Sunday, December 9, 2012


by John Farkas
One of the unique doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons or LDS) is their Aaronic and Melchizedek [1](This is an endnote) Priesthoods, one of which is held by most male members 12 years and older. The Mormon church teaches that this is their authority from God to act in his name and do his work.[2] The Aaronic Priesthood was allegedly given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by John the Baptist on May 15, 1829, and sometime later, but before August 1830, they received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Apostles Peter, James and John. The exact date for this important event is not known (for more on this see the last part of end note #4).
There are seven revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) (a Mormon Scripture) on these priesthoods. Although five of them were allegedly received before October 1832, one as early as 1823, and one as late as September 1832, none of these five were included in the 1833 Book of Commandments.[3] Two of them did not showup in the D&C until the 1876 edition, three were first included the 1835 edition.
The Doctrine and Covenants (1981 edition) has the following about the early history of the LDS priesthoods. These revelations are in their chronological order.
“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah [4] the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” 
(Sept. 21, 1823, Doctrine and Covenants 2:1)
Even though this revelation is dated September 21, 1823 it was not in the 1833 Book of Commandments or the 1835 and 1844 Doctrine and Covenants. It did not get into Scripture until the 1876 D&C and was not approved by the membership until 1880 (Ensign, Dec. 1984, pages 37-39).

A 19th century depiction of John the Baptist conferring the Aaronic priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery
A second alleged revelation has:
“Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins [5]; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”
(May 15, 1829, Doctrine and Covenants 13).
The first written account of this revelation does not have the phrase the “Priesthood of Aaron.” There is more on this below under “LDS Leaders On The Priesthood” and “Differences In Description.” It also was not included in LDS Scripture until the 1876 D&C even though it is dated May 15, 1829. It also was not approved by the membership until 1880
(Ensign, Dec. 1984, pages 37-39).
A third alleged revelation has:
“Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron [6];…And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them;”
(August & September, 1830, Doctrine and Covenants 27:8, 12)
This revelation was not in the 1833 Book of Commandments. It is first found in the 1835 D&C, section 50, page 179. There is more on this below under “Historical Evidence.”
A fourth alleged revelation has:
“There remain hereafter, in the due time of the Lord, other bishops to be set apart unto the church, to minister even according to the first; Wherefore they shall be high priests who are worthy, and they shall be appointed by the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood, except they be literal descendants of Aaron. Wherefore they shall be high priests who are worthy, and they shall be appointed by the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood, except they be literal descendants of Aaron. And if they be literal descendants of Aaron they have a legal right to the bishopric, if they are the firstborn among the sons of Aaron; For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same. No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant and the firstborn of Aaron. But, as a high priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power, under the hands of the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
(Nov. 1831, Doctrine and Covenants 68:14-19)

Bronze statue in Temple Square, Salt Lake City, representing Peter, James, and John in the act of conferring the Melchizedek priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, as envisioned by most modern Latter-day Saints
The first account of this revelation was in the LDS newspaper Evening and Morning Star, Oct. 1832, page 35. Even then It did not include any of the bolded words. It was not in the 1833 Book of Commandments but was included in the 1835 D&C, section 22, page 147.
A fifth alleged revelation has:
“And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live [7]…And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb…
And again, the offices of elder and bishop are necessary appendages belonging unto the high priesthood…
And again, the offices of teacher and deacon are necessary appendages belonging to the lesser priesthood, which priesthood was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons…
For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.
And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.
Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.”
(Nov. 22-23, 1832, Doctrine and Covenants 84:19-22, 26, 27, 29, 30, 33-40).
[NOTE: modern paragraphing added to improve legibility - editor]
Even though this is dated November 1832 it was not in the 1833 Book of Commandments. It was in the 1835 D&C, section 4, page 89.
A sixth alleged revelation has:
“There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood.”
(March 28, 1835, Doctrine and Covenants 107:1).
This was first in the 1835 D&C, section 3, page 82.
A seventh alleged revelation has:
“And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah!
Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfillment of the prophets–the book to be revealed.

Title page from an open 1835 edition of Doctrine And Covenants
A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book!
The voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light!
The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!
And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!”
(Sept. 6, 1842, Doctrine and Covenants 128:20-21).
[NOTE: modern paragraphing added to improve legibility - editor]
Note the date this revelation was given and that it includes a summary of the two priesthoods. Also note that there is no support found for these statements in the two early “new Scriptures” of the Mormon church, the Book of Mormon and the 1833 Book of Commandments.
William Phelps, as the editor of the Mormon newspaper Evening and Morning Star (Independence, Missouri), provides the first public evidence of the two priesthoods, the Aaronic and Melchizedek.

William Wines Phelps (February 17, 1792 – March 7, 1872) was an early leader of the Latter Day Saint movement. He was an assistant president of the church in Missouri, scribe to Joseph Smith, Jr., and a church printer, editor, and song-writer
After the high priesthood comes elders, priests, teachers, and deacons. Now the offices are separate, for the edification and benefit of the whole church, and, though the elders and bishops are appendages to the high priesthood, & the teachers and deacons are appendages to the lesser priesthood, yet these offices are important to their places, and regular in their gradation: from deacon to teacher, from teacher to priest, from priest to elder, from elder to high priest.
(March, 1833, page 74)
While not directly named, this is the first apparent mention together of the two LDS priesthoods in an official Mormon publication. The Book of Mormon, in the book of Alma, does mention the “high priesthood,” but the “lesser priesthood” is not mentioned at all in the Book of Mormon.
Phelps’ article does require the reader to know the meaning of “high priesthood” and “lesser priesthood.” The priesthood revelations from God were allegedly received in 1823, 1829, 1830, 1831 and September 1832. The Evening and Morning Star was first published June 1832, so there was a nine-month opportunity to mention all of them sooner than Phelps’ article.
Oliver Cowdery, the only other human participant with Smith in the restoration of the priesthood,[8] as the editor of a Mormon newspaper in Kirtland, Ohio (near present day Cleveland) said:
“But, dear brother think, further think for a moment, what joy filled our hearts and with what surprise we must have bowed, (for who would not have bowed the knee for such a blessing?) when we received under his [John the Baptist] hand the holy priesthood, as he said, “upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer this priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon earth, that the sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord [9] in righteousness!”‘
(Messenger and Advocate, Oct., 1834, pages 15 and 16 and Joseph Smith-History page 59, footnote by Oliver Cowdery)
The reliability of this statement by Mr. Cowdery is supported by an earlier statement in this same paper.
“That our narrative may be correct, and particularly the introduction, it is proper to inform our patrons, that our brother J. Smith jr. has offered to assist us…With his labor and with authentic documents now in our possession, we hope to render this a pleasing and agreeable narrative well worth the examination and perusal of the Saints.”
(ibid, page 13)
Now compare the statement just above by Oliver Cowdery on the priesthood to the following LDS Scripture:

Photograph of Oliver Cowdery found in the Library of Congress, taken in the 1840s by James Presley Ball
Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins [10]; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 13, May 15, 1829 and Joseph Smith-History 1:39)
“I confer the Priesthood of Aaron” is not the same as “I confer this priesthood and this authority.” As will be shown below, Oliver Cowdery’s quotation is consistent with the claim of David Whittmer, another top leader in the early Mormon church.
It should be evident by now that the scriptural foundation for the bestowal of the priesthoods is on shaky ground. To give you a sense of the changes made and the confusion in the revelations on the priesthood let us look at one of them, Doctrine and Covenants 27, as it appeared chronologically in LDS Scripture. The 1833 Book of Commandments has:
“A Commandment to the church of Christ, given in Harmony, Pennsylvania, September 4, 1830,
“LISTEN to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.
2 For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory;
3 Remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins:
4 Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies:
5 Wherefore, you shall partake of none, except it is made new among you, yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.
6 Behold this is wisdom in me, wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you, on the earth, and with, all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world:
7 Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and be faithful until I come:- even so. Amen.”
(Book of Commandments, chapter 28, verses 1-7, page 60)
Notice that this alleged revelation has nothing about the LDS priesthood. It was later changed. The 1835 Doctrine and Covenants has the following for the same revelation. The bold type words are the added ones; the ones in brackets { } were removed.
Revelation given, {A Commandment to the church of Christ, given in Harmony, Pennsylvania,} September {4}, 1830.
1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful. For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory–remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies; Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.

LdS President (March 1, 1807 – September 2, 1898) Wilford Woodruff’s copy of The Book of Commandments
2 Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim; And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days; And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias; Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron; And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse; And also with Joseph and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, by whom the promises remain; And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days:
3 And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them; Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the

Image from the LdS Church Educational System Institute Manual “Gospel Doctrines” with this caption, “Righteousness is the key to priesthood power and eternal life.”
which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world. Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you; Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. {even so.} Amen.”
(1835 Doctrine and Covenants 50:1-3, pages 179-180. The present 1981 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants 27:1-18 reads the same except for the heading, verse numbering and some punctuation.)
Note that the historical heading of this revelation was changed, the day was omitted and many significant additions were made in the text with no notes or comments of any kind as to why.
Some Mormons may point to Doctrine and Covenants 13 to support the restoration of the Mormon priesthood, it has:
“Ordination of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood along the bank of the Susquehanna River, near Harmony, Pennsylvania, May 15, 1829. HC 1:39-42. The ordination was done by the hands of an angel, who announced himself as John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament. The angel explained that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John, the ancient apostles, who held the keys of the higher priesthood, which was called the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The promise was given to Joseph and Oliver that in due time the Priesthood of Melchizedek would be conferred upon them. See also Section 27:7, 9, 12…..

Contemporary painting of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood
UPON you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 13, May 15, 1829)
As stated at the start of this article, this revelation was not in the Mormon Scriptures until the 1876 edition, and not accepted “by common consent” until 1880. The same idea is also in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith – History, verses 68-69, which was also not in LDS scripture until 1876.
There are no reasons given why it was not in the two earlier collections of LDS revelations, A Book of Commandments (1833) and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. I believe the historical reliability of these verses is significantly in question because of their late canonization.
These are key foundational revelations. If they existed they should have been in the first collection of new revelation.
Joseph Smith was killed in 1844. In 1846 Brigham Young lead many of the Mormons on their way to what was to become Salt Lake City. Not all Mormons chose to go, including Joseph Smith’s wife and children. In 1860 Joseph Smith’s oldest son, Joseph Smith III, became the president and prophet of a newly founded church, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). They claim to be the true continuation of the Church Joseph Smith founded. They deny that Peter, James and John “restored” the Melchizedek Priesthood to Joseph Smith. The following statement by Mormon historian and then Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith explains their position:
Was the Melchizedek Priesthood conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by Peter, James, and John?
In the History of the Church, no account is given of the date when the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored. For this reason certain parties not of the Church, who profess to believe in the divine mission of the martyred Seer, in order to bolster up their weak position, have made the claim that this priesthood was not restored by those heavenly messengers, but that it grew out of the Aaronic Priesthood, which was restored by John the Baptist on the 15th day of May 1829. According to this claim, the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery, having received the Aaronic Priesthood, did, by virtue of that priesthood, on the 6th day of April 1830, ordain each other elders, and that this eldership ordained high priests and apostles.”[a]
The actual statement, as officially published by the so-called “Reorganized” Church, is:
“In justification of the course taken, and the principles involved on `the question of authority,’ we have ever courted, and still do, investigation of the rigid character of the facts in the first organization. Here they are: Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the lesser priesthood by an angel; then, by this authority and a commandment they, on the 6th day of April, ordained each other elders, and this eldership ordained high priests and apostles, and this high priesthood ordained, by commandment, the President of the High Priesthood — the highest office in the church; so that the alleged lesser ordained [sic][11] the greater, is common to both the first organization and the Reorganization alike. The same class of facts justify both or condemn both.”
(Doctrines of Salvation, 3:95)

The “three witnesses” to the Book of Mormon: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris
David Whitmer, one of the “Three Witnesses” (found right after the Introduction of the Book of Mormon) of the Book of Mormon and an early leader in the Mormon church, had this to say about the priesthoods in the Mormon Church.
“Now Brethren, seeing they had no High Priests in the church of Christ of old, and none in the church of Christ [12] in these last days until almost two years after its beginning [13] — when the leaders began to drift into error; remembering the fact of the revelation being changed two years after it was given to include High Priests;…
In no place in the word of God does it say that an Elder is after the order of Melchisedec, or after the order of the Melchisedec Priesthood….This matter of ‘priesthood,’ since the days of Sydney [sic] [Sidney] Rigdon[14], has been the great hobby and stumbling-block of the Latter Day Saints. …This matter of the two orders of priesthood….all originated in the mind of Sydney Rigdon. He explained these things to Brother Joseph in his way, out of the old Scriptures, and got Brother Joseph to inquire, etc. He would inquire and as mouthpiece speak out the revelations just as they had it fixed up in their hearts…How easily a man can receive some other spirit, appearing as an Angel of Light, believing at the time that he is giving the revealed will of God…..”
(An Address to All Believers in Christ, pages 64)
The RLDS’ and David Whitmer’s position are supported by the historical evidence previously presented and support the idea that the high priesthood was first given at the Kirtland conference of June 3-7, 1831 (D&C 52 historical heading; 1833 Book of Commandments 54, page 123; Far West Record, page 7 and end notes 4 and 5 on page 8; Deseret Book Co., 1983, edited by D. Q. Cannon & L. W. Cook. ).[15]
It also seems reasonable to believe that the priesthood, if it really existed, would also clearly and frequently show up in many of the other publications by the Mormon Church. Those to be examined below are the Book of Mormon, The Holy Bible, Book of Commandments and a collection of early teachings called the Lectures on Faith.
The Book of Mormon, one of the unique scriptures of the Mormon Church, also does not show the present day Mormon priesthood. The following terms and phrases used in describing their priesthood could not be found in a search of the text of the Book of Mormon.

A first edition 1830 Book of Mormon open to the Book of Alma
a. “Aaronic Priesthood”, with of without capitals.
b. “Melchizedek/Melchisedec Priesthood,” with or without capitals.
c. “the fulness of the everlasting gospel,” except in the Introduction of the current edition of the Book of Mormon. The term is also not in the 1830 edition.
d. “new and everlasting covenant”
e. “married”, “marriage”, “marry”, “marrying”, “divorce”.
f. “wife and husband,” or “husbands and wife,” or “husband and wives” in the same paragraph.
g. “gospel of salvation”
h. “fulness of salvation”
i. “fulness of eternal glory”
j. “celestial”
k. “Aaronic,” with or without capitals.
l. “deacon”
m. “seventy,” or “seventies” as an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood.
n. “highpriest” as one word.
It is interesting to find the Book of Mormon has nothing on the Aaronic Priesthood and deacons. It does have teachers and priests, positions/offices that a present day Mormon would recognize, which are ordained by the laying on of hands (Moroni 3). But nothing is said through the one thousand years plus period of the Book of Mormon about the priesthood (and the term “lesser priesthood), that these offices are part of in present day Mormonism. Moroni 3 would have been a logical place to include instructions on conferring the Priesthood, but nothing is given.
Similarly, there is no direct wording in the Book of Mormon on the Melchizedek Priesthood. It does describe a priesthood, but it is different from the present day Mormon Church’s priesthood.
Terms like Melchizedek (as the name), order of God, order of his Son and high priesthood are used, but then only in the Book of Alma, which only covers the time period of about 91 BC to about 52 BC. Moroni 3; Alma 13 and 6:1 and Mosiah 18:18 give instructions for ordaining teachers, priests, elders, and high priests but there is nothing about conferring a priesthood. These would have been logical places for this, but they only give instruction for ordination to an office.
It seems reasonable to think that the Melchizedek Priesthood, at the very least using the terminology used in the Book of Alma, would be frequently mentioned in all parts of the Book of Mormon, especially during Jesus Christ’s visit to the New World (3 Nephi 8 and following chapters) and in the period of peace and tranquility that supposedly followed it (4 Nephi 1). Not only are they not mentioned in these books, but there is little said in other parts of the Book of Mormon (except Alma).

Simulated LdS Temple scene with examples of full LdS Temple Garments attire from the “Big Love” television show
It appears, in almost all uses, that the terms high priest, high priesthood and high priests are only used as part of the Mosaic law that the first Book of Mormon people would have brought with them when they traveled from Jerusalem to the New World (see 1 Nephi chapters 1-18). But they are surprisingly missing once the alleged visit of Jesus Christ occurs as related in 3 Nephi. 3 Nephi 12:1 does say: “…now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize was twelve…I have given power that they may baptize you…”.
While a present day Mormon may understand these words to mean the Melchizedek Priesthood and apostles, the text does not say this. How were the Book of Mormon people, or even non-Mormons now, to understand this?
The Book of Mormon is still considered to be “the most correct of any book on earth”! This idea and wording has been in use since 1844 and are still being used, and were clearly stated by the late President Benson (Ensign, October 1992, page 2).
Throughout the entire Book of Mormon nothing is said about the Melchizedek Priesthood offices of seventies, patriarchs, president and apostles. Jesus does appoint twelve men in the New World, but they are called disciples all the way through 3 and 4 Nephi. If New World disciples were also considered apostles by the Lord, this would have been the place to find it, not about 370 years later from Mormon. Mormon 9:18 may at first look like an exception, but this appears to be referring to apostles in the Old World, the one Jesus called in the Jerusalem area, as shown in verse 22.
Moroni 6:1 has a very unique statement on who may be baptized. He says:
“And now I speak concerning Baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.”
This has people who apparently held the priesthood, by present day Mormon Church teachings, in the offices mentioned, being baptized. In the present day Mormon Church men must be baptized before they receive a priesthood and an office in it!
All of this has to lead to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon has a different priesthood than currently taught by the Mormon Church. While this difference is significant now, it did not exist to the same extent in 1833 between the Book of Mormon and the Book of Commandments.
A close examination of each will show a close similarity in how the priesthood is described. There are only two significant differences. The Book of Mormon has twelve disciples, a high priesthood and no deacons while the Book of Commandments names apostles and deacons but no high priesthood. They both have nothing on the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood.
The following Mormon phrases and keywords could not be found in the text of the King James Version [16] of the Bible:

High Priest’s garments as described in the Bible
a. “Aaronic Priesthood,” with or without capitals.
b. “Melchizedek/Melchizedek Priesthood,” with or without capitals.
c. “fulness of the everlasting gospel”
d. “fulness of the gospel”
e. “fulness of eternal glory”
f. “fulness of salvation”
g. “new and everlasting covenant”
h. “gospel of salvation”
i. “holy order of God”
j. “highpriest,” as one word.
k. “high priesthood”
The New Testament is very clear that the Aaronic priesthood (including laws and ordinances) was abolished when our Lord died on the cross (Gal 3:19, 23-25; Col 2:14-17; Heb 10:1-10). There was in fact a change in the priesthood – it was abolished and even Christ did not hold the Aaronic priesthood (Heb 7:11-14). The New Testament tells us that all true born-again Christians are priests by the blood of Christ (Rev 1:5-6). This priesthood has nothing to do with the old Aaronic priesthood because it is far superior! It is a royal priesthood of believers in the Living Christ, our Great High Priest forever (1 Pet 2:9-10).
The Bible does say a little about Melchizedek (Gen 14:17-20, Ps 110:4, Heb 4:14 to 8:4). The only Melchizedek priest in the Old Testament was the King of Salem. In the New Testament only Jesus Christ has the Melchizedek priesthood and he was appointed by God (Heb 5:5-6, 10). No priestly succession is mentioned. These ideas were summarized in a paper given by David Crump, as published in Christian Institute for Mormon Studies, Proceedings and Papers, Vol 1, page 35, where he said:
“In the New Testament, Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews tells us what personal qualities are required to hold the Melchizedek priesthood:

Artist’s speculative depiction of Jesus Christ acting as High Priest in heaven
1. You must live forever. This does not mean that you have somehow gained eternal life; it means that you have no beginning as well as no end. You endure forever through the inherent, self-possessed power of your own indestructible, eternal life. (Is there anyone who still hopes to be in the market for this job?)
2. You need to have personally received an oath from God promising that he has made you the Messiah of the world.
3. You must be holy. Mind you, you are not just trying to be holy; you must already share in God’s own character, in his inherent perfection, which means that you are free of all sin. There can be no blemish of inadequacy in your life; you have never done anything even slightly wrong.
4. You must be the eternal Son of God who meets the seven qualifications of sonship outlined in Hebrews 1:1-4. In other words, you must be the eternal mediator of creation, who continues to sustain the creation through the power of your own spoken word.
The position of Melchizedek Priesthood is taken; it is held by God’s Son Jesus Christ, and he has chosen not to share it with us.”
The Lectures on Faith were prepared by Joseph Smith (probably with help from others) and delivered to a class of elders in Kirtland, Ohio in the winter of 1834-1835. [17] They were first included in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. The preface of this book has:
“The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of Lectures as delivered before a Theological class in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important doctrine of salvation, we have arranged them into the following work.”
(Preface of 1835 D&C)
This preface was signed by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and F. G. Williams. These men were the top leaders (first presidency and assistant president) of the Mormon Church at that time. Note that they said the Lectures on Faith had the important doctrine of salvation.They thought them important enough to make them scripture.
The Lectures on Faith do not use any of the important terms and phrases used to describe the Mormon priesthood and its offices. This is amazing seeing they were to contain “the important doctrine of salvation.” For example, according to the present day Mormon Church, baptism is a necessary part of a Mormon’s “salvation.”[18] Without the priesthood no one has the authority to baptize, hence no “salvation.”
The 1833 Book of Commandments was the first published collection of alleged revelations received by Joseph Smith. In its time it was considered one of the three LDS Scriptures (the Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Book of Commandments). As shown above it does not contain the Mormon priesthood as currently known.

Sidney Rigdon, founding member of the First Presidency, Joseph Smith’s First Counselor and the person suspected to be the chief fabricator of LdS Priesthood theology according to David Whitmer
Priesthood revelations that are now Doctrine and Covenants 2, 13, 27, 68 and 84 were not in it. Apostles were called elders (chapter 24:1-2, 22:1, 12, 14) and the only priesthood offices mentioned were elders, priests, teachers and deacons (chapter 24:31). There is nothing about the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood, lesser and higher priesthoods, seventies and high priests as currently exists.
God allegedly made it clear that the revelations were “true and faithful” (Book of Commandments 1:7), “neither doth he vary from that which he hath said” (Book of Commandments 2:1) and “now the decrees of God are unalterable” (Alma 41:8). We have God’s word that he would not change and alter what he had said. It should be clear by now that changes and additions were made. What then is the only possible conclusion?
We have shown how two key alleged revelations about the restoration of the LDS priesthood were not in the first and second published collections and two others were not in the first collection. David Whitmer and the RLDS church stated a similar view.
All this can only lead to the clear conclusion that the present day Mormon Church’s priesthood is not the same one that existed from 1829 to about 1833. It was changed about 1833 and then support was inserted into the LDS scriptures after the fact.[19] In some case this was done 43 years later.
Both 1 Cor 14:33 and Doctrine and Covenants 132:8 say that God is not the author of confusion. We are then left with the only conclusion possible, the confusion in the early LDS Church, particularly the teachings about the priesthood, can only be by man.
The Mormon response to this paper will probably be harsh, for it will be an emotional subject for most LDS, particularly men. This strikes at the heart of Mormonism.
Many will seem to be incredulous and just reject everything out right. On the other end of the spectrum others will take the information and seriously examine it in detail. Some to find reasons to reject it, but some to better understand it and grow from it. All anyone can do as they present the above information is to keep bringing the discussion back to the subject and the facts presented. You will need to dwell on the facts and their accuracy.
There is only one clear conclusion. The priesthood now taught by the Mormon Church is significantly different from the one taught by the Mormon Church from 1830 (their start date) to roughly 1835. It also appears that they tried to hide the changes by post dating the early alleged revelations and making new ones to support the change.
[1] Melchisedec is the New Testament spelling of the Old Testament Melchizedek. The Mormon Church uses this latter spelling.
[2] Gospel Principles, published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, 1978, page 73. The majority of Bible believing Christians, however, believe that only Jesus Christ held the Melchizedek Priesthood which is “unchangeable”; and that ALL true Christians, men and women, are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Heb. 4:14, 7:24, 6:20, 10:10; Rev 1:5-6).
[3] The Book of Commandments, a Scripture published in 1833, was the first collection of alleged revelations received by Joseph Smith. Following editions were titled The Doctrine and Covenants. In the early years of the Mormon church in the United States there were editions in 1833, 1835, 1844 and 1876. There were several British editions, with an 1854 printing that was sent to Utah (Ensign, December 1984, pages 36-37) .
[4] Joseph Smith-History 1:68-72 said it was John the Baptist that ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood and Peter, James and John (who held the keys for this) ordained them to the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood supposedly on May 15, 1829. The exact date for the Melchizedec Priesthood restoration is not know. The best date that most LDS scholars think this happened is between May 15, 1829 and April 1830, and one said, “probably June 1829″ (A Joseph Smith Chronology, by J. Christopher Conkling, Deseret Book Co. 1979, page 10-11).
[5] Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 says we receive the remission of sins by faith in Jesus Christ, by repentance and service to the Lord, all before we are baptized. Which one is correct?
[6] From Lev 8:33 and Ex 29:37 we learn that Aaron’s ordination took 7 days. Mormon Aaronic Priesthood ordinations that I (John Farkas) saw or participated in took less than 15 minutes.
[7] Then how did Joseph Smith see the Father and Son in 1820 and live as he related in Joseph Smith-History 1:17. He did not, as officially taught, get the priesthood until May 1829 (Joseph Smith-History 1:72).
[8] Cowdery was the Second Elder (D&C 20:3 ) and assistant president of the High Priesthood. He was one of Smiths scribes during the alleged “translation” of the Book of Mormon from the “gold plate.” They were both together when the priesthood was allegedly restored.
[9] Mormons have said that these are animal sacrifices, as done in the Jerusalem temple, which are to be restored. (Mormon Doctrine, page 666).
[10] Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 says we receive the remission of sins by faith in Jesus Christ, by repentance and service to the Lord, all before we are baptized.
[a]  Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie, “Doctrines of Salvation Vol. 3″ pp.94-95, (this citation was missing from Mr. Farkas’ original article — Editor)
[11] The bracket is in the quote.
[12] The Mormon Church since its beginning has had three names: Church of Christ, 1830-1834; Church of Latter Day Saints, 1834-1838; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1838 to the present.
[13] If David Whitmer by “beginning” means the formal start of the Mormon Church on April 6, 1830, them 1832 is the approximate start of High Priests.
[14] Sydney Rigdon probably came into the Mormon Church December, 1830 (The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness: Sidney Rigdon, Religious Reformer, 1793-1876, by F. Mark McKiernan, Herald House, 1979, pages 41-44). This is the earliest date for the change discussed by David Whitmer.
[15] While History of the Church 1:175-176 uses the term “authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested,” D&C 53 does not use the term at all or “high Priesthood.” The Far West Record, page 7, in the meeting minutes only uses the term “high Priesthood.”
[16] This is the version used by the Mormon Church.
[17] Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City, Bookcraft, 1955, 2:304; the book Lectures on Faith, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, page v.
[18] For the importance of baptism see: Mormon Doctrine, page 69. Salvation means spending eternity with God in the Celestial Kingdom (Gospel Principles, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, 1976, pages 124-130).
[19] This same idea of after the fact changes is also supported by D. Michael Quinn in his book The Mormon Hierarchy, Signature Books, 1994, pages 7-38.
About the Author
John R. Farkas (1932-2011) was a convert to Mormonism in 1975 and served in several callings up to and including Elder’s Quoruom President of  the Rochester 1st Ward, New York Stake. In 1984 he left the LdS Church and became involved with Berean Christian Ministries where he served until his death. Mr. Farkas is the author of several books on Mormonism and other subjects which can be found on his Author’s page on Amazon. Beggar’s Bread is grateful that before he passed Mr. Farkas granted us the permission to republish the articles from his now defunct website. 
John Farkas is of one the giants on whose shoulders we stand and to whom we owe a debt that we simply can never repay!  We look forward to thanking him again in heaven for the example of his life and treasure of wisdom that he left behind for our benefit.

[Please note that while this article has been very lightly reformatted and re-paragraphed to improve overall legibility no content has been changed from Mr. Farkas' original, March 27, 1998 source article.]

© Copyright 2002 Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved. —Permission is granted to reproduce, provided content is not changed and this copyright notice is included.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mountain Meadows Massacre

Sept 11th and Mormonism!

by Rocky Hulse

On that tragic day in 1857, 120 unarmed non-Mormon, men, women and children were brutally murdered in cold blood by Mormons and Indians in Southern Utah. This ghastly event is known in American history as the "Mountain Meadows Massacre." This brutal massacre of Americans by Americans is only surpassed in the annals of American history by the Oklahoma City Bombing, where 168 Americans lost their lives. The Oklahoma City Bombing was planned and conducted by two men. Mountain Meadows was planned and executed by Mormon Church leadership and at least 60 Mormon men and an unknown number of Indian accomplices.

Why is this event so important in relation to the Mormon Church? It is difficult to understand how 60 Mormon men, who believed they were doing God's will, could lure 120 men, women and children, out into the open under a white truce flag and then turn and brutally murder them. A study of the Mountain Meadows Massacre takes one on a walk through the morass of blasphemous Mormon theologies that would steer 60 men to commit the most despicable crime in American history.
How It Began.
In April of 1857 a wealthy wagon train, reported to have as many as 1,000 head of cattle, left Caravan Spring, Arkansas, known as the Baker-Fancher Train. Following the Cherokee Trail, they arrived in Salt Lake City on August 3rd, and were met with a very chilly reception.
Two important events happened in Salt Lake City just prior to their arrival: (1) News had come that a popular Mormon Apostle, Parley P. Pratt, had been murdered "as he attempted to escape from one Hector McLean, the angry husband of a woman he had taken as his tenth wife. But to overheated emotions in Utah, the apostle was killed for his religious beliefs. Like Joseph and Hyrum Smith, he was a martyr whose blood cried for vengeance."1 The wagon train members only crime was having come from the state of Arkansas, yet totally untrue rumors circulated among the Mormons that members of the train had been involved in Apostle Pratt's murder as well as having been in the mob which killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith. (2) Utah was in a state of rebellion. Having left Illinois to get away from the laws of the United States , when the Mormons arrived in Utah it was a Mexican territory. With the United States the victor in the War with Mexico , Utah become a Territory of the United States ; the Mormons were once again under U.S. law. Brigham Young ran Utah as a theocratic state and refused to be governed under U.S. law. Then President James Buchanan, dispatched Colonel Johnson of the Second U.S. Calvary to bring Utah back into control. This news arrived in Salt Lake City, just one week prior to the train's arrival.
Prepare the people for war!
The day the train arrived in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young dispatched Mormon Apostle, George A. Smith, to prepare the people for war. "Traveling fast, Smith averaged nearly forty miles a day over the 250 miles or so from the territorial capital to Iron County. Even so, he found time at each settlement along the southern trail to California to instruct local leaders to sell no grain or other supplies to "gentile" emigrants, to harvest and hide up their wheat early, and to drill and outfit their military forces for active operations to repel the approaching U.S. Army expedition. Wherever he went, the apostle fanned the militant spirit of the reformation. According to legend, Smith told Parowan settlers that bones make a good fertilizer for fruit trees. As for American soldiers coming to Utah, he went on, he could "think of nothing better that they could do than to feed a fruit tree in Zion." He later said, "in spite of all I could do, I found myself preaching a military discourse." At Harmony, a few miles south of Cedar City, Rachel Lee said Smith "delivered a discourse on the spirit that actuated the United States toward this people—full of hostility and virulence." 2
On August the 5th the Baker-Fancher train headed south continuing its trek to California. The train met much hostility, as no one would sell provisions to them, and the Mormons would not allow them to stop and graze their cattle along the way where they could prevent it. They arrived at Mountain Meadows on September 5th and encamped, intending to allow their cattle to graze on the luscious grass of the meadow.
"George A. Smith arrived in Great Salt Lake City at 4:00 P.M. on August 31, "having traveled about seven hundred miles of rough roads and preached in all the Settlements of Iron, Washington, and Beaver Counties." The next day Jacob Hamblin [Indian Agent] brought ten or twelve Indians "to See Brigham the great Morman chief."...As the Fancher train made camp some seventy miles north of Mountain Meadows on the evening of September 1, 1857, Young met for about an hour with the southern chiefs to implement his plan to stop overland emigration on the southern road...Describing his meeting with the Paiutes in his journal, Young claimed he could "hardly restrain them from exterminating the 'Americans.'" In truth, that Tuesday night Young encouraged the Indians to seize the stock of the wagon trains on the southern route. Jaunita Brooks [author, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, 1950] recognized the importance of this crucial meeting but could only speculate on its purpose. Historians have long assumed no detailed eyewitness account of the interview existed, but the diary of Young's brother-in-law and interpreter, Dimick Huntington, has survived in the LDS Archives since 1859. Describing the September 1 parlay, Huntington wrote: "I gave them all the cattle that had gone to Cal the south rout it made them open their eyes they sayed that you told us not to steal so I have but now they have come to fight us & you for when they kill us they kill you they sayd the[y] was afraid to fight the Americans & so would raise [allies] and we fight" The language of Huntington's critical journal entry is archaic, but its meaning is clear. Even a devout Mormon historian has identified the "I" in this entry as Brigham Young."3
Direct Leadership Involvement!
The above quote from 'Blood of the Prophets', just published in August 2002, the first book on this tragedy since Mormon author Juanita Brooks' book in 1950, provides the 'smoking gun' diary entry of Dimick Huntington, which directly ties Brigham Young to this event. This link has been assumed since the incident, but no direct tie has been uncovered until now.
On Sunday the 6th of September, the day before the first attack, a council was held in Parowan to discus the fate of the wagon train. The Mormon historian B. H. Roberts admits that such a meeting was held: "It was customary for the local leading men at Cedar and from the smaller settlements in its vicinity to gather in a council meeting after the close of the regular Sunday services of the church, to consider the questions of local community interest. At such a meeting on the 6th of September the question concerning the conduct of, and what ought to be done with, the Arkansas emigrants was brought up and debated. Some in the council were were in favor of destroying them, and others were not."4
It is plain to see by the diary entry of Dimick Huntington that Brigham Young had declared the emigrants enemies and Apostle Smith had met with local church leaders on his trip to Southern Utah defining Brigham's position and intentions. On the morning of September 7th, under direction of Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee, as ordered by Mormon Stake President, Isaac C. Haight, the Indians surprise attacked the wagon train killing and wounding many. The emigrants quickly returned fire, killing several Indians, and fortified the train for battle. The Indians not expecting such resistance quickly lost their taste for this battle and a state of siege set in which lasted four days until September 11th.
News of the failed Indian attempt to wipe out the train reached the Mormon authorities in Iron County. They met, decided, and dispatched militia to the Meadows to deal with the emigrants. The decision delivered by John M. Higbee, the 1st Counselor to Stake President Haight and a Major in the Iron County Militia, was to have John D. Lee, a Mormon Bishop, lure the emigrants under a white truce flag to surrender and lay down their arms for safe passage to Cedar City. Once the emigrants were lured out on the meadow away from the wagons and their arms, they were to be massacred leaving "none who could tell the tale" alive.
On the morning of September 11, 1857, John D. Lee and William Bateman approached the train with a white truce flag and laid out the diabolical offer. The emigrants agreed believing the militia awaiting escort duties on the meadow were their deliverers. The women and children eight years old and older were led out in single file first, followed by the men. Each man had an armed militia member at his side. The wounded and children seven years of age and under were loaded into two separate wagons. Upon the command of Major Higbee "Do your duty," the Mormon militia turned and killed the men and then the Indians having laid in wait in ambush, joined by Mormons disguised as Indians brutally murdered the women and children. The militia on the wagons turned and at point blank range executed the wounded. In just a matter of minutes the horrific deed was done. The seventeen children under the age of eight that were spared were then distributed to various Mormon homes.
How Could This Happen?
A study of Mormon theology uncovers the answer to the above question. Unfortunately for these emigrants they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The news of the Murder of Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt, and the subsequent false claim that these emigrants were accomplices to that death as well as the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, placed them under the 'Law of Vengeance': "You and each of you do solemnly promise and vow that you will pray, and never cease to pray, and never cease to importune high heaven to avenge the blood of the prophets on this nation, and that you will teach this to your children and your children's children unto the third and fourth generation." "All bow your heads and say yes."5 This oath was sworn by every Mormon who participated in the Temple Ceremony until it was finally removed February 15, 1927.
Not only were these emigrants worthy of death under the 'Law of Vengeance,' but also under the Doctrine of 'Blood Atonement.' This Mormon doctrine states that there are certain sins that a person can commit that are outside the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and can only be atoned for by shedding one's own blood. The following list details Mormon crimes requiring the blood of the person committing them to cleanse them from these sins:
(1)     Murder (2)     Adultery and Immorality (3)     Stealing (4)     Using the name of the Lord in vain (5)     For not receiving the gospel (6)     For marriage to an African (7)     For covenant breaking (8)     For apostasy (9)     For lying (10) For counterfeiting (11) For condemning Joseph Smith or consenting to his death6  
Absolute Authority!
The Mormon men, who carried out this terrible deed, believed they were following the orders of the Mormon Priesthood as well as their Military Superiors. Within the theology of Mormonism, the Mormon Priesthood has absolute authority. The following quotes emphasize that point:
Brigham Young said " is reported that I have said that whoever the President appoints, I am still the Governor. I repeat it, all hell cannot remove me. (cries of 'amen') I am still your Governor. (cries of 'glory to God.') I will still rule this people until God himself permits another to take my place. I wish I could say as much for the other officers of the government. The greater part of them are a gambling, drinking, whoring set....Do you think I'll obey or respect them? No! I'll say as I did the other day, when the flag was hauled down from before the Military Quarters—'Let them take down the American Flag; we can do without it.' (great applause, stamping of feet and yells.)"7
Joseph Smith said the following: "God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece of the children of Israel , and he will make me to be God to you in his stead, and the elders to be mouth for me; and if you don't like it you must lump it." 8
Brigham Young also said: "The first principle of our cause and work is to understand that there is a prophet in the church, and that he is at the head of the Church of Christ on earth. Who called Joseph Smith to be a prophet? Did the people or God? God, and not the people, called him. Had the people gathered together and appointed one of their number to be a prophet, he would be accountable to the people, but, inasmuch as he was called of God, and not by the people, he is accountable to God only...and not to any man on earth. The twelve apostles are accountable to the prophet and not to the church for the course they pursue, and we have learned to go and do as the prophet tells us."9
The Official Mormon magazine "Improvement Era" provides the following quote: "Any Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes, whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the 'prophets, seers, and revelators' of the Church is cultivating the spirit of apostasy.... Lucifer...wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to 'do their own thinking.' ...When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan - it is God's plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy."10
Ezra Taft Benson, the thirteenth Mormon prophet, provided the following points in a devotional speech given at BYU entitled "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophets":
(1)     The Prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything. (2)     The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works (scripture). (3)     The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet. (4)     The prophet will never lead the Church astray. (5)     The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time. (6)     The prophet does not have to say "Thus Saith the Lord," to give us scripture. (7)     The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know. (8)     The prophet is not limited by men's reasoning. (9)     The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual. (10) The prophet may be involved in civic matters. (11) The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. (12) The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly. (13) The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church. (14) The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed—reject them and suffer.11 Heber C. Kimball, 1st Counselor to Brigham Young, delivered the following in a sermon: "...learn to do as you are told.... if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it, none of your business whether it is right or wrong."12
Oh my goodness folks, do you see the absolute control exuded in the above quotes? Joseph Smith said he was God to the people. Brigham Young said Joseph and all subsequent prophets were/are called of God and therefore answers only to God and Mormons are to "go and do as the prophet tells us." The Church magazine, Improvement Era says that Lucifer wins a great victory when Mormons think for themselves, and when Mormon leaders speak "the thinking has been done." The 'Fourteen Fundamentals In Following The Prophet,' laid out by the 13th Mormon prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, spells out a framework for complete control. Benson says the current prophet can contradict any previous prophet and can even contradict scripture. That folks, is total, utter, blind obedience, and should scare the daylights out of any reasoning person. Then to top it all off, the statement "learn to do as you are told...none of your business whether it is right or wrong," by Heber C. Kimball, when coupled with the above listed absolute control statements of the Mormon Priesthood, is frightening. Now, put this in the framework that the Mormon Militia issuing the orders on that fateful day were also the senior Mormon Priesthood holders in Southern Utah; therefore, they were speaking for the prophet as they had been given direction by the Mormon Apostle George A. Smith who had just left Southern Utah on his "prepare for war" trip. Here you have the recipe for the massacre that followed.
Denial. Brigham knew! The Mormon Church then, and today, denies any involvement with the massacre. In official Mormon writings the Mormons involved are dismissed as "other white men" and are not identified as Senior Mormon Leadership. When pressed the Mormon Church admits Mormons were involved but describes them as 'fanatics of the worst stamp.' Well here is a short laundry list of the 'fanatics of the worst stamp': 1 Stake President and his 1st Counselor, 4 Stake High Councilmen, 4 Bishops and one 1st Counselor, 2 City Councilmen, and 1 Attorney at Law. Folks this tally is almost 25% of the perpetrators and could be classified as anything but 'fanatics of the worst stamp'; not to escape attention here is the fact that these men were not only the senior leadership of the Church in Southern Utah, but also, the senior Militia Officers. To insinuate that the Church had no involvement is to believe Ford does not build F-150 pickups. The Church also tries to allude that Brigham Young never knew about the details of the massacre until years later. Ridiculous! Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee, stated in his court trial, that he gave Brigham Young a full report immediately after the event. This is collaborated by Mormon Apostle Wilford Woodruff's Diary entry for Sept 29th, 1857: "John D. Lee also arrived from Harmony with an express and an awful tale of Blood."13 Jacob Hamblin, the Indian Agent who brought the Indian Chiefs to meet with Brigham on September 1, 1857, and on whose land Mountain Meadows lay, also told Brigham: "Jacob Hamblin, a reputable witness, testified at the second Lee trial that 'soon after it [the massacre] happened, 'he reported to Brigham Young and George A. Smith what Lee had told him of the affair; of the part that white men had taken in it; and that in greater detail than he had given it, or was able to give in his testimony in court,'...Brigham Young said to him that 'as soon as we can get a court of justice we will ferret this thing out, but till then, don't say anything about it.'14 Almost two years after the tragedy, when the Federal Government heard of the massacre, Army Brevet Major Carleton, of the First Dragoons, was ordered to conduct an investigation. He was horrified at what he and his men found. Upon arrival at the Meadows, the bones were scattered across the plain, with evidence of coyote and wolf gnawing. The Mormons had drug the bodies into a ravine and threw some bush over them, leaving them easily accessible to wild animals. Major Carleton directed, the bones be gathered, buried, and a twelve-foot high conical shaped rock cairn be erected with a twelve foot cross placed atop it facing Salt Lake City. The cedar cross had the words etched upon it "Vengeance is mine. I will repay saith the Lord." Joseph Fielding Smith, 10th Mormon prophet, in 1950 wrote "Lee also reported in person, laying the blame solely to the Indians. Governor Young wept bitterly and was horrified at the recital of the tale."15 Quite a different story is related by the diaries of the era. Shortly after the Army had left the Meadows, Brigham Young visited the site and upon reading the inscription on the cross he reacted with an attitude quite different than that purported by Joseph Fielding Smith: "It should be vengeance is mine and I have taken a little." One of Young's escorts lassoed the cross with a rope, turned his horse, and pulled it down. Brigham Young "didn't say a word," recalled Dudley Leavitt. "He didn't give an order. He just lifted his right arm to the square, and in five minutes there wasn't one stone left upon another. He didn't have to tell us what needed to be done. We understood."16 Part of Major Carleton's investigation revealed that the spoils (livestock, wagons, rifles, clothing and household goods) were delivered to the Church's Tithing Office and sold, with the Church retaining the money: "...a party of armed men under the command of a man named John D. Lee, who was then a Bishop in the Church, but who has since (as Brigham Young) says) been deposed, left the settlements of Beaver City (north of Parowan), Parowan City, and Cedar City on what was called "a secret expedition," and after an absence of a few days returned, bringing back strange wagons, cattle, horses, mules, and other household property. There is legal proof that this property was sold at the Official Tithing Office of the Church....17   The Seventeen Children. In the same document just cited, Major Carleton, upon learning that when the 17 children under the age of seven were recovered by Federal Indian Superintendent, Jacob Forney, a year and a half after the massacre, and that the Mormons had billed the Federal Government for their room and board, lying that they had to purchase the children from the Indians, made the following statement: "Has there ever been an act which at all equaled this in devilish hardihood, in more than devilish effrontery? Never, but one: and even then the price was but "30 pieces of silver.'" The Mormons reported that they had to purchase the children from the Indians; however, when the children were recovered and asked about this, they stated that they had never been in the custody of the Indians. These spared children bring up another bizarre piece of the Mormon theology puzzle. Why were these children "seven years of age and under" spared? The answer was to ensure none of the Temple Mormons involved "shed innocent blood." In Mormon theology, once a person has gone through the Mormon Temple Ceremony and received their "endowments," they may commit any sin, except the "shedding of innocent blood," and will still become a God in the next life: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation;..."18 The following quotes define the Mormon definition of "innocence": (1) In the gospel sense, innocence is the state of purity and freedom from sin which men must possess to gain salvation in the kingdom of God. ( Alma 11:37.) Little children live in a state of perfect innocence and consequently are saved without works on their part.19 (2) Attainment of the age and state of accountability is a gradual process. Thus the Lord says "power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me." (D. & C. 29:47.) Children who develop normally become accountable "when eight years old" (D. & C. 68:27)...20 Mormon Apostle Wilford Woodruff's Diary entry for Sept 29th, 1857 tells of John D. Lee's initial report of the incident to Brigham Young: "John D. Lee also arrived from Harmony with an express and an awful tale of Blood. A company of California emigrants, of about 150 men, women and children, many of them belonging to the mob in Missouri and Illinois, had been massacred....Brother Lee said that he did not think there was a drop of innocent blood in their camp."21 This statement has no bearing to anyone involved in this crime except Temple Mormons. If Temple Mormons were not involved in this crime, the theology of innocent blood would never have been mentioned. When Mormon History is put under a microscope, it unravels quickly. Mormon writers are Mormonism's own worst enemy.   Murderers Rewarded! Not only did Brigham Young know the details of this cold blooded murder, he rewarded the two major players: "In his private sealing room, Brigham Young married Emma Batchelor to John D. Lee on January 7, 1858. To celebrate, Lee provided a treat of cherry brandy, sugar, and liquors, while Mrs. Ezra Taft Benson "made the bride a cake & a good dinner." Lee's guests, including Isaac Haight, ate "drank & made merry & had a firstrate good time." The prophet married Isaac Haight to Elizabeth Summers on January 24, the day before Lee, Haight and their new wives left Salt Lake. Lee gave Haight a brace of Colt Revolvers, perhaps as a wedding gift. Lee had taken the initiative in contracting his marriage to Emma, but the timing of the two weddings led to charges that the new brides were the men's reward for their work at Mountain Meadows."22   Brigham Lied! Six years after the fact, Brigham Young had no qualms of standing in the pulpit and lying about the massacre: "...A company of emigrants were traveling on the route to California. Nearly all of that company were destroyed by Indians. That unfortunate affair has been laid to the charge of the whites. A certain judge that was then in the territory wanted the whole army to accompany him to Iron County to try the whites for the murder of that company of emigrants.... but to this day they have not touched the matter, for fear the Mormons would be acquitted from the charge of having any hand in it, and our enemies would thus be deprived of a favorite topic to talk about, when urging hostility against us. 'The Mountain Meadows Massacre! Only think of the Mountain Meadows Massacre!!' Is their cry from one end of the land to the other."23 When giving this sermon Brigham Young knew full well that the Indians did not act alone; however, such is the norm in Mormon history.   Trial and Execution The uproar across the Nation would not allow this crime to go unpunished, no matter how much Brigham Young and the rest of the Church hierarchy tried to obstruct justice. It was decided to blame the entire event on John D. Lee and even though there were at least 60 Mormon men involved he was excommunicated in 1870: "John D. Lee was excommunicated from the Church with the injunction from President Young that under no circumstances should he ever be admitted as a member again."24 John D. Lee was eventually arrested, brought to trial, and acquitted in May 1876. The jury was made up of 8 Mormons and 4 Gentiles (non-Mormons) and, you guessed it, the vote for conviction was exactly 8 against, and 4 to convict, perfectly splitting between Mormons and Gentiles. The outrage across the country was too much for the Mormon Church to bear. A second trial was convened and the jury this time, was all Mormons; however, Brigham had given the nod to subdue the outrage of the first trial and the verdict was unanimous for conviction. What had changed from the first trial to the second? Nothing, except the head nod from Church Leadership. In March of 1877, Lee was pronounced guilty and sentenced to die on the spot of the crime, Mountain Meadows, where he was executed by firing squad March 23, 1877. Just before he was shot, he made this statement: "It seems I have to be made a victim—a victum must be had, and I am the victim. I am sacrificed to satisfy the feelings—the vindictive feelings, or in other words to gratify parties.... I am a true believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not believe everything that is now being taught and practiced by Brigham Young. I do not care who hears it.... I studied to make this man's will my pleasure for thirty years. See, now, what I have come to this day! I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner. I cannot help it. It is my last word—it is so...Sacrifice a man that has waited upon them, that has wandered and endured with them in the days of adversity, true from the beginnings of the Church! And I am now singled out and I am sacrificed in this manner! What confidence can I have in such a man! I have none, and I don't think my father in heaven has any."25 Why was John D. Lee shot by firing squad? Reading thus far, you should know the answer: Blood Atonement. Death by firing squad allowed him to "shed his own blood" to cover his sin. Utah, today, still allows capital punishment by firing squad to allow Mormons "to shed their own blood." In the 1958 edition of Mormon Doctrine, page 314, Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, makes the following statement under the heading of Hanging: Hanging. See BLOOD ATONEMENT DOCTRINE, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, MURDERERS. As a mode of capital punishment, hanging or execution on a gallows does not comply with the law of blood atonement, for the blood is not shed."   Lee Restored to Godhood! His atonement in the eyes of the Mormon Church must have been accepted by their god, since after years of petitions by his ancestors The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve restored his Church blessings: "Temple worker Merrit L. Norton had presented the family's request, and on April 20, 1961, The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve authorized the restoration of Lee's Membership and Temple Blessings. Norton was baptized for his dead grandfather, and on May 9 Apostle Ezra Taft Benson officiated in the endowment and sealing ceremonies at the Salt Lake Temple."26 Reference 24 stated that Brigham Young said "that under no circumstances should he [John D. Lee] be admitted as a member again." As already shown in reference 11, Fundamental (3) The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet. So, David O. McKay, the living prophet in 1961, trumped Brigham Young the dead prophet, who in reference 11, Fundamental (1) ...speaks for the Lord in everything. One or the other must not have been listening to the right lord. And so goes this whole horrific tale. When this or any other part of Mormonism is put under the magnifying glass, it falls apart. 1 Forgotten Kingdom, page 146.
2 Ibid, page 162.
3 Blood of the Prophets, pp. 113-114.
4 Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 4,
page 149.
5 Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony:
1842-1990, p. 182.
6 Mormonism-Shadow or Reality? pp. 400-403
7 New York Herald, May 4, 1855, as cited in The
Lion of the Lord, pp. 158-159.
8 From the sermon by the "Prophet" Joseph
Smith, Jr., Nauvoo, April, 1844; clipped from
the Mormon Deseret News of July 15, 1857.
9 From sermon by Brigham Young, at Nauvoo,
1843, published in Millennial Star, Liverpool,
England , Vol. XXI., page 741.
10 Improvement Era, June 1945, page 354.
11 BYU Devotional Assembly, Feb. 26, 1980.
12 Journal of Discourses, Vol 6, page 32.
13 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 5:102.
14 Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 4,
page 166.
15 Essentials in Church History, page 422.
16 Forgotten Kingdom, page 178.
17 Mountain Meadows Massacre, Special Report,
57th Congress 1st Session, House of
Representatives, Document No. 605
18 Doctrine and Covenants, 132:26
19 Mormon Doctrine, page 381
20 Ibid, page 853
21 Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 5:102.
22 Blood of the Prophets, pp. 186-187.
23 Journal of Discourses, Vol 10, pp. 109-110.
24 Essentials in Church History, page 422.
25 The Mountain Meadows Massacre, p. 152; pp.
208-209 of the 1962 edition.
26 Blood of the Prophets, page 361.

© Copyright 2002 Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved. —Permission is granted to reproduce, provided content is not changed and this copyright notice is included.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why were the Mormons Driven From State to State?

The Real Reason the Mormons Were Driven From State to State by Rocky Hulse

       July 4th doesn’t hold a candle to July 24th in Mormonism. What’s so special about the 24th day of July with respect to Mormonism? This is the day that the Mormon pioneers were led into the Salt Lake Valley by Brigham Young after they had crossed the plains, having left Nauvoo, Illinois more than a year earlier.
     The front cover of the July 29, 2012, edition of the Mormon Church’s “Church News,” shows a picture of President Henry B. Eyring, 1st Counselor to the current Mormon Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, waving to the crowd from the convertible he was riding in as the Grand Marshal of the annual Pioneer Day Parade in downtown Salt Lake City. Pioneer Day is so revered in Mormonism that the day begins with a “Sunrise Service”: “Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy was the featured speaker at the annual Days of ’47 Sunrise Service in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the event that traditionally begins the day’s festivities in downtown Salt Lake City, where Prophet Brigham Young and the vanguard group of pioneers arrived in 1847 and founded the city.”(‘Was it so long ago?’, Church News, July 29, 2012, pg 3)

     Why were the Mormons forced from Illinois, and Missouri before that, and Ohio before that, and New York before that? Ask any Mormon and they will immediately tell you it was because of religious persecution. Mormons are taught this by their Church and truly believe this; however, is this true? The simple answer is: No. Was “religious persecution” involved? Undoubtedly. But the real reason that the Mormons were forced from the State of Illinois, and the other states before, was the absolute abuse of the law by their leadership. The reason the Mormons were run out of the State of Illinois was that the citizenry could simply tolerate no more the refusal by the Mormon leadership to obey the laws of the United States, the State of Illinois and the County of Hancock.
     When the turmoil surrounding the Mormons being expelled from the State was happening, the voice of reason was the town of Quincy, Illinois, which was known for giving the Mormons refuge when they were expelled from Missouri. On the front page of the July 24, 1844 issue of the Quincy Herald Whig, just under 30 days after Joseph Smith’s murder in the Carthage Jail, is an article that clearly defines the total disregard for the law by the Mormon community. This article is more than a year and a half before the Mormons were expelled, and gives defined instances of the abuses of the law that were being committed in Nauvoo. These abuses were the reason that the Governor of Illinois put in place his order for the Mormons to be removed from the State. For the Mormons to claim that religious persecution was the reason for their removal vice the truth that their leadership was in total defiance of the law is a rewriting of history to garner sympathy from an unknowing public and an active attempt to hide the truth; persecution plays well in the press, defiance of the law doesn’t.

Front Page Quincy Herald Whig, July 24, 1844

     The following is a quote taken from the July 24, 1844 front page article of the Quincy Herald Whig, which lays out clearly some of the abuses of the law that were being exercised by the Mormon Leaders in Nauvoo, in direct defiance of the laws of the United States, the State of Illinois, and the County of Hancock:


     “The recent death of Joseph Smith and his brother, by lawless violence, while confined in jail, has been justly reprobated by the public voice, as well in the county of Hancock, where it happened, as in the state of Illinois generally, and in other parts of the Union. No man, so far as my knowledge extends, has been found to justify that rash and guilty act, however much he might believe that the crimes of the prisoners had deserved punishment at the hands of the law.
     But it seems to me that public sentiment, as is often the case, is in danger of re-acting with so much force to overbear what, for want of a better term, I shall call public reason.  In other words, our feelings have been so much revolted by this instance of anti-Mormon violence, that we sympathize with the Mormons alone; we are strongly set against their opponents: we forget the past conduct of the prophet and his followers; we lose sight of the causes which led to the catastrophe, and the Mormons are becoming in our eyes a peaceful, law-abiding people, while their dead leaders assume the semblance of innocence and martyred victims. This is by no means an unusual revulsion in public feeling. But it is necessary to a just understanding of a question which may at no distant day be of the highest importance to ourselves, that we arrest this current sympathy, and calmly examine the actual position of things, before we are hurried away from the ground we have heretofore occupied.
     I need not review the history of the Mormons in this and other states. From the many and conflicting statements published, enough may be gathered to satisfy us of these facts: that they have everywhere been troublesome neighbors; and wherever they have established themselves they have bred difficulties, where none before existed; and that, taken as a body of people, especially if collected in strong settlements, they have always manifested a disposition to resist or evade the general laws of the state when applied to restrain their action. Such is the testimony against them in other states, and such is our own experience of them in Illinois.
     The causes of this insubordination and turbulence on their part are neither obscure nor uncertain; they are to be found in their peculiar tenets of faith and principles of government. Other religious sects are as enthusiastic as the Mormons, as devoted to the worship of the creed of their choice; but they form no distinct, civil, or political community; they are all (however variant from one another in religious opinion) citizens of a common government, and all recognise the supreme obligations of the constitutions, state and federal, and the laws made in pursuance there of. Each man looks to those laws as the measure of his duties and his rights, and is prepared to sustain their authority against all who oppose it.
     But the Mormons have heretofore proceeded upon a different system. The aim and object of him who called himself their prophet was to collect about him a people devoted to his will and obedient to all his commands. To this end he pretended to be inspired by God himself, to be favored with frequent revelations, and to announce to his followers, from time to time, the commands of the great Jehovah. To make his influence over them more direct and powerful, they were gathered, as much as possible, into communities, separate and distinct from other citizens; and, if people of a different persuasion have settled among them, they have been too few and weak to make head against the authority of the prophet. The Mormons, thus associated and thus taught, have been the blind, fanatical, unreasoning followers of an arch impostor. They have fed his luxury with the contributions of money and property. They have pampered his pride and the lust of power by their obedience and adulation. And, more than all, they have set up his will as paramount to the laws of the land, and have shown themselves on more than one occasion ready to support him by force in his opposition thereto. What else indeed, could be expected? The word of God, say they, is of far greater obligation than the word of man. God speaks by the mouth of Joseph—man speaks by human laws. Shall we not, therefore, rather obey God than man?
     Time will not permit me to exhibit the many illustrations of what I have stated above, which will readily occur to all who were familiar with the conduct of these people in Hancock county for the last three or four years. It is true that the grant of powers in the charter of the city of Nauvoo has furnished them with a pretext for some of the usurpations and encroachments of which they have been guilty. But it was but a pretext, and a flimsy one; it could not and did not deceive the designing men, who used it as a cloak for deliberate tyranny; it could not have served the purpose of deceiving any community not enslaved by the debasing influence of superstition; nor was that city charter necessary for the accomplishment of these purposes. Had that pretext been wanting, others would have been found. The ground work existed in the hearts of the deluded people; it was easy for the hand of their ruler to raise upon it his edifice of fraud, vice, and tyranny.
     Who does not know the fact that one short year since Joseph Smith, when arrested by the authority of the governor of this state, upon a demand made by the governor of Missouri, discharged himself from custody by a mock trial upon habeas corpus before his creatures, the city council of Nauvoo, he himself being president of that same city council, as mayor of the city!
     Who does not know that this successful defiance of the laws of this state, and of process emanating from its highest executive authority, is but one instance out of many. Let me enumerate a few of them. The authorities of

Nauvoo have assumed and exercised the power—

     To establish a recorder’s office for the record of deeds, independent of that provided for by the state laws in every county.
     To grant marriage licenses, independently of the state laws requiring them to issue from the clerk of the county commissioners’ court.
     To try cases of slander and causes the jurisdiction whereof is vested exclusively in the circuit courts of the state.
     To punish by fine and imprisonment persons guilty of speaking words disrespectful of Joseph Smith, and other alleged offenses, which if cognizable any where, belonged exclusively to the circuit courts.
     To arrest and annoy peaceable visiters to the city, by vexatious confinement and examination, under pretence of regulating its police.
     To discharge persons from arrests upon civil or criminal process from any court of the state, by writs of habeas corpus emanating from the city council.
     And they passed an ordinance prohibiting any civil officer to serve process from the state courts in Nauvoo, unless it was countersigned by their mayor, under penalty of fine and imprisonment, which the governor of the state is forbidden to remit by his pardon!”
(emphasis mine)

 Ask yourself: “If any group of people in the United States today, committed the offenses that the Mormon hierarchy did in Nauvoo in the 1840’s, would it be tolerated?” The answer is
clearly: NO!
     The question isn’t if the Mormon pioneers suffered tremendous hardships in these migrations from state to state: Of course they did! The question is: “Why were they driven from state to state?” The Mormon Church will continue to hide the truth, creating a false history in order to deceive unknowing Mormons.

© Copyright 2002 Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved. —Permission is granted to reproduce, provided content is not changed and this copyright notice is included.

Rocky and Helen Hulse

Rocky and Helen Hulse
Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine