Self-Righteousness Boasting

Kris Frederickson, a columnist, recently wrote about Learning from others outside Mormonism. She wrote,

“My understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been greatly improved by the teachings of religious men and women over the ages, many of whom were never actually members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…”

MS. Frederickson went on to quote noteworthy statements from a diverse group of people including a Catholic saint, a nun, a slave, Galileo, Gandhi, Muhammad and C.S. Lewis. At the end of her article, returning to the Restoration, Ms. Frederickson wrapped up with a quote from Joseph Smith:

“All the religious world is boasting of righteousness: it is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind, and hinder our progress, by filling us with self-righteousness.”

Ms. Frederickson concluded,

“We cannot be self-righteous and call ourselves worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather, tolerance and respect must be our watchwords.”

As I pondered Ms. Frederickson’s words, a sermon delivered by Joseph Smith on May 26, 1844 came to mind. In that sermon, testifying to the Saints against the LDS dissenters in Nauvoo, the Prophet said,

Joseph Smith with Sword“I, like Paul, have been in perils, and oftener than anyone in this generation. As Paul boasted,* I have suffered more than Paul did. I should be like a fish out of water, if I were out of persecutions. Perhaps my brethren think it requires all this to keep me humble. The Lord has constituted me so curiously that I glory in persecution. I am not nearly so humble as if I were not persecuted…“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.” (History of the Church, 6:408-409)

How does Ms. Frederickson’s conclusion, “We cannot be self-righteous and call ourselves worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (based on a statement of Joseph Smith’s), correlate with the Prophet’s May 26th sermon?* Paul’s boasting, which he calls foolish and “talking like a madman,” is found in 2 Corinthians 11. Paul ends his “boasting” with these words: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”


To read the entire May 26, 1844 sermon by Joseph Smith see here or here.

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.
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60 Responses to Self-Righteousness Boasting

  1. falcon says:

    Well Jacob,
    We have “biased, unbelieving natures”. I would say I have sufficient faith to be saved by my belief in the eternal God/man Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t call that unbelieving. I don’t believe in Mormonism, but I wouldn’t define that as a biased and unbelieving nature. “History twisting” ? the history of the Mormon faith is pretty straight forward and available in its unadulterated form to anyone who has the courage to look. However, as we can see from the quotes in the original post above (boasting), Mormons have a real problem with recognizing Mormon history and dealing with it. We don’t belittle your faith when we vigorously question it and hold Mormons accountable for their prophet’s statements. Your comments about love your neighbor is a way of saying the discussion is over and you have nothing more to say. Old technique used when there is nothing of substance to say; just claim to be more loving. The other side is mean and nasty for challenging us therefore the Mormon church is true.

  2. Rick B says:

    Jacob said

    It all still comes down to which one is right. I believe I am right, and you believe you are right, but I do not in the least try to demean you because of what you believe is right. I respectfully disagree with you. But I still respect your faith. Because, if there is the smallest possibility that you are right, I don’t want to totally demean or degrade your faith simply because I had my own.

    I swear Jacob, you really need to read your Bible. None of us Non-LDS post here or share the Bible with LDS because we want to attack you or find it fun, I really have a busy life and much better things to do if that was simply true.

    Please give an LDS view of the Bible speaking about Wolves in Sheeps clothing or who are these false Prophets and false teachers the Bible speaks of? We both cannot be correct. either one side is correct or were both wrong and the Muslim or JW’s or Atheists are correct.

    We share with you because we believe from the over whelming evidence for the Bible and over whelming problems with LDS scripture, that their is a real hell that lasts forever and Every false religion including the False Gospel of LDS are heading to the lake of Fire.

    It really is loving to speak the truth to you, even if you feel we only do it to be mean.

    Maybe a topic on this could be done. Rick b

  3. chuck5000 says:

    Michael P, you said
    “Look, you revere him, to the point of him being a god.” – False
    “Trouble with that is that if we take that standard, we could not condemn ANYBODY.” – True. It is not up to us, but up to God.

    David, you said:
    “We are just asking you to apply the same standard to Joseph Smith that you apply in your wards on a weekly basis.” I’m not sure where you get your information, but we do not sit an judge people in church. We do not actively engage in condemning anyone.

    Aaron, you said:
    “But what about specifically condemning his blasphemous boasting?” – Does this mean you won’t answer my question of, are you so perfect you feel like you can judge/condemn somone? I’m not sure how condemning/judging = holding accountable.

    “you are unwilling to engage his specific actions and words and deal with them for what they are” – since when is it my duty to do that? How about you confess some sins on here that may not be quite so public, yet sins that would be considered blasephemous and we will discuss those?

    “a lot of people feel embarrassed for you as they read through all this.This is not going well.” – thanks for your concern, but what others think does not matter to me. Besides, what constitutes “going well”?

    “Do all actions and words—even blasphemy against the Lord Jesus Christ—suddenly become immune to appropriately harsh criticism simply because “no one is perfect”?” It seems to me Jesus himself addressed this when the people wanted to hold the adulterous woman accountable by stoning her according to the law. You should read that in the Bible. It speaks volumes.

    “We got the impression … Smith was unreliable” – that’s because Christians are constantly looking for a “deeper” meaning. I never claimed it was unreliable, and I stated that. The problem is you are unwilling to accept anything for face value.

    Falcon, you said:
    “We have a very good understanding of Mormon history…” – False. You have your interpretation of it. The two are not synonymous.

  4. Michael P says:

    Chuck, see, your unwillingness to call your prophet out speaks volumes. I do appreciate your candor is saying you won’t. However, given that Mormons in the past (and present perhaps– I really am not sure as I have never seen a direct answer to the claim) believed that JS will judge who gets to heaven. You also sing hymns about him, and in order to become a Mormon you MUST acknowledge him as a prophet. So, forgive me if I say you revere him to the point of being a god. He’s obviously above reproach in your eyes, so I’ll still say that is the impression given.

    And you miss the point on the second item. If we, you, I and everyone else in this world and in this forum or anywhere, cannot call someone out because of our own sins, we cannot call anyone out any time. So, by your answer, you really mean false if it is only God who can call us out.

    A third point you did not recognize was my question about providing something specific showing JS was just a man worthy of critique. My bet is that you cannot find one, because you revere him like you would a god or a supreme leader.

    You also say this to Aaron: “I’m not sure how condemning/judging = holding accountable.” Since I addressed a similar point, I’ll take this from my perspective (not to speak for Aaron). Easy. If someone from my faiths past (or present) did something horrendous, or said something blasphemous, I will call them out on it. I will not allow that which is wrong to exist without correction. Joseph Smith’s comments in this instance, no matter the context nor the location, were wrong. He said he was better than Jesus.

    That you fail to address this speaks volumes.

  5. Ralph says:

    It was years ago that I read about the 12 princes so I went back to have a look after your comment. In Numbers 1 and 2 it describes God telling Moses to take a census of all men able to go to war and then how to set up camp. God tells Moses the names of 12 specific men, one from each tribe, to help him with the census and then to be the captain of the army of their own tribe. These men are described as princes in Numbers 1:16. So I got it partly wrong, they did not help Moses with governing, but I was a teenager at the time I found this so the ‘prince’ title must have made me think they were governing agents. But they still had command responsibilities of the armies under Moses, and they were specifically chosen by name by God.

    Michael P,
    Joseph Smith’s comments in this instance, no matter the context nor the location, were wrong. He said he was better than Jesus. As I said, Jesus stated clearly that His followers would do greater works than Him (John 14:12). Joseph did not say he was better than Jesus overall, as you wish to push the connotation, he just said that he was able to keep a church together, which is something that the church Jesus formed in the NT did not do – it fell apart in apostasy. So if Jesus said that His followers would do greater works (ie as Aaron has said in the past, assisting in the conversion of people to true believers in Christ) then what is wrong with Joseph Smith, or anyone else for that matter, saying that they are fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy?

  6. falcon says:

    OK Chuck let’s talk facts here, historic and scientific.
    If something is a historical fact, it is a fact not an interpretation. If something is a scientific fact it is a fact, not an interpretation. If meaning is attached to the fact (historic or scientific), then it is an interpretation or an opinion. This is where Mormons head down a different path from that which those of us here travel. Facts are stubborn things and Mormons are often left to ignore them and go into the “god did not reveal that to me” stream of consciousness. While extra Mormon merit badges may be earned for suspending credulity, they keep the faithful from learning the truth. Which I guess is the point any way. By the way, I do hear from God, but his program is alittle different with me. I get to keep my intellect.

    This is my third post of the day so I have to fly under the radar until tomorrow.

  7. Jacob5 says:

    Let’s talk facts Falcon.
    Tell me were Adam and Eve created directly by God, or were they created through evolution? What is the scientific principle of parting a sea? What is the chemical break down and synthesis of water turning into wine (or even turning water to blood)? What are the medicinal properties of saliva and dirt which can be used to cure blindness? What disease out there specifically targets only the first born of a family and leaves all others untouched? What are the curative properties of the River Jordan and its ability to cure skin disorders? How about the harmonic resonence qualities of people shouting and blowing horns to tear down and impenetrable wall? And one of the most important parts, please describe the nature of a resurrected body and the process for which it occurs?
    It is true there ia a lot of evidence about geographical locations, ancient civilizations, and even people who have lived in the bible. Yet, there is a great deal missing as far proof for the above items. Yet, if you ask me why I still believe they happened, I will say that it is because of my faith. The bible has gone through the centuries greatly unsullied and despite peoples trying to prove how false it is, it is still here. But I would be interested in hearing your views to the above questions. Prove, using science how they occurred. Now if you can’t, does that mean they are not true? No, it simply means that you don’t know exactly what law came into play for such things to occur other them simply saying that God willed it to happen. Yet, do you reject these occurrences? I surely don’t.
    Ever since its first publication there have been scores of people trying to prove the Book of Mormon to be wrong. Yet many of those have past on, and that book is still here. Could it possibly be that there is something more to that book than can be empirically proven? I am sure I know what your answer is going to be, but I will tell you, it will last beyond us.

  8. Lautensack says:

    “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13

    For those of you who hold up the white flag of we should not judge people this is folly especially in something that you consider the One True Church.

    Do you accept the Jehovah’s Witness’ version of the Bible (NWT)? It have been proven incorrect far more extensively than the Book of Mormon from a textual analysis yet it is still around why is that? Darwin knew less biology than you, he actually had a theology degree. Yet the Origin of Species, containing less biology than the average fifth grader would know, is still taught and still around, even though even evolutionary scientists say the science in it is false, and exchange it with their more elegant theories. And must we get into Homer and Mythology, they still exist though according to your theory they should have passed away long ago. Falsehood can survive so long as it is flexible enough to conform to the spirit of the age. Which in a theocracy like Utah is rather simple.


  9. Jacob5 says:

    I use the King James Version of the Bible. It is not a principle of my religion that we have to prove other religions wrong.
    I am still waiting on the answers to the questions however. Do you believe those miracles happened? If not, than the discussion ends there. If so, what is the scientific basis for their occurence?
    So many arguments are made about the Book of Mormon, yet our faith is completely overlooked simply because we cannot give direct proof. I put the same test to you. Do you believe in biblical miracles, yet can you prove them scientifically beyond any doubt? I will wait for any answer to the question. For the same faith I have in the Bible, I also have in the Book of Mormon.

  10. Looks like it’s time to close this veering thread.

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