Saturday, February 18, 2017

The LDS Doctrine of Sex in the Spirt World and the Resurrection

In the proclamation on the family, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”[1] From this we are assured that male and female reproductive organs will remain in their proper place as gender identifiers for all eternity, worlds without end.
Misled people can make use of all the science and surgery they can to change these identifiers in mortality, but in the next life beyond the veil they will see that they still have the same essential characteristics they were born with to those same heavenly parents in their pre-existent home. God our Eternal Father is a perfect being with all knowledge and all power and he knows how to put a male spirit in a male body and a female spirit in a female body and he has never made one mistake in this regard in all the history of the world; nor will He ever. For those rare incidents of nature or other intervention, where some confusion (on our part) is present with these organs, if nothing sorts them out before then, death certainly will. Surgery cannot affect the eternal spirit found within the body of a man or woman in any way.
            But there is a further question as it relates to the resurrection: will those sexual characteristics/organs be functional—will they be operative? The revelation says: “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase” (D&C 131:1-4). These verses constitute the settled doctrine of the church, that those who are resurrected with any kind of body other than an exalted glorified body in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, will not be able to have increase, or spirit children—a continuation of the seeds: “Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever” (D&C 132:16-17). This is the eternal law.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Critique of John Dehlin's LGBT Research

This paper shows that John Dehlin has been playing fast and loose with statistics and surveying methods.

John Dehlin and the Weaponization of Scientific Research by Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Future of the Church

            Some of the enemies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have predicted its demise over its stand opposing gay marriage and homosexual sin. They predict that within a few decades the Church will disintegrate and be no more.
            Below is what the prophets have said, to the contrary. Somehow I just don’t think we need strain our minds with great mental exertions and run about in circles suffering anxiety and panic to figure out which voices speak the truth. I think President Hinckley’s thoughts pretty well sum it up, and President Packer’s confirm:  

President Gordon B. Hinckley discussed this very question:
I noted from last Sunday’s papers that a new book is off the press, put together as a “history” of this work by two men who have spent much time gathering data. I have not read the book, but the conclusion, reported one reviewer, is that the future of the Church is dim.
Without wishing to seem impertinent, I should like to ask what they know about that future. They know nothing of the prophetic mission of this Church. The future must have looked extremely dim in the 1830s. It must have looked impossible back in those Ohio-Missouri days. But notwithstanding poverty, notwithstanding robbing, notwithstanding murders, notwithstanding confiscation and drivings and disfranchisement forced upon the Saints, the work moved steadily on. It has continued to go forward. Never before has it been so strong. Never before has it been so widespread. Never before have there been so many in whose hearts has burned an unquenchable knowledge of the truth.
It is the work of the Almighty. It is the work of his Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the gospel of salvation. Men and women may write now, just as Hurlburt and E. B. Howe and others wrote in those days, but the work goes on because it is true and it is divine. These are the best of times in the history of this work. What a wonderful privilege it is to be a part of it in this great era.

President Boyd K. Packer has declared: “Despite opposition, the Church will flourish; and despite persecution, it will grow.”

Will there be a sifting of the wheat from the tares as the years pass? Of course. Will the weak and even a few of the elect be deceived? The prophecies so state. But I think the above quotations speak for themselves, despite the gnashing of teeth by the adversary and his online spokespeople.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Gay Activism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Ruminations on Promoting Sin

Editor's note: an earlier version of this appeared here on February 13, 2016.

(Revised and Enlarged)

President Gordon B. Hinckley knew exactly what he was talking about when, in a 1997 general conference, he cautioned members of the Church, saying: “I hope you will never look to the public press [or bloggers/social media] as the authority on the doctrines of the Church.” His point was that most commentary from such sources fails to one degree or another to accurately represent or communicate Church doctrine, practice, and policy. The result is that many readers are given a false impression of the Church’s position and judge it falsely thereby. Of course, such a result—misunderstanding and confusion—is usually what the reporter or blogger—often a gay activist—seeks. They know there is nothing easier to sway than an outraged but misinformed audience.

The Position of the Church

The Proclamation on the Family, issued by the First Presidency, teaches that “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”[1] The First Presidency has further stated:

We of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reach out with understanding and respect for individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. We realize there may be great loneliness in their lives but there must also be recognition of what is right before the Lord. As a doctrinal principle, based on sacred scripture, we affirm that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. The powers of procreation are to be exercised only between a man and a woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family.[2]

During an occasion when activists and media were agitating, President Hinckley stated the following, which is the same thing he would say today if he still lived:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mormon Book Bits #42: George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton

Editor's note: This is the last of a series of posts by Dennis Horne about collectible books. The introduction is here.

            George Smith, owner of Signature Books, is an atheist and critic of the Mormon Church who interests himself in issues and episodes of LDS history that he dislikes—polygamy being one of them. His publishing company’s ultimate purpose seems to be to reinterpret Mormon history so that the divine element is missing. On occasion he self-publishes his own works; hence his version of the journals of William Clayton. While most students of LDS history are grateful for those publications that make available new sources and documents, they do have an expectation, often disappointed, that what they buy will meet established scholarly standards. In this case, they are again disappointed.

            James B. Allen, former assistant church historian and BYU history professor, reviewed An Intimate Chronicle for BYU Studies with the eye of one who had already spent considerable time himself with the journals for his own scholarly works. He discovered that G. D. Smith was using purloined notes of the journals instead of the originals for his transcriptions, and that he was purposely omitting parts of the journals to make them seem more sensational. For example:        “Though editors have the right to determine what to eliminate, it is unfortunate in this case that some seemingly significant entries were excluded while some relatively insignificant passages were retained. Sunday, March 8, 1840, for example, was a very eventful Sabbath day for Clayton. In the morning, he prayed with a Sister Burgess, who had a serious infection on her breast. He also recorded where he had breakfast, who spoke at Church meetings during the day and evening; the ordination of certain men to the priesthood; some baptisms and confirmations; visits he made to members of the Church; gifts he received of oranges and money (he often recorded such thing as a reflection of his gratitude for people who supplied him with food and other needs while he was working without purse or scrip); and, finally, a cryptic comment about using ‘liberty’ toward Alice Hardman. In his abridgement, however, Smith kept only about one-sixth of the total entry: ‘Sister Burgess came. Her breast is very bad. I prayed with her…. Supper at Hardman’s. Used great liberty toward Alice Hardman’ (33). By including only the somewhat titillating material and leaving out the much more important information about Clayton and what he was doing as a missionary, this ‘abridgement’ does little but distort the day’s activity” (BYU Studies, Vol. 55, No. 2 [1995], 166).

            Because this distorted version of Clayton’s journals was published in paperback, it was more widely distributed than many other Signature publications—how many unsuspecting readers will be fooled, or at least misled, by this manipulated mess.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mormon Book Bits #41: David John Buerger, The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship

Editor's note: This is # 41 in a series of posts by Dennis Horne about collectible books. The introduction is here.

The mysteries of Godliness attempts the first historical treatment of the development of the endowment and other temple rites. The preface acknowledges the sensitivity of this theme and promises ‘to treat the ceremony with respect’ in order to ‘enhance understanding of the temple for both Latter-day Saints and others by providing a history of the endowment’ (vii, ix). Yet, ‘given exaggerated claims about the temple and its origin by some enthusiastic apologists’ [just who these persons are and what constitutes their exaggerated claims the author does not tell us], he argues that ‘a degree of specificity in detail is unavoidable” (viii). Using many unpublished primary sources and published exposes written by anti-Mormons, Buerger traces endowment history from its beginnings in 1831 to the present day. His narrative is specific enough to offend the sensitivities of most devout Mormons, despite his disclaimers.

            “All sacred texts and sacred ceremonies, when they become the object of historical analysis, should be treated with delicacy and care…. Buerger, attempting to speak through his sources, some of which are openly antagonistic to Joseph Smith and the ceremonies revealed through him, fails to pass the sensitivity test. Nevertheless, basing his history on a plethora of documents (many of which are restricted by the Church because of their sacred content and thus cannot be studied by general researchers to determine their meaning, veracity, or historical setting), he does create an interesting narrative. …

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mormon Book Bits #40: Bryant S. Hinckley, Daniel Hammer Wells and Events of His Time

Editor's note: This is # 40 in a series of posts by Dennis Horne about collectible books. The introduction is here.

            In his autobiography, the main author wrote:

“At that period [1939-42] I did considerable correspondence for the President [Heber J. Grant], and wrote a small book for the Beneficial Life Insurance Company, the title of which was, “Heber J. Grant, a Businessman.”

            “Then he had me write the life of Daniel Hammer Wells, explaining that Annie Cannon Wells, an experienced writer and author, would assist me. His brother-in-law, Genton Wells, had worked for a year in the Library gathering information for that book. All of this was turned over to me, and it took me about a year to write the book, working at it whenever time permitted. Mrs. Cannon died before doing much on it.

            “President Grant paid me $100.00 per month additional while working on it. My wife, May, was a great help in putting it together. She worked very hard at it. That first book was a big job. There was an edition of 3,000 copies which cost the President about $3,000.00. He died soon after it came off the press or he would have gotten all his money back and then some.” (Bryant S. Hinckley, The Autobiography of Bryant S. Hinckley, [unpublished], 44.)