The definition of doctrine

July 21014 EnsignIt’s only a short article located in the early pages of the July 2014 Ensign magazine, which is the official monthly organ of the LDS Church. But I believe this piece, titled “We Teach by the Power of the Holy Ghost” and found under the unattributed column “What We Believe,” is consistent with what is taught at every general conference.

Before I tell you what this article said, let me provide some background. In recent years, renegade LDS apologists have been claiming in a postmodern fashion that, through personal revelation, individuals can determine correct doctrine. A case in point is Michael R. Ash, who wrote a 2008 book titled Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt published by an LDS apologetics group. In an apparent attempt to ignore certain statements made by LDS teachers over the years, Ash explains how Mormonism does not have “infallible” leaders. In fact, he even says there are times they may teach false doctrine. In his mind, the responsibility to determine truth from error is relegated to individual Latter-day Saints.

On page 20, he writes, “If we obtain our own personal testimonies, and live so that we can receive personal communication from the Father and the confirming testimony from the Holy Spirit, we will not be led astray.” He continued on page 22, “Just because a prophet has the keys to the priesthood and the authority to receive revelations from God for the direction of the church, doesn’t mean that every word spoken by a prophet is infallible, inspired, or factually accurate.”

Then Ash writes the following paragraph in an attempt to explain how a Latter-day Saint can receive doctrine:

“What, then, is official doctrine and what is opinion? Official doctrine will be announced as revelation and the body of the Church will sustain it (D&C 26:2, 1-7:27-31). Likewise, we can know if leaders speak the will of God when we, ourselves, are ‘moved by the Holy Ghost’ (D&C 68:3-4). The onus is upon us to determine when they speak for the Lord. If we rely solely on the revelations of the prophets, without seeking our own personal confirming revelations, we tend to tacitly accept their revelations as infallible.”

On page 24, he adds, “There is more to being a member of Christ’s church than just marching in step. Our goal should be to receive our own revelations and to become united with Christ.”

Ash’s statements raise several important questions. First of all, how can a Mormon know that his personal revelation comes from the Holy Spirit? I’m guessing those who hold such a position would defer to the standard “burning in the bosom” mantra. Good feelings apparently rule the day. The only way to determine if these good feelings come from the Spirit appears to be a matter of opinion.

Second, doesn’t Ash’s view mean the individual Mormon who realizes the error of a General Authority’s message must be living a more righteous life than his/her leader? Imagine if this particular Mormon felt confident that the time is now right for plural marriage to be restored, regardless of the fact that no LDS leader has recently taught this. If this “faithful” Latter-day Saint decided to go ahead and marry two or more women, who is Ash to say that such a practice is wrong? To refute this person’s belief, Ash will be required to say that his fellow Latter-day Saint is wrong. In essence, every Latter-day Saint becomes his own prophet. The confusion such a possible scenario brings to this religion is immense.

Finally, isn’t the purpose of God providing latter-day prophets so that they will guide His people through these perilous times?  If the leadership can’t be trusted, why are they needed in the first place? Ash’s view encourages Mormons to refute the teachings of general authorities by coming up with contradictory personal revelation.

Regardless of Ash’s personal opinion, I have never heard LDS leaders speak in such a way. I believe the July 2014 Ensign magazine is a nail in Ash’s doctrinal coffin. The heart of the article discusses “four principles for effective teaching,” including “love those you teach,” “teach by the Spirit,” and “invite diligent learning.” But the final principle is devastating to Ash’s positon. It reads:

“Teach the doctrine. Approved curriculum materials from the Church, such as scriptures, general conference talks, and manuals, contain doctrine—eternal truths from God.”

Jeffrey R. HollandLet’s take a closer look at this sentence. The way to understand truth, according to the LDS Church’s own magazine, is using “approved curriculum materials.” What are those materials? This is, we’re told, the standard works, general conference talks, and official church manuals. Let’s suppose Ash’s view is correct. If so, here is the perfect opportunity for the LDS Church to state that “if any particular doctrine doesn’t suit your fancy and you have a valid testimony and live righteously, then counter this teaching and merely disregard what the leaders have said.” No such statement can be found. Does Mormonism allow the possibility for a Mormon to disregard any teaching just because the person may feel it’s not ordained by God? Ask Kate Kelly, who was recently excommunicated from the church because she honestly believed that God wants women to hold the priesthood.

And finally, notice the definition of “doctrine”: “eternal truths from God.” Eternal? Listen carefully.  Doctrine in Mormonism is not open for individual or peer review. When the Brethren speak, it’s a done deal.

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24 Responses to The definition of doctrine

  1. Ralph says:

    I think you misunderstood what Ash said. This is what you quoted from him –

    “What, then, is official doctrine and what is opinion? Official doctrine will be announced as revelation and the body of the Church will sustain it (D&C 26:2, 1-7:27-31). Likewise, we can know if leaders speak the will of God when we, ourselves, are ‘moved by the Holy Ghost’ (D&C 68:3-4). The onus is upon us to determine when they speak for the Lord. If we rely solely on the revelations of the prophets, without seeking our own personal confirming revelations, we tend to tacitly accept their revelations as infallible.”

    He did not say it was a free for all and we can pick and choose according to our own ‘personal revelation’ as you make it out. He stated that it would be presented to the church for a sustaining vote as described in D&C 26:2, 1-7:27-31. Once this has happened, the thing is doctrine – hence the ‘Adam-God’ did not become doctrine and never was because it did not get presented to the church for sustaining vote. And it is a sustaining vote, not a popularity vote to make it doctrine – big difference.

    The only person who we need to follow if they say they received a revelation from God is the Prophet; but first we must get our own testimony that he is God’s appointed on this earth. The Quorum of the 12 are only prophets, seers and revelators when the Prophet is either dead or unable to perform his duties due to illness or infirmity, and they can only act as a quorum, not individuals in this respect. But all leaders, including the Prophet are not infallible; they are human and imperfect and thus make mistakes. So when the Prophet does not say that what he is telling us is from God then we can question it, even if it is about a church related matter. If he tells us it is his revelation from God then we should not question it, but it would be good to get our own confirmation that it is correct – not to try and prove it wrong (or as you put it ‘peer review’), just to confirm – because as I said, we should already have a testimony that he is God’s appointed and what he tells us is what God wants us to know.

  2. MJP says:

    “When the Brethren speak, it’s a done deal.”

    …Until its not.

  3. MJP says:

    Ralph, that’s not at all what I get out of Ash’s quote. I have not read the article, but the part quoted here says nothing of what you claim it does. Part of the problem is how often does the church proclaim doctrine by sustaining votes? As I understand, very little.

  4. falcon says:

    As usual, a very nice LDS spin.
    “He did not say it was a free for all and we can pick and choose according to our own ‘personal revelation’ as you make it out. He stated that it would be presented to the church for a sustaining vote as described in D&C 26:2, 1-7:27-31.”

    And where Ralph does this “vote” take place? Is it at General Conference and the vote takes place by acclamation of those present in the auditorium? What’s the procedure Ralph?
    Why do you need a prophet? Anyone could say they have received a revelation from the Mormon god and then ask the group to vote on it. Be realistic Ralph. What if someone says they have no testimony of Thomas Monson being the prophet? What’s the result?
    Why do people get excommunicated Ralph? These folks have received revelations from the Mormon god that what the LDS church is teaching is false.

    I think Ralph you, like many LDS members, make-up your own rules as you go along. How can you say that Adam-God wasn’t doctrine. The prophet Brigham Young taught it from the pulpit at General Conference and the people believed it. What are you saying? They didn’t vote on it? Do you know anything about BY? He ruled with an iron hand. If he said it, it was true…..period.

    You don’t make a very good case for your point-of-view Ralph. I think you’ve developed a form of Mormonism that makes you comfortable. Adam-God was doctrine. Prohibition against blacks in the priesthood was doctrine. Blood atonement was doctrine.

    Here’s why Ralph. It’s because it was the “practice” of the LDS church. In American law, if something is an established practice it is considered “established”. Same with line fences. If the fence is there long standing, it becomes the property line despite what anyone might say about a survey. I believe it’s called “adverse possession”.
    So Ralph, you can spin all you want and come up with all sorts of procedural mumbo jumbo, the fact of the matter is what is practice is doctrine.

  5. MJP says:

    Young did say that Adam/God was something we would all have to come to know or face the consequences… Sounds like a pretty solid statement about his perception on its truth.

    Of course, its only doctrine until it isn’t in Mormonism.

  6. Mike R says:

    Ralph, MJP and Falcon have pulled your ( and Mr Ash’s ) covers . Mormons have been faced
    with widespread exposure of their leaders practices / doctrines , this research has been
    especially available publically on a wide scale in the last 20 years or so and it has forced
    many Mormons to create a Mormonism they are comfort with , as Falcon rightly noted .
    Mr Ash and other defenders have thus attempted to help their fellow members by writing books
    to offer alibi’s to stem the tide of so many Mormons who are doubting or become disillusioned .
    But as Eric notes what Mormons like Mr Ash , and by extention you , have offered as responses
    only create more questions , not answers . It’s another good example of why anyone who wants
    to look at Mormonism , it’s teachings/ practices needs to read what it’s leaders taught , not
    rank and file members like you . The reason for that is obvious .

    Mr Ash is saying that when your Prophet claims to have a revelation that it is up to individual
    Mormons to decide if it was a revelation ? ” The onus is upon us to determine WHEN they
    speak for the Lord .” But the prophet has said he received a revelation and that’s what counts ,
    determines IF he had one . You said , ” If he tells us it’s his revelation from God we should not question it …” Because of a pattern of vacillating doctrines since 1830 by their leaders , some
    LDS have had to develope a pick and choose mentality when it comes to what to believe about
    their leaders teachings . But that rational is very dangerous because it has already been
    addressed some years ago by Mormon leadership :

    ” Any Latter Day Saint who denounces or opposes , whether actively or otherwise , any plan
    or doctrine advocated by the ‘ prophets , seers and revelators ‘ of the Church is cultivating
    the spirit of apostasy . … It should be remembered that Lucifer has a very cunning way of convincing unsuspecting souls that the General Authorities of the Church are as likely to
    be wrong as they are to be right . This sort of game is Satan’s favorite pastime …. ”
    [ Deseret News 5-26-1945 , Also Improvement Era , June 1945 ] .

    Lastly Ralph , your use of a old warn out alibi to excuse some of your leaders doctrines is
    telling because it reveals you are still stuck in devotion to the classic example of the kind
    of prophets Jesus warned would come in the latter days — Mk. 13:22-23 .

    that old alibi is that only when a new teaching is presented to the church for their vote , then
    as you said , ” once this happens the thing is doctrine .”
    You proceeded to use B.Y’s Adam God teachings as an example .
    It’s sad that you refuse to see the facts about all this , you’ve insulated yourself from the truth .

    When a prophet/ apostle believes then teaches a false doctrine to his flock , it does not
    matter if none or all agree with it . He is evaluated not by their vote but by the scriptures ,
    if he introduces a abberrant doctrine he is a false teacher . Similar to the false prophets
    mentioned in 2Pt 2:1-2 , B.Y . introduced a false doctrine and like those in vr 2 some
    LDS embraces it , that the whole church did’nt believe it is irrelevant to evaluating B.Y.
    False prophets teach / condone false doctrine . B.Y. promised to never do that .
    People should not continue following false prophets —- Isa 9:16 ; Matt 15:14 .
    B.Y. influenced many LDS to believe his false doctrines ( Adam , Blacks etc) He was guilty and
    should have been dismissed by those who followed him . But Mormons are scared to dismiss
    their prophets .
    Sad .

  7. falcon says:

    The reason that there are so many sects of Mormonism is because people didn’t accept the “doctrine” of whatever sect they happen to belong to at the time. There’s a good reason why these various sects have such divergent doctrine. Everyone in the Mormon family of sects, believe the other sects are apostate groups.
    Does anyone know if the “manifesto” to end polygamy was voted on? We do know that when the “prophet” at the time proclaimed it, many Mormons kept practicing it with tacit approval from the leadership. The FLDS stayed the course set by the previous Mormon prophets. They consider the LDS a bunch of apostates.
    When the edict went forth ending the doctrine denying blacks the priesthood, was it voted on at General Conference? Yea, I know, it didn’t need to be voted on because it was never doctrine. HOGWASH! It was just a practice and no one really knows where it came from.

    Couldn’t you see Moses coming down from the mountain top after talking with God asking the people to vote on the revelation he had received?
    Mormonism is a mess. The leadership is clueless and the members follow them without question. If they do, out the door they go. That’s the reality despite the attempts of Mr. Ash and Mr. Ralph to try and find a way to explain it all away.
    Ralph………………just believe it because you want to. Don’t try and defend it. You make yourself look foolish.

  8. falcon says:

    Is what Bruce McConkie wrote in his book “Mormon Doctrine”, really Mormon doctrine? Generations of faithful LDS folks believed it was. I understand that the book drove the other LDS leaders nuts but I don’t know if any of them condemned the book. They eventually stopped publishing it but my guess is that old Brucie believed he was accurately portraying Mormon doctrine.
    So the Journal of Discourse really tells us nothing about Mormon doctrine? Is that what Brigham Young thought? Is the Word of Wisdom doctrine?
    If the LDS church’s claim is that they are super special because they have a prophet and what he proclaims needs to be voted on then I don’t think there is anything so special about any of them. Well I never thought they were anything but a bunch of wolves devouring the flock any way.

  9. Mike R says:

    Falcon asks
    ” Does anyone know if the ‘ manifesto ‘ to end polygamy was voted on ? ”

    It was in Conference in 1890 . However it meant little , it was more of a show that hopefully
    would get Federal authorities off their backs etc . Polygamy was practiced by some Mormon
    leaders well BEFORE it became publically admitted by them and it was also practiced for years
    AFTER they admitted publically ( 1890 ) that they would cease permitting any church member
    from entering into it .

    ” When the edict went forth ending the doctrine denying blacks the Priesthood, was it voted on
    at General Conference ? ”

    yes it was in conference in the fall of 1978 . But Blacks were permitted to do temple rituals
    shortly the revelation was announced in June . But again this type of voting is practically
    nothing but a feel good ritual because rank and file members are warned that to doubt that
    their leaders could be introducing their own ideas instead of God’s will ( correct doctrine )
    is to put themselves in a dangerous position — beginning the slide down the slope to apostasy .
    They are even told that criticizing their leaders teachings is to suffer from a spiritual sickness !
    Mormons like those in other latter days false prophet led organizations opt to keep their mouths shut and keep in line otherwise they can incur God’s displeasure .
    Because of this fear those in religious organizations like Mormonism ( autocratic ) continue
    following leaders who have gotten away with erratic behavior , vacillation , in their preaching.
    Since 1830 Mormon leaders have exhibited a pattern of this behavior and the Mormon people
    and been the recipients Eph 4:14 .
    The Mormon people need to know that there is a consequence to following religious leaders
    who can’t be trusted to teach correctly on a consistent basis , and prophets who do this are false
    prophets . Mormon leaders are such prophets . But Jesus has already warned the Mormon
    people about their prophets , so may they take the next step and take His warning to heart .

  10. Mike R says:

    Ralph said , ” But all leaders , including the prophet are not infallible ; they are human and
    imperfect and thus make mistakes . ”

    Mormon leaders hate the word ” infallible ” . Now we are aware that Mormon leadership are
    indeed only humans and as such they make mistakes . But that is not the issue . I look at this
    practically and simply ask myself have Mormon leaders been reliable guides as teachers of the
    gospel ? Can I trust them to provide doctrinal safety ? After all , there are many prophets
    around today vying for my attention , and my devotion , did’nt Jesus warn about prophets
    arising in the latter days who would claim to be supervised by Him , but who are in reality not
    appointed by Him at all ?
    Here’s what Mormon leaders have claimed to offer :
    – they would NEVER teach / condone false doctrine .
    – there has NEVER been a time when I could not put confidence in what they have taught and
    instructed .
    – I can ALWAYS trust them , and my greatest safety lies in strickly following them .
    – there is one source today for ” pure unpolluted guidance ” on doctrine — the prophet .

    Next , I took time to look into what Mormon leaders have taught ever since their arrival on
    the scene in 1830 and allegedly sent out by Jesus to preach . This is imperative in order to evaluate any latter days prophets properly and thus avoid being misled — 1 Jn 4:1 ; Gal 1:8 .

    What I found was alarming . It was a long consistent pattern , one of vacillation in teaching
    ” the gospel of Jesus Christ ” . It smacked at confusion , an inability to get it right etc . In fact
    what was especially incriminating was that this very behavior was what Mormon leaders had
    accused other church leaders ( non LDS ) of being guilty of !

    The verdict : Mormon leaders are false prophets . I don’t need them , and would place myself
    in harms way spiritually by submitting to them . They simply can’t be trusted to follow as
    guides . I also realize that though they may be well meaning , well dressed, and polite
    individuals who talk a lot about the importance of living a moral lifestyle , I also
    realize that that can’t make up for teaching falsely on some very important things ,
    because truth matters .

    Ralph , your comment about your leaders being human and making ” mistakes ” is not the
    point . Of course their human , and they could be wrong on many things in daily life , but
    either they are reliable as gospel teachers or not —- THAT is the point . Brigham Young
    taught/ condoned false doctrine and did’nt accept correction ( Adam God ; Negroe doctrines) .

    One of B.Y.’s apostles ( Orson Hyde) correctly understood this issue about ” mistakes ”
    and testified about Young’s leadership :
    ” …. to admit that he can advance incorrect doctrine , is to lay the axe at the root of the tree ….
    Brother Brigham may err in the price of a horse , or a house and lot but not in the
    revelations from God . … ”

    The Mormon people don’t need their prophets . Complete forgiveness of sins , peace with God
    and a right relationship with Him and receiving eternal life all comes via the Lord Jesus ,
    and is available outside of the Mormon church .

    [ references to what I cited is available just ask ]

  11. falcon says:

    Very good post!
    Yes, I was thinking the same thing. What good is personal “revelation” in these matters if all an individual is doing is affirming what the leadership says? So personal revelation in these matters is totally bogus. As was mentioned, we recently had the case of a woman who was booted for actively promoting the priesthood for women. There was no place for her within the LDS church. Besides, I would guess that only valid priesthood holders can receive “revelation” any way.

    I often bring up Ralph’s telling us that if the prophet of the LDS church told him directly to kill or steal, he’d do it. OK, that’s the mind set of the Mormon faithful when it comes to following the directives of their leadership. So someone is going to pipe up and say, “No, I don’t think the prophet received that doctrine from (the Mormon) god!”?

    We have former Mormons who are now Christians posting here. I would submit that all of them have received “revelation” that Joseph Smith was not a prophet, that the BoM is not scripture, that the LDS church is not the one true church and finally that Thomas Monson is not a prophet. So therefore we can conclude that they have received valid revelation right? I prayed, for example, about reading the BoM and God revealed to me it would be a waste of time because I already knew it was not true. So there. I received revelation. End of discussion, right?
    “Revelation” in the LDS church is nothing more than a spiritual parlor game. LDS members do not follow God as He is revealed in the Bible. Hence the revelation they receive is not from God. Much of what has come out of Mormonism came out of the imaginations of those making the proclamations.
    If a revelation doesn’t find support in either the Bible primarily, or in the traditions of the Christian faith secondarily, it’s totally bogus.
    The reason I say the traditions of the church is because I had a minister tell me one time that the passages of the Bible that discuss homosexuality were dependent on how someone interpreted them. So I asked him if what he said was supported any where in the traditions of the Church? That stopped the discussion cold.
    LDS doctrine has no support in God’s revealed Word, the Bible. LDS doctrine has no support in the history or traditions of the Christian faith.

  12. falcon says:

    The procedure for voting on whether or not to sustain an edict from the Mormon prophet or not as LDS doctrine is a good study in Cult Manipulation 101.
    I know Mormons don’t like to be referred to as a cult, but for the purpose of our discussion here, a cult is any hierarchical organization that uses indoctrination and mind control techniques to hold sway over the members. LDS Inc. would certainly qualify as a cult under this definition.
    From little on, LDS sect children are programmed to repeat the five points of the Mormon mantra. Smith is true, the BoM is true, the LDS church is true and the current prophet is the real deal. He is super true. They are also taught that when the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done and to follow the leaders because they will never lead you astray.
    Now, after a life time of repeating this (hear a robots voice), what do you think a Mormon voting at the GC is going to do? Oh yea, these Mormons are going to get the tingles confirming that the new proclamation is truer than true.
    It’s all programmed into the little hard drives between these folks ears from the time they are in primary and their mothers are whispering it in their ears to repeat at the fast and testimony meeting.
    So please LDS members; don’t talk to me about this modern day prophet who gets these incredible secret coded messages from the Mormon god and your role in affirming that it is indeed true.

  13. Mike R says:

    Mormons like Mr Ash are simply trying to stem the tide of disillusioned LDS which have
    occurred in the last decade or so because of the widespread availability of Mormon
    historical issues . These rank and file members have never heard of many of these things and
    are uncomfortable with them . Rank and file Mormons should ignore Mr Ash and go to the
    source , namely their leaders . Comparing what these ” authorities ” have taught with what
    the scriptures teach is prudent , and the wise thing for Mormons to do .

    Falcon , Mark Hoffman’s dad had an inner witness that his son was innocent of the charges
    against him . But then the truth finally came out — he was guilty .

    That scenario is’nt a isolated one because Mormon leaders have cleverly taught their followers
    to place priority on feelings . Mormons find themselves in a organization whose leaders can
    get away with practically anything . Rank and file members are’nt allowed to know how much
    their leaders receive financially from the church , and these leaders also teach strange things
    all because their followers have been told to rely on feelings in evaluating their leaders .

    If people are aware of Jesus’ warning about latter days false prophets and realize that these
    prophets will attempt to mimic the claims of authority of the true prophets/ apostles in
    the Bible , then concerned people can compare what these latter days prophets teach with
    what God’s true prophets taught — 1 Jn 4:1 , because this is why we have the scriptures today,
    the same test can be applied to these new prophets vying for people’s attention nowadays .

  14. MJP says:

    Doctrine as defined by Merrriam Webster:

    Full Definition of DOCTRINE

    archaic : teaching, instruction
    a : something that is taught
    b : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : dogma
    c : a principle of law established through past decisions
    d : a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations
    e : a military principle or set of strategies
    Call me crazy, but is anyone entirely clear on what is taught within Mormonism except ultimately to be a good person and do certain things that will get one to heaven and beyond? Sure, the Mormon is to believe Smith a prophet and to give full faith to the current president, but it boils down to being a good person as prescribed by following a certain set of rules.

    The theology and dogma of Mormonism is very elusive, though. Its near impossible to tie them down on any particular point of theology. One god or many? Blacks or no blacks? Adam as god? Who to worship and why? Are prophets infallible? Polygamy? Who is Jesus? On and on we go to places where what is said is not entirely what is meant.

    It really seems it is to the point wherein all of that simply does not matter as long as one believes in the prophet and does what he or she is supposed to. Staying in the program is all that matters, and this other stuff about theology is irrelevant. The message is to trust the system above all else. Though there may be faults in individuals, the system is perfect and will not lead one astray. Of course, the prophet in office at any given time defines the system at that time. Once that prophet is no longer the prophet, he appears expendable.

    Perhaps I really am crazy, but I find this a very sad faith. Why is it sad? Because there is no ultimate joy in this faith. Its a dead end. You put your faith not into a god or a religion but into a system, a virtual corporation with no life. What may excite you one day is gone the next. You are locked into the system, and the beliefs that define the system one day may not be the same the next. The system, though, is what matters.

  15. falcon says:

    Yea that’s right!
    That’s the first thing that you learn about Mormonism is that it’s very difficult to nail anything down. I think that’s either purposeful as a way of being evasive or it’s just because the leadership has been all over the map. It really is like trying to nail jello to the wall.
    When I first got into studying Mormonism, I just concluded that these folks were all a bunch of liars. Some are but there is a pervasive way of thinking in Mormonism that is really strange. Another thing, Mormons are truly in the dark about the history and past practices of the sect.
    I discovered that Mormons confuse “knowing” and “believing”. I’ve recounted several times here how rick and I in particular would be attacked by Mormon posters saying that we didn’t know anything about Mormonism. We’d provide documentation and they’d deny what was right before their eyes.
    There’s an iron claw in their brains and it effects any sort of normal logic or thought process when it comes to their religion. They believe it and that’s the end of the discussion. Believing makes it true despite all of the evidence available that it’s a gigantic con.
    Our good Mormon friend Ralph is a perfect example. I sit here at my computer rolling my eyes and shaking my head in wonder at what he writes. He’s certainly smart enough to figure it out but the spiritual experiences he claims he’s had drives his belief in Mormonism, to his detriment. We see it clearly. He doesn’t. This is spiritual warfare.

  16. Mike R says:

    Mormon leaders have left such a legacy of unstable teachings that Mormons who are aware
    of this pattern have to come with some kind of response to convince people that all is not as it
    appears . So we hear that only what’s voted on in Conference is correct doctrine , or that the
    four Standard Works are the measuring rod to determine what Mormons believe etc .
    However , both of these statements are half truths . Mormons have since their advent in 1830
    believed and practiced some teachings from their leaders not found in the Four Standard Works
    nor were voted on by church membership in Conference . Throw in the warn out response used
    some Mormon apologists to defend their past leaders strange teachings by saying those were
    ” only his opinion ” , and it’s no wonder why Mormon beliefs are hard to get a solid fix on .
    Mormon leaders can’t even agree sometimes on what is a correct teaching ( doctrine ) and what
    is aberrant . Case in point ( this one’s for you Ralph ) :

    Brigham Young taught over the pulpit and on numerous occasions what is known as his
    Adam God doctrine . He claimed that this was a revealed truth , a teaching he embraced
    and which he introduced to his flock . It’s interesting to note the testimony of some of B.Y.’s
    apostles . One was George Cannon . Mr Cannon testified that he chose to close his eyes to
    Young’s personal faults , he did’nt concerned him , he said ” I never criticized or found fault
    with his conduct , his counsel , OR HIS TEACHINGS at any time in my heart , much less in
    my word’s or actions.” [ The Instructor 80:258 ] .

    One of those teachings Apostle Cannon accepted was Young’s Adam God doctrine . In fact he
    testified that he knew the teaching was true doctrine because it was revealed to him !
    Daniel Wells , another apostle , also said he had received spiritual confirmation about the truth
    of Young’s doctrine . To these leaders and others it was truth . Yet another Mormon apostle ,
    Bruce McConkie in 1981 claimed it was a false teaching .

    What do we make of this ? Personal revelation Mormon style is not the best way to measure
    a teaching from any latter days prophet . We measure their new doctrines by the Word of God–
    the teachings of the prophets and apostles in the Bible . That’s where we start our test [ 1Jn 4:1]

    Another example of how Mormons should’nt trust their personal revelations / convictions as
    the priority in evaluating the teachings or counsel of their leaders was seen in the tragedy of
    the Mormon pioneer Handcart companies who were caught late in the year on their way to
    Salt Lake City . Worried that they may not escape the oncoming winter weather they
    neverthe less pushed on largely because of the counsel of Mormon apostle Franklin Richards .
    According to John Chislett one of the handcart captains , : ” Richards gave us plenty of counsel
    counsel to be faithful , prayerful , obedient to our leaders , etc, and wound up by prophesying
    in the name of Israel’s God that ‘ though it might storm on our right hand and on our left , the
    Lord would keep open the way before us and we should get to Zion safely . ”
    [ The Gathering of Zion , p 243 ] .

    Unfortunately , these precious people were misled by following Apostle Richards conviction
    and scores died soon after when they encountered bitter cold weather . It was one of the
    worst disasters of Westward migration in the 19th century .

    Mormons are the victims of a broken trust . Their leaders have preached falsely on some
    very important issues and sincere LDS have trusted these men by placing priority on a
    feeling , allegedly a inner witness from the Holy Ghost . May Mormons be wise and take
    time to get alone with the Bible ( one published with no notes by their church) and compare
    Mormon teachings with those of God’s prophets in the Bible.

    Take some quality time to do this . If you have been detoured from the truth by following
    latter days counterfeit prophets it will become evident upon searching the scriptures .
    2Tim 4:3,4

  17. falcon says:

    That was a spot on post!
    When it comes to Mormon doctrine, these folks really know how to play the game. Like I said in one of my early posts on this thread, if something is accepted in practice as a doctrine, it’s a doctrine. I don’t care how Mormons want to spin it.
    I think the key escape clause for them is “official”. They exercise their own convoluted logic and contend that something isn’t “official” unless a certain criteria is met. So then they can slide things that are treated like doctrine, but don’t meet a certain criteria, off in the “opinion” or “folk doctrine” categories.
    What were these early Mormons like and what was the context in which all of this inconsistent and creative thinking took place? We know that the 19th century was a time of religious experimentation. Pick any group that emerged at this time and that’s what you get; a lot of creativity with no solid standard by which to judge.

  18. falcon says:

    So we get theses Mormons who try to hide behind the “it isn’t official” tactic.
    I say, “Well this opinion that your prophet offered is goofy”. If they want to call it opinion it certainly reflects a level of intellectual or emotional functioning that isn’t at all flattering. But off-the-wall statements and pronouncements were often accepted by the faithful at the time they were offered. There would be some political in-fighting between this leader or that leader, but its’ the content of what was proposed that is so startling.
    I don’t hang around the Mormon wards but I’m wondering if there are guys floating around there who offer their opinions and propose their own thoughts on various topics related to Mormonism?

  19. Mike R says:


    What was the teaching/practice that was declared to be the ” official ” doctrine of the church
    concerning marriage during Joseph Smith’s entire rule as the prophet ?
    Answer : monogamy .
    What was he and some of his closest officers doing during this time ?
    Answer : practicing polygamy !

    So much for taking seriously the ” official ” label .

    D&C 28 — all things in the church done by ” common consent ” . So polygamy was sustained
    by this common consent during Smith’s lifetime ?

    When Joseph Smith and the officers who were also practicing polygamy told the church body
    that monogamy was the official practice/ doctrine of the church , no doubt the church body
    all had a inner witness that Smith was living by the official church practice .

    Nowadays in General Conference what ever the leadership says will be sustained by those
    in attendance . Rank and file members parrot whatever their leaders recommend because
    of a feeling , a inner witness they assume is from the Holy Ghost .
    That is a recipe that invites manipulation .

    The Mormon people are a decent sincere people who have been detoured from the truth about
    Jesus and His gospel by men who appear nice , polite and well dressed , but who are some of
    the prophets Jesus said would come and end up fooling sincere people — Matt 24:4 , 5, 11 .

  20. falcon says:

    Another feature of the LDS sect is that their doctrine changes. This sort of excites the members as they don’t see it as being inconsistent. They think they are getting the recent update from the Mormon god. In one era we have the practice of polygamy as necessary to reach the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom where godhood is bestowed on the Mormon male. Then in 1890, due to pressure from the U.S. government, there was a doctrinal tweak. Now it’s just necessary to “believe” in polygamy. I would say that’s a significant change. The FLDS sect emerged because of this new “revelation” and change. The FLDS are really mid-1800 Mormons. If you want a view of what Mormon was during this time period, look to the FLDS.
    Now on the other hand we have groups like the Community of Christ. These folks have a doctrine that more aligns with pre-Nauvoo, pre-Brigham Young Mormonism. These folks don’t believe in the existence of many gods, nor to they believe men will become gods. But the CoC must have had some sort of revelatory update because women can hold the priesthood. The CoC have off-shoots also so Mormonism is known for spinning off new groups all with a prophet of course.

    So where would someone find a comparison of Mormon “doctrine”. Here’s a good chart:

    Here’s another good one:

  21. spartacus says:

    Mormonism’s progressive revelation:

    We are the one true church of God because we have the only true prophet of God. The prophet will never lead us astray. The prophet receives revelation from God and we learn line upon line. At General Conference we hear the words of God.

    “Progresses” to:

    The people aren’t perfect but the Church is. The prophet is a man, he makes mistakes. But he still won’t lead us astray. Brigham Young is the reason that the Church embraced racism for over a century, but he was just a product of his environment. The prophet hasn’t received new doctrine revelations for over a century but receives direct communication from God about how to lead the Church as an organization today. At General Conference we prepare to hear the words of God and sustain our leaders as prophets, seers, and revelatory. Throughout the history of the Church, prophets, seers, and revelators have taught their opinions, speculations, and folklore. But every member is entitled to the witness of the Holy Spirit to know the truth of what is taught.

  22. falcon says:

    That was a very good summary!
    Here’s the deal. Once a prospects prays if the BoM is true and gets, what they think is that magical feeling, it’s point, set, match. From then on they have to accept it all; Joseph Smith, the LDS church and the current prophet. They are to fall into lock step and there will be no dissension or disagreement.

    That’s why the pray for “confirmation” which means an emotional response becomes the guide to what is true. Absent the believe in the “feeling”, a Mormon would have to actually process the claim cognitively.
    It sounds super spiritual to be getting these messages along with a confirming feeling. Here’s a question. Where did Joseph Smith come up with this? It’s pretty simple. He grew up in an era and in a place where revivals were very prominent in the lives of the people. Going out to the woods and pray was fairly common as were reports of what happened as a result.

    Check out Charles Finney’s testimony.
    This is what happened after he went out into the woods:

    “There was neither light nor fire in the room; nevertheless it suddenly appeared perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seems as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me at the time, nor for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind; for it seemed to me a reality that He stood before me, and I fell down at His feet, and poured out my soul to Him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed His feet with my tears. I must have continued in that state a good while, absorbed with the interview. I returned to the front office, and found that the fire that I had made of large wood was nearly burned out. But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism with the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression like a wave of electricity going through and through me. Indeed, it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love. It seemed like the very breath of God.

    “No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. These waves came over me and over me and over me, until I cried out: ‘I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me. Lord, I can not bear any more!”

  23. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Fun with scripture and doctrine edition!! » Main Street Plaza

  24. grindael says:

    I think you misunderstood what Ash said. This is what you quoted from him –

    “What, then, is official doctrine and what is opinion? Official doctrine will be announced as revelation and the body of the Church will sustain it (D&C 26:2, 1-7:27-31). Likewise, we can know if leaders speak the will of God when we, ourselves, are ‘moved by the Holy Ghost’ (D&C 68:3-4). The onus is upon us to determine when they speak for the Lord. If we rely solely on the revelations of the prophets, without seeking our own personal confirming revelations, we tend to tacitly accept their revelations as infallible.”

    He did not say it was a free for all and we can pick and choose according to our own ‘personal revelation’ as you make it out. He stated that it would be presented to the church for a sustaining vote as described in D&C 26:2, 1-7:27-31. Once this has happened, the thing is doctrine – hence the ‘Adam-God’ did not become doctrine and never was because it did not get presented to the church for sustaining vote. And it is a sustaining vote, not a popularity vote to make it doctrine – big difference.

    This argument is a ploy. It is so ridiculous that I can’t believe that people keep repeating it. OFFICIAL doctrine is what Mormon leaders teach. Period. BINDING Doctrine is what Ash describes. And what Ash describes is a “free for all” because he says the “onus is on us” to determine if they speak for the Lord. Well, you can get differing opinions on that as has been going on in Mormonism since it first began. For example, how was it known that Hiram Page’s “revelations” on Zion were bogus. JOSEPH SMITH SAID SO. Almost all the Hierarchy at the time believed Page. Joseph PERSUADED them that they were “of Satan”, based on a “revelation” that he was the only one to get “revelations” for the church.

    What is the difference between a “sustaining vote” and a “popularity vote”? Nothing. For example, when Smith didn’t want Rigdon as his counsellor, it was POPULAR for the entire church to vote him in, and Smith had to accept it. Was the whole church deceived? This is all simply word play, bad word play and doesn’t change the fact that doctrine is what the AUTHORIZED Mormon Hierarchy teach. It has been so from the beginning. As Marion G. Romney said,

    “What we get out of general conference is a build-up of our spirits as we listen to those particular principles and practices of the gospel which the Lord inspires the present leadership of the Church to bring to our attention at the time. He knows why he inspired Brother Joseph F. Merrill to give the talk he just gave. He knows why he inspired the other brethren who have talked in this conference to say what they have said. It is our high privilege to hear, through these men, what the Lord would say if he were here. IF WE DO NOT AGREE with what they say, it is because WE ARE OUT OF HARMONY with the Spirit of the Lord.” (Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1950, p.126)

    This is the CORRECT teaching about Mormon doctrine, given by a Mormon “prophet, seer & revelator” in Conference, not what Ash and Ralph have made up.

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