Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What Interpreter probably won't publish

Log recently posted a comment at Interpreter - A Journal of Mormon Scripture that probably won't see the light of day because, as he explains it, "they won't countenance calling Woodruff a liar in public." 

As Sir Walter Scott quipped: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!"

Here is (a touched-up version of) what Log wrote:

The problem with relying on the honesty and integrity of well-connected individuals in the mid-to-late 1800s in the absence of actual documentary evidence for our claims to be able to seal in heaven that done on earth is that the Church in this time period was populated by liars and led by men the Church now unequivocally condemns. Indeed, we have very good evidence that a known liar led the Church in her most momentous decision, contrary to the word of the Lord received less than a year beforehand. I personally find Woodruff’s 1889 revelation credible because despite its source, like D&C 136, it is a statement against interest, as the lawyers say.
Moreover, it is interesting someone brought up Nibley. In Mormonism and Early Christianity, as well as The World and the Prophets, Nibley gives us the historical patterns of behavior of a Church in which prophecy and other gifts of the Spirit had gradually ceased, where priesthood became power and authority over men, and where keys were taken as licenses to exercise said authority. She counterfeited and doctored her history to support her claims to power and authority, not scrupling to efface the scriptures to resolve internal doctrinal conflicts and power struggles. She coupled claims to be able to bind in heaven that done on earth with the claim that her leadership was infallible. This Church extensively altered and denatured her doctrines and rites to adapt to the prevailing legal, social, and philosophical views of the surrounding culture, while ruthlessly pursuing internal orthodoxy. She preserved her temporal existence at the cost of her eternal soul. She became a hierarchy of fear and compulsion. 
The historical parallel between Catholicism and the development and behavior of modern Mormonism seems perfectly obvious from Nibley’s works. Just to mention two recent and alarming signs, we have heard Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei taught as recently as the October 2014 Conference, and the temple recommend interview has become a creed to which one must assent or be asked out of the Church – trammeled, indeed. Ask Rock Waterman. 
I have felt often that Nibley was the most subversive writer the LDS faith ever produced. His works will undoubtedly continue to be published, since he made the necessary pro forma declarations of faith in the leadership throughout, while those with their eyes open to the principles which govern behavior and relationships and power will continue to see the patterns of the ancients he described in clinical detail being played out before their own eyes in their own Church. 
Times change. What was true yesterday may no longer be true today. We can see this even in the scriptures. A Church that was true and living, with which the Lord was well-pleased, as of 1 November 1831 (D&C 1), could be, as of September 1832, condemned by God (D&C 84), which condemnation continued, said President Benson
And things might be changing again, today. What comes after condemnation?


  1. To clarify - there are very few ways to interpret the Woodruff episode.

    1. Woodruff alone out of the whole Church had power to be baptized for the dead.

    2. The records of the Church recording the multiple prior baptisms of the Founding Fathers were falsified.

    3. The Church didn't have power to perform baptisms for the dead - and a case could be made for that, too.

    “The church mostly went from there Kirtland Ohio to Missouri where they commenced another house from which they were driven to the State of Illinois where we were commanded to build a house or temple to the Most High God. We were to have a sufficient time to build that house during which time our baptisms for our dead should be acceptable in the river. If we did not build within this time we were to be rejected as a church we and our dead together. Both the temple and baptizing went very leisurely till the temple was somewhere in building the second story when Bro Joseph from the Stand announced the alarming declaration that baptism for our dead was no longer acceptable in the river, As much to say the time for building the temple had passed by and both we and our dead were rejected together. The church now stands rejected together with their dead. The church being rejected now stands alienated from her God in every sense of the word.” (Church History Vol 2 p 790)

    But that would entail #4, which is...

    4. Woodruff lied.

    Take your pick.

    Also, there are additional issues with our claims to seal in heaven that done on earth.

    Combine this...

    "O. Jerusalem. &c. whence are in the curse of Allmighty God that was to be poured out upon the heads of the Jews? That they would not be gathered. because they would not let Christ gather them. It was the design in the Councils of heaven before the world was that the principle & law of that priesthood was predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. Jesus did every thing possible to gather the people & they would not be gathered and he poured out curses upon them Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world of in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle. 2

    that is only your opinion Sir—say Sectarians.—when a man will go to hell it is more than my meat & drink to help them to do as they want to. 3 (give 'em what they ask for. how we got a church!)

    where there is no change of priesthood there is no change of ordinances says Paul. 4 If god has not changed the ordinances & priesthood, howl ye sectarians, if he has where has he revealed it. have ye turned revelators? then why deny it?"

    Words of Joseph Smith, 11 June 1843

    ...with this: (citation from an official Church source)

    President Young alone held the sealing keys for temple work. The responsibility weighed on him, and he must have felt the urgency to share the temple ordinances with others in a House of the Lord. Years before, the Prophet Joseph Smith had taken him and other Church leaders into a room above his Nauvoo store. There he divided off the room as best he could and carefully instructed them about the various temple ceremonies. “Brother Brigham,” he said when he was finished, “this is not arranged right, but we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed, and I want you to take this matter in hand and organize and systematize all these ceremonies.” (L. John Nuttall diary, Feb. 7, 1877, typescript, Church Archives.)

    The conclusion is immediate: the endowments are either broken (if Brigham was lying) or never were salvific (if Brigham was telling the truth).

    1. Forgot to mention Rock's article ruled out #2 (prior baptisms for some of the Founders were witnessed by non-Mormons), and #1 is certainly inconsistent with the Church's claims - probably inconsistent even with Woodruff's own claims on the subject.

  2. "The conclusion is immediate: the endowments are either broken (if Brigham was lying) or never were salvific (if Brigham was telling the truth)."

    Log, for those (like me) who are not so bright as to understand your statement without amplification, could you expound on the above quote?

  3. Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world of in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle.

    If you change them, you are no longer performing them. Joseph told Brigham to rearrange what Joseph was giving Brigham. Rearranging, at the least, is altering or changing the ordinance. Therefore, if Brigham reported truly, the endowments (and maybe more) never were necessary for salvation, or, if Brigham reported falsely, the endowments (and maybe more) are broken and cannot save.

    1. Thank you for the clarification. That was very helpful.

  4. Seems pertinent to the dialog:


  5. Looks like Interpreter deleted Log's comments that had made it to the page at one time.

    Sad, I had hoped better from them when they started.

  6. Yes, the point of the once-published and now-deleted comment was that tracing the provenance of the RECEIVED TEXT of D&C 132 back to Joseph depends solely upon the truthfulness of Joseph C. Kingsbury in 1886 and 1892, a time of much lying in the Church, as I mention in the post above. That's where the trail dead-ends, as Brian Hales admitted. No contemporary description of the contents of D&C 132 makes mention of the parenthetical material in verse 7, to my knowledge.

    And Kingsbury was a very well-connected and successful businessman and Church leader.

    And it is not beyond imagination to suppose that any well-connected and successful businessman and Church leader would be amenable to Brigham's influences.

    Neither of my comments are on moderation - they are gone. The orthodox claims are not logical deductions nor matters of ironclad eyewitness testimony, but rather a subjective value proposition, and it comes down solely to a choice as to who to believe. If I had to guess, I would infer by their deleting my comments that they would prefer the nature of their position not be known openly - at least, not have to host it on their site.

    I was being nice. I didn't even point out that damn near every time Hales cited Snuffer, Hales got Snuffer wrong - even when Hales is citing Snuffer summarizing Hales.

    1. Seems to be par for the course, sadly. I cut my teeth as a teenager on the FARMS review of anti-mormon books. I sorrowed recently as FARMS changed focus as the Maxwell Institute, but looked forward to them carrying on as Interpreter.

      Sadly, the way they've treated Denver has cast a shadow over all of that work. I know what Denver wrote, and they couldn't have done a better job turning what he said into straw men. Very sad.

      I've been interested in the history of 132. Can you repost some of the links you had in your comment? What is the earliest copy of 132? Where was it copied from?

  7. The link in the comment above was the only link in the comment the Interpreter has deleted.

    And you know what? Up until they fired Peterson, I had read nearly everything FARMS put out. And Hales's review reminded me of this one, from FARMS.

    And I'm thinking they've always been this way. The distortions, the innuendo, the inability to read properly nor fairly represent the views he is at war with - these are all signs of cognitive dissonance. The author is in such conflict with what he's reading that he cannot internalize it to comprehend it properly lest his paradigm shatter.

    IE, he cannot take the emotional chance on his opponent being right - he fears it mightily.

    1. I agree completely about their methods. I always thought the folks crying foul just didn't like getting torn apart. Now I think maybe they had reason for their complaints. I giggled as I read their take-down of John Dehlin (I am still not a fan of his), but after seeing how Denver is treated, I just don't trust their treatments, or at least their reviews, any more.

      It just shows once again that if a person really has the truth, they cannot possibly fear being proved wrong. But that is only if they REALLY know that truth. Its something I've become more aware of in my own life after reading it in one of your comments.

      Thanks for clarifying the link. I thought I saw the bycommonconsent link over there, but I see it was actually here in this post.

    2. Log, I was an enthusiastic reader of the Farms Review for many years (I still have at least a dozen volumes on my shelves), It wasn't until I read the review of Quinn's "Mormon Hierarchy" that I began to suspect they were less than honest,

      Mormon apologetics have very little in common these days with clarifying truth. They exist as a defense of the corporate Church, and not as a defense of the gospel of Christ.

    3. And it's not simple dishonesty, but a panicked and fearful unwillingness to openly and fully consider alternative paradigms - for this is what we are seeing, a conflict in Mormon religious paradigms.

      For them, either the Church is everything she claims, or she is nothing she claims. She must possess all the powers and priesthoods she claims, or she is false. And that is unthinkable to them, perhaps literally.

      I know cognitive dissonance.

    4. I should probably repent of ascribing too much malice to those folks.

      While dishonestly does enter into play, I think a lot of the trouble is they really cannot see, cannot conceive of anything beyond the dichotomy you've pointed out.

      They are much like grindael over on the latest post on Rock's blog, they just can't get outside their framework.

      We all suffer this to one degree or another.

    5. Until we really know the truth, I think so.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Anyways, Hales has given what I understand to be the public facts concerning D&C 132's origin. The text as we have it originates with Joseph only if Kingsbury was telling the truth, and if the Clayton copy was unadulterated, as Hales admits - both conditions must be true.

    It is situations like this that caused me to formulate my personal philosophy of knowledge. There probably was a real past before my earliest waking memory, but if so, I cannot know it.

    The search for truth, exactly like the search for peace, and the search for God, is the search for conflict resolution. And they are all three the same search. For that which is true will never be in conflict, and that which is false will conflict both with itself and truth - and God is the truth.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. "It just shows once again that if a person really has the truth, they cannot possibly fear being proved wrong. But that is only if they REALLY know that truth."

    No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something, and this can only be in the holiest of holies. - Joseph Smith

    "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

    As for me, I yet only have faith, as I understand the word.

  12. Hey Will, this one's for you.

    I preached in the grove on the keys of the Kingdom, Charity &c The keys are certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed--The rich can only get them in the Temple, the poor may get them on the mountain top as did Moses. The rich cannot be saved without charity, giving to feed the poor when and how God requires, as well as building. There are signs in heaven, earth and hell: the Elders must know them all, to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition. The devil knows many signs, but does not know the sign of the Son of Man, or Jesus. - Joseph Smith

  13. Anyways, on the topic of the post - I personally believe it to be a problem for the Church that some of the Church's key claims are not well-documented, such as establishing the provenance of the received text of D&C 132 to Joseph Smith, but instead admittedly rest on very late reminisces during a time when Mormons were characterized by polygamy, and lying about polygamy. Other of her claims rest on documentation that, frankly, don't support her claims on their face (D&C 110). And yet other claims can only be traced to Brigham Young (the content of the temple rites). And her most audacious claim - Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei - the Mormon answer to the Catholic claim of Papal infallibility - does not come about, ironically enough, as a declaration of either scripture or the united 15 apostles.

    I had originally thought that perhaps the Church could walk back some of these weak historical claims, just as she did with the black priesthood ban and polygamy, or at least admit that these things are far less than the certainties that they have been presented as - but it occurs to me that she will not. They are the keys to her power. Once you've claimed the One Ring, you must exert all your efforts to keep it and defend it from enemies - for source of your power over the hearts and minds of men is the source of your insecurity as well.

    Man, this sucks.

    On a tangentially related topic, did you know that maybe 50% of all scientific literature is falsified? Check your doctors' knowledge, kids!

    How is this related? Science is merely a competing priesthood - it competes with religion on the same grounds. Just as religions have historically fabricated documentation to support their claims to power and ascendancy over men, so also has science.

    As Nibley summarized: "In George Orwell's much cited and disturbing novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the tyrannical super-state of the future is operated by its masters on the proposition that "who controls the past controls the present, and who controls the present controls the future." That is the secret of power: If you can control people's ideas of the past, you control their ideas of the present and hence the future."

    1. Dude, that's a long link! (But I'll try to remember to come back and digest it soon, thanks for sharing.) You've made some EXCELLENT points here (painful to reveal as they are).

  14. Log,
    It is with joy that I read your posts these days. Either you have changed, or I have changed, or we both have changed. Love ya brother!
    James Russell Uhl

  15. The Interpreter has allowed some comments of mine.

    I invite any who are interested to evaluate the responses to my comments for relevancy and adequacy.

  16. In fact, compare their responses to "The Way of the Church."

    Hales propounded what Nibley described as the Baptist "Trail of Blood" theory, while Gardner substituted his intuition, his notion of what Joseph would or would not say, for what the texts tell us he DID say.

  17. Here's another comment they may not publish.


    I also do not expect a change in perspectives. But it is important, I think, to show that there are multiple views that can legitimately be taken with respect to the sources the Church acknowledges.

    Statements against interest are inherently credible, particularly where there are contradictions. And first-order contradictions do not get reconciled or resolved; they are prima facie evidences of untruth.

    I feel it appropriate to point out the Church considers the endowments to be an ordinance, and not a set of ordinances: https://www.lds.org/topics/ordinances?lang=eng

    And there are sources which may be appealed to which establish that the endowments, washing, anointings, and garments, have been substantially altered throughout the years.

    Frankly, we do not know that anything we do in our temples is identical to that delivered by Joseph Smith – including the sealing ordinance. Again, the trail ends in Brigham Young, as does our presumption of malleability without loss of functionality. And to say the core elements have not changed is an extraordinary claim in light of the documentation we have about the ordinances.

    Sprinkling preserves the core element of baptism, after all – getting wet. Why therefore is the change from immersion to sprinkling seen as an example corruption in Catholicism by LDS, but the equivalent alterations to, say, the washings and anointings are somehow virtuous when we do it? Whence the double standard? Is it because we can do whatever we want since we’ve got the keys and all our changes are authorized, while theirs are simply unauthorized innovation? But isn’t our justification for our innovations effectively what they said about their own, too?

    In the end, everyone gets to pick what to believe. I personally believe those awkward things attributed to Joseph which do not paint the Church nor her future in a rosy light, as those are inherently credible, being statements against interest, and stand as witnesses against those who impugn his character and motives as being a power-hungry, greedy, sexual predator setting up a cultic apparatus to victimize the gullible and satiate his lusts. I believe those things he said which contradict those who came after him. Not everyone can be right when there are first-order contradictions. And since Joseph’s visionary and revelatory experiences are the basic foundation for the existence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it seems to me that greater weight ought to be lent to his words than any who have come afterwards – particularly those who do not claim the same experiences nor bear the same fruits. Because I’ve read my Nibley, I also am aware that not everything attributed to Joseph is likely to be reliable, which implies that I should give greater weight to the earliest documents for which provenance to Joseph can be established.

    It is possible that not all of the Church’s key claims for itself have been, or are, true. With the recent essays on polygamy and the black priesthood ban, it seems she’s admitting she’s made significant mistakes. It seems kind of important to figure out how much has she gotten wrong, and what she got right.

    But to each their own.

    Thanks for your time."

    1. This one may not get published because of the intimation of corruption of both rites and teaching from those who sit in the chief seats since Joseph.

      Remember, the point they're defending is that the Church is essentially the same as it was since Joseph founded it: all decisions inspired, all changes authorized, all leaders mini-Josephs. All is well in Zion... except for those punks who say not all is well in Zion. Once we get rid of those guys - and those guys are increasingly those who pay attention to Joseph and the scriptures - all will be well in Zion.

      Except who'll be left but those who know only what the Church presently teaches, and are incurious about what came before?

      And that's the point. Let the purging commence.

    2. Fantastic comment.

      I've been listening to "Time Vindicates the Prophets," which Nibley gave as radio lectures back in the 50s. I've loved the series for years, but the last few times I've listened to it, it has felt more like a funeral sermon than a vindication of our current course as a church.

    3. Excellent points, Log. I'm sorry I do not have more to contribute. You are clearing the field quite admirably on your own! ;o)

  18. It never occurs to them that the great apostasy was not a falling away of the people from the priesthood, but a falling away of the leadership from the priesthood, taking the people with them.

    1. Lest I be misunderstood, by "priesthood" I am speaking of the council in Heaven.

    2. ... at least, in the second occurrence of the word.

  19. From "Time Vindicates the Prophets" aka "The World and the Prophets":

    "To corrupt the gospel is to lose it; the plan of salvation and the Church of Jesus Christ may not be changed without being lost and when lost may not be regained by any process of reformation. This is not narrowness or pedantry; we see it in all our basic institutions.

    "When a language is changed, whether for better or for worse, that language is lost, and the only way we can find it again is to discover ancient and undefiled sources—all the zeal in the world can never reform us back to early English. A French scholar has recently asked, can we revive classical studies by reproducing "the miracle of the Renaissance?" The Renaissance was not actually a revival of ancient learning, however, but a wholly new type of learning based on the study of the ancients, and what brought it about was not the work of reformers but the accidental discovery of ancient texts preserved in some purity by centuries of complete neglect. Consider the gospel in this light: When the covenants were broken and the ordinances changed, and the churches taught for doctrines the commandments of men, the old gospel was simply no longer there. Today church historians, Protestant and Catholic alike, agree that this was so, and they easily reconcile themselves to the situation by insisting that what took the place of the old church was really something much better, something far more fit for survival in a wicked world, much more available to the grasp and amenable to the taste of the average man. The early church, they explain, was something hopelessly impractical and of extremely limited popular appeal; therefore, it had to go; it was merely a tiny acorn from which a mighty oak was to grow, etc. Well, what interests us here is not their explanation and justification of what happened, but the admission that it did happen. The primitive church was changed, and thereby the primitive church was lost. And to this we add the thesis that such loss was an irreversible process. Reformation could no more bring it back than it could bring back Old English, eighteenth-century monarchy, or the thinking of the Scipionic Circle.

    "In the earliest Christian writings we often come across the prediction regarding the future of the church that the sheep would turn to wolves. What would they be in that case—a new breed of sheep? Not a bit of it: the sheep as such would cease to exist, however loudly the wolves might continue to call themselves sheep and parade their Christian background and tradition and name. The Lord and the Apostles use the examples of the salt that is spoiled, the tares that destroy the wheatfield until they can be burned, the wolves that destroy the flock, and the sheep that turn into wolves, precisely because weeds and wolves, briers, and salt that has lost its savor are things that can never be reformed: they are beyond saving."


  20. Hence, new wine in new wineskins. Either the Spirit through Nibley spoke prophetically of things Nibley was himself unware of, or Nibley knew more than he let on, and his constant affirmations of the inspired calling of the then present leadership assured his works would be available to a future generation which otherwise would not understand what they are looking at today.

    1. Things have also changed much in the last 50+ years since Nibley gave this specific set of lectures.

      Whatever his thoughts might have been about his current leaders, his whole thrust in these lectures was on the true meaning and calling of what prophets actually do:

      "As against this, the whole calling of a prophet is to communicate the will of God to men; he is a mouthpiece and a witness, and he tells what he has seen and heard; he is a man with a message."

      "Compare this testimony of modern prophets with that of the ancients: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; . . . That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." (1 John 1:1, 3.) After all, it is the testimony of the prophets that gives us the real Easter."

      "We have already discussed "A Prophet's Reward" and pointed out that prophets have been put to death not for their moral and ethical preachings, however severely they may have castigated the manners and practices of their time, but always for their insistence on bearing witness to what they have seen and heard, and for that alone."

      He certainly had no illusions about high office automatically granting heavenly favor, based on the story of his Grandfather, who was in the First Presidency:

      “I think it was that last talk I had with Grandpa, and I went to see Grandpa Nibley, and that’s when he died. He had a suite on the top floor of the Hotel Utah. He said, ‘D’you see that window there?’ Considering the things he’d done in his life, he says, ‘If an angel were to come through that door, I would jump right out that window. I wouldn’t hesitate. I’d go right through that window.’ he said. He couldn’t face an angel; he was talking about the culture shock of meeting an angel and so forth. And, uh, that was our parting conversation. The last words to me. Then we said good-bye, and so forth. But that left it with me, you see. Here he was in the First Presidency, had been Presiding Bishop for all those years, and yet he says now that he could not face an angel, and it had been because–we’d been talking about it; because of the things he had to do in the way of business.”

  21. Here's some more stuff on ordinances, again from Time Vindicates the Prophets, from the lecture "Prophets and Ritual:"

    "In nothing does the uniqueness of the Latter-day Saints stand out more clearly than in matters of rites and ordinances. In the first place the restored Church of Jesus Christ presents the astonishing spectacle of the entire religious community engaged in the performance of rites and duties of a sacred nature. Much of the world believes that the primary purpose of all ritual and liturgy is to glorify God by more or less theatrical demonstrations and that it makes no difference, accordingly, how many engage in the performance as long as the thing takes place. Everywhere throughout the world men have delegated their own religious duties to fulltime professionals, so that they could be free to go about their everyday tasks unhampered by annoying religious obligations. If they participate at all in religious rituals, it is as spectators at a show, and one can easily demonstrate the steps by which rites originally established, we are told, for the express benefit and direct participation of all the covenant people—not just the priests—have become more and more a show put on by way of pleasing and mollifying God. Thus with the passing of time, the ordinances given to the fathers have lost their effectiveness and their meaning.

    "One of the most remarkable features of Latter-day Saint ordinances is that they are, or claim to be, pristine. They are the same ordinances that were given in the beginning. That is the way God wants it, and that is the way it must be. The whole validity of such ordinances depends on their having been revealed directly from heaven. No effort is made to give practical or rational explanation of these ordinances; they are not interpreted symbolically, nor are they justified by their aesthetic appeal, which is extremely limited. We do these things on faith for no other reason save that the Lord has commanded us to do them. The importance of a living prophet in such a ritual scheme of things will be at once apparent. Granted that the real business of life is to do what God wants us to, the whole problem is then to determine what that is. Only a prophet can tell us."


    "Note that the rites of the church are to be adapted to the established practices and concepts of men; the tastes and the institutions of this world, in a word, are to be the determining factor in the formation of rites in the future as they have been in the past. This is not the heavenly order, this pursuit of the practical, the popular, the aesthetically appealing. At the very least we have here an admitted compromise with these things which the ancient saints were taught to avoid, "for all these things do the nations of the world seek after."

    Note that in 1954, many of the changes to Temple ordinances had not yet been made. The first film versions of the Endowment were made for the Swiss temple, which was dedicated in the fall of 1955.

    The point about things being adapted to the people over time, "better fitting the time" is exactly the kind of justification you hear for the modifications to temple ordinances today.

    That the endowment has become more of a show, than a participatory event goes almost without saying. As I understand it, in the earliest Endowments in Utah, each participant personally knelt at the alter for the ordinances. Today, we don't even stand up, and are treated to a hollywood-style, acted experience.

    1. (continued)

      The parallel between the changes in washings an anointings and changes in baptism in the catholic world is a brilliant example. We think we are immune from kinds of mistakes made by the primitive church as they made their slide into apostasy, but we are following their pattern, almost exactly.

      "Hebrews 6:4—5: "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come" — At this point we pause and ask the church historians just what is impossible regarding those people who have been blessed with every gift and power that God gives to men on earth? To our question we receive the unanimous and reassuring answer that it is impossible for people once so mightily endowed ever wholly to lose the gospel; God has not given his greatest gifts to men, we are assured, simply to have them turn their backs on him. Is it possible or even conceivable, the churchmen have asked in every century, that after giving such great blessings and signs and wonders to the church, God should ever remove his Spirit from it or rather remove his church from the earth? Here is the answer of the Apostle (and the Apostolic Fathers later confirm it with passion): it is possible, entirely possible, for those who have received the greatest promises and blessings that heaven bestows to lose everything; the words of the author of Hebrews are meant as a warning against just that. What is not possible is that men who have once lost those blessings should ever regain them again by any efforts of their own: "It is impossible . . . if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance" (Hebrews 6:6). Our author then compares such people to ground which has become overgrown with thorns and briers. Other land, he says, can drink rain from heaven and bring forth vegetation when the time of refreshment comes, but for that land that was once rich in goodly herbs and then turned to weeds there is no such hope: "But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned" (Hebrews 6:8). The Pastor of Hermas reminds the church again and again that after a certain day soon to come it will no longer be possible for Christians to repent or reform though repentance will continue to remain open to the heathen. There is, we are informed in this wonderful writing, a point of no return for the church beyond which reform will be impossible."


  22. Ben, you should write a comprehensive post on the changes to the Church in light of Nibley's writings and submit it to Tim at Latterdaycommentary.com.

    No reason I should have all the fun. And, honestly, it all makes me want to cry.

    1. I should. I think I will.

      And I agree. Tears of mourning.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. The official interpretation of D&C 110 vs...

    "The ardent Catholic apologist Arnold Lunn recently wrote: "The Church claims that her credentials can be proved from certain books in the Bible, treating them as purely human documents. The Bible consists of a series of books selected by the Catholic Church—books which the Catholic Church claims the right to interpret. It is for the church to say where the Bible records objective facts and where the Bible uses metaphor and allegory." 96 This is self-certification with a vengeance: the church waves before us certain documents which she claims prove her authority; these documents she has personally selected, but even so they do not even remotely suggest what she claims they do unless they be read and interpreted in a very special sense, that sense being carefully prescribed—by the church! Mr. Lunn is telling us in effect that the church has a perfect right to control the past to prove its holy calling, even though the only proof of that calling is the doctored document itself. A reading of Denzinger will show the surprising degree to which the reading of the scriptures is controlled by the Roman church; in this valuable work the extreme nervousness of the clergy about letting people read the Bible for themselves or in their own languages goes hand in hand with the frequent and frank admission, that while the Bible seems to swarm with anti-Catholic material, to make a pro-Catholic case out of it requires the labor of trained specialists equipped with highly artificial tools of interpretation."

    Also, I don't know if Nibley treated it anywhere, but mention might profitably be made of the shifting definitions of words - and attribution of later theology to earlier writers.

    "When in 1865 John Henry Newman was consulted by a friend regarding the founding of a Catholic historical review he replied: "Nothing would be better—but who would bear it? Unless one doctored all one's facts, one would be thought a bad Catholic."98 At the same time Duchesne was protesting in vain to his fellow church historians "that it was contrary to a sound historical method to insist on twisting the texts to make them talk like Athanasius," that is, to control the earlier texts in support of later theology.99 In opposing this Duchesne was bucking the established practice of centuries. According to De Wulf, when St. Thomas Aquinas wants to disagree with St. Augustine, his unfailing guide and mentor, "he does not contradict him; he does not consider him suspect . . . instead he transforms the meaning of his statements, sometimes by slight corrections, sometimes by violent interpretations which do violence to the text." Von Hertling has listed some 250 citations from Augustine, a good portion of them deliberately falsified.100"

    1. .. meaning specifically equivocation on key terms, such as "oracles," "priesthood," "keys," and so on, to make appear the present Church is identical to the earliest Church.

  24. There was another quote in which antediluvian society was portrayed as exceptionally wicked but self-justifying through possession of the temple rites. Must find that one - might be in Enoch the Prophet somewhere...