Wednesday, November 26, 2014


If Joseph Smith's years of scrying and his story of gold plates that no one can see don't bother you at all, you probably won't be phased by Joseph's illegal creation of an "anti-bank" (sounds inspired by the Anti-Nephi-Lehies). It was a pure con that blew up in his face and cost the saints a pretty penny.

I have no idea how anyone can deny that Joseph was a conman. Doubt it if you can, shelf it if you must.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Emma and Camille

We might ask ourselves why exactly Emma stayed with Joseph if he was such a scoundrel. Surely she would have had enough self-respect to walk away from such an unfaithful husband, right?

Reading this commentary on why Camille Cosby might have stayed with Bill reminded me once again of Emma's position as a victim. Like Camille, she was married to a rising star, a man she loved and trusted. As her husband's public respect and power grew, so did her incentive to stay by his side. With so many speaking so highly of her husband, why would she believe the few dissenting voices? How can you stop loving and supporting someone who means the whole world to you?

Is it possible for a disgusting person to do amazing things like teach, entertain, and make thousands of people feel special? Do disgusting and criminal behaviors somehow undermine the good things someone does? Are we supposed to let men like Joseph Smith and Bill Cosby off the hook despite they're abuses?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Polygamy - prophetic voice

I've posted before about John Taylor's questionable sanity, but please consider for a moment John Taylor's summation of the evil of monogamy:

"...the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people."

Holy shit that's a moronic thing to say!

Now consider that he was not at all alone in departing such stupidity from the pulpit. WTF, folks? There's no way LDS Mormons are supposed to believe any of this, right?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Folk magick

God cares a great deal about what others would consider total bullshit. Take for example dowsing, or water witching. God totally loves that shit and he's recorded in The Doctrine & Covenants as saying as much.

"... you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God."

(For a detailed explanation of where "the gift of Aaron" comes from and what it means, click here.)

Why would God endorse Oliver Cowdery's "gift" in folk magic that has been proven to be absolutely powerless? Was this really a revelation from God or was it Joseph casting the spell of flattery on his close associate?

"No, seriously, bro, I'm unstoppable with my water wand."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Slippery treasures

Did Joseph Smith the stone seer write The Book of Mormon? Well the text does share an interest in locking down elusive treasure.

Yea, behold, the anger of the Lord is already kindled against you; behold, he hath cursed the land because of your iniquity. And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them. And in the days of your poverty ye shall cry unto the Lord; and in vain shall ye cry, for your desolation is already come upon you, and your destruction is made sure; and then shall ye weep and howl in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts. And then shall ye lament, and say: O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out. Yea, in that day ye shall say: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery that we should lose them; for behold, our riches are gone from us. Behold, we lay a tool here and on the morrow it is gone; and behold, our swords are taken from us in the day we have sought them for battle. Yea, we have hid up our treasures and they have slipped away from us, because of the curse of the land. O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us; for behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them. (Helaman 13:30-36, emphasis mine)

And later on there's also this:

And these Gadianton robbers, who were among the Lamanites, did infest the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof began to hide up their treasures in the earth; and they became slippery, because the Lord had cursed the land, that they could not hold them, nor retain them again. (Mormon 1:18, emphasis mine)

Does God really do that kind of tricky shit or are these examples of how Joseph couldn't help but include his typical excuse (slipperiness) for never finding real treasure when out scrying?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Polygamy - Joanna's take

Here are a few things to consider from Joanna Brooks' recent blog post.

"[T]he new website on Joseph Smith’s polygamy does not say that Smith was wrong—not for marrying against the wishes of his first wife Emma, or marrying women already married to other men, or marrying girls as young as fourteen. It acknowledges that Smith’s polygamy demanded heartwrenching sacrifices of his first wife, but it sidesteps the crucial question of whether these sacrifices were founded in lasting principles of Mormon theology, or were they pains caused by the human excesses of our charismatic founder?

Is it the will of God that polygamy should persist in LDS Church theology and policies pertaining to LDS temple marriages, as it does to this day?"

Dear Tommy, would you and your buddies please let us know if LDS Mormons today are rightly dreading future (and eternal) polygamy?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Treasure digging

How was Joseph Smith making a name for himself before he made a name for himself as the keeper and protector of golden plates? Like a lot of other good Americans of the early 19th century, he was treasure hunting.

Did Joseph stop pretending he could find treasure after the angel Moroni directed him to at least 50 or 60 pounds of golden goodness? No way!

But don't worry, it's not like Joseph faking people out about treasure could be linked to producing a questionable book of scripture.

Of course the LDS Church would like you to believe that all of Joseph's treasure digging was all practice for the translating processes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The First Vision

The LDS Church lays all its chips on Joseph Smith's 1820 theophany. When telling the story of the Church we begin with the story of a young teenage boy who was struggling to find the truth but then found the answer through an earnest prayer. That prayer parted the heavens and brought down God - Heavenly Father, The Eternal Father, Elohim - from his celestial throne with his Choicest of Children, Jesus the Anointed, The Creator, The Savior of the World, The Judge, The Father.

Theophanies aren't all that unusual and they're not always as pleasant as Joseph's was. My concern here is that it might not have ever happened in the first place.

Why would I doubt the reality of the First Vision? Mainly because

1. Joseph was not persecuted between the age of 14 and 17 for having seen God. No family member or anyone close to Joseph mentions persecution during these years and neither does Joseph until a decade later or more.

2. Family, friends and followers all attributed Joseph's prophetic call to his vision of Moroni at the age of 17 (1823).

3. The extant accounts of the First Vision begin in 1832. This seems to be the year Joseph invented his theophany. He begins by saying he was 16 but pushes his age back gradually until he says he was 14.

4. Age is not the only detail Joseph plays around with when recounting his First Vision. He can't keep straight who even showed up and spoke with him. Basically Joseph wanted everyone to believe he had a vision but he wasn't sure when, was unsure for years who appeared and wasn't sure what was communicated.

5. In the now official version of the story we understand that God told Joseph not to join any churches because "all creeds were an abomination" in the sight of God. So why did Joseph try to join the Methodists in 1828?

The whole story stinks. But the LDS Church will tell you it all harmonizes beautifully.

I don't know. I really don't see it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gone rogue

It's been said (by a prophet and repeated frequently by others) that God will not let his people be lead astray. You can find this in LDS scripture and in the Church's general teachings about the nature of the relationship between God and his prophets.

The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.

Is this why Joseph Smith was murdered at 44? Was the mob at Carthage somehow sent by God to remove his delusional and fallen prophet? Was Brigham wrong to take up the bizarre cause of polygamy? What if we can't trust the Brighamite branch of Mormonism at all?

If we can't trust Brigham and his followers than we can't trust what Wilford said either, and I totally believe what Wilford said, ergo everything must be fine. Joseph must have been a holy son of a gun and Brigham must have been right to fight for polygamy. The Church is true! Doubt no longer!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Polygamy - unscrupulous seduction

The recent explanation of how the LDS Church got involved in polygamy mentions that:

A few men unscrupulously used these rumors [of Joseph Smith marrying multiple women] to seduce women to join them in an unauthorized practice sometimes referred to as “spiritual wifery.” When this was discovered, the men were cut off from the Church.

Couldn't this also apply to Joseph? His version might look something like this:

Joseph Smith unscrupulously used his prophetic authority and a story about being threatened by an angel to seduce women to join him in an unauthorized practice sometimes called "celestial marriage." When this was discovered, he was cut down by critics and eventually a violent mob.

History is written by the winners.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Polygamy - until Death do us unite

Now that the LDS Church has officially put up information on about Joseph Smith's polyandry, let's see what the Church has to say about it.

Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women who were already married. Neither these women nor Joseph explained much about these sealings, though several women said they were for eternity alone. Other women left no records, making it unknown whether their sealings were for time and eternity or were for eternity alone. 

What's an "eternity alone" marriage? Here's the explanation:

Eternity-only sealings indicated relationships in the next life alone.

"Relationships" means sexual relationships; it seems that some of Joseph's marriages would only involve sex after death and resurrection. 

So relax, there's a chance that Joseph wasn't boning all of the already married women that he secretly married. BUT THEY'LL BE GETTING IT ON INFINITELY IN THE NEXT LIFE.

Does that sound any less weird? Does "eternity alone" even make sense given how long eternity is? What about postponing sex makes having multiple spouses sound more acceptable to Mormons? I wonder how the husbands feel about this arrangement? Wouldn't a "life alone" marriage at least offer the relief of knowing that your wife's relationship with another man will one day end?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Traditional marriage

It's nice to see the LDS Church recognized that the tradition of marriage is an ever-changing one:

For much of Western history, family “interest”—economic, political, and social considerations—dominated the choice of spouse. Parents had the power to arrange marriages or forestall unions of which they disapproved. By the late 1700s, romance and personal choice began to rival these traditional motives and practices. By Joseph Smith’s time, many couples insisted on marrying for love, as he and Emma did when they eloped against her parents’ wishes. (See here.)

It's a small admission, but it's a hell of a lot better than their usual homophobic bullshit about "traditional marriage" going back to Adam and Eve. Here the Church admits that women have long been considered property of a man (like in D&C 132:62) and an important trade commodity (think of the tradition of asking for a father's permission and his agreement to "give away the bride"). Kudos.

Let's do what we can to avoid reinstating that tradition where it has fallen out of use.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Polygamy - difficult tasks

The LDS Church's recent explanation of polygamy in Nauvoo makes it clear that God's pretty much a horrible communicator and very much a dick.

Although the Lord commanded the adoption—and later the cessation—of plural marriage in the latter days, He did not give exact instructions on how to obey the commandment. [...] When God commands a difficult task, He sometimes sends additional messengers to encourage His people to obey. Consistent with this pattern, Joseph told associates that an angel appeared to him three times between 1834 and 1842 and commanded him to proceed with plural marriage when he hesitated to move forward. During the third and final appearance, the angel came with a drawn sword, threatening Joseph with destruction unless he went forward and obeyed the commandment fully.

Did you catch that? God couldn't be bothered to tell Joseph Smith what he was supposed to do exactly or why, but he was insistent enough that his prophet get with other women that he sent an angelic hit man to lean on him.

"Goddammit, Joe, you faithless fuckface, I'm gonna count the three!"

What kind of loving being would act like that? Why is that God's more than willing to lay out explicit instructions for communicating with him, ship building, tabernacle design, temple building, temple dealings and just about all aspects of our daily lives (including diet), but not for plural marriage and temple sealings?

Wait, what? He did give explicit instructions to Joseph on how to practice polygamy in 1843? Hm...