Lying to Congress

The catch-all forum for general topics and debates. Minimal moderation. Rated PG to PG-13.
User avatar
moksha
God
Posts: 22509
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Lying to Congress

Post by moksha »

It was interesting to watch the 4th installment of the Shannon Montez interview on the Mormon Stories podcast and hear how President Joseph F. Smith told a bald-faced lie to the United States Congress during the Smoot Hearings about the practice of polygamy. Turns out the First Presidency had sent Anthony Ivins, as Stake President, to Colonia Juárez for the express purpose of performing polygamous marriages after the First Manifesto and continued on after that. Anthony Ivins became an apostle in 1907.

I assume President Smith justified this lie via the Oath of Vengence against the United States he swore to in his sacred and secret ceremony.

Minute 40 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HivE1b5KLuc
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

User avatar
Kishkumen
Seedy Academician
Posts: 21373
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Kishkumen »

Or he justified it by recognizing the hypocrisy of a nation with a Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion forcing him and his co-religionists into this corner.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

User avatar
Philo Sofee
God
Posts: 6656
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:04 am

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Philo Sofee »

Well they can always justify lying for the Lord to save his works, but it becomes quite damning when they do it so steadily and all the time. One can't help but wonder if it is they or their God who is a habitual liar in order to get their ways. If the truth has to continually be lied about, of what, if any, actual value is that putative truth?
Dr CamNC4Me
"Dr. Peterson and his Callithumpian cabal of BYU idiots have been marginalized by their own inevitable irrelevancy defending a fraud."

User avatar
Dr Exiled
God
Posts: 3616
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:48 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Dr Exiled »

Kishkumen wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:33 am
Or he justified it by recognizing the hypocrisy of a nation with a Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion forcing him and his co-religionists into this corner.
There are limits to freedom of religion and sometimes it is used to justify wrongful and hurtful conduct like polygamy. There is an interesting line of prisoner cases where prisoners tried to use freedom of religion to get certain privileges. My favorite was the church of steak where prisoners claimed they needed a steak dinner with wine each sunday as part of their worship services. Steak was sacramental as was the more traditional wine. However, each prisoner wanted their own bottle. Too bad the claim was denied.

Every once in a while, I dream of being a member of the church of steak ..... aaaaahhhhhhh.

Image
"Religion is about providing human community in the guise of solving problems that don’t exist or failing to solve problems that do and seeking to reconcile these contradictions and conceal the failures in bogus explanations otherwise known as theology." - Kishkumen 

User avatar
moksha
God
Posts: 22509
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by moksha »

That part 4 interview with Shannon Montez has so much good information. The secret Mormon meetings of 1922 were the start of so many changes in the Church. Changes in Church policies, in new coverups, even the start of Mormon apologetics.
Last edited by moksha on Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

User avatar
Kishkumen
Seedy Academician
Posts: 21373
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Kishkumen »

Well, I am not a proponent of polygamy, but in general I think consenting adults should be able to marry as they please. So, no, I don’t think the government should have infringed on the religious freedom of Mormon polygamists.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

User avatar
moksha
God
Posts: 22509
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by moksha »

The part of the story where the First Presidency had the police break down apostle Richard Lyman's door and have the Salt Lake Police Chief drag him out, clad only in his garments, to the station to be confronted by the Brethren. Then to have a banner headline of his polygamous adultery ready for print the next day in the Deseret News. Does any of that peak your interest in listening to this outstanding episode of Mormon Stories?
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

User avatar
Holy Ghost
Holy Ghost
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:12 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Holy Ghost »

Dr Exiled wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:32 pm
Kishkumen wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:33 am
Or he justified it by recognizing the hypocrisy of a nation with a Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion forcing him and his co-religionists into this corner.
There are limits to freedom of religion and sometimes it is used to justify wrongful and hurtful conduct like polygamy. There is an interesting line of prisoner cases where prisoners tried to use freedom of religion to get certain privileges. My favorite was the church of steak where prisoners claimed they needed a steak dinner with wine each sunday as part of their worship services. Steak was sacramental as was the more traditional wine. However, each prisoner wanted their own bottle. Too bad the claim was denied.

Every once in a while, I dream of being a member of the church of steak ..... aaaaahhhhhhh.

Image
"Polygamy" was Joseph Smith's theme to get more flesh. The prisoners were just more honest about steak being the way for them to get more flesh. From my study of Smith's escapades beyond Emma, I do not think he is any more genuine in claiming such were a genuine religious belief than the prisoners who petitioned for more steak claimed their's was.
Last edited by Holy Ghost on Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov

User avatar
Holy Ghost
Holy Ghost
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:12 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Holy Ghost »

Holy Ghost wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:21 am
Dr Exiled wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:32 pm


There are limits to freedom of religion and sometimes it is used to justify wrongful and hurtful conduct like polygamy. There is an interesting line of prisoner cases where prisoners tried to use freedom of religion to get certain privileges. My favorite was the church of steak where prisoners claimed they needed a steak dinner with wine each sunday as part of their worship services. Steak was sacramental as was the more traditional wine. However, each prisoner wanted their own bottle. Too bad the claim was denied.

Every once in a while, I dream of being a member of the church of steak ..... aaaaahhhhhhh.

Image
"Polygamy" was Joseph Smith's theme to get more flesh. The prisoners were just more honest about steak being the way for them to get more flesh. From my study of Smith's escapades beyond Emma, I do not think he is any more genuine in claiming such were a true religious belief than the prisoners who petitioned for more steak claimed there's was.
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov

User avatar
Kishkumen
Seedy Academician
Posts: 21373
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Kishkumen »

Holy Ghost wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:21 am
"Polygamy" was Joseph Smith's theme to get more flesh. The prisoners were just more honest about steak being the way for them to get more flesh. From my study of Smith's escapades beyond Emma, I do not think he is any more genuine in claiming such were a genuine religious belief than the prisoners who petitioned for more steak claimed there's was.
Yes, that is the prevalent view. Since we operate in a predominantly materialist paradigm, the only reasons that count are the material ones. Stories, myths, beliefs, and philosophical arguments that do not fall into the materialist paradigm will not be taken seriously. It is, however, the case that there are people who genuinely operate in a different paradigm. Maybe a materialist will say this person is kidding him- or herself, but I don't think it is fair to say that what they genuinely feel they believe is not to be taken seriously as their genuine belief, wrongheaded though it may be.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

User avatar
Holy Ghost
Holy Ghost
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:12 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Holy Ghost »

Kishkumen wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:26 am
Holy Ghost wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:21 am
"Polygamy" was Joseph Smith's theme to get more flesh. The prisoners were just more honest about steak being the way for them to get more flesh. From my study of Smith's escapades beyond Emma, I do not think he is any more genuine in claiming such were a genuine religious belief than the prisoners who petitioned for more steak claimed there's was.
Yes, that is the prevalent view. Since we operate in a predominantly materialist paradigm, the only reasons that count are the material ones. Stories, myths, beliefs, and philosophical arguments that do not fall into the materialist paradigm will not be taken seriously. It is, however, the case that there are people who genuinely operate in a different paradigm. Maybe a materialist will say this person is kidding him- or herself, but I don't think it is fair to say that what they genuinely feel they believe is not to be taken seriously as their genuine belief, wrongheaded though it may be.
I agree that some people have mythologies in which they genuinely believe. From a fairly extensive reading about Joseph Smith, I cannot however conclude that he was genuine about polygamy. His extra-Emma sex partners did not fit even Section 132, which he claimed was from God.
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov

User avatar
Kishkumen
Seedy Academician
Posts: 21373
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Kishkumen »

Holy Ghost wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:50 pm
I agree that some people have mythologies in which they genuinely believe. From a fairly extensive reading about Joseph Smith, I cannot however conclude that he was genuine about polygamy. His extra-Emma sex partners did not fit even Section 132, which he claimed was from God.
e
I would recommend you watch Don Bradley's paper about Joseph Smith and levirate marriage, which he delivered to the Mormon Transhumanist Association. It is all of 20 minutes long. If Don is right, then we need to be a lot more careful when we presume to know what Joseph Smith was up to in his sexual and marital lives.

https://youtu.be/fqVT-V-xX9k
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

User avatar
Holy Ghost
Holy Ghost
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:12 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Holy Ghost »

I found Bradley's presentation interesting, but unpersuasive in the face of so much evidence of Joseph Smith's behavior that undercuts claims of genuineness of Smith's "belief" in polygamy. There is much in the Old Testament that Smith did not glom onto. He cherry picked from the OT to cover for his own lusts and proclivities. Anything could be adapted as much "adaptation" slack that Bradley was cutting Joseph Smith.
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov

User avatar
Kishkumen
Seedy Academician
Posts: 21373
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Kishkumen »

Holy Ghost wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:02 pm
I found Bradley's presentation interesting, but unpersuasive in the face of so much evidence of Joseph Smith's behavior that undercuts claims of genuineness of Smith's "belief" in polygamy. There is much in the Old Testament that Smith did not glom onto. He cherry picked from the OT to cover for his own lusts and proclivities. Anything could be adapted as much "adaptation" slack that Bradley was cutting Joseph Smith.
There is much in the OT that Christians did not carry forward too. I am not sure what that claim means in this context. Are you saying we can only imagine him taking the OT seriously if he did so wholesale or according to some unstated/undefined standard?

Human sexuality and human sexuality in religion are complicated things. Cherry picked to “cover for” his own lusts and proclivities is really a shallow response to what we see in Mormon polygamy. It is as though as soon as the religious topic brushes up against sexuality then it becomes a caricature of reality. The people involved become two-dimensional characters in a porn production or a police procedural. Mormonism was a radical religious and social movement. Movements of that kind in that time and place were experimenting with the organization of society and sexual mores. It would have been amazing if Mormonism had somehow missed that part of the trend.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

User avatar
Holy Ghost
Holy Ghost
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:12 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Holy Ghost »

Kishkumen wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:51 pm
Holy Ghost wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:02 pm
I found Bradley's presentation interesting, but unpersuasive in the face of so much evidence of Joseph Smith's behavior that undercuts claims of genuineness of Smith's "belief" in polygamy. There is much in the Old Testament that Smith did not glom onto. He cherry picked from the OT to cover for his own lusts and proclivities. Anything could be adapted as much "adaptation" slack that Bradley was cutting Joseph Smith.
There is much in the OT that Christians did not carry forward too. I am not sure what that claim means in this context. Are you saying we can only imagine him taking the OT seriously if he did so wholesale or according to some unstated/undefined standard?

Human sexuality and human sexuality in religion are complicated things. Cherry picked to “cover for” his own lusts and proclivities is really a shallow response to what we see in Mormon polygamy. It is as though as soon as the religious topic brushes up against sexuality then it becomes a caricature of reality. The people involved become two-dimensional characters in a porn production or a police procedural. Mormonism was a radical religious and social movement. Movements of that kind in that time and place were experimenting with the organization of society and sexual mores. It would have been amazing if Mormonism had somehow missed that part of the trend.
Do you accept everything David Koresh did as genuine because he slapped "religion" on it? Of course not. It is just as fallacious to give Joseph Smith a pass on everything he claimed in the name of religion as genuine. His entire life is marred by conduct that points to him being a charlatan. For Chrissake, man, he tried to sell the Book of Mormon for $5,000. That's truly the mark of a genuine beliver.
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov

User avatar
moksha
God
Posts: 22509
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by moksha »

moksha wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:09 am
The part of the story where the First Presidency had the police break down apostle Richard Lyman's door and have the Salt Lake Police Chief drag him out, clad only in his garments, to the station to be confronted by the Brethren. Then to have a banner headline of his polygamous adultery ready for print the next day in the Deseret News. Does any of that peak your interest in listening to this outstanding episode of Mormon Stories?
There is a possibility that at some future date, archeologists from the former Cassius U will stumble upon the above link to that podcast and realize its significance. Sometimes important information gets lost among the chatter and even if you point to the entrance of such a treasure trove, no one notices.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

User avatar
moksha
God
Posts: 22509
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by moksha »

Image

Find yer genuine Wagyu Steak here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=HivE1b5KLuc

Click it for reward and excitement!!!
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace

User avatar
Kishkumen
Seedy Academician
Posts: 21373
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Kishkumen »

Holy Ghost wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:16 pm
Do you accept everything David Koresh did as genuine because he slapped "religion" on it? Of course not. It is just as fallacious to give Joseph Smith a pass on everything he claimed in the name of religion as genuine. His entire life is marred by conduct that points to him being a charlatan. For Chrissake, man, he tried to sell the Book of Mormon for $5,000. That's truly the mark of a genuine beliver.
The more I have learned about Koresh, the more I do see him as genuine, yes. I would like to say I don't understand why you think genuine religion cannot lead to results that are genuinely terrifying, but I think I do understand that our "cult script" is so powerful that it leads to this kind of intellectual inconsistency. The frightening thing is not that gullible people can be deceived by con artists. The frightening thing is that charismatic religious leaders can be completely sincere and then embark on disastrous paths with their followers being completely on board. Their followers actually respond to their sincerity, and are probably, in my view, more likely to be decent people who nevertheless engage in monstrous behavior. It is because they believe and trust someone who actually believes in his own revelations and teachings. In Koresh's case, I think this is absolutely true, and the case for his sincerity is much better and easier to make than the case for Joseph Smith's sincerity.

It is pretty quaint of us to think that evil can't be perpetrated by people who sincerely hold what they believe to be the noblest of intentions. In my view, this is a kind of vestigial or perhaps implicit theological position. The word religion is invoked, and suddenly people stand at the ready with their assumptions, constructs, and beliefs. Religion is X. It cannot be Y. If A happens, it cannot be real religion. No sincere person in a real religion could do B. Of course, this is all absolute nonsense. Religion does not operate according to the rules of our modern secular morality. We should think of it more neutrally as a phenomenon that operates according to its own internal rules. The moment we presume to think something cannot be real religion because it does not jibe with our moral assumptions, we have taken an implicitly theological position that deserves stiff criticism.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

User avatar
Holy Ghost
Holy Ghost
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:12 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Holy Ghost »

Kishkumen wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:09 am
Holy Ghost wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:16 pm
Do you accept everything David Koresh did as genuine because he slapped "religion" on it? Of course not. It is just as fallacious to give Joseph Smith a pass on everything he claimed in the name of religion as genuine. His entire life is marred by conduct that points to him being a charlatan. For Chrissake, man, he tried to sell the Book of Mormon for $5,000. That's truly the mark of a genuine beliver.
The more I have learned about Koresh, the more I do see him as genuine, yes. I would like to say I don't understand why you think genuine religion cannot lead to results that are genuinely terrifying, but I think I do understand that our "cult script" is so powerful that it leads to this kind of intellectual inconsistency. The frightening thing is not that gullible people can be deceived by con artists. The frightening thing is that charismatic religious leaders can be completely sincere and then embark on disastrous paths with their followers being completely on board. Their followers actually respond to their sincerity, and are probably, in my view, more likely to be decent people who nevertheless engage in monstrous behavior. It is because they believe and trust someone who actually believes in his own revelations and teachings. In Koresh's case, I think this is absolutely true, and the case for his sincerity is much better and easier to make than the case for Joseph Smith's sincerity.

It is pretty quaint of us to think that evil can't be perpetrated by people who sincerely hold what they believe to be the noblest of intentions. In my view, this is a kind of vestigial or perhaps implicit theological position. The word religion is invoked, and suddenly people stand at the ready with their assumptions, constructs, and beliefs. Religion is X. It cannot be Y. If A happens, it cannot be real religion. No sincere person in a real religion could do B. Of course, this is all absolute nonsense. Religion does not operate according to the rules of our modern secular morality. We should think of it more neutrally as a phenomenon that operates according to its own internal rules. The moment we presume to think something cannot be real religion because it does not jibe with our moral assumptions, we have taken an implicitly theological position that deserves stiff criticism.
We must look at Joseph Smith's behavior. Glass-looker for hire that was to go get witnesses to stand trial in New York, but instead fled to Pennsylvania. Bags young, under age girls like Fanny Alger in the barn--and someone that unlike anyone in the 20th or 21st Century, actually knew Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, called it a dirty, nasty affair. He had his dirty, nasty affairs while having the Article on Marriage in the Mormon canon. It goes on and on and on. Unlike you, I don't assume because someone has followers that he is "probably" decent.
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov

User avatar
Kishkumen
Seedy Academician
Posts: 21373
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Kishkumen »

Holy Ghost wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:38 am
We must look at Joseph Smith's behavior. Glass-looker for hire that was to go get witnesses to stand trial in New York, but instead fled to Pennsylvania. Bags young, under age girls like Fanny Alger in the barn--and someone that unlike anyone in the 20th or 21st Century, actually knew Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, called it a dirty, nasty affair. He had his dirty, nasty affairs while having the Article on Marriage in the Mormon canon. It goes on and on and on. Unlike you, I don't assume because someone has followers that he is "probably" decent.
What does decent have to do with anything? What I said was that his followers could be decent people. I did not say whether the charismatic leader is decent or not. What does decent even mean, really? It means we approve of the person's morality, and this is unlikely to be the case in a radical sect.

I really have no interest in our definitions of decent or moral, in fact. Anyone who pursues this kind of religious program is going to act at variance with popular ideas of both. Just writing a new Bible was not something most "decent" Christian people of the day would have done. But all of this is so much nanny scolding. Who cares? If conceiving of Joseph as indecent or immoral is what you need to do for yourself, however, I have no problem with it. Go ahead!

Here at MormonDiscussions.com many of us are, to one degree or another, reminding ourselves of why we are no longer LDS or why we are/were unhappy being LDS. That only gets us so far when it comes to understanding the phenomena associated with Joseph Smith and other charismatic religious leaders of his type. What we tend to want is to understand just enough to be affirmed in our decision not to have anything to do with Mormonism. Past that, we probably don't care all that much.

There may be some exceptions to that, however. Some people may want to understand the phenomena associated with such leaders and their movements beyond saying in many different ways essentially the same thing over and over again: Joseph Smith was a bad guy who deceived people.

Joseph is a glass-looker! (So?)
Joseph slept with young women! (So?)
Joseph was not consistent with his own teachings! (So?)

Yes, so, good, we do not want to follow Joseph. I would probably not hang out with the guy, let him associate with my family, or give him my money.

Glad we have that settled.

None of that, however, tells me whether he actually believed in what he was doing. I would submit that many of these charismatic religious figures either believe, or come to believe, in their own secret sauce. If you had asked me the same question a decade ago, I might have said absolutely not, but after learning more about Koresh, Jim Jones, and L. Ron Hubbard, I have come to the conclusion that in a sense they did believe in it and that they remained committed to it to their deaths.

Does that make them good guys who do good things that we want to associate with? No.

But that is not good enough for us. For some reason, we need to think that they are insincere frauds whose only motivations are libidinal, monetary, and egomaniacal. Yes, sex, money, and social control are all factors, but they do not, I think, adequately explain everything we see going on in these groups.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

User avatar
Dr Exiled
God
Posts: 3616
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:48 pm

Re: Lying to Congress

Post by Dr Exiled »

Kishkumen wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:08 pm
Well, I am not a proponent of polygamy, but in general I think consenting adults should be able to marry as they please. So, no, I don’t think the government should have infringed on the religious freedom of Mormon polygamists.
I think this is an important point. Mormon polygamists routinely had underage girls married off to grandpa. I don't think these girls consented.
"Religion is about providing human community in the guise of solving problems that don’t exist or failing to solve problems that do and seeking to reconcile these contradictions and conceal the failures in bogus explanations otherwise known as theology." - Kishkumen 

Post Reply