Posted by: Jay | April 21, 2007

Ask me a question?

I have been Mormon my whole life. My parents both converted to the church in college. My Dad was Episcopalian and my Mom attended mostly Baptist meetings. I went to Ricks College and BYU for my undergraduate training. I went on a 2-year mission. I am currently an active Mormon with a leadership calling in my ward (not so sure I should have said yes). My experience has been that of a typical Mormon. I have probably heard every Mormon folktale out there. This post is to ask if anyone has a question they would like me to answer as a non-official, normal, even-headed Mormon. I make only one stipulation. I will not discuss details of ordinances held sacred by the LDS church. It is not because I think they would be shocking to the uninitiated (I really think they are quite ordinary), but I did make a commitment not to share them, so I will honor my word.

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Responses

  1. where did you go on your mission? Was it a great experience, just ok, or awful?

  2. I went to the Quito, Ecaudor mission. It was a great experience. I grew so much there. I think everyone should go live in a developing country for at least a few months. It would help them to appreciate the U.S.

  3. I have another question, I have thought about this a lot myself,

    If Joseph was not a prophet, then neither would anyone who followed, So I do you think they would, if they knew it wasn’t true, go on with the lie?

    I hope that would not be the case. I see all the leaders of the church as kind and honest. I would think that if it was infact all just made up someone in that position would speak out.

    What do you think?????

  4. No, I don’t think that a prophet would go on with the lie if he knew it was a lie. President Hinckley, for example, really believes it is true. I don’t think he is trying to cover up some vast conspiracy. Either he is a real prophet and he knows that or he thinks the LDS Church is true so he plays along.

    I know there are plenty of people out there that accuse the Church of lying and I understand why they think that. However, I’m not one of them. I think the Church is in a tight spot. Its job is to promote faith. Revealing the Churches flaws or weak spots doesn’t do that, so they just don’t talk about it. I think they should talk about it, but I understand why they don’t.

  5. When information is intentionally withheld or altered with the intention of causing someone to believe in a way that is not correct…that is a lie.

    The LDS church has and still does lie.

  6. Rick I believe they really are prophets, there for I believe it is truth and not a lie. Most men in the church that I meet are so wonderful, honest and kind. My stake Pres is the most amazing person I have ever met in my life. In these men I see the light of Christ, I saw the same light in the missionaried who taught us, and I see it in the prophet and apostles.

    JAY………….

    How are things going? Did you get a new calling? If so how do you feel about it? I hope that all is well with you, I hope you update more on your blog, I think about you and your struggles often, I hope you don’t mind if I pray for you as well

    Steph 🙂

  7. Steffielynn,

    Sorry, I’ve been out of town. Things are going well. I did get a new calling, Primary teacher! To tell the truth, I kind of feel like they are just getting me away from everyone. I’m going to do the best I can. It may turn out to be a good thing, who knows?

    When is your husband getting back? You must be getting very excited.

  8. Steffie,

    If I took a “spiritual second wife” and consumated the union, and then when confronted by members of the church about having multiple wives, I stated that I only have 1 wife, would you consider that a lie?

  9. Rick,
    Did someone in the Church do this? If your referring to Joseph Smith, I don’t think you can say categorically that he consumated the marriage. This is speculation only.

    In the situation above it would be a lie. Some would argue that someone might lie if they are under extreme pressure. That doesn’t make it right, but it does make it understandable. I don’t think a lie makes it impossible for you to be a prophet, it just makes you human.

  10. Jay and Rick…

    When you are the prophet you are held to a higher accountability simply becasue you are the leader. Your actions are a direct reflection on the church as a whole.

    Say for example the the world as a whole were exposed to the Pope, caught in a lie… it would reflect terribly on catholics as a group.

    The same goes here, the early Mormon people we encouraged to keep journals, the women that are linked to Joseph in most cases remained with the church through their lives and maintained their faith. If we can assume that they were God fearing, good people as LDS members, then we can also assume that what they wrote would be for the most part accurate from their perspective.

    In which case, it can be said that Joseph Smith, willingly took Multiple wives, believing that he was doing Gods work, right… and we are to fear God above men right… He concealed these marriages from Emma, for what ever reason.. he didn;t want to hurt her etc… but it is noted in these journal entries that Joseph did bed these women.

    Now I am not idiot, if I wrote in my journal that I was with a man, that I was married to.. in my bed, well it is not rocket science, I feel pretty sure that there was some “gettin jiggys” going on.

    Especially when these women had other husbands with whom they would reside… and the guilt that they felt over being married to one man, and having sex with him, and then when that man was away, taking another (J.S.) into their bed.

    So when he is confronted…If he does in fact believe that he is doing God’s work, he should have spoken proudly to the fact, as he did on other instances, insead he flatly denies it, and remarks, “I count but one wife.”

    So for the people who knew that Joseph had more than one wife, this was a blantantly obvious deception.

    Yes I conceed, J.S. was human, and bound to make mistakes…but he was also “God’s messenger” and responsible for bringing about a revolution in faith and belief.

    So Jay, I truly believe that you CAN categorically say that Joseph did consumate a majority of the unions, and that he Did lie about it. I would LOVE to be able to rationalize this away, but there is too much evidence to support these womens claims of intimacy. I want to believe that J.S. was and still is a great man, but I just cant now.

  11. Primary seems like a good calling, I hope you are able to enjoy it. I would assume they put you there for your sake, to make you feel more comfortable. I know some wonderful primary teachers, (one is a former stake pres!) I don’t think it’s a calling to just keep you away.

    My husband got home a few days ago! It has been so awesome! He says the same thing you did about developing countries, He keeps telling me how much he loves the U.S.A. !!!!!!!!!!!!

    On a side note he was a bit upset about the UT game the other day…. 😦

    So I really hope you will post more of your thoughts and struggles on here! Dicussing these things with you is fun, interesting, and informative, and i’d like to keep up with your progress!

  12. Jay,
    I reread this and I didn’t mean it’s “fun” like your struggles are fun. I just enjoy your blog 🙂

  13. Steffie,

    Let’s hope your husband won’t have to do a 4th tour.
    The UT game was lousy, but you should be happy about the BYU game.

  14. Cherryn,
    I’m not sure where you got your information. I don’t know of any journal articles that Joseph Smith’s wives kept of their sexual encounters with him. I fully believe that some of Joseph’s wives did have sex with him. However, I don’t believe there is the same evidence for the ones that were married to other men. Until some proof comes out that he did have sex with them, I will accept the apologist view that these were marriages for eternity only and not for this earth life. In other words, they lived with their husbands and were married to them until “death do you part” at which point the marriage to Joseph Smith became valid. This fits with LDS doctrine. If you have primary evidence to contradict this view I am willing to consider it.

    Understand that polygamy is not a big deal for me. It is practiced and sanctioned by God in the Old Testament (even though I know some will disagree with that). That is my belief that I feel is supported by scripture. Now having sex with someone else’s wife is another story entirely. I would have a problem with that.

    Steffielynn,
    I’m glad your husband made it home safely. My brother-in-law was a Special Forces helicopter pilot and served several tours in Afghanistan. We always worried a lot about him. Recently, he got out of the Army and now is a test pilot for a private company. Still dangerous, but at least there isn’t anyone shooting at him:)

    I will post some more soon. I’m just really busy right now. So I just have time to respond to people’s posts.

  15. cherryn

    A good site for audio podcasts is here by John Dehlin

    http://mormonstories.org/?page_id=102

    There is a 3 part Interview with Todd Compton who wrote the book In Sacred Loneliness .

    You might like to listen to Grant Palmer also and Richard Bushman .

    I found these Interviews to be very Informative about the church …

    Jay
    If you accept these mariages of Joseph Smith to other mens wives only came in force after death , what about those husbands then Is it right to take a mans wife from him in this way . Smith married Orson Hydes wife too …. are we sure these women were not sealed to their original husbands ? Would you give your wife to Joseph for eternity also ?

    Would you have given her when Joseph Smith asked literally for other mens wives ? supposedly a test from God ? More like an Ego trip for Joseph Smith to see how much power he really had over them .

  16. EJ,

    Your opinion about Joseph Smith is a valid one. However, it is just an opinion. I’m more interested in facts than I am in opinion.

    I can not give my wife to anyone, she is the only one that can do that. If she chose to be married to someone other than me after this life that is her choice. That is what I believe happened in the case of Joseph’s marriages to women that were already married. If there is proof that he had relations with them I am open to that, but I am not open to wild speculation and rumor.

  17. Jay I have a question

    I know that we have no paid clergy. Is the LDS church non profit like other churches???

    I guess I could look this up myself but i’m being lazy 🙂

    Rick,
    Thanks for for your comment! My husband does have to go back, (he’s just home on vacation) It stinks but we have been given strengh and peace about it.

    UT kicked some bootie this week 🙂

  18. To my knowledge, the Church is a non-profit organization.

    As for no paid clergy that isn’t exactly true. The General authorities of the Church (i.e. Seventies, Apostles, Prophets) receive money to support them while there full time job is taking care of Church business. We don’t know how much they are paid because the church doesn’t ever tell us. I don’t believe it is extravagant though (despite what others may claim). Many of them gave up high paying jobs to become a GA. I knew one of them personally growing up. Todd Christofferson was a successful lawyer (by the way he was a stake president in Nashville).

    When does you husband have to go back? I hope he gets to stay here for a while. I’m sorry to hear he’s having to return yet again.


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