Following the complaint of a student’s mother, the Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, has been reviewed and removed from a Virginia school district’s sixth-grade reading list as age-inappropriate. It isn’t because the archaic writing style may prove difficult for sixth-graders. It isn’t because of the stalking and graphic murders of the two main victims in the story. It isn’t even because the overarching theme of the book is revenge. The reason the school board agreed to remove the book from the reading list is because it presents early Mormonism in a negative light. The concerned mother explained, “This is our young students’ first inaccurate introduction to an American religion.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the story in 1886. It’s about a young girl crossing the American plains, rescued by Mormons in 1847, taken to Utah Territory, and later forced to become a polygamous wife in a loveless marriage (you can find a more detailed description of the story on Wikipedia). Sir Arthur’s story alludes to Mormon polygamy, Danites, blood atonement, the absolute rule of the Mormon prophet, and the hopeless condition for anyone in Utah Territory who opposed him. Indeed, this is not a pretty picture of nineteenth-century Mormonism – but then, nineteenth-century Mormonism really wasn’t very pretty.
There is no question that polygamy was a main feature of Mormonism in Utah Territory, and ample evidence that many women lived The Principle under duress. Wilford Woodruff’s first wife, Phebe, can serve as an example. After publicly stating that she was proud of being a plural wife, a friend asked her in private, “How is it Sister Woodruff that you have changed your views so suddenly about polygamy? I thought you hated and loathed the institution.” Phebe replied,
“I have not changed, I loathe the unclean thing with all the strength of my nature, but Sister, I have suffered all that a woman can endure. I am old and helpless, and would rather stand up anywhere, and say anything commanded of me, than to be turned out of my home in my old age which I should be most assuredly if I refused to obey counsel.” (Quoted in Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, 101)
The Danites, a group of Mormon men organized and active under Joseph Smith (before the Mormons moved to Utah Territory), functioned as a sort of secret police:
“Men handpicked for their skill with guns and their courage, the Danites were sworn to secrecy and invested with cabalistic handshakes and signals. They would prove, across nearly half a century, well into Brigham Young’s reign in Utah, a devastatingly effective cadre of assassins, targeting apostates, enemies, rich Gentiles, and even Indians–in effect, the KGB of the Mormon church.” (David Roberts, Devil’s Gate: Brigham Young and the Great Mormon Handcart Tragedy, 50)
The Danites, as a named organization, was discontinued after 1838. But as the Mormon vigilante philosophy continued to function under Brigham Young, it was closely tied to the Mormon doctrine of individual blood atonement. According to this doctrine,
“There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins, and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:53)
“Now take a person in this congregation who has knowledge with regard to being saved in the kingdom of our God and our Father and being exalted, one who knows and understands the principles of eternal life, and sees the beauty and excellency of the eternities before him compared with the vain and foolish things of the world, and suppose that he is taken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin he knows will deprive him of the exaltation he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but would say, `shed my blood that I might be saved and exalted with the Gods?’ All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:219)
Modern Mormonism no longer preaches or practices the doctrine of individual blood atonement and sometimes denies it altogether. However, there is ample evidence that this doctrine was not only taught in Utah Territory, but also executed (see Tanners, Mormonism—Shadow or Reality, 398-404-A, 428-450, 493-515 for documented examples).
Brigham Young was the highest authority in Utah Territory. Complete obedience to him — in matters both ecclesiastical and temporal – was expected. John Taylor (who later became the third LDS Prophet) said,
“What is a man’s duty here? It is obedience to the oracles of God that are in our midst; …Now Brother Brigham has said all is right, and he is the representative of the Almighty upon the earth, and it is for us to stand by him and obey him; and he says ‘Rejoice, and live your religion, and all shall be well.’ Is not that the voice of God? It is.” (Journal of Discourses 5:191-192)
Those who did not obey Brigham Young risked their very lives. David H. Burr, non-Mormon Surveyor General of Utah Territory, wrote in fear to President James Buchanan,
“We find our position a critical one. We are by no means sure that we would be permitted to leave, for it is boldly asserted we would not get away alive. The same threats have been made against disaffected Mormons. We were inclined to think them idle menaces, until a few days since, when three men were killed at Springville, sixty miles from this place, for making the attempt. They were shot, their throats cut, and their bowels ripped open. Another party was fired upon, and three of them wounded, one of them seriously. These outrages are perpetuated by Mormons, and we have every reason to believe by the orders of Brigham Young[.] No efforts are made by the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.” (Bigler and Bagley, The Mormon Rebellion: America’s First Civil War 1857-1858, 112)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was once asked about his portrayal of Mormonism in A Study in Scarlet. He explained, “All I said about the Danite Band and the murders is historical so I cannot withdraw that tho it is likely that in a work of fiction it is stated more luridly than in a work of history.” Perhaps Sir Arthur’s unvarnished depiction of Mormonism in Utah Territory is a bit much for Virginia’s sixth-graders to process, but the real-life historical accounts are no less lurid. Hopefully, older readers of A Study in Scarlet will be intrigued enough by the story to research the underlying historical facts and therein find the truth about this religion that always has, and still claims to be, the only church on the face of the whole earth with which God is well pleased (D&C 1:30).
I understand having a word limit and posting limits. But since we have that limit I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked a question, someone else gave a reply and I simply do not add to it. If the answer is really in depth and I feel I have nothing more to add, I simply dont. It’s not that I am avoiding questions, I simply dont have posts that I want to waste answering a question when someone else gave a good reply.
The fact that so many of us have left Helen honest replies that show the false Doctrine of Polgamy, Gee calling polgamy false Doctrine seems harsh, and not very loving to tell LDS they have a false doctrine, O-yea, Joseph Smith said that about the doctrine of polgamy, so I guess if that bothers the LDS, They better take it up with their prophet, since they dont care to explain why their church, Teaches/taught it, yet Joseph Smith, while he practiced it aslo called it false doctrine and even pubkily rebuked a church member over it. This shows what a fraud, liar, hyprocite, and Fasle prophet/teacher Joseph smith really was.
So Helen, Why are you avoiding this issue? Yet in the other breath defending what He did? You cannot have it both ways.
If something can be an “abomination” and then be ordained by God later, is there anything currently considered forbidden (by Mormons) which someday they will accept?
Clearly as Andy has shown, polygamy was considered accursed by God in the BOM (notwithstanding Helen’s attempts to use a raise up the seed statement to undo an abomination).
Could murder, or certain kinds of “holy murder” be considered no longer forbidden? Could sexual practices besides polygamy and polyandry no longer be forbidden if a prophet spoke? I think we have to look at the evidence of LDS approach to their own Scriptures and say yes – any of these things could be reversed. And Helen would be fine with that.
Rick B. let me shed further light and knowledge on your lonely little blurb.
Joseph Smith, speaking on the subject of plural marriage and the authority to perform plural sealings, said on October 5, 1843:
Gave instructions to try those persons who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives; for, according to the law, I hold the keys of this power in the last days; for there is never but one on earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred; and I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise.
Documentary History of the Church 6:46.
This right was carefully and zealously controlled by the one holding the keys. Once Joseph’s brother Hyrum, the Patriarch to the Church, performed a sealing ordinance without the Prophet’s direction or sanction. Brigham Young wrote of this to William Smith, Hyrum’s successor as Patriarch:
Hyrum held the Patriarchal office legitimately, so do you. Hyrum was counsellor, so are you. But the sealing power was not in Hyrum legitimately, neither did he act on the sealing principle only as he was dictated by Joseph in every case. This was proven for Hyrum did in one case undertake to seal without counsel and Joseph told him if he did not stop it he would go to Hell and all those he sealed with him.
Brigham Young to William Smith, August 10, 1845, in William Smith Papers
So Rick B, the case in point is obviously not a approved sealing and this man took it upon himself to commit to Polygamy with out consent of one who held the Keys of the Sealing powers, just as the Bible points out that Peter held these very same keys.
Really? You’re going to complain because falcon didn’t respond to your one comment? I have commented to you so many times and asked you so many questions and you don’t respond or answer any questions. You apply rules to others that you aren’t willing to apply to yourself. This borders on comical. 🙂
I have thought this same thing. I was taught that polygamy will be practiced in this life again someday by the LDS. I’ve heard LDS women make comments about how horrible this is going to be, but they will do the will of the Lord. So, some LDS women are preparing themselves mentally already. I can’t imagine clicking along in my life, following the LDS church, believing that polygamy is an abomination, then all of a sudden having Thomas Monson give the revelation at GC that it is now time to practice polygamy again, God needs to “raise up seed.” I wonder if Helen would participate?
Kate, I have to pick and choose carefully, I’m only allowed 5 responses a day. Now I just wasted another one choosing to answer your criticism. Some people ask good questions, others just rant and rave and throw out the usual talking points they get from their favorite anti book. Most of the questions asked by these people have been addressed hundreds of times already and if they were really sincere they could easily google and find the other side of the coin if they were truly interested enough.
Most of my questions deal with why none of you can produce any evidence that the Book of Mormon isn’t what it claims to be, I find it interesting that this topic is put on the back burner and the sensationalism is given front and center credence, most amazing since this is just peripheral garbage
that only makes Christians look as if they have a hate agenda.
Kate, 4fivesolas, that’s an interesting thought . Let’s consider what Mormon leaders
have offered to their people as trustworthy spiritual counsel:
New Testament = Polygamy a gospel truth [ several Mormon leaders publically taught that
Jesus was a polygamist ]
1830-1843= to practice polygamy is evil and a false doctrine
1843-1890 = Polygamy a gospel truth [ as important as Baptism according to many ]
1890-2011= to practice polygamy is an evil and false doctrine
After Christ’s return = polygamy a gospel truth
Mormonism claims to the authority to interpret the mind and will of God, that Mormon
leaders are specially anointed to be trustworthy guides in spiritual truth. Yet this track
record of theirs is more like a case of Eph.4:14 .
Excellent comments everyone.
I think we’ve blown the “seed” excuse for polygamy out of the water and demonstrated from LDS scripture and history that there is absolutely no consistency in Mormonism at least as it’s practiced by the SLC denomination.
As to Helen,
Get the poor soul out of her ward and she’s a duck out of water.
Her questions were answered and she was buried under the information. What I’ve seen with Mormons when this happens is they give some pithy one sentence response ignoring the totality of the evidence that’s been placed before them.
It’s called “cult think”.
When you lay it out like that we can see how these Mormon leaders are poor spiritual guides like you say. You would think that it would be easy enough to see, but for Mormons, continuing revelation is what makes this OK. Joseph Smith certainly knew what he was doing when he came up with “continuing revelation.” That gave him and every leader since him, a free pass on anything and everything that they throw out there. Polygamy being changed back and forth between an abomination and gospel truth and needed or not needed for Salvation/ exaltation? No problem, just claim continuing revelation! What’s interesting and what Mormons should be concerned with, is the fact that from 1830-1843 polygamy was taught as an abomination and a false doctrine, yet it was being practiced by the leaders including Joseph Smith. What’s worse is it was being done without the knowledge of his legal wife Emma. Why can’t people see this as the atrocity that it was? I can’t wrap my mind around how this is justified by Mormons today as the will of the Lord. Even LDS canon at this time says that it was an abomination. I can’t help but wonder how long Mormonism would have lasted if Joseph Smith would not have died. What would have happened once everyone in Mormonism knew he was practicing polygamy? Remember, his own children didn’t believe he practiced it. Emma made sure of that. I don’t understand how Joseph Smith’s behavior is just dismissed or glossed over.
Kate, you know why Helen does these things? Because she is a hypocrite. I have pointed out to her many times how she expects us to follow her “rules” and standards, yet she does not need to apply them to herself.
Also the other issue is, Helen feels since Falcon admitted he never read the BoM, then no matter what he says about the verse in question, she can blow it off and tell Falcon he is wrong. Yet she cannot stand up to us, so she ignores us. Sadly she will not be able to stand before God on Judgment day and say, I never knew, Yes Falcon tried telling me but he never read the BoM so I figured he was clueless. Yet God will point out that Me, Andy, Johnny and others replied to her and she rejected the truth in favor of a lie. Sadly wanting to believe a lie bad enough does not make it true, and for all of eternity she will be haunted with the memory’s of being told the truth and rejecting it. really sad.
Give me a break, We have shown evidence and you reject it over and over. On the issue of polgamy and the quote you gave, I love How you refuse to answer Johnny and his point that either way JS is breaking Gods law.
Also Funny how according to LDS, JS is the first person to hold the “Priesthood” Keys and he is the only person to hear from God about Polgamy.
Seems rather strange that no place in the Bible do we read Jesus or any apostle saying we must have “priesthood” Athuority and we dont see any place in the Bible where God commands we must enter into polgamy for any reason. Seems rather odd that the only person to hear from God on these issues is, JS.
Helen’s standard line is that the posters here haven’t presented any evidence that the BoM is false. We could paper the inside of the temple in SLC with evidence and her line would be that it’s not enough. I’ve played this game with Mormon posters before. You always have to give them one more thing and then one more and then one more into infinity. So they keep us busy chasing around the mulberry bush and down rabbit trails while they sit back and eat bonbons. And as a finale they’ll say, “That’s evidence from man, not God!” That’s why I always say that something has been revealed to me and guess what? That’s not good enough either.
Let’s face it. It’s a cultist’s mentality. Until Helen comes out of her Mormon brain lock, it’s just going to be more of the same.
Notice, as is Helen’s game, she’s never answered my question as to whether or not the BoM is historically, linguistically, archeologically or scientifically accurate. All she’ll say is that it’s a testimony of Jesus. That’s it! Well of course it’s a testimony of Jesus and as I’ve pointed out, so are a lot of books.
I think it may be time to “shroud” Helen. She’s just here to get attention and play Mormon games.
I am not quite sure why Helen visits this forum, but I’m pleased she does. I believe her understanding of the Bible has been improved by reading this forum. And I think that’s something to be happy about. It’s good to remember that God is sovereign, and all those whom he has given to Jesus Christ shall come to Christ and be saved. Of course, this is in God’s time. And sometimes we can be impatient. I know I can be … and then I remember my own spiritual journey.
Who is to say that one day, Helen shall awake and realize the day before her is the first full day she is an adopted child of God, forgiven forever, clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ?
God bless Helen, and all at this forum.
I guess miracles happen. What concerns me is that we are dealing with someone who is spiritually dead. Dead people can’t hear or see. They are dead! There is no life. They are also hardened and I’m afraid they just get harder as they interact here.
But I think you’re talking about election here and I would tend to agree with that. God does raise the dead.
If Smith’s letter to the Whitney’s was so ‘innocent’, then why was he so concerned about Emma not finding out? We all know why. _johnny
And someone needs to read up on who was sealing who behind who’s back after the Manifesto was put in place. Up to about 1904 a whole BUNCH of sealings went on, without the knowledge of the ‘one with the keys’. But then, you have to want to know the truth. Read D. Michael Quinn’s outstanding research on this. It’s one thing to SAY something, like only one person has the keys, etc., it is quite another to actually read the historical accounts of what went on. Their was a pattern of deception in ‘celestial marriage’ FROM THE BEGINNING. It was NEVER of God, could not be, and the fruits of it prove that it wasn’t. _johnny
I agree with you that God does things in His own time. Maybe Helen is here for a reason. I also agree with falcon that Helen is spiritually dead. I don’t respond to Helen just for her/his sake. I respond and ask questions for those who are lurking about with questions about the Mormon religion. Helen has been perfect for us to show God’s truth. I was in this false religion for 40 years and I know the deception of the LDS leaders. I know what it is like to have Heaven held over my head. May one day Helen “awake” as you say. Until that day I will pray for her/him.
I keep on replying to Mormons that are clearly spiritually dead and dont want the truth. I do it becasue it helps everyone that is on the verge of leaving Mormonism or joining it.
So many questions go unanswered by Helen and Ralph and others and they keep doing as I say, showing Zero of Christs Love. The Bible talks about how we are to Give an answeer to everyman that asks for the hope that lies with in us. We are also told to go out and share the gospel.
The LDS do neither, And it is clearly shown here. For me it’s a win/win postion.
If Helen and others refuse to answer questions, it proves they have no love, dont care and cannot answer questions. Thats a win. If they or Helen answers, they (LDS) and Helen show the lack of knowladge of what they believe and it opens more questions they cannot answer, or they admit as Helen has many times, their is no evidence or she simply has no answer. This show lurkers the truth and yet again, a WIN. So either way it’s a win/win. And many of these lurkers and people thinking of joining or leaving that come to the true knowladge of Christ by not be know until after were in Heaven, but it’s worth it to me. I am called by Jesus to preach the Gospel and my main calling is to the lost Mormons. I will be on this blog until the rapture or my death.
“Most of my questions deal with why none of you can produce any evidence that the Book of Mormon isn’t what it claims to be, I find it interesting that this topic is put on the back burner and the sensationalism is given front and center credence, most amazing since this is just peripheral garbage
that only makes Christians look as if they have a hate agenda.”
I’ve been here for awhile Helen. You don’t deal with ANY questions. As to no one dealing with the Book of Mormon, well the answer to that is it’s been dealt with. You just choose to ignore it. You have also been asked to show us where it is historically, linguistically, archeologically or scientifically accurate. So you see, while everyone here has shown you that it is not what it claims to be, you won’t apply that same rule to yourself and show us your side of it. You say it is a testimony of Christ. Christ isn’t really in the BoM much. It’s more of a fictional story about fictional people who end up having a fictional battle, etc. Show proof that this fictional story is true.
Rick, where do you see the word rapture in the Bible? Hint, no where 🙂
Not only do you not prove the BOM is false, oh excuse me, there is one who did not read it but has the gift of “Holy Discernment, we will give him a bye. So again, no evidence has been presented by anyone and even one better, no one has yet shown how it was written, who wrote it, or where it originated. Anyone want to take a stab? 🙂
We’ve all been waiting for you to take a stab at it. The BoM has been debunked, just like the BoA. It’s up to Mormonism to prove it’s doctrines, not the other way around, so please, prove the BoM is true. Please tell us who wrote it and by what means it was written. Tell us where it originated. Give us YOUR evidence.
OK, here is a stab in the Dark, Joseph Smith actually translated buried Gold Plates, several different Prophets living thousands of years ago actually used hand tools and left their message on the sheets of metal, and it originated here on the American Continent.
Your turn, what one of the many speculative theories do you pick. 🙂
I am not going to debate the rapture issue with you, The rapture will happen and is in the Bible. If you choose to deny it then so be it. This topic is not about the rapture, and everytime you have asked me other questions about the Bible, Like where does it say….
and I answer you, you just never reply. For a person who refuses to answer questions, I wont keep responding to you when you ask questions, and you keep changing the subject.
” Anyone want to take a stab ? ”
How about you taking a stab at answering the questions about Book of Mormon
and polygamy? As a follower of Jesus , recognizing the new covenant He inaugurated
by His death and resurrection, I’m concerned in finding the book that by living it’s
teachings will get me closer to Jesus than any other book . Which book ?
“OK, here is a stab in the Dark, Joseph Smith actually translated buried Gold Plates, several different Prophets living thousands of years ago actually used hand tools and left their message on the sheets of metal, and it originated here on the American Continent.”
Yes we KNOW these are the claims of Mormonism. What we are asking you to do is PROVE them. Prove that Joseph Smith actually translated buried gold plates, prove that several different prophets living thousands of years ago actually used hand tools and left their message on sheets of metal, and by all means, prove that all of that originated here on the American Continent. Where are the BoM lands? Please prove your claims.
Kate, you decided that there is not truth in the Book of Mormon, now it really is up to show where you think it came from, which of the many theories is your favorite. For you just to denounce it is your prerogative and agency to find other truth that is more in line with your Biblical Interpretations. I don’t have a problem with that, but it leaves the question that you have yet addressed, where, who and how of it’s origin. If it’s fiction, then who is the author? If it’s plagiarized, show the proof and how it compares with another authored book. I believe you stated you read it, so you must know pretty much the story line, at least much better then someone who claims discernment only. Smiling. 🙂
Stop playing games Helen. We have all shown you why it’s false. We’ve linked you to videos showing you proof. As I said before you choose to ignore evidence. You on the other hand have failed to prove ANYTHING on this blog. You can’t answer any question that is asked of you. I know why you can’t answer Helen, because you don’t have an answer. Christianity has been around for 2,000 years and it is up to anyone claiming that the doctrines of Christianity are false to prove their own doctrines. Stop passing the buck and answer the questions.
Does the Book of Mormon teach that Jesus gave His apostles permission to commence
the practice of polygamy as part of His gospel ? I’m not interested in if He could have, but
rather, did He ? Chapter and verse please. Thanks.
Not that I know of Mike. Book of Mormon is a history of the Nephites and Lamanites and the Doctrine they preached. Nothing about the new and everlasting covenant is mentioned in any of the verses.
So of course I agree that it was introduced by JS as a law of God to be practiced only when commanded too. Personally, I hope that we won’t have to abide by that ever again, but if commanded of God, I will do exactly as I’m commanded as much as I follow the other commandments of God.
Helen, thanks for the reply. I think you touched on the important issue here, that Mormons
will do exactly as commanded by their prophets/apostles who claim their counsel is the
“commandments of God” . I opt for safer ground . 1 Jn.4:1 ; 2Jn. 1:9
What is interesting is the fact that Mormon leaders lied to investigators about knowing Mark Hoffman. Hugh Pinnock, a Mormon General Authority who had arranged a loan at First Interstate Bankfor $185,00 lied :
“…Police Detective Don Bell interviewed him at 1:12 in the afternoon on October 17, the day after the bomb exploded in Hofmann’s car.
“Elder Pinnock, this is the deal,” Bell began, notebook in hand. “This is a homicide investigation. Do you know Mr. Hofmann?”
Pinnock paused and reflected a moment. “No I don’t believe I do.””
(The Mormon Murders, pp. 246-247)
According to The Mormon Murders, Pres. Hinckly also lied:
When interviewed by County Prosecuting Attorneys Bob Stott and David Biggs about his multiple dealings with Mark Hofmann, he was asked:
“Was he ever in your office?” Stott asked. “Probably,” said Hinckley.
Probably? It’s also interesting why Mark Hoffman never went to trial, but took a great plea deal! According to The Mormon Murders, Salt Lake Tribune reporter told a reporter from The Los Angeles Times that:
‘You don’t rise in this state embarrassing the Mormon Church or making them look bad.’” (The Mormon Murders, pp. 420-421).
The Mormon Prosecutor, Bob Stott, would not execute the responsibilities of his office, because in Mormonism, the attitude toward truth is “faith before facts!” (The Mormon Murders, pg. 439)
Faith before facts. Wow this is very familiar!! In my opinion, even worse than being duped by Mark Hoffman and paying him who knows how much for forged documents, is the FACT that Mormon leaders lied to investigators and tried to cover up their dealings him! Mark Hoffman should have been tried and convicted of murder. Faith before facts.
Oops, this comment should have been on the thread ” Mormon leaders worthy of hire.”