Blacks and the Priesthood: Burn McConkie Now!

If you have any copies of McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine, please burn it. Now. Don’t let yourdownload (1) kids near it. If you have Joseph Fielding Smith’s Answers to Gospel Questions series, burn that as well. In fact there’s a lot of material authored by LDS “authorities,” in the past that have just become not just dated, but officially shameful and embarrassing.

And that’s a good thing.

In the commercial media’s news cycle, nobody watches on weekends, so if a major public player images (12)wants to pretend to be open and “transparent,” yet not have anyone see what scandal or goof-up they’re “exposing,” they release the news on Friday afternoon. It makes a splash on the 6:00 news but everyone is out partying and never sees it. They might get some re-hash over the weekend on the car radio driving between the cabin up north and the ballgame, but by Monday it’s all ancient history and nobody is interested.

Likewise, the LDS church released this official statement on race and the priesthood on 10 December, 2013, in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle. It made the local news in Provo, but out here in the hinterlands, where the bulk of the church now resides and ArnoldFribergJIMay1926expands, very few of us got a whiff of it, and then only those plugged into the internet. The entire two or three generations of Utah-folklore-era Mormons who really needed to hear it on this day, 2o January 2014, Dr. Martin Luther King Day, are indignantly and forcefully protesting it’s existence. Yet here it is in summary:

During the first two decades of the Church’s existence, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood. One of these men, Elijah Abel, also participated in temple ceremonies in Kirtland, Ohio, and was later baptized as proxy for deceased relatives in Nauvoo, Illinois. There is no evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.

In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter blacks continued to join the Church through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.

The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority that had been used to argue for the legalization of black “servitude” in the Territory of Utah.9 According to one view, which had been promulgated in the United States from at least the 1730s, blacks descended from the same lineage as the biblical Cain, who slew his brother Abel.10 Those who accepted this view believed that God’s “curse” on Cain was the mark of a dark skin. Black servitude was sometimes viewed as a second curse placed upon Noah’s grandson Canaan as a result of Ham’s indiscretion toward his father.11 Although slavery was not a significant factor in Utah’s economy and was soon abolished, the restriction on priesthood ordinations remained.

The curse of Cain was often put forward as justification for the priesthood and temple restrictions. Around the turn of the century, another explanation gained currency: blacks were said to have been less than fully valiant in the premortal battle against Lucifer and, as a consequence, were restricted from priesthood and temple blessings.13

By the late 1940s and 1950s, racial integration was becoming more common in American life. Church President David O. McKay emphasized that the restriction extended only to men of black African descent. The Church had always allowed Pacific Islanders to hold the priesthood, and President McKay clarified that black Fijians and Australian Aborigines could also be ordained to the priesthood and instituted missionary work among them. In South Africa, President McKay reversed a prior policy that required prospective priesthood holders to trace their lineage out of Africa.14

Nevertheless, given the long history of withholding the priesthood from men of black African descent, Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter the policy, and they made ongoing efforts to understand what should be done. After praying for guidance, President McKay did not feel impressed to lift the ban.15

Brazil in particular presented many challenges. Unlike the United States and South Africa where legal and de facto racism led to deeply segregated societies, Brazil prided itself on its open, integrated, and mixed racial heritage. In 1975, the Church announced that a temple would be built in São Paulo, Brazil. As the temple construction proceeded, Church authorities encountered faithful black and mixed-ancestry Mormons who had contributed financially and in other ways to the building of the São Paulo temple, a sanctuary they realized they would not be allowed to enter once it was completed. Their sacrifices, as well as the conversions of thousands of Nigerians and Ghanaians in the 1960s and early 1970s, moved Church leaders.19

Church leaders pondered promises made by prophets such as Brigham Young that black members would one day receive priesthood and temple blessings. In June 1978, after “spending many hours in the Upper Room of the [Salt Lake] Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance,” Church President Spencer W. Kimball, his counselors in the First Presidency, and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received a revelation. “He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come,” the First Presidency announced on June 8. The First Presidency stated that they were “aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us” that “all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood.”20 The revelation rescinded the restriction on priesthood ordination. It also extended the blessings of the temple to all worthy Latter-day Saints, men and women. The First Presidency statement regarding the revelation was canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants as Official Declaration 2.

Soon after the revelation, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, an apostle, spoke of new “light and knowledge” that had erased previously “limited understanding.”22

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.23

The church has also released this statement to make the same point:

“The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometimes cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent Church doctrine.”

I’m part of the first LDS generation who never bought into the “less valiant” pre-mortal white-only-slc-templewarrior excuses for banning black priesthood holders, nor believed that the “mark of Cain” was anything but the mark of protection the scriptures clearly denote it to be. Sadly, I’m directing this argument particularly at Latter-day Saints, but the bulk of that congregation will blindly accept these changes (once it is proved some “authority” in the church is compelling them to do so) without wasting any amount of intellectual pondering or research on that decision. For far too many Mormons the doctrines themselves or the principles behind them are far less important than a warm cheery glow and the belief that if they do what they are told they will inherit the Celestial Kingdom. They seem to forget that the “Glory of God is Intelligence.”

I won’t go over all my old ground here by rehashing material thoroughly hashed in previous essays. But it is rewarding to spend as much time and thought and prayerful research putting my own troubled impressions regarding such a sensitive, volatile, and crucial topic into so many pages of forceful reasoning, only to have “the Brethren” in their more subdued fashion essentially agree with all my various arguments, officially, and in public. They have the advantage of simply reversing themselves un-dramatically from the bully-pulpit of prophetic and ecclesiastical seniority. I on the other hand have had to argue my arse off, and consequently my presentation of these questions are far less “cool” calm and collected.

Rank has its privileges. And I don’t have any of either.

I have to admit I often wonder what sort of trouble I’m getting myself into authoring theseimages (15) explorations. And the subject of Mormon racial policy is one of the most troubling “policies” I’ve felt obligated to deal with in this ongoing serial tome. It’s with a sigh of relief that I can now feel I have been sound and justified in essentially every position I’ve taken on the several related subjects included in the church’s longstanding Negroid priesthood restriction “policy.” And there have indeed been many connected doctrinal links forged and partially forged that have been weakened by this silly policy. Related concepts include Mormonism’s doctrinal schizophrenia on the notion of “Papal Infallibility,” as it applies to its “Prophets,” and the resulting squishy Mormon definition of “doctrine,” verses “policy.” Also related is the general need for harmonization of Utah Folk-Doctrines like the Negro priesthood ban, that were never actually canonized or even outlined in scripture, with other, conflicting, absolutely fixed and canonical doctrines like the innocence of all mankind at birth, the denunciation of “Original Sin”–the second Article of Faith:

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

And also, the “Negro” question is entwined with the popular LDS notion that any single, download (2)even mid-level Mormon “authority,” for all practical purposes can promote his personal gospel insight as if it were canon. Dozens of solo-acts out of the General Authorities and others have put forth apologetic rationale for instance, attempting to reconcile Brigham Young’s pre-mortal sentence of 2nd class Mormonship to the “Negro” with clear statements of faith like the 2nd Article of Faith, or:

 33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he ainviteth them ballto ccome unto him and partake of his goodness; and he ddeniethnone that come unto him, black and white, ebond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the fheathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

2 Nephi 26:33.

And you must understand the church’s 10 December statement in this context: that whoever or whenever in the past LDS authorities have promoted notions of a pre-mortal freedom_051511~10lack of committment that somehow finds these pre-mortal spirit slackers volunteering to come down as Negroes in a sort-of “trainee” position, they have been pulling that crap straight out of their backsides. There is not now or has there ever been anything in the LDS canon that even suggests that theory. There has never been any canonical source enforcing a priesthood restriction on the Negro, nor any connected waiting period till some distant eternity in which they are finally cleared for liftoff into Celestial, priesthood glory. All of the LDS canon expressly denounces any such notion.

1989-04-2070-elder-dallin-h-oaks-590x442-ldsorg-articleComplicating these sorts of questions, is the unwritten law against one LDS “authority” criticizing another LDS “authority,” even if, as Dallin Oaks has said without a hint of sarcasm or subtle nod to the irony of it, “the criticism is true.” Hidden in that statement however, is the crafty, carefully obfuscated admission that sometimes criticism of LDS leaders is valid.

And obviously, weaving rationally and calmly through controversial doctrinal issues is only hindered by the contention by current authorities that it doesn’t matter what past authorities have said because current authorities speak living scripture that supersedes past living scripture, so the notion of “sustaining” current leadership therefore means anyone with any criticism of one or all of them on any given point is engaged in devilish contention designed to divide and destroy the Saints.

dieter-f-uchtdorf-largeAbout the time I started this project, President Dieter F Uchtdorf became the face of the Monson-era LDS church. He has mentioned in several public addresses that it is indeed the “Brethren’s” job to sort out the Utah-culture folklore and pioneer bigotry from the actual canon doctrine of the church. (But never so directly or in those words of course…) Currently, Uchtdorf seems to be the go-to-GA when it comes to softening the blow of confessing LDS prophetic fallibility in general, and accepting the sometimes probing and “irreverent” examination of LDS leadership past and present by folks like me:

“Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended, or lazy, or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple,” he said.

“Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past,” he said. “To be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.”

He added that while God is perfect, God “works through us, his imperfect children.”

Uchtdorf also said:

We respect those who honestly search for truth…

Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past. We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of Church history, along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable, and divine events, there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.

My mission statement in this matter particularly, is directed at active LDS membership. Injuvenileinstruct320geor_00051 this context, occasionally, I’ve been very snidely treated by those who’ve written my efforts here off as ignorant, opinionated and self-serving. Such observations usually come from Mormon “establishment” apologists who see themselves and their work as “scholarly” and “important.” One of these jibes came notably from one particular pseudo-intellectual historical revisionist from the staff of the resurrected version of the once-notoriously racist Juvenile Instructor:

Not every young Mormon “scholar” cares to trade party-line pap for higher criticism. President Uchtdorf agrees:

“It’s natural to have questions — the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding,” he said. “There are few members of the church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions.”

Regardless of one’s circumstances, personal history or strength of faith, he said, “there is room for you in this church.”

That means me too.

I think this statement of 10 December 2013 denouncing all previous versions of the LDS position on the Negro or “Curse of Cain” legacy, represents the first of manydownload such clarifications of past Mormon “policy” or “folk doctrine. I believe it is one of the first steps in the establishment of a more clear doctrinal canon on many such previously popular Mormon cultural beliefs, many of which made perfect sense to pioneer Victorians, were clung to out of sheer tradition and inbred cultural bigotry in the big Mormon bunker of the Wasatch Front, and have yet to be seriously questioned.

Central to understanding the many interlaced troubles of making corrections on past doctrinal positions, is the perception of the general Mormon population that the way church “doctrine” comes into being is anything any General Authority says or writes at any time. This is again, unfortunately, at least until very recently, has been entirely reinforced by General Authorities of the day through several past generations.

There isn’t a serious Mormon scholar who will deny that even the Doctrine and Covenants was edited and massaged by Joseph Smith upon review of the first editing and wholeurim-thummim paragraphs were edited, added, and word meanings changed in the process. If you’re a believer you take the prophet Joseph at his word and say he was correcting errors made by scribes and clarifying wording to better convey the intent of the revelation. He can do that. He’s the prophet. He’s the one giving the dictation. If you’re a Mormon detractor you’ll just say he was creatively backtracking on words allegedly sent from the very lips of God. But of course, this isn’t Mormon doctrine. Mormon doctrine holds that all men, prophets or not, all records kept by men are inherently flawed, weak, and subject to error and thus in need of correction from time to time.


The Book of Mormon was subject to similar “clarifying” edits:

And [The LORD] had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity.
For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint;
wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.
22 And thus saith the Lord God:
I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.
23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed;
for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing.
And the Lord spake it
, and it was done.
24 And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey.
note: 2Nephi was changed from ‘white and delightsome’ to ‘pure and delightsome’ in the 1978 edition of the Book of Mormon.
The phrase ‘pure and delightsome’ was actually in the original BofM manuscript, but got changed to ‘white and delightsome’ in one of the early editions and stayed that way until the corrections were made in 1978. 
BOOK OF MORMON 2 Nephi 5:21

The truth is, though not clearly codified in one handy leaflet and published for public consumption, there actually exists a fairly consistent and perceptible order through which actual bona fide Mormon Doctrine is defined:

One of the best-kept secrets in Mormondom is “What is Official Doctrine, and how is it established.” Church leaders seldom discuss the process, because Official Doctrine is rarely introduced. Yet Church history reveals a clearly established procedure that has been carefully followed for over 180 years. D&C 28:13 explains “all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.”  Since the Church was founded in 1830, new doctrine has been accepted six times. On every occasion, a three-step process was followed to add Official Doctrine:  It requires the approval of the First Presidency, the concurrence of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and then it must be accepted in a sustaining vote of the entire membership.

Only then is it binding on the membership of the Church. The change will then be made to the body of accepted (canonized) scriptures. Those occasions are:

  1. 1830, Bible and Book of Mormon were officially accepted with the organization of the Church
  2. 1835, Doctrine and Covenants, first 103 sections were officially accepted
  3. 1880, Doctrine and Covenants additional 32 sections were accepted along with the Pearl of Great Price
  4. 1890, Polygamy was repealed (Official Declaration, p. 291)
  5. 1976, D&C sections 137 & 138 were officially accepted
  6. 1978, The priesthood was made available to all worthy males regardless of race (Official Declaration 2, p. 292)

Also, in 1921 the Church removed the Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine and Covenants, with the explanation that they were never presented to the Church as being divinely revealed scripture.  As lectures and lessons, it was determined that they simply did not measure up to standard of Official Doctrine.1

Elder B.H. Roberts explained what Official Doctrine is:

The Church has confined the sources of doctrine by which it is willing to be bound before the world to the things that God has revealed, and which the Church has officially accepted, and those alone. These would include the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price; these have been repeatedly accepted and endorsed by the Church in general conference assembled, and are the only sources of absolute appeal for our doctrine.” 2

So, in short, various scribes and scribblers, and notably, Brigham Young Himself authored whole library shelves full of LDS journals and discourses. None of Brother Brigham’s

download (4) Adam-God gibberish or inferior Negro bigotry has ever been filtered properly through the system of church government that Joseph Smith “restored” as the only body of priesthood authority on earth licensed by God to define “doctrine.” Essentially nothing of what Brigham Young rambled on about in all those journals, even assuming he was notated properly, has ever made it to the body of the faithful to be sustained as general church doctrine and thus achieved canonization.
Brigham Young created a “policy” of excluding Negroes from the priesthood based upon his own personal prejudice, a longstanding history of Christian racism that had decided the Negro was cursed to be servile and ugly through Biblical injunction,  and generations of his successors attempted to justify this Bible-based racism by speaking off the top of their heads in the most logical reasoning of their day. They did at no time even pretend they were receiving divine revelation about the disposition of the Negro. And they were all too bigoted, if not entirely racist, to consider changing their minds, or as history proves, even seriously taking the matter to the Lord.
And let’s be entirely fair and honest. To Brigham Young, viewing in large part, loads of images (10)uneducated, ignorant, black, superficially-monkey-like slave populations dragged in chains out of the stone age and deliberately kept like simpletons and animals, it was easy to believe that he and his contemporaries were looking at a genetically, intellectually, and spiritually inferior creature. The white man was travelling the world in trains, steamboats, and conquering nations and continents by cannon and gunfire. These apparently cursed black fools they were looking at were picking lice and leeches off their mostly naked bodies in the jungle, worshipping trees and eating grubs.

Joseph Smith however, had another perspective. He ordained several black men to the priesthood and they took up their endowments in the temple. Yet, he’s often cited as an avowed racist via this quote:

“Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization.”

In 2014 that sounds pretty racist. It’s a “separate but equal” argument as presented. It’s300px-Wallace_at_University_of_Alabama_edit2 given today in the subliminal context of Governor George Wallace of Alabama on June 11, 1963 standing in the schoolhouse door blocking black kids from entering shouting, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” But frankly even the Jim Crow segregation and second-class citizenship of the south in the Civil Rights Movement era in 1963 was still an extremely liberal argument in 1843. What’s missing here is the motivation for Joseph Smith making that statement. George Wallace’s motivation was entirely different than Joseph Smith’s.

What Smith was actually doing in the much abused quote he noted in his journal, is developing a marketable political platform that would solve the issue of slavery short of a full-on Civil War. In the south or near-south, where he was making the argument, the question of nation-wide racial integration was no question at all. The answer was “never.” images (20)Smith was actually making a far less compromised anti-slavery argument than Abe Lincoln, still a national hero and alleged champion of Civil Rights, whoimages (19) said he’d preserve the Union with slavery or without it. Smith on the other hand, eventually proposed a far more liberal solution to the cessation of slavery via the federal purchase of all slaves to reimburse their “owners” for the resultant loss of their “property.” What to do with all the freed slaves? Well, Joe Smith (if he had anything to do with the question as he says) favored some way of setting them up in their own communities. Why? Well, that’s what he wanted for his own people for one thing. It generally worked out better for the Mormons being self-reliant and away from the opposition, than living among people who hated you images (21)and wanted to kill you.

What the invariably anti-Mormon quote-meisters who wield this highly snipped quote around at modern Mormonism don’t give you is the whole statement:

January 1843, Joseph Smith said:

“At five went to Mr. Sollars’ with Elders Hyde and Richards. Elder Hyde inquired the situation of the negro. I replied, they came into the world slaves mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by the powers of his own mind to his exalted state of respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine of many of those they brush and wait on. “Elder Hyde remarked, ‘Put them on the level, and they will rise above me.’ I replied, if I raised you to be my equal, and then attempted to oppress you, would you not be indignant and try to rise above me, as did Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and many others, who said I was a fallen Prophet, and they were capable of leading the people, although I never attempted to oppress them, but had always been lifting them up? Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization.” [History of the Church, 5:217-218]

The whole argument Smith is making consists of about 90% enlightenment, dimmed slightly by a little dab of pragmatism. In the time and place they were having this debate full racial integration was not possible, not do-able, not even debatable. But as Smith argued to Orson Hyde, a converted Jew, the only reason the “Negro” appeared to them now as an ignorant slave is the circumstances of his birth and his physical captivity and oppression. Smith clearly argues that if the circumstances were reversed it would appear the other way-’round, and the “Negro” would be just as civilized and educated and refined as those they now serve, and indeed, Joseph points out that in many places of the north images (13)where “Negro” slaves have been brought up in high society, they have taken upon themselves all the refinement of their masters. Hyde expresses concern that if the former slaves were all put on an equal social and legal status they would try to “take over” essentially. Smith agrees that this might be a problem, especially due to the generations of “white” oppression, and argues that it would be a natural and justified tendency–possibly a contributing reason for the inclusion of some legal separation of the two races. He cites as evidence of this possible social consequence, several religious lieutenants he’d appointed who, even without oppression, had sought to get the better of the Mormon prophet and steal his flock. Smith thus concludes, essentially, if he had anything to do with the issue he’d set the Negro up in their own communities, apparently so there would be no need to “take over” a competing “white” social structure, and where jimcrowprotestas he clearly implies, they would be free to grow and prosper every bit as much as “white” folk in similar conditions. I shouldn’t have to point this out, but the alternative the “segregation” solution proposed by Joseph Smith was for the Negro to remain generationally, perpetually, in their current bondage and forced into a perverted integration with “white” society as slaves.

Joseph Smith makes a tepid Civil Rights 1964. It’s downright embarassing in 2014. But Joseph Smith wasn’t living in 1964. He wasn’t living in 2014. What he was proposing was revolutionary enough to getimages (14) him killed, and the people who killed him were all good Baptists and Presbyterians and Methodists and other wonderfully enlightened “Christians,” who believed not just that the “Curse of Cain” was a black skin and Negroid features, but that the Negro was inherently inferior mentally, spiritually, and physically, and in many cases that the Negro was incapable of salvation entirely.

Beginning in 1842, after he had moved to free-state Illinois, Smith made known his increasingly strong anti-slavery position. In 1842 he began studying some abolitionist literature, and stated, “It makes my blood boil within me to reflect upon the injustice, cruelty, and oppression of the rulers of the people. When will these things cease to be, and the Constitution and the laws again bear rule?”[13] In 1844 Joseph Smith wrote his views as a candidate for President of the United States. The anti-slavery plank of his platform called for a gradual end to slavery by the year 1850. His plan called for the government to buy the freedom of slaves using money from the sale of public lands.[12]

slaves-persons-not-propertySo why pick on Joe Smith? It wasn’t Mormons hanging and beating and whipping and raping and torturing Negroes for the last 400 years of American slavery. It was the self-same “Christians” who now smirk at the LDS’s 10 December, 2013 statement and say, “better late than never,” as if the “enlightened” pro-slavery Calvinists of Smith’s era, the “Good Christian Patriots” like the KKK and the Southern Baptist Convention who openly warred with Mormonism specifically for Joseph Smith’s stand on slavery, and still do for a host of other bigoted reasons, are progressive organizations and always have been.

For the anti-Mormons out there, and certainly the non-Mormons in general: I’m not defending the bigotry in early LDS leadership at all. Just putting it into perspective. Neither am I defending the racism apparent in the writings and sermonizing of many LDS leaders over the generations. I can only offer that it was always ever based upon ignorance rather than malice, and that it never even slightly attained the level of contempt and hatred, the outright damnation of the “Negro” race as openly practiced and professed by most of “historic” Christianity over the last 2014 years. Not even slightly. It wasn’t the Mormons who brought slavery to America. That was “historic” Christianity. It’s hard to take criticism from Christian sects who were the religious arm of the KKK for generations, or tolerate the tongue clucking of other Christian denominations like the now often very liberal Lutherans, who’s founder Martin Luther (the original)  clearly and openly denounced the Jews as a filthy, contemptable race that needed extermination. Or for that matter, compared to some pretty inane reasoning relative to the Curse of Cain over the years from various Mormon leaders, I feel no moral equivalence between that and a Holy Roman Empire that slaughtered “barbarians” and “savages” all over the globe, tortured generations of mankind through ruthless rule and Inquisition, and attempted to exterminate the Jews to “liberate” the Holy Land over the course of hundreds of years and a score of centuries. Brigham Young wasn’t invented in the hills of Utah. He came from respectable Quaker stock. He and his brethren brought the Curse of Cain and all its attendant racism and bigotry from “historic” Christianity–it was never an invention of Joseph Smith or his newly “restored” One True Church.

images (11)For the longtime Latter-day Saint, I have to testify that you need to do some re-calibration of your entire world view.  Moreover, you need to look at the basis of your faith in Mormonism itself. I can’t witness to you any plainer than to say that the LDS church has clearly and unarguably thrown Brigham Young, John Taylor (who essentially originated the less-valiant pre-mortal spirits theory) Bruce McConkie, Mark E Peterson,  and a lot of Joseph Fielding Smith et al under the bus on the issue of the Negro and the priesthood. The “church” has official denounced their “theories” as wrong. “Unequivocally” wrong. Read it yourself and weep if you must, all you old Mormon codgers. Then get you head around it and adjust.

Told you so.

Here’s a link to some extremely racist statements made by LDS leaders in various official and quasi-official capacities. Keep in mind that they have all now been denounced. If you are a faithful Latter-day Saint you must denounce them as well. There are many many other such racist statements from these and other LDS leaders. Excusing them away is no longer an option. And it’s hardly the same thing as “denouncing” them:

Here are the links to my previous related ramblings on the subject and related arguments:

And one of the best external explorations of the LDS or “Mormon” position on Black, African males and the priesthood is found here:

Posted in 41 Blacks and the Priesthood: Burn McConkie Now! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

AMC’s Hell on Wheels: Breaking Stupid

Reality-based shows like Big Love and Sister Wives have exposed modern plural marriage to be as ostensiblyWidemodern_SisterWives_131216620x413 “normal” as any other domestic arrangement for the most part. One might be tempted in a moment of fairness to concede that they’re all consenting adults, they’re all happy with the lifestyle, so what’s the big deal? But some 150 years ago, it was a big deal. Such a big deal that the US Army was sent on a secret mission to overthrow the Utah Territorial government, and destroy the Mormon Church once and for all because of this one, single proven, resistance to submit to the will and religious preferences of America’s Christian orthodoxy. America was a Christian Nation–and the Religious Right still claims so. Mormons took multiple wives and had a modern-day prophet. That wasn’t “Christian.” That was “disloyal” to the American, exclusively “Christian,” way of life. Even today, the Religious Right will tell you the Constitution was based upon the Bible and Biblical, “Christian” principles. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Founding Fathers in fact expressed a determined argument directly against America ever being a “Christian Nation,” or ever having any branch of “Christianity” incorporated into the Constitution. Here are a few related essays on the subject from earlier in my blogging efforts:

Even though the modern state of the culture has been radically compromised concerning what a “family” or a “valid lifestyle” may or may not be, you still have to remember that the anti-bigamy/polygamy/cohabitation laws are still in effect. In these cases of modern polygamist-televangelists, keep in mind that they are only enjoying fake marriages. Those people are not “married” legally. They are simply cohabitating. No state actually allows plural marriage by law yet. Utah was specifically forced to adopt an anti-polygamy clause in its constitution in order to be granted statehood, as was Idaho. These so-called “Fundamentalist Mormons” on today’s “reality” shows, may marry exactly one wife legally. If she consents to allowing her husband to cohabitate with what amount to concubines for religious purposes, and they want to call that a marriage, then any laws they may be breaking are against co-habitation, not bigamy or polygamy. If they really were married to anti-mormon-poster-advertising-a-book-critical-of-polygamy-or-the-mysteries-of-mormonismmultiple partners, the men (yes, only the men) would be in prison. All anti-bigamy, anti-polygamy laws were drafted specifically to imprison the early Mormon patriarchs, because they were all in truth designed to capture LDS church leadership, not really “save” the helpless women and children “enslaved” by this vile Mormon practice. The women and children were in fact, thrown into poverty and often the streets by removing the breadwinner from the household and seizing all his property, and then eventually all LDS church property simply for believing that polygamy was a Biblically valid practice and teaching it—not practicing it, just teaching or believing it was valid and Biblical. Loyalty oaths were forced upon Utah and Idaho, and all the territories governed by the Congress, disenfranchising anyone who would not sign papers denouncing plural marriage, whether they practiced it or not. (That’s what Orwell called a “thought crime.”) Today, all US states specifically prohibit a man taking more than one wife, and exact on paper at least, heavy penalties of fines and prison time for undertaking it. This vehement reaction to Mormon polygamy should sound a note of irony given that relatively easy way American “Christians” have been coaxed to embrace the notion these days that men who want to marry men or women who want to marry women is a Constitutionally protected right. Most “Good Christian Patriots” on the Right will reluctantly confess that pluralMy-Big-Gay-Italian-Wedding-theater-11798554-1650-2207 marriage is indeed a respectable Biblical concept, but then go on to produce some obtuse rationale explaining that it was done away with and is now  a “bad” thing. And though the Religious Right will eagerly agree that homosexuality is an abomination, is, was, and ever will be, and that sanctioning homosexual marriage by the State is just one big nail in America’s spiritual coffin, the Religious Left will vehemently support gay marriage, while agreeing with the Right, that polygamy is a revolting and barbaric practice.

More on Christian America’s campaign against Mormonism via polygamy here:

Having said this, one Utah federal judge, based upon a Utah State lawsuit arising out of one of these “reality” shows has ruled that anti-polygamy and anti-bigamy laws should stand, but that anti-cohabitation laws areSister-Wives-570x366 Unconstitutional. That case is fully expected to be referred to the Supreme Court. But it says something about changing times and the failing grip of raging, “Historical” Christianity on American culture when the Salt Lake Tribune, the newspaper organized by Utah’s most staunch anti-Mormon instigators, the very people who replaced local Mormon government with governors and judges and marshals and administrators appointed by Congress directly, who disenfranchised the entire Mormon church and confiscated it’s land and property and rented meetinghouses back to them because of their singular disloyalty over the polygamy issue alone, comes out with this observation from the very federal judges they appointed:

On Sunday, the Salt Lake Tribune’s polygamy blog published a helpful Q&A that breaks down some of the most significant aspects of the decision:

• What about the claims polygamy is harmful to women and children? This was a big part of the state’s argument, but Waddoups didn’t buy it. He said the state presented no evidence of a correlation between polygamy and such crimes as child abuse, domestic abuse and failure to pay child support.

• What impact did this year’s gay marriage rulings have? It appears none. Neither of the U.S. Supreme Court cases received citations in Waddoups’ ruling. Waddoups did cite the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas that struck down sodomy laws for gay sex, quoting a passage affirming a right to freedom from “unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places.”

And I want to emphasize for the moment, that in the actual historical record, there is one single issue, one single law, one single offense that Mormonism has been ultimately “convicted” of in either any state or federal polygamy1court. And that is taking more than one wife. Period. All the rest is legend, hyperbole, and bullshite for the dime novels. Not a partisan statement, just the facts of the case. The Mormons have won every case against Joseph Smith and subsequent leaders of riot, treason, rebellion, and all the other salacious fantasy charges thrown at them over the generations with the single exception of one: Yes. Mormons believed in taking more than one wife.

And of course, they believed they had a living prophet leading their church, and that they were the one true religion. Unfortunately, heresy wasn’t ostensibly illegal, so the Christian Nation had to go with the polygamy angle. And that one did the trick. But to get it to work, they had to take marriage out of the hands of religion, and make it a political and civil union that could be regulated by legislation and enforced by the courts. That move has come back to bite them in the ass in the form of the various courts and legislatures legalizing gay marriage.

B_018_SchoolNow, if you want to believe in Mormon boogie men there’s nothing I can do about it. If you want to believe in Mormon Danite death squads, and the Mormon connection to the Illuminati, or the Mormon plan to take over America and build a Latter-day Empire on the blood of poor Christian settlers, I can’t stop you. Mormons are not unique in Calvin’s America when it comes to being relegated to the part of evil conspirators. Before the Mormons you had the Catholics. And for a while the Baptists. The Jews are always handy. But, you’ll certainly find all sorts of aczn90_thumbscintillating rumors and innuendoes to confirm all your worst nightmares about the Mormons if you read accounts from the “Christian” press and commentary of the era. Even today, in the “communications era,” a large segment of the population believes “911 was an inside job,” and 38236_453812311012_197766376012_6637441_5427842_n1there’s nothing I can do about that either. You’d think some of the most notably bigoted anti-Mormon fables would have dissipated by now. And I suppose, many of them have. But unfortunately, because “weird” religious orders are in vogue, many other so-called reality-based shows have swooped opportunistically in to continue to cloud the image of America’s “Mormon” experience. Though it’s petty defamation by historical anti-Mormon standards, popular mediaarticle-2049007-0E47FC6E00000578-890_468x301_thumb.jpg have now equated Mormonism with pretty much any small-time cult dominated by men with its female component dressed in pastel prairie bonnets, polygamist or not. One such effort is Breaking the Faith, highlighting the truly cultic operation of the now imprisoned Warren Jeffs, leader of the FLDS compound of fools, which pretends to document his prophetic empire as it slowly unravels down in Texas.

imagesWhile these typically awkward media efforts to “explore” what the public assumes to be “fundamentalist” Mormonism, might in many ways soften the public attitudes toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they in fact don’t often actually depict the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at all, but something else entirely. The FLDS, or Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is not a break-off or fallback to earlier “LDS” or “Mormon” beliefs at all. It’s just a case of contemporary, opportunist wankers, Warren Jeffs, and his dead old man Rulon Jeffs, making it up as they go along. They’re hanging their own personal religious inventions onto some vague allusion to the polygamist leanings of the early LDS church, or as most of these cults do, to some familial connection to its early leadership. Likewise, the Apostolic United Brethren Church, of Sister Wives fame, which claims also to be a “fundamentalist” offshoot of the LDS church, can’t be an “offshoot” of Mormonism, any more than Martin Luther’s fans can claim they’re an “offshoot” of the Roman Church. They’re heretics and excommunicants.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a legal entity with a legal and ecclesiastical structure andimages (35) chain of command with a provenance going all the way back continuously to its “founder” if you will, Joseph Smith. At no point was this structure abandoned, altered, or broken. Now, the Latter-day Saint would say, their organization goes all the way back to Jesus Christ. But I’m not asking you to take a position on that for the purposes of this argument. Joseph Smith didn’t “reform,” or “branch off,” of the Roman, Eastern, or any of the Protestant branches of the Church. Smith’s claim was that the “primitive” Christian Church fell entirely into apostasy and its authority and doctrine had become null and void. Smith claimed that God the Father and Jesus Christ personally visited him and entrusted him with the job of “restoring” the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth after a total apostasy and break in the chain of custody. Take that boast as you will. I’m not making a religious argument here. I’m making a Constitutional and legal one.

In any case, Joseph Smith thereafter legally established a clear order of church government with ruling bodies and very specific priesthood structures. It’s commonly misunderstood in and out of the LDS church that the current “Prophet” pretty much says and does what he wants, and anything he babbles on about,  is as good as scripture or the direct word of the Lord. Not so. That’s not my point here, but here’s a reference you can look into:

My point is, if you leave the Amish, you cease to be Amish. They literally blot your name out of their books. If download (25)you call yourself a Mormon “prophet,” and make claims that supersede the LDS organizational structure and authority, if you recruit modern polygamists even out of the ostensibly bona fide LDS population, you do not have an “offshoot” of the Mormon church. You have a group of excommunicated Mormons. Ordownload (23) soon-to-be excommunicated Mormons. That’s the LDS church structure, a structure made up of rules, governing bodies, and procedures that demand instant excommunication of those who do anything even slightly like try to start their own “offshoot.” If I decide God’s called me to “fix” the LDS church, and I take a bunch of fellow actual Mormons with me as I go about it, if I proselytize and recruit off the streets from the general population of the world, and they all accept me as their leader, that does not make me an alternative LDS “prophet.” That makes me an LDS heretic. That makes me an excommunicated Mormon. That makes me and anyone who images (1)follows me not LDS in any way shape or form. That makes me anathema to the LDS church from an LDS standpoint.

I advise you of this as a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing. Every six months the body of the church convenes and sustains structure and leadership. It’s like the AGM of any non-profit community theatre company or charity. You do not get to rent a storefront in the local strip-mall and call yourself the Salvation Army “Light” because you imagine Jesus has told you to wing it on your own and you look good in uniform, can blow a trumpet, or ring a bell with the best of them.

The media, the entertainment media in particular, who usually have a liberal “Bohemian” bent, and who often today gleefully choose religious-types to humiliate and defame, to depict as the heels and foils and the twisted, bad bastards of their presentations, clearly have no idea at all how the LDS mind or the religion itself is even organized, much less how it works or ever did work as a community on a practical basis. And like the “reality” based pretenders wergwergwe rgto some quasi-LDS patriarchy, who’s entire religious innovation consists of humping multiple “wives” while living on their female partners’ income and/or welfare checks, the so-called “documentary” producers pretending to explore this lifestyle invariably seek out and develop a presentation that depicts something entirely other than “Mormonism,” even though the real thing is easily available. The primary motivation for this is the same reason Mitt Romney lost the election.

Real Mormons are boring. Real Mormonism is boring.

In the history of real Mormonism, the one single petty bitch the United States of America ever proved “legally” against the religion is that it believed in the Biblical soundness of plural marriage. When it came down toimages-16_thumb1 proving a legal case against Joe Smith or Brigham Young and the entire Mormon movement, all the US government had was polygamy. I say this because that’s the verdict even by the US government’s own estimation. I’m not making a Mormon case here. I’m talking about what the federal government actually coughed up in the way of “Constitutional” excuses in its attempts to exterminate Mormonism.

But the rumor, the innuendo, the fantasy, the specters of Mormon boogie men is just too popular an image for the truly ignorant and clueless of America, of the world, to let go of.

Case in point:

Hell on Wheels, which is produced by Edemol—and you might immediately wonder, whoever they are, in the third-rate, multi-national, co-images (5)Canadienne world of cut-rate production houses. But, Edemol is a truly multi-national media conspiracy dedicated to specifically making money off the uninformed masses, and little else. It’s an Italian firm based in the Netherlands. However, to limit it’s significance to so simple a description would insult it’s stature as a world media presence. It’s a cheap entertainment house dedicated to schlockmeistering at its best for the world’s unwashed. They’re working hard at it and making tremendous progress. They shouldn’t be taken lightly. They’re the “Madrigal” of “reality” shows. (Breaking Bad fans take note.)

download (12)Hell on Wheels is currently aired on AMC. Its ratings aren’t great, American critical review hasn’t been very good, and thus many in the LDS world suggest it’s best to ignore it, because much of the US population has never seen it and never will. It is however, in syndication and popular release already on Netflix, Hulu, and countless other digital distribution systems. It seems to be making good headway in the UK and European, Eastern-European distribution streams. Edemol is in fact a huge producer and distributor of “reality” shows like “Big Brother,” and “Fear Factor,” all around the globe and Hell on Wheels is its first “scripted” production to become an international hit. Deny it all you want, Hell on Wheels is how much of the world, whatever becomes of it in America, is going to be seeing “Mormonism” for many years to come.dersturmer2

If the producers and writers of Hell on Wheels had depicted Jews in the same way it has depicted Mormons, the Anti-Defamation League would have had the show closed overnight and everyone’s guild cards pulled. The ACLU would be picketing its American and Canadian production offices. However, it’s obviously just fine with AMC to make a hero out of a Johnny-Reb, slave-owning redneck, a Civil War criminal terrorist and cold-blooded killer, while having this great “hero” ironically refer to innocent Mormon settlers as “treacherous,” and “disloyal,” negro-hating  scum.

The lead character in this gritty, low-budget farce is the entirely fictional figure, Cullen Bohannon, a southernimages (2) plantation owner who fought a bloody civil war to keep his slaves in bondage. He rules a railroad crew led by a load of bog-Paddy Irish hicks. His hillbilly cohorts, have been shooting and beating and hanging “niggers” since the first episode. So, to add to the ironic mirth of this asinine, backwards, revisionist world, Bohannon repeatedly shares cautionary anti-Mormon exchanges with his new-found negro buddy and his lesser negro grunt-workers, who add their own testimonies against the evil, racist Mormons. Clearly, in Bohannon’s European re-creation of the American West, both the enslaved black man and the caring white Christian master share their fear and distrust of thesethe-birth-of-a-nation-032407 alien Mormon creatures.

Actor Anson Mount plays the character of Bohannon, and he says he took the part because it portrayed a southerner in a positive light. No kidding. So did Birth of a Nation. I guess if you don’t know that Bohannon and his brethren are actually the same creatures who founded the KKK it doesn’t seem as bizarre and hypocritical to you.

images (19)Hell on Wheels’ anti-Mormonism is not just one or two ignorant references. It’s a campaign. It’s a clearly images (23)developed theme: There are repeated discussions about Mormon evilness. Bohannon frequently exchanges sad observations about how the Mormons repress and oppress women and children, and how disloyal they are, and how they fought the US government and are traitorous. In the last shots of series 3, Bohannon explores this theme at length in mournful, woe-filled tones as he comforts a deflowered daughter of the railroad camp’s Christian preacher who has been enjoying a little “red fever” with the Native American protégé of her daddy. Mind you, at this point in the storyline, her father went nuts, gave guns to the Indians, took hostages on a train carrying the wounded railway president, and in general met a very bad end. Not seeing the irony? Then you’re a fool and stop reading this. You’re hopeless.

I can’t help it. I know stuff. It would be easier to enjoy the farce if I were stupid. If Edemol and company had even a hint of historical, doctrinal, or social insight on period Mormonism, I’d just let the silliness of Hell on Wheels go. But it’s not ultimately silly. It’s Blood Libel. And I can’t justimages (13) shut up and ignore it. I can’t even shut up about the only slightly less blatant attitude of this would-be cable-epic toward “Yankees” and the Union in general. I know more about this BS than the guys writing it certainly do. And it’s clear, the writers and producers of this stream of episodic bigotry have a definite thing against northern, white, pro-Union (US) Christian Abolitionists, on top of all their anti-Mormonism. Perhaps it’s the Roman connection of the producers that tends to take it out not just on Mormons, but American frontier Evangelicals as well, the latter of which were foamingly anti-Catholic in their day and still are.

But it’s probably worse than that. This crew of theatrical retardates probably just hates any version of American Born Again Christians, and thus while denigrating the show’s local zealous Christian images (6)preacher on that count, they have no idea that these “Born Again” types at least from the north, were the leading force in freeing the very slaves that the writers and producers ironically champion in the series. The hero they chose, ironically, was the cream of the very KKK scum the writers and producers clearly despise. The nemeses these blockheads chose, the Mormons, were not only pro-Abolition, but they were pro-Union and on top of that, they were the only “white” friends of the Native Americans who this production also clearly adores. The Abolitionist minister they debauch, again, was a hero in the battle to free American slaves. And again, by choosing a northern, pro-law-and-order “Swede” and Union veteran, as a major foil in their plotting, this production team clearly establish their bigotry against what they see to be in their revisionist minds as, “Religious Conservatives,” and do so utterly without any conception of the relative merits of period religious or political arguments.

The schizophrenic writers of this railroad fable tell us the camp’s insane preacher was a violent Abolitionist who rode with John Brown’s ilk during Bloody Kansas. This means he literally chopped slave-state political opponents and their families into pieces and stacked them up like kindling in the driveway as a warning to others. They show us that his daughter is a fornicator who41ec60bb43975543b2fe1c67681bb455 has a lust-driven affair with a native American who meets the “Little Joe” sentence of death conveniently. (Dating 473354c0a5faf235485233ea29b1a81bmyself there.) Then, in the finale scenes of season #3, this horny frontier preacher’s daughter has a brooding exchange with Bohannon about the immorality of taking multiple wives and the Biblical and Constitutional disloyalty of it all. But Bohannon however, is a cold-blooded killer and war-criminal who’s entire region seceded from the Union, started a bloody civil war, and again, ironically imprisoned the other crazy bastard of the show, called Mr. Swede, (though he’s Norwegian and from Minnesota I believe,) in a little Dixie hell hole called Andersonville Prison until he almost starved to death.’s_wife_on_Bonanza?#slide=2)

andresnWhen Hitler’s NAZI bastards were herding Jews into the poison-gas showers at Aushwitz it was humane charity compared to Bohannon’s Andersonville. Bohannon’s Confederate compatriots starved tens of thousands of Union prisoners in EmaciatedBodiesthe open rain and snow until most of them died an extended, painful, withering death, because Bohannon and his fellow rebels were fighting to preserve their right to enslave fellow human beings, and couldn’t be bothered to shell out the money and time for food and shelter for Yankee bastards, and shooting them all was a waste of powder and bullets.

Hurray for Dixie!

Now, this anti-Mormonism, anti-Unionism, anti-religionism, isn’t just a scene or two. This is a theme the series has openly and very Malnurished_Andersonville_Guyknowingly explored, expanded, and promoted certainly over it’s entire third season. This deviation from what seemed to be the logical theme of building the transcontinental railway, came as a complete surprise to me because I actually liked the show with all its faults–the fake train, the rails laid without any ballast, the use of the same damned location over and over again because the railroad camp obviously doesn’t really move and the same creek bed or dry wash or meadow or forest is always having to double and triple and quadruple for every similar location over and over again by changing angles and re-dressing it.

I certainly realize you can’t crap on Indians any more. Next to the “Negro” they’re the minority of choice for the discriminating “Progressive.” They have to be respectfully portrayed as noble savages and good family folk. On this score, I’m not sure just how well Hell on Wheels actually comes out, but it’s not my main message. (I’m sure my Native American brothers and p08sisters will still have a few criticisms to add…) But in a “western,” you still need a villain. I can suspend my disbelief when these apparently very liberal writers and producers try to switch all the villainy over to Northern, Abolitionist preachers, Union war heroes, (and inexplicably, Norwegians) and Union Army officers. I mean, I’ve ridiculed most of them at times in this very blog for years regarding their treatment particularly of Native Americans, Mormons, and other minority populations. The Norwegians, well, I just don’t follow that bit of bigotry. In this context the Hell on Wheels stab at Mr. Swede seems entirely unmotivated and historically aberrant. The Leftist writers and producers of this show however, decided to piss on the US treatment of the Natives, but bought the whole line of anti-Mormon propaganda written by the same bastards against the Mormons.  But then, these theatrical imbeciles are Canadians and Europeans, and bi-coastal “Progressives.” They are producing this soap-opera in good part for that market. What foreigners  and Europhiles like about, or how they see America is always a bit convoluted and tangential compared to the reality we think we understand here in “real” America. For instance, if truth were told, the bog-Paddy Irish immigrants on the show were the very first obvious images (53)ethnic group to be dumped upon. This is both in the context of Lincoln’s Union Army rabble, who were made up in good part of Irish2d84ad61c33df891ede2fce2aebe2442 conscripts and volunteers from New York and parts east, as well as the itinerant Irish railroad workers. They have been and remain throughout the show, drunken cheaters, back-stabbers, conspirators, and nigger-beating scalawags. It probably plays well in Montreal. Or, as noted by one of the Irish hicks in the series, the Irish were the “niggers” of the Old World and these Old World producers don’t see any problem portraying them in that light.

The show is shot in Alberta by a lot of Canadians in particular, so Albertoids and regional Canadians may also still bear a lot of weird personal ill-will dating back to Mormonism’s early incursion into that isolated province in particular. But seriously, I can’t tell if this animus against Mormons and all things Yankee is deliberate or just ignorant, arbitrary, and coincidental.

psalmsNot surprisingly, the newly freed slaves on the rail gang are portrayed as longsuffering, noble, and stalwart human beings. They’re smart too. Oh yes, smarter than their Irish overlords. That angle’s a little over-played in spots, but popular with the kids these days. At least Common don’t bust into no rap while swingin’ no hammer or nothin’.

Just don’t get me started on “Common” or his openly Django Unchained character. I’ll just suspend disbelief on the whole black man/white-former-Indian captive-former-prostitute hooking up andhow-s3-episode4-louise-column-590-284x184 living together with an Irish baby by her dead husband thing. OK, guess I’ll have to explain that better: In one story line, an Indianified white whore keeps a black lover named Elam, who’s played by rapper Common, but she ultimately marries an Irish gang boss on the railroad to become respectable. (And not marry a negro.) She gets pregnant by her husband, and when the Irish father is killed, Elam moves back in and lays claim to the very white baby. When the father’s brother comes from back east to take the baby out of the arms of his tattooed whore of a mother, rescue the child from a hellish swamp of a railroad camp, and take the child back to civilization amongst relatives, well, the notion that anyone in that period would take two images (96)seconds to think about whether or not this is going to go down the way the baby’s well-heeled, proper Irish uncle has determined it to go down, is just revisionist nonsense. But moreover, assuming, as in this plot line, the black friends of black Elam, kidnap and beat up this white Irish uncle trying to get him to surrender the child, or even that Elam himself stood up and made some claim to fatherhood of that very white child, in real-life period terms, there would simply be a lot of dead “niggers” at the end of the episode. 150 years ago, in an Irish railroad camp, toauxn60 paraphrase Michael Richards, “them niggas would be hanging upside-down from a tree with a fork up their asses.” Just sayin’. Michael Richards  can’t even say that today. Doing so all but ended his career. Today’s audience can’t even think it. But that’s the truth about what it was like building the transcontinental railway. That’s the way it really was back in Cullen Bohannon’s fictionalized era. That’s reality.

The truth about Cullen Bohannon and his cohorts on the railway, especially his southern good-ol’ boys, is that a black man’s life wasn’t worth the price of a bullet to them. There’s a very appropriate line in Sam Clemens’ Tom Sawyer that lays it out quite clearly:

“It warn’t the grounding — that didn’t keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head.”

“Good gracious! anybody hurt?”

“No’m. Killed a nigger.”

The reality about Mormonism and the “negro,” however,  is that Joseph Smith was persecuted and driven out of Missouri for daring to encourage his people to vote against slavery, to invite free negroes into their community, and live and work images (93)with them more or less as equals. Smith was ultimately murdered by a mob attempting to suppress his right to vote and run for presidential office on an Abolitionist ticket. The truth about Cullen Bohannon is that he and his friends and kinfolk routinely beat, raped, tortured, lynched, shot and brutalized “negroes” before, during, and after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and the Civil War was fought and lost by them. The writers and producers of Hell on Wheels seem to forget that Cullen Bohannan was on the losing side of a Civil War dedicated to the progression of mankind. Cullen Bohannon’s kinfolk instituted and defended American slavery to their dying breaths. And then his posterity continued the persecution and oppression of black America for generations afterward to this very day. Mormonism was repeatedly and specifically listed by the KKK as the single greatest threat to its takeover of American politics and society.

Cullen Bohannon’s kinfolk invented the KKK. Have I mentioned the presumption and insult and irony of having this southern redneck lecture me and my Mormon community about racism?

Have I?

Many of the members of the anti-Mormon mob that murder the first President of the Church, Joseph Smith, are members of a secret racist society called the “Knights of the Golden Circle.” After the Civil War the organization is outlawed. A few members of the Knights of the Golden Circle found a new organization called the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.—1844
(See BlackMormon)

Soon after its formation, an LDS apostle writes that the KKK will prove a “curse” upon America.—1868
(See BlackMormon)

The KKK holds anti-Mormon meetings and, in the south, kills and in some cases tortures Mormon missionaries.—1870s-1890s
(See Blazing Crosses, pp.11ff)

J. Golden Kimball receives a telegram indicating that the Ku Klux Klan again plans to torture Mormon missionaries in the South if they don’t leave immediately.—1891
(See BlackLDS)

When a nation-wide tour of the stage version of “The Clansman,” a story that insults blacks and glorifies the KKK as white heroes, arrives in Utah, the anti-Mormon “Salt Lake Tribune” praises the production. The Church-owned “Deseret News,” however, while recognizing that the play is well done in technical terms, states that the Klan is not to be praised, for it “rode about the country at night killing or torturing negroes and their sympathizers…[and] became a band of idle, dissolute and vicious individuals who entered upon a career of brutality and violence that appalled the country.”—1908
(See Deseret News, Nov. 2, 1908)

download (20)The Church owned “Deseret News” calls the KKK “an insult and a menace to orderly government” that would lead “to riot and bloodshed.”—1920s
(See Deseret News, 23 Dec., 1920)

The “Salt Lake Tribute” [the official organ of Christian anti-Mormon reformers] accepts KKK advertising and notices, but the “Deseret News” refuses and only writes of the KKK to condemn it in editorials.—1920s

“So far as its operations are known–its secrecy, its mummery, its terrorism, its lawlessness–it is condemned…These mountain communities of ours have no place whatever for it in their social scheme of things…[he who tries to establish it among us] should be made emphatically to understand that his local endeavors will be worse than wasted, and his objects [goals] are detested, and his [absence] is preferred to his company. The people of Utah have no taste or patience for such criminal nonsense…”—1921
(See Deseret News, July 23, 1921)

Because of the Church’s condemnation of the KKK, the KKK “Grand Wizard” of Wyoming considers the Church it’s “greatest enemy.” “In the Realm of Utah and scattered over the West in general, we have another enemy, which is more subtle and far more cunning [than other anti-KKK groups] in carrying its efforts against this organization…the Latter-day Saint Religion!”—1923
(See Papers Read at the Meetings of Grand Dragons, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1923, pp.112-3)

Mormonism is certainly guilty of being out of touch with racial or at least, social progression75066974 (1) during the 60’s. Mormonism was institutionally slow to hop on the Civil Rights wagon. Fair enough. But even the biggest so-called bigots in Mormon leadership never once suggested that black Americans should not enjoy all the same rights and privileges guaranteed by the US Constitution as any “white” man. After Brigham Young, Mormons were not keen on negroes having the priesthood. Can’t argue with that. They were however, entirely for black American citizens 2633321_f520having all the civil rights that white citizens enjoy. Not having the priesthood in mortal life, as goofy as the doctrine may have been, was never in Mormon theology a condemnation to hellfire and damnation. The Southern Baptist Convention was founded on the premis that the negro had no soul and was incapable of being “saved.” They didn’t retract that till the mid-1990’s. Cullen Bohannan’s hillbilly rabble can just shut the hell up as far as I’m concerned in criticizing me and mine for being tardy in removing some very minor, and strictly ecclesiastical policies regarding the “negro.” As far as women go, well until the federal government invaded Utah and denied women the right, Mormon women had the vote from day-one as well. None of that may seem “progressive enough” for beatniks, proto-hippies and protesters in 1965, but it was plenty damned “progressive” in 1844. The best read on Mormonism and the “black” issue can be found below and freely distributed:

The best current statement on the LDS position on “race” in general is found here:

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.23

True, in Hell on Wheel’s fictional era, Brigham Young had decided not to give the priesthood to negroes. In all other ways they were equal to the “white” man, and their lack of priesthood authority in this life was never seen as impediment from eventual “eternal” reward and equality in the next life. Granted, this has all been retracted and disavowed as speculation and errant social and political perversion by the current LDS leadership, but all things considered, no Mormons ever whipped, beat, tortured killed, raped, enslave, brutally worked to death any “negroes.” At worst, they just didn’t get the prieshood, which was a lay-ministry anyway. On the other hand, Cullen Bohannon’s people after generations of inhuman enslavement and debasement of the “negro” down south in same era, spent the War for Civil Rights lynching niggas just to keep them in their place. They set police dogs on niggas. They were all about shooting, bombing, and fire-hosing niggas. Someimages (94) of them still look back on those days with fondness. Some of them still hate niggas. Same way they still hate Mormons, Catholics, Jews, and other Godless heathens. Hundreds and hundreds of journals, stories, and posters tell us what Cullen Bohannon’s people were all about when it came to “negroes.” Hundreds of photographs show Cullen Bohannon’s good Christian people posing happily in their download (15)white sheets under a freshly-hung nigga only a generation ago.

That’s reality.

But the reality you really need to get your head around, is that there were never any Mormons in those crowds grinning around the lynched niggers. That’s Cullen Bohannon’s people. That’s the people who drove the Mormons out of the midwest. That’s the people who sent an army to exterminate them from the Wasatch Front. That’s the hillbilly rednecks who piss and moan about the “Mountain Meadows Massacre,” where the nigger-lynchers and rednecked Mormon-burners finally got a small taste of their own medicine. In spades.

OK, too much thinking for the target demo of Hell on Wheels. Suffice it to say, after trying to be Django Unchained for a season or two, this quirky depiction of the American west called felt it had dried up that thematic well, and went off exploring an entirely different theme of wild-west villainy in the alternate reality they had created. The unification of the United States via building a coast-to-coast railway system, became a obfuscatory backdrop for focusing very viciously, very deliberately, and very openly upon portraying Mormons as treacherous, racist, murderous traitors, who’s leaders live to exploit their captive flock, debase women, and shoot it out with the railroad, the army, or any other government authorities just for sheer spite. I can only suppose that since Indians were out of vogue, they just pulled Mormons out of their magical arse and wrote them in to fulfill the role of untamed savages as needed, or to play the part of foaming fundamentalist rubes with guns standing in the way of progress, without the slightest amount of historical or any other research.

The writers and producers of Hell on Wheels have no idea obviously, that the one legitimate Mormon “outrage” against “America,” that they seem to subtextually reference, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, had taken place a decade earlier, hundreds of miles south of this quasi-fictional railway, in the middle of a US force of extermination attempting to seize control of the territory in contradiction to both Constitutional and territorial law and qweqwprotocol. They’ve no idea that the president of the United States had long before they take up their narrative, issued a full pardon to any Mormon actors for any action taken during this “Utah War,” and specifically Brigham Young and LDS leadership. They have no notion that the first message to come from Brigham Young when the telegraph was linked up was confirmation that Utah was loyal to the Union. And even so, Brigham Young spent the Civil War and a considerable time afterward with cannon trained on his house from Fort Douglas on the bench above him. They have no conception of the irony involved in scripting the rebel guerrilla secessionist, Cullen Bohannon, to be calling Mormons disloyal and treacherous.

That’s something you really can’t, or shouldn’t be able to, miss. Not in an “historical” series costing millions of dollars an episode that decides to explore the whole Mormon frontier experience. Hey, Edemol: Pay some writers. Pay an historian. Crack open Google and have a read. Make some effort. You know you’ve missed the mark when the Salt Lake Tribune, the newspaper founded back in the day to plague Brigham Young and counter the Church’s Deseret News, calls you out:

The “Trib” as they call her, got it exactly right. Hell on Wheels is a “big, lazy slap at Mormonism.” It’s not just a slap. It’s not just that it’s a big slap. It’s that it’s such a big and lazy slap. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. Shamefully images (34)lazy. Embarrassingly Lazy. You couldn’t get any lazier if you just scripted The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and had Bohannon out rescuing captured Christian babies from blood-drinking Jews, and the writers’ only “historical” adjustment was that they put Amish hats on them and called them “Mormons.”

Apart from the historical absurdities, ironies, and paradoxes related not just to their revisionist notions about Mormons, but Native Americans, Christian missionaries, negroes, and a host of other allegedly period political and social concerns, the effectors of this whopping load of anti-Mormon tripe they call Hell on Wheels, write images (65)scenes with so-called Mormon bishops performing baptisms with made-up gibberish as if it was Mormon scripture or part of Mormon baptism ceremonies, when the scripted religious sanctimony being spouted has absolutely no relationship to any current or past Mormon idioms, vernacular, or litanies. (Season 3, episode 5, #25 in series.) All you’d have to do is sit in on a Mormon baptism over at the local meetinghouse on a Saturday morning to figure out how to write dialogue for a convincing Mormon dunking. They couldn’t be bothered it seems.

In one multi-episodic storyline, one “Mr. Swede” or “The Swede,” begins his part in the series as a security chief who runs the railroad town like a clock, with total discipline and order. He is soon driven out of favor with the owner, and eventually entirely out of the camp by our “hero,” Bohannon. The Swede fixates on proving the true identity of our “hero,” who is actually mostly just hiding out on the rail line, and images (3)lives to systematically find and murder former Union soldiers he believes to be responsible for killing his wife and family. And he doesn’t care much about getting the wrong guy as it happens in one episode.

Mr. Swede is eventually completely disgraced for what is portrayed as an unhealthy, and mentally unstableimages (52) fixation on law-and-order. The outlaw Bohannon gets the better of him and assumes his job as camp enforcer. The Swede subsequently leads an Indian rebellion in the guise of some sort of spirit-possessed shaman, cohorts with a similarly mentally ill former Christian minister in various plots against the railroad and humanity, and a host of other unmotivated lunatic nonsense. Just when you think he’s completely gone off the deep end, just when you think he’s got no where to go and nothing to do but die, our Mr. Swede falls in with a passing Mormon family, the Dutsons, travelling to the “Mormon Fort” in a lone wagon. After a lot of weird foreshadowing that’s more annoying than suspenseful, The Swede kills the man and his wife. The Dutson patriarch is supposedly the new bishop being sent to the oft noted Mormon “fort” as if to tend a flock lost in the wilderness. Mr. Swede threatens the surviving little boy as he runs away in horror. The kid just sort of disappears and The Swede presents himself to the Mormon community when he arrives,images (78) as their new bishop. (Season 3 episode 7, #26 in series.)

The Mormons out there reading this are laughing their asses off right now. Any male in that fort could have been called to be the next bishop. Any one of them of any adult age. There is not now and there has never been any Mormon conception of some central authority or seminary that has to send out ministers to take over “flocks” of Mormons. That’s what Lutherans do. That’s what Protestants do in general. That’s entirely what Roman Catholics do. But Mormons have no need to do this unless there are no Mormon males alive above the age of about 19-20. And had any Mormon bishop needed to be sent anywhere, he would have arrived from Salt Lake images (70)City or close quarters, with certificates. But more importantly, every single Mormon in this silly “fort” they have invented, would immediately spot the Lutheran posing as a Mormon Bishop, simply by the way he used the Bible, or his choice of Biblical vernacular. Easily. And that doesn’t get into the four other standard works or several generations of Mormonized religious traditions, colloquialisms, customs and conceptualization of Christian principles that Mr. Swede and his writers don’t even come close to approximating in his depiction.

images (83)Cullen Buchannan, in the final episode to date (Season 3) has gone looking for deserting miners out in the hinterlands, and fresh water and whatever else. (Cholera, plague, bla bla bla…somewhere in there the Dutson kid saves Cullen by leading him to good water but is still hanging like a thread there over Mr. Swede’s head as far as identifying his fakery, and eventually they’ll connect and, uh…yawn…….snore……..Mexican Sopa Opera…) Cullen gets rounded up by a marauding band of Mormon hooligans and captured. This band is led by Aaron Hatch, the dirty coward father who had just previously made his own son hang in his place in an eminent domain dispute between Bohannon, the railroad, and the Hatch family of Mormon settlers. Cullen is taken to the “Mormon fort” where Mormons live behind stockades and pickets and patrol the walls with guns. The Latter-day marauders who bushwhacked him want to hang him and make an example out of him. Also at the fort, Bohannon finds some of his disaffected miners who also end up hiding out or defecting to the Mormons or whatever. It’s never really clear to me what’s going on in most of these episodes. It’s as if the writers are hoping they can just make vague allusions and if we fill in all the missing assumptions with our imaginations, then they can’t be held accountable for the stupid gaps in continuity, logic, and all the missing or loose ends. So far I’ve had neither the patience or foresight to DVR the stream and roll back any of these episodes to figure it out.

At any rate…

In the “Mormon Fort, Buchannan meets his old nemeses The Swede, who is presented to him as their bishop. (In a completely predictable moment of melodrama that made me snort cider out my nose, because I was sohell-on-wheels-renewed obviously supposed to be stunned by its cleverness and unexpectedness.) Yes, Brother Swede, against all odds, has been embraced by the Mormon community and he rules it with a creepy, sinister, and clearly demented sense of perverted righteousness. Just like he ruled the railroad camp. Law and order. And creepiness. And corruption.

Well, I guess that’s what Mormonism is all about and all you have to do is be schizophrenic and self-righteous and you’re in. The more insane you are the more you qualify for leadership.

Backtracking a moment, somewhere in there in previous episodes, Bohannon has managed to discretely knock up Aaron’s Hatch’s daughter—alternately making out with her and threatening her family with eviction due to the railroad’s right of eminent domain.  (Season 3, episode 2 #22  in series.) Though we don’t know the girl has a bun in the oven at the time, Bohannon eventually has a shootout with her old man and ostensibly her brothers, when he gives up on sweet-talking and reasoning, and approaches the homestead with an armed escort to seize it and evict them.  The sheriff accompanying Bohannon is killed during a hail of gunfire coming through closed shutters while the girl’s family and father defend the farm from seizure. Bohannon calls a truce and demands the surrender of the party guilty of firing the fatal shot at the sheriff. We are all clearly supposed to be expecting the father to give himself up, and in return allow his family to leave the standoff unharmed and paid off for their land. Instead, this Mormon father turns his oldest, teenaged son over to be hung on the spot, claiming his family would die without the priesthood of their patriarch. When questioned, clearly the boy seems troubled and compelled by an ominous form of occultic bondage to confess firing the how-s3-episode10-trivia-590-284x184fatal shot. He is thus summarily hung by the mean Army soldiers enforcing the railroad’s demand, as the heroic and sensitive Cullen Bohannon, war criminal, rebel, cold-blooded killer and longtime slave-master, watches helpless and in horror.

OK, any pre-law students see a problem there?

Following this at all still? Anyway, that was earlier. So Cullen is captured and meets up again with this rotten Mormon patriarch’s daughter in the “Mormon Fort.” In a convoluted babble of idiocy having nothing whatsoever to do with law and order, religion or philosophy, Mormon or otherwise, Bishop Swede interrogates him about his many offenses, like being a murdering 2940014272742_p0_v1_s260x420southern asshole in general, but mostly about knocking up the Mormon chick. The “Born Again” Brother Swede agrees to forgive and spare him if he’ll marry the girl. (I guess as opposed to castrating him or hanging him or something like the Mormon “law” usually demands since this “Mormon Fort” is a city-state at the beck and call of Mr. Swede.) Cullen agrees to marry this sexy, young, pregnant single girl who is carrying his child, and become some sort of permanent prisoner of the Mormon community there. (Season 3 episode 10, #30 in series.)

I don’t know how they’re going to top this whole perverted and obtuse storyline with anything else more bigoted and asinine from anything like an historical perspective. But I’m sure they’ll give it a try. Bohannon, who has spent the series copulating with anything in a skirt, has already lectured a young f55ze8church lady in the railroad camp at length about the evils of plural marriage. I’m just waiting for the scene where this emotionally crippled “Gentleman Farmer” mourning the loss of his wife and family in a horrible war, continues to argue against the queue of sexy young, husbandless Mormon women who come pleading to join him in his bed as “sister wives.” Oh no–anything but that you Godless Mormon sireenz! Sex with young fertile women who want to help me rebuild my legacy and restore my wealth and property! Off! Off with you I say!

In the history of American entertainment, Hell on Wheels’ whole approach makes perfect sense. When the lower classes and uneducated in particular feel the “Man” needs a stickin’-to, the entertainment industry is all-too eager to turn populist villains noted for giving the rich and powerful a kick in the ass, into outlaw heroes. If you make Mitt Romney and his Mormon bigwig buddies out to be “The Man,” I guess it works on some level with the truly clueless. I just wonder if everyone watching this show really is all that stupid. Or at least ignorant.

For example, Jesse James robbed trains and banks and was quite popular down south in his day, roughly the same period as depicted in Hell on Wheels, where the Yankee bastards (in local southern opinion) like railroad barons, industrialists, and manufacturers, had started a civil war that exploited the local populace and resources and left the common folk destitute. The Yankees, so the south believed, sent political minders to aid in their continued pilfering of the south via Yankee carpetbaggers after the war. That all played well down south. It’s just that when the James and Younger gangs rode up to picture-067Northfield Minnesota thinking the “square heads” as they called them, (Norwegians and Swedes mostly) would be a bunch of foreign, Yankee pushovers, Jesse James and company not only failed to rob the bank, but they were told to piss off by a host of burly Scandinavian males who happened to be in town loading up after a good harvest, for hunting season. The hardware store opened the cases and handed out guns and ammo, and the James and Younger gangs got shot all to hell. It started literally with a teller who refused their demand to open the safe, and instead shot them out of the bank doors into the street. The remaining menfolk immediately got the message that the bank was being robbed and stormed out of the shops and stores up and down the street shooting away at the would-be robbers.

The James/Younger gangs weren’t in Kansas any more. Or Missouri for that matter. They weren’tSuperStock_4048-6686 folk heroes in Minnesota, and the money they were stealing didn’t come from the railroad or some rich banker. It came from uncle Oscar’s Northfield farm. He’d just had a great crop harvested and you damned well weren’t going to steal the proceeds. So Mr. “Swede” of the actual period, in reality told the real Jesse James and Cole Younger to, “Eat lead you Southern, bastard, rednecked criminals.”

Coming not just from a “Mormon” perspective, but a “Yankee,” upper-Midwestern, Scandinavian background, where we still refer to Jesse James’ botched bank heist as the “Great Northfield Minnesota Ass-Kicking,” you can see where I’d have problems from the first frame of any show attempting to make any anti-hero, Jesse-James-analogue, out to be its central protagonist. Clearly, Hell on Wheels’ Cullen Bohannon is essentially trying to be Jesse James. And I’m supposed to empathise with that rebel bastard for some reason. That FirstMNVirginiaFlag10132836might play well south of the Mason-Dixon line, but in Minnesota they still figuratively have Bohannon’s battle flag from Gettysburg framed and mounted up at the Minnesota State Capitol. The Minnesota 1st Volunteers aren’t going to give it back until he and his rebel scum come up and take it from them by force of arms in a hail of lead and gore, the same way they got it. (It’s literally from the 28th Virginia Infantry but the point is made.)

If you’re going to make the Southern Rebel the hero of the piece, it stands to reason you make the damned1324272684_3 Yankees the villains. And so, in Hell on Wheels, they do. Quite unashamedly. Bohannon’s cause for revenge and murderous pursuits stem from the quasi-accidental murder of his wife by pillaging Yankee hoards. The first lunatic villain to appear in the series is an Abolitionist preacher, tormented by his own horrible butchery in the name of his cause (a Biblical injunction against slavery) back in his former home in Kansas during the fight to admit Kansas to the Union as a “free” state. Next we find out that Mr. Swede, the Norwegian from Minnesota, fought in the civil war on the side of the Union. No doubt he did so in the 1st Minnesota volunteers with his fellow Norwegians. And while early, seemingly sympathetic excuses are made for his obsession with the rebel Bohannon’s suspicious past and later discovery of our hero’s criminal status, which is motivated in large part by the Swede’s imprisonment in the Confederate death-camp images (27)at Andersonville, The Swede soon devolves into a rambling idiot concerned only with harassing Bohannon, who everyone loves for some inexplicable reason. The Swede is then revealed to be corrupt as hell, cheating both the railroad and extracting protection money from the entire mobile city. Not content with that, The Swede is ultimately written to be consorting with Indians, providing them with rifles and weaponry, manipulating the loony Abolitionist preacher into staging kidnapping, hostage-taking, and an Indian uprising. The writers and producers eventually debase the Swede’s character through insanity down to the status of a full-scale false prophet and manipulative sociopath who seizes power over a heavily armed Mormon “fort” where he dominates and represses his flock of mindlessly obedient captives.images (16)

I can’t help but think that somebody in this production company very keenly wants to take a very deliberate shit on both the 1st Minnesota Volunteers, and the Mormons. And it’s no coincidence that the same hillbilly rednecks who drove the Mormons out of Missouri and Illinois in the name of their precious, allegedly “Biblical” Jesus Christ, were the same hillbilly rednecks who are still out to avenge the loss of the Bohannonites of the Fancher party at Mountain Meadows in the Utah War, and who, after sending an army to subdue the “disloyal” Utah Mormons, because they were too clannish, voted in blocks, and took too many wives, a few years later ironically lead the southern rebellion in a full-out secession from the United States of America that caused the Civil War, largely because they wanted to continue to enslave and abuse an entire race of fellow human beings at will. Of course, I’d argue that their aim with the Mormons was the same. And of course the Native Americans.

Somewhere in this Edemol production company there dwells a deeply imbedded love for all things hillbilly and an even deeper hatred of all things Mormon. They just have no idea what Mormons were all about and even less idea what hillbillies are all about—certainly in that period of a dark American histor they pretend to depict in Hell on Wheels. About the only thing they seem to grasp is that the people they are writing about were laying rails across the intermountain west. And they don’t know anything about laying rails either.  Or perhaps, this production is channeling the ghosts of the ill-fated Fancher Party of Mountain Meadows fame. Either that images (90)or is being run by it’s literal, ideological or religious descendants. The only characters in the series portrayed to be possibly as villainous, debased and insanely evil as the Mormons, and the eventually Mormonized and wholly demonic Mr. Swede, are the Union troops and particularly their commander.

What a coincidence. If Johnny Reb is going to be the hero–well, his enemies are going to be the villains.

There’s almost no point even debunking this show. Like most of theimages (36) Left, who get their news from the Daily Show, or the Right, who hang on every word coming out of Fox News or Glenn Beck, there are two, maybe three fixed and unshakeable world-views involved in this little melodrama. None of them are interested in the facts. First there’s the idiots who on either side of any given political question just want to see a shoot’em-up and they don’t care who the Mormons were, or are, or what the actual social and political dynamics of the era and region were. Then there’s the Left, who hate Mormons because they’re bigoted, homophobic oppressors of women. And then there’s the Right, who hate Mormons because they’re polygamist heretics worshipping a false Jesus through a false prophet, who won’t surrender to the demands of the True Christian Nation.

Birth_of_a_nation_Aryan_quotePutting aside the genuine simpletons in either the Left or Right who just want to watch the show, any show, as long as they’re entertained, and who are fundamentally incapable of things like learning or rudimentary discernment or insight, this leaves us exactly where the Mormons were back in 1857. That year, after ten years of Mormon prosperity in Utah, the US Government sent a secret army to destroy them. President James Buchanan made good on his campaign promise to clean out the Mormons once and for all. The Democrats agree with the Republicans that as bad as they thought of each other, the Mormons were in everyone’s road out there in the new corridor that connected the coasts. As far as the writers and producers of Hell on Wheels are concerned, the Mormons are still the common enemy of all. They believe images (99)it’s common practice to crap all over Mormons, their faith, their lifestyle, and their personal lives, and it simply isn’t important what the details or issues or assertions being made are by anyone doing the crapping. If one pile of crap doesn’t stick, well, some other pile of crap will no doubt qweqwsuffice, so just keep crapping. You’ll smother them with crap eventually and then the Mormon problem will be solved.

Among other things, I’m not sure where this production gets it’s wholly-invented “Mormon fort” ideas from. The only Fort Smith I know of is in Arkansas, in the Bible Belt, and the first Mormon stake wasn’t organized there until 1978. In the era depicted by Hell on Wheels, there was a huge garrison of Union troops stationed in Salt Lake City. There was another in Cedar Valley to the south who’s biggest feature was a large brothel complex called “Frog Town.” In Salt Lake City,  Fort Douglas looked down upon Brigham Young’s personal residence downtown with loaded cannon at the ready. Salt Lake City was a major metropolis and the Saints had gathered to it and all around it, with the exception of highly organized supply stations. Telegraph and mail services connected thedownload (18) territory to the world, and it was all governed directly out of the US Congress by appointed Governors, judges, magistrates and Federal Marshals. Mormons were concentrated in Salt Lake City, Provo, and had well-developed, highly organized settlements all up and down the Wasatch Front. They didn’t hang out in “forts.” The LDS Church and its leaders more importantly, had no interest whatsoever in impeding the railroad from either direction, in fact Brigham Young wanted the golden spike to be hammered home in Salt Lake City, but the railroads, by right of conquest, “owned” all of their own “created” towns invented to serve along the railway. Like true crony capitalists, they chose to link east illus_491and west railways at a spot near Ogden instead of Salt Lake City, thinking that would become the major city and they could then pilfer it at will like all the other towns they built and owned along the right-of-way.

So just like in the early Mormon struggles in Utah, today in retelling that story, we find “Progressive” Leftists in the media, with creative and editorial positions, ironically producing a major feature series on an award-winning cable network, all too eager to side with a slave-owning, southern redneck who openly warred with the US Government, as long as he’s just killing and defaming Mormons. These are the sameaeqwetgqwg “Hollywood” types (actually Canadio-European-types who are ironically even more socialist and “politically correct”) who cheer for “Occupy Wall Street” and yet for the sake of a good yarn, and a cheap shot at the Mormons, creatively side with railroad barons and Godless Capitalists as they rape the American wilderness, led by a racist war criminal. Mormonism is the bigger problem to them it seems.

The Left of the media in particular, has made a career of combatting free-choice and controlling thought crimes through the distortion, suppression, and obfuscation of information. Intellectually, ideologically, the Left is very much against this notion, but in practice, the Left is only interested these days in freeing the minds and uplifting the souls of those who agree with Leftist thinking.

The company cobbling together Hell on Wheels has available to it going on 200 years of popular bullshite Anti-MormonCartoonmaking Mormonism out to be anything from a sex-slave cult to a communist guerrilla movement fighting American liberty and Constitutional government. Take your pick, it’s easy enough to find some historically recorded libel to use against the Mormons. But these lazy bastards at Hell on Wheels couldn’t even be bothered to do that. They’re just pulling it out of their asses. If anything, they’ve read the period dime novels and embraced it as gospel. And of course, the period dime novels were pulling it out of their asses as well.

Hell on Wheels has “Mormons” (apparently all of them) holed up in some imaginary “Fort Smith” out in the boonies, walking stockaded walls with guns. Is there any point arguing that anything even vaguely like this entire scenario ended for the Mormons a good decade or more MormonOctopus-WomansAmericanBaptistHomeMissSoc-InsideCoverpreviously when they first entered Utah? In all fairness, to see armed Mormon pickets you’d have to go back to Nauvoo Illinois around 1840 when the mobs who had killed Joseph Smith were surrounding the Mormon’s main city swearing to exterminate them. Is there any point noting that in Nauvoo, the state’s Governor and whatever state troops still loyal to the state and national constitutions were actually fighting on the side of the Mormons against these mobs?

Cadfullen Bohannon is indeed the very Born Again, Bible-toting, “Southern Gentleman” who as he does in Hell on Wheels, bossed and organized the rabble of his society and encouraged the selfsame hick, ignorant, redneck mobs who in Missouri and Illinois, only a few generations ago had openly murdered innocent Mormon women and children, who had raped and pillaged their way through Missouri and Illinois in the name of Jesus Christ under oath of their sacred, personal honor, to “free” America of the Mormon pestilence. (And mostly to steal all their lands, property, and any Mormon claim to democratic rule itself by denying them the right of franchise, or in modern terms: the vote.)

True, Hell on Wheels changed hands in the middle of it all. For whatever reasons however, the writers and producers of this last season apparently decided just to write pure fiction.

Hell on Wheels is an American Western television series created and produced by Joe and Tony Gayton. Set in 1865 in Season One, 1866 in Season Two, and 1867 in Season Three, the series centers on the settlement that accompanied the construction of First Transcontinental Railroad, referred to as “Hell on Wheels” by the Union Pacific company men, surveyors, support workers, laborers, prostitutes, mercenaries, and others who make the mobile encampment their home. It stars Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon, a former Confederate soldier who worked as a foreman on the railroad while attempting to track down the Union soldiers who murdered his wife and young son. He The-Birth-of-a-Nationlater becomes the chief engineer.

The series is broadcast in the United States and Canada on the cable channel AMC and premiered on November 6, 2011.[2] It was developed by Endemol USA, under the stewardship of senior vice-president of scripted programming Jeremy Gold, and is produced by Entertainment One and Nomadic Pictures.

The series’ creators, Joe and Tony Gayton, no longer are involved in the day to day production.[3] On December 12, 2012, AMC announced that John Wirth, a writer for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, would take over as showrunner for the third season.

On November 14, 2013, AMC renewed Hell on Wheels for a fourth season consisting of 13 episodes to premiere in 2014.[4]

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You Won’t Have Mitt Romney to Kick Around Any More

So, I’ve moved house, winter has set in, I’m freezing my arse off, and we won’t have to worry about a Mormon president of the United States for another generation or two. The world is safe once again from the Mormondownload (5) World Conspiracy.

I suppose it’ll take a generation at least before the world can honestly ask itself in a reasoned, intellectually honest fashion, if a nice grown-up guy who knows how to handle money, and wears mom jeans even dorkier-looking than his funny underwear, would have been any worse than a hip frat-boy with a sharp crease down his pant leg, who throws money around at problems like a pimp, who can’t shoot a hoop to save his life, who has no voice or rhythm contrary to popular stereotype, and who has almost certainly destroyed American health care, killed American energy, and choked down half the national economy. Would it be better to have as president, a Mormon who believes wrongly or rightly that we’re all born innocent and accountable for our sins, or a debatable Christian who hates the Constitutionimages (60), believes all white people are oppressors, wants to take money from people like Mitt, and hand it out to the unwashed masses in exchange for NObama-Coalition-Johannesburg-South-Africa-press-conf-062213votes, and who is arguably an overt-racist who can’t even bring himself to criticize black youth beating down random white folk in public venues for sport, and above all else, an overtly incompetent poser who’s only conception of “leadership” is to piss and moan and rail against the “Man” until the “Man” is annoyed enough to hand out more goodies and concessions. The president we got instead of Mitt Romney is a Man who doesn’t even know He’s the Man.

I’m not much of a Republican, so dump on them all you want. I’d like to be a Kennedy, blue-collar Democrat,ebonycover but they don’t allow those any more. I’m not a big Romney guy, because I think he’s truly boring as hell and he reminds me of several BYU bishops I had many years ago, who in my opinion were ignorant Utah pricks and basically told me to piss off out of the church if I couldn’t get my home teaching up above 80-90%. (And I mean that in a loving, caring way brothers and sisters.) But compared to the sexy, brown-bomber in the empty suit he was running against, I gladly voted for Mitt. I’m not proud of that, it’s just me making full disclosure.

alg-obama-heckle-jpgOur new best friend Barry didn’t get us out of Iraq, he just stayed out of it and allowed the generals to continue following Bush’s program and timetables. He not only didn’t get us out of Afghanistan, he went back in there and surged around doubling the body count in a couple of years, exceeding the number of fatalities and critical injuries inflicted upon US forces there that Bush 16991917_2405085978001_vs-519e7374e4b03eac3e5d7837-806787302001had incurred in all two terms, in roughly three years. And to top that, Obama invaded Pakistan repeatedly. And flies drone strikes all over the world at will, blowing up an actual “hit” list he’s personally compiled.

Where was Obama while our ambassador in Benghazi was being raped and tortured to death for five or six hours? Probably making time with Michelle in the Lincoln bedroom. He told the guys to handle it, said he had an early flight to go party and campaign with the stars of Vegas in the morning, and never checked back to see how it was going. He’s not a “detail” person.

Did you so-called “Lefties” know that Halliburton download (6)contributed to Obama’s campaign? Did you know that British Petroleum gave to Obama the same way Halliburton gave to Bush? Did you know Obama is still giving Halliburton no-bid contracts? Why is GE any less a massive world corporation than Halliburton? Obama’s given hundreds of millions to GE and other boondoggle “green” energy swindles. How is that any better than resurrecting dead companies at Bain Capital for that matter? At least Mitt used private money and actually saved more than he flushed down the drain through fiscal stupidity. Why give billions to GM to bail those Godless capitalists out? Why not declare bankruptcy and reorganize like any other business?

(Don’t be silly, that would put the fat union retirement and health benefits of the UAW in jeopardy. By BP PB Poster Logo Obama's Partners in Crimepersonally reorganizing GM via his own administration, Obama first gave handouts from public funds to guarantee union pensions and healthcare. Then he exempted them from Obamacare so that’s a huge pool of non-contributors to the national healthcare system with aGM-487x365 sweetheart union deal brokered by a president they got voted into office. Then he told the investors tough luck, they’re just out of pocket—exactly backwards from normal legal standards. So GM is still stuck with massive, unserviceable fixed pension expenses and not much has really changed, meaning a repeat performance down the road.)

Why throw money literally away at Solyndra, so executives can take their bailouts and bonuses and golden parachutes, only to flush the entire plant of it’s workers and declare bankruptcy as soon as they’ve emptied Obama’s free money pot? To make the greenies happy, who also voted him into office on a fantasy plank of free energy produced out of thin air and fairy dust.

6a00d8341c60bf53ef019b0000bcae970dExcept for political rat-f**king, as the Nixon administration’s wonks called it, Obama’s not a smart guy. That’s clearly a myth. The more I hear him talk unscripted the more convinced I am he’s a puppet-lackey of handlers and the Democratic Party as far as policy goes. He just parrots the hackneyed traditional party talking points and promotes the aging socialist utopia that is powered by sunlight and star shine and free for everyone. He’s a figurehead of the Democrat’s Chicago-style kickback program. He’s a keen manipulator of popular emotion and social sentiment, without any conception of leadership or mission other than to promise a chicken in every pot, andanti-obama-protests-south-africa then make sure he gets the biggest chickens into the pots of his most loyal supporters, corporate collaborators, and party co-conspirators first. He’s an empty suit in the “vision” department if ever there was one. He’s a robot who’s controlled by a teleprompter scripted by an amateur think-tank made up of Leftist philosophers and political scientists with absolutely no real world experience outside of shouting into a bullhorn and fecking with the Man. And even his fans are finally seeing it, and seeing that he’s long on promise, short on delivery even for them, if his disapproval poll numbers are any indication.

article-2344442-1A6748A0000005DC-791_634x358In his first election campaign, on 24 July, 2008, Barack Obama made a rousing speech to a crowd of seeming millions in Berlin. Well, at second count it wasn’t millions. It was more like 200,000. But then, that figure is debatable in terms of his drawing power. It seems the American audience was never tipped off to the fact that the venue was first filled by a free concert from two popular German rock acts, and Obama’s speech followed the music, beer and food after the crowd had been gathered to full strength over the course of a couple of hours by the music and festivities.

In 2013, on 19 June, Obama repeated the “epic German speech” stunt at the Brandenburg Gate. Some 4000article-2344442-1A6748BE000005DC-539_634x356 people showed up to hear him prattle on about nuclear disarmament. Though well received by those who bothered to make the outing, what he actually did was volunteer to give away our nuclear deterrent for free, and kiss Vladimir Putin’s backside. He officially became an international patsy as far as all of our enemies abroad were concerned. This he followed up recently by essentially giving Iran permission to continue to develop nuclear weaponry on the honor system.

nobel-peace-prize-2009-joke-barack-obama-international-diplomacy-cooperation-peoples-motivational-postersIn the beginning of his presidency, they gave Obama the Nobel Peace Prize just because the Norwegians thought he might do something cool. But really, it was just to stick a finger in the eye of George Bush. This time around, the Norwegians are seriously debating the protocol for, and precedent of, demanding it back from him.

obama_selfie_mandela_funeral_2013_12-10Not content to waste the photo-op, Obama just came back from Mandela’s funeral and the whole world thinks he’s a complete buffoon for taking “selfies” with all the foreign dignitaries.

05583-obamacarebipartisanagreementApart from shaking hands with Raul Castro, the one thing Barack Obama did that should have made his Leftist base happier than a lipstick-wielding Alaskan pig in slop, is Obamacare. But the Affordable Health Care Bill isn’t affordable. Nor is it healthcare. It’s been now undebatably revealed as a massive national embarrassment. It’s a Ponzi scheme, a boondoggle, and certainly not universal healthcare. And the worst of the crap has yet to hit the national fan, because the most chilling demands of the law have been delayed because of the worst web implementation in the history of mankind, and a series of exemptions and deferments that put the employer mandate and some other nasty surprises off untilcannon after the mid-term elections. Now the personal mandate is under scrutiny for executive deferment, and a series of childish Obamacare media campaigns appealing to young people to buy into the scheme so they can drink and drunk drive and sex themselves up knowing they’re covered, have further shamed the administration’s handling of the bill.

hqdefaultObamacare also turns out to be an identity theft boon. In fact, the national site itself forces you to accept the disclaimer that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy when you try to sign on.

The difference between Obamacare and Romneycare, is that Romneycare works. It’s funded, it’s cheaper, it successfully collaborates business and public resources because Romney knew all about how to manage both. Mitt Romney is an adult. Mitt Romney is a total “Square,” yes, but America needed a grownup in the White 130621114517-keystone-protest-story-topHouse. Instead, it got everyone’s favorite token black pal they would hang out with to show how progressive they were back in the college dorms. What all those young college students he mobilized to vote for him got instead of the free healthcare they thought they were getting from good ol’ Barry, was a mandate to pay expensive rates for healthcare they don’t need for twenty or thirty years starting NOW, in order to pay for mommy and daddy’s heart bypass when it comes up tomorrow. And they also get to pay for my pregnancy tests and abortion services, which I don’t need because I’m a dude and a homely fat old one at that. And come to think of it, you hipsters will be paying for my heart attack or stroke as well, while you’re at it.

The so-called “liberals” and “progressives” images (57)still bothering to openly support him, continue to pretend for convenience, it was all about a black guy against a white guy. Truth is, Barack Obama is about as “white” as Mitt Romney and the self-hating part of “Barry-the-Cool’s” personality knows it. But I digress. My point is that the choice was really about electing your buddy from college to be partymaster of the United States of America, as opposed to electing that rich old white bastard you work for who won’t give you the raise and free healthcare benefits you think you deserve. Race is a distraction from the class war the Democrats have limages (58)ong-exploited to maintain power. Mitt Romney is dull and boring and responsible. Barack Obama is a dope-smoking Santa Claus. Barack Obama may or may not still toke, it really doesn’t matter to me one way or another. Metaphorically at least, the dude still smells of weed. Mitt Romney on the other hand, frets over drinking caffeinated soda pop. Choosing between those two candidates is an emotional argument, a class-based, a social argument, not necessarily a racial one for most Americans.

But the so-called “black” vote on the other hand, simply for socio-economic and neighborhood-political reasons, is a images (42)cheap and easy piece of low-hanging constituency to grab by the plums and capture for a Democrat–especially when you can counter any pro-Romney argument in that community by simply implying the race card without actually pulling it out of your hand and laying it on the table openly. You can use shills, stooges and proxies to throw down the race card for you outside of your own venues and it’s just as effective as using the bully pulpit on the record and up-front. You have plausible deniability. But frankly, if 47% of the population was going to vote for Obama just because he’s a big-government liberal and handout-king, or because that large a segment of the population was one way or another dependent upon the perpetuation of bigger and bigger government paychecks, handouts, and benefits, you must admit that the bulk of the “black” population in particular, was probably going to vote for Obama for all those reasons as well as the clinching fact that he’s “black,” and Mitt Romney isn’t. And the “black” community is certainly going to want to give their…(almost said “boy”)…man a second crack at living up to all the campaign bullshite he’s been crapping out of his mouth for the previous four or five years, not only just in case he can actually pull some of it off, but timages (35)o help save the face of the first “black” president, so that long awaited American experiment in racial equality doesn’t go down in history as the eight years America elected a negro Jimmy Carter. But more importantly, Mitt Romney is so “white” it hurts. Mitt Romney’s “whiteness” is so “white” it hurts other “white” folk. You know it’s going to be a factor in the “black” community.

And again, the race card is so easy to pull out of your sleeve and win any given hand with playing against Romney, Republicans, or equally lily-white Mormons. Anyone on the Left, any Democrat, black or white, is given an automatic triple score when it comes to Mitt Romney and the “black” issue. He’s rich. He’s really really white. He’s a Republican. He’s got a ton of kids and family and they’re all rich and white…oops, uh what’s this? The hell you say? An adopted little black Romney grandson showed up on the Christmas card this year?

romney-2013-christmas-photoWell, just out of reflex MSNBC’s Leftist Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel piled right on it. Guess they forgot they’d been mocking him and his party for years for not associating with any black people. Now it turns out he’s got a son adopting one and nobody except the Left and MSNBC seems to have a problem with it–least of all Mitt Romney and his allegedly racist church and family. And of course, they were reacting to a routine Christmas card, not a campaign. There was no photo-op or news conference where Mitt Romney staged some big announcement. It was old news. The new kid simply showed up in the new family photo for Christmas. And the folks at MSNBC felt it was their God-given duty to point out to the world that this chubby little black face didn’t belong there on the card with that family.

I’m sure MSNBC and its full-immersion political wonks must have forgotten Romney isn’t running for anything. It was all just a knee-jerk reaction from a bunch of knee-jerks who jerk their knees for other knee-jerks who watch regularly to see and hear the same Democratic talking points reiterated over and over all day long, seven days aimages (72) week, 365 days a year. But that in and of itself suggests that at least on the Left, or in Democratic circles in general, it’s still just fine, in fact, it’s still just a matter of habit to openly lampoon and mock Mormons, especially if they’re Republicans. It probably never even occurred to them that by implication, they would also clearly take a large crap on any black kid who might have aspirations of becoming either. They meant to laugh at the RNC who could only find “one” black guy to get on camera during their convention. Ha ha. Ok, there was more than one, but point made. So when Republicans do attempt to attract people of color, particularly black ones, MSNBC’s official position is that it is they are the gatekeepers appointed by the DNC to scare any black would-be Republicans off the idea entirely. Don’t go there, says MSNBC. We’ll laugh at you. You won’t see any other friendly black faces. All the white boys alljon-stewart-does-the-47-mitt-romneys-dad-was-on-welfare secretly hate you. You’ll never be one of them. You’ll be an Uncle Tom and a traitor to your race. You won’t be cool any more. You’ll become a big dork like Mitt Romney. You’ll turn white.

Sure, even MSNBC realized they’d overshot their mouths on that one and the guilty parties all eventually apologized after the news cycle and public sentiment turned against them. But you have to ask yourself honestly: who’s the bigger threat to black youth in America, the rich white Mormon who adopts one and brings him up to learn how to handle money, make money, manage a business, get a good education, love article-0-1A59A1A200000578-24_634x347God and Country, serve his fellow man, pay a generous tithe and be a good citizen, or those who would tell him that’s not what being “black” is all about, that only “white” people can be civic, financial, corporate movers and shakers, that looking, dressing, acting, thinking, prospering under those terms is selling out his race and turning “white?” Because that’s exactly what the MSNBC panel was saying. There was no secret “Republicanesque” racist code-wording going on there. They were saying, and saying it almost verbatim, literally: You are a nigger and you do not belong in that rich white Republican family photo.

There really is no other way to interpret Pia Glenn’s meaning as she sang that little Sesame Street ditty, then pointed out Mitt’s black grandchild, resting in Mitt’s arms in the photo. Pia Glenn very clearly told the world that little black baby did not belong in that family. To protest otherwise is to confess you are so egocentric that rather than waste a cheap joke, you just didn’t give a damn who’s feelings got hurt or what broader messages you were throwing out into the mix. You instinctively saw that innocent little black child as a convenient pawn to take a cheap shot at Mitt Romney and his Republican Party and you milked it for all it was worth.

Set to the music of the Sesame Street song, panelist Pia Glenn crooned: “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just isn’t the same… And that little baby, front and center, would be the one.”

She later tweeted, gradually backing herself into something like an apology:

“Yes, I sang the song. There are many children in the pic & only 1 black child. I don’t see that as mocking or attacking the baby.”

“If I point out the 1 black person & you translate that as an attack ON HIM, who’s racist? I don’t personally see anything wrong with being black.”

“Adoptive parents giving a child of ANY ethnicity a loving home, I apologize. I absolutely did not intend to harm you but it seems that I have.”

download (13)He promised hope and change. Nope. Just a big campaign lie. The Status quo of racial tension is what keeps the Democratic Party on top of the political heap. If US culture ever actually did change, and from this point onward, young black kids were interchangeable with any other ethnic group of kids, where anyone in the mix had access to the world of American business, education, politics and commerce, the Party of Manipulative Asses would lose its  exclusive franchise on a permanent underclass perpetually dependent upon them to act as their political agent of socio-economic protection. Barack Hussein Obama could have been the agent for real change along those lines, but when it came down to it, he obviously had only one big idea in his presidential bucket list, and that was getting elected. Having accomplished that twice, he obviously considers his job done, and anything else is not his problem to work out.

That “vision” thing just isn’t his thing.

It was no different in Joseph Smith’s day with the Democrats. The Democrats first found the Mormon voting block quite helpful. And then the Mormons got surrounded by “Good Christian” Democrats from the south who took exception to their increasing numbers. These Democrats did not find Mormons voting in a block anddownload (14) determining elections all the time to be very acceptable. Then the Mormons became a liability to the Party of Asses, the Party of the KKK, the Party of slavery and secession. Rather than protect the Mormons, the Democratic Machine turned its back on them, and in many cases invited their more loyal “Good Christian” constituency to effect their destruction, officially and unofficially. The Republican Party of the era, came up in the middle of the fight between Democrats and Mormons. It wasn’t much help. While Abe Lincoln’s answer to the “Mormon Question” was to “leave them be,” the Republican Party itself had been specifically invented to effect two major planks, as they said, to eradicate the twin relics of barbarism: #1 Polygamy. #2 Slavery. They took care of #2 first as it happened. Got rushed into that one what with the Civil War and all. Then went on to #1 over a much longer course of federally-run persecution and legal villainy.

For generations, right up to the days of George Romney, in Mitt’s teen years, the mid-1960’s, the Kennedy Era, David Douglas Duncan--Dem Con 68the Democratic Party was the party of Jim Crow and the KKK. Then, searching for a powerful new constituency to counteract the southern Democrats, with the help of Hubert Humphrey and the Kennedys, the northern liberal arm of the party began to work systematically through academic circles to reeducate the upcoming generations of new Democratic recruits. It was one of the many odd political pendulum swings that have always taken place in American party politics. But generations of voters now, eagerly voting the Obama ticket mindlessly because he’s the cool candidate from the cool party, have no idea they’re being played pretty much the same way the Democrats used the Mormons, then the hillbilly rednecks, then the Klan, the Irish, whoever to maintain a populist voter base. Today’s “liberals” think Abe Lincoln was a Democrat. They think Adolf Hitler was a Republican. And they know damned well the earth is going to burn up in five years if we don’t stop drilling for oil immediately.

When Kennedy got elected, the northern liberal Democrats seized control of that party, and it became the68-chicago “Party of Equal Rights” or the “Party of Civil Rights,” rather than the party of “States Rights.” Not everyone liked that and the ’68 DNC was literally a riot. As I say, spotting the change of political winds and fortunes, the Kennedy’s captured for themselves and their party, almost the whole of the Civil Rights Movement, which had actually begun in the Republican Party. At the death of John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson invented the “Great Society,” and in doing so, deftly pulled off one of the greatest bait-and-switch operations in the history of politics. He essentially destroyed the black family structure, replaced it with a system of “entitlement” based upon “underprivileged” or in today’s nomenclature, “at-risk” status, and took firm hold of the now permanent “black” underclass as the Democratic Party’s primary sustaining block of obligatory, voting pawns. If you toss the “niggas” some fried chicken now and then, the Democratic Party found out they voted for you faithfully, and only occasionally rioted. And make no mistake about it, that’s exactly how Democratic Party fat cats see the situation. True, there is no real future of equality or integration or advancement in that for the “black” community. But the Democratic Party is not about advancing the “black” or any other “minority” community. It’s about advancing the Democratic Party. No better proof of that can be found than in Detroit or any other major Democratically controlled 0d472f2-3.cached (1)metropolis, where the entire city is officially bankrupt and there is no industry left from which to extort kickbacks or reward constituents with employment, and likewise, no city infrastructure or services through which to give minority and labor spokesmen fat government jobs with free benefits and pensions that allow them to retire when they’re fifty on permanent city payroll.

While it may be proposed that the Republicans left to their own devices would rape and pillage the environment, exploit the hell out of our natural resources, abuse the workforce and hoard an unwarranted percentage of the resulting wealth to themselves, it must also be conceded that there would be resulting wealth. And loads of it. Under those Godless capitalists we call the Republicans, you may have to fight to keep them under control. But you’d be doing it with a job and a car and a house and an education. Oh yes, you’d be bitching about how you deserve a better job and more pay and benefits and a better car and house and a free education, but you wouldn’t be doing all that bitching from a burned out housing project in Detroit. Raging capitalism surely has to be regulated and channeled, but regulation withoutUSA/ capitalism is just silly. Ask the Soviets how that worked out.

Obama writes a law mandating everyone has to buy high-end insurance. Poof! Problem solved in his mind. But There’s nothing to regulate, no taxes to collect, no environment to pollute because nobody can afford to buy anything so you don’t need energy or housing or products, no health care to provide, because not a damned thing is going to be getting bought, sold, build or paid for anywhere eventually, if you just keep taking from the system. You run out of other people’s money to give away in exchange for votes because capitalists stop capitalizing. That’s why the basic Democratic political philosophy being ground out through the Democratic machine as currently fantasized by Barack Obama and his Utopian, neo-Marxist, revolutionary poly-sci cronies, is inherently parasitical and ultimately self-destructive. They’ve built a party that primarily seeks to take from those who actually can create wealth, and feels compelled to punish same for enjoying their own money. If you have too much money as the party defines it, Obama and his fellows claim they can redistribute it far more “fairly” amongst the citizenry than you would, or even would a free market. Yet, they repeatedly try to prove this by confiscating whopping sums of cash from the productive and handing it out almost exclusively, and with no strings attached, to those who specifically benefit only the Democratic Party and its constituencies. Furthermore, Barack Obama seems to have no problem allowing shamefully wealthy, multi-national corporations or personal moguls rape and pillage the workforce and environment, and keep all that wealth to themselves, as long as those particular corporate folks are big donators to the Party or Obama or their personal causes.



You have to be pretty incompetent for Jimmy Carter to call you incompetent. America got the Party in power that it wanted. But It doesn’t create, it does not serve. It primarily consumes and obfuscates the fact that nothing is being done about anything and nothing anywhere is working at all in this administration.

Since the “Great Society,” generations of “liberal” revolutionaries from the ’60’s have graduated, taken over academia, and infiltrated the newsrooms of press and electronic media with a standardized sentiment of “progressivism.” (Which is actually a fixed, canonized litany of things you must believe in not to be considered a misogynist, homophobic, war-mongering, corporate-loving, baby-killing swine and sub-human ignoramus.) It 1968conventionboggles my mind a bit to realize that many of you readers will be entirely unaware that when you see the old news films and pictures of the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and nearly every other Civil Rights Era scene of police dogs and cops beating and abusing protesters, fire hoses and guns being used against men, women, children, and a lot of college youth protesting the Viet Nam War or segregation, it was the cops and the national guard and the attack dogs were being directed by Democrats. The guys in the pointy hats doing the lynching and the church bombing were Democrats. The riots in Chicago in 1968 were all down to Barack Hussein Obama’s political machine there, at the time being oiled up and skillfully piloted by the infamous mayor Richard J. Daly.

Ironically then, today, under current Democratic “liberal” or “progressive” political guidelines, when even a single young black soul looks like he might be turning into a useful testimony to the benefitsSusanthesethings of Mormon, or Republican, or any other Christian or Conservative nurturing and indoctrination, when anyone preaches a message to the black or any other minority or American ethnic sub-class that centers around a more self-determining, self-sufficient world view, the Democratic Party and its willing lackeys in the mass media turn instinctively, like rabid dogs, and attack whatever seems to be moving toward that end. “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong,” is the Sesame Street phrase the MSNBC pundit in question was referencing, from an ostensibly innocent song used to teach pre-schoolers to differentiate differences in shape, color, volume, number, and identify commonalities between objects that are similar. She did not make an innocent remark when she set about to warp that notion into images (74)clearly racial tones. The song, it’s history, and it’s educational intent is well established, very focused and specific. It came right from this crew’s childhood: In their world, this little black Romney poser was not, is not, cannot, and never will be a part of Mitt Romney’s family or his religious or political world. In their version of reality, any black American citizen who joins the Republican Party is a dupe, a fool, a traitor and sellout, and triple-copy-that for any black American who joins Mitt Romney’s Mormon church or Wall Street lifestyle. MSNBC and it’s panel, as the bully pulpit of the Leftist media, had long made that choice for this and every other little black kid, adopted or otherwise. And they were there to enforce their decision and impose their one, unified, singularly acceptable view of Mitt Romney, his Mormonism, and his Republicanism.

And so they remain. Apologies aside, status quo is maintained.

Romney’s richness and whiteness were clearly open issues in his failed presidential campaign. But his religion never really directly entered into either the Romney loss or the Obama win. Both parties had grown tired of it for one KA5DKMUI4QSJABJP-rszw514thing. But religious questions were integrated into every debate, every interview or speech, lurking in the subtext America was mentally writing into these two campaigns. Fellow Mormon and consummate jackass, Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid, for one, tried to make Mitt Romney out to be a massive, lying dirty tax cheat. While debates about his sources continue, recent exposes fingering Romney’s Republican fellows, both Huntsman Sr. and Jr. who both deny it, Reid never did reveal his source, other than a vague allusion to a Bain Capitol officer or investor, and maintains his claims to this day. Romney on the other hand, never did reveal all ten years of taxes demanded by Reid, but released three in which little to torment him with was found other than the expected offshore accounts. While ostensibly a legal charge rather than a religious or even a moral charge, Reid was actually calling a fellow Mormon a liar and a cheat and thus breaker of covenants made in the temple. Let’s just say, we won’t be seeing those two standing in any prayer circles together for a while. Needless to say, Mitt Romney is not now, nor has he ever been, under either penalty or investigation related to any tax issues whatsoever.

If I want to make a parallel to early Mormonism, it’s all right there: The people who’ve done the most damageromney-reid-mormon to Mormonism through the generations have been and continue to be, other Mormons. Harry Reid may well believe he had some dirt on Mitt Romney, but even he couldn’t say he had any proof other than a sourceless rumor. Reid’s bogus tax issue alone might have made all the difference with the independents, and Reid knew it. It was a Mormon-on-Mormon crime. Harry Reid can’t be president but he can damned-sure keep Mitt Romney out of the chair. And then maybe later Harry will get his shot. But will it be any different for him? Harry Reid isn’t as squeaky clean as Mitt Romney. Not by a long shot. I think Harry’s slated to fade into insignificance over the next few years.

From the Right of the Republican Party, the “Evangelical” or “Born Again,” block, normally a dependable constituency of the Republic candidate, whoever it may be, there came a clear disaffection in Mitt’s case. This predictable began early in the season with a serious disagreement on whether Romney was a Christian or not. It’s a yes or no question in their minds, there is no such thing as a “kind” of a Christian. You either are or you aren’t. Mitt cleverly got Billy Graham to concede an endorsement outright. This instantly proved that bona fide Christians could find a Biblically sound excuse to agree to disagree on the Getty_101812_MittRomneyBilyGrahamspecific nature of Jesus Christ, and sell themselves on the notion that America could still enjoy the blessings of God even with an aberrant Christian heretic like a Mormon in the captain’s chair. Those “Christians” who saw it otherwise ceased to boycott or openly dismiss Romney as a valid candidate as they had done before his Republican endorsement. But they certainly didn’t go out and vote for him. And they certainly discussed his deviancy from the True Christian Faith in the privacy of their homes and fellowship halls. Sometimes over the pulpit as well. This, the so-called “Tea Party” crowd, largely the same group that loyally assured GW Bush two terms, voted with their asses and sat on them. Even without Harry Reid’s back-stabbing and the Obama machine’s rat-fooking, the tepid participation of the Born Again Republican wing alone was probably enough to take Romney out of the contest. Romney was dead right: Obama had a locked base of roughly 47% or so. Mitt was fighting for a very dodgy independent voter and protest voters from both parties. It was at best only possible for him to pull from this fickle kitty of voters a margin of 4-5% to win it in a squeaker. There’s not other way to look at it than: If the Fundies didn’t come out to vote he was doomed.

And they didn’t.

Obama’s allegedly thin Christian credentials never got much open publicity in his second campaign. The progressive rev-wright1Democrats didn’t give a damn. Obama could worship the “Great Mother Cow” who dwelleth in pastures made of green cheese on the dark side of the moon for all they cared. The religious conservatives on the other hand, were plagued by an “orthodox” Christian religion that claimed even Marxist, liberation-theologian, revolutionary terrorist, quasi-Muslims who confessed any sort of faith in Jesus as they defined Him, was a brother. And Mitt Romney wasn’t. So, if you think I have been harshly evaluating Barack Obama’s performance as president, you must acknowledge that the conservative Christians who turned their backs on the Republican Party and Obama-Rev_-Wright_0stayed out of the polls because Mitt Romney was a Mormon, think even less of Obama and express it in far more critical and personal terms. But it was they who put him back in office even with all his faults, because I can only assume they felt, at least he wasn’t a Mormon. The Religious Right made an effort at play-acting in public for the sake of unity of the Republican Party. But even though a good part of the Religious Right still thinks Obama is a Muslim or quasi-Muslim with Al Qaeda sympathies, it would still prefer that in the White House, to a Mormon.

To the Religious Right Mormons are more dangerous than Al-Qaeda.

ron-paul-principlesAnd then in fairness, there were also the “Libertarian” factions, the Ron Paul Republicans, the actual Libertarian Party, and a host of mixed Libertarian-identifying fiscal Conservatives. The Ross Perot, third-party spoilers who gave us eight years of Bill Clinton. (Though come to think of it, that was a pretty good 8 years, so thanks for that.) They may have not known for sure if Mormons were Christians or just some dangerous cult. Some of them cared, most didn’t. But they knew damned sure that despite all his protestations, Mitt Romney was not an actual Conservative. Among other things, Romney’s old man, George, was a strikingly defiant supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and was looked upon disdainfullyromneycivilrights by the conservative, Republican Blue Bloods of the time for his open support of it, including some of the leaders of his own Mormon church. Mitt governed Massachusetts along the same populist, John-Kennedy, blue-collar Democrat lines that his father had governed Michigan. And Mitt Romney was indeed the moving force, albeit, not the sole author, of “Romneycare,” a highly functional state healthcare system. That history may pass for “conservative” in Michigan or Massachusetts, but not anywhere else outside these and other urban Democratic hubs of power in a handful of states.

And so, Mitt Romney’s Mormonism wasn’t the factor, but certainly one of principal factors that contributed to his failed presidential candidacy.It wasn’t the first nail in his coffin or the last. It was a big handful of nails that anyone wishing to take him out of the contest could pound in easily at will. I think ultimately it nailed most of his coffin shut before he even got started. The Lefties hated him regardless of any other qualifications because his Mormonism made him one of the bastards who tried to push Prop-8 and outlaw gay marriage in California, and by extension, everywhere else in the nation. Aging factions of the Left and their propagandized protégés still hated Romney’s Mormonism for an utterly false, but still much alleged Mormon animus against “black” people.

chicago politicians 1(If the Left was free to re-imagine God according to its current political priorities, Jesus would return as a gay black, transgendered, tall handsome chick who looked just like Barack Obama.)

To the average Democrat, well, Romney was a Republican. To the average Republican, well, he’s a Mormon and that’s weird, but I guess he’s the Party candidate–if I have the time maybe I’ll vote for him. The undecided, the “moderates,” the “independents,” well, they just split randomly and nobody impressed them much.

The truth is, and the numbers don’t lie at this late date, that Mitt waronwomenRomney came within a fairly narrow margin of making the popular vote a literal tie. This I mean, in light of his significant stumbles halfway through the campaign, and his almost flawlessly performing opponent who had never ceased to be a very popular incumbent. Granted, Barack Obama stole that election fair and square, in true Chicago Democrat style, but statistically speaking he only won out by a a 4% margin. That’s not much shoeshine1of a landslide in real terms, but Democrats won’t even concede that it was close at all, especially since Obama pulled 51% of the popular vote to Romney’s 47%. However, if 47% of the nation pulled guns on 51% of the nation and fought it out, you would surely say that we had a nation split almost exactly down the middle between two competing ideologies. And if I were to take bets on that gunfight, I’d never discount Romney’s 47% minority, because that’s the people who in this case have all the guns, jobs, money, and firepower. Obama’s 51% would have to pass a law to first steal some guns and money from Romney’s 47%, before they’d even have a fighting chance in the battle–assuming they could be bothered to get up off their fat lazy butts and fight for themselves in-between gulps of free government cheese and food stamp beer.

It was the electoral college, where US elections are really decided, not 2012electoralmapresultsfinal110812some massive popular groundswell, that boostered Barack Hussein Obama into office twice. The electoral college has long been criticized as an obsolete system that grossly favors all the major urban population centers and liberal Democrat states full of immigrants, minorities, and great universities full of “progressive” young minds full of academic propaganda spooned into their hungry little gullets by aging hippies and militant, Marxist utopianites who survived the 60’simages (39) and took over the educational system in the US. The Founding Fathers gave them this opening, because they too believed obviously, that there needed to be a buffer between Political Darwinism and potentially ruinous popular decisions made by the local yokels and buffoons who were easily bribed with liquor, or distracted by whores and other shiny objects. But what it means is you only have to win a few urban counties to pull a whole state and theoretically commit its electoral delegates. Hence, even if you look into the states marked in Democratic blue, you’ll see that in most of the state outside its urban centers, it is also red with Republicans.,_2012

images (56)The Founding Fathers wanted an “educated” class of delegates between the Great Unwashed as a moderating force in national elections. When the Great Unwashed takes over the educational system of the nation, you have no moderating force. And moreover, today, not all educations are really educations, and not all academic institutions are really about teaching. Many of them are all about proper “socialization” and “progressive” propagandization. Picking up concepts about higher criticism or developing independent thinking and the ability to teach yourself usefulimages (47) things has nothing to do with it. And Barry Soetoro for president is what we get for that.

For two terms now, everybody’s Dorm-Captain, Black Santa Clause, and all-’round cool guy won the US presidency. For two of those years his part ruled all three branches of government. Prop-8 is dead, gay marriage is having a heyday, the highly socialized academic masses have all the free cell phones and food stamps they need. All the student loans are going to be forgiven. The president’s party finagled a IMG_2709fictional national health care program through the House and Senate in the obama - all your data belong to usdark of night on a procedural technicality without reading any of it’s two-thousand pages. The president gave 800 billion dollars to his friends in unions and paid off public employees, teachers, and his corporate buddies in the auto and power industries. He made the world safe by spying on everyone everywhere at all times. He made up a hit images (61)list and flew a bunch of drones around killing our enemies. He personally shot Osama Bin Laden in the head. Al Qaeda is dead and terrorism is a thing of the past. With all that going on to make even the Left in America happy, you’d think the Mormon-bashing from that quarter would slow down a little. Hell, Harry Reid’s a Mormon and he’s one of theirAllYourDataAreBelongToUs-MaximEristavi darlings.

As for The Right too, well, I guess a lot of those folks ultimately saw at least one Mormon on the public stage in this one election, as a respectable presidential candidate, family man, and un-threatening fellow citizen at least. So at least, indirectly a lot of the overall, cultural, Mormon bashing has dissipated even amongst the non-foaming Fundies. That as opposed to the Foaming Fundies, who continue to foam. That’s what they do. Foam. It’s the Great Commission as far as they’re concerned. But in the broader American population, much of the anti-Mormon recreational daily chatter has dropped. Romney’s campaign put Mormonism in the public eye main-qimg-165dcbb61db4a318fa0ee9c114ddad21for almost two years, good and bad. The good, for the most part, won out. And the Religious Right has seen what happens when it pouts.e53

The Book of Mormon became a hit on Broadway. That’s certainly not all good. But it’s not all bad either. Who hasn’t looked to the heavens at some point and at least wanted to flip off the universe and say, F–k you God! I know I do every time I try to get through to the Obamacare website. I’m not going to make a lot of conversions either to Mormonism or the Republican Party thinking and writing along those lines, but on the other hand, the ravingly-gay Broadway boys might feel a little less Mormophobic about my ramblings if theyimages (1) know I sometimes whistle show tunes while I’m composing my abusive tomes.

That’s progress I suppose. For me anyway. Maybe even for Mormonism eventually. For the rest of this guy’s term in office however, I’ve written the Religious Right, our “Good Christian Patriots” off as bloody useless even to themselves.

Blame Bush. Or rather, blame his fan base. It’s his people who did this to America. They deserve everything they’re getting from Barack Hussein Obama and his minions now, and till the end of his term and maybe generations beyond. They earned it. Even I thought

images (59)

the guy might work out OK in his first term. I’ll give everyone that. I thought McCain was a bum. I’ll give everyone that as well—but not so much though, after four years of Obama. Nope. How anyone could let Our Barry get another four years on his contract is beyond my comprehension.

So, to all those of you “Good Christian” folk out there in fly-over land, who just had to stick by your principles, who would rather have any Christian as president over any Mormon, it’s you guys who made Obama’s second term possible. By the time it’s over, the damage he’s implemented in his first will be in full effect, God knows what else he’ll do in his remaining years, it will be all but irreversible, and we’re all doomed.

That’s not a partisan statement. That’s just the way it is.

And you’re to blame

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The Trinity Exposed

The following article is brilliant, but I must admit I swiped it wholesale from an alter-ego’s sacrament meeting talk some time ago. I have however, expanded and editorialized it here to a length not even a visiting high councilman could hope to achieve.

The author has no objection to me riffing on his talk but prefers not to be immediately associated with this blog inasmuch as it delves highly into what is intended to be “opposition research” or “devil’s advocacy.” I press the edge way too much for his personal walk with Christ, at least publicly. He feels there’s a time and place for even the harsh examinations I give our common faith, but maintains that they are not always appropriate out in the open marketplace of ideas, where enemy idiots might abuse such reasonings, and the feeble of testimony might be shaken in their ignorance or perhaps feel bad about their own church and not even know exactly why, due to their honest and well-meant stupidity. I note this in fairness to all who might read this from the ranks of the faithful. However, I’d counter my more discrete brother’s reasoning with the assertion that the very object of my many musing along these lines is to eliminate the ignorant, teach the weak how to think for themselves and avoid being stupidly misdirected by those LDS detractors of clearly superior wit, knowledge, and debatably, greater wisdom.

I’m not here to sign you up. I just want you to understand that Mormons are no more crazy than any other religious sect and far less crazy than many, including the many warring versions of “orthodox” Christianity. They certainly have been much less dangerous to themselves and others than “historical” Christianity. And on the other hand, I don’t want to burst your bubble brothers and sisters, but the Kingdom of God on Earth is run by idiots just like you and me. If you think the “Church” is all a bed of Celestial roses, sooner or later you’re going to be very disappointed–or worse yet, you’ll be the pompous, pious, Ward Jerk who exports himself out into the real world somewhere, drives away thirty or forty investigators a year and sends half the ward into inactivity with their Utah-culture buffoonery while wondering all the time why their heated and productive missionary efforts aren’t amounting to anything because they aren’t retaining most of their new baptisms.

I consider my work here to be a form of literary autism. I write as if delivering my message from the cockpit of an intellectual and often spiritual go-kart made out of a couple of apple crates joined via used nails to a rickety wooden frame held up by worn out buggy wheels. Every time I sit at the keyboard, I push this rig the top of the highest hill in the neighborhood, shove off, and roar down the middle of the road just to see what happens. I expect only to manage basic steering. I don’t dare use the brake because it’s just a stick nailed to the side rail that drags the ground and it would only bust loose if pressed too hard. I rely on luck to make it to the bottom intact, to avoid cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. My only end-game strategy is to find a clear spot where the feeble brake will slow me enough that I can drag my feet as a last resort. If that doesn’t work I bail out, tuck and roll. I can’t guarantee the ride won’t end abruptly at the base of a large tree, or with the wheels shearing off on the curb across the intersection below, leaving me and my muse skating across some cranky neighbor’s lawn and into their rosebushes. If I don’t like the last ride, I have an inexhaustible supply of gravity, and old buggy wheels are free. I can always drag the wreck back up the hill, bang it back together and try again.

(You may suppose this has the experiential ring of more than just a random analogy pulled off for colorful illustration, and you would be correct.)

The following article has been highly sanitized and Mormonized, but it’s based upon several of my previous articles in this blog, two of which are the following:

If I had to give one reason why I call myself a “Mormon” or member of the LDS Church with all its faults, this post would  be it. My friend made my primary case better than I could have, and said it without pissing anyone off, something I seldom have the patience or interest to master. So here’s proof that my theological output can be presented in a form not inherently offensive to Christianity in general, or the very Mormons I hope to educate about it:

The Godhead

Two years before his martyrdom, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote a letter to a newspaper editor, John Wentworth, who asked Joseph for a brief statement outlining the basic tenets of the “Mormon” faith. In response, Joseph Smith authored what we now call the “Thirteen Articles of Faith.” The first of these states:

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

But then again so does every other professing Christian denomination. If the above was accepted throughout Christendom as the simplest “orthodox” declaration of a Christian understanding of the Godhead, there would have been little need for a Restoration movement at all. The belief in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost has been the first and foremost, fundamental Christian doctrine from the beginning of the Church. The belief in, and understanding of these three divine characters, and their relationship to mankind is the basis of the entire Christian religion. It has also however, been the central issue in all of the most heated debates, even open warfare over what is or isn’t “orthodox” and what is or isn’t “heresy” particularly in the early centuries of the Church.

One of the earliest attempts to define, assemble and harmonize a “catholic,” or “universal” gospel after the death of the Original Apostles, was made by a group of saints the Church came to call the “Apostolic Fathers”—saints in leadership positions who were left in the wake of the typically brutal murder and fatal persecution of Christ’s chosen successors like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, and the rest of the New Testament authors.

Contrary to popular belief, none of the New Testament was written directly by the various Apostolic authors of the texts it includes. There are no “Original Autographs,” of these Biblical texts, as religious scholars call them, meaning texts written by, in the hand and language of the New Testament Gospel writers. When scholars or clergymen refer to the “original Greek,” they are referring to records allegedly, and at the very earliest, written by the “Apostolic Fathers,” not the Original Apostles, and not in Aramaic or Hebrew, or other languages many of the original authors may have used, or even Latin, but writings at best dictated into, transferred to, or recorded from memory in Greek, the scholarly language of the times. Though we now think of Latin as a scholarly language, or the language of the Church, the first Latin Biblical texts were actually called the “Vulgate,” from the same root as “vulgar,” meaning common, and so-called because Latin was considered the vulgar or common tongue of the average citizen of Rome. Scholars, the educated, the civilized, in the early days of the Church however, wrote, read, and spoke Greek. It was a universal sign of good breeding, intelligence, and academic legitimacy.

The earliest New Testament manuscripts then, are in Greek, and these are at best copies of the Original Autographs, which as I say, are at best copies of any original writings of the actual Apostles of Christ, and at worst paraphrases of possible original texts or memorized dictations of sayings or writings believed to be from actual Apostles of God, and date at their earliest usually from decades or more after the passing of the Original Apostles who tradition alone claims to have authored them.

And again, contrary to common belief, there was never a smooth and timely decision as to which books should be included in the Bible. It took over a century before anyone even bothered to start picking and choosing through the available writings. Every church had its favored books, official use of any given text was decided bishop-by bishop under local authority only, and since there was nothing like a clearly defined universal orthodoxy until the 4th century, there were in fact many simultaneous literary traditions. The grand claims we hear today about “what Christianity has always believed,” are made plausible only because the most politically popular and ecclesiastically organized local church or group of regional churches who lobbied and united with the most prominent ruling classes and personalities of the day, eagerly accessed the power and civil authority to preserved and enforce the use of their favored religious texts and destroyed or ignored or “lost” opposing documents. And then of course, with a combined religious and civil mandate, the prevailing “Christian” scholars and clerics then chose to translate what they had thus “canonized” as a holy measuring stick for all light, Truth, and knowledge, into language carefully spun and crafted to best bolster their preconceived “traditions” and “orthodox” understanding of the apostolic teachings they claimed this “canon” contained. Christian “orthodoxy” was in this fashion, ultimately written by the victors of centuries of theological, political, and military warfare.

The Apostolic Fathers and the generations of Apologists who followed, kept copious notes of their holy warfare in establishing both the Christian canon itself, and likewise, faithfully, if very biasedly, make open record of their feuds and arguments concerning the canon’s support of their “traditional” Christian dogma. It’s clearly a sausage factory that ground up centuries of “heretics” and roasted them over fires made from the pages of their writings and would-be canonical texts. The One Holy and Universal Church as it came to be organized has itself never made any secret out of the bloody confusion and bitter contention constituted the “process” through which we now have finally produced a Christian canon that most of the Christian World can mostly agree upon.  How absurd it is then, that some 1800 years into the War of the Holy Canon, the assertion that the King James Bible was “inerrant” complete and perfectly preserved and essentially ghost-written (Holy Ghost-written) through Divine Providence was nearly universal in Joseph Smith’s day, at least in the United States of America.

Biblical Inerrancy has taken some blows to the head lately however, even in the States. The entire notion has been greatly disabused by the ample availability of early manuscripts and the ease in which modern Bible scholars can compare all the historical translations to the oldest manuscripts. Unfortunately, even in the face of indisputable evidence that modern translators can rightfully claim they have produced cleaner and far less editorialized Biblical texts, America still rages in many Christian quarters back and forth over the contention of Biblical “inerrancy,” and this mostly connected to assertions about the King James Version–a version US Christians and major American Christian denominations have been abandoning for generations.

The Lutheran take on this controversy is probably the most well-thought out. Lutherans by-and-large, though not universally, maintain that only the Original Autographs are inerrant. That way they can profess a theoretical allegiance to “inerrancy,” while at the same time equivocate every passage of the Bible word-by-word. This view grants its holders great license to explore and interpret scripture under the pretext that the Good Book is only a translation of an “inerrant” text, and not in and of itself inerrant.

The greater body of Christianity (American Christianity in any case) has gradually drifted into this more-or-less Lutheran view of the Bible. But Christianity has yet to deal with the ideological repercussions of fully implementing the Lutheran approach to the issue of Biblical inerrancy. Inerrancy itself is only half the equation. The companion claim in the Biblical inerrancy doctrine, is that the Bible is also “complete.” This demands that everything necessary for man’s salvation and good order be contained therein, and not one jot or tittle more or less did God find necessary or helpful to preserve in order to work His will with mankind, insure salvation for all believers, and organize his Kingdom on Earth in the Body of Christ, the Church.

If we confess that no Original Autographs are known to exist, there remains the possibility that this is just ignorance on our part and they may at some point turn up. It would be bad enough if they turn up and it can easily be seen that the text we’ve been calling “inerrant” for two-thousand years or so is a bit upside-down and backwards from the original. If we also claim the Bible is complete, and up pops additional verses or whole other books definitely written by Paul and Peter and the other lads who literally took a daily walk with Christ, well, then you have a serious problem for the Church, don’t you?

What if these new, hidden gospels contradict “orthodox” thought on any number of issues? What if some of the Original Autographs show up and differ significantly in various key theological areas from the earliest surviving copies in the “originals” (note of sarcasm there…) we now have only in Greek?



Most Christian sects have long abandoned any future possibility of new apostolic writings turning up. “Divine Providence” has taken care of the canon. It’s closed. It’s complete as-is. The Original Autographs are declared lost to time and wear. Were a letter in the hand of Jesus Himself to be unearthed today, all of “orthodox” Christianity would by current Christian dogma and Church tradition, as a matter of faith, be forced to reject it, however clear its provenance and authentication.

So, today, most of Christianity is amenable to the idea that while the surviving manuscripts from which we assembled our current canon, were Divinely inspired and preserved through Divine Provenance, there is no absolute guarantee of their preservation of the original authors’ intent and specific language. The vast majority of Christian bodies today in this matter, agree soundly on the assertion that neither the King James Version or any other translation in any other language from any other era, is without unwitting error, or in the worst cases, political, ideological, social, scholarly, and theological manipulation, gatekeeping, or editorializing.

(In short, they’ve gradually come around to agreeing with Joseph Smith.)

Due to this hodge-podge, early canonical disorganization and translational or interpretational controversies that roil somewhat even today, in the first century after the death of Christ and His apostles, the Apostolic Fathers began to hear in the Church, a growing disagreement on the basic nature of the Christian message. In reaction to the “Great Commission” <>  and thus the need to present a concise, unified gospel message to the world, there emerged what is now called the “Apostle’s Creed.” Before we even had a New Testament, this was the first attempt in the post-apostolic Church to define a universal statement of faith:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Catholick Church; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.

(Church of England Book of Common Prayer 1662)’_Creed

If you understand the vocabulary, the Latter-day Saint would have little problem at all accepting that statement of faith.

Joseph Smith’s 13 Articles of Faith, the Church of England’s 39 Articles of Religion that he used as a format, and similar stabs at chartering formal Christian creeds arise out of this early, post-apostolic tradition of trying to condense sometimes complicated history and theology into concise, encapsulated summaries. In the case of the Apostles’ Creed, legend has it that the Apostles gathered together and wrote it down for posterity on the tenth day after Christ’s ascension into heaven. That’s clearly not possible however. But each of the elements found in the creed can be traced to statements found in the Original Apostles’ writings and Church tradition of their period. The earliest written version of the creed is probably the Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 215). The current form is first found in the writings of Caesarius of Arles (d 542).

Some have suggested that the Apostles’ Creed was spliced together with phrases from the New Testament.] For instance, the phrase (“he descended into hell”) echoesEphesians 4:9, ” (“he descended into the lower, earthly regions”) in the Greek text. This phrase and the reference to the communion of saints are articles found in the Apostles’ Creed, but not in its original form, called the “Old Roman Creed,” nor were these included in the Nicene Creed which later took on the issue of Father, Son and Holy Ghost more specifically.

The name of the Apostles’ Creed again, came from the  5th-century tradition that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, each of theTwelve Apostles dictated one statement of Christian faith to add to it, and thus it is traditionally divided into twelve articles. The title, Symbolum Apostolicum (Symbol or Creed of the Apostles) appears for the first time in a letter from a Council in Milan  in about 390: “Let them give credit to the Creed of the Apostles, which the Roman Church has always kept and preserved undefiled”

But what existed at that time in the Roman Church was not what is now known as the Apostles’ Creed. Instead, it was a shorter statement of belief that, for instance, did not include the phrase “maker of heaven and earth”, a phrase that may have been inserted as late as the 7th century. So though ancient Church fathers may have contended that even this first, simple creed has been preserved “undefiled” from its beginnings, the Church’s own records prove otherwise.

The Apostles’ Creed was in any case, well based on Christian theological understanding of the 4 Canonical gospels, the letters of the New Testament and to a lesser extent theOld Testament. It does not however address some issues defined in the later Nicene and other Christian Creeds. For instance, it says nothing explicitly about the divinity of either Jesus or of the Holy Spirit.

Even today, disputes over the wording of the Apostles’ Creed live on in the various Christian sects. For example, the creed is either altered or footnoted in some Lutheran circles due to its clergy replacing the word “catholic” with the word “Christian.” These sects claim that “Christian” in the ancient text reads “catholic,” meaning the whole Church.

The Church of Denmark  is one of several Lutheran, Reformed or Protestant sects that still uses the phrase “We renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways” as the beginning of this creed, before the line “We believe in God the Father Almighty etc.” That added preface to the Apostles’ Creed survives intact in the Roman Church tradition as an integral part of adult baptismal vows, and is observed in a question-and-answer format that then goes on to break the Apostles’ Creed down into a call-and-respond format. In Roman tradition, infant baptisms require these vows to be made in proxy by the child’s sponsors or usually, Godparents.

Some Christian sects dispute the phrase “descended into hell,” preferring “descended to the dead.” The LDS notion of Christ visiting “Spirit Prison” is not out of harmony with the actual language of the creed however and the typical Mormon probably has a far better understanding of what that line means than all of orthodox “Christian” academia.

Christianity remains to this day split on the opinion of just who the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are, who or what Jesus Christ is in relationship to these other two Biblical characters, and how mankind dovetails into the whole Divine scheme of things.

Even those of you born and raised as Mormons along the Wasatch Front will probably know that in 325 the Roman Emperor Constantine ordered a council of regional bishops to convene at Nicaea to squelch a rising unrest in his growing Empire. In Constantine’s day, the name “Christian” was in reality a dirty word hung on the early saints by their Roman oppressors. Rome had persecuted them viciously for centuries. Then on the eve of a great battle (or so you may have been taught) Constantine had a vision of a great crucifix in the sky, under which the words “By this sign conquer” appeared.

But that’s not quThe Godhead_html_m3b51e7b3ite what the record shows. The ancient Christian scholar Lactantius tells us that the emperor fought and won this battle in the name of Christ after having a dream in which he received instructions to print the Christian monogram (looks roughly like the letters X and P printed on top of each other) on his troops’ shields. The historian Eusebius, who had Constantine himself as his source, says that the monogram appeared in the sky along with the motto: “By this sign, conquer”.

Among other things, we learn from all this that if you dig a little deeper into the history of the Church itself, even the Roman Church as we know it today, its own records indicate that the crucifix, and certainly one with an effigy of Jesus hanging from it, was not originally used by the early Christians as a logo or banner of worship.

The Roman Church sometimes claims the Christian Monogram is a “P” for “Peter” or The Godhead_html_m5ed3cd73“Petros” (the rock) with a cross laid over it. Sometimes the “P” is drawn these days like a shepherd’s crook to reinforce that notion.

But in reality, it’s the two Greek Letters Chi and Rho, nothing to do with “P” as we pronounce it. More like a K and an R sound. These are the first two letters of “Christos” in Greek. They were overlayed to abbreviate His name as was a common custom then for all monograms. It was often enclosed with a circle. It was this monogram that Constantine painted onto his army’s shields to conquer the world in the name of Christ, most decidedly not a crucifix. And next time you are criticizing the abbreviation of “Christmas” as “Xmas,” keep in mind that so did the early saints. X is another abbreviation of Christos, based on its first letter in Greek, and used to avoid printing the name of God, a holdover from Hebrew tradition.

Peter and his crowd you may also know, originally preferred a fish-based logo, since non of his posse spoke much Greek anyway. That and he was a fisherman.


Having conquered the world however, and assuming the role of ruler of the Christian people, Constantine soon discovered that there were a lot of versions of Christianity, and they didn’t all get along with each other. The solution to these inter-Christian feuds he thought, was a refinement of the disorganized processes that had produced the rather vague Apostles’ Creed, or “Roman Creed” in his day. He wanted hard and fast rules on what was “orthodox” or “standard” or essentially “catholic and universal.” Thus, after a season of debate, in 326 the council at Nicaea issued what we now know as the Nicene Creed.

After a year of arguing over the Greek word “homoousios,” and debating if Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were entirely separate or just manifestations of God’s character made of the same substance, the Nicene Creed pretends to define once-and-for-all, the true nature of God for all Christian faithful. It is the beginning of what “orthodox” Christianity still calls, the Great Mystery of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or, the Mystical Nature of the Godhead:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Lutheran Book of Worship

The Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal)

It’s important to note that the bishop of Rome, who we all now know as “The Pope,” didn’t even appear at the Nicene Council. He sent a routine delegate to observe, and history records no particular input from him. The “Pope” did not preside at this conference that would define Christian orthodoxy because at that time the bishop of Rome was just one bishop out of many. Though an important post, the bishop of Rome had no binding authority outside his own diocese, the equivalent to an LDS stake, and was making no claim to any right of central authority over the council. The Emperor Constantine had demanded the conference, and his delegated bishops from Alexandria, in Egypt, and nearby regions ran it, not the “Pope” as we think of the structure of the Roman Church today. (Nicaea is in modern Turkey and called Isnik. Rather a ways off from Rome.)

The Nicene Creed didn’t stop the bickering however, and it took over 50 years of dissent just to enforce its universal adoption into the Western Church. In fact, what really happened is the original creed and its language became so lost and obfuscated with editorial variations it was necessary to convene another council in Constantinople in 381 and entirely re-compose that statement of faith, into what we now have today, beefing up the proto-Trinitarian nature of God, the divine nature of Jesus, and the role of the Virgin Mary. This is one of many harsh realities of Christian “orthodoxy” that is very rarely mentioned and almost unknown in most Christian circles. Everyone talks of the Nicene Creed and the council of 325-26 that produced it. But that paperwork was all lost. What we now call the “Nicene Creed” was actually reconstructed from memory amid much quibbling over what it really used to say, in 381 in Constantinople, the city built by the emperor to be the center of political power in the new Christian “Rome.”

The Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381, was eventually able to peel-off the layers of add-ons, and extract the local and regional modifications from the Nicene Creed until it did indeed produce nearly universal agreement East and West on a basic Christian statement of faith. But that didn’t last long. The sort of careful body-and-fender work done in this fashion to shape and smooth together a widely “agreeable” Christian statement wasn’t satisfying enough for many of the Western Church’s driving personalities. Though it got most of what it wanted by collaboratively re-working the original Nicene Creed, the Roman or “Western” Church set about drafting what was supposed to be the more precise and undebatable language of the Athanasian Creed. In this third major attempt, Rome took the concept of unifying the Father, Son and Holy Ghost so far that it defined them clearly as a single entity.

This then, roughly four hundred years into Church history, was the birth of the now allegedly “universal,” or “catholic” Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. The Triune God. And also the root of the first major schism of the Christian Church into Eastern and Western “orthodoxies.” Rome will tell you the Holy Trinity was always there in the canon. The Athanasian Creed just makes it easier to find in there. But of course, the “canon” hadn’t been entirely decided, and it would take another thousand years and then some for either Rome or Christianity in general to really nail down what was going to be in the “canon.” Or in other words: Christian dogma sometimes tends to precede the canon. The Christian canon in many ways proceeds forth from traditional Christian dogma. Traditional Christian dogma likewise, does not always proceed forth from the Christian canon.

The entire Eastern Church split off after centuries of friction in 1054, for among other things, disagreement with the use of the Greek word, homoousios, which was translated to mean “of one substance,” in the several Nicene Creed versions, and then rationalized to ridiculous extremes in the Athanasian Creed:

  1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;
  1. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly
  1. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
  1. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
  1. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
  1. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
  1. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
  1. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
  1. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
  1. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
  1. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
  1. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
  1. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
  1. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
  1. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
  1. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
  1. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
  1. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
  1. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
  1. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
  1. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
  1. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
  1. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
  1. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
  1. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
  1. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
  1. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
  1. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
  1. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  1. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
  1. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
  1. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
  1. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
  1. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
  1. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
  1. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
  1. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
  1. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
  1. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
  1. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  1. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
  1. and shall give account of their own works.
  1. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
  1. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved

After beating the Triune God concept to death line after line, the Athanasian creed drifts back into familiar territory a while in attempting to define an orthodox “Christology,” as it became called amongst Christian scholars and clergy, making Jesus both man and God, which even in Mormon terms was perhaps worth some effort. But in the context of the many paragraphs reiterating the Trinity concept, inserting a fourth concept of a Triune God, who one-third of which was also 100% mortal, the Athanasian Creed doesn’t really clarify anything.

The most important language changes in the Athanasian Creed compared to all previous creeds, is the introductory and summary lines demanding that all self-professing Christians confess and embrace this creed else they are damned to hell and anathema to the Church.

For what it’s worth, the Eastern Church mainly wanted to specify that the Holy Ghost proceeded only from the Son exclusively, not the Father. It’s splitting hairs a bit perhaps, in light of the surrounding absurdity of the other circuitous Athanasian language, but if you’re not following this, I submit you’re not supposed to follow it. It’s a mystery. It’s beyond human reason to comprehend the nature of God. That’s the operative theory here. The Trinity is a philosophical construct, not a rational, logical, or scientifically sound one. It is a metaphysical concept, not reality. You were never meant to understand it. Because God is incomprehensible to man, and functions on some other plane of existence.

The Godhead_html_1d63c6c4 - Copy (2)And where did this type of thinking come from? Particularly: the insistence that all three personages of the Godhead must absolutely be made out of the same substance, or that this Triune entity must not have been created from anything. It didn’t come from a canon that hadn’t even been assembled and agreed upon yet.

The Triune God came from trying to reason out the references to three personages in the Godhead in the apostolic writings, againstThe Godhead_html_m6ff40533 - Copy the “hard science” of Greek philosophers named Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. It came from a a branch of philosophy I call for clarity, “Perfect Being Theory.” In this mental exercise, these great pagan Western thinkers sat around for generations, trying to imagine what a perfect being, whom you could call “God” if you wanted to, would be like.

Since the philosophers and logicians of the Greek Academic World had long decided that all matter was corrupt, the first “logical” conclusion made by their peers in the new Christian Church, was that God, the perfect being, could not therefore be made of matter. A perfect being could not be composed of imperfect matter, and this later evolved into suppositions about “immaterial matter.” Also, a perfect being could not be dependent upon sub-parts or particles of any sort. A perfect being must be of one substance otherwise it could be separated and diminished. It could also be changed in this fashion—something perfection cannot be capable of. If it was less than before, or more than before, or arranged differently than before, it is not perfect. Perfection cannot be capable of being less perfect, or even a different sort of perfect. There is only one perfect and anything not exactly like it is not perfect. By this “logik” obviously there can also only be ONE perfect being.

A perfect being must be omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibus, omnidyne, omnidirectional and omnimax. Some surmised that the cosmos itself was this perfect being. And they went on and on from there into a number of highly illogical assumptions by modern standards, based on a very primitive understanding of the universe.

These later Church historians and scholars became known as the “Apologists.” Many argued against Plato’s view of God, but they were in the minority and were all excommunicated and most tortured to death, primarily for not taking a Trinitarian spin on the emerging canon. In a Church now being administered by professional clerics and scholars, all of whom were educated in the Greco-Roman or “Western” arts and sciences, the Trinity, as these Church authorities explained it to themselves and their secular peers, was perfectly logical and made complete sense. More importantly, it was easily grasped as a very sexy philosophical construct, and made a great topic as they argued their new religion with fellow academics and scholars of the day.

What happened then at the Council of Nicaea, and all those that followed, is a group of Church academics getting together to homogenize the scraps of an incomplete canon with Church tradition and “science.” As they shuffled through these elements to sort out what it all really meant, they performed their doctrinal divination through a filter clogged by hundreds of years of Platonic and other pagan theories about what they should really be looking for in a really really perfect God. And sure enough, they clearly found Plato’s God in the apostolic and other historical Christian writings–exactly as they had predetermined to do, according to their rigid Greek philosophical and academic programming. Then they canonized those writings that supported this image, and sometimes conveniently lost or ignored the others.

The most important thing to note however, is that even in the modern canon, essentially all Christian doctors, practitioners, scholars and historians will freely admit that not only does the word “Trinity” never appear in any of the canonical texts, but the concept itself is also virtually foreign to the Bible as we profess it today. The Triune God is found in “church tradition,” not the canon of holy scripture, and Christian authorities have openly admitted that for some 1800 years. What? 1800? That’s short 200 years isn’t it? No, because in the first 200 years or so, really more like 300, almost nobody was talking about a “Trinity” in the Church, because it hadn’t even been invented yet.

The third big schism in the Church you may know, even if as I say, you grew up in Provo and were born and raised in the LDS faith, as were 99.8% of your friends and neighbors, so they were no help to you either, was the break-off of the Church of England from Rome in 1534. The Roman Church and a number of Protestant detractors still call the Church of England, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, Episcopalians and variants associated with this schism, “Catholic Light.”

Here’s the Church of England take on the Trinity, found in its First Article of Religion:

There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

This is the Trinity statement Latter-day Saints are usually most familiar with. Again, the Platonistic concept of a perfect, and therefore immaterial God made of one inseparable substance (or oxymoronically, a non-substance) was transferred directly into the Anglican Communion from the Roman Church as a matter of unquestioned tradition because the concept was by then a thousand years or so old. (The Anglican Communion has no central structure or authority, that’s just what the circle of still-friendly branch-offs from the Church of England call themselves)

Even if the Latter-day Saint could accept a formless, nonexistent God, one would be even more hard-pressed to accept an Almighty Deity without any “passions,” as described in thetheismGO Anglican Creed. Again this is a function of Classical Theism. A Perfect Being is “impassible,” meaning nothing is capable of affecting it. Nothing in existence can physically, mentally, or emotionally disturb God. If our suffering made God sorrowful, God would be less than “perfect” because He was affected by lesser entities.

Fueling the English break from Rome, or rather, helping justify the English King Henry the VIII’s quest for multiple divorces, the second great Roman Church schism had already begun in 1517 on 31 October, what Lutherans and some others now call “Reformation Day.”

Was that a trick, or a treat? I’d say from the LDS perspective a little of each.

On that day, Martin Luther, the director of religious study at Wittenburg Castle Church, in Germany, tacked 95 complaints or “theses” about Roman Catholicism to the massive outer door of his church for all the world to see, and kicked off a wave of revolution and reform that reshaped the religious and political world for the next 500 years and more. The good reverend’s biggest complaint had to do with the notion of the Pope encouraging wealthy patrons to buy their way out of hell by making generous donations to the Church, called “indulgences,” which the professional clergy in turn just used to buy lavish accommodations and finance a life of luxury. But Luther had no intention of breaking away from the Roman Church, and never questioned the Trinity tradition nor the creeds associated with it.

Martin Luther also promoted for the Church, a replacement system of lay-clergy very similar to the modern LDS model, he called the “Universal Priesthood” that is now the main claim to authority of most Protestant clergies. Today it is usually called the “Priesthood of all Believers.” The Christian canon by his time had been fairly settled, and inasmuch as Luther was thoroughly disgusted at the institution-wide level of corruption, overt sin and greed, in his “catholic and universal Church,” he bolstered his argument against its professional clergy by claiming that the canon of scripture was the ultimate Christian authority, not the clergy, historical councils, or tradition.

“Sola Scriptura.” The Bible Alone.

The irony of this boast of course, from an LDS perspective, is that while rejecting the clergy, the history and tradition, some of the canon, and the basic authority of the Roman Church, Luther clung tightly to the Trinity tradition, and again, that’s all it was and all it remains. It’s a tradition, not a scripture. Luther in fact, sustained the principle Roman Church tradition, the Triune God, in spite of the notion being nowhere expressed in even Luther’s all-authoritative Bible.

The Roman Church still calls Luther’s whole “Bible Only” approach a blueprint for anarchy.

It must be said, that while claiming the ultimate authority of Biblical scripture alone, Martin Luther took exception to a number of books considered to be part of it. He had little use for the Old Testament at all, was a raving anti-Semite, and when he printed the first German Bible he took out Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation, and placed them in an appendix with a preface warning the reader that they were not very reliable or important. He also cut out the deuterocanonical books that filled the “400 Years of Silence” between the Old and New Testaments, and called them “Apocrypha,” meaning they were essentially just interesting reading but totally unreliable.’s_canon

Another one of the Reformation’s Sola Scriptura anarchists was a French lay-minister, or religious hobbyist named Jehan Cauvan. We know him in English as John Calvin. Calvin had little regard for Luther due to the latter’s monkeying with the canon, but took many of his other ideas to the extreme.

Calvin went on to invent most of what we in America know simply as religion. Calvin’s concept of a pure religion based entirely on Biblical texts, and the notion of purifying the corrupt Roman Church, soon produced in England a group known as the “Puritans,” who were ultimately driven out of England by a Church-State that was essentially Roman Catholic in every way except for the king demanding to be the prime religious authority and protector, rather than the bishop of Rome, or “Pope.” The Puritans found all of this objectionable and the King found their objections to be objectionable. They fled to Holland, found backing there, sailed to Plymouth Rock and the rest is history. Not the history you have been taught however. That’s subject matter for anotherdownload (1) time, but it must be said that the Puritans as it turns out, were not quite as dedicated to religious liberty as the spinners of American Christian history have led us to believe. Apparently they just wanted to enforce their own religious system using the same sort of oppressive Church-State tactics they’d experienced in England. This they did, armed with the political theology of John Calvin.

While we often snub the Roman Church for its obvious historical corruption and brutality, best exemplified in the Inquisition, John Calvin among other things founded one of the most abusive and repressive theocracies in Geneva Switzerland in 1541. It soon came to be called the “Protestant Rome.”

Calvin’s rise to power in Geneva is nothing short of baffling. At his first visit he irked the wrong social-movers-and-shakers, and was thus driven out and banished. He licked his wounds and eked out a living writing and giving religious lectures in nearby Strasbourg, till he’d built up quite a reputation and following. The sociopolitical structure that had banned him in Geneva fortuitously got turned around by a new crop of social climbers, this time filled with many who had heard and read Calvin’s lectures and thought him to be just the religious thinker to solve their law-and-order problems. Calvin was practically begged by Geneva’s new best and brightest, to return in glory and show them how to run a Godly city. He was offered a nice salary and home if he would do so.

Though leery due to his last exploits in Geneva, he did return and he was indeed received with open arms this time. Having no Church commission or clerical certification of any sort, he was appointed supreme Biblemaster and lawmaker for lack of a better title. The bible ruled Geneva, and Calvin ruled the Bible.

Calvin’s apologists like to claim he never imagesdirectly supervised any of the atrocities committed by his word or decree, and like to dismiss the daily repression the population of Geneva labored under in his name as “typical of the period.” They excuse Calvin’s oppression, so they say, because he never had any official status as a civil or Church officer. In point of fact, anything Jehan Cauvan said to the combined Geneva Church/State city council was in practice law. Calvin in effect was commander of the courts, law enforcement, and the Church.

Ironically, during Calvin’s preliminary, “fleeing and being banished” phase, he was almost excommunicated for not adopting any Trinitarian dogma into the official statement of faith he initially drafted in order to recruit support for his Biblical empire.

Calvin had embraced Luther’s Sola Scriptura concept with both arms, and frankly, he hadn’t seen any Trinitarian teachings in the Bible. If he didn’t see it in the Bible it wasn’t part of the Church. And for all his other faults, John Calvin at first perusal, did not see the Trinity in the Bible and so did not embrace it willingly and chose to pretend the issue didn’t exist. (Many modern Bible scholars will still admit Calvin’s first impression was correct.) When it became clear he would either die horribly or be unemployable and permanently impoverished, he conceded that the Bible didn’t preclude Trinitarian thinking.

It was only in his second or third incarnation as a would-be religious reformer, in crafting the pitch that ultimately won him supreme control over the huge city-state of Geneva, that John Calvin surrendered to a vague acceptance of what he preferred to call the “Godhead” because that term actually was in the Bible. And even so, Calvin usually bypassed the issue of what either that term or the “Trinity” exactly meant. Calvin’s writings on the subject of the Godhead are not any clearer than the Athanasian creed and hundreds of pages longer. His disciples and religious scholars today still debate what his feelings on the matter really were, or what his commentaries on it actually mean.’s%20Corner/Doctrines/godhead.htm

All of which takes us back to Joseph Smith and the First Article of Faith. It is only after gaining a basic understanding of ancient Church history and the machinations that resulted in todays prevailing “orthodox” Christian, Trinitarian dogma, that we can come to a genuine understanding of the issues and religious environment in which Joseph Smith read James 1:5 and subsequently went into the grove to pray for an answer about which of church to join.

The Puritans may have landed first, but their former antagonist, the Church of England, was close on their heels, and was perhaps the first significantly organized truly all-American Christian force to develop institutionally in the United States. In Scotland, Wales, and the US, remote from the central control of the English Church, the Presbyterians and Episcopalians split off originally just attempting to ignore or deny the acceptance of the King of England as supreme Church commander and Protector of the Faith. They held to Luther’s “Priesthood of all Believers” and maintained that they were free to form their own governing bodies, in the former, the presbytery, which is a council of elders, and in the latter, the episcopate, which is a council headed by a local bishop.

Quite rapidly, the American, Scottish and some other Presbyterian or Episcopalian branches absorbed the Puritan ethic, and embraced Calvinism to the point where they were considered “Non-Conforming” and no longer under the blessing of Mother Church. The Presbyterians in particular became extremely attached to Calvinistic dogma.

wesley_preach_470x352Meanwhile, back in England, John Wesley, a staunch Anglican, joined up at Oxford with George Whitefield, mixed Whitefield’s stump-preaching skills and Calvinism with his own Anglican upbringing, swerved into Arminianism, organized a “Holy Club” on campus, worked out a methodical approach to living a holy lifestyle, and this new religious approach soon got sneaked across and sometimes just chased across the pond by Church of England persecution. Whitefield and Wesley both thrived in America’s religiously free environment. The combination of Calvin’s sense of being elite and “Elect” with the Arminian threat of “Backsliding” into hell anyway, struck a mighty chord particularly with American women who dragged their men off to re-education every Sunday in droves. All over the new frontier pious women were scaring the hell and all the bad habits out of their men-folk with threats of hellfire and damnation, in a continual, never-ending system of ritual of chastening and humbling. Salvation was a process, not an event, and you had to be soberly engaged daily in that process to assure it. At the death of Whitefield, Wesley’s new church soon lost most of its overt Calvinism, and became Methodism as it is known today.

In frontier America, at long last, the much persecuted Baptists soon came into their own when they moved into the liberty of the American wildlands. They, like the Methodists, were also a product of Jacobus Arminius, the man who led the Reformation of Holland. The Baptists however, had been beaten up by nearly everyone across Europe, thanks to their haughty insistence on baptism by immersion and their persistent habit of telling the Roman, Lutheran, and Anglican State-Churches that their baptisms didn’t count and they were all going to hell anyway.

Arminius studied religion in Geneva, following Calvin’s great reign of terror there. Taking Calvin at his word, he studied the Bible himself and then argued that Calvin’s doctrines of Predestination and Unconditional Election made God the author of evil and were un-Biblical. This conclusion developed into the now infamous Calvinist/Arminian feud reflected in Joseph Smith’s day between the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. The Methodists at the time took the middle ground, sidestepped most of the theological debate, and concentrated on being pious, healthy, well-studied and stoic. The Baptists and Presbyterians of the day however, went at it tooth and nail.

The Presbyterians claimed if you joined up it was Predestined and inevitable, you were one of the Elect, God had created you intentionally to be saved, and anyone else was not part of God’s election by God’s deliberate design. The non-Christian, the “Heathen Nations,” were created to burn in hell, and never would nor could be saved, and thus never will be. Free will was an illusion they argued. Mankind existed and prospered or failed entirely at the will off, and in the pre-determined design of God.

The Baptists claimed salvation was an “election of believers” and conditioned upon faith in Christ and an express confession of same. They believed they could save anyone they could get the message out to. Anyone who confessed Christ and demonstrated it by being baptized in His name was saved. End of story. Done deal. And it was your duty as a Christian to go out and win for Christ all the damned souls you could call into the waters of baptism–anywhere around the world. They believed salvation was a choice mankind could, and would make if argued enthusiastically enough. Salvation had to come through a deliberate act of faith by confessing Jesus as Lord and entering the waters of baptism to symbolize it.

The Methodists added to the Baptists’ message, that salvation was not fixed, entirely unconditional and irreversible, even for the devout. It was possible to “backslide” into damnation they argued, by falling into bad company, bad, habits, physical, mental, and thus spiritual sloth. Baptism was a big deal for them yes, but Methodists remain noncommittal on defining a “correct” mode even today. Wesley from his Anglican background even held that infant baptism by whatever method held a spiritual value of some useful sort for the baptizee but, again, it wasn’t a sure lock to salvation. In contrast, he was very precise however on claiming that Cleanliness was next to Godliness. Hence, the Methodist emphasis particularly in Joseph Smith’s day, went well beyond “conversion,” and into rigidly enforcing a strict, “holy” lifestyle that would prevent a backslidden condition from developing.

These a289067_f260re the questions for which Joseph Smith went to the Lord on his knees and begged answers. They had nothing whatsoever to do with the basic nature of God and in all truth Joseph Smith didn’t even know who he was going to be talking to when he kneeled down in the grove. Joseph probably never doubted or seriously questioned the Triune God common to all of those Christian denominations attempting to win him over. Joseph had a very simple question of which church to join. He could indeed, barely decipher the sorts of quibbling interpretations of scripture the Calvinists, Papists, Arminians and the others were bickering over in his day. He went to God in one clear burst of scriptural clarity to ask for help understanding the “wisdom” being crammed down his throat by the local religious practitioners. The answer he got to this mundane query, was a personal visitation from the father and son, preceded by a bracing battle between the Spirit of Darkness and his deliverer from same, the Holy Ghost.,4945,104-1-3-4,00.html

A personal appearance from the Godhead was the answer to a question Joseph Smith didn’t even have the insight or knowledge. Joseph was just looking to be pointed in the right direction. The entire Godhead appeared to warn him that the true Church of Jesus Christ could not be found heading in any of the directions his religious recruiters wanted to take him:

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up of rules taught by men.”

It may have been a long and convoluted literary journey, but I have struggled here to impress upon the reader exactly what this one single passage of Biblical canon means, and why a reliable translation can make all the difference in understanding scripture. Connotation is everything, and I hope I have rewarded the reader with some small idea just who these men were, where they got their rules about the “Perfect Being,” they called the “Trinity,” and how they taught and enforced their human scholarship, science and philosophy, for generations, until human, academic “reason” had entirely superimposed itself over the canon and apostolic tradition.

The one thing all Joseph Smith’s “professors of religion” agreed upon was the Neo-Platonistic nature of the Mystical Trinity. But Plato’s God didn’t come to visit Joseph Smith in answer to his first uttered prayer. It wasn’t the Godhead of Athanasius, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Wesley, or any existing Christian tradition, that spoke to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove.

In Joseph Smith’s day the Roman Church was treated to nearly ghetto-like conditions at times and subject to general abuse almost universally among the American population. Most of America’s Christian population had fled the Old World to escape the domination of Rome in one way or another. Rome would have to take a back seat to America’s raging Protestantism and sometimes forcefully, brutally so for almost two centuries even after the signing of the Constitution granting all Americans religious liberty.

But while the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and others courting Joseph Smith’s loyalty universally condemned Roman Catholicism as corrupted, they ironically also held true to the image of the very Triune God that Plato, Constantine, Athanasius and the Roman Church’s “corrupted” authorities had trademarked in the fourth and fifth centuries.

The LDS belief in the “Godhead” and our understanding of it’s nature isn’t based on any of the historical Church creeds. How could it be? They don’t make any sense. They aren’t found in the canon. All they amount to is an agreement between warring human custodians of “Christian Tradition,” that the nature of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is a mystery beyond the understanding of the human mind. God is incomprehensible. God is so unlike us, that as mere mortals that it doesn’t even bear pondering.

It’s a mystery. Move on.

The LDS concept of the Godhead isn’t based entirely upon the Biblical canon either. It began in the Sacred Grove as direct observation, and developed in its fullest through modern revelation:

Although the three members of the Godhead are distinct personages, their Godhead is “one” in that all three are united in their thoughts, actions, and purpose, with each having a fulness of knowledge, truth, and power. Each is a God. This does not imply a mystical union of substance or personality.

Joseph Smith taught: Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow-three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization anyhow.

“Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for those that thou hast given me…that they may be one as we are.”…I want to read the text to you myself–”I am agreed with the Father and the Father is agreed with me, and we are agreed as one.” The Greek shows that it should be agreed. “Father, I pray for them which thou hast given me out of the world,…that they all may be agreed,” and all come to dwell in unity [TPJS, p. 372; cf. John 17:9-11, 20-21; also cf. WJS, p. 380].

The unity prayed for in John 17 provides a model for the LDS understanding of the unity of the Godhead-one that is achieved among distinct individuals by unity of purpose, through faith, and by divine will and action. Joseph Smith taught that the Godhead was united by an “everlasting covenant [that] was made between [these] three personages before the organization of this earth” relevant to their administration to its inhabitants (TPJS, p. 190).

The prime purpose of the Godhead and of all those united with them is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39; Hinckley, p. 49-51).

Each member of the Godhead fulfills particular functions in relation to each of the others and to mankind. God the Father presides over the Godhead. He is the Father of all human spirits and of the physical body of Jesus Christ. The human body was formed in his image.

Jesus Christ, the Firstborn son of God the Father in the spirit and the Only Begotten son in the flesh, is the creative agent of the Godhead and the redeeming mediator between the Father and mankind. By him God created all things, and through him God revealed the laws of salvation. In him shall all be made alive, and through his Atonement all mankind may be reconciled with the Father.

The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit who bears witness to truth. The Father and the Holy Ghost bear witness of the Son, and the Son and the Holy Ghost bear witness of the Father (3 Ne. 11:32; cf. John 8:18). Through the Holy Ghost, revelations of the Father and of the Son are given.

(Author: Dahl, Paul E.)

To this I’d like to add my testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that he restored the truth of Man’s relationship to God: That Our Father in Heaven is literally our Father, that we are all his children in and out of His church, that we are all brothers and sisters, of every race, creed and color, on every continent, and that we can all become like our Father in Heaven, and that his only begotten son, Jesus Christ was sent to redeem us from our sins and weakness and mistakes, and that we can know this is true through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

caravaggio-thomas_thumb.jpgBut most importantly, Joseph Smith restored to us the truth that God is not some intangible, incorporeal, incomprehensible being forever beyond our understanding. He is literally our Father in Heaven, and Jesus Christ is our brother, the Holy Ghost can be our daily companion, and we are all part of God’s family.

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Gladys Knight (McDowell…)

I went to see the Gladys Knight (McDowell) Travelling Mormon All-Stars the other evening. Alright, they’re actually called the “Saints Unified Voices.” Or the “SUV Choir.” I’m on record as having openly bemoaned her union with the Latter-day Saints as the smothering of a great musical talent in a thick coating of unsalted bread and cream. I remember her main public apology for Mormon music going something along the lines of: “Well, I can learn to tone it down I suppose…” Thank God she didn’t–and I mean that literally.

Praise Jesus.

I’m not much of a gospel fan, not big on soul either, and I don’t care about a night train to Georgia or anywhere else. I didn’t go as a Pips groupie or anything. That whole Soul Train/Motown thing was just stuff they played inbetween the good songs on the radio when I was growing into my musical tastes. Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder, Dianna Ross and the hideous collection called the “Jackson 5” and worse, in my musical world, just interrupted the Beatles, the Who, Led Zepplin, and of course, Sunshine Superman, Sky Pilot, Earsplittenloudenboomer and Inagodadaveda. I would do something else or change the station when Up Up and Away came on. Midnight Train to Georgia or Heard it Through the Grapevine was only something I suffered through when the family sat down to watch Ted Mack, Ed Sullivan, Flip Wilson or Helen Reddy. Those people are of course long vanished from the public mind, but not Gladys Knight. She’s still at it.

And then I got into British Isles folk rock, where there were strict no-jazz-no-blues rules. Eventually I entered my Queen phase with Killer Queen and the greatest rock band of all time’s first American release. But I digress. My point is, I have never been gospel or soul oriented, but I was familiar with all of it.  I knew Gladys Knight as a gospel and soul great, so as a music buff in general, and a Mormon curious about the whole African-American/Mormon relationship, I had to go just to see what it was all about. I just had to go see how Mormonism had killed her off–hoping of course that it hadn’t.

It hadn’t.

Sister Knight is a great evangelist and choir director, and her husband, William McDowell, certainly from a “guy” perspective, is an even better evangelist and public speaker. The program was musical, uplifting, entertaining, at times hilarious, and even the uptight midwestern, Scandihoovian audience eventually figured out it was OK to say, “Good evening” back at the orator when addressing or greeting the congregation. My inactive daughter who attended with me said if Mormon meetings were always like that she’d be showing up every Sunday again. Having been in choir in high school, she naturally couldn’t resist complaining about many of the women’s solo voices and the choir in general being strained and thin, but let’s face it: getting anything like a gospel choir sound out of a bunch of white folk from the local ward in Las Vegas Nevada is nothing short of miraculous. These were amateurs straight out of the whitebread Great Basin neighborhood, many of them now past their prime, all of them had just sung their guts out in a two-hour set, from the early show, and were in the heart of a long tour, indeed, a series of tours now going on for ten years. And remember, few of them for the most part grew up in gospel, jazz, blues or soul hotbeds like Chicago, Memphis, Harlem or the Delta, or were otherwise given the gospel voice from childhood. But it was a night of praise and worship, not a minstrel show with acrobats, pyrotechnics, and a dancing bear inbetween the songs to keep the rabble entertained. They they didn’t need James Brown to do the splits or Tina Turner to shake her booty. The SUV Choir got the job of singing God’s praises done remarkably well all by themselves–again, as I say, even for a bunch of white folk.

And a Hawaiian. And maybe a few very lightly tanned black folk. But really, it’s a ward choir from Las Vegas. I’m perfectly willing to give them a break on a few technical performance issues.

(However, the first soloist to step forward, looked just like Mike Hamar from the Red Green show…which I have to admit, did disturb me a bit. I kept compulsively looking at him throughout the whole concert after that. I just couldn’t get past the soulful whiskey-tenor coming out of the mouth of Possum Lodge’s resident pathological liar and habitual criminal.)

Gladys Knight’s troupe is everything the LDS missionary program isn’t, everything the Utah-withered, world-estranged LDS leadership doesn’t quite understand about the Good News any more, and everything you’d expect when the best of African-American and Mormon worship traditions are merged.

Let the Church say Amen.

(Just a note of warning: The BYU Hawaii video linked above is a great introduction to the SUV choir, but the Mormons at BYU Hawaii sponsoring it manage to lecture and preach and sell and explain and disrupt the choir itself so much that it’s mostly a promo for BYU Hawaii–and wreaks of BYU Mo-Pix-era “Johnny Lingo” corporate film odor.)

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Troubling Doctrines Part 3: Blood Oaths And Soul Theft

Mormon Temple Oaths

People universally hate anyone with a secret club they can’t join. That’s why Born-Again-types really hateMormon_Temple_Nauvoo_IL Mormon temple worship. Lefties just hate anyone who thinks they’re so holy that they or anyone else off the street wouldn’t be just as holy as they are, and so again, are naturally appalled by exclusive orders with requirements and standards and boards of approval. Like country clubs, or executive washrooms, or hospitality suites at professional sports stadiums. So Lefties hate the temple as well. Really really hate it. Intellectuals hate religious orders with funny hats and quaint rituals because they’re too sophisticated for all that childish play-acting and secret-decoder-rings-sort-of-nonsense. So they hate the Mormon temple too. Perhaps many do not hate it so much as just scoff at the temple rites as a particularly silly Mormon endeavor. It’s a central focus of their mockery and paranoia for many reasons whatever the Mormon detractor’s motivation.

The fact remains that you can get essentially verbatim transcripts of everything that goes on in a Mormon temple off the web, or from numerous anti-Mormon travelling minstrel shows run by the Christian ministries that specialize in dressing up in silly costumes and trying to scare you into their fold, and frighten your money into their collection plate. You will not generally get it in-context, nor will you have any cultural or doctrinal basis through which to understand it in the same sense that a Mormon understands it all. More to the point, you will almost invariably receive whatever you scrounge up on your own or are made privy to even in the many formal anti-Mormon productions, either live or in the media of the trade, entirely out-of-context and deliberately so. Buzz words and code words and sound-bites and cheap shots will be neatly wrapped together in hysterical Christian bigotry and paranoia, and served up as a neat and deliciously frightening dish of Born Again bullshite. You will feel just all that much more special for being “Saved” and just all that much more thrilled to have uncovered yet another sinister conspiracy to lure mankind down to hell–that you’ve safely avoided by continuing to support whatever delusional bastard is giving you the show of your life instead of talking to any actual Mormons or trying to understand what they’re really all about.

knights of columbusOne might be compelled to concede that Mormons are not “orthodox” Christians because they reject the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, reject the “Trinity” concept of God (as did John Calvin initially, because he found no particular evidence of it in the the Bible–until they beat Trinitariatism into his personal sack of dogma on pain of heresy charges, torture, and excommunication) or that the canon is not closed and God still talks to man directly through living prophets. One might conclude that even if it is conceded that their faith was well-meant, Joseph Smith and his legacy are self-deluded and far less inspired than they claim. But the “Christian” reaction to Mormonism has been one of extermination and continual aggression in this goal. So, yes the facts remain that it is extremely difficult to demonstrate that the Mormon movement was anything else but sincere, and it also remains that where there has been a Mormon tendency to “avenge” themselves, it has nearly always been openly in battles with actual mobs and rogue militias who actually were trying to kill them and steal their stuff. To be very clear, there are no “secret” Mormon death squads sneaking around in the dark, ready to kill you for recording and publishing, or otherwise exposing all the temple “secrets.” There never have been. No historical cases or other evidence would lead you to conclude so apart from dime-novels and partisan, Christian anti-Mormonist efforts of the day.  No so-called “Danite Bands” are going to ride up and slit your throat for browsing through all the Mormon temple rituals we find “exposed” on the web. Nevertheless, those who attempt to make their living at “exposing” these dark secrets, would have you believe that you and they both are risking life and limb to peruse all the deep, Satanic Mormon temple rituals.

So go ahead. Read up. Surf your arses off. See if anyone gets killed.

The temple is where the Mormon initiate receives and dons his so-called “magic underwear.” It’s part of the initiatory symbolic washing and anointing ceremony. Of course, in the ritual itself, no “magic” is actually ascribed to this “temple garment” apart from being a reminder of man’s dependence upon God and a spiritual protection from the Adversary. It’s the garment God clothed Adam and Eve with in the Garden of Eden.

cd5e6f00a2faAs rituals go, there isn’t anything going on in a Mormon temple any weirder than you’d see at an Order of the Arrow or Eagle ceremony with the local Boy Scout Troop. Or take a look at a good Roman Catholic High Mass for that matter. The costumes aren’t any more silly than the Pope wears daily and in public—only the Pope has better slippers. The Mormon temple ceremony is called an “Endowment,” and consists of a sort-of lengthy skit during which actors, officiators, and in most cases now, video presentations tell the story of Creation, and point out the Mormon version of man’s relationship to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the course of this presentation, the temple patron is “endowed” with further light, truth and knowledge. Certain signs and tokens are given as a symbolic exchange of trust between Deity and humanity. You can think of these as “magic words,” and “secret Cub_Scout_Arrow_of_Light_3 (1)handshakes,” if you want, but that really misses the point. There is no power or magic in any of these signs or tokens and nothing is lost at all if they are exposed to the public. The possession of these words and signs merely represents a sacred trust, a covenant made by the temple goer, to keep God’s gifts safe and use this enlightenment to build His Kingdom on earth and serve mankind.

There have been several versions of the oath the Mormon temple patron swears to through the years. This is a promise to keep the signs and tokens he or she is given in the temple ceremony private. The most alarming of these originally used language essentially professing that the covenanter agreed to suffer death through unpleasant means if they betray God’s trust. Mormon detractors have always made great theatre of these oaths, but of course have always twisted the actual language to claim that the Mormon temple patron is even today, consenting to have his guts ripped open and his throat slit if he ever exposes the secret Mormon goings-on inside that shrine. Like the Masons, these anti-Mormonists who work in the field of Mormon temple mockery, are almost gleeful whenimages (5) they explain how packs of LDS Avengers are stalking them down. Oddly enough, they and their ancestors have been exposing and exposing again, all these oathbound Mormon secrets for generations, and all of them seem to remain in fine health. For all the exposed secrecy, there is no string of gutted and throat-slit Mormon whistle-blowers littering the Holy Roller anti-Mormon Revival Highway. No, these religious quacks keep slithering from tent show to tent show, church basement and fellowship hall, dressing up in their magic Mormon underpants and temple robes, with complete impunity.

But of course, that’s because the Danites wouldn’t dare take them out—not with God on their side and such a public profile! It would give the Secret Mormon Death Squads away!!!!!!

Now, in the case of the these anti-“cult” evangelicals like to make against the Freemasons, these Christian Conspiracy Nuts will all tell you at some point in the Masonic rituals the candidate is told that Lucifer is the God of this earth, and of course specifically then, the God of the Masons. This you should know, is utter nonsense. The name “Lucifer,” or “Son of the Morning,” or “Star of the Morning,” or “Light Bearer,” actually refers to the planet Venus in those Masonic texts. Those traditions pre-date Christianity and really have nothing to do with the God v Devil scenario. But Christians have been burning witches for far less since day-one. So it doesn’t matter much what either Masons or Mormons actually make of their own rituals, traditions, and understanding of same. This is particularly true of the symbolic oath-taking in either a Mormon or Masonic, or any other ceremony. All that matters to the “anti-cultists,” is that a superficial word or symbol or sentence can be woven into their preconceived, universal, inter-leaved galactic conspiracy of Satan, the invisible matrix that runs Lavent No.5every human institution and population on the planet—except theirs of course. Like the Mormon temple, every word of every ritual ever performed in every level of Masonry has been “exposed” and transcribed and is commonly available on the internet. The same evangelical clucks travelling around pissing on Mormons, are doing the same routine on the Masons, and a host of other likely-looking World Conspirators. Like the Jews–who also wear funny hats and goofy outfits, have a temple closed to outsiders and who at least at one time indeed performed bloody rituals in their temple.

And the whole truth is that anyone capable of going without the Big Three for a year or so (hot drinks, tobacco and booze) and sitting through the missionary discussions, can get themselves baptized, and will then find that the Mormons practically herd them into the temple at the earliest possible convenience whether they ask to go or not. Mormons are more than happy to show you all their “secrets” first hand whether you make any effort to worm your way inside or not. Now, if you freak out after your first time and just have to warn the world, or even if you just con your way in to take secret recordings so you can make the circuit with the many other traitors, turncoats, and spies that have populated the Born-Again vaudeville stages set up in churchimg basements and fellowship halls throughout orthodox Christendom since before they killed Joseph Smith, the only consequences you are going to suffer are between you and God.

Danite Vengeance Oaths

As I write this in the heart of the presidential campaigns of 2012, on top of all the other Mitt Romney-related anti-Mormon attention in the liberal medial, the evangelical versions of these anti-Mormonist paranoids have furthered the notion that Romney may have sworn oaths of vengeance against the United States of America. No such oaths have ever existed however. The most “damaging” alleged oath was supposed to bind the Mormon to murdering and avenging the assassination of Joseph Smith by slaughtering American civil and military agents for generation after generation. But, those who “expose” and quote these oaths, are apparently too stupid and illiterate to realize that they are their own worst enemies in the matter:

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.”[2]

aczn90So it seems the Mormon was only charged to pray for God to avenge the prophets. Seems fair to me.

The final question of these various oaths was resolved in 1990 when the temple ceremony was adjusted to entirely remove any and all of them. The anti-Mormonists are so eager to prove the current nature of their information, and prove that these Mormon secrets are fluid and not fixed in stone by God Himself, that in their urgency to remain current and deeply inside the temple secrets, ultimately, they confess that there are no Mormons taking any “blood” oaths of any sort and haven’t been in over two decades. They betray the fact that no Mormons have taken even the symbolic blood oaths against mobbers or their political cohorts that killed Joseph Smith since shortly after WWI—roughly one hundred years ago to date. There is no way, for instance, that Mitt Romney would have taken any oaths worded in such a way to require him to kill Americans to avenge Joseph Smith, or even offer himself up for slaughter for the slip of the tongue or for inadvertently giving away a secret handshake.

If however, you go back far enough, to the days when mobs of Christians were burning, raping and pillaging their way through Mormon settlements in Missouri and Illinois, or a decade or two later when the US Army was sent out with the express purpose of destroying Mormonism once-and-for-all, yes, the wording of these oaths, or certainly the interpretation of these oaths, would have been far more direct. When your “good Christian” neighbors are bashing your brains out in the rain and burning you out of house and home, you tend to develop some serious convictions about stopping that behavior.

At the time these several oaths were initiated, Christian America was killing and abusing Mormon friends and family and yes, Mormon leadership took loyalty very seriously, because Mormon turncoats were fueling the anti-Mormon national and regional mood and providing the mobs, militias, and the clergy that authorized them, with all the excuse they needed to justify treating Mormons like vermin. America was indeed trying to shriners (1)exterminate them repeatedly till they were driven permanently into the wilderness to escape with some level of liberty at least for a few years. Even so, apart from the highly disputable “Mountain Meadows Massacre” there really hasn’t been a single credible example of Mormon “vengeance” that could reliably be traced to any of these oaths or any specific desire to murder the mob members, politicians or religious leaders directly responsible for Joseph Smith’s assassination. Even in the early days, you have to remember, the desire to avenge the blood of Joseph Smith by wreaking havoc upon the members of the mob that Christian America and her political servants heaped upon him, would hardly have needed an oath to enforce it. It was after all, the Wild Wild West. And nobody has ever confused the Mormons with the Quakers or Amish—or at least not for long in terms of the Mormon willingness to fight back. Most Mormon “vengeance” was executed in open warfare with mobs who made the first attack and were openly swearing to destroy Mormonism to the last man, woman, and child. And those mobs were authorized and often led by noted Christian clergy and civil officers in direct violation of Constitutional and statutory law for the expressed purpose of killing all the Mormons and taking all their stuff.

For all the alleged unsuitability of Mitt Romney or any other Mormon for public office because of his alleged “oaths,” there seems to be no particular enthusiasm for rejecting George Washington, who was both our first president and master of his local Masonic lodge. The Masons make Mormons look like pikers when it comes to incendiary oaths and secret ceremonies. And George was only the first of a string of Masons to take the office of the US president:

58-11James Monroe

Andrew Jackson

James Polk

James Buchanan

Andrew Johnson

James Garfield

William McKinley

Theodore Roosevelt

William Taft

Warren Harding

Franklin Roosevelt

Harry Truman

Lyndon Johnson

Jerald Ford

Funny, but we don’t hear a lot in the media about how unsuitable FDR or Harry Truman were for the presidency because of their secret, oathbound fraternal memberships.

Stealing Jews

Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel on Tuesday called on Mitt Romney to tell the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop doing proxy baptisms in the names of dead Jews, including Holocaust victims such as Wiesel’s parents.


LDS officials have reached The Anti-Defamation league to say, according to an ADL press release that:

…an individual member inappropriately submitted the names, an action the LDS said was “clearly against the policy of the church.” The church has indefinitely suspended the individual’s ability to access their genealogy records.

Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, said in the statement that he accepted this as a good faith promise from the church. It’s critical to halt the practice because, Foxman writes:

Holocaust victims died precisely because they were Jewish. Listing Jews as ‘Christian” on one of the most researched genealogical sites in the world inadvertently aids and abets denial of the Holocaust.

Perhaps the ultimate solution would be for the church to revisit its theological position on posthumously baptizing Jews and believers outside the Mormon Church, just as other religions have reconsidered centuries-old beliefs.

The long and short of this is, Mormons don’t steal anyone’s soul after death. Mormon baptism for the deadBELIEFS-1-articleLarge may be deemed silly or heretical to either the orthodox Christian or Jew, but the concept and the ceremony itself, while carried out once again in the mysterious Mormon temple, is anything but sinister. Christ our Lord demands that everyone be baptized as a symbol of our discipleship and adoption or re-birth into His family and His promise of salvation. Most of Christianity writes you off as damned if you miss out on that “Born Again” opportunity in this lifetime. You could go to hell through chance or happenstance or some big a-hole minister who just turned you off to religion, and you formed your entire opinion of Christianity based upon that one twisted dickweed who had it all wrong. But still, you go to hell and burn forever in a lake of fire that never consumes but continuously burns. In “historical” Christian circles, this means very clearly that Anne Frank is burning in hell for instance. This notion is understandably offensive to Jews. And even more offensive would be praying or baptizing poor Anne’s way out of hell. But that’s not what Mormon proxy baptism for the dead does or even intends to do.

As HuffPost reported in January, the practice of proxy baptism for the dead in Romney’s church could prove troublesome for some voters.

The ritual has reportedly been performed in the name of Hollywood celebrities,Mahatma Gandhi, Anne Frank, and the still-living Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. When Wiesel learned his name was entered as “ready” for posthumous baptism, the famed Holocaust survivor told HuffPost that Romney “should speak to his own church and say they should stop” performing such rituals on Jews.

But church spokesman Lyman Kirkland said Wednesday in an email that the “ready” classification is misleading. “This characterization is inaccurate,” he said. “’Ready’ [next to a name in the database] in no way means a baptism is imminent; it only means that a name in the genealogical database has been determined to be an actual person. The term ‘ready’ as shown in the database is probably causing confusion and will likely be changed to something that describes the process more clearly.”

Radkey disputed that claim, saying, “If a name is on New FamilySearch lists, this will not be for genealogical purposes only. It usually means posthumous rites.”

The LDS church has issued apology after apology for members targeting Holocaust victims despite promising to put an end to the rituals. This week, a delegation from the American Jewish Committee met with senior church leaders in Salt Lake City to discuss “advances in mitigating Jewish concerns regarding the issue of posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims.”

satan-3-by-jack-chickWhat Mormons are contending is you do not go to hell by happenstance or accident, and indeed, hell as Christianity has sold it to the world, is hardly literal and almost nobody goes there. Those who do go to “hell” have deliberately earned it by willful rejection of the Holy Spirit and the Blood of Christ. Mormons call it “Outer Darkness, and only those who ultimately end up there of their own deliberate doing, will ever know how miserable this “Outer Darkness,” really is. All others have a chance at re-education in spirit prison or “paradise” depending upon how they lived their lives, and the legal requirement of physical baptism can be met by mortal proxies performing this ordinance on behalf of the deceased. It is an ordinance symbolizing a covenant that has to be made in a prescribed manner in physical existence, not a spiritual afterlife. Oh, yes, it sounds very legalistic but an ultimate commandment is an ultimate commandment and the point is, Mormons believe God allowed a system of proxy ordinances to satisfy these legal demands so little Johnny Johnson who died in Uppsala Sweden in 1823 at birth and never got baptized, never confessed faith in Christ, and thus is “unsaved,” doesn’t burn in hell forever just because his mother had a bad case of the flu at the time and had a complicated delivery.

OK, Mormons actually think that the innocent unborn and mentally unaccountable go directly to the “Celestial Kingdom,” the highest level of Heaven and enter the presence of God directly, upon death due their inherent innocence. Yeah, I know, it’s the opposite of what they taught you at Bible camp. But we’re talking Mormonism, not “Christianity.” Mormons believe there has already been a weeding out of the “evil” among us for the most part in a pre-mortal existence, and all those who are born of this earth have already proven their basic goodness. Man is stupid, not evil. Man is flawed and imperfect, not damned at birth. All men are born pure and innocent and unstained by some asinine political invention the Church has called “Original Sin.” Original Sin is a recruitment and control device invented by a professional clergy, not an eternal truth.images (7) Mormons believe “Christianity” has got it all wrong on many of these points. And likewise, the Jews got it all wrong before that, but unlike orthodox “Christianity” through the ages, Mormons believe the “Jews” are still God’s covenant people, that all God’s promises made to the House of Israel will be honored in the end. Mormons have never had any part in condemning the entire Jewish race as the “Christ-Killing” bastards Martin Luther, various popes and Calvinists have made them out to be for fun and profit over the years.

Now, of course, in “orthodox” Christian theology, God knowingly and willfully created little Johnny Johnson and shot him out his mommy’s birth canal up in icy Sweden, deliberately to die at birth and burn in hell because that was his “Predestination.” Johnny was not one of the “Elect.” And though the Calvinists, the Papists, the Lutherans, the Arminians and all the others, have different ways of rationalizing it, they all agree that dead fetuses and dead babies, heathens born and raised out in the bush, and all those not raised “Christian,” burn in hell because without baptism, or a “come to Jesus” moment, without knowledge of the Bible and a confession of faith, they by default return to Satan, their true father and fleshly creator, where they suffer eternal torment in a lake of fire as damnable children of hell.783678

Mormons are not “historical” or “orthodox” Christians. They do not believe that they are snatching dead Jews or heathens from the jaws of the Destroyer. In Mormonism, post-mortal life is essentially pretty pleasant for everyone, Mormon or not, with the exception that those guilty of overt evil and criminal acts go to a sort of prison or holding area. Those already covenanted with Christ and not guilty of overt, willful and unrepentant sin and evil, go on to “paradise,” or the “bosom of Abraham” in Old Testament Speak. I’m simplifying this a bit but the point is, that once Mormonism’s token post-mortem baptismal ordinances are performed by mortal proxies in a Mormon temple, it is believed to be entirely up to the deceased on the other side of the veil to accept or reject them. Think of it as some well-meaning Mormon leaving you a ticket at the box office for the greatest show on earth. (As he understands it.) If you’re not interested, just ignore the invitation. Continue to hang out on the corner outside the theatre, or find a comfy bar or pub somewhere and keep to yourself and your current friends and family. If that’s what you know, if that’s where you are most comfortable, fine. If you decide you are interested in going places in higher social circles, all you have to do is show up, collect the ticket, and enter the gala, elite playhouse and enjoy. Even then, if you don’t like the show, you can always get up and walk out.

Mormon proxy ordinances are just that, proxy ordinances. They are not actual, immediate, effective ordinances. Just because you (as is usually the custom) have brought all your great-granddad’s records in to do the work for your kin, doesn’t mean you’ve “saved” them from Southern Baptistism or Judaism, or Islam or whatever religious orientation they may have followed at death.

kot15-725x484A lot of wailing and concern has arisen particularly from Jewish Holocaust survivors who, in the course of genealogical research found that Mormons have in the past routinely done ordinance work for Holocaust victims and Jews in general. This is seen as some sort of insult to the Jews who died, but quite the contrary is true. Mormons do not believe they are changing Jews into Mormons. Mormons actually think they’re as Jewy and the Jews in any case, and call themselves an adopted branch of the House of Israel. And I mean that in a nice way. The respect and personal identification Mormons have with the Jews is unique in all the history of Christendom. Not even in Mormon theology is it believed that dead Jews are being transformed into dead Mormons in these ceremonies. They are not listed as “converts” or “members” or “Christians,” after the ordinance work has been performed. It is merely noted that the proxy work has been done for them. Mormons do however believe that they are granting their ancestors the opportunity to move upward and onward in the hereafter along Mormon theological beliefs in rising degrees of glory—as opposed to the one-size-fits-all “total salvation” or “total damnation” scenario found in the post-death fate orthodox Christianity preaches or the nebulous, maybe-not-existence-at-all that a lot of Judaism teaches.

In short: Mormons do not believe Jews are going to hell in any theological scenario in or out of the temple, in or out of the baptismal font, in this life or the next. No forced conversion or offense is intended or even possible in Mormon theology via proxy baptism for the dead.

From a Jewish standpoint, the gut-objection is fairly obvious, but the theology, or theological objection made by Holocaust survivors and relatives of Holocaust victims to Mormon proxy baptism, is born out of their understanding of a conventional Christian perspective. All Christians, in an almost unique exception to Christian orthodoxy, believe in life after death. Where you go and why, is not nearly as universal, but almost to the sect, to the denomination, dead people go to Heaven, or some sort of hell. Jews who die proudly Jewish resent the suggestion that even after death they need to convert to Christianity to be “saved.” It is debatable however, whether or not most or all of Judaism as practiced today even professes a belief in a life after death and if not, nothing Mormons or anyone else do in the way of post-mortem conversion would have any effect or significance at all in most Jewish theology. The Bible clearly teaches us that even at the time of Christ the “Jews” were seriously split on the notion of resurrection and Eternal Life.

Calling proxy baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “eccentric, not offensive,” Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote recently that “Mormons undergoing peaceful rituals in their own temples aren’t on the list” of the “very real, very dangerous enemies” to Judaism.

“In Judaism, conversion after death is a concept without meaning,” wrote Jacoby, who is Jewish. “No after-the-fact rites in this world can possibly change the Jewishness of the men, women, children and babies whom the Nazis, in their obsessive hatred, singled out for extermination.

“By my lights, (Mormon) efforts to make salvation available to millions of deceased strangers were ineffectual,” he continued. “But plainly they were sincere, and intended as a kindness.”

OK, so Mormons are legalistic a bit and the whole prospect may sound silly to many, but baptism for the deadimages (6) is a lot less perverted than believing stillborn babies and anyone outside of your local minister’s influence are literal sons and daughters of the devil and rightfully worthy of hell and damnation unless they have the luck and good birth position to meet up with the CHURCH and its ministers. This latter proposition concludes that some 90% of all the billions and billions of human beings ever to walk the face of the earth are filthy creatures of the Adversary and through no fault of their own will be spending eternity being tortured and abused by Satan.

Don’t argue with me. It’s not my doctrine. It’s a mystery…

Posted in 36 Troubling Doctrines Part 3: Blood Oaths and Soul Theft | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Troubling Doctrines Part 2: A Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom

So far, I’ve outlined a couple of LDS doctrines that are quite correct and Biblically justifiable, even on a general orthodox Christian level. So let’s move on to the ubiquitous hindrance to LDS recruitment: The Word of Wisdom. This imposing obstacle to Mormonism’s pastoral advance around the globe, claimst to be based entirely upon an uniquely "Mormon" revelation, but again, this too is something of a health code that finds itself in common agreement with much of American Calvinist or Wesleyan/Methodist, even Lutheran and Baptist, so-called "Fundamentalist" zealots. Superficially it strikes a tone along the lines of self-denial and Spartanistic, anti-comfort, anti-enjoyment stoicism. But the revelation itself is actually rather a different animal entirely. And Mormonism has, and generations of its leadership have unfortunately entirely missed the biggest warning in this revelation. It’s the first clause in explaining why the revelation is even being given at all:

Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence ofaevils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts ofbconspiring men in the last days, I have cwarned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—

The Word of Wisdom is only nominally a health code or guide to healthy foodstuffs and nutrition in general. It is clearly a caution against use or at least over-use of a few substances that remain very very popular, like recreational drinks laden with alcohol or say, glutting-out on a beef-only diet. But that’s not the first or arguably its primary purpose. The Word of Wisdom is first and foremost a warning not to become dependent upon substances and “rich” foods which are not good for you in large quantity anyway, not because it is evil and dirty and sinful, but because once you become dependent upon these products you will be caught paying large sums of money to your enemies and crass profiteers when you should be spending that time, money and effort in saving your asses from the hell on earth that was to come for the Latter-day Saints, and in building up the Kingdom of God. This as opposed to wasting half your income in the grog houses or on expensive, imported coffee, tea, and tobacco. God is simply advising the Saints not to become slaves to these tastes and habits because you will be healthier, and you will not fall prey to future enemies.

Never heard a sermon on that however. Not in half a century of LDS indoctrination, both in and out of Utah. I’m just a spiritual moron I suppose, but I wonder why God would put that right up front and nobody in LDS leadership for nearly two-hundred years would notice it.

In recent decades Mormons have been snidely citing scientific and medical research proving just how inspired Joseph Smith’s revelation was. You can play whatever games you want with nutritional and health research these days–one day eggs will kill you, the next day there’s "good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol. One day coffee will kill you, the next day, it’s actually pretty good for you. Mormons will argue for instance, that research proving moderate, regular consumption of red wine is good for the heart and reduces cholesterol and plaque build up in the arteries, are false because you can get the same benefit from the "anti-oxidants" in grapes without the alcohol. The next week a Swedish twenty-year study will will conclude that, no, it’s alcohol–acting like drain cleaner for the bloodstream, and antioxidants are basically voodoo and superstition.

Here’s the summary paragraph of one of the most reliable, intensive, and long-term studies of the effects of moderate alcohol consumption:

Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that alcohol consumption
was significantly associated with a lower incidence of overall dementia
and Alzheimer dementia. In line with a large-scale study also based on GP
attenders aged 75 years and older, the study found that light-to-moderate
alcohol consumption was associated with relatively good physical and
mental health. This three-year follow-up study included, at baseline,
only those subjects 75 years of age and older, the mean age was 80.2
years, much higher than that in most other studies.

See the complete article here …

Mormons aren’t unique among the “tea-totaling” Christian sects keen to demonize alcohol. They foster theimages same asinine claims about “Jesus juice” or non-fermented “wine” they pretend Jesus drank instead of the “real” wine the scriptures rather plainly claim he did consume regularly–just like all the other ancient prophets. The fact of the matter is wine makes itself, any fruit or berry juice makes itself alcoholic within 24 hours even in temperate climates. You either culture it into a drinkable wine or you let it go nuts and degenerate into vinegar. There were no Judean refrigerators in 33 AD. If you were lucky enough to find a cave or hole in the ground to get the temperature down to 80-90 degrees F or preferably less, a big jar of wine would ferment out in a few days or easily less than a week to over 8% ABV—which is a knock-you-on-your-ass-level of alcohol that will only take about two pints for anyone under about 220 pounds to feel warm and silly. Yes, that’s the “mild” or “young” wine that was drunk daily, all day long by Jesus Christ and his disciples. Later in the fall, where the vintner could employ cooler, longer ferments, he would carefully ferment the "must" or fresh-pressed grape juice, for many weeks, and peak out around 12-14% ABV—that’s the “good” wine Jesus made out of water at the wedding in Cana. And the wine steward noted this specifically in John 2:1

In the case of Mormons, they expand this revisionist “Jesus juice” fantasy to convincing themselves that barley, singularly extolled in the Word of Wisdom as the source of “mild drinks,” was commonly used to make all sorts of other “mild drinks” rather than beer, and so it clearly means these drinks, not beer. They oddly enough in their desperation to prove this silly claim, invented a number of burnt-crap-tasting substitutes for coffee out of the stuff in the process.

I’m currently enjoying a Discovery Channel mini-series celebrating the positive influence of booze on America’s development. The Pilgrims for example, landed on Plymouth Rock only because they cut their intended journey short when they ran out of beer. The Puritans provisioned a daily gallon of beer for every man woman and child of them and those who drank it continuously, survived. Those who tried to make due with fresh water died of cholora, dysentery, and a number of other water-borne plagues. They even made 3.2 beer or "small" beer for the kiddies, who drank about half that ration a day. When they could get cider they drank that daily as well.

But looking at the example of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the original promoters of the Word of Wisdom, what we really see is a warning against becoming dependent upon substances that leave you beholding to "Gentiles" and sources or producers who can manipulate you based upon your addiction or cravings. There was also manifest an aversion to having the "Saints" drinking in the same taverns and public houses as the more disorderly "Gentiles." Moderation, the policy clearly outlined by LDS president Joseph F Smith in 1902 when he became the first to attempt a more strict adherence to the Word of Wisdom, is in truth, the key to understanding the point of God’s advice in this revelation.

Pres. Joseph F. Smith, in the Improvement Era, Sept. 1903.


Even in the days of Paul it was needful to caution the Saints to be moderate. In his letter to the
Philippians, the apostle particularly admonishes the brethren in these words: "Let your
moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." While this, perhaps, is the only
instance in the Bible where the word occurs, the idea of wisdom and moderation being essential
in all things, is freely expressed in many other exhortations to the people. Thus Peter, the apostle,
calling attention to the example of Christ, exhorts them to cease from sin, which is named as
lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and other lusts of men. And again,
Paul to the Ephesians instructs the saints "to walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding
what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the
spirit." It was Jesus himself who denounced the Pharisees because within they were full of
"extortion and excess."

Unfortunately for most Latter-day Saints, Joseph F Smith also had a thing against eating meat. He didn’t eat any basically. And he had this to say about it:

Several prophets have spoken out against sport hunting. Joseph F. Smith said in 1913, "I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he ‘needs’ them for food…I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possess life. It is wrong, and I have been surprised at prominent men who I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood. They go off hunting deer, antelope, elk, anything they can find, and what for? ‘Just for the fun of it!’ I am a firm believer… in the simple words of one of the poets: ‘Take not away the life you cannot give, for all things have an equal right to live’." (Juvenile Instructor 48:309)

In a later statement that was quoted again by two other prophets, President Joseph F. Smith said, "We are a part of life and should study carefully our relationship to it. We should be in sympathy with it, and not allow our prejudices to create a desire for its destruction. The unnecessary destruction of life begets a spirit of destruction which grows within the soul. It lives by what it feeds upon and robs man of the love that he should have for the works of God. It hardens the heart of man… The unnecessary destruction of life is a distinct spiritual loss to the human family. Men cannot worship the Creator and look with careless indifference upon his creation. The love of all life helps man to the enjoyment of a better life. …Love of nature is akin to the love of God, the two are inseparable." (Juvenile Instructor, April 1918, p. 182-3)

I heard a great devotional sermon by LDS president Spencer W Kimball at BYU in 1978, which he expounded upon much the same sentiments–citing the now defunct LDS hymn, "Don’t Shoot the Little Birds…" Not much traction on that one in Mormon hunting circles either. I had recently returned from BYU to my Midwestern home. Having this lecture fresh on my mind, I brought the subject up in a combined elders/high priest lesson and posed the question: What would you do if this upcoming conference, the prophet made this mandatory? Well, a riot ensued. The prophet wouldn’t do that, bla bla bla. So clearly, it’s far easier to give up coffee, tea, and booze, than giving up sport hunting in the Mormon psyche.

“I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food, and then he should not kill innocent little birds that are not intended for food for man. I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life. It is wrong, and I have been surprised at prominent men whom I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939, pp. 265-66.)

One of the poets stated in this connection:

Take not away the life you cannot give,
For all things have an equal right to live.

—and I might add there also, because God gave it to them, and they were to be used only, as I understand, for food and to supply the needs of men.

It is quite a different matter when a pioneer crossing the plains would kill a buffalo to bring food to his children and his family. There were also those vicious men who would kill buffalo only for their tongues and skins, permitting the life to be sacrificed and the food also to be wasted.

When asked how he governed so many people, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”

We look to the Prophet Joseph Smith for proper teaching. He said once: “We crossed the Embarras river and encamped on a small branch of the same about one mile west. In pitching my tent we found three massasaugas or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, ‘Let them alone—don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.’ The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.” (History of the Church, 2:71-72.)

Now, the Word of Wisdom is not the most controversial Mormon Doctrine from an outsider, even a detractor’s perspective. Indeed, it has become quite fashionable in many segments of the population to promote a balanced diet, moderation, and even a complete abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and sometimes tea and caffeine. Vegetarianism and hard-core veganism are remarkably popular social trends. All of these issues are contained in the Word of Wisdom. But, the move from LDS modern leadership toward a compulsory and absolute requirement to totally cease the consumption or practice of any or all of these mostly enjoyable “vices” however, such as the current demand for total abstinence from alcohol, coffee and tea as a requirement for Mormon baptism and temple attendance, is the single most pointless stumbling block that the inbred Utah culture has ego-centrically placed in the path of otherwise good and righteous Saints and prospective Saints. One current LDS web site bills the Word of Wisdom as a "Health Law." God however, in the revelation itself, makes it abundantly clear that this is a lie. It is not a commandment, and if it is a "Law" then it is a "Law" enacted by a clergy pretending to serve God by overtly disobeying His express instructions regarding the observance of this bit of very good advice.

On February 27, 1833, Joseph Smith received this now very much aggrandized Word of Wisdom in response to his wife Emma’s nagging about the mess they kept leaving for her to clean up in the attic room above Newel Whitney’s store, where for a time they held what was called, “The School of the Prophets.” During these sessions, the church leadership and various elders and potentates settled comfortably in, lit up their pipes, downed a few shots, cracked open a beer, poured a glass of wine, stuck a pinch between cheek and gum, and slurped, puffed, spit and farted their way through the mysteries of the universe, as men even today are wont to do. All that was missing was the pizza, KFC, cheese puffs and Doritos. Emma was born and bred of a family of Methodists who wreaked of Temperance and prohibition. True sons and daughters of America’s Puritan dry-ethic. She would have naturally been appalled by all the manly enjoyment going on in those study sessions with Joseph and his prophetic pals. As a result of these lessons and discussions the young visionary made many pronouncements and received many a revelation prompted by all the study, prayer and pondering that went on in these congenial and very manly gatherings. One of these became known as the “Word of Wisdom,” and was eventually adopted into the LDS canon, in the volume that became “Doctrine and Covenants,” section 89.

Here’s the “official” LDS presentation of the purpose and requirements of this revelation:

But the truth is, the Word of Wisdom has never banned the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, or a steady diet of beefsteak and fried chicken. It’s a word to the wise. Advice—no more. Good advice, but not a law, not a dietary code, not a restriction of any sort. It was Heber J Grant, president of the LDS church in 1921, nearly a hundred years after this revelation, who first enforced a strict abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee as an absolute requirement for temple participation. Two decades earlier mind you, then LDS president Joseph F Smith gave it a try in 1902. The effort was met with utter failure. Not even Brigham Young himself had been able to succeed in morphing the general, broad admonitions in the Word of Wisdom into specific and universal prohibitions:

Though Young encouraged Mormons to follow the Word of Wisdom code, the church was tolerant of those who did not follow it. In 1860, he counseled those chewing tobacco in church meetings to at least be discrete and not excessive, but did not charge users with sin.[35] By 1870, however, he ended the practice of chewing and spitting tobacco in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.[36]

Young also recognized a separation between using tobacco (which was discouraged), and selling it to non-Mormons as a business (which was encouraged).[37] He also owned and maintained a bar in Salt Lake City for the sale of alcoholic beverages to non-Mormon travelers, on the theory that it was better for LDS Church authorities to run such establishments than for outsiders.[38]

Brigham Young at one point in his Utah adventures, briefly organized a distillery, but the army came through in 1858 bringing more booze than it made sense to manufacture locally, and Young abandoned the project when it could be had cheaply from incoming merchandisers. Young preferred beer anyway, and drank it daily until the day he died. He also took wine, as did essentially the entire Mormon population in his day:

A Mormon (one that was oft accused of killing people) started the first Utah brewery. Indeed, the infamous Orrin Porter Rockwell established the Hot Springs Brewery Hotel in 1856 (Valley Tan; November 6, 1858). Rockwell himself was a colorful character: he was the personal bodyguard to both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and with his Manson-like beard and intense, thunderous eyes, he turned out to be as intimidating as he looked. During a speech given by Vice President Schuyler Colfax in 1869, Porter was noted as to have blurted out "I never killed anyone who didn’t need killing."

Now why, pray tell, would we give this man, much less any man, the means to distribute beer to the common folk? The answer is simple: because of our railroaders and miners. It didn’t take long for people to find out that Utah had rich mineral deposits, and mining soon became the beating heart of Utah’s early economy (besides, there were still many unemployed people wandering around the West after hopping on the California Gold Rush train too late). Naturally, the prospect of new jobs immediately made numerous people perk up in excitement, and it wasn’t long before this little settlement was flooded with immigrants. Many of them (especially Germans) still had cultural drinking habits from their homelands, and the LDS Church greatly needed their labor. In fact, the first truly major brewery to be established in Utah was in 1864 by a German immigrant named Henry Wagener (Beer in the Beehive, 2006). The California Brewery grew to great prominence in a short amount of time, no doubt due to its prime location: right at the mouth of Emigration Canyon (in fact, it was only a couple hundred feet away from where the This Is the Place Monument now stands).

Yet the fertile fields that the Church members worked in soon provided something more: grapes. Lots of grapes. In fact, the wine that was derived from these grapes soon became hoarded by the LDS Church, largely because they were still using wine in their sacraments until the 1870s, when the teenage boys of the Aaronic Priesthood became allowed to prepare the sacraments themselves (soon replacing wine with water for their own protection, citing D&C 27:2 ["… that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the Sacrament"] as the reason for the switch). The Mormon-owned and operated Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution outlet (ZCMI for short) soon began selling wine and beer to the general populace at its downtown location, providing much joy to the hard-working residents of Salt Lake City.

Sorry to inform all you modern Utah-Mormon products, but for generations before and after the pioneers rolled into the valley, most Mormons drank beer and most Mormon leaders understood the Word of Wisdom to have expressly promoted turning barley into beer, which is the only “mind drink” ever made of barley in the day. That and cider, but there were no apples to be had in Utah at the time. Beer was, and remains in most civilizations, a "mild drink.” Brigham Young was a regular coffee drinker as well. But, one might ask, was all this brewing and vinting and distilling something Brigham Young hatched up out of his own interpretation of the Word of Wisdom? Was it some big change in policy on how the Word of Wisdom was to play a part in Mormon lifestyles? No, not really. Young’s predecessor was certainly no more fervently dedicated to the Word of Wisdom than Brigham Young or any of the other early Latter-day Saints:

Nevertheless, contemporary records indicate that Joseph Smith, Jr. was not, himself, a strict observer. Smith is recorded at various times as drinking tea,[27] beer,[28] and wine.[29] There is a report he also smoked tobacco: according to Amasa Lyman, a member of the First Presidency under Smith, Smith once finished preaching a sermon on the Word of Wisdom and immediately afterward rode through the streets smoking a cigar.[30]

Even after many non-binding and nearly-binding “official” pronouncements along the way, it took nearly two centuries for there to be any complete “authoritative” consensus on what the Word of Wisdom actually “proscribed”:

The revelation suggests that barley-based mild drinks (such as beer) may be permissible.[16] As recently as 1901, Apostles Brigham Young, Jr. and John Henry Smith argued that the revelation did not prohibit beer.[40] However, LDS Church leaders now teach that consumption of any form of alcohol, including beer, violates the Word of Wisdom

In a pamphlet written in 1930 called The Word of Wisdom, Apostle John A. Widtsoe taught that refined flour was contrary to the Word of Wisdom.

Adherence to the proscriptions of the Word of Wisdom was not made a requirement for entry into LDS Church temples until 1902. However, even then, church president Joseph F. Smith encouraged stake presidents to be liberal with old men who used tobacco and old ladies who drank tea.[40] Of those who violated the revelation, it was mainly habitual drunkards that were excluded from the temple.[40] Around the turn of the century, the proscriptions of the Word of Wisdom were not strictly adhered to by such notable church leaders. Anthon H. Lund, a First Counselor in the First Presidency, drank beer and wine; Apostle Matthias F. Cowley drank beer and wine; Charles W. Penrose, who also served as a First Counselor in the First Presidency, drank wine; Relief Society president Emmeline B. Wells drank coffee; and church president George Albert Smith drank brandy, for medicinal purposes.[40] In 1921, church president Heber J. Grant made adherence to the proscriptions of the Word of Wisdom an absolute requirement for entering the temple.[40]

Today, adherence to the proscriptions of the Word of Wisdom is required for baptism[48] and for entry into temples of the LDS Church.[49] BYU historian Thomas G. Alexanderpoints out that while the original Word of Wisdom as a "principle with promise" was given by revelation, there is no evidence that any church leader has claimed a separate new revelation, or even a spiritual confirmation, of changing the Word of Wisdom from "a principle with promise" to a commandment.[40]

As recently as a few days of this writing the LDS church was responding to presidential campaign related television articles, and clarifying another long-held Utah cultural Word of Wisdom myth:

On Wednesday (Aug. 29), the LDS church posted a statement on its website saying that "the church does not prohibit the use of caffeine" and that the faith’s health-code reference to "hot drinks" "does not go beyond (tea and coffee)."

A day later, the website wording was slightly softened, saying only that "the church revelation spelling out health practices … does not mention the use of caffeine."

The same goes for the church’s two-volume handbook, which LDS leaders use to guide their congregations. It says plainly that "the only official interpretation of ‘hot drinks’ … in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early church leaders that the term’ hot drinks’ means tea and coffee."

Supposedly this issue had been settled nearly a hundred years ago. In 1922, Church President Heber J. Grant counseled the Latter-day Saints:

I am not going to give any command, but I will ask it as a personal, individual favor to me, to let coca-cola [sic] alone. There are plenty of other things you can get at the soda fountains without drinking that which is injurious. The Lord does not want you to use any drug that creates an appetite for itself.[55]

Two years later, Grant met with a representative of the Coca-Cola Company and concluded:

…I have not the slightest desire to recommend that the people leave Coca-Cola alone if th[e] amount [of caffeine in Coca-Cola] is absolutely harmless, which they claim it is".[40] Grant never again spoke out against the use of cola drinks.

Approximately fifty years later, 1971, the church issued an official statement on the matter:

With reference to cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided.[56]

And it’s really not the Word of Wisdom itself that commands the LDS faithful to do the bidding, er, that is, follow these sorts of “suggestions” from high LDS authorities, even given clear disclaimers from those same authorities that their “suggestions” aren’t binding in any way. It’s the prevailing notion, promoted by these self-same authorities oddly enough, that their “advice” is “modern day scripture,” even when they’re just blowing doctrinal smoke out of their backsides or expressing personal preferences. Heber J Grant for instance, was probably already fixated upon the notion that Coca Cola was loaded with cocaine when he made the church’s first attack on caffeinated drinks. Cocaine, it’s original booster ingredient, had been removed in 1903, and caffeine replaced it. In 1918 some University of Utah cluck of a chemist named Frederick J. Pack wrote a paper concluding that since coffee contained caffeine as its active ingredient, and so did Coca Cola, it should also be banned in the "spirit" of the Word of Wisdom. Grant was no chemist and it all probably sounded the same to him. Drugz iz drugz. He bought the article’s premise obviously, and here we have the beginnings of Mormon scientists and laymen essentially writing their own research and folk-doctrines into official LDS policy through the well-meaning, if ill-informed lay-clergy that makes such rulings with or without an actual "revelation" and has the social and organizational clout to enforce them just by making the suggestion.

The problem these modern prophets and apostles and “authorities” of various stripes in the LDS church have with promoting the Word of Wisdom as a list of compulsory proscriptions, is that in the end, it doesn’t matter what any of them, including founding prophet, Joseph Smith have to say about it. Regarding The Word of Wisdom, unlike many other LDS doctrinal controversies, the language of the revelation itself unarguably defines itself as a non-commandment. Unlike many other Mormon folk or pop doctrines, or even longstanding "policies" like not ordaining Negroes to the priesthood, in the case of the Word of Wisdom, all LDS authorities have always accepted verbatim Joseph Smith’s revelation to be the very Word of God. Again, unlike many other murky LDS interpretations of early "revelations," quasi-official oratorios or ad-hoc scribblings, the Word of Wisdom has a direct provenance from Mormonism’s founding prophet, who immediately recorded it–as he claimed–from God’s lips to his ear, and directly onto paper. It was immediately broadcast and well-known and has never been changed. It has been adopted as LDS canon and as such is the ultimate reference in any determination of "true" or "accurate" doctrine of the church.

Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants is without any room for interpretation, a “Word of Wisdom.” God says it is presented merely as good advice. God says so in its introduction. It is not given as a commandment and God Himself says so. It cannot be made compulsory by any or all of the ruling quorums who have obviously done so anyway, simply through ignoring a few lines and adding some cultural spin. That isn’t the order of the church. And in this specific case, it clearly can’t be adopted as a set of binding requirements even through communal acclaim because God says it is not to be made in any way compulsory. Only God can say otherwise. God says: Here’s a Word of Wisdom, but remember, it is not intended to by a commandment or binding in any way. Then Heber J Grant a hundred years later says: Hey, I’m making it a commandment. Ignore that line and obey my ruling or you’re out of the temple and out of the church. And then his counselors and the two other quorums sustain his heresy.

There is nothing unclear or unanswered or ambiguous about God’s will in the matter of the Word of Wisdom. It’s not like the Negro/priesthood ban where there never was a clear, canonical declaration one way or the other. There is no commandment that you obey the Word of Wisdom. It is therefore not even rational to answer “Yes” when you are asked if you obey it or not. One cannot "obey" a suggestion or good advice. Indeed, no LDS authority has any right to ask you that question, nor prescribe a penalty for not answering it or answering it “no.” You cannot “obey” a suggestion—even if it comes from God. Nor can any LDS authority punish his flock or any member of it for not following a suggestion.

God, indeed, clearly delineates only the benefits of following, repeat: following—not obeying–His Word of Wisdom: Better health and peace of mind. In the revelation itself, God does not assign any punishment of any sort for not following this advice apart from the implication that you won’t be as healthy or clear-headed as you would be if you chose to follow his advice. You cannot vote in a commandment from God when God explains Himself it is not intended to be compulsory in any way. The Word of Wisdom is a greeting and some good counsel. Don’t read what I have to say about it. I’m just telling you what God had to say about it. Only God can deliver a commandment through revelation—modern or otherwise. This particular revelation says it’s not a commandment. You can sustain it all you want and vote it into the canon. That just canonizes the fact that it’s not a commandment.

Since nobody’s ponied-up a revelation, or even a pretense of an allusion to a revelation that supersedes the concise and irrefutably non-commandmental nature of the Word of Wisdom, what we have in the form of modern LDS policy on the issue of interpreting or "following" the Word of Wisdom, is essentially defined as heretical. Directly contravening the express will of God as stated in church canon, and issuing an edict demanding that the body of the church do likewise, has all the elements of the Council of Nice, or any of the other Church councils the early Latter-day Saints began their career condemning. The purely socio-political processes and mechanisms through which compulsory compliance to the "suggestions" made in the Word of Wisdom have grown to be enforced in the LDS church today are exactly the sorts of "interpolations of men" described by Joseph Smith in his condemnations of the state of orthodox Christianity Biblical translations and interpretations in his day.

There is a legal doctrine meaning “the thing speaks for itself.” The Everest of ecclesiastical truth built from the translations and revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith speaks for itself as it towers above the foothills of philosophy. Even so, most will ignore it. Still others will reject the Restoration, supplying their own alternative explanations, just as some did who once heard thunder instead of the voice of God. (See John 12:27–30.) However, in a happy day ahead, “they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” (Isa. 29:24; 2 Ne. 27:35.) This suggests that doctrinal illiteracy is a significant cause of murmuring among Church members.

“There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men. …

“Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth.” (D&C 91:1–4.)

Well, the Word of Wisdom certainly speaks for itself. And the history of its promotion into a "Health Law" by a bunkered LDS leadership eager to create cultural unity also speaks for itself. The current Word of Wisdom policy originated in the Methodism of Emma Smith, and is the product of John Wesley and the creeping Puritanism of John Calvin. It certainly flies in the face of the enlightened moderation of Joseph Smith. The specific Mormon mandate against alcohol, tobacco and "hot drinks," found its fervor in the Temperance Movement as championed by the elitist, sacrificial demands of Heber J Grant in the heyday of prohibition. Joseph F Smith began the push for in-house prohibition, and did so three years ahead of national prohibition. Heber J Grant took over as president a few years afterward and stiffened penalties, made strict observance of the Word of Wisdom a “test of fellowship.” For decades they pushed forward to have not just the Mormon world, but the entire world abstain from alcohol. But embracing and entwining the Temperance Movement and the beliefs of Calvin and Wesley and those personal prejudices of the largely female leaders of the nation’s rising political religion, from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, to Emma Smith and Carrie Nation, any more authoritative or doctrinally valid than the generation of LDS leaders following them, who embraced Klingon Skousen and all his conspiratorial delusions and made the John Burch Society and anti-Civil Rights politics a quasi-official wing of the Mormon priesthood for the last four generations.

But the fact remains that by the time national prohibition finally passed, Smith and Grant had already made their church the piously dry example for the nation. And so it remains, as a nearly pointless slap in the face to some 90% of the already religious and most likely to embrace Mormonism population. The modern, mandated Word of Wisdom, the demonized use of enjoyable substances of any sort, is exactly what Heber J Grant defined it to be: A test of fellowship. It’s a gatekeeping device designed by a lazy church leadership to help clean their ranks of anyone not absolutely ready to deny anything and everything and give their all to the cause of paying tithing and putting up more chapels and temples, and filling every moment of their lives with leadership-initiated and defined "programs" to keep them out of trouble.

And as Joseph Goebbels, the NAZI inventor of the modern science of "propaganda" could tell you, there is images-8_thumb1great value in the social concept of shared suffering, or a shared bond of self-denial. Having had plural marriage beaten out of the Mormon doctrinal basket of goodies, later LDS leaders like Joseph F Smith and Heber J Grant found something just as “peculiar” in the Word of Wisdom, to set their people apart from the rabble of the Gentile masses. Something to make them uniquely more overtly holy and chosen than the common Christians who had invaded their happy Mormon hideaway. They would not only deny themselves common alcoholic release, but would extend this proscription to even the mild comforts of coffee and tea. Ascetic dietary restrictions put the Saints almost in the category as the Jews: Chosen. Chosen as hell, and showing it in a really chosen-looking way—by denying themselves of a few simple, mostly harmless but highly enjoyable worldly pleasures.

The problem with the current, now longstanding Word of Wisdom hyper-superiority policy, is it spits in the eye of too many other canonical and clearly doctrinal concepts. Word of Wisdom fanaticism says to the world and the congregation alike: If you aren’t ready to do as I as your current prophet say and take this bit of good advice to the extremes of obedience that not even the Lord demanded, then just piss off. You aren’t Celestial Kingdom material, and that’s the only class of member or convert we’ll waste our valuable time on. And the record shows these latter LDS leaders saying essentially that, like this gem from Joseph F Smith:

The reason undoubtedly why the Word of Wisdom was given—as not by ‘commandment or restraint’ was that at that time, at least, if it had been given as a commandment it would have brought every man, addicted to the use of these noxious things, under condemnation; so the Lord was merciful and gave them a chance to overcome, before He brought them under the law.[12]

Leaders like Joseph F Smith and HJ Grant’s were motivated by genuine concern for their people, but tyranny is images-17_thumbtyranny even if it’s done in the name of making society more orderly and productive for one and all. The now stock argument that the Word of Wisdom was only given as an optional code initially as a favor of the Lord to allow a hundred years or so for the Saints to get used to it, is lame at best. For that to be true, the Lord would have to have delivered at least one follow-up revelation to at least one Mormon prophet explaining His motivations for making it so plainly voluntary, then reverse His strategy by redacting the introductory language that clearly makes it non-compulsory. Otherwise, it’s still the literal, pure word of God exactly as He intended it to read. God said it’s not intended to be enforced or compelled in any way—and every LDS prophet conceded that very clear and irrefutable point right up to JF Smith and Heber J Grant. Their efforts to obfuscate the truth of this "Word of Wisdom," this "revelation from God," have been quite successful over the generations. Today, dropping hot drinks and alcohol from your diet has become 90% of the Mormon culture and faith system—however extraneous it remains to the doctrinal core of the faith. It’s the deal breaker–all in or all out. Even a a non-tithe-payer is given acres of leeway and full acceptance into the bosom of the Mormon faithful. One sniff of cigarette on the jacket at an LDS church supper, or one belch in Sunday School smelling a bit like Jack Daniels, and you’re an instant pariah–the subject of ward council meetings and home teacher personal priesthood interviews.

For all of modern Mormon leadership’s fixation on the dirty three—alcohol, tobacco, and hot drinks, somewhere in the history of the Word of Wisdom, as evidenced by Brigham Young’s massive gut, the Latter-day Saints seemed to have missed all its admonitions against gluttony, fatty, dead-animal-based diets, and the fact that pot is a useful green herb–green herbs being the only other natural substance specifically sanctioned for consumption in the Word of Wisdom, apart from beer. Brigham Young took wine and a little whiskey, drank coffee often, but preferred beer and enjoyed it until the day he died. Beer, in fact was considered a "mild drink" and remains clearly and specifically sanctioned in the revelation that became Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Here’s the plain and literal truth from the lips of God to Joseph Smith’s ear: Nothing in the Word of Wisdom has ever proscribed alcohol, tobacco, or "hot drinks." The canonization of that revelation indeed in its opening remarks clearly declares:

"A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion— To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the a word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days— "

It summarizes:

"And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones…"

The sad truth here is that Utah culture locked itself up in the fervor of the Temperance and Prohibition eras, and since then has promoted Word of Wisdom snobbery into a policy of fanatical, extreme abstinence, in part due to the drunken influence of the US Army and other civil and governmental "Gentiles" inflicted upon them for several generations as the US Federal government literally occupied Utah by crude force in their formative decades, and in part due to an inability to agree upon what "moderation" is. The now longstanding incorporation of Word Of Wisdom "superiority" into temple-worthiness and membership requirements is precisely the sort of thing the revelation seems to be reassuring the Saints the Almighty did not at all intend. The only implied internal "punishment" for not following it, is a somewhat less healthy constitution. All other “penalties” are strictly extra-canonical. Even counter-canonical. Even anti-canonical.

Mormon anti-alcohol fanaticism even turned against the use of wine in communion–again, even though this is specifically sanctioned in the Word of Wisdom. Jesus turned water into wine. Joseph F Smith and Heber J Grant turned wine into water.

Simply put, even according to neo-Calvinists like the late-great Bruce R McConkie, not even a living prophet has the prerogative to compound and supersede a canonized, direct commandment from God–without of course an equally direct modern revelation that has been equally canonized to contradict the previous commandment. There has rather, never been any such new expansion of the Word of Wisdom proposed by any modern prophet, the policy has simply been socially conceded and sustained in practice by Utah cultural convention. The ascetic, Puritanical notion that "God may not require it but I’ll do him one better…" has perverted God’s original Word of Wisdom into the current, fanatical, Methodistic proscription of anything enjoyable in general. The present Word of Wisdom cult has grown to be strongly reminiscent of the Roman Church’s monastic orders. Likewise, creating a cultural peculiarity along the lines of Kosher law has added to the feeling of Mormon cultural "specialness" in the great bunker of the Wasatch Front. For generations the LDS culture hid itself from "Gentiles" and made great effort to prove to themselves and their neighbors, occupiers, oppressors and the world, that they were every bit as peculiar and "chosen" as the Jews. They believe themselves to be adopted into the House of Israel at baptism. Rigid adherence to the admonition of the Word of Wisdom is simply put, a cultural preference, not a binding canonical demand.

But that’s just me. That’s just me reading literally what God had Joseph Smith write down and called a "revelation." That’s just what the words say in the canonical 89th section of the D&C.

In practice however, Mormon doctrine has always been decided based upon whoever was in charge at the moment. So, if you want to be a Mormon, just stop smoking and drinking until they let you get baptized. After that initial test of your committment, apart from keeping you out of the temple or church employment—which honestly, you and Jesus both can live without if it means the only other option is you not being a member at all—you just do your best to moderate your habits and don’t worry about your "Word of Wisdom Problem," as it will be termed. It’s not like you’re disobeying a commandment or anything. It’s just a cultural prejudice that LDS leadership has elected to enforce as if it were. But wrong or right, it is being enforced as a commandment in the LDS realms of leadership, and the punishment for any infraction of this "Dietary Law" is shunning and banishment from the Body of Christ.

That’s just the way it is.

Prohibition gave us organized crime, the War on Drugs gave us a southern border that is made unlivable by20060713215839-gangsters_thumb1 kidnapping, murdering, beheadings and whole towns run by Mexican drug cartels. Promotion of the Word of Wisdom from a bit of good advice to a mandatory set of requirements for membership and temple worship, gave Mormonism the exclusive world-wide franchise on being tight-assed as a way of life. And the LDS leadership and the generations they raised and recruited to fill their ranks, like it that way. They only want other tight-asses to be interested in their church. Their church.

What Jesus thinks about the matter is recorded in the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. He seems to put an entirely different spin on it. And don’t get me started on our Savior’s history of pastoral preferences found around the taverns and public squares and houses he made his singular ministry. (Hint: It’s in the Bible. images (18)New Testament.)

This is just one Saint’s opinion. For my money, the reason God originally made the Word of Wisdom so clearly optional, is because He wanted it that way, and spelled it out up-front because in His omniscience knew that the tight-asses 800_fp3kf1h1h9u3djhap5dxnixpvbgc9sboworking for him in Utah would beat themselves silly with it until they’d alienated most of His children worldwide for no good reason other than Utah Mormon elitism. And all this mainly in a desperate attempt to distinguish themselves as a “peculiar” people.

Some day, the LDS church may finally decide it’s going to be a hospital for sinners instead of an exclusive hotel for the Saints who are well on the road to the Celestial Kingdom. In the meantime, it will leave you cold and bleeding out in the dark on the sidewalk until you agree to swear off that cup of java, give up smoking, and stop drinking.

Posted in 35 Troubling Doctrines Part 2: Word of Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment