Joseph Smith as a Sexual Predator

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Referenced article here. See also:

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42 Responses to Joseph Smith as a Sexual Predator

  1. Brian says:

    “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

    Quite an amazing video, Aaron. Lately, I have been thinking about the subject Sandra speaks of. The reason for this is of course the trial in Texas. Sandra has shared such a detailed account of a girl in Nauvoo. Her progressive isolation from her family; the only people she knew there as her family had recently moved. The pressure to become involved with a married man. And if she will agree to, she and her family shall have eternal life.

    I’m not sure what’s the worst part of this story. But I would ask our readers, what sort of individual would say, in essence, “Sleep with me and you shall have eternal life”?

    And what does the Scripture say which I cited above? What does it say about how to have eternal life? To point vulnerable people not to Jesus Christ, but to one’s bed? Unthinkable. I think it illustrates the steep descent of Nauvoo’s most prominent citizen.

  2. CD-Host says:

    Ah yes. So let me throw out little Anne Le Fert. John Calvin’s sister in law whom he tried to have executed mainly so his brother wouldn’t lose her dowry. Now if we are going to be consistent that Joseph Smith having a zipper problem, and a bad one, Sandra Tanner isn’t wrong there… discredits Mormonism what happens to Calvinism?

    Lets keep going then:
    28 or 57 witchcraft executions under his rein.
    Joseph Smith did go after a newspaper but… Jacques Gruet was a critic of Calvins. Calvin had him tortured for a month and then executed.
    In Defensio orthodoxae fidei de sacra Trinitate Calvin is quite explicit what should be done to those who disagree with him, “do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.
    Calvin made frequent use of foreign loyalists against his own population, a technique most dictators won’t use.
    There were domiciliary visits, which were put on a regular semiannual basis. The homes of the citizens were visited in order to ascertain the state of the family’s morals.
    He had networks of informers.

    I don’t want to excuse Joseph Smith’s sexual antics. I’m sure feelings were hurt. I’m sure Emma was deeply wounded. I’m sure some of those women felt betrayed, I’m sure others felt honored. It was probably not much different from lots of groupies, most whom look back fondly on the memory some who do not.

    But I see no way a Calvinist can’t disqualify Mormonism on the basis of the behavior of its founder.

  3. Kate says:

    I can’t even imagine what that little girl went through. Just because it happened over a century ago, doesn’t excuse Joseph Smith. I remember watching the trial of Elizabeth Smart and how everyone thinks Brian David Mitchell is such a perv for sexually assaulting a 14 year old (and he is!) but what these people (including the Smarts who are LDS) aren’t giving one thought to, is the fact that Joseph Smith basically did the same thing. Did he basically steal this girl from her family? In my opinion yes he did. Did he coerce her? Yes he did. Did he sexually assault her? Yes he did. I don’t agree with ANYONE who says that Joseph just married these girls and women and that he didn’t sleep with them. When I first learned about all of these wives and started reading all of their stories, I had a deep sense of disgust for Joseph Smith. How can anyone “praise to the man” after knowing about all of this? How can anyone call him “sincere”? Mind boggling.

  4. Mike R says:

    This subject needs to handled in the right way otherwise it’s going to be extremely
    difficult to present it to a Mormon. I’m afraid the conversation would’nt get beyond
    the title. There’s so much that went wrong with Joseph’s Smith life once he started
    concentrating on women. I hope we use this information rightly , that will give the
    Holy Spirit a chance to do what he does best.

  5. Rick B says:

    What is your point? O-yea, you dont have one, you just want to attack Christians. I’m not a calvinst, never been one, dont read Calvin, dont care. You cannot compare a person that said he is the mouth piece for God and started a religion, verses a man who claimed to follow God.

  6. falcon says:

    You really have a Calvin fixation. Everything with you is Calvin. I don’t get it.
    What Calvin may or may not have done doesn’t effect his theology. Calvin isn’t looked on by anyone I know as a prophet. You keep trying to make some weird kind of connection between the posters here and John Calvin. I don’t get it but something is operating in the deep, dark recesses of your mind that’s obsessive in nature.
    What Smith did does have a direct bearing on his theology and lofty standing as a prophet.
    I don’t know anyone who believes that Calvin will be standing at the gates of the Celestial Kingdom passing judgement on those souls that stand before him to give them entrance if he deems them worthy. This is the elevated stature of Joseph Smith to Mormons.
    You play the game exactly like the Mormons do. That game is find someone, anyone in the Bible or the history of the Christian Church, who a bony finger can be pointed at and say, “See he’s just as bad as Joseph Smith.” Some defense of Smith the pervert I’d say.
    We’ve labeled this the “argument from equivalency”.
    You’ve really got a limited number of arrows in your quiver but the one labeled John Calvin seems to be your favorite.
    Do you have more than one note in your song?

  7. falcon says:

    I hate to go down this road because I think it’s basically playing into our unhappy poster CD’s hands (and his need to have a venue to rant about Christianity in general and John Calvin in particular), but I decided to pull out Volume V, No. 4 issue of Christian History magazine. I’ve found this publication to be very balanced and straight forward in its treatment of its subjects. This particular issue is dedicated to John Calvin in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of his first going to Geneva and the first edition of his “Institutes of the Christian Religion”.
    There is a section titled “The Servetus Affair”. I won’t go into the entire article but here are some interesting excerpts.
    “If Calvin is remembered for anything beyond his doctrine of predestination, it was his part in the trial of Michael Servetus. No one should excuse Calvin for consenting to the execution of this confessed heretic, but one should understand that men of the sixteenth century viewed blasphemy as a capital offense. This was no less true of Catholics than of Protestants.”
    “There was a certain inevitability that Servetus would one day find himself surrounded by burning faggots [i.e., sticks]. The only uncertainty was by whose hands would it come-Protestants or Catholics? Despite his angry denunciations of Calvin at this trial, Calvin visited Servetus in jail and earnestly sought to persuade him of his errors. Servetus dismissed Calvin with a laugh.”
    “When the sentence was passed upon Servetus, Calvin requested that the Genevan city government grant Servetus a more humane death. The judges remained adamant and Calvin’s request was denied…….”
    I suppose what we could do is set-up a separate website dedicated to John Calvin and DC could visit it everyday and do his uncontrollable rant. This seems to be an itch he can’t scratch enough.

  8. CD-Host says:

    Falcon —

    What Calvin may or may not have done doesn’t effect his theology. Calvin isn’t looked on by anyone I know as a prophet.

    He’s the founder of Aaron’s (who posted this argument) and your sect. He has exactly the same relationship to you that Joseph Smith does to Mormons. Calvinism is either cessationist in practice or effectively, so the equivalent of a prophet for your group is someone who writes a systematic theology. In your sect someone who claims to speak for the bible, is saying they are speaking for God since you equate the two so strongly.

    What Smith did does have a direct bearing on his theology and lofty standing as a prophet.
    And then by the same logic what Calvin did had a direct bearing on his theology and lofty standing.

    I don’t know anyone who believes that Calvin will be standing at the gates of the Celestial Kingdom passing judgement on those souls that stand before him to give them entrance if he deems them worthy. This is the elevated stature of Joseph Smith to Mormons.

    There is no teaching in Mormonism like that. D&C 135:3 deals with his standing, JS is a highly respected dead sect leader. They don’t conflate with Jesus and Joseph Smith never claimed to do anything more than reveal the real truth about God. This was Calvin’s claim: Rome, the other Reformers and the radical reformers all had partial truth and Calvin by means of his uniquely great biblical insight would reveal the real truth.

    Most of Joseph Smith’s revelations that broke most strongly with Protestantism, came from the bible. Read the Sermon in the Grove or King Follet JS makes biblical arguments. I’ll agree that Calvin’s arguments have fewer crazy leaps but you only need one to create any theology desired.

  9. CD-Host says:

    That game is find someone, anyone in the Bible or the history of the Christian Church, who a bony finger can be pointed at and say, “See he’s just as bad as Joseph Smith.” Some defense of Smith the pervert I’d say.

    Actually the defense is called modus tollens. Your hypothesis is that reformed Christianity is “true”. You then present argument X to show Mormonism is false.

    So your argument basically is
    X(M) = False -> M = False
    which is dependent on X being truth preserving. But I’ve shown
    X(R) = False.
    And since R = True, by hypothesis, X cannot be truth preserving.

    I.E. we have the following statement:
    X: Leaders who sin prove their religion false.
    M: Joseph Smith was involved in heavy sexual sin.

    The conclusion you want is
    X(M): Mormonism is false.

    Now to be fair to Aaron he actually in other places argues something slightly more complex
    Y: Leaders who sin in their name of their religion prove their religion false.
    So in Aaron’s version, Calvin fabrication of evidence would not be a sin of Calvinism but just Calvin personally while her torture based on evidence the government knew to be false would be a sin of Calvinism.

    but the one labeled John Calvin seems to be your favorite.

    Well that’s because of who I’m talking too. Innocent III is actually my favorite. Calvin was a dictator, but he was not a genocidal maniac who engaged in activities Hitler would have balked at. But if I were criticizing Popes of the high middle ages you wouldn’t care, Calvin bothers you need his doctrines. I go after Wayne Grudem quite frequently on my blog, he’s not the equivalent of Joseph Smith though. I have lots of arrows.


    Rick —
    I don’t think you are a Calvinist. Calvin had none too pleasant words for your “me and my bible” type of Christianity.

  10. Mike R says:

    falcon, Rick, others,

    Concerning our Atheist guest, I think the wise course to follow would be to not
    aid him in his mission to deride who he wants to define as “Protestants”. No matter
    what the thread topic is he always attempts to insert his theories, his personal
    opinion about Protestants. If you persist in disagreeing with him on any subject
    your liable to be the recipient of his vulgarity , as was I . He has his own journey
    follow as an Atheist . Hopefully he will eventually see the futility of that path and
    come to experience God’s presence in his life free from the pain left over from his
    past. Just my opinion.

  11. falcon says:

    You’re right Mike.
    Some people go through life with a big load in the back of their truck and they are looking for a place to dump it. I guess this blog has become the place for our friend to unburden himself.
    In life it’s all about getting one’s needs met.
    I remember years ago I’d listen to Public Radio early in the morning as I made my way to work and there were a couple of folks who’d call in who I think could take any topic and turn it to their favorite hobby horse. In that case it was about the Catholic Church no longer saying the mass in Latin. Go figure!
    It’s a lens of perception that some folks wear that doesn’t allow them to venture out beyond the boarders of their preconceived notions and prejudices.
    What we do here is defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the hope that those who are spiritually lost will be prodded, provoked, nudged, encouraged or perhaps led to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
    There’s a process that the Bible talks about regarding sowing, watering and harvesting. As a person who plants and cares for a lot of flowers in the summer, I can tell you that “weeding” is the least pleasant of the tasks I have to do. For me weeding is tedious, arduous, sweaty and full of attacks by insects.
    But thankfully, when it comes to spiritual matters, God doesn’t ask us to weed, only to sow. The insects still like to buzz around our heads, however.

  12. Rick B says:

    Mike, I agree, it is called, casting your pearls before swine. He simply twists everything we say.
    CD, you asked me a question a while back, I did not answer you, you said I never answered you, your right, I knew I did not and will not. why? Because you dont care about the truth, your here to run your mouth and cry about some made up injustice you felt was towards you. I think you really did do something worthy of rebuke and your upset you were rebuked. You canm deny it or say you were lied to, but you have lied yourself and you just sit here and accuse people. Funny how you dont believe the Bible, but Satan is called, the accuser, and your doing just as he does. Funny how you do have something in commen with Satan.

  13. “He has exactly the same relationship to you that Joseph Smith does to Mormons”

    Mormon liberals and apologists (and apparently their atheist leftovers) usually try to collapse the accountability and responsibility of a mere teacher and a full-blown prophet as somehow being the same. This is a desperate move.

    You can learn more about my position here. It is not mere leaders that can discredit the religion they are over, it is alleged prophets and apostles who publicly and unrepentantly give false teachings about about the nature of God and the gospel. The stakes are higher when one is a prophet or apostle.

    Most people who are Calvinists have never read a book by Calvin, and no Calvinist that I know looks to Calvin as having any final authoritative say over Calvinism. It would be the same as with Arminius. We are never promised that our teachers will never lead us astray. It’s pretty simple: they aren’t our prophets or apostles. We have more freedom to play the selective salad-bar with our historic teachers. Mormons in principle forfeit that same degree of freedom when they claim their leaders are prophets and apostles, oracles of God.

    CD Host, you are a guest here in our living room. Your Calvin-fixation isn’t welcome here. If this was a blog about Calvinism, or a blog where we were defending Calvin, then it would be more relevant. You’re welcome to go play on another playground, like MDDB, where I suspect there are many closet-agnostics and closet-atheists defending Mormonism.

    Take care,


  14. Kate says:

    falcon said: “I don’t know anyone who believes that Calvin will be standing at the gates of the Celestial Kingdom passing judgement on those souls that stand before him to give them entrance if he deems them worthy. This is the elevated stature of Joseph Smith to Mormons.”

    Actually there is teaching like this. I was taught this in my Mormon meetinghouse all my life. We had discussions about it at home and with family. Yes this is a Mormon teaching. Where does it come from? Well, here’s an idea:

    “… no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are – I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, page 289).

    This is very much a part of Mormonism.

  15. Rick B says:

    The teaching you posted for CD, I myself have both heard it and read it. But As far as CD goes, he only wants to hear what he wants to hear.

  16. falcon says:

    Thank you very much Kate!
    Like I’ve said, our buddy CD is a warehouse of misinformation. He also majors in making connections that even the most ardent conspiracy buff would be embarrassed to make.
    I’m wondering if Joseph Smith gets to pick off some of the women who pass by him on the way to the Celestial Kingdom and add them to his harem?
    Anyway, I can reason like CD. Watch me WOW you.
    CD is an atheist. Satan is the author of atheism. So from now on I think we should refer to CD as a Satanist!
    The author of my faith is Jesus Christ. Hence I am a Christian.
    I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so I really don’t mind being associated by name with my Lord and Savior.
    I wonder if CD minds being called by the name of the author of his faith?

  17. Brian says:

    I believe that every non-Christian who visits this forum is doing so for a reason. Perhaps they feel a heavy burden upon their back; the weight of what they know to be their guilt. (All have sinned.) A burden that has yet to be removed, no matter how hard they’ve tried.

    Perhaps they sense a void in their hearts. A void that only a relationship with God can fill. Perhaps they are wondering whether it would be all right to trust the Bible, despite having been taught all their lives that it is not necessarily trustworthy.

    And we have CD-Host here, visiting us. Is he different? I’m not sure he is different from those I’ve described above. I wonder how he would answer:

    “What is your righteousness? What is your hope of Heaven?”

  18. falcon says:

    I see were Warren Jeffs was just found guilty of charges related to sex with underage girl(s). The prosecutor said it was just the tip of the iceberg of the totality of what Jeff’s did. This is the legacy of Joseph Smith. I would say that Jeffs’ conviction is a conviction of what Smith promoted under the label of “religion”. Girls raised in these polygamy cults have no choice in the matter. They’re just used by the older men while the younger men and boys are sent packing.
    Way to go Joe!

  19. Mike R says:

    I want to be clear here that the following case about a modern day prophet is
    to show how false prophets work , how they influence their followers, and how
    we can learn from this. The program aired on the National Geographic Channel
    [ ch. 186] , in Nov. of 2008. A reporter was interviewing one Michael Travesser,
    who had established a church family in New Mexico. He prophecised the world
    to end on Oct. 31, 2007. Another of his teachings was that he needed 7 virgins .
    These girls were told to lie naked with their prophet, and they testified
    that they had felt closer to God when they were lying beside him . Mr.
    Travesser also told the reporter interviewing him that he felt it was God’s will
    for him to have sex with another man’s wife, both this woman and her husband
    agreed with their prophet. When the reporter informed Mr. Travesser that two
    of the seven girls that he had convinced to lay naked beside him were actually
    under-age , he responded that it was only a test for the girls. When I watched
    this program I could’nt help but remember Jesus’ warnings about future false
    prophets . How do people follow such men ? We need to thank God every day
    that we don’t need a modern day “mouthpiece” of God to instruct us, to lead us.
    Unfortunately in Mr Travesser is what most people see as defining a false prophet,
    instead of evaluating everyone who claims to be a prophet by God’s Word even
    if they wear a suit and speak of family values. False prophets come in all types.
    Some people just don’t understand that. Jesus said to Beware !

  20. falcon says:

    I saw that and the guy was truly creepy. I couldn’t believe he actually had people following him. If I’m remembering this right, there were people that had packed-up and bolted the group and at least one family was trying to get someone out of the group.
    Those teenage girls really believed the guy was god. And man they had all of the emotions going to reinforce their false beliefs.

  21. Mike R says:

    Falcon, people tend to shrug this type of religious leader off because he is
    “out there” etc. Yet, good honest people believed his message and that is
    so sad. Like I stated before, it’s the men who are well dressed or speak of
    family and country or direct us to get involved in civic causes etc , these
    are the ones while claiming prophetic status are attracting the larger
    number of followers, so people tend to think these men have actually heard
    from and represent God. Jesus said to, beware .

  22. Mike R says:

    There’s an interesting story of a woman ( Dawn) who recounts her journey
    into following a prophet and becoming a plural wife , just a few years ago.
    On p.214-217 of Mormon Polygamy , by Richard Van Wagoner. The high-
    lights: She became LDS because of their emphasis on eternal marriage. Met
    John Bryant , joined a polygamist church, because he made her feel special.
    Later, Bryant claimed Jesus, Brigham Young and Joseph Smith appeared to
    him. After that he received the Mel. priesthood, Dawn became High Priestess
    of the Last Dispensation. Bryant began bestowing new ordinances on others.
    Organized a church, The Church of Christ,Patriarchal . Introduced sacred
    ordinances which evolved into sexual rites, including a special marriage
    ceremony of three levels. Strange sexual practices occurred , but Dawn
    said there were strong caring feelings involved. Also, it did’nt seem strange
    because her husband made it seem like God approved and she considered it
    a necessary part of her spiritual development. After Dawn left this lifestyle
    she was asked why she initially believed in Bryant’s teachings. She said that
    he seems charismatic and very convincing. He’d show certain scriptures and
    then quote from early Mormon leaders. She already believed in Biblical and BM
    era prophets so it did’nt seem unreasonable that God was now working thru
    John Bryant. She did’nt realized she was making such ‘ leaps of faith’ so easily.
    There was this implicit view that individual doubts, criticisms were invalid,
    or possibly evil, if they differed with accepted ideas of her new group.It was’nt
    a giant step to take from Mormon prohibitions about ‘ evil speaking of the
    Lord’s anointed ‘ to accepting John Bryant’s visionary claims to priesthood
    leadership .
    What can we all learn from this ? Do we need a modern day prophet ?
    Matt.7:15 Beware

  23. falcon says:

    Mike R,
    Do we need a modern day prophet? Good question! First of all I’d say what kind of a prophet? Would this prophet be someone who understood the revelation that has once and for all been delivered? Jude vs. 3 says, “….I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (i.e. true believers). Jude then goes on to write in vs. 4, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
    Now these folks say they are not denying Jesus Christ, but by their doctrine and actions they are denying Christ. Anyone can give lip-service to Jesus. It’s like taking a food that has a high fat content and labeling it “light”. The label contradicts the product.
    I don’t know where I stand in relationship to others who post here but I take Ephesians 4:11-12 literally. I also find Acts 21:8-9 intriguing as I do First Corinthians 12:7-10. But folks operating in these offices or manifesting these gifts reinforce the revelation as given. There’s also an obligation within the Body of Christ to hold people accountable. Actually it’s really not that hard to recognize error because it’s the same stuff manifesting itself over and over.
    I had a friend that was a doctor. He was telling me that when he was going through his training the supervising physician handed him the stethoscope and said, “Listen to this”. He told me he had no idea what he was listening to but it was pointed out to him that the patient had an abnormality in his heart.

  24. falcon says:

    As time went by, my friend became very adept at knowing and recognizing what was normal and what wasn’t (when listening to the heart beat).
    It’s the same with being able to tell the difference between teaching and practice that is true and that which is false. False prophets are generally very convincing and are almost pathological in their ability to convince and manipulate people; especially emotionally. So it’s incumbent on the believer to look past the window dressing and examine exactly what the person is promoting.
    I grow a lot of lemon bushes. There’s a weed, actually a vine, that looks just like the lemon bush. It twists it’s way around and through my lemon bushes and it’s very hard to distinguish it from the actually bush. But over time, I’ve been able to identify it, grab it, and pull it out by it’s roots.
    That’s what needs to happen with the false teachings that can creep into a body of believers.
    So I don’t really have a problem with modern day apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors. I do get a little concern about groups of Christians I see that are being promoted as apostles and prophets. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve always figured that we do what God has called us to do and not get to hung up on the labels.
    BTW, some folks are very strict about who can be called an apostle believing that the person needed to have seen Jesus. Since Jesus isn’t physically with us, it’s reasoned, there are no more apostles.
    The Mormon church had a big to-do about this because the rank and file have in the past been led to believe that their apostles have had Jesus appear to them. They are now said to have a “witness” of Jesus Christ.

  25. Jared says:

    I didn’t realize that Calvin was a scum, but I agree with the others. Calvinists don’t make glowing films about how wonderful Calvin was. They don’t sing “praise to the man” about him or revere him as a prophet or make you accept him as part of a testimony.

    I’ve noticed a disturbing trend online recently.

    Anytime you do research on an LDS topic, there is always someone like CD trying to muddy the water or filibuster the truth like implying that because Calvin did some bad things, Joseph gets a free pass.

    Now FAIR is promising a new Mormon Defense League to correct “errors” in the media. The scary thing is that most of these so-called “errors” are uncomfortable truths. I find myself very angry that the LDS don’t just admit to this stuff(no evidence for the bOM, hat looking, secret polygamy, Joseph’s drinking, etc) but instead spew out enough fog to make a fog machine jealous.

  26. Mike R says:

    Falcon, I ‘m aware the N.T. talks about ” prophets” . My point is , ” A prophet”.
    i.e. one man as, ” the head of the corporation” type arrangement. This
    combined with , ” when the prophet speaks the debate is over” mentality ,
    is usually a recipe for disaster/deception.

    Jared, you said, ” or filibuster the truth ” . That was a good description.

  27. Rick B says:

    I was on the Fairlds boards years ago, I had over 700 posts before I called it quits. Those guys are not Fair as the name inplies. I even had mormons tell me they dont like that board because of how mean some LDS can be. I agree also with you that the new Mormon Defense wont “correct” errors, they will tell people what they want. This to me shows that Mormons do in fact lie, and cover up the truth. Any honest mormon should be honest and say, this is not the church I joined and start to question their leaders.

    Also CD being so dishonest shows what a true hyprocite he really is, he claims their is no God, yet he lies.

  28. falcon says:

    The lack of accountability of these false prophets is where the problem lies. They have a lot of confidence and animal magnetism and people are drawn to them on a personal level. That’s how con men work. But there’s also something in the mind of the follower of the false prophet that allows the false prophet to hook them. It’s all about traps, prey, predators and bait. A few decades ago I visited a “church” in the home of a local physician in the community I was living at the time. They had a leader from India who was a disciple of a “prophet” (from India). They made a couple of calls on my wife and I and she discerned what was going on immediately. It was a group that was dominated by this leader and I must say it was scary. There wasn’t anyone in this group that would stand up to the leader. They were all “humble” and “obedient”. This leader even claimed he could look in the Lamb’s Book of Life and see if a person’s name was written there.
    What I’ve found is that when faced with situations like this, a person can’t be intimidated. There is no room for debate or challenging authority in cults. So people go along and predators have their way with the prey.
    In nature, the weak become food for the strong!

  29. Mike R says:

    Falcon, compare the following with what you just shared . It was from
    an article in the Utah Evangel , by Rick Branch . It’s a testimony from
    Brigham Young : ” I clearly saw and understood, by the spirit of revelation
    manifested to me, that if I was to harbor a thought in my heart that Joseph
    could be wrong in anything, I would begin to lose confidence in him….It was
    not my prerogative to call him in question with regard to any act of his life. ”
    [ quote from Church manuel, Teachings of the Living Prophets, 1982 p.56 ]

    If this is true then it would go along with where the Mormon people are told
    that to gauge their standing with God can be measured by how well they
    submit to their prophet. Jesus said to Beware–Matt 7:15
    The Mormon people deserve our prayers. ( If not for the grace of God there go I )

  30. Kix_ says:


    A person interpreting a text is completely different from a person claiming revelation. While we might be able to access historical data and reason to look at the revelations of a prophet, the claims of the prophet are often immune from some immediate examination. For instance, if Tom says that something in the Bible means X, we often have good ways to examine that claim, whereas if Jim says “God told me directly that we should invest in Apple Inc. and we’ll see three times the amount we put in in five years!” all we have is the reliability of the prophet from past acts/revelations/character. While we might doubt the statement of a person that has a habit of lying/tricking people, when we can examine the claim we’re not just committed to making an arbitrary truth claim.

    Obviously, it could be that the person is telling the truth (no matter if he’s Hitler), however if the character is such that we see that he has often lied/tricked people for gain (especially with similar tactics used in “revelation” or the very usage of “revelation”) we’re generally not going to accept their statements when it’s unfalsifiable. This is because we have good reason to doubt claims, especially personal claims, of such a person.

    To shorten things–even if Tom is the most immoral man in the world, he is making claims that are falsifiable. Jim’s are not immediately falsifiable but if he’s as untrustworthy as Tom, we have good reason to doubt especially those personal claims coming from him unless we have good reason to the contrary.

  31. falcon says:

    I don’t think it’s a very good policy to get too enamored with leaders in general. This is for their own good as well as ours. There’s a type of hero worship that goes on in groups sometimes that’s fairly unhealthy. We’re bound to be disappointed in someone who we’ve placed on a high pedestal. Leaders need people who will shoot straight with them. There’s nothing wrong with a little disharmony as long as it doesn’t become vicious and personal. There’s something about “group think” that can destroy a group.
    In the Book of Galatians Paul talks about an encounter he had with Peter (Galatians 2:11-13). The Church didn’t fall apart because Paul confronted Peter.
    Joseph Smith’s behavior needed to be exposed, however those closest to him went along with what he was doing. His behavior was shameful, corrupt and deviant. It eventually led to his untimely death.

  32. falcon says:

    I thought the comment by the Mormon historian that Joseph Smith was “sincere” was very telling. What exactly does that mean? The accounts by the women reveal that Smith was trying to seduce them by any means possible. That isn’t being “sincere”. That’s being lecherous and conniving, the opposite of sincerity.
    And this other line of thinking, “the church does a lot of good”, “my whole family is involved with the church”, “that stuff happened along time ago” and on and on is just a form of rationalization.
    Could we say that the Catholic pedophile priest were “sincere”. After all, they really loved those little boys they molested. Why should these boys, now men, even bring it up? It all happened a long time ago.
    Mormonism stands and falls on Joseph Smith. When someone loses faith in him, they also lose it in the LDS church. Maybe Mormons need to start questioning if this church that they see as “perfect” is really such a perfect organization.

  33. Kix_ says:

    Is CD-Host still around/not banned/still allowed to post? This isn’t to pressure CD into responding if [s]he doesn’t want to or is busy or whatever but I got the impression from Aaron’s post that maybe [s]he can’t post here or whatever. I was looking forward to a response to the statement regarding the incarnation a few blog posts back.

    If CD can’t post it’s probably remarkably annoying to see responses that then can’t be replied to.

  34. Kix, CD-Host is not banned here. The comments submitted by CD all go into the moderation queue. Any that exceed the 6 per day limit are not approved for posting. Any that do not conform to the Mormon Coffee comment policy are not approved. Any that would divert the conversation away from this blog’s main purpose and focus (i.e., discussion pertaining to Mormon issues) are not approved (e.g., discussing Calvinism). That said, CD has not submitted any comments since August 5th. CD has invited people to CD’s own blog for discussion (follow the links in CD’s comments); that might be an avenue for you to continue your conversation.

  35. CD-Host says:

    Hi Kix. Sharon’s advice is a good one just link from here back to any of the 1/2 dozen Mormon threads on church-discipline. I’ll respond here since you request but I really don’t want to dialogue here.

    As far as the incarnation post I don’t know what you are talking about .

    As for your distinction of someone prophetic statements and someone making testable claims I agree with where you are going. I’m not sure you agree with where you are going 🙂

    Lets say Alice makes 3 statements:
    a) Absolute spirit is all powerful.
    b) The flashlight on the table is blue.
    c) The bible teaches the orthodox trinity.

    I think you agree with me that (a) is untestable, and I love you are willing to use the term unfalsifiable. It doesn’t even really mean anything outside of a cultural context. (b) is the exact opposite its completely testable claim subject to public verification.

    Some Christians argue the bible is more like (a) than like (b). That the ability to interpret it is not public. Mormons argue the bible is like (b). Statements about the bible are public. If you believe the bible interpretation is like (a) there is no principled distinction between biblical interpretation and prophecy. If you believe its like (b) you have no basis for objecting to an objective examination regardless of the underlying character of the person involved. Joseph Smith did both.

    So you can hold your theory but then you can’t use the, “JS was a bad guy and therefore can be ignored defense”. You can use the “JS was a bad guy…” defense but then you can’t distinguish interpretation from prophecy.

  36. Kix_ says:

    Sorry for the late reply.

    I’m not an (a) guy since the texts in the Bible have real, examinable contexts (although I’m not exactly sure of the proposition within (a)–it could be examinable through reason and experience, and I doubt it is actually meaningless outside of cultural context if it actually is meant to mean anything at all). Perhaps there could be subjective things learned from the Bible (how it applies to your actual circumstance) but the texts do have objective meaning that I think we can often access regardless of someone’s claim about it.

    I do believe that some of Joseph Smith’s claims (on historical Judeo-Christianity, what we know God is like from Natural Theology at least, his attempt at translating Egyptian and prophecies in retrospect) are like (b) and so I think that given the evidence we have good reason to reject his other revelations since they don’t make sense of his self-revelation–what he’s supposed to be and what he’s claiming at basic. What I’m also saying is that outside of the falsifiable statements, even if we lived in the time period without access to all the evidence or we had the prophecies at present, his practical believability is low based on past actions, especially if similar, and his character, since we have only his claim and we have very weak/no reason to accept it and probably even reason to reject it (past experience of his claims, etc.).

    Unless Calvin is giving us something sourced in himself and his character and actions and statements are important to his claims, or, in other words, he’s the only context, then I don’t see the direct similarity you’re giving me.

  37. Kix_ says:

    Many of the revelatory claims of JS aren’t like (b), in other words (although for the b we do have, I think it’s damning to these by-themselves-non-b claims). I think often we probably have evidence in these situations but it’s not so certain as in other claims he makes that would lead us to a great certainty of his false-prophet status.

    You wouldn’t believe a superstitious/highly imaginative/lying person (take your pick/mix and match) based on their own personal claims when you have nothing else to go on. I don’t dismiss JS merely because of his character or when it looks like he’s misusing his position multiple times. There is a much stronger case regardless of how justified that would be if everything were just in that kind of vacuum.

  38. Kix_ says:

    Hopefully it will at least get someone considering the places where there are actual (b) claims (and there are plenty). I think that if the (b) claims actually are good/true then you might have reason to reconsider what would be, by themselves, claims that you wouldn’t accept.

    (Sorry about not including this in my last post–I thought of it after I submitted.)

  39. CD-Host says:

    Hey Kix —

    You sure you don’t want to take this to Church Discipline? It will be a lot easier there.

    Anyway I understand you are a (b) person, as was Joseph Smith. In which case we can check Joseph Smith’s stuff from the late 20s through the 30s and they fail to verify. The late 30s / 40s are a bit different, because while he claims prophetic ability he claims objective truth / verifiability to his prophecies in a way he didn’t for the BoM. I were to treat all of JS like a cohesive body of work I’d agree with you. Though by the standards of (b) the bible also fails to verify.

    Calvin was an (a) person. He’d argue I can’t apply secular reasoning to the bible, and simply falsify it based on its conflicts with secular history. So I’d disagree with you can toss him into category (b). Calvin claims to be teaching truths that cannot be falsified through natural reasoning. He would argue (link) that I can’t even decide the blue flashlight question apart from divine revelation because of the corruption of my will. So yes, Calvin is claiming his revelations are not subject to objective / natural experimental verification. That’s the whole point of the presuppositional apologetic, that God cannot be judged by man. They would reject statistical evidence of how a passage is interpreted, they would reject neutral reader standards, they would reject blind testing, computer analysis…. They would reject any kind of 3rd party verification of their theories.


  40. CD-Host says:

    Like me just pull some quotes from Westminister

    I.5 “assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority [of the bible], is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts”

    I.6 “Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word”

    All of chapter IX argues that will corrupts reason, example:
    IX.3 “so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.”

    X.1 “by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ”

    Assuming you will accept my simplification of treating Westminister as Calvin… I’m not sure how he could be anymore clear that his revelations require supernatural intervention to be understood and are not subject to natural verification.

    I agree with you this doctrine is really offensive and turns the bible into a secret code and spiritus sancti into a magic decoder ring. But John Calvin is crystal clear that he got the magic decoder ring and I didn’t and therefore I don’t have any basis to evaluate his claims.

    I’m not seeing the difference between that and JS’ claims that he found some gold plates and got a pair decoder spectacles that he read them from.

    I’ll throw the ball to you, what claim of Calvin’s does he claim that I as an atheist can test for myself and objectively verify?

  41. CD-Host, Thanks for trying to move this discussion over to your blog site. I, too, ask Kix to join you there in a more appropriate forum. Thanks for being considerate of the main purpose and focus of Mormon Coffee.

  42. Kix_ says:


    Sure thing. Sorry about that. It might be a little bit, though.

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