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Early Mormon History


halinsalem
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Book Review (a new book):

 

IN HEAVEN AS IT IS ON EARTH – Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death

 

BY: Samuel Morris Brown

 

Samuel Brown is Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Utah/Intermountain Medical Center and the translator of Aleksandr Men’s Son of Man.

 

I borrowed this book from our local library because I am curious about the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). This book is almost completely about the founding of the Mormon Church and says nothing about the present day church. The author states (pg 306): “I have limited my scope of inquiry to documents from the Nauvoo period and before, with few exceptions. I have tried not to measure early Mormonism against modern Mormon or Protestant or rationalist viewpoints.”

 

Why am I curious? We have a Mormon candidate for U.S. President who was born in a Mormon community in northern Mexico, where his grandparents moved to avoid being prosecuted for polygamy. What is Mitt Romney’s relationship with the current LDS church leadership?

 

The LDS church is essentially a secret society with an extensive history of martyrdom, persecution, prosecution, and conflict with the U.S. Government. Experience, and this book, has indicated that the LDS hierarchy is very strict, secretive, and ambitious.

 

I have had enough contact with local Mormon Church leaders to know that their basic philosophy is: “My way or the highway!”

 

I there anyone in this forum who has an opinion about the forthcoming relationship of the LDS church with the U.S. Government if Mr. Romney becomes President?

 

Is this going to catch us all by surprise? Should we be concerned?

 

Hal

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Based on my experience with Mormons in providing care for a family on the other side of the country and other contacts my conclusion is that exaggerated attacks obscure the fact that Mormons are caring, responsible participants in community life. I disagree with Mitt but he was an asset in Mass and the country survived his father as a governor without any dire events destroying the soul of America.

 

Dutch

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Hal,

 

I have no religious concerns about Romney, but I do have serious policy concerns.

 

Mormonism does have a history of racism and sexism, but as far as I know, that is in the past and all religions (or denominations) that have existed for very long have some skeletons in their closet as well.

 

George

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obscure the fact that Mormons are caring, responsible participants in community life.

Dutch

 

I reckon there would be Mormons who are loving and caring, and I reckon there would be Mormons who are liars, hypocrites, and fakes. In fact, I would say that was representative across all religions, communities and society in general.

 

I think the points made by Hal may be worth at least considering, but I suspect, as history seems to suggest, that they will turn out to be 'conspiracy theories' without any genuine substance.

 

That said, it would be naive to think that any political candidate is actually 'their own man' (or woman) entirely. They have parties and benefactors to keep happy, and sometimes compromises and concessions are made.

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That said, it would be naive to think that any political candidate is actually 'their own man' (or woman) entirely. They have parties and benefactors to keep happy, and sometimes compromises and concessions are made.

 

I agree. But, it is not the Mormons that worry me about Romney. It is the Tea Party and the gazillionaires who are financing him.

 

George

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I'm not all that au fait with US politics George, but have read a bit about the Tea Party. I would be worried too. Any person or group financing a politicians expects something in return.

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The problem with trying to figure out Romney's personal beliefs is that he's a habitual flip flopper who changes his mind on every subject from one second to the next. One minute he tells gays he would be more liberal than the Kennedys or whoever and the next minute he's caught donating thousands of bucks to an ex-gay organization. But personally I'm more concerned about what Romney's views are towards the separation of church and state and equal rights than his personal beliefs. I do sometimes wonder if he wears the Mormon underwear.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Did Santorium's comment the we are or should be a "Christian Country" worry anyone? It is the same concern people had about JFK... I think it is a loyalty question ... If the good of the country conflicts with the good of the church ... what wins?

 

steve

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Did Santorium's comment the we are or should be a "Christian Country" worry anyone? It is the same concern people had about JFK... I think it is a loyalty question ... If the good of the country conflicts with the good of the church ... what wins?

 

Kennedy affirmed the separation of church and state and Santorum denied it. He said he almost threw up when he read Kennedy's speech.

 

George

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A book review:

 

THE BOOK OF MORMON, A BIOGRAPHY, by Paul C. Gutjahr

 

Paul C. Gutjahr is professor of English at Indiana University. He has written several books related to religious subjects. He does not indicate whether he is Mormon or non-Mormon and is very careful not to be pro or con.

 

This book is not the Book of Mormon, but rather is a history (a biography) of its initial text and its several revisions. In other words, it tells us about the people who are responsible for its creation and the reasons and efforts made at later dates for the many revisions. The dust cover summary states: “He (Prof. Gutjahr) examines how a book that has long been a subject of ridicule – Mark Twain called it ‘a chloroform in print’ – has more than 150 million copies in print in more than a hundred languages worldwide.”

 

I am interested because I have had some interesting contacts in the past years.

  • In the period 1988 through 1991 I did contract work for three Mormon CPAs, and all of them asked me if I was interested in joining the church; me, my family, and our immediate deceased ancestors. I politely declined.
  • It is tithe or leave, no exceptions (My Way Or The Highway, MWOTH).
  • A Mormon in difficulty will get all the help he/she needs or is available. If the person is a non-member, forget it. MWOTH. In years past, I have asked for both (for others).
  • There is a regional “Temple” not too far from where I reside. Walk by there at 6:30 AM on a week day and there are classrooms filled with children and youth, studying the Book of Mormon.
  • The construction crews who repaired the “Temple” were forbidden to even have tobacco in their pockets when they were on the grounds, much less smoke. MWOTH.

 

The LDS church is promoting itself very seriously, in fact, I think some of the other denominations could take a few lessons from their operations.

  • There are 52,000 ‘missionaries’ on the streets promoting the BoM.
  • Most of these missionaries are young men and women who are in training for a lifetime of church activity. They receive guidance and direction from the Temple leaders.
  • The church advocates that each Mormon family keep on hand at least a 30 day supply of emergency items (food, paper items, flash lights, batteries, etc.)
  • The national church owns every Wholesale Food distributor in the USA. (I have been told that, I do not know if it is true.)

 

What is Mr. Romney’s relationship to the present national leaders of the LDS church? If Mr. Romney is elected, what further steps will the leaders of the LDS church take? Can they make a reasonable effort to contain a $150 million illegal drug market? Will they make an effort to appease the conservative, fundamentalist political element of our society? Can the Mormon effort affect the Congressional corruption created by the lobbyists?

 

This country may be in for a most interesting four or eight year period. I will be honest and state that I am NOT going to vote for Mr. Romney, but one vote in Oregon is not going to make much difference. I am very surprised that this interests so few people. Are we so tied up in materialism and self-serving apathy that this is all ho-hum?

 

Hal

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The national church owns every Wholesale Food distributor in the USA. (I have been told that, I do not know if it is true.) [...]

 

I am very surprised that this interests so few people. Are we so tied up in materialism and self-serving apathy that this is all ho-hum?

 

I find it hard to believe that there is not a single Catholic, Protestant or Jewish food wholesaler in the entire US.

 

I will not vote for Romney for ideological reasons, not because he is a Mormon. Maybe you could explain why you think this might be a threat of some sort.

 

George

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The leaders of the LDS church are very controlling, particularly of prominent members and I am wondering what they will attempt. However, I do not think that they can outdo the money interests that promote lobbying - the lobbyists have complete control of Congress now and money speaks louder than anything else in Washington, D.C.

 

By the way, I will vote FOR Obama, not against Romney.

 

Hal

Edited by halinsalem
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  • 4 weeks later...

I live quite close to Nauvoo where the Morman population and influence is growing .They are good people and no different that any other fundamental Christian sect. Their actions should come as no surprise if one considers their goals and motivations (which are the same as any other Fundi church) .

 

The question for or about Romney ( and everyone else in public office ) is ... If the good and welfare of the country conflicts with the good and welfare of the church ... who wins. To put it another way does Romney have the ability to make a decision that goes against the church? I was the same question posed to JFK.

 

To me it has less to do with the church and more to do with the individual. Anyone who believes anything is infallible has blinders on and will be prone to bad decisions. Frankly Santorium/Huckabey et al scares me more that Romney in that regard.

 

steve

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  • 1 month later...
...I have had enough contact with local Mormon Church leaders to know that their basic philosophy is: “My way or the highway!”

 

I there anyone in this forum who has an opinion about the forthcoming relationship of the LDS church with the U.S. Government if Mr. Romney becomes President?

 

Is this going to catch us all by surprise? Should we be concerned?

 

Hal, A very smart man once advised me Religion is not the problem, the people within it are. This should apply to Mormonism also. I have no problem with Bishop Romney's religion, but have much concern about his policies.

 

BTW, I don't have a suggestion of a book on current Mormonism, but, Children of God by Vardis Fisher is another book on the development of Mormonism. Dr. Fisher was (he's deceased) a Mormon Apostate, but I think his writing is very subjective.

 

Ron

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  • 1 month later...

Mr. Romney just revealed a recent tax return, which indicated that he donated 13 1/2 % to charity ( a charitable deduction). It is my understanding that the Mormon church is very strict about tithing, which means that the large majority of his "charitable" donations went to the Mormon church and 3 1/2 % went to other charitable causes (I wonder how many of those were non-Mormon). Unless the LDS policies have changed recently, the money tithed to the LDS church does not go out into the general community (except in Utah), but helps only those within the church membership. I am curious enough that I hope someone calls him on this.

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I don't have a problem with Romney's money to the LDS church. They DO help people in need. Here in Colorado we worked with a Mormon elder here to get aid for a woman we knew was having problems in California. She was Mormon but not connected at the time of her need.

 

In PCUSA 9/16 was Seminary Sunday. Would there be a complaint if most of my giving was to Presbyterian Seminaries?

 

Dutch

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I have no problem with Romney giving money to his church unless the church is doing something unseemly or malevolent with it. And, I have no reason to think that is the case.

 

I do have a problem with a multi-millionaire paying tax rates lower than many middle-class citizens and then supporting policies that would lower his rate even more.

 

George

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I hope people increasingly are put off by that wealth and how he earned it. His "earned" income for earning a wage at Bain cqpital was paid to him in such a way that he could claim it as a capital gain and avoid the tax rates wage earnes pay.

 

The Atlantic offers this conclusion based on common practice.

 

The I think the logic for paying less tax on capital gains is flawed. They should pay for the government and infrastruce that increases the likely-hood of gain.

 

Dutch

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Nobody should be criticized for giving to a church (IMHO). The church that I belong to (C&MA denomination) conducts a free Medical clinic, a free Dental clinic, supports the local Boys & Girls club, supports foster care with clothing, has a group available for contention counseling, supports both the Salvation army and the local rescue mission, feeds daily lunches to homeless under the bridges, donates to Food Share program and has a Benevolent Fund for emergency surgeries and other needs. A person's church membership or citizenship is never questioned. This is the main reason that I belong to this church (that and the fact that two members of my family also belong).

 

As far as I can determine, only Mormon members of the community may benefit from money donated to the three LDS temples in this community. I also know that tithing is absolutely required by the Mormon church, at least in this community. I am sure that individual Mormon members of the community donate to local charitable organizations in addition to their tithing because, in general, they are very good, responsible citizens and the individuals that I know are honest, hard-working and very easy to get along with.

 

Most of the Protestant churches are completely transparent when it comes to their annual income and budgets. This is not true with the LDS churches. The LDS hierarchy is a secret organization and what they do with their money is also a well kept secret. If all of their membership truly tithes, they have an income that other church organizations only dream about.

Edited by halinsalem
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Nobody should be criticized for giving to a church (IMHO). The church that I belong to (C&MA denomination) conducts a free Medical clinic, a free Dental clinic, supports the local Boys & Girls club, supports foster care with clothing, has a group available for contention counseling, supports both the Salvation army and the local rescue mission, feeds daily lunches to homeless under the bridges, donates to Food Share program and has a Benevolent Fund for emergency surgeries and other needs. A person's church membership or citizenship is never questioned. This is the main reason that I belong to this church (that and the fact that two members of my family also belong).

 

As far as I can determine, only Mormon members of the community may benefit from money donated to the three LDS temples in this community. I also know that tithing is absolutely required by the Mormon church, at least in this community. I am sure that individual Mormon members of the community donate to local charitable organizations in addition to their tithing because, in general, they are very good, responsible citizens and the individuals that I know are honest, hard-working and very easy to get along with.

 

Most of the Protestant churches are completely transparent when it comes to their annual income and budgets. This is not true with the LDS churches. The LDS hierarchy is a secret organization and what they do with their money is also a well kept secret. If all of their membership truly tithes, they have an income that other church organizations only dream about.

 

I suspect there are Mormons that want to spend the money internally on their own community, others who want to spend it externally, and a range in between. The following news clipping suggests to me that some Mormons are community-minded so I find it hard to digest that they then say "Do not spend our tithing outside of this Temple". Just my thoughts (but I must admit that my experience with Mormonism is limited to the occassional knock at the door).

 

Almost 100 Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently served as volunteers at the 10th Annual Joy to Life Foundation’s “Walk of Life” in Alabama. The walkathon, sponsored by the Joy to Life Foundation, raises money to provide mammograms to women under fifty in portions of Alabama who can’t afford to get them. The volunteers, who are often called Mormons due to their belief in the Book of Mormon as a companion to the Bible, helped with registrations, assisted with set-up and clean-up, assisted with sponsor booths and helped to guide runners. John Enslen oversaw the Mormons who volunteered and said they felt it was a worthwhile project because it helped to prevent breast cancer in a time when government was less able to fund such programs.

 

The project was part of a Mormon tradition known as Day of Service and the Mormon Helping Hands program. Helping Hands began in South America as a way for Mormons to serve their communities and has since spread world-wide. In 2011, Mormons are being asked to provide a day of service in their communities around the world.

Edited by PaulS
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I have no problem with Romney giving money to his church unless the church is doing something unseemly or malevolent with it. And, I have no reason to think that is the case.

 

I do have a problem with a multi-millionaire paying tax rates lower than many middle-class citizens and then supporting policies that would lower his rate even more.

 

George

My concern about the Mormon church is that they were heavily involved in Prop 8 and getting gay marriage banned in California and Mitt Romney has donated thousands of dollars to ex-gay organizations. Since Stephenie Meyer is also a Mormon, I'm curious how much of her cash she made from the Twilight books also went to the Mormon church.
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My concern about the Mormon church is that they were heavily involved in Prop 8 and getting gay marriage banned in California and

 

That concerns me as well, but on grounds of his position on the issue, not the act of donating money to his church. There are other churches that oppose gay marriage as well. No one, that I recall, criticised Kennedy or Kerry for donating money to the Catholic Church, or Al Gore for donating money to the Baptist Church. (Since they were members, I assume they donated money to their churches)

 

George

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There was a lot of concern about whether President Kennedy would have towed the Catholic line and followed the authority of the Pope when he ran for president. The whole reason Kennedy gave his famous speech on the separation of church and state was to reassure American voters that he would respect religious freedom. Kerry was always open that he wouldn't let the Catholic church dictate his politics and vocally stood in opposition to the Catholic church's stance on abortion rights. To the best of my knowledge, Mitt Romney has not made the same sort of statements about his own religious faith and what role the Mormon church will play in his presidency and Mitt Romney seems to think his own beliefs about the separation of church and state are somehow above any sort of criticism.

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To the best of my knowledge, Mitt Romney has not made the same sort of statements about his own religious faith and what role the Mormon church will play in his presidency and Mitt Romney seems to think his own beliefs about the separation of church and state are somehow above any sort of criticism.

 

Yes, he has said very little for very pragmatic reasons. He doesn't want to remind his base that he is a member of a "cult."

 

I am personally more concerned about his fealty to the Wall Street Synod or the Church of Latter Day Traders.

 

George

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