The current publication of the Salt Lake City Messenger (‘the Messenger”) talks about Hans Mattsson, a former area official of the LDS Church in Europe. On July 2, 2013 his story was told in the NY Times.
The Messenger is the periodic publication of the Utah Lighthouse Ministry, “a Christian non-profit organization providing humanitarian outreach to the Community, and printing critical research and documentation on the LDS Church.” It is not kind to the LDS Church in general. I have donated money to it because it does serve a useful purpose—or has in the prior, pre-internet world—by making hard to find documents about the LSD church available to a wide audience. I usually read them immediately upon receipt.
The Messenger story and the NY Times articles area interesting reads, but this post deals with a different topic also discussed in the Mattsson issue: an article written by Grant H. Palmer which purportedly purported recounts meetings with a current general authority of the LDS during which the general authority admits that he no longer believes the truthfulness of the LDS history as presented by the church among other things.
This purported authority is quoted as saying “the church is like a weakened dam. At first you don’t see the cracks on the face; nevertheless, things are happening behind the scenes. Eventually, small cracks appear, and then the dam will “explode.” When it does, he said, the members are going to be ‘shocked’ and will need scholars/historians like me [I presume Palmer is referring to himself here] to educate them regarding the Mormon past.
Palmer further asserts that “the Mission President and the general authority “both said they attend church every Sunday and feel like ‘a hypocrite and trapped,'” that “each new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is given one million dollars to take care of any financial obligations they have,” and that “it takes about two to three years before the new apostle discovers that the church is not true.”
The primary problem I have with Palmer is that the source in not identified. It is true that Deep Throat told the truth while staying hidden, but on the record sources are more believable to me.
Leading an organization that does have a good public face and does a lot of good and then coming to believe its foundations are false—what would one do?
Does it matter whether Joseph Smith was a swindling collector of “wives” or a true prophet if the church as it now stands means so much to so many people and does so much good in the world?
What if Mohammed was a charlatan or if Jesus never died on the cross but lived to a ripe old age with Mary Magdalene and kids and grandkids on the southern coast of France?
The primary subject of Tom Robbins’ first book, Another Roadside Attraction—the mummified body of Jesus is found in the catacombs of the Vatican and removed to Oregon. Does it really matter to the current church if the fictions of Dan Brown or Robbins, which reflect nothing new really, but simply use for fictional purposes millennia-old rumors and tales and legend, are true?
What if I suddenly found myself the head of such an organization? What would I do? What would be the right and proper thing to do? To tell the truth to everyone and let the chips fall where they may? Assuming I would be believed, would I do it, should I do it? Many would say that atheists have to deal with the lack of a higher power and they are not out cannibalizing people and that pulling the rug of falsehood out from the church would serve the greater good. But would it?
Not all churches and church people are in agreement with, much even like, the small group of funaevangelicals who cause so much noise these days. Most are decent people who get much out of their faith and do much good for the world because of their faith. Would it be right to shatter their beliefs?
This is where I have problems with the Utah Lighthouse Ministry. I have talked to them on the phone several times about this issue. So what if the church has in its past odd things and has through time changed its doctrines and its rites, making changes to suit the sensibilities of the current generation. Polygamy was abandoned, blacks were given the Priesthood late in my view of things, and temple ceremonies have been altered to remove things that made people feel uncomfortable (this last, I cannot speak to personally, but have to rely on the writing of others). The LDS church relies on the general authorities to ensure that it is God’s will that the changes are made.
The Catholic church dropped Latin. Limbo is no longer (whatever happened to all the un-baptized babies that had previously been consigned there?) The rapture is now firmly entrenched into doctrine. Reincarnation was killed early on— if 400 years after Jesus’ death can be considered early. by this timetable, te changes in the LDS church happened at lightning speed.
What is gained by destroying the foundations of the LDS Church by the UTLM? Why the intent to destroy the faith of millions? It is because the UTLM believes the LDS church to be leading people away from God and Christ and thereby demining their souls.
Pretty good reason if true. But is it? I find very little in the LDS church that has not been taught or is not still taught by one or another of various churches in general Christendom.
No one else teaches men can become God? A matter of degree and speculation. Many Christians believe in the so-called “crown of glory” doctrine. Maybe the ultimate crown would be to become a god of your own world? I don’t know what happens after we die. It’s all speculation and in may ways, Richard Bach’s book Illusions, which portrays serial lives by eternal spirits has some resonance in my heart.
If I found evidence of the falsity of the Church General, would I try to kill it and if I so tried, who would believe? And if successful, would that have been right?
A voracious You-Tube content provider using the moniker Thunderfoot states that the internet is the place religions go to die. I like Thunderfoot, but am not sure he is correct.
We live in interesting times. Things cannot be glossed over and the issues with the LDS Church and with wider Christianity cannot be ignored as easily as in the past. Will the LDS church or the Catholic or any church survive the openness?