What if Thomas Monson, Pope Benedict XVI, and John Piper began teaching that the practice of homosexuality was morally praiseworthy?

I pick John Piper to make it personal for me and some other evangelicals. He is not by any stretch of the imagination the pope of Protestantism, but he is my living hero. I even named my only begotten son after him. If he were to begin teaching that the practice of homosexuality was morally praiseworthy I would be crushed. But I have the freedom as a Christian to swiftly discard any wrong teachings of his in a heartbeat.

This is why I disagree that an attack on institutional Mormonism for any modern or historic problem can conceivably apply to Protestantism in the same way: we have vastly different views of church government, leadership, and authority. I do not believe that I have an inspired apolostic leadership, nor do I have a hierarchy to which I am bound. We evangelicals are more decentralized, and have no system of inspired (and I use that word in the strong sense) leadership-succession.

An ideological attack on the past actions and words of Roman popes matters more than attacks on any Protestant figure. I can discard the teaching of a Protestant on a whim. But Catholics in principle have more invested in the historic reliability of their succession of authority figures. So a Protestant preacher and Catholic pope could make the same exact theological error, but it should in principle have more impact on the system of Romanism than on Protestantism. This is even more the case when it comes to a Mormon president, because Mormonism says that its president is a bona fide prophet in the thickest sense.

Wanting modern prophets and apostles or Popes with inherent authority but without any increased standard of accountability and responsibility is downright shallow. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

For all the smack-talk about Protestants being in a denominational anarchy and disorganized mess, we have the benefit of not having to account for any historic leadership to which we do not put ourselves under. So while you could conceivably hold me accountable for sticking around my local church while my local pastor was doing or saying horrible things, or you could accuse a Presbyterian sticking around too long under a bad presbytery, etc., you can’t accuse me of being immoral for refusing to take responsibility for a Protestant like Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Ted Haggard, etc., let alone any dead guy.

The best real example I can think of is historic racism. I was previously accused of ideologically attacking the Mormon Church for not making an institutional apology for the kind of theology that undergirded the pre-1978 priesthood ban. After all, wasn’t Mormonism’s racism largely a continuation of what was Protestant racism? I responded:

There is no question in my mind over whether the seeds of Mormonism’s institutional racism were planted by Protestants. Racism is only the beginning of the list of the embarrassing sins of my religious ancestors. There are worse skeletons than racism in our closet. Furthermore, you and I both come from the same rotten mom and dad, Adam and Eve. The nice thing about sola scriptura (a belief some Mormons seem to retreat to when forced to deal with things like Adam-God) is that I can discard the teachings of historic Jews and Christians when they don’t reflect (explicitly or by inference) a historical-grammatical reading of the Old or New Testament. My leaders have no more access to God than I do, and I am not bound to any one religious hierarchy. God has promised that his people are securely in his hand, but he has not promised that religious leaders who are professing Christians will never lead people astray.

Mormons, on the other hand, have been given the promise that their leaders will never lead others astray. When Mormonism touts what it calls “continuing revelation”, living prophets, living apostles, and a modern stream of prophetic counsel, it ups the ante. I can, and I do right now, unequivocally denounce and condemn what Luther said about the Jews. But Mormonism’s leaders haven’t demonstrated a willingness to stand up and unequivocally and explicitly denounce and condemn what it (”it” being the institution with various institutional channels of communication and control) has promoted, perpetuated, enforced, and acquiesced to.

Just in case this isn’t clear, let me make it crystal clear. If John Piper taught tomorrow that Jesus was the spirit-brother of Satan, that we had to merit eternal life, and that one should have no certain position on whether God the Father was once a foul sinner in a past mortal probation, I would probably cry but then pronounce that he is anathema/accursed/hell-bound. As Paul said,

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)

So even if Thomas Monson, or John Piper, or Pope Benedict XVI teaches a false gospel, let him go to hell. Turn your back on him and go where the Spirit is. And of this you can be sure: where the true gospel is not believed, the Spirit is not indwelling.

See also


A classic example of false teaching by a Mormon prophet is Adam-God. On this one Mormon writes:

“It’s now standard practice to teach that Adam and Heavenly Father are separate beings, but there was a time when that assertion contradicted what the President of the Church was teaching. Brigham Young taught that acceptance or rejection of the Adam-God doctrine ‘will either seal the damnation or salvation of [men]’ (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, April 9, 1852). Men like Orson Pratt were vocal in their opposition to the doctrine, and Brigham Young responded that it would “destroy him if he does not repent & turn from his evil ways” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, March 11, 1856). Yet, in a matter of decades, the Church had abandoned the doctrine… So what are we to do if we find our conscience in opposition to what the present authorities are teaching about some issue? Force ourselves to accept something with which we disagree? I don’t think that’s the way to go. I mean, can we safely assume that, in another 25, 50, or 100 years, General Authorities will still be teaching the same thing? If Church history is any indication, then the answer is no. Today’s heresies might be tomorrow’s doctrines. As for myself, I’ll stick with my own intuition, spiritual experiences, and conscience.” (>>)

If you want to engage in constructive conversation on this whole issue, folks, don’t resort to the red herring of “prophets aren’t perfect, they’re human”, etc. That’s an inadequate way of approaching the problem. Some helpful questions to answer would be:

  • Do you believe your inspired leadership is expected to be more doctrinally reliable than the common laymen? How should they be held accountable to this?
  • How bad can the false doctrine of an inspired leader get before he is objectively disqualified from being a true prophet or apostle? Some Mormons seem to believe there are no limits.
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104 Responses to What if Thomas Monson, Pope Benedict XVI, and John Piper began teaching that the practice of homosexuality was morally praiseworthy?

  1. faithoffathers says:


    You are priceless! I appreciate your enthusiasm. As we discussed on the BOM thread- the phrase used in the BOM “land of Jerusalem” turns out to actually be an evidence for its authenticity. There are multiple documents from the 5-7th centuries B.C. that refer to the “land of Jerusalem”, which included the area around the city. One such document actually refers to Bethlehem specifically as being in the “land of Jerusalem.” It would be very strange for Joseph to have such a deep understanding of Hebrew linguistic style, history, and structure to get so many of those things right in the BOM and yet not know that Christ was born in Bethlehem.

    The prophecies in the BOM regarding Israel and the United States are very powerful. I only started to get them after spending years reading it. I will let you do the same!

    2 Thesselonians chapter 2 says the second coming “shall not come, except there come a falling away first.” That “falling away” was of course the apostasy. Amos too saw this falling away- he described it as “a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” A “falling away” suggests a loss of something. That something was the Priesthood authority, church organization, and the “words of the Lord.”

    As far as the LDS church being the kindgom of the devil, etc. You simply have nothing to substantiate that. Christ gave the grand key to judge by:

    “By their fruits ye may know them.”

    “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
    And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” In other words, it makes no sense for Satan to fight against himself. Or, Satan will not motivate and cause people, or a kindgom to preach Christ and goodness. He simply will not do it.

    So, look at the LDS church and judge yourself. Do we do good, or evil? But remember, we are told that we are accountable for how we judge such weighty matters.

  2. mobaby says:


    I disagree that Satan would not be interested in righteous living – if it keeps you from Christ, Satan would be all for it. Anything that distracts from Christ crucified and imputed righteousness through the blood shed on the cross. People who are self sufficient and have everything together have no need for Christ. I know I am a destitute sinner unable to bring myself one inch closer to heaven, let alone carry my own weight and let Christ make up the rest. Matthew 11:28 – 30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    I can absolutely see Satan motivating people to preach a false Christ and works righteousness – weighing people down with unnecessary and counterproductive works – all the while living righteous lives.

    On the subject of “by their fruits, you shall know them” I think an examination of the life and character of Joseph Smith answers that question. Does he pass the test of a true prophet? I think his life and teachings come up short in many ways. If Thomas Monson began promulgating another false revelation how would you know? What is your baseline for determining if prophet Monson is true or false, and if his teachings are true or false. I don’t think Mormon prophets really “prophesy” any more in the way Joseph Smith or Brigham Young did, and I don’t think it’s likely to happen as the Mormon Church is not “wild and wooly” anymore and has mainstreamed as much as possible. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any Adam-God revelations anytime soon, and I think in general the teaching that God was once a man will continue to be fairly hidden – I don’t see it becoming part of the Mormon missionaries standard presentation:
    “You see God was once a man and now resides on planet Kolob with his many celestial wives…”

    I don’t think the great falling away occurred as you think, essentially immediately after Christ established His Church resulting in the lost temples and temple teachings with no record of these teachings ever existing whatsoever. I do, however, think the LDS could be part of a great falling away that is occurring in the last days and continues today with more and more false teachers and cults.

    Find rest in Christ.

  3. GB says:


    So let me get this clear, the Bible gives several examples were angels are men, or in the image of men, or men to can become angels, or angels that were men, (Heb 13:2, Gen 19:1-5, Matt 22:30, {Mark 12:25, Luke 20:36}, Act 6:15, Rev 22:9), and NO examples of them being different than men in kind. And yet you believe they are different in kind based on absolutely nothing. That is curious indeed.

    You also admit that you “really don’t know much about angels” and “a humble” you “don’t know”. Yet insist that I am wrong. That is also curious.

    You point to a lot of “speculation” but to no facts.

    If Satan appears as something that he is not (2 Cor 11:14), is that not a deception?

    So then if angels appear as something they are not, is that not also a deception?

  4. GB says:


    The problem you have is that any standard you use to discredit Joseph Smith as a prophet, will also discredit one or more of the Biblical prophets.

    Showing you where your standard discredits a Biblical prophet isn’t an attack on the Bible or that prophet, it is an attack on your standard. Get it?

  5. bws71 says:

    Can’t say I’ve taken the time to read all the posts (I just don’t have that many free hours) – so take my comment for what it may be worth.

    A complicating factor here as we try to measure the qualifications for a true prophet of the Lord is we’ve never seen one in modern times – aside from Mormon claims. There has never been a prophet in the age of preservable history. The records of ancient prophets are old, likely oral rather than written for hundreds if not thousands of years. We don’t know everything Moses or Abraham said or did. We don’t have the records of their neighbors’ complaints about them. (God got rid of Noah’s detractors handily.) My point is judging a modern prophet is difficult. We have no applicable precedent. So then determining what qualifies, and disqualifies a person as a legitimate servant of the Lord is challenging.

    Could the Lord call a prophet today that evangelicals would accept? Some seem to suggest that whoever the Lord calls, he better not bring a message that conflicts with our preconceived notions of right and wrong, doctrine and heresy. That seems like a scary position, one that limits God to your own ideas of what He can and can’t do. Christ was not popular in his time among many jews. Would he or his messengers be today?

  6. GB says:

    bws71 says,

    Good point!!!!

    Also, even in early modern times (say until the use of accurate audio recording devices), transcriptions of their oral remarks were unreliable unless later edited by the speaker himself.

    Such is the case of the Adam-God theory. It is based on transcriptions that are unreliable and unedited by Brigham Young. So the truth be told, we DON’T KNOW for sure what he actually said.

    But hey, the hyper critics won’t let that little factoid bother them!!!!

  7. Ralph says:


    Sorry to put your comment down but as far as I know there are actual letters/diary notes from BY himself that has this written down. So its not just a simple case of an incorrect transcript. If you go onto MRM it explains it all. What BY said about this was not just once but a few times.

    All in all though, he taught that Adam and Heavenly Father were 2 seperate beings more than he mentioned this thing. And from his first talk in conference that mentions it I believe that there is more to it that he did not explain and thus we have a misunderstanding of what he actually means. But that is just my thoughts.

  8. GRCluff says:

    Aaron: You are great at these “what if” senarios.

    What if the law of gravity ceased to exist and we all started floating out to space?

    That makes just as much sense as your:
    What if a prophet said homosexuality was OK?

    The earth is governed by physical laws an will not break them.

    A true prophet is governed by spiritual law, and God will remove him if/when he begins to break them.

    Questioning the validity of either physical or spiritual law is a waste of our time.

    Does God have true prophets today is the only real question here.

  9. bws71 says:

    GR – thanks for the reminder that I wanted to say that I think the Aaron’s post poses an interesting and important question. Unlike the disappearance of gravity, religious acceptance of homosexuality is actually happening in some churches. What IF it happened in ours? Would I hold my own understanding of the gospel above that of someone who may be God’s messenger of truth?

    So I think this thread does bring up an important consideration – how do we handle a message from an alleged servant of God that we disagree with? Almost of a course prophets seem to come with a needed and thus unpopular message. What do we do when someone claims to speak with authority (as God’s prophets have done) and their message conflicts with our pre-conceived understanding of the gospel? Do we accept the message wholesale? Do we reject it outright? How do we compare that response with the way prophets have been viewed and accepted (and mostly rejected) in the past?

    The other question is what do we do when someone who has been a tool in the Lord’s hands does or says something out of harmony with God’s will? Does this disqualify them and everything they’ve done? I say we don’t know because we have no scriptural insight or precedent comparable to what modern media and the information age has presented.

    Unfortunately the tone of the thread has become a little hostile in my opinion. I hope folks can try to see the truth in what I’m asking, not the faults.

  10. Berean says:


    FoF is all over the place and going way off topic. I know this angers Aaron so I will just briefly touch on a couple of these issues. One of the prophecies that FoF is talking about regarding Israel and the BoM is 2 Nephi 10:7. For me personally, it didn’t take 25 times to see the false prophecy that it is. It was seen the first time and then emphasized again when I read the 1830 BoM. Joseph Smith got it wrong in the late 1820’s when looking throug the seer stone in the hat and the LDS Church continued on that course with the 1981 issue of the BoM. I’m looking forward to discussing this false prophecy regarding Isreal on another thread.

    In regards to the “land of Jerusalem” that FoF mentioned, once again, the BoM is not supportive and contradicts this very statement because the very first page of the BoM (1 Nephi 1:4) says, “the great CITY Jerusalem”. Jerusalem and Bethlehem are and always have been separate cities. Where was Jesus raised in his youth? That’s right – Nazareth – not Bethlehem or Jerusalem. This could go on and on. This is really a no- brainer. This can be talked about more on another thread if the moderators ever want to create a thread to talk about it.

  11. David says:

    “It is based on transcriptions that are unreliable and unedited by Brigham Young. So the truth be told, we DON’T KNOW for sure what he actually said.

    But hey, the hyper critics won’t let that little factoid bother them!!!!”

    This is exactly what I referenced in one of my posts. Brigham Young did teach Adam-God. If we don’t know that then we do not know anything from Mormon history as the Adam-God doctrine was referenced several times throughout church history not just by B. Young. It is wishful thinking at its worse.

    The attack on the reliability of church history seems to be an indirect admission that Adam-God is bad. Why deny something that is good and promotes the LDS church? It seems as though the Mormon response to embarrassing words/actions from the First Presidency is to dodge, dodge, dodge. Like when Hinckley flaked (lied) about his knowledge of DNA evidence and the BoM and when he flaked about eternal progression. Like when Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saints lied in 1835 about not practicing polygamy.

    The history of Mormondom is to dodge, obfuscate, and lie outright about the past. So, if Monson switched positions there would tons of spin after the fact. A few decades later there would be Mormons and non-Mormons having conversations (like this one) about how the church did/didn’t oppose homosexuality in the early 21st century.

  12. GB says:


    They may have been separate cities but they were not separate “land”s. Get it?

    Off course, ignorance of how Bethlehem is considered a suburb of Jerusalem, makes the hyper critic more comfortable with this attack.

    For those that don’t prefer ignorance check out.


    Moderator’s note: Your subsequent comment has been carded because you were impatiently trying to get around the moderation of links.

  13. GB says:


    (While we wait for the moderators to review the web link below.)

    They may have been separate cities but they were not separate “land”s. Get it?

    Off course, ignorance of how Bethlehem is considered a suburb of Jerusalem, makes the hyper critic more comfortable with this attack.

    For those that don’t prefer ignorance check out.


    (just add the standard www stuff)

  14. GB, would you kindly tell us how that jpost article serves your cause? I’m missing the connection.

  15. I think a comment on the Journal of Discourses is in order:

    “Not only was the JD published by the LDS Church (using both the Church’s press and a commecial press in Liverpool, England), the discourses were nearly all previously published in the “doctrinal” section of either the Deseret Evening News or the Deseret Weekly News, on the Church’s press in Salt Lake City. Not only that, but the texts of the discourses were sometimes shortened by the Church-appointed editors of the Deseret News, under either direct 1st Presidency supervision, or under apostolic supervision. In other words, when you read a Brigham Young General Conference Address in an old volume of the Deseret News, you know that Young approved the text, that his secretary, Elder Reynolds reviewed the text, and that editors like Elder Carrington double-checked the text, prior to publication in Utah and reprinting in the JD. If you are saying that Mormons, back in, say, 1865, could have walked up to BY during a Conference Talk, and told him that they refused to follow his instruction, as the Church’s Living Prophet, you are simply wrong. Had you attempted to do that, you would have been put through a church court trial for disobedience to direct instruction from the Lord’s Anointed. Now, 140 years later, Mormons seem to think that they can pick and choose which sentences from those discourses are the Word of God, and which are not. Isn’t the determination of doctrine still an exclusive prerogative if the 1st Presidency? If instruction, advice, counsel, or inspired opinion of a former Living Prophet (or even of a high level GA) is to be overrulled, then doesn’t that decision have to come from a higher level in the Church than a member who objects to which printing press was used to publish that communication (and in a foreign reprint edition, for heaven’s sake!)” – Dale R. Broadhurst

  16. MDavis says:

    The First Presidency did endorse the publication but there was no endorsement in regards to accuracy or reliability.

    They have also not been canonized.

    An LDS individual can go their whole life without reading the Journal of Discourses and be just fine in learning the doctrine.

    Unfortunately this is a tactic used by many people who oppose the Church. There is this assumption that we treat these Journal of Discourses just like our canon. That is not true.

    At best, the JoD is a good reference manual. It does not work the other way around.

  17. But to then leap to the assertion that Adam-God may be the result of scribal and editorial error is ludicrous given the mountain of evidence showing that he indeed taught such a thing. Heck, since it caused such a controversy with Orson Pratt, if Brigham Young never really even taught it, all Young had to do was tell Pratt, “Ugh, I didn’t teach that.” But he didn’t, and the real controversy ensued. Orson Pratt taught that Adam’s body was formed from the dust of the earth, and Brigham gave Pratt hell over that. You can read more about this in Conflict in the Quorum.

    Rodney Turner, a professor at BYU, felt he should address this issue in his M.A. thesis:

    “It is the writer’s opinion that the answer to this question is a categorical no. There is not the slightest evidence from Brigham Young, or any other source, that either his original remarks on April 9, 1852, or any of his subsequent statements were ever misquoted in the official publications of the Church…
    “In the light of Brigham Young’s attitude toward the errors of others, and in view of the division created by his remarks concerning Adam, it would be stretching one’s credulity to the breaking point to believe that he would have remained silent had he been misquoted… Brigham Young would surely have referred to those misquotations at sometime or other—he never did… The complete absence of any real evidence to the contrary obliges the writer to conclude that Brigham Young has not been misquoted in the official publications of the Church…” (“The Position of Adam in Latter-day Saint Scripture and Theology,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, August, 1953, pages 45-47)

  18. mrgermit says:

    Mobaby, and others; hang on to your thought of Satan being VERY interested in “righteous living”; this is a key ingredient in some very strong delusion: convince people that what they have is the right kind of fruit, based on some kind of moral livng. If this comes at the expense of not having Christ, or worse yet, having the WRONG Christ (that would incllude the Mormon Jesus), then the moral living becomes the bait to set the trap. Wow, what a good lie that is….. many (and I know some personally) do not dig deeper to examine if this “fruit” is all it APPEARS to be, and choose LDS because of the Boy Scout exterior.

    Like I said, hold onto this thought, Mobaby, and meditate on it: I’ve come to the conclusion that some of the GREATEST evil looks a LOT like the real thing. That is not at all exclusive to the LDS faith, have you heard the claims of Pastor Wrongo-gospel wimper: but it’s changed the lives of tens of thousands…….look at the fruit…….

    Yes, and while you’re at it CHECK THE ROOT, GERMIT

    PS: Great choice of topic, AARON, and the theme served to answer and add to my question to GB about “is there a Mormon Creed of any kind ??”
    really more to the point: what would it matter it “false prophet Monson” can freely contradict any of the preceeding prophets flagrantly, and it’s really no big deal??” Your question seems rhetorical, but I find it very possble and problermatic…….then again, I’m not TBM…….

  19. MDavis says:

    Or could it just be opinion? There is a difference between what is binding on a person and speculation.

    Adam-God, regardless if it is right or wrong, scribal/editorial error, etc. does not matter. It is not binding on the people of the Church.

    If Adam-God was binding on the people of the Church, it would be in our Canon and we would be held responsible for it. That is not the case and is a moot point in terms of binding doctrine on members of the Church.

  20. GB says:


    “the city of David, which is called Bethlehem” (Luke 2:4)

    From the Article;

    “Seal of King Zedekiah’s minister found in J’lem dig

    “A seal impression belonging to a minister of the Biblical King Zedekiah which dates back 2,600 years has been uncovered completely intact during an archeological dig in JERUSALEM’S ANCIENT CITY OF DAVID, a prominent Israeli archeologist said on Thursday.
    . . .
    “The excavation at the CITY OF DAVID, which is located just outside the walls of the Old City near Dung Gate. . .”

    Clearly, the residents of the area consider Bethlehem, the city of David, as a part of Jerusalem.

    So will this put to rest, the bogus charge that Joseph Smith (or more accurately, Alma) got it wrong when he said “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, AT JERUSALEM WHICH IS THE LAND OF OUR FOREFATHERS, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God”? (EMPHASIS MINE)

  21. mrgermit says:

    bws71: considering the fact that your prophets also serve as leaders, shepherds, and pastors (in the general sense of the word), then I think the task of judging them is not as hard as you make it sound or seem. You probablly know where this is headed: yeah, those pesky lists in 1stTim , and Titus, for a start. If this alleged “prophet”, who is to hold the HIGHEST earthly office in the church does not pass these basic tests, there really is no need to go further. And yeah, I’m going out on a limb as saying that certainly JS and Brigham failed these clearly (the specifics of that would be relevant to a post all its own)
    Seems to me that the waters get needlessly muddles when we make a separate category of position for JS and company, a category so unlike anything we’ve seen or experienced that we dare not make a judgment…….. bad idea: we should be holding ALL alleged leaders to the standards God clearlly laid out. They aren’t really that hard to understand, either. At least that’s my take on it. GERMIT

  22. GB, are you saying that Bethlehem is “just outside the walls of the Old City near Dung Gate”?

  23. faithoffathers says:

    Mobaby and McGermit,

    You speak of what I call the “conspiracy theory” to explain everything LDS. This is a theory that is not substantiated by scripture. And it is not consistent with what Christ Himself taught over and over. Simply put, He said, even promised, that a person could know if another were of God or the devil by what comes from them. He made this very clear so everybody could understand this:

    “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”

    This sounds like an eternal principle to me. A corrupt tree CANNOT bring forth good fruit. This was His response to pharisees ascribing His healing to the power of the devil. You can develop your conspiracy theory all you want, but it contradicts Christ! It may “make sense” to you that the devil would encourage people to “live righteous lives”, but he has never done that in the past. It is not his nature and/or he is not allowed to have such influence.

    You list what you perceive as “evil fruit” of Joseph Smith. That is all based on your assumption that he was not a prophet. Let’s look at the concrete, undebatable fruit of his life.

    1. Book of Mormon- has convinced millions that Jesus Christ is their personal Savior. No other book mentions Christ or His atonement more frequently. Millions of people have read the book and claim personal revelation that it is true and has changed their lives for trememdous good. Over 100 million copies have been distributed throughout the world.

    2. Upwards of 60,000 full-time missionaries around the world from the church testifying of Christ and His gospel. They dedicate a portion of their time each week to perform public service without badges or recognition. One million individuals from the church have dedicated 1-3 years of their lives in such full-time service. AND they pay for this themselves!

    3. The church has given hundreds of millions of dollars to feed the non-LDS poor, vaccinate children, rebuild communities, and rescue efforts after natural disasters.

    4. Welfare program- this has been recognized as a shining example by private and government organizations for decades. The church has an extremely efficient and effective program for taking care of its own people and promoting industry and thrift. This includes its employment program.

    5. Established a church that has steadily grown to over 13 million members in over 150 countries.

    6. One of the biggest fruits is the individual lives of those who live the gospel that was restored through Joseph. Of course there are plenty of examples of members who have done bad things, but all in all, if you look at those people who are active in the church you wlil find the great strength of the church. The gospel motivates these folks to live lives of service, selflessness, and honesty. Whether it is helping home-teaching families, teaching children, working in the church canneries, or helping with an eagle scout project, the church instills the principle of selfless giving and loving other people.

    7. Active members pay 10% tithing. The church is on great financial ground and has never had a financial scandel. Each new property, temple, chapel, is paid for before construction begins. Name one other organization for which this is true.

    8. The church has been the clear leader in geneology work. It has dedicated significant funds and time to developing over decades an impressive system of collecting family history information and making all this accessible to any interested persons.

    9. Studies have shown that active LDS live 11 years longer than the average U.S. citizen.

    10. Active members observe a comparitively strict law of nutrition and health- word of wisdom. Yes- there are fat mormons, but active members do not drink alcohol, smoke, etc.

    Could go on, but you get the idea. I know you can pick one of these and show that other groups have also resulted in such a fruit. But adding them all up, I think, is an impressive achievement and “fruit” for anybody. These are undebatable, but you would never know any of this listening to critics of the church.

    keep the faith


  24. mrgermit says:

    Cluff, you wrote, and certiainly believe:

    A true prophet is governed by spiritual law, and God will remove him if/when he begins to break them.

    Really ?? Is that how it worked with those early church fathers that became “hellenized ” ?? Or the catholic popes during the French period that had concubines and kids by them ?? Or what about Mohammed, or Charles Taze Russell, or Mary Baker Eddy ?? Were they all some kind of ‘true prophet” by your definition ?? Islam, by the way, far outnumbers your religion, is God asleep at the wheel on this one ?? I think you have been taught the strange line that if someone is really out of line in leadership, God takes them out, but history, and logic, and even the Bible itself, seem to say otherwise: did God “remove” the high priests that stumbled all over Jesus’ claims to Messiahship ?? Just wondering…… MrGermit

    it’s been said at least a couple of times, but I’ll repeat it: orthodox christians have little problem believing in the GIFT of prophecy alive and well, tho it’s disputed what this might look like; nearly all orthodox, of course, have a problem with what the LDS church, among others, have done with that gift/office and what they’ve made of it. the baby (prophecy at work today) need not go out with the dirty bath water.

  25. David says:

    Binding or not, deadly heresy was put forth at General Conference. Furthermore, there is no doubt that B. Young held to Adam-God. The question then becomes . . .

    Is this evidence for or against the alleged restoration? Here we have a doctrine that was widely held throughout your church (though maybe not universal), it passed away soon after the man who introduced it died. It fell out of favor to the point where, now, one can be kicked out for believing it. Does this inspire confidence in the Mormon restoration?

    B. Young’s doctrinal gaff is every bit as big (or bigger) than the one that is alleged to have taken place in the early days of Christianity. Mormons allege a complete apostasy somewhere around the 3rd or 4th century, yet we for sure have one here. Either Brigham led the church into apostasy in the 19th century by introducing B. Young. Or, modern Church leaders are apostate for condemning Adam-God. Seriously, did the early Mormons go through all their trials just so prophets of God can spout their opinion?

    Is B. Young a fallen prophet or a never-been prophet? This heresy is enough to constitute a “fall” and as such where does that put the current First Presidency? No one removed B. Young for his heresy so it appears that when he fell he took the whole church with him. A prophet of God cannot believe in a deadly, damnable heresy. B. Young either lost his prophethood, never had it, or the current church is apostate. If B. Young was a prophet and then “fell” this is still a fatal problem as he retained his office until his death. He lead others astray as there is ample historical evidence that other members (including GA’s) believed in Adam-God.

    If past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior, then for Mormons I’d have to say that if Monson “went gay” then most of he church would follow him. After his death one would have the choice to call homosexuality praiseworthy or not. Later still, the non-gay position would prevail so that all pro-homosexuals would be driven from the church and form their own “restored” churches (probably in Mexico or southern Utah).

  26. mrgermit says:

    David: WOW, and I don’t mean word of wisdom, i mean what-the-……..WOW: substitute POLYGAMY for HOMOSEXUALITY, and shake gently……….what do ya get ??
    looks remarkably like the FLDS vs. LDS scenario played out in fron of us…….now which one of the two was the REALLY restored chuch , and how would I know…..??
    I’m wondering how many MORE “off-shoots” there are going to be surrounding any number of doctrines in the next generation or two…. All of them prophetically led no doubt.

    PS: interesting how POLYGAMY is now the big offense, how the times have changed, used to be that you didn’t get to the third heaven WITHOUT IT (ETERNAL PRINCIPLE…..wasn’t that the tune back then…….???) .what that is NOW true will be the scarlet letter for future Mormons ?? Time will tell. GERMIT

    Again: if you know even a smattering of LDS history, the real history, not the fake stuff, AARONS post gets less and less “rhetorical” or “what if”. Becomes more like “when it will…….”

  27. faithoffathers says:


    One element some are missing in your claim that B.Y. “fell away” or lost his prophetic call is the Priesthood keys and office he held. We claim he held the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood (and presidency of the church as the senior apostle), which he received from Joseph Smith. If he in fact did possess those keys, the matter really is closed. That authority doesn’t wax and wane with doctrinal knowledge. While each prophet is accountable to God for their stewardship as prophet, teaching a false doctrine does not necessarily end the authority of that prophet or individual. The next in line, John Taylor, had also received the keys of the priesthood. Accordingly, there would have been no falling away, or break in the apostolic authority. So even if I give you all your claims about Brigham Young (which I don’t), it does not result in the church being lost or falling.

    This also addresses your comments about “offshoot” groups. The central question in the succesion of the church leadership after Joseph’s death was “who had the authority of the priesthood keys?” Anybody who knows about priesthood keys and structure knows there really was never any question who would replace Joseph. This is according to the structure and system restored through Joseph and taught to the quorum of the twelve before his death. It is clear today who will be sustained as prophet when a president dies- because we have had a clear precedent from all the previous transitions. After Joseph’s death, they did not have such precedent, so it was not as obvious to some. That is why some jumped in and claimed the “right” to the leadership, including Emma. But the structure and principle were the same back then.

    This is one feature of the Lord’s church that allows it to withstand many different influences and challenges, including those introduced by the mortal weakness of those who hold such high office.

  28. GB says:


    Shall we put this criticism to rest?

    BYU professor Daniel C. Peterson pointed out the absurdity of this argument:

    To suggest that Joseph Smith knew the precise location of Jesus’ baptism by John (“in Bethabara, beyond Jordan” (1 Ne. 10:9) but hadn’t a clue about the famous town of Christ’s birth is so improbable as to be ludicrous. Do the skeptics seriously mean to suggest that the Book of Mormon’s Bible-drenched author (or authors) missed one of the most obvious facts about the most popular story in the Bible — something known to every child and Christmas caroler? Do they intend to say that a clever fraud who could write a book displaying so wide an array of subtly authentic Near Eastern and biblical cultural and literary traits as the Book of Mormon does was nonetheless so stupid as to claim, before a Bible-reading public, that Jesus was born in the city of Jerusalem? As one anti-Mormon author has pointed out, “Every schoolboy and schoolgirl knows Christ was born in Bethlehem.” [Langfield, 53.] Exactly! It is virtually certain, therefore, that Alma 7:10 was foreign to Joseph Smith’s preconceptions. “The land of Jerusalem” is not the sort of thing the Prophet would likely have invented, precisely for the same reason it bothers uninformed critics of the Book of Mormon. (Daniel C. Peterson, “Is the Book of Mormon True? Notes on the Debate,” Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, (Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997), Chapter 6)

    It is important to note what Alma’s words were. He did not claim Jesus would be born in the city of Jerusalem, but “at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers.”

    Thus, the Book of Mormon makes a distinction here between a city and the land associated with a city. It does this elsewhere as well:
    • the land (Alma 2:15) and city(Alma 6:1) of Zarahemla;
    • the land and city of Nephi (Alma 47:20).

    This is consistent with the usage of the ancient Middle East. El Amarna letter #287 reports that “a town of the land of Jerusalem, Bit-Lahmi [Bethlehem] by name, a town belonging to the king, has gone over to the side of the people of Keilah.” (James B. Pritchard, editor, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3d ed. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1969), 489, translation by W. F. Albright and George E. Mendenhall; cited by D. Kelly Ogden, “Why Does the Book of Mormon Say That Jesus Would Be Born at Jerusalem? (I Have a Question),” Ensign (August 1984): 51–52.)

    Thus, Joseph Smith gets it exactly right — the town of Bethlehem is in the “land of Jerusalem.” In fact, Bethlehem is a suburb of Jerusalem: definitely “in the land,” especially from the perspective of Alma, a continent away.

    Critics have not proven anything in raising this point, except perhaps another literary evidence for the Book of Mormon. While a forger would likely overlook this detail and include Bethlehem as the commonly-understood birthplace of Jesus, the ancient authors of the Book of Mormon use an authentic term to describe the Savior’s birthplace—thereby providing another point of authenticity for the Book of Mormon.

  29. MDavis says:

    Here are my opinions as I am reading your post, David. They are in order as I read:

    1. It is not heresy to have an opinion.
    2. We do not know what Brigham Young exactly meant, so no, it cannot be conclusively said that Brigham Young “held” to Adam-God.
    3. It was not widely held and one is not “kicked out” for holding an opinion.
    4. There is no official evidence to conclude that it was a “gaffe.” Like I said before, we do not know what he meant.
    5. I do not believe the events of the early Christian apostasy was a gaffe. I do not think that word describes what we believe happened.
    6. Adam-God was never presented for a sustaining vote. Having an opinion on a matter is not equivalent to apostasy. It is what you do with that belief. Considering that Brigham Young taught about Adam and Jesus Christ and God the Father in harmony with the doctrines of the Church in ther sermons, it could quite very well be that we do not know what he meant. He never had the opportunity to elaborate either.
    7. It is heresy if something is introduced specifically to change the canon. Adam-God does not meet that qualification.
    8. Past behavior can be an indicator of future behavior if you were comparing the same person. Otherwise it is apples and oranges. This is an irrelevant comparison considering that the LDS viewpoint on homosexuality is canonized. Adam-God is not. Apples and Oranges.

    My viewpoint is that Adam-God, in the context of what Brigham Young said in his sermons, does not make sense to me. There are many competing theories on this but the simple point is that we do not know. To assume that Brigham Young meant that Adam was God the Eternal Father contradicts other sermons of his. It is an anomally that is not fully explained. Regardless, the point of the matter is that even if he did believe it in this way, it is not binding on members of the Church. It is not wrong to have an opinion or to even make a mistake. A Prophet is not infallible. To make that assumption is to bring damnation on many Biblical Prophets and Apostles for mistakes they have made. Are you ready to crucify them too?

  30. gundeck says:

    Getting back to the topic of this post, this as an example of what someone in the Reformed tradition is required to do, search the bible informed by the confessions and to reject speculation that results in a false Gospel. This is what the Reformers did when they rejected the veneration of Saints and Angels.

    You appear to be speculating about the nature of angels based on Mormon teaching on the pre-existence souls, with the exception of “hosts of heaven” in Gen 2:1 and and a couple of oter places there is little about the creation of Angels. The Bible is specific that there is no preexistence of souls prior to birth so the rest of your arguments and the resulting theology about the nature of angels and their relation to man are moot (Zechariah 12:1; 1 Corinthians 15: 45-47; John 8:23). The only thing that any of the verses you presented proves is that there are angels, they are messengers and servants of God.

    When a prophet or theologian comes along and says “I have this new teaching…”, honest people must check it against something, we cannot trust our own feelings on these matters (Proverbs 3:5; 28:26). The only thing we can do is turn to the Word, prayerfully considered. I submit that your theology does not pass the Gal 1:6-9 test. It is a new gospel, that is no gospel.

    It seems that on this site all of the Mormons “follow the prophet” without question. It is odd that on some Mormon sites the same conversation is going on between Mormons with differing conclusions. You offer no test or way to verify doctrinal pronouncements coming from Utah. As I understand what I have read you cannot even go to your standard works for confirmation.

  31. gundeck says:


    Where have you or anyone else shown how the bibles standard for testing a prophet would discredit a Biblical prophet? In your vigilance to defend your prophet you have ruled out the Bibles instructions in this matter. This is not a what if situation, it has happened in your church before, as breakaway Mormon church’s prove, not everybody who claims to be a prophet is true.

    Deuteronomy 18:20-22, Isaiah 8:10, and Galatians 1:6-10 doesn’t seem like to much to ask.

  32. David says:

    For FoF,

    “The authority doesn’t wax and wane with doctrinal knowledge”

    So, I guess no amount of damnable heresy is enough to render someone a heretic. Seriously, how bad would it have to get. If B. Young introduced the “Satan-God” doctrine would he lose his authority then? The top guy of a religion is supposed to have his stuff together and not hold to perverse teachings that a modern Mormon would get kicked out for (unless you are saying eternal truths change).


    I will take your points point by point.

    1. I doubt Young would call Adam-God an opinion, but he did believe it. Twisted belief is heresy whether you call it an opinion or not.

    2. We do know what Brigham said and that is Adam is our God.

    3. There was a time when some Mormons believed it, even GA’s. You switched tenses on number 3. If someone today doesn’t ascribe to Adam-God he/she is not kicked out. However, try to publicly proclaim an opinion that Adam is God (like Young did) and see where that lands you.

    4. We do know that Young taught and defended this doctrine. I used the word “gaffe” because I was trying to be nice J

    5. If you applied the same standard to early Christianity that you do towards Mormonism I wonder how you can claim an apostasy ever occurred. If Augustine, or some other bishop, pulled their beliefs out of a Hellenistic hat (which is what many Mormons state what happen) how could that be apostasy – that was just his opinion.

    6. Adam-God was never sustained in a vote. Where did I ever claim it was? It was a (heretical) belief that existed in 19th century Mormonism. We do know what Young meant and he did defend Adam-God. The fact that Adam-God does not harmonize with some of Young’s earlier sermons does not bail him out.

    7. Latter-day Saints are kicked out for beliefs, beliefs where changing the canon was never an issue. Since 1830 many Mormons have been disciplined – and changing the canon, or attempting to do so, was never an issue.

    8. Many beliefs like polygamy, and banning blacks from the priesthood were not canonized, but it took a formal declaration to undo them. I am not comparing an individual, I am looking at the past behavior of an institution. Institutionally, your church’s beliefs have been all over the place. I am fully aware that Adam-God contradicts previous sermons of Young’s. Again, this doesn’t bail him out but rather makes the problem worse. How can a prophet contradict himself on religious matters? I am not asking for infallibility and I know that his heretical opinion is not binding on modern Mormons. If Adam-God is heresy, which it is, then Young led people astray. Simple as that. At a general conference long ago people took in spiritual poison from the top guy. Again, I can handle mistakes. I cannot handle a supposed prophet/apostle disseminating heresy from the pulpit.

    When our leaders, like Tertullian and Honorius, went astray we struck them with an anathema. Has your church done that to Young? No, you named a university after the guy. Where in the Bible does a prophet or apostle error in religious teaching? Where did a supposed man of God teach heresy unchecked. Not to be found. Instead of bailing Young out, your comments seem to show a low view of scripture and prophets.

  33. DefenderOfTheFaith says:


    As far as trusting your leaders, I am curious as to what you would have done if you had lived in the times of Moses. Let’s say he comes to you with 10 commandments that God gave to him that you must live or else. Then he comes to you a few years later with another command from God (slay the Midianites Num 22), in direct contradiction to the previous, so-called command that you should not kill. I just want to know what a good Christian would do with this scenario!

  34. GB says:

    Gd: Where have you or anyone else shown how the bibles standard for testing a prophet would discredit a Biblical prophet?

    GB: You seem to be a little slow here. NOWHERE have I tried to discredit a Biblical prophet. Since you missed my point I will restate it. A problem you have is that any standard you use to discredit Joseph Smith as a prophet, will also discredit one or more of the Biblical prophets.

    Showing you where your standard discredits a Biblical prophet isn’t an attack on the Bible or that prophet; it is an attack on your standard. Get it?

    Another problem you have is that you seem to think that continually quoting Deu 18:20-22, somehow provides meat to your argument. It doesn’t because I have no problem with it. Just because a prophesy is yet to be fulfilled doesn’t automatically make it a false prophesy.

    In your vigilance to repudiate our prophet, you have read into the Bibles instructions something that isn’t there.

    The Bible nowhere specifies that there is no preexistence of souls prior to birth. And the verses you site do not support your argument.

    (NJB)Zec 12:1 A proclamation. The word of Yahweh about Israel (and also about Judah). Yahweh, who spread out the heaven and founded the earth and formed the human spirit within, declares:

    Nowhere in that verse does it specify when the spirit is made. Yahweh only takes credit for its formation.

    (KJB) 1Cor15: 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
    43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
    44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
    45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
    46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
    47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
    48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

    The context of these verses is clearly the resurrection and not the creation, so they don’t support your argument either.

    Jn8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
    24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

    Jn 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
    15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
    16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

    So clearly the context of these verses is regarding those that accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and those that don’t. These verse have NOTHING to do with the creation of spirits.

    There are verses that indicate a pre-mortal existence of the spirit.

    Job 38: 7 all the sons of God shouted for joy.

    For all of them to shout for joy, they all had to be there.

    Eccl. 12: 7 the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

    How can they RETURN to somewhere they haven’t been?

    Jer. 1: 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.

    How could he have been known if he didn’t exist in some form?

    John 9: 2 who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind.

    How could he have sinned before he was born if he didn’t exist with the ability to sin before he was born? Why did Jesus let this concept stand if it wasn’t possible?

    Rom. 8: 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.

    To foreknow them, they had to fore exist.

    Eph. 1: 4 chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.

    To choose them before the foundation of the world, they had to exist before the foundation of the world.

    The understanding of the pre-existence of man isn’t new, it is something that was lost and is now restored.

    It is true that we cannot trust our own feelings on these matters (Proverbs 3:5; 28:26). The only thing we can do is turn to the source of all truth, that is God and prayerfully approach Him.

    All we ever ask people to do is to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. As with all things spiritual, God is the final authority. It is only through sincere and honest prayer that anyone can really know the truth about anything spiritual.

  35. mrgermit says:

    Sometimes I see a comment or question that just HAS to be repeated, it’s just that good…….thanks to DAVE


    and I think the unspoken question would be: And STILL be rightly considered a true prophet of GOD………

    thank you DAVE for the question of the Tues. AM shift…….

  36. MDavis says:

    My response to David point by point:

    1. Speculation. Yes, I am sure he believed what he said, obviously, but the problem is, we do not know exactly what he was trying TO say. You call it a twisted belief but that is you assuming to know what Brigham Young was trying to say. At best, his comments just do not make sense. Put it in context of other things he has said and it becomes an issue of where he was trying to go. That is like saying someone meant to go to the grocery store after they got in their car and started driving. You cannot just assume that the person is going to the grocery store because they were driving. Brigham Young’s sermons ALSO contain doctrine in harmony in regards to Adam and his role. So while I admit it is strange as to what he said, I find your assumption lacking any foundation.

    2. I believe the source of criticism is this statement, “He is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do.” But my point in point 2 was we do not know conclusively what he meant by saying it. Saying something and meaning something can be two different things.

    3. You are missing my point here. Anyone can believe whatever they want to and still be a member of the Church. It is the application of asserting an opinion onto others that constitutes apostasy, with the express understanding of knowing that your opinion is NOT in harmony with the doctrines of the Church. There are many members of the Church who give their opinions in fast and testimony meeting or in class that are not true. That does not mean they are intending to deceive others. You cannot conclusively say that Brigham Young meant to deceive members of the Church. His comments here are bizarre, I agree with that, but they do not jive with other things, which are in harmony. But to make the leap that it equals heresy is a huge leap that cannot be supported.

    4. But we do not know exactly WHAT he was trying to defend. Please show me some evidence saying that Brigham Young said that Adam is God the Eternal Father, the SAME Eternal Father that we worship and pray to. Otherwise you are making the leap from text to meaning with no foundation whatsoever.

    5. You miss the point with the meaning of words. In a general sense, we use the term apostasy to point to the moving away from the principles originally taught. There is of course personal apostasy. Hence, a general apostasy is more forgiving of people due to the fact that innocent people could not find the truth simply because it was changed. That is not their fault. There were, however, certain players on the field that deliberately changed doctrines. Thus, we do not “blame” everyone who lived during those times and do not believe they are people filled with such hate and heresy, etc etc. So to even bring up the comparison that you did is not parallel. It would not be the same situation and once again, it is not apostasy to hold a belief.

    6. It does bail him out from your condemnation of heresy on him. It does not make sense for someone to be in harmony, appear to go out of tune, then to go back into harmony again. So unless you can conclusively show me that his apparently disharmony was in fact valid, you really do not have an argument that is conclusive.

    7. You do not get kicked out for believe something. Once again, it is what you do with that belief. Otherwise you are advocating a group of people that must be perfect without any defects at all. We are all learning and sometimes people misunderstand things. That’s the whole point OF learning and moving forward. People are excommunicated or disfellowshipped for their actions in deliberately going against the Church. There is a difference.

    8. Your assumption is that there is no continual revelation. Your assumption is that if there is a doctrine, that doctrine cannot change whatsoever. It is a core belief of the LDS faith that revelation continues. If you were right we would still be sacrificing lambs and all matter of Old Testament rituals. We believe in a living Gospel. Line upon line, precept upon precept.

    I think you are ready to nail the boards together and hoist Brigham Youn up without any conclusive evidence. I would be willing to read any evidence you have of him asserting his position that Adam is our Eternal Father, the same Eternal Father of whom is taught is the Father of the Savior Jesus Christ, the one I pray to each night.

  37. gundeck says:

    I guess I am a little slow because I have not seen how you have demonstrated that using Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and Galatians 1:6-10 would discredit any biblical prophet. Can you demonstrate this for those of us who are a little slow?

    D&C 45:64-74 & D&C105:13-15, are both prophecies about Missouri, test them against Deut 18:20-22. If something is predicted to have great success and ends in failure we must question the validity of the prophet. There are others D&C 112:3-4; 7-8; 11 concerning the great works that Thomas March would do for the Mormon Church. He of course was excommunicated. D&C 114:1 David Patterson was to go on a mission “next spring” sadly he died eight months later. How do these test against Deut 18:20-22? There is nothing open ended about these men, nothing waiting to be fulfilled.

    I have provided 7 examples of how Joseph Smith failed the Deut 18:20-22 test. I will give you the first three because you say that they will be fulfilled. The two prophecies about Missouri did not happen as predicted. Not only did Marsh not go on his mission he got excommunicated. Morbid though it is, Patterson died and did not go on his mission.

    Paul tells us that we are the Adopted children of God, so Job 38:7 is not telling you about pre-existing souls. God made the soul so going back to him as in Eccl. 12:7 does not prove preexistance. And finnally all the verses about predestination means just what they say predestined by God.

    Zec 12:1 places an order of creation God formed the Heavens the Earth then formed the spirit. Mans spirits were not around for the forming of the Heavens and Earth. See see comments on Job38:7.

    1Cor15:45-47 I agree that this is about the resurrection but it also tells us that the first Adam was made with his soul, he is from where? Earth not heaven or Kolob.

    John 8:23 is as you pointed out about accepting the Gospel but it does not change the fact that Jesus plainly said where we are from, below, not above, and not where Jesus is from.

  38. GB says:


    Deuteronomy doesn’t exactly say that one mistake makes a false prophet. James L. Mays, editor of Harper’s Bible Commentary on page 226 writes:
    “Prophecy in the names of other gods is easily rejected, but false prophecy in God’s name is a more serious matter. This dilemma requires the application of a pragmatic criterion that, although clearly useless for judgments on individual oracles, is certainly a way to evaluate a prophet’s overall performance.”

    The problem with applying Deut. 18:22 to a single, individual prophecy is that some prophecies can be fulfilled in complex ways or at times much later than anticipated by the hearers. Moreover, God sometimes appears to reverse certain prophecies, as He says He is free to do in Jeremiah:

    7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
    8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
    9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
    10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. Jer. 18:7-10

    Be careful in how you apply Deut. 18:22, for you threaten to reject some true prophets in the Bible! There are examples where a true prophet prophesied something which did not happen as he stated, to the best of our knowledge. An example is found in the story of Jonah, who was told by God to prophecy to the people of Nineveh. Jonah prophesied that the people would be destroyed in 40 days (Jonah 3:4)—no loopholes were offered, just imminent doom. God changed things, however, when the people repented and He chose to spare them—much to the chagrin of that imperfect (yet still divinely called) prophet, Jonah.

    Jonah, in fact, was “displeased … exceedingly” and “very angry” (Jonah 4:1) about this change from God, perhaps because it made Jonah look bad. In spite of an “incorrect” prophecy and in spite of the obvious shortcomings of Jonah, he was a prophet of God and the Book of Jonah in the Bible is part of the Word of God.

    Yet if that sacred text had been lost, only to be restored by Joseph Smith, it would be assaulted as the most damning evidence against Joseph Smith.

    Just imagine how the critics would dismiss the Book of Jonah as being evil, contradictory, ludicrous, anti-Biblical, unscientific, and unchristian.

    The prophet Ezekiel provides another example of how true prophets may err or give prophecies of uncertain accuracy. In Ezekiel chapters 26, 27, and 28, we read that Tyre (a fortified island city) would be conquered, destroyed, and plundered by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The riches of Tyre would go to Babylon (Ez. 26:12). Nebuchadnezzar’s army did lay siege to Tyre, and its inhabitants were afflicted, apparently so much that they shaved their heads bald, as prophesied in (Ez. 27:31). However, the 13-year Babylonian siege apparently was not quite as successful as Ezekiel had predicted, perhaps because the land-based tactics of Babylonian sieges were less effective against a fortified island city with significant maritime power. The result of the siege may have been a compromise or treaty rather than total destruction and plunder, for (Ez. 29:17-20) reports that the predicted plundering did not take place. Almost as if in compensation, the Lord now announces that He will give Egypt to the Babylonians, which is the theme of chapter 29.

    Here are verses (Ez. 29:17-20):
    17 And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
    18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: YET HAD HE NO WAGES, NOR HIS ARMY, FOR TYRUS, FOR THE SERVICE THAT HE HAD SERVED AGAINST IT:
    19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.
    20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD. (emphasis added)

    Yes, Tyre is no more, but its complete destruction apparently did not occur during the Babylonian siege, and certainly the Babylonian army did not get the riches of Tyre as has been prophesied. It is Ezekiel himself who reports this “prophetic failure.” (Daniel C. Peterson, “Review of Decker’s Complete Handbook on Mormonism by Ed Decker,” FARMS Review of Books 7/2 (1995): 38–105.)

    The purpose in raising this issue is not to question the wisdom of the Lord, nor the truthfulness of the Bible, but to point out that an overly critical attitude and a strict application of Deut. 18:22 may reject even true, Biblical prophets.

    If we try hard enough to find reasons to reject a prophet, we will surely succeed—but beware lest we judge unwisely and reject those whom God has sent and anointed, even though they be mortal and fallible.

    Another example to consider is the prophet Jeremiah—a great and inspired prophet—who prophesied that king Zedekiah would “die in peace” (Jer. 34:4-5). Critics could argue that this prophecy did not prove to be true, for Zedekiah saw his sons killed by the conquering Babylonians and was himself blinded and put in prison, where he died in captivity—not in peace (Jer. 52:10-11). Of course, the point is that he would not be killed by the sword, but die of natural causes—albeit in prison—yet to the critics, it may look like a case of a false prophecy. This case is certainly less clear-cut than the prophecy of Ezekiel discussed above, yet also serves to warn us against harsh judgments.

    In 2_Sam. 7:5-17, we read that the prophet Nathan unequivocally prophesied to David that through his son Solomon the Davidic empire would be established “forever,” that the children of Israel would dwell in the promised land “and move no more,” and that the “children of wickedness” would no longer afflict them. These things are quite clearly stated. No conditions are attached to these promises, none whatsoever. (Michael T. Griffith, “Vindicating Prophecy: Why the {MRM banned phrase} View of Prophecy Is Invalid,” in One Lord, One Faith (Horizon Publishers, 1996).

    Yet this prophecy clearly did not prove successful if it is interpreted literally.

    So then D&C 42:66-74 is yet to be fulfilled.

    Also D&C105:13-15 is yet to be fulfilled.

    D&C 112:3-4; 7-8; 11 is not predictive in nature but rather a personal commandment to Marsh. The fact that Marsh was disobedient to the personal commandment from the Lord should cause little surprise that he was latter excommunicated.

    D&C 114:1 Verily thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, THAT HE SETTLE UP all his business as soon as he possibly can, AND MAKE A DISPOSITION of his merchandise, that he MAY perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world.

    Again this is not predictive in nature but rather a personal commandment to get his affairs in order so that he would be prepared for departure. The fact that his departure was from this earth didn’t lessen the need for him to get his affairs in order.

    You haven’t addressed this issue “For all of them to shout for joy, they all had to be there.” When could (past tense, therefore prior to Job) all of the sons of God been together to shout for joy?

    You cannot go BACK to somewhere you haven’t been!!! Get it?

    Zec 12:1 Does NOT place an order of creation God!!! Period!! NOTHING in that verse specifies the order.

    Adams body was made from the dust of the earth. His spirit was made by God prior to this event.
    Gen 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

    Notice that it doesn’t say that God created/formed the “breath of life” at that time, only that He breathed it into Adam. Why? Because it already existed.

    And you got it wrong! Jn 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

    Those that accept Jesus are “NOT OF THE WORLD”. Jesus Himself said so. Do you not believe Jesus?

  39. David says:


    1. Your just digging a deeper whole for yourself. If B. Young’s’ words at general conference (and elsewhere) cannot be understood it calls into question every sermon from your pulpits. You cannot have it both ways. You want to be able to understand someone when it sounds nice. But when it is an unpleasant idea, all of a sudden reading the English language becomes near impossible. Your objection here demonstrates a pre-commitment to Young. Young’s contradicting himself is evidence that he is not a true prophet or that he fell.

    2. This doctrine is so misunderstood that it has a name and current adherents. I hope you can sense my sarcasm. Based on Young’s post-sermon words in regard to Adam-God, he meant what he said. Plus, if there was some misunderstanding he had ample time to correct any false notions. Never happened. We can also tell from those who objected to Adam-God (Like Pratt) that the doctrine was understood by those who believed it and non-believers alike.

    3. But Brigham was not just another guy – he was the living prophet. Higher standard there whether you like it or not. Second, he did teach it even if he was only teaching his opinion. Other members, including GA’s, believed him. He disseminated false doctrine from an official Mormon pulpit. Plus, your restrictions on what constitutes heresy are too tight and do not jive with history. Attempting to deceive is not a requirement for heresy/ex-communication. Many a Mormon has been kicked out for beliefs that they genuinely believed to be true.

    4. A leap form text to meaning – who would have thought. Your objection reminds me of the Muslim objection to the deity of Christ. “Where did Jesus ever say, ‘I am God worship me’ in that exact way,” says many a Muslim. Young said what he said and it is only those who are trying to defend your church that do not see the obvious. Even some of your members do but find other ways of blowing off the obvious. An example would be Bruce McConkie. He admitted that Young taught Adam-God (the traditional understanding of the term). In fact MRM has an article about it here:

    5. I was not attempting to find fault with number 5. I was stating that if Young could have a university named him after disseminating soul damning heresy, then how could anything be called heresy? I get the sneaky suspicion that you think intent is the main issue with heresy. Many heretics are sincere people just sincerely wrong.

    6. Again, pre-commitment to Young and your church. The easiest solution is that Young never was prophet to began with. That harmonizes a lot. So what if some of what he taught was good or in harmony with your church . Every heretic has some truth in his teaching. That is not what heretics are anathematized for.

    7. Young did not just believe it. He disseminated it; he taught it even if it was only his opinion.

    8. Why do you assume that I do not believe in continuing revelation? I do and so do many other Christians. I know that your church teaches that only your church believes as such. But, as I have mentioned in many other posts on this website, Mormons do not have a lock on the claim of continuing revelation and just a scant knowledge of history will show that.

    If Monson accepted homosexuality as praiseworthy, many a Mormon would blow him off they way you guys blow off B. Young.

  40. gundeck says:

    So in conclusion follow the prophet, he has subjective revelations from God.
    That must be comforting.

    In your view there is not an intertsetamental connection with Zec 12:1
    and the creation account in Gen 1? The same order heaven, earth, man with
    the addition of the forming of the soul is only a coincidence? Zec 12:1
    adds more information helping me in the reading of Gen 2:7.

    It is helpful for me to remember that Paul tells us we are the adopted sons
    of God, being that I am from below, not above. I have no claim on the title
    son of God until after I am brought into Union with Christ thru the Spirit,
    but this is not the place to discuss the order of salvation. Are you
    proposing that being regenerated changes your origin? Read the way you
    suggest John 17:14 would point to different origins for the elect and
    non-elect. We know that this is not true because we are all from Adam.

  41. MDavis says:

    What I am taking out of this is a different viewpoint on what a Prophet is. I do not believe Prophets are infallible. I believe the condemnation you put on Brigham Young would also have to be applied to the biblical Prophets as well.

    Otherwise you have to thrown them all under the bus.

    So we have two paradigms clashing here–two viewpoints on Prophets and what exactly their role is and how they are to accomplish it.

  42. David says:


    The problem with that approach is it (seems) is ad hoc. It seems just an attempt to bail out B.. Young.The bar for prophetthood in Mormonism is so low any charlatan can (and has) walk over it. Seioursly, how bad would the heresy have to get? Make no mistake about it; Adam-God is as bad, or almost as bad, as it can get. Would Young have to have preached a Satan-God sermon for Mormons to reject his claim of being a prophet?

    Again, I am not asking for infallibility. But Mormons are forced into this all-or-nothing paradigm where all mistakes are the same. How else would a religious group detect a false prophet if not for false prophesy and inconsistent teaching? Under your paradigm anything goes because prophets are not “infallible”. Contrast this to how Christians have handled their religious leaders. We threw Tertullian and Honorius under the bus for erroneous “opinions”. In the case of Honorius we had to dig up his bones (figuratively) in order to do it.

    I do not believe prophets must be sinless in order to be a prophet. The Biblical prophets were fallible and some of their sins are recorded in scripture. However, where in the Bible does one see a prophet teach heresy? I am not forced to throw the Biblical prophets under that bus. You keep mentioning some Biblical prophets as being in the same boat as B. Young. Which ones did you have in mind? If I thought that scripture contained heresy, I would not call it scripture.

  43. mrgermit says:

    MDavis: I like your posts and your points, but I’d submit that not only do your view and David’s clash reg. prophets and their level of infallibility/certainty, but your view and those of JS and BY clash as well. To me, that’s the rub. Not at all dissimilar to many a Roman Catholic I know (personally) who say “Pope Benedict can say blah,blah,blah, but really, that doesn’t matter much to me……” Well, fine, except that’s not what POPE BENEDICT would say…..and so if I want to make a statement about the RC church ITSELF, who am I going to lean toward ?? When I take this approach on MC, of course, I get accused of “being mired in the 19th century” (love that phrase….by the way) BUT I WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD JS AND BY TO THE HIGH STANDARD THEY SET UP FOR THEMSELVES.

    As you’ve wisely noted, that standard might well be, I would say definitely was/is, HIGHER than the standard the OT prophets had for themselves. Add that to the foolishness and folly of the LDS prophets…… I consider it a matter of ACCOUNTABILITY to hold them to what they said, particularly to that they said about themselves and the role of the most important earthly servant, next to Jesus.

    Blessings GERMIT

    PS: if anyone has contact with BWS71, or if he’s still reading, have him check out Internetmonk and Michael Spencer for a great blog on comparative religion (not so much Mormon, but a wide variety of orthodox views) if that’s what he’s into. THANKS

  44. MDavis says:

    I guess the bottom line for me is, I simply do not believe that Brigham Young’s thoughts on this matter constitute a declaration about Adam and God the Eternal Father. There is no official sermon devoted completely, as his thesis, to the matter. You have to patch pieces from a collection of over 1500 sermons.

    He also equivocates on terms. God and god are consistant with Mormon Theology as well as Father and father. They have different contextual means.

    We can say that Adam is a god in Mormon thelogy and that he is also our father. The concept of Eternal Families also puts Adam as a father, Christ as a father, and our Eternal Father as a father. Adam is our father and all that we have to do in terms of the “machinery” or mortal bodies considering he was the first human here along with Eve.

    So the question is, what did Brigham Young intend to mean here? But I view it from a scholarly question because when it boils down, it is not a matter to know for salvation. It’s like figuring out rocket science when one needs to first consider simple arithmetic calculations. And Brigham Young knew and acknowledged that. He did not teach it as binding doctrine and therefore cannot be construed as him offering a Prophetic Proclamation of “Thus sayeth the Lord.”

    I think one thing gets lost and clashes with the Biblical completeness that many Christians have as their assumption is this Article of Faith (#9):

    “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”

    Thus, the logical conclusion is that doctrine will be added to as more is revealed. I personally believe that Brigham Young’s relatively small remarks on this issue hint to more explanations to the role of God and His plan.

  45. faithoffathers says:


    Your point about what could be called congruency is a good one, and don’t disagree one bit. While the Adam-God theory seems central to this discussion, I will offer another perspective.

    Some possiblities:

    1. B.Y. truly believed Adam was God- an absolute mistruth and one we do NOT believe. I submit that this would not necessarily take away his prophetic mantle, although this is a doozy of a misunderstanding of truth. By the way, the point that B.Y. very clearly explained throughout his ministry the relationship between God and Adam must be considered in this whole attempt to interpret his words. Why the “flip flopping” in his teaching?

    2. B.Y. had the correct understanding of Adam being a son of God, having been created by Him. The vast majority of his sermons and writings would suggest this. If this was the case, how do we explain his statements about Adam?

  46. faithoffathers says:

    What just happened? Sorry- my comment, although not complete, got posted somehow.

    Onward and continuing that thot.

    Consider this in LDS theology: After the resurrection of Christ, those faithful saints and prophets who had preceded Christ on this earth would have been resurrected and received exaltation. In other words, become as God- TO SOME DEGREE. So there are individuals who could be technically considered gods after the resurrection. Could this be what B.Y. was saying in his reference to Adam as (a) god? He is our father, and all of us came from him. And after Christ’s resurrection, he would have become to some degree a god. Now we do not of course worship him. We revere him as our first parent on this earth and someone who was faithful and godly. Could this explain B.Y.’s statements?

    Something to consider!


  47. David says:


    To an outsider looking in, it seems there is a real duplicity with Mormons’ view of prophecy and prophetic teaching. They appear to esteem prophets and continuing revelation highly, but at times, they balk at revelations that are given. In your words specifically I see some “going back and forth”. Earlier it appeared B. Young’s words could not be understood, then it was a mistake that did not take away from his status as a prophet, now it is back to not knowing what he meant. Which one is it?

    The problem with your view is that it defies history and present reality. Adam-God is a real doctrine that some ascribe to and that LDS Mormons can be disciplined for. It is and was understood by its detractors (and adherents), thus it seems people understand it or at least think they do. Like McGermit pointed out, Young does not appear to view his words in the same light that you do. The “thus sayeth the Lord” thing is a red herring and many other people before this post have addressed that. My question to you MDavis is what would you do, if to your satisfaction, it was established that Young did teach Adam-God (the traditional understanding of the doctrine)? Would you believe it? Would you follow Young or would follow dissenting GA’s? Why and how?

    Also, which Biblical prophets do you think taught heresy? What would you do if Monson affirmed homosexuality as being praiseworthy? If the whole Adam-God mess is not a problem for you then what would a problem look like? Would anything be a problem for your faith?

  48. MDavis says:

    Thank you for your comments. Here are my answers to your questions as well as commentary on your paragraphs:

    I can understand that there seems to be duplicity. The fact is though, Adam-God was never advanced as a revelation. For it to be revelation, it would be binding upon the membership of the Church to follow and teach it. It was not binding on the Church nor advanced to be a revelation. Even Brigham Young said that.

    As to what I have said before, I do not believe Brigham Young’s comments can be fully understood in the context that we have them. We can guess but there is no conclusive way to construe them nor a vital reason to do so considering it is not binding on the people to know. He equivocates, as I have mentioned, on certain words that can have more than one meaning depending on how you use them (Father and father for example).

    I am sure you have played the game telephone or have at least heard of it, where an individual says something to a person, then that person repeats what is said to another and so on until it reaches the last person who then says outloud what the message was. Usually it is very different. That is not the fault of the person who originally said it.

    I do not believe the “Thus sayeth the Lord” is a red herring. My only intent was to say that Brigham Young in no way pronounced Adam-God as a revelation or binding on the people of the Church.

    I do not believe there was a “traditional” understanding of the doctrine. It was not binding and only existed as other’s opinions on the matter. It was not required that an individual believe or teach it. Furthermore, Brigham Young talks a lot throughout his 1500 sermons about Adam being a son of God, or rather, one generation removed from the Eternal Father. So, in my opinion you cannot hold onto comments made by Brigham Young on one end, especially considering there is not even a sermon devoted to them, and dismiss apparent contradicting statements on the other, in which whole sermons are devoted.

    Anyways, you have three possible outcomes that must be considered:

    1. Brigham Young meant what he said.
    2. Brigham Young’s statements are in harmony with the Gospel.
    3. Brigham Young’s statements will be in harmony as more is revealed.

    I think it already is established that he taught concerning Adam. The point of issue is what did he mean. Do we literally interpret Isaiah’s sayings with wings, etc. to be literal? It is a context issue. So let me answer the question with more terms. IF Brigham Young taught how you think it is AND proclaimed it as revelation to the Church, no I would not follow him. It is grounds for a false Prophet. I do not believe these conditions were ever met.

    I do not believe Prophets taught heresy. I believe they were human and errored or Prophecies just did not come to pass as was demonstrated a few posts up. Likewise, Brigham Young could have been getting at something that just did not materialize right now and quite possibly, more will be revealed later.

    Lastily, if Monson did accept homosexuality, it would be grounds for him being a false Prophet. There is a difference. The stance of homosexuality IS revelation and IS binding upon the members of the Church insofar as salvation is concerned. This whole Adam-God stuff is not. While I appreciate the question, it is not a parallel question in regards to Adam-God.

  49. MDavis, if a prophet taught at General Conference that Satan should be worshiped, but didn’t advance the teaching to meet the standards you have suggested for what constitutes official revelation, would that still disqualify the person from being a true prophet?

  50. Arthur Sido says:

    Aaron, The problem with this whole hypothetical heresy is that not only do the “prophets” not say anything controversial at General Conference, they really don’t say anything of substance at all. They barely touch Scripture and when they do quote from the Bible they butcher it. The talks at conference are just one string of faith affirming anecdotes after another, interspersed with a smattering of mormon speak about “priesthood authority” and “restored Gospel”. If Monson said anything controversial at conference, it would be shocking not because it was controversial but because he said anything substantive at all.

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