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 Post subject: FAIRMORMON, Brian Hales, and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:45 pm 
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FAIRMORMON has gotten a new domain debunking-cesletter.com, and are in the process of putting together yet another attempt to debunk Jeremy Runnells CES Letter. Given the complete failure of their first attempt, they are now using the CES Letter itself and adding short comments in the margins and then a link under the comments for further information. http://debunking-cesletter.com/wp-conte ... -3-151.pdf

I reported on this here initially, viewtopic.php?f=1&t=38893 by taking one of the arguments of Brian Hales and debunking it. But there are so many more, and I love a good debunking. Hales has been touting his work on this new debunking as his promised response to Jeremy's claims in the CES Letter. I'd like to address Hales' claims here and will take them one by one (in no particular order). Here is a screenshot of one page of their new attempt, (these are Hales responses to the Polygamy section of the CES Letter) and I will take all of the claims on this page and then move on to another until I've covered them all. So hunker down and keep coming back for more, interested readers!

Image

Hales makes a feeble attempt to debunk this claim by Jeremy:

Quote:
What it does prove, however, is that Joseph Smith’s pattern of behavior or modus operandi for a period of at least 10 years of his adult life was to keep secrets, be deceptive, and be dishonest – both privately and publicly.


Hales writes,

Quote:
Dishonesty for ten years? William Law wrote in 1839: “I have carefully watched [Joseph Smith’s] movements since I have been here, and I assure you I have found him honest and honourable in all our transactions. ..I believe he is an honest and upright man.” (Bottom right, page above)


It is hard to fathom why Hales would use a comment by William Law to try and prove Joseph’s honesty, but rationality is not his strong suit.

There are several things seriously wrong with how Hales presents this, however.

First, he gets the date wrong! Law wrote this letter on November 29, 1840, not in 1839. Hales must not be too concerned with accuracy. This is quite laughable because this seems to be a MAJOR concern that Hales has with Jeremy. (Use the link above to see page 32 where he makes this accusation) Yet, here we are seeing Hales making such mistakes. Why Brian, can’t you provide ACCURATE details? :redface:

Second, notice the use of ellipsis in this quote. Hales is the KING of ellipsis. Here is the full quote without the ellipses:

Quote:
It is needless for me to express my regret that you [*Isaac Russell] remain so long from the body of the church you who have been so very zealous for the cause of Christ you who have been willing to sacrifice all things for the building up of the kingdom in the last days read the Book of Mormon and you will find that Joseph has not fallen he has not done his work yet and if he sins is there no room for repentance can not God forgive him and can not we forgive him very often in a day.

I have carefully watched his movements since I have been here and I assure you I have found him honest and honourable in all our transactions which have been very considerable I believe he is an honest upright man, and as to his follies let who ever is guiltless throw the first stone at him I shant do it (William Law to Isaac Russell, Nov. 29, 1840, as quoted in Lyndon W. Cook, William Law’s Pre Nauvoo Letters, 217-218, Online here, https://ojs.lib.BYU.edu/spc/index.php/B ... /5134/4784


*Isaac Russell (1807-1844) was from Toronto, Canada and converted to the Church by Parley Pratt. Went to Britain in 1837 with Heber C. Kimball. In 1838 he became convinced that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet.

Third, William Law is only speaking about what Joseph was doing “since I have been here”, and William Law arrived in the Nauvoo area (according to Cook) in early November, 1839. (p. 217)

So this observation only covers a year at best. Except, Joseph left on a mission for Washington on October 29, 1839, so he wasn’t even in Nauvoo when William Law arrived there. He didn’t arrive back in Nauvoo until March of 1840. So William Law’s observation about Joseph being “honest and honorable” (in this instance) only covers 7 months of his life! Could Joseph have kept things secret from William Law during that period? Absolutely. We know that he did later.

We know that Joseph kept his polygamy secret from Law, who probably didn’t have it confirmed to him by Joseph until October, 1843. Law was defending Joseph against charges of polygamy from 1841/42 while Joseph was denying it, and lying about it. When he found out, he was furious and tried to get Joseph to publicly own up to his teaching and practice of his spiritual wifeism, but Joseph never did and because Law would not keep silent about it, Joseph had him excommunicated in a sham "trial" where he never had a chance to defend himself.

So using this observation from William Law to cover a ten year period is extremely disingenuous of Hales. But there is more. Notice what Hales left out of the quote:

Quote:
… if he sins is there no room for repentance can not God forgive him and can not we forgive him very often in a day.” And, “as to his follies let who ever is guiltless throw the first stone at him I shant do it.”


So obviously Law was aware of Joseph’s “follies”. And what does follies mean in this sense: “a costly and foolish undertaking; unwise investment or expenditure.”

How do we know this? Law wrote other letters! In this letter to James Molholland, Law states,

Quote:
…as to Joseph building a bank at Kirtland I look on it as like unto the affair of David being moved by God to number the people when [he was?] displeased with Israel, —See 2da Samuel 24 Chap.1ist verse—So the lord was angry with the saints and suffered them to have the bank as a snare that he might punish them for their love of riches and speculation &c.


Law at this time claimed that there was dishonesty going on around Joseph, but like others was not willing to pin the blame on him. Like Lorenzo Snow once said of Joseph Smith:

Quote:
“I saw Joseph the Prophet do, and heard him say, things which I never expected to see and hear in a Prophet of God, yet I was always able to throw a mantle of charity over improper things. I feel like David of old who would not raise his hand against the anointed of God, even though Saul had sought to take his life. We have got to submit to things that do not agree with our ideas if we remain true to God...” Lorenzo Snow, Statement, January 29, 1891, as cited in Dennis B. Horne, An Apostle’s Record: The Journals of Abraham H. Cannon (Clearfield, Utah: Gnolaum Books, 2004), 175. See also "Candid Insights of a Mormon Apostle, The Diaries of Abraham H. Cannon, Edward Leo Lyman, Ed., 176-177.


Snow here, likens his "mantle of charity" over Smith's "improper things", to Saul trying to murder David. Hales continues to harp about how there were "no complaints" from those around Joseph, but here, Snow claims that he wouldn't complain even if Joseph committed attempted murder, like King Saul! Why? Because Joseph was "the anointed of God", and they considered it wrong to do so. Notice how alike the Snow and Law comments are.

Hales tries to make Law’s observation from 1840 (wrongly dated to a year earlier) into some kind of blanket approval of his conduct for 10 years. Even if William Law had never apostatized, he joined the church in 1836, and Joseph died in 1844, so by then Law would only have known him for eight years, not ten. Law (as a believer) had the exact same attitude as Lorenzo Snow. If Joseph were doing bad things, he really didn't want to know about it. So yes, he observed him as being "honest and honorable" for those seven months, because he obviously was not (as he claimed) going to be the one to "pin the blame on him".

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Last edited by grindael on Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:58 pm 
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Perhaps we should make a new PDF and address this new debunking? How about something like this...

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:42 pm 
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In one of the claims above, Hales states:

Quote:
"We do not know what Joseph said to Emma. The CES Letter makes assumptions and then condemns Joseph based on those assumptions.


He is being critical of this comment by Jeremy:

Quote:
Now, does the fact that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and polyandry while lying to Emma, the Saints, and the world about it over the course of 10+ years prove that he was a false prophet? That the Church is false? No, it doesn't.


We do not know what Joseph said to Emma? Really? Actually, we do. How do we know? Why, William Clayton wrote down what Joseph said to Emma on many occasions in his Journal. Here is one instance of Joseph blatantly lying to Emma:

Quote:
This A.M. Joseph told me that since E[mma] came back from St. Louis she had resisted the P[riesthood]52 in toto and he had to tell her he would relinquish all for her sake. She said she would [have] given him E[liza] and E[mily] P[artridge], but he knew if he took them she would pitch on him and obtain a divorce and leave him. He however told me he should not relinquish anything. O God deliver thy servant from iniquity and bondage. (George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, p.117).


Here, Clayton writes that Joseph "had to tell her [Emma] he would relinquish all [his wives] for her sake." He then tells Clayton that he lied to Emma, because Clayton writes that "He [Joseph Smith] TOLD ME he should not relinquish anything."

This is Joseph lying to Emma's face. We have it documented from a contemporary source the same day it happened. How is this an ASSUMPTION on anyone's part? Hales simply doesn't seem to be familiar with the sources, because he makes a claim (that we don't know what Joseph said) that is easily refuted by a primary source.

Did Joseph lie to the "Saints"? Yes he did. Willard Richards recorded on October 5, 1843:

Quote:
Thursday, October 5[th] Morning rode out with Esqu[ire] Butterfield to farm &c. P.M. rode on prairie to shew some brethren some land. Eve[ning] at home. Walked up and down St[reet] with Scribe and gave instructions to try those who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives on this Law. Joseph forbids it and the practice thereof. No man shall have but one wife. [rest of page blank] {page 116} (Scott H. Faulring, An American Prophet's Record, p.417).


What was Joseph doing in private? Allowing other men to continue to practice his spiritual wifeism, and even Smith did so after this when he "married" Fanny Young on November 2, 1843. Smith claims here that he FORBIDS the practice of "plurality of wives" or even teaching it. No man shall have but ONE wife. Smith was LYING when he proclaimed this. Hales mumbo jumbo about defining what polygamy means can't get around the precise wording of this proclamation by Joseph.

Hales also claims,

Quote:
The CES Letter employs extreme views and exaggerations in order to find reasons to condemn Joseph Smith. If he were guilty of such deception, whouldn't someone have complained?


"Someone" did complain! William Law, Austin Cowles, Emma Smith, (in private See the Aug 1843 quote above where Joseph claims that Emma would "pitch on him", obtain a divorce and leave him), to name a few. Others who believed that Joseph was "God's Anointed", we have already discussed. They would allow Joseph to commit attempted murder and not complain! This is nothing new, as many who have proclaimed themselves prophets have gained the trust of followers who believed in them enough to commit suicide, murder and do other horrible things.

Hales uses this argument like a trump card, but it is actually a joker in his deck.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:24 pm 
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grindael wrote:
It is hard to fathom why Hales would use a comment by William Law to try and prove Joseph’s honesty, but rationality is not his strong suit.


At least under the law, a favorable statement from one's adversary is considered a very high quality piece of evidence to support the fact asserted to be true. In one of my published works, I rely heavily on T.B.H. Stenhouse to uphold the integrity of Thomas L. Kane. Indeed, I try and rely on hostile sources as much as possible to prove a point.

Conversely, a criticism offered from a hostile source has very low value, and a criticism from a very sympathetic source is considered high quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:40 pm 
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Yahoo Bot wrote:
grindael wrote:
It is hard to fathom why Hales would use a comment by William Law to try and prove Joseph’s honesty, but rationality is not his strong suit.


At least under the law, a favorable statement from one's adversary is considered a very high quality piece of evidence to support the fact asserted to be true. In one of my published works, I rely heavily on T.B.H. Stenhouse to uphold the integrity of Thomas L. Kane. Indeed, I try and rely on hostile sources as much as possible to prove a point.

Conversely, a criticism offered from a hostile source has very low value, and a criticism from a very sympathetic source is considered high quality.


Not necessarily. Those sources should be taken case by case. There are all kinds of sources that are disaffected (considered hostile), apostate (considered hostile), etc. that really aren't, like Stenhouse. I don't consider many of Joseph plural wives a high quality source because I've found many discrepancies in them. All due respect, but I don't think it can be generalized like that. And Law wasn't hostile in 1840, he was the opposite. But Hales used him just for the sake of the argument that you put forth. That he's considered hostile NOW.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:06 pm 
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He uses WILLIAM LAW?

Sweet Jesus.

Sometimes I wonder whether the Reed Smoot hearings ever ended.


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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:17 pm 
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Seriously?

Is that really an example of Brian Hales' rebuttal of the CES Letter?

I am looking at this, doing a double take, and still in disbelief.

This is real?

If it is, this is really awful stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:28 pm 
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Yahoo Bot wrote:
At least under the law, a favorable statement from one's adversary is considered a very high quality piece of evidence to support the fact asserted to be true. In one of my published works, I rely heavily on T.B.H. Stenhouse to uphold the integrity of Thomas L. Kane. Indeed, I try and rely on hostile sources as much as possible to prove a point.

Conversely, a criticism offered from a hostile source has very low value, and a criticism from a very sympathetic source is considered high quality.


grindael wrote:
...Law wasn't hostile in 1840, he was the opposite. But Hales used him just for the sake of the argument that you put forth. That he's considered hostile NOW.

That should be underscored, highlighted, and demarked in the margins to make sure it isn't missed. Bot just helped point out why Hales is being disingenious in misusing a quote from Law at a time Law was fully trusting of Joseph Smith (and unaware he was being lied to by Joseph) and manipulating the reader's likely knowledge that at some point Law became very critical of the prophet. It probably didn't help to have Joseph chasing his wife after he had been defending him in public. Just a guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:39 pm 
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Of course, but anyone who actually knows the history in its details will recognize this as a clumsy ruse. So what if Law thought he was a flawed but honest man seven months after he first met him!

What does he have to say about Smith after the lies and indecent proposals come to his notice?


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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:33 pm 
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It's kinda funny how one guy continues to cause all those apologists so much trouble. They even have a dedicated domain to do battle against this overwhelming opponent. :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:08 pm 
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Kish,

It's not seven months after Law met Joseph. It was four years. But Law speaks about the "follies" in Kirtland in another letter, and Law says specifically in his letter that he is only basing his evaluation of Joseph on "since I came to this place", which was Nauvoo. And Law was there almost 6 months before Joseph got back from the east, and then wrote the letter that is quoted from 7 months later. Law knew of the shenanigans in Kirtland, but basically said he turned a blind eye to ever pointing the finger at Joseph. Basically, he was saying, yeah, I know he probably did some bad things in Kirtland, but the Lord was trying him and I'm not going to point any fingers at him, but since we came to this place I've watched him and haven't seen him doing anything wrong. He claimed in another letter that he never thought that Joseph would ever have to step down from the Presidency. He was very committed to him at that time. But the spiritual wifeism was the deal breaker I guess. He just couldn't stand to have someone sniffing around his wife. Who can blame him?

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Last edited by grindael on Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:10 pm 
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I would love for Brian, Don, or Nevo to join in this thread and explain what this page is and how it is supposed to be an adequate rebuttal of the CES Letter. I'm just not seeing it.

Starting from the comments responding to the scriptural quotes at the top, I see that the best that can be done with Jeremy's very obvious and strong point--that Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy on the sly, and would continue to do so while he published revelations stressing the divine commandment of monogamy--is to say that God, or Joseph, will issue public commandments of one kind, but gives his prophet secret commandments to break the public commandment flagrantly.

Of course, he can't even afford to be that frank, so we get this stuff about the revelation not barring the possibility of different instructions.

That's really not the point! And it is obvious this is not the point! The point is that the public commandment is obviously not true and it is calculated to mislead people into thinking that Joseph and his God are committed to monogamy as a divine commandment, when, so says Brian Hales, neither one really is committed to monogamy. What they seem to be committed to is speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

How can anyone imagine that this is a satisfactory rebuttal? Are we to accept, thanks to Joseph and his modern apologists (yes, apologists), that this is the way God operates? Which other of the Ten Commandments might be privately contradicted by the prophet while he pontificates about Biblical values sanctimoniously and in God's name? Stealing? Murder? Are there really no boundaries? Is nothing off limits?

It is not just polygamy that is the problem here. It is the fact that no one can trust Joseph Smith is telling the truth about very basic and crucial points of personal morality and the social contract. And he will lie in God's name. How can a community function when the basic, foundational precepts are not only broken by its leaders but the betrayal itself is enshrined as divine?

This is what Brian is asking us to accept. If the LDS God really operates in this manner and the current leaders of the Church claim both to be Smith's successors in the full sense and tacitly approve of this theodicy, then grab your check books and your loved ones and run for the exit. Because this is a formula for Gadiantonism among the leaders. They can betray you and lie about it because God gives them license to do so.


Last edited by Kishkumen on Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:11 pm 
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Wait till I post the other pages. :smile: According to what Lorenzo Snow said, murder wasn't off limits.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:23 pm 
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grindael wrote:
Kish,

It's not seven months after Law met Joseph. It was four years. But Law speaks about the "follies" in Kirtland in another letter, and Law says specifically in his letter that he is only basing his evaluation of Joseph on "since I came to this place", which was Nauvoo. And Law was there almost 6 months before Joseph got back from the east, and then wrote the letter that is quoted from 7 months later. Law knew of the shenanigans in Kirtland, but basically said he turned a blind eye to ever pointing the finger at Joseph. Basically, he was saying, yeah, I know he probably did some bad things in Kirtland, but the Lord was trying him and I'm not going to point any fingers at him, but since we came to this place I've watched him and haven't seen him doing anything wrong. He claimed in another letter that he never thought that Joseph would ever have to step down from the Presidency. He was very committed to him at that time. But the spiritual wifeism was the deal breaker I guess. He just couldn't stand to have someone sniffing around his wife. Who can blame him?


Ah, thanks, grindael. That seemed off to me, but my recollection of Kirtland Mormonism and pre-Nauvoo William Law is dismal.

Yes, who could blame William Law for not turning over his wife to another man... a man with 30 mares in the stable? Because, they really couldn't each have been so special to him that he knew them well. They were ornaments on his celestial crown, not cherished daughters of Our Heavenly Parents.

I still can't get over Brian using this quote. It is as if he is begging someone to blow his apologetic to smithereens because it looks patently absurd. Yeah, William Law thought Joseph wasn't such a bad guy until Joseph tried to steal his wife and took Maria Lawrence, William's family friend, as a plural wife! That put something of a damper on his esteem for Smith. Go figure!


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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:26 pm 
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grindael wrote:
Wait till I post the other pages. :smile: According to what Lorenzo Snow said, murder wasn't off limits.


Unfortunately, I know. Chris Smith filled me in pretty well during my last visit to Utah.

I am increasingly not understanding why anyone would want to defend Joseph's predatory abuse of his followers.


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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:40 pm 
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And Joseph Smith thought William Law was the finest of friends... in 1842 before Law found out about the spiritual wifeism. Joseph praises him in his 1842 Journal and claims that he would ALWAYS be his friend:

Quote:
My heart was overjoyed, as I took the faithful band by the hand, that stood upon the shore one by me. W[illia]m. Law, W[illia]m. Clayton, Dimick B. Huntington, George Miller were there. The above names constituted the little group. I do not think to mention the particulars of the history of that sacred night which shall forever be remembered by me. But the names of the faithful are what I wish to record in this place. These I have met in prosperity and they were my friends, I now meet them in adversity, and they are still my warmer friends. These love the God that I serve; they love the truths that I promulge; they love those virtuous, and those holy doctrines that I cherish in my bosom with the warmest of feelings of my heart; and with that zeal which cannot be denied. I love friendship and truth; I love virtue and Law; I love the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob and they are my brethren, and I shall live, and because I live, they shall live also. These are not the only ones, who have administered to my necessity; whom the Lord will bless. There is brother John D. Parker, and brother Amasa Lyman, and brother Wilson Law, and brother Henry G. Sherwood, my heart feels to recoprocate the unweried kindnesses that have been bestowed upon me by these men. They are men of noble stature, of noble hands, and of noble deeds; possessing noble and daring, and giant hearts and souls. There is brother Joseph B. Nobles also, I would call up in remembrance before the Lord. There is brother Samuel Smith, a natural brohter; he is, even as Hyrum. There is brother Arthur Millikin also, who married my youngest sister Lucy. He is a faithful, an honest, and an upright man. While I call up in remembrance before the Lord these men, I would be doing injustice to those who rowed me in the skiff up the river that night, after I parted with the lovely group, who brought me to this my safe and lovely and private retreat. Brother Jonathan Dunham and the other whose name I do not know. Many were the thoughts that swelled my aching heart, while they were toiling faithfully with their oars. They complained not at hardship and fatigue to secure my safety. My heart would have been harder than an admantium stone, if I had not have prayed for them with anxious and fervent desire. I did so, and the still small voice whispered to my soul, these that share your toils with such faithful hearts, shall reign with you in the kingdom of their God; but I parted with them in silence and come to my retreat. I hope I shall see them again that I may toil for them and administer to their comfort also. They shall not want a friend while I live. My heart shall love those; and my hands shall toil for those, who live and toil for me, and shall ever be found faithful to my friends. Shall I be ungrateful? Verily no! God forbid! The above are the words and sentiments, that escaped the lips of President Joseph Smith on this the 11th day of August A.D. 1842 in relation to his friends and has now quit speaking fo the moment but will continue the subject again. William Clayton, clerk. (Joseph Smith, The Book of the Law of the Lord, August 11, 1842, pp. 164-165, Online here, accessed January 25, 2015 http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSumma ... lord&p=180).


On the 11th of June 1844 Joseph Smith told the Nauvoo City Council that,

Quote:
All the sorrow I he had ever had in his family, has arisen through the influence of W[illia]m Law.


He then claimed that,

Quote:
…at the time Gov[ernor] [Thomas] Carlin was pursuing him with his writs — W[illia]m Law come to my house with a band of Missourians for the purpose of betraying me — come to my gate — and was prevented with by Daniel Cairns [Carn] who was set to watch[.] [They] had come within his gate, and [Carn] called [the] Mayor after and the Mayor reproved Law for coming at that time of night. Daniel Cairns [Carn] [was] sworn [and] said — about 10 Oc[loc]k at night — a boat come up the river with about a Doz[en] men. W[illia]m Law come to the gate with them when [he] was on guard — and [he] stopped them. Law called Joseph to the door, and wanted an interview. Joseph said Bro[ther] Law you know better than to come here at this hour of the night — & Law returned. [The] next morning Law wrote a letter to apologize — which [Cairns] [Carn] [had] heard read — which was written apparently to screen himself [Law] from the censure of a conspiracy, and the Letter betrayed a conspiracy on the face of [it] — (Dinger, John S. (2013-11-26). The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes (Kindle Locations 7098-7111). Signature Books. Kindle Edition).


Joseph produced no letter by William Law, only Carn the Danites testimony. This is how Joseph treated the friends that did not agree with him. Law's only demand of Joseph was to come clean publicly about his spiritual wifeism. Joseph wouldn't do it, instead noised it about that Law was a traitor and an adulterer and had him booted from the church.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:57 pm 
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Kishkumen wrote:
I would love for Brian, Don, or Nevo to join in this thread and explain what this page is and how it is supposed to be an adequate rebuttal of the CES Letter. I'm just not seeing it.
Obviously it's not an adequate rebuttal of the CES Letter.

Kishkumen wrote:
Starting from the comments responding to the scriptural quotes at the top, I see that the best that can be done with Jeremy's very obvious and strong point--that Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy on the sly, and would continue to do so while he published revelations stressing the divine commandment of monogamy--is to say that God, or Joseph, will issue public commandments of one kind, but gives his prophet secret commandments to break the public commandment flagrantly.
Clearly, but Mormonism comes in layers. That should be obvious to any practicing Mormon that has seen both the temple form of worship vs what Mormons do every Sunday. Mormonism has a secret gnosis. These secrets (commandments and knowledge) are revealed to those closer to God and different things are required of them.

Kishkumen wrote:
Of course, he can't even afford to be that frank, so we get this stuff about the revelation not barring the possibility of different instructions.
No, they are simply just different instructions.

Kishkumen wrote:
That's really not the point! And it is obvious this is not the point! The point is that the public commandment is obviously not true and it is calculated to mislead people into thinking that Joseph and his God are committed to monogamy as a divine commandment, when, so says Brian Hales, neither one really is committed to monogamy. What they seem to be committed to is speaking out of both sides of their mouths.
Actually, the public commandments are true for those that are given those commandments. Joseph Smith is operating under different commandments.

Kishkumen wrote:
How can anyone imagine that this is a satisfactory rebuttal? Are we to accept, thanks to Joseph and his modern apologists (yes, apologists), that this is the way God operates? Which other of the Ten Commandments might be privately contradicted by the prophet while he pontificates about Biblical values sanctimoniously and in God's name? Stealing? Murder? Are there really no boundaries? Is nothing off limits?
Yes, if Mormon claims have a basis in fact, we not only have to accept it, but if you think about it - that is how these beings seem to operate. They create layers and boundaries. They test and try their disciples to see if they will obey and can understand the nature of these tests. My view is they are messing with us. They may have good reasons for doing so, but we are likely unable to comprehend it at this point in our development.

Kishkumen wrote:
It is not just polygamy that is the problem here. It is the fact that no one can trust Joseph Smith is telling the truth about very basic and crucial points of personal morality and the social contract. And he will lie in God's name. How can a community function when the basic, foundational precepts are not only broken by its leaders but the betrayal itself is enshrined as divine?
That isn't the basis to believe in or follow Mormonism (and Joseph Smith). If what Joseph Smith and Mormonism claims is true, it should lead you to God (or what we mistakenly believe to be God). When you see and speak with these beings, then you know what to do. Whether you choose to obey is up to you after that. They will test and try (i.e. mess with) you. If you don't want that, then stay away.

Kishkumen wrote:
This is what Brian is asking us to accept. If the LDS God really operates in this manner and the current leaders of the Church claim both to be Smith's successors in the full sense and tacitly approve of this theodicy, then grab your check books and your loved ones and run for the exit. Because this is a formula for Gadiantonism among the leaders. They can betray you and lie about it because God gives them license to do so.
It depends on how much you wish to know about the truth of our existence. You can't fly up towards the sun and not expect to be burned.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:00 pm 
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Well of course, grindael! Joseph had implicated too many people in his crimes and the impact of admitting to it all would have been devastating. Law had to go, just like you and I have to go for not continuing to cover for Joe. As long as you deny Joe's crimes, or make the devil's bargain of accepting them as the price for believing his revelations and promises, you can stay. But cross Joe and you are toast. The same is true today. It remains a cult of personality, and the continuing contention over the character of the founder is excellent evidence of that.

Call Jesus a criminal and most educated adult Christians will think you're weird. Call Joseph Smith a criminal and the equivalent Mormon demographic will get very upset indeed.

It is time to get rid of the cult leader and embrace the flawed founder in a more realistic way.


Last edited by Kishkumen on Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:05 pm 
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Thanks to Tobin for confirming how gonzo it gets when you accept Brian Hales' apologetic logic regarding Joseph's secret polygamy.

Joseph can break moral laws and betray his people because that's clearly just how God operates.

Thanks, Tobin.


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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:21 pm 
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Kishkumen wrote:
Thanks to Tobin for confirming how gonzo it gets when you accept Brian Hales' apologetic logic regarding Joseph's secret polygamy.

Joseph can break moral laws and betray his people because that's clearly just how God operates.

Thanks, Tobin.


It doesn't matter what you or I think. If Joseph Smith was doing what God asked him, God will justify him. If not, then he was just as horrible as you imagine. As I've pointed out before, Mormons shouldn't follow Joseph Smith or take his word for it just because. Instead they should speak with what they believe to be God themselves. But I don't think Kish that you will like what you find there. Beings that advanced will not have the simple black-and-white linear thought processes you think they should have. And they are not going to be concerned about your human morals.

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 Post subject: Re: Brian Hales and the CES Letter "A Closer Look"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:39 pm 
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Tobin wrote:
It doesn't matter what you or I think.

Pretty sure it only matters what you, Kish, or any other living person trying to make a determination thinks. God, so long as she chooses to be silent, is a meta-concern of their own. In the case of questions of ethics, God only gets a say when they come around to saying it. And even then, when it contradicts the basics of ethical behavior she better bring a very good argument.

I'm fond of Susan Neiman's illuminating work on morality, such as her use of the Abraham myth to contrast Abraham at his best (challenging God on the justice of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah if righteous men can still be found there) and worst (accepting God's command to sacrifice Isaac).

From a review of her book, Moral Clarity -

She draws her first lessons from the biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham's response when Yahweh tells him that He plans to destroy the cities of the plain. "Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked?" the patriarch protests. "Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" When the Lord agrees to spare Sodom if 50 righteous men can be found there, Abraham presses his case: " 'Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt thou destroy the whole city because of five?' And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.' "


And so the bargaining starts. Neiman's heart is stirred by Abraham's universalism (these are not his people); by his resoluteness (this is God he is challenging); and by his insistence that the details matter (exactly how many just men are there in Sodom?). And because God seems to acknowledge the force of Abraham's moral reasons, the story allows her to assert, on the basis of the Old Testament itself, that we do not "need religious authority to maintain morality." It is an elegant rhetorical move to take a favorite story of the Christian right and extract a progressive lesson: the obligation of human reason to evaluate religion's demands. If you acknowledge with Abraham, she writes, "that serious religion and serious ethics are thus separate matters, you must believe things are good or evil independent of divine authority.

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Last edited by honorentheos on Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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