him etc. Will conscientious Mormons simply be content with the moral teachings and
    environment in the church and refuse to think about what the Bible teaches about how to detect
    false prophets/apostles who are foretold to arise in the latter days ?
    Things have not changed all that much from the danger of counterfeit apostles in N.T. times
    with those same men in these latter times . One example is how they will seek to deflect
    one’s attention from evaluating their teachings by the light of God’s word through His original
    apostles ( 1 Jn 4:1 ) . Successful false teachers will resort to what amounts to word games in
    or to cleverly distract ( Rom 16:18 ; 2Pt 2:3 ) a person . This is something polished politicians
    are noted for . When someone wants to soften the impact of a certain behavior , like adultery for
    example, words like ” a fling ” or ” tyrst ” can be employed to rationalize away the seriousness
    of the act . In like manner false apostles will resort to this tactic also , if caught they won’t admit
    to having taught false doctrine , instead they might say it was only a slight ” mistake ” or just
    an ” opinion” etc.
    In the case with Mormon leaders they have been very clever in how they have sought to excuse
    some of the doctrinal innovations of their past colleagues . Mormon leaders face a predicament
    today that could be devastating to the wealthy religious corporation they’ve constructed if they
    admit they or their recent predecessors have introduced false doctrine to their flock then that
    could cause a lot of unrest among multitudes of rank and file members which could result in
    less money being given which in turn would be a financial nightmare to leadership .
    This might be the biggest reason why Mormon leaders will not publically admit to having
    taught/ condoned false doctrine . They might admit to some ” mistakes ” , but to teaching
    false doctrine ? Let’s hope in the near future they will do the right thing and make that
    admission .

  20. wilburson says:

    When I was transitioning out of Mormonism back in 2004, God was gracious in leading me to the ministry of John Piper (desiringgod.org). Though I have never met this godly man, God has used (and continues to use) his teaching and preaching to teach me the whole counsel of God. I commend his sermons and writings to anyone who loves and hungers for God, the supremacy of Christ and Biblical truth. Anyway, I was just listening to a sermon he gave a couple of years ago and although he wasn’t speaking about Mormonism, some things he said apply very well to this blog and the comments being made in it. Here is what he said in part:

    “Some people are just deeply under the Bible as their authority and others play with the Bible; they are governed by what they have inherited and not by scripture….If I hear ten thousand brilliant PhD’s saying one thing and the Bible saying another thing – the Bible gets my vote. And the reason for that is simple: The Bible has lasted for two thousand years plus and has stood against attack after attack after attack and has made it from generation to generation so that it’s vote is superior to ten thousand brilliant people who will be here today and gone tomorrow.

    Being faithful to scripture is vastly more important than being faithful to [a particular denomination, philosophy or “ism”]. Right thinking about what the Bible teaches about God and man and salvation really matters. Bad theology dishonors God and hurts people. Churches that sever the root of truth may flourish for a season but will eventually wither or turn into something other than a Christian Church.”

    I don’t really have much to add to that other than to say that Uchtdorf’s whole talk sounded to me like part damage control and part pep talk as an attempt to convince their stock holders and potential stock holders that, compared to the “competition”, the LDS church was the best place to keep or invest their money.

  21. jaxi says:

    This talk (though vague and held nothing new) was an absolutely brilliant move by the LDS Church for those on the fence. Uchtdorf is a favorite (especially with the LDS women). There are a few family and friends I know who have started to question and this sent them moving backwards. Some have said they have decided to “doubt their doubts” (which really means put their doubts back on the giant Mormon shelf). And a few have said that they are going to take the advice to wait for further knowledge until all the information is explained in the afterlife.

    I have nothing against doubting a doubt. But that doesn’t mean ignore your doubt. Face your doubt and see if your doubt is valid. And waiting for more knowledge doesn’t mean we will know everything now but it does mean that we should deal with the information that we do have, which does not favor Mormonism as being true. But despite what those phrases should really mean, some of the on the fence mormons I know were completely taken in.

  22. spartacus says:

    Jaxi,

    I’ve come across this “wait until afterlife” idea before among LDS and I think it typifies the anti-intellectual accusation often raised against LDS. It’s about as infuriating to me as agnosticism. Agnostics are either irrationally sure that it can’t be figured out or too lazy, scared, or disinterested to make a commitment.

    LDS who take this wait until death stance are doing something similarly despicable. They either are too lazy to wrestle with the issues or irrationally claim there is no definitive evidence and NEVER WILL BE or are just too scared to follow where the investigation leads.

    Where is the faith in this? There seems only fear of the unknown, but suspected.

    I can’t remember who called it by this term but…

    Where is the sense of the momentous nature of this question of ultimate truth? The question of God is momentous in that it is of ultimate import AND you get this chance only, this life, however short it may be, to make your decisions.

    Do LDS that choose this philosophy not know the stakes? If Christianity is true then these people will suffer all eternity because they were willing to put off the truth about God until it was too late. For what? Their own comfort? Just in case LDS is true?

    The LDS teaching that only LDS can be totally damned, go to outer darkness, is the only reasonable motivation for this philosophy. But then its not reasonable!

    If you doubt that the LDS church is true then realize that puts into doubt everything the LDS church has taught you – including the consequence of apostasy from the LDS church. It includes everything the LDS church taught you about Jesus, about the Bible, about Christianity, about denominationalism, about God’s mercy and Grace, about YOU.

    How do you know your doubts aren’t God trying to save you? You won’t know until you use EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT to learn the Truth. There is no greater issue in out lives than if there is a God and who he is and what he wants of us. Use prayer, yes, but also all your heart, strength, and mind. Read, listen, question, wrestle, FIGHT!

    But don’t just sit there and wait to see if you got lucky after all.

    FIGHT for Truth!

  23. wilburson says:

    I just have to say one big giant AMEN to what Spartacus just said about truth!!! Right on the money!! Besides the Eternity factor, I want my LDS loved ones to experience the freedom and abundance the truth can bring them into NOW!

  24. falcon says:

    What an easy way out!
    I will continue to put my time, money, energy, devotion and emotions into a religion, an organization and leaders that may very well be totally false; waiting for the answers in the next life.
    Now we know it’s totally false but these folks are typical of cult members or people experiencing some sort of abuse. They are mentally conditioned just to accept what they’ve been programmed to believe because to question it would be way too painful. Actually it would take some effort also to do the work of “discovering” what it is they don’t know about this false religious cult.

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