"Special Witnesses"-Written By Ray, an avid Mormon Truth Reader, Listener and Supporter. We'll just Call it Ray #1.Thanks Ray for your contribution!!
I have encouraged all Mormon Truth readers and listeners to send me anything that they have written, that they want published and finally, one of you has taken me up on this. Ray, who is a great regular reader and listener, has sent me these comments regarding "special witnesses" and I think it's an awesome post and very powerful and well deserving of being on my blog for all to read and ponder. I couldn't have expressed these views any better myself and I'm proud to post his words on my blog.
I hope that Ray will become a regular contributor as I know he has a lot to say and express, just like I do. I hope that this will inspire and encourage more of you to send me your thoughts and writings that you want published. We get between 5,000-10,000 hits a month on Mormon Truth, so you will get a good audience and be able to help many people and I will always give you full credit. Take care everyone and enjoy this great post and feel free to leave your comments, as Ray will be sure to respond to everyone and will look forward to what you have to say, as will I.
I come from a family that is TBM as far as I can see. Both sides of the family. My father buys into the whole church thing and just loves a good FPR. (faith promoting rumor) Nothing like a good story to prove, once again, that the church is true. My aunt (my father's sister) is staying with him while serving a service mission somewhere on temple square. Not long ago, she came home with a great story about Henry B. Eyring.
Please keep in mind that I was not personally at this meeting so I do not know all that was said. This is a second hand story so take it as you will. She (my aunt) attended some type of meeting where Henry B. Eyring was the featured speaker. As he began to speak, he talked about the need for the members to practice being more Christ-like. A courteous driver is Christ-like. Then he adds this little comment: "This isn't what I was going to speak about but I feel impressed to say this. I don't know where this is coming from."
Is it just me or does that phrase just rub you the wrong way? Are Apostles required to take a humility class where they learn how to be humble and at the same time hint about how inspired they are? They are all very good at it.
"I don't know where this is coming from." What the hell? Of course, he is hinting that he is receiving revelation right there on the spot, in a humble way, of course. The next part of the story really gets me. He even had tears in his eyes! Wow! What an act! Are Apostles also required to take acting classes where they learn how to produce tears on demand? Of course, TBM father and aunt buy into the whole story with complete conviction that it's all 100% true. It never even occurs to them that the guy is putting on a great show.
I know this has been said before, but I need to say it again. What exactly are these guys a "special witness" of? If they are a witness, how come they are not allowed to tell it? Of course, they all hint that they have personally seen Jesus Christ, but they can't actually say it. So here, I see a problem. If Joseph Smith claimed to see God and did so very openly (that's what they teach although we ex-mo's know that he never did), why can't they do the same? Why is it too sacred for them to say it but not Joseph Smith? Isn't he (Joseph Smith) the ultimate example of truth and right? Why then, won't they follow his example?
Why do church leaders hate being asked if they have seen God? Before I left the church, I was afraid to ask this very important question. I remember hearing stories of people asking this question and the person who asked was publicly rebuked for having no faith. Sorry, but I don't remember specific examples. Apostles won't admit to having seen God, but they won't deny it either.
Is this because they haven't seen, but can't let the faithful members know this? Having such an open ended answer is very convenient. They are not actually lying about it since they have never actually claimed it! How convenient. And yet they ask (or rather demand) for complete obedience to them. Why should I follow a "special witness" who will neither admit nor deny this very fundamental question? "Have you seen God?" In essence, they basically answer by saying, "Duh! Isn't it obvious?"
Even President Hinckley, when asked by a reporter if he is really a prophet, gives the same open-ended answer (and I paraphrase): "That's what every one seems to think. Laugh." And when asked, "Does God talk to you?" he replies (and I paraphrase again): "Yes, I talk to Him by praying." Well sorry, buddy, but that doesn't answer the question. You were asked if he talks to you, not if you talk to him. They all dance around and avoid the question. Why? I'll speculate on that for a moment.
Perhaps they know they are deceiving the people but are justified (as I hinted before) by not actually claiming to it. If it is later proven that they don't see God, they can state that they never actually claimed it. If it is later proven that they do see God, they can state, "See? I told you I was a special witness!" Once again, a perfect example of why the open-ended answer is so convenient: it leaves them guiltless and right either way.
Perhaps, they really have seen God and have had great things revealed to them that man-kind is not ready to receive. In being fair in our criticism of the church, we have to accept this as a possibility, however unlikely it may be. After all, we expect the TBM's to accept the church not being true as a possibility. But my rebuttal to this possibility is, if man-kind is not ready to receive it, why doesn't God reveal it to future Apostles in the time when the world is ready? After all, aren't the revelations of God supposed to be for the benefit of man-kind? So, if it doesn't apply to man-kind, why bother to reveal it?
Joseph Smith taught that the gospel can never change. So does this discredit "revelations" that change doctrine? How can one special witness claim it can never change, and then another special witness can claim that it can? Is it apostasy or revelation? Are these two witnesses getting their inspiration from the same source? It depends, the way I see it. If it outright changes an established doctrine, then it is apostasy. If it adds to a doctrine and expounds further upon it, then I could accept it as a revelation. That is a very fair statement and I believe that even most TBM's would agree with it.
So what about Joseph Smith teaching in the Fifth Lecture on Faith that "the Father [is] a personage of spirit"? Is it a doctrinal change when that statement is removed from the D&C and is replaced with "God has a body of flesh and bones"? It certainly appears so to me. One of these "special witnesses" is wrong. One (and I'm not suggesting which because it could be either) has received a revelation that contradicts the other. If they both have their revelation from a true source, why do they contradict each other? Why did the doctrine change? This very question bothered Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer so much that he left the church because of it.
He later wrote:
"Is it possible that the minds of men can be so blinded as to believe that God would give these revelations...and then afterwards command them to change and add to them some words which change the meaning entirely? Is it possible that a man who pretends to any spirituality would believe that God would work in any such manner?" (An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887)
Let the TBM answer this question: is this apostasy or continuing revelation? (They won't answer it though; they'll just dance around the question like their leaders do (because they know the answer and don't want to admit it)). In this case, it is obvious that the doctrine has changed, not been expounded upon. If it was expounded upon, the Lectures on Faith would have been left in the current version of the D&C. But they have been removed and the church conveniently never talks about it.
In fact they claim that the church has always taught that God has a body. This is obviously changing doctrine and is proof that the church itself is apostatizing. Since this is the case, the leaders can't possibly be inspired, at least not by God because apostasy is of the devil. Whew!
As a member of the church for many years myself, I never once, ever heard that the church's official doctrine, for 86 years (from 1835 to 1921), was that God is a spirit! The church claims that they do not hide anything, and that may be true (I say "may" but strongly disagree with it), but they certainly make no effort to inform the members of the things they don't want remembered.
The leaders know this is faith destroying and makes them look foolish, so they give their best effort to make sure no one knows about it. How? By dictating approved reading and studying materials. By warning members to avoid reading too deep into church history. By teaching that anti-Mormons are full of satan and can only lie to you. And lastly, by teaching that your "testimony" is more proof of the church than you will ever need.
I heard many times, "A witness of the Holy Ghost leaves a more lasting impression on the soul than an actual eye-witness". In other words, facts don't matter if they contradict the Holy Ghost. This looks to me like not only hiding the truth, but also brainwashing the members.
Okay, maybe I am starting to run in circles, but I will make my point, which I believe is very powerful. If it is necessary for church leaders to hide and suppress damaging information about the church, doesn't that tell you right there that they know it's not true? So why do they continue to promote it? Money and power. What else could it be? I mean, they elevate themselves to near God-hood, which is nearly unlimited power. All they have to do is speak and the world obeys without question. Money and power. The very thing which they condemn from the pulpit. Hypocrites! Damn good hypocrites!
We don't have a living prophet; we have a living God (fifteen of them; three in the First Presidency and 12 in the quorum of the twelve)! And they can't lead us astray because whatever they say is God's will (therefore, suggesting, again, that they are God). No wonder they worship Joseph Smith. He is the God of Mormonism. Brigham Young should have taught the Joseph Smith - God theory. Then there would be no need to hide it and denounce it!
All I can say Ray, is AMEN brother!! You nailed it perfectly and I don't need to add anything to what you just thoughtfully, clearly and perfectly explained. I hope that some TBMS will respond to this, especially McKay, who left comments on the last blog entry. I don't know how anyone can argue with his logic, unless they slip into the infamous Cog Dis of Mormonism and cults.
Take care everyone and I sincerely apologize for my lack of posts and podcasts, as I've been very busy with the "summer family get togethers." I appreciate everyone's participation, patience and concern, but I'm fine and you'll be hearing plenty from me very soon. Thanks again Ray for your contributions and for this great post!!
Samuel the Utahnite
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