Sunday, November 29, 2020

President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Experience with Weak Members and Apostates

 (Presented by Dennis B. Horne)

             It takes two things to keep church members from being sucked into the fad of having a “faith crisis” and apostatizing—gospel knowledge and testimony—and both of these result from exercising faith. President Smith explains all of this in a general conference talk from 1958. And one of the finest things he teaches, that most people don’t realize, is that the gospel is simple. Intellectuals, dissidents, dissenters, and anti-Mormons try to make it complicated either for self-aggrandizement or to cause doubt in others. Some scholars/academics are also guilty of this. Yet, if people exercise faith enough to follow this counsel, they can be fortified and inoculated against the doctrines of men and devils. I have placed a few editorial notes in brackets to update the general principles being taught by President Smith below:

             It is my judgment that there are many members of this Church who have been baptized for the remission of their sins, who have had hands laid upon their heads for the gift of the Holy Ghost, who have never received that gift, that is, the manifestations of it. Why? Because they have never put themselves in order to receive these manifestations. They have never humbled themselves. They have never taken the steps [hard spiritual work] that would prepare them for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Therefore they go through life without that knowledge [testimony], and they have not the understanding. Therefore when those cunning and crafty in their deceit [anti-Mormons and dissenters] come to them they disturb them in their faith, if they have faith left.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

President Marion G. Romney’s Spiritual Gifts

 by Dennis B. Horne

            [Editorial Note: These personal experiences in the life of President Marion G. Romney, a former counselor in the First Presidency, are found in his chapter of my book, I Know He Lives: How 13 Special Witnesses Came to Know Jesus Christ.]

It was while on his mission that Elder Romney enjoyed one of the great anchoring spiritual experiences of his life; one which left him forever changed. Serving at a time when there was less emphasis on companionships, he spent part of a preparation day alone at the library of the University of Sidney. On this occasion, among all the shelves and stacks of worldly books, he found himself turning to his own copy of the Doctrine and Covenants, soon becoming deeply absorbed in section 76 in particular; the vision of the degrees of glory given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Having lost track of time, his study of that section took him into the evening.

            Young Elder Romney finished reading, left the library, and was overcome with the impressiveness of what he had been reading. His later described what happened next:

Monday, November 16, 2020

President Heber J. Grant’s (Fun) Political Story

 by Dennis B. Horne

            [Editorial Note: With the 2020 election over and political tensions in the U.S. still high, I thought this story from President Heber J. Grant might bring some humor and fun to the situation. The setting is his last talk at his first general conference as President of the Church. I first encountered this story almost two decades ago as I was editing a selection of diary entries and related materials about Elder Abraham H. Cannon, a son of President George Q. Cannon who only served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for some 6 years and died young. He and Elder Grant, along with Orson F. Whitney, were something of friendly rivals in their early years and had strong political views. They even dated some of the same women.]

            I have received a lot of anonymous letters, since I became President of the Church, telling me a great many things that people would like me to announce here, positions they would like me to take, etc., to all of which I shall pay no attention. Any person who wishes to write me a letter and give me pointers should not be afraid to sign his name. . . .

            Some years ago I preached a sermon in this Tabernacle. At the close of the service, on my way home, between here and the Eagle Gate, six or seven men complimented me for "spanking in public" Brother Abraham H. Cannon who had spoken just before I did. Two or three days later some seven or eight men were in the President's office, and I was summoned before them and taken to task for "spanking" Brother Cannon. They were very angry. They were all Republicans, and all those who had complimented me were Democrats. Brother Abraham and I were there at this meeting, and I asked him if he knew that he was spanked. He said, no, he did not; and I remarked, "If I spanked you in public, I must have done it in my sleep. I quite frequently sleep when other people are talking; but, up to date, I have not learned to sleep while I am talking. I am not aware of saying one single, solitary word that reflected on what you said."

            I requested that those two sermons be published in the Deseret News, one following the other; that neither Abraham nor I be permitted to read them before publication. When they were published I was to appear at the President's office and I would make any apology that was necessary for spanking Brother Abraham in public. Brother Cannon and I read them to ourselves and then read them aloud, and we could not find one single, solitary word, wherein I had found any fault with what he had said, neither could the Presidency. So I did not have to apologize. Do you know, it is a very easy matter for us to misconstrue what people say, and make such an application that it may appear partisan or as if it were intended for personal advantage, in some way, shape or manner. CONFERENCE REPORT, JUNE 1919, 139, 142-43.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Kent P. Jackson’s Article on Joseph Smith, Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary, and the JST at The Interpreter


by Dennis B. Horne

             The Interpreter online journal recently posted a strong and sound article by retired BYU Religious Instruction professor Kent P. Jackson. For some time now critics of the Church have been trying to use the (false) conclusions of Thomas Wayment and Haley Wilson-Lemmon to weaken or destroy the credibility of the Joseph Smith Translation (or Inspired Version) of the Bible. Their conclusions are that Joseph Smith borrowed heavily from Adam Clarke’s bible commentary in creating the JST, with Haley Wilson-Lemmon (who is now an apostate) declaring that the Prophet plagiarized much of the JST.

            Kent Jackson has now thoroughly studied their conclusions and finds them to be nonsense. The Prophet Joseph Smith did not use the Clarke commentary in producing the JST and did not even have the book. Wayment and Wilson-Lemmon are simply wrong about most everything. In other words, the anti-Mormons have latched onto an illusion (that should not have been created) for comfort in their disbelief; a puff of smoke that is now blowing away in the wind and leaving them looking as foolish as ever.

            In connection with this, FairMormon also posted an audiofile with one of the Church’s History Department Employees (Mark Ashurst-McGee) also speaking to this issue. It seems that much of what he said is also now shown to be erroneous as well, the major item being his number of 5 percent of the JST being taken from Clarke’s commentary, when it is actually none. (I encourage people to read and listen to these items themselves.)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Time Again for Dissidents and Apostates to Become Loud

 By Dennis B. Horne

 With General Conference upon us, we will again see and hear the racket and squawking from dissidents, anti's, and apostates, all trying to use the increased attention on the Church for their own nefarious purposes. The Salt Lake Tribune is leading the way, as usual. This quotation from President Heber J. Grant summed it up in his day and in ours, beautifully:

"I have received a lot of anonymous letters, since I became President of the Church, telling me a great many things that people would like me to announce here, positions they would like me to take, etc., to all of which I shall pay no attention." Conference Report, June 1919, 139.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The Doctrine of Sex in the Spirit World and the Resurrection

 By Dennis B. Horne

In the proclamation on the family, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles averred: “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 and sexual characteristics will remain in their proper place as gender identifiers for all eternity, worlds without end. President Dallin H. Oaks defined “gender” in the Proclamation as meaning birth sex.

Misled people can make use of all the science and surgery they can to modify 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 resurrected and glorified 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. According to Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, “President Marion G. Romney said, ‘the God of heaven will never put a female spirit in a male body and he’ll never put a male spirit in a female body.’ You can write that down as God’s truth.”[2]

For those exceedingly rare incidents of abnormality, 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.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Repost: Another Mistaken BYU Harmonize-Evolution-with-Doctrine Movement


With BYU restarting, many incoming students will be forced to take biology. Reposting this information may be of use to some in countering many of the falsehoods they will be taught about evolution being part of the gospel. Also, if things proceed according to plan, I will begin a substantial series of blogs about evolution negating or corrupting the true doctrine of the creation of mankind this January, 2021.

“There is no need to attempt to harmonize conflicting views when some of the
views are out of harmony with the Standard Works. This is what life is all about.
The Lord is finding out what we will believe in spite of the allurements of the
world or the philosophies of men or the seemingly rational and logical
explanations that astute people make.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie[1]

“Informed members of the Church know that when they come across statements or
 doctrinal explanations which are contrary to what is in the revealed word, they are duty
bound to reject such.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie[2]

“I see others, [BYU Students] sharp, cynical, skeptical, in the know-it-all arrogance of blossoming young manhood and womanhood. They have inquisitive minds. They are easily taught—and easily led astray. Teach these with extra care.” Elder Boyd K. Packer[3]

            I may be behind the news, but I recently learned, to my dismay, that some professors in the Brigham Young University Biology Department are actively promoting another attempt to harmonize evolution with the gospel. Such a misguided and possibly even spiritually dangerous effort must not go unchallenged and uncorrected.
            I recognize and fully appreciate that BYU biologists must study and teach evolution for the school to be acceptable to the world as an accredited institution of higher learning. I also enthusiastically appreciate the almost inestimable value of the great majority of science for the betterment of the world.
            What is not appreciated, and what is unacceptable, is when the theories of the historical life sciences are forced to mix with the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in ancient and modern revelation—specifically, the theory (or theories) of organic evolution. Round pegs just don’t fit in square holes without causing damage; in this case spiritual harm. Where this latest BYU movement loses its way, as with its predecessors, is in supposing it can harmonize evolution of any brand with revealed gospel doctrine.