Thursday, August 16, 2018

Doubters' and Dissidents' True Colors Shining Through

            President Russell M. Nelson, the Prophet of the Lord on the earth right now, just shared a revelation from Jesus the Christ with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (His Church) and the public. The prophet used unmistakably direct wording: “The Lord has impressed upon my mind….” Having so acted in his prophetic office, and given this revelation for the Church of Jesus Christ to the Church of Jesus Christ, a number of people who want to be seen as insightful commentators have now commentated. And their (anything-but-insightful) comments have shown all of us where they stand.

            A reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune, who can be consistently counted on to get her story filler from doubters and dissidents, proved her consistency again. She tirelessly reached out (for a few minutes) to a few websites and her email inbox and copied and pasted some negative reaction to President Nelson’s revelation posted by her dissident and doubting friends (she calls them “believing members” but they clearly aren’t as evidenced by their reactions), and wrote a negatively biased story: Rocky Anderson (!!!), Jana Reiss (“also believes the drive may fail”), Steve Evans (“it won’t succeed”), Patrick Mason (“’Mormon’ will continue to be dominant”), and Matthew Bowman (“a move toward boundary maintenance”).

            If nothing else, I hope readers can remember how President Nelson’s direct language of receiving an impression from the Lord on this was casually dismissed by these dissidents and proclaimed as most anything else, including a failed effort before it has hardly begun. We need to remember their disbelief and disloyalty on past and other yet future occasions when they also express their opinions—they have again proclaimed to the world their true colors and feelings. President Nelson seems not to be a prophet to them; they are prophets unto themselves, drawing their great wisdom from their pride and academic learning. It seems whatever President Nelson says, they are smarter and wiser than him and his source of revelation. His teachings and counsel to the Church of Jesus Christ need to be qualified and reinterpreted and discounted.

            Dissidents are placed in such a quandary when a prophet speaks for a god they are not sure exists; they are really only “cultural” Latter-day Saints, born and raised in the forms, but they have never known the power. So, we get what we got—useless rubbish. I prefer to follow the prophet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Blackmail: An Increasingly Common but Ineffective Anti-Mormon Tool

“Extortion or coercion by threats especially of public exposure or criminal prosecution.” Such is the dictionary definition of blackmail. Since threats of criminal prosecution of the Church or its general leaders are ludicrous, we will concentrate on “coercion by threats especially of public exposure.” These types of threats are also absurd, but have still become increasingly popular among desperate anti-Mormons seeking publicity for their grievance or cause. The reason I say absurd is because in order for blackmail to work, they have to have something substantial—some leverage—behind their threat—and anti-Mormons don’t.

            A couple more definitions should be reviewed: “Whistleblower”; “a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity.” (Note that illicit is usually equivalent to illegal, though not always.) And also “traitor”; “a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.” I mention these words because people fitting these descriptions are often involved with blackmail schemes. Whistleblowers, those who expose illicit/illegal activity, are sometimes thought, even begrudgingly, to be principled, even heroic, people for enduring the risk of exposing such activity. Traitors, on the other hand, are thought to be among the lowest forms of humanity; no principles, only deceit and money (or fame) motivate them. They are thought or spoken of like Judas or Benedict Arnold. Often, alleged whistleblowers are simply traitors, designated so because they just didn’t like something they found out about and are using illicit/illegal means to expose something that may be quite innocuous, ethical, and/or legal.

             Having laid this groundwork, let us examine some examples of anti-Mormons trying to blackmail the LDS Church with various schemes. First, we quickly review an incident from Mormon history. David R. Seely gives us this narration:

On 16 September 1911, the Salt Lake Tribune published an account of certain individuals who had secretly taken pictures of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple and who had attempted to sell them to the church. The headlines read: "Photographs secretly taken of Mormon Temple's interior; sent for sale to Church chief. President replies: 'Church will not negotiate with thieves and blackmailers."' The blackmail scheme was perpetrated by Max Florence, who was at the time in New York City trying to sell sixty-eight unauthorized photographs of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple. Florence had employed the help of a recent convert to the church, Gisbert Bossard, who, disenchanted with the administration of the church, had, assisted by a gardener for the temple grounds, gained access to the Salt Lake Temple and had taken a series of photographs of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple. Apparently motivated by money and "revenge" on the church, these individuals had taken the pictures when the Salt Lake Temple was closed for renovation during the summer of 1911. Florence and Bossard had sent a letter to the First Presidency with a proposal of blackmail—that the church would give them $100,000 and the photographs would be returned; otherwise. they would be shown publicly. President Joseph F. Smith, the recipient of the letter, was outraged, and his response was, "I will make no bargain with thieves or traffickers in stolen goods. I prefer to let the law deal with them."[1]

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Strange Saga of a False Prophet: Charles W. Stayner, Orson F. Whitney, and George Q. Cannon

            We now look as far as history allows into the lives and doings of three largely forgotten men (and their associates), to tell a story of strange doctrine, misplaced loyalty, and exasperated concern.

            In 1881, Bishop Orson F. Whitney was called on a mission to England, where his assignment was to preach the gospel as a proselyting missionary for several months, and then move into the main mission office in Liverpool, where he would become the sub-editor of the Millennial Star. In this capacity he would take over for the departing sub-editor, Charles W. Stayner. Unbeknownst to most in his day and ours, Charles Stayner was a self-proclaimed prophet and seer, who evidently had a very magnetic personality, enabling him to persuade Bishop/Elder Whitney, and also many of the other missionaries serving there, that he was a prophet of God that would someday lead the Church.

            The below diary entries and historical sources unfold as much as I know of Stayner’s (and his disciples) beliefs and actions in life. Bishop Whitney was the most prominent among them and had the best contacts with the senior leadership of the Church. For those who have not read my biography of Elder Whitney, after thorough study of his diaries, I came to realize that because of a susceptibility to flattery, difficulty coping with serious depression, and a hungry mind that thirsted for heavenly knowledge almost to a fault, Whitney was particularly vulnerable to Stayner’s claims. Beyond that, I cannot say why one as gifted and brilliant as Bishop Whitney would be so gullible as to accept Stayner’s strange doctrines and revelations. Stayner was not the only man to have a beguiling effect on Whitney during his lifetime, but he did have the most worrisome influence for the longest time—almost two decades.

            I present this material now for several reasons. Some of it (the entries from President George Q. Cannon’s diaries) has just recently become available after languishing in the First Presidencies vault for a hundred plus years. Further, most of the entries quoted below from Whitney’s diary are already published in my biography of his extraordinary life and are therefore not really new. But the main reason to narrate this unusual chronicle is because it tells a story that is repeating itself today in tragic ways. False prophets have arisen among us and should be recognized for what they are.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ruminations on Doubt, Again

            It recently came to my attention that Terry Givens has revisited the subject of doubt in an interview from last January. I don’t follow him so I often learn about things he has said later. Such was the case with his “Letter to a Doubter” (that was so troubling) and an online interview, also troubling.

            From what I can see, in this interview he is trying to walk back (without it looking like it) some of the things he has said about doubt being good in the past that have disappointed knowledgeable and faithful members so much. Some years ago he appointed himself to minister to doubters, a highly dubious proposition (for reasons I will touch on below).

His academic standing has given him enough prominence and following/disciples so that he somehow finds himself speaking in various locations throughout the church on that subject and others. I think it likely that many bishops and stake presidents don’t know in advance what he is going to say to their audiences. I have learned that local priesthood leaders often don’t know when a guest speaker might use the opportunity for priest-craft (selling books, like the Tattooed Mormon), or to advance opinions and agendas that aren’t in harmony with church teachings.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s Witness of the 1978 Revelation on the Priesthood

A selection from the 2017 book,
(From the chapter on Elder McConkie’s special witness of Jesus.)

On June 1, 1978, Elder McConkie enjoyed, with his Brethren of the First Presidency and ten of the Twelve, the most spiritual experience of his life, at least to that point.[1] It came in the House of the Lord at the time of the receipt of the revelation to President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy men regardless of race (see D&C Official Declaration 2). On June 28, 1978, Elder McConkie related the event to family members while vacationing in Nauvoo, and visiting in the home of a Kimball relative. A family member present that took notes from Bruce’s narration later described what he said:

            When we were all seated . . . Bruce began to tell us some of the events and details about this revelation. . . . One thing that he cautioned us not to do was to make it more than it was, even though I can’t imagine a greater thing than this in this life. . . . With President Kimball the preliminaries for this [revelation] started at least two years [before it was received]. There were many, many, discussions, returning to the subject from time to time in their quorum meetings in the temple. There was much fasting and there was much praying and many prayers were offered pleading to the Lord for a resolution of this problem. During the last three or four months there had been extended discussion during the quorum meetings regarding offering all of the blessings of the gospel to all the people of the earth.

            Now the various members of the quorum were asked to express themselves briefly and did. . . . The Prophet had told the quorum that this was a problem that he had been wrestling with for many hours and had spent many hours going to the upper rooms of the temple, wrestling [in prayer] with the Lord. He had not received a revelation but he wanted a revelation. . . .

            This particular Thursday (this was on June 1st) President Kimball asked the members of the Quorum [of the Twelve] to stay; he said that he had some things that he wanted to discuss further. All of the members of the quorum were there except [two].

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lies, the Spirit of Discernment, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ: A Tribute on the Passing of Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone

            On the evening of May 11, I listened for the second time to a wonderful talk, “The Divine Gift of the Spirit,” given by Elder Featherstone at the BYU-Idaho devotional in 2013. I suppose it was one of his last major public addresses. The next morning, I learned that Elder Featherstone passed away at about the same time I had been listening. Knowing he was 87, I had wondered if his time was near.

            The stories told and expressions given in that sweet talk and others have given me much to think about, some of it in an unusual context. I occasionally keep an eye on topics that enemies of the church discuss (including their foolish charges against the church and the Brethren) and I have found that a couple of items they like to harp on have to do with lying and the spiritual gift of discernment. I have come to understand that they often have a warped sense of what lying is.

For example, one bitter apostate said that he was told by his priesthood leader to keep something very sacred confidential. This apostate then complained that he was counseled to come up with some innocent statement he could use, in talking to others, to avoid giving away the confidence. Now that he had become apostate, he was shouting about the confidence, and charging his priesthood leader with telling him to lie to others. Of course such was not the case, but he was desperately looking to find fault. (The irony is that he would break the confidence, or lie, after becoming apostate, while calling others liars; go figure.)

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Salt Lake Tribune indirectly describing the poor work of one of its own

            What irony—one (now former) Tribune employee complaining in the newspaper about what another Tribune employee, still on the job, does with the (alleged) news stories she writes.

The just-retired Mr. Rolly said: “And it just bugs me when I hear all these people talking about journalists who are trained to go out and find the truth and try and write objective stories and everything else as being fake news and then actually believing the crap that they see on social media where somebody just, you know, throws some idea out and pretends it’s a story. The next thing you know people are passing it around. And now we’re finding out that everybody was manipulated that way by people who were really trying to get phony ideas out there to meet a political agenda.” I don’t know what journalistic training Peggy may or may not have had, but she has ignored any she may have received. This description of throwing “some idea out and pretends it’s a story” is a perfect description of most of what she writes. Once in a while some hard news happens that she has to cover, and she gets it more or less (usually less) right, but more often, she is making up stories that fit her personal extreme social and political views on women’s and LGBT issues.

            Lest anyone accuse me of throwing out my own unsubstantiated charges, and calling that news, I offer the following headlines to many of her phony news stories; meaning she has thrown an idea out there to her friends and like-minded liberal/progressive/dissident types she keeps in her email address book and on speed dial:

            Headlines with commentary; and yes, I really did read most of these stories, unfortunately:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Troubles

            The Salt Lake Tribune has announced the layoffs of over a third of its newsroom; some 34 or so reporters, editors, and other staff. As the author of over a dozen blog pieces titled Salt Lake Tribune Tripe, I have, rightly, been especially critical of their poor and biased coverage of stories related to Mormonism.

            It is a tremendously difficult thing to lose your job; your means of supporting yourself and your family. I hope all of these former Tribune employees are able to find other work soon, or enjoy retirement (which some of them opted for). Most of these reporters were probably good at their jobs and reported news accurately and fairly in the varied fields of their expertise. I don’t think most reasonable people would want to do anything but wish them the best.

            But there is a disappointing side to these layoffs that hasn’t yet been mentioned in the preliminary news stories I have seen. Some of the Tribune’s employees, like Peggy Stack, that should have been let go, were not. This was the perfect time for Paul Huntsman to show some backbone and get rid of his media company’s anti-Mormon reporters—but he royally blew the opportunity. I only recognized one name of those now gone who contributed anti-Mormon stories to that paper; the others seem to have unfortunately survived.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

10 Questions with Dennis B. Horne

I recently had the privilege to interview Dennis B. Horne.

Dennis B. Horne, Photo provided by Dennis Horne.

Kurt Manwaring: Welcome! Before we begin, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got interested in writing about religious topics?

I am an independent researcher and author. I grew up in Bountiful, Utah, and served a mission to Independence Missouri. I obtained my bachelors from Weber State University in Communications with an emphasis in broadcasting. I spent some ten years, off and on, working for two local Salt Lake City television stations before I went to work for the LDS Church twenty years ago. I have two wonderful wives (one of them deceased and on the other side of the veil for the last twelve years) and three daughters.

The spark of interest I felt for church history and doctrine when I attended Seminary grew into a roaring fire while I served a mission. That is where I first heard the other missionaries speak so respectfully and reverently of Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s teachings and testimony. He had passed away just a few weeks before I graduated from high school, and I had not had the sense to pay attention to his final famous (April 1985) General Conference address at the time he delivered it. Following my mission, and on the side while pursuing my degree, I voraciously consumed Elder McConkie’s writings and those of the other great doctrinal thinkers and authorities of the Church. I even became a small-time collector of Mormon books when I could afford it. I began assembling my own files, filled with talks and articles related to church history and doctrine. These books and files became my main interest outside of gaining my secular education. Fortunately, I came under the influence of two knowledgeable and wise CES men, who gave me invaluable counsel in how to approach my gospel and historical studies: what to feast on; what to be wary of and why; what to study for proper perspective, and where to find the purest and sweetest doctrine.

These formative years in my twenties helped me avoid a serious crisis of faith, such as what has become something of a fad today. During the decade of the 1990s I felt, rightly or wrongly, that I might become knowledgeable enough to begin considering the possibility of doing some writing. I loved good Mormon books and soon developed the desire to contribute to the field myself. How little I knew how difficult that would be.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Digging for Dirt

            Muckraking and yellow journalism is again (unsurprisingly) found in the pages of the Salt Lake Tribune, where the religion reporter, Peggy Stack, has posted more fake news. Her purpose is clear: keep negative publicity focused on the LDS Church; keep digging for dirt; keep the public’s collective mind preoccupied with her agenda.

How sad that a religion reporter can’t find real religion news to report. No one expects a newspaper to become the PR arm of the Church (except for the Church’s owned newspaper) but for crying out loud, President Nelson just returned from a two-week international tour, going places few prophets have ever been, and Stack couldn’t be bothered to report that genuinely important religious news. To her, it’s much more important to stir the controversy pot, digging and playing in more dirt than a gardener. But this kind of dirt she can’t wash off or keep it from blackening and staining her reputation.

            Stack’s latest attempt to make something news that isn’t, is her story of a mission president that somehow victimized some sister missionaries in Puerto Rico. This is proclaimed to be Stack’s great addition to the “me too” movement. (The golden age of Hollywood also had muckraking tabloid journalists looking for dirt on movie stars of that day).

Monday, April 23, 2018

Hell’s Bells

Elder Boyd K. Packer quoting Brother Brigham, saying something in the mid-1800s that turns out to be just as relevant and applicable today as then:

When President Brigham Young announced that a temple was to be built in the Salt Lake Valley, many were afraid. They had experienced terrible persecutions and hardships. They thought another temple would be an invitation to call it all upon them again. “Some say, ‘I do not like to do it, for we never began to build a Temple without the bells of hell beginning to ring.’ I want to hear them ring again. All the tribes of hell will be on the move, if we uncover the walls of this Temple. But what do you think it will amount to? You have all the time seen what it has amounted to.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, page 410.)

We just heard of seven new temples being announced. How loud and long will the bells of hell ring now? What should we expect? Will opposition increase? Should we be surprised when it does? Where will the satanic sounds of craven counsel come from? The answers to these questions are set before us in many forms, but are easy to recognize (blogs, newspapers, media, social media, anti-Mormon forums, websites, etc.).

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Feeling the Spirit

by Christopher R. Greenwood
and Spiritual Atrophy

Many years ago, when I was a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood, I had the privilege of going home teaching with my father as my companion.  One particular month, my dad had been given a new Sister on his list who he promptly called and set an appointment.  With the appointment set, my dad approached me and told me when I would be needed.  On the designated day, my dad and I went to the home of this very elderly sister.  All my Dad and I knew about her was that she had been a member all her life, her husband had passed, she lived on a farm outside of town and had been the recipient of much assistance from others in the Ward when it came to mowing her lawn, going shopping, etc.

I remember how cordially she greeted us and brought us inside her home.  After some initial conversation, Dad began his lesson.  I remember vividly that during that lesson, this sister, who had been a member of the Church her entire life, stopped my father and in the middle of his lesson, she confessed to him that she had never felt the Spirit of the Lord or ever recalled a single experience in her life where she had felt the Spirit.  I remember how surprised my dad was at hearing that.  I also remember how silent I was, grateful that my Dad would answer this question.  I did not feel prepared to answer her question.  What did I know?  I do not remember what my Dad told her, but I do remember thinking to myself that I did not want to have that happen to me.

I have never forgotten this experience.  As time has gone on, and as I have matured in the Gospel, I often reflect on how I would respond if somebody asked me that question.  “What would I tell her now” if I was given the chance.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Using Publicity to Criticize the Church: Some Perspective for Viewing Recent Events

“This is an insult, especially, to women who have gone
through something like that [sexual assault] and really have been hurt.”
—McKenna Denson’s ex-husband (Arizona Republic)

            When accusations and denials of sexual assault are flying around in reporter’s stories, when sex and religion (especially Mormonism) are mentioned together, a media frenzy can result. The international “Me-too” movement has inadvertently created the perfect storm, offering an irresistible opening for various individuals with manipulative and unscrupulous motives, to take advantage of it and milk it for all it is worth.

            It is during episodes like these that journalistic ethics are often bent or broken, and biases exposed. Items akin to genuine fake news (there’s an oxymoron), non-news, and yellow journalism are published by some media outlets and fill (very untrustworthy) social media. It has happened many times to the Mormons in the past, it is happening now, and it will again in the future. For this reason, I hope to provide some perspective; to pull back the veil and expose the adversary’s deceptions.

Some Historical Perspective

            As I ponder various events from Mormon history in my mind, a number of instances occur to me that give me an improved over-all perspective from which to view recent events and current public clamor.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #12 - Missing the Mark/Point, as Usual

            We just concluded a truly historic general conference of the Church. The newly sustained president, Russell M. Nelson, announced some major game-changers meant to improve the lives and lift the souls of millions of members as the Lord hastens His work. President Nelson and other leaders quietly ignored the clamor of obsessed and misled activists promoted by the Tribune, As God’s prophet, President Nelson effectively (though figuratively) kicked Satan hard where it hurts. The devil has been responding by creating opposition to the church through both his spirit angels (evil spirits) and through his mortal followers (those anti-Mormon activists obsessed with the church, and disloyal, false members). The Salt Lake Tribune continues to be one of their main outlets to voice their displeasure. I think it worth pointing out, that in this latest instance, the Tribune has also missed the point over and over in their attempt to cover conference.

            Let me draw a comparison. In 1899, Bishop Orson F. Whitney’s eldest son, Race Whitney, was a talented young man who had followed in his father’s footsteps, exhibiting abundant literary talent. Recognizing his gifts, Bishop Whitney used his connections to get Race a job working as a reporter for the Salt Lake Herald. Bishop Whitney also used his personal friendship with the recently (6 mo.) sustained church president, Lorenzo Snow, to get Race included as a member of the large traveling party of church leaders and press going to St. George in mid-May for stake conference.

Along with Race, others accompanying the group were LeRoi C. Snow (Pres. Snow’s son who acted as a private secretary/assistant to his father and Deseret News reporter), Arthur Winter (official church stenographer/sermon reporter), and one or two more. Race’s job was to cover discourse content and major events that would be of interest to readers. He was fairly green at the time and so the experience was challenging, especially when Pres. Snow called on him, with no notice, to speak in one of the meetings during their journey.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #11 - Being Used as a Tool

            With general conference just hours from starting, dissident activists are working themselves into a frenzy to use the timing to get out their message. And the Salt Lake Tribune is more than willing to give them the prime-time pulpit they desire (though most faithful Mormons don’t read or like the Tribune). I would suppose that Tribune editors know they are being used by these people and are more than willing to participate. After all, people are reading their paper/website and that is what it’s all about.

            In a few days general conference will be over. Two new apostles will have been sustained; perhaps other items of noteworthy/newsworthy adjustment and change may occur. It won’t be long now until we know. But these activists will still have to live with the consequences of their actions. Those who used the Tribune as a tool to rail against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will find they have no trust or standing in the church they claim membership in. Even if they are not excommunicated for their open public opposition and slander, they have still excommunicated themselves figuratively. If they have already left the church, which is likely, their words carry even less meaning than otherwise. They have lost their integrity and sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. I am so, so, very grad I am not them; that I didn’t march against the prophets and apostles that I love; that I didn’t write a shameful public letter. Shame on them and the Tribune for printing this tripe.

Relevant Counsel from Boyd K. Packer

Some of President Boyd K. Packer’s counsel on
church leader’s weaknesses, bishop’s interviews,
and teaching about procreation and the law of Chastity

            [Compilers note: With certain issues attracting attention in various media venues today, right before General Conference, I took a few minutes and copied and pasted some relevant comments made by President Boyd K. Packer during his ministry. These are found at (subscription required) and are from one or two of his books. I have not bothered to provide further sourcing than that. Though spoken in decades past, these excerpts are so on-point today they could have been written this morning—a sign of prophetic inspiration during their preparation/delivery. I assembled them for any wishing to gain insight into the principles and doctrines of the gospel that keep a member steady, faithful, and unconcerned, while the world is in commotion around us. -Dennis B. Horne]

I speak to that member of the Church who struggles with a test of faith that could touch any one of us.

If I can take the arm of that one and steady him when his faith is tottering, I do not hesitate to impose upon the rest of you for just a few minutes.

At times someone has come to me, their faith shaken by alleged wrongdoings of some leader in the Church.

For instance, one young man was being constantly ridiculed by his co-workers for his activity in the Church. They claimed to know of a bishop who had cheated someone in business; or a stake president who had misrepresented something on a contract; or a mission president who had borrowed money, giving false information.

Or, they told of a bishop who had discriminated against one member, refusing to give a temple recommend, but had shown favoritism by signing a recommend for another whose unworthiness was widely known.

Such incidents as these, which supposedly involve Church leaders, are described as evidence that the gospel is not true, that the Church is not divinely inspired, or that it is being misled.

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #10 - “The Doctrines of Men and the Devil”

            Peggy Stack just won’t let it alone. She has her teeth in something most people don’t worry about and feel is being done correctly, but she has to chew on it and ruin it as a feminist activist. Her latest piece of fake Tribune news tripe: “While applauding latest changes, Mormons concede they are no cure-all. Some even ask: Why have these ‘worthiness’ interviews?” She admits as much: “Activists heralded the move [of allowing a second adult in interviews]. . . .” she wrote. But for myself, and I imagine most of my fellow regular latter-day saints, we don’t want our doctrine and practice in the church influenced by activists. Why? Because they are actively pushing their own worldly causes. And I don’t want my worship or doctrinal views dictated by someone’s mistaken personal cause; especially when they are adopted from our badly mixed up modern society. The whole concept behind being a so-called Mormon activist is that you think the church isn’t doing something it should be, according to your own set of beliefs or opinions.

We now broach an important question that all who read or agree with Stack’s tripe would do well to consider. Where do activists get their opinions when they differ from scripture?—we are told that there are only two other places: from men/women or from the devil: “that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils” (D&C 46:7). Hypothetically, even if Peggy’s doctrines were of men, and not the devil, would we rather get our doctrine from men/her, or from prophets speaking for God? This is not a hard question!—“I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world” (D&C 50:2). And “if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire” (3 Nephi 27:11). These truths should make the question a little easier to answer.

These activists Peggy quotes in her fake news pieces may have some joy or success in their false and deceptive causes, inspired in them by false spirits, but what does the Lord say will be their end? Again, this is just not that hard to figure out.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #9 - “Be Careful Who You Choose to Rally Around”

            Today, just before General Conference, we get another helping of tripe from the Salt Lake Tribune, in the form of righteous wrath from an obvious feminist activist. Michelle Quist uses the setting and prominence of General Conference and Easter as a prop, hoping to increase the decibels of her complaint. Her hope is to convince people to believe women when they claim they have been sexually assaulted—and her standard bearer and shining example is the (as yet unidentified) woman from Colorado who is at the center of recent publicity over a thirty plus year old assault accusation against her MTC president.

            This piece of tripe is provocatively titled: “Easter has come just in time for the Mormon church’s sex scandal.” The fact is, the Mormon Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—has no sex scandal. A former MTC president who made a serious mistake/sin has to deal with a scandal, and the church is appropriately investigating it in order to determine how to proceed with disciplinary measures against the offender, but there is no scandal except in the minds of many dissenters and activists, like Michelle, who are trying to pin it on the church while saying they aren’t. We should recognize all of this for what it really is and not be swayed by activist rhetoric making a mountain out of a molehill, or one individuals bad actions the entire church’s.

            If anyone wonders whether the church and its leaders take these matters gravely seriously and do all in their power to prevent them from happening, they have but to read over the recent letter and revised policies issued to priesthood leaders regarding policy changes meant to further reduce chances for problems to arise. But there is nothing they can do now to prevent something that occurred over thirty years ago.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #8

            Still using the present prominence of General Conference as a tool to increase visibility, in this latest piece of Salt Lake Tribune tripe, Peggy Stack seems to think her opinion of what should be talked about is desired by others: “With a new president and new apostles, Mormon General Conference is sure to make history, but will speakers touch on timely topics?” Well, no, we don’t care what topics Peggy thinks should be covered.

            She also quotes a couple of self-appointed spokespeople, eager to bring greater attention to their own opinions. Most of the people Stack quotes are unorthodox liberals or activists, often extremist feminists or academics looking to push for (undesired) change.

            In this case, most of the article is fairly innocuous, simply being Stack’s review of what SHE thinks will or should occur during Conference. And her quotations of the academic are not that troubling, but another of her (obviously activist feminist) sources of opinion seemed eager to criticize, and is what has earned this piece the genuine label of utter tripe:

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #7

            This time the (less blatant) tripe comes from Ann Cannon, a Dear Abby-type columnist for the Tribune, instead of from Peggy Stack. From what I have seen over the years, Cannon is much less of an activist than Stack, and is not so blatantly biased against the Church. She has become more liberal since she moved from the Deseret News to the Tribune several years ago, but still seems to avoid the unashamed false statements we get from Peggy.

            Having said that however, Ann misses the mark here, and allowed others to speak ignorance and negative activism through her column. So perhaps we might describe this particular Salt Lake Tribune Tripe as Ann Cannon’s multiple friend’s tripe, proclaimed by the Salt Lake Tribune.

            First we get comments from people wanting to hear messages of love, tolerance, and inclusion. And all of that sounds like wonderful requests, and they actually are wonderful and each have been talked about already many times. The problem is when people turn these virtues into vices by using them as code words for extreme behavior (see President Oaks explanation of this problem here).

Monday, March 26, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #6

I had hoped that my series of refutations of false and misleading Salt Lake Tribune fake news stories would not need to be written so often lately, but then I remembered it is the week before general conference, when anyone and everyone with a reason to exploit the semi-annual occurrence of the large-scale conference for their own ends will be doing just that. 

Peggy Stack is no exception, and has now written an opinion piece, masquerading as news, with just this idea in mind: use the conference timing to get more notice and create more disturbance. We find that the title is as silly as ever, even asking a question instead of stating a fact like most legitimate news stories do. More fake news from the Tribune: “Does tithing requirement for entry into LDS temples amount to Mormons buying their way into heaven?” This question could come from any one of countless posts on anti-Mormon forums, where bitter apostates, atheists, and other assorted enemies of the Church rant about all kinds of nonsensical and fictional things they have made up and want to rail against.

But this time it is Peggy carrying their torch, with no reason whatsoever to ask the headlined question. Tithing payment has been taught in the Church since the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation commanding it in 1838 (see D&C 119). Then, in the 1880s and 1890s, as a result of federal government confiscation of Church property as part of their anti-polygamy legislation, church members saw their free-will offerings being stolen from the Church, and many became lax and deficient in full payment. Between the federal government’s legalized theft, several other financial factors, and the decrease in tithing payment, the Church soon found itself in severe debt. This was resolved when the Lord gave President Lorenzo Snow a marvelous manifestation in 1899, commanding faithful members of His Church to again pay a full and honest tithing. The members did and the debt problem was solved relatively quickly. It was in the succeeding months that President Snow began teaching that members would not be allowed to enter the holy temples unless they fully complied with the Lord’s revelation. The requirement to be a full tithe payer eventually became cemented into temple recommend interviews, with members needing to comply to be fully worthy. All of this was done by inspired church leadership; prophets and apostles of God.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #5

            Peggy Stack has a new story out, titled: “Some Mormons say their church needs a culture change, after watching the sex abuse scandal at the Missionary Training Center unfold.” As I write this sentence, I have not yet read the story, but only the headline.

I hope other readers can catch the subtle sophistry at work here. What is wrong with this headline sentence? 1) There are “some Mormons” especially among the dissidents, gay activists, and extremist feminists, that you can contact, that will say anything you want your story to say. All you have to do is shop for your biased quotes in the right places—Peggy’s email list and inbox. “Some” (rebellions and contrary) Mormons is a far cry from most Mormons, which have a much different opinion. They are not caught up in her liberal and worldly causes. 2) There is NO sex abuse scandal unfolding at the MTC. The publicized events (the scandal) took place 35 years ago; the investigations 8 years ago, and several months ago, and some more now—but none of it is taking place at the MTC. The former mission president lives elsewhere, out of state. The woman accusing him is not at the MTC and lives in Colorado. There is no scandal at the MTC. This headline is a lie. Whether Peggy wrote it or someone else on the Tribune’s staff, it is the purest falsehood and tripe.

            I have now read the story. Peggy immediately starts with innuendo, gossip, and bad opinion. “Some read the statement from the LDS Church” negatively, she proclaims. Who are the “some”? Again, you can easily search dissident online forums to find a few some’s to help get your piece cooking with juice, but it is bad journalism. Then we learn who some of the “some” are: a couple of apostate therapists, using the publicity of the story to stir the pot and push their private agenda’s. They are tapped into groups of people who want to use this situation for their own ends and they are doing so for all they are worth. A quotation from the piece: “Hanks, who is Mormon, .. . .” The problem is that Hanks is a disaffected Mormon that hasn’t been excommunicated yet and so Peggy can still categorize her among the “some” Mormons. But what help or meaningful representation of Mormons is that?—it’s useless.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #4

            This time we find a different reporter (besides Peggy Stack) headlining a Salt Lake Tribune story promoting illicit sexual experience for Mormons and Utahns. People who are alleged “professionals” are now holding conventions in which they promote adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, and other types of sexual deviancy as not only normal, but good and healthy. In this particular case, being a “professional” has little meaning, and no legitimacy.

            I suppose a case could be made in which we said that strictly speaking, the Tribune itself is not promoting the sex convention, but is only reporting about it. Yet after review, it is obvious this reporter has a bias in favor of the convention and against the teachings of the LDS Church on sexual morality. While several proponents of free sex are quoted, only vague references to the overly strict and repressive (their opinion) Mormon Church and Utah State Legislature are given. This is poor reporting; any freshman in Journalism 101 could tell you a reporter needs to get both sides of a story while striving for fairness and balance.

In this case, some subtle sophistry is incorporated, since it is mentioned that some of the  alleged professionals evidently have a “background” in the Church. Translated, what this means is that they are former or inactive members who no longer believe in scriptural and prophetic teachings about sexual immorality. They are apostates and excommunicants and critics pushing philosophies contrary to the plain teachings of the Church they say they grew up in. Well, we get that resistance from all the prominent apostates that the Tribune gives a voice to; that is nothing new. Part of being a Latter-day Saint is to endure opposition from the spokespeople of a telestial world—but we can still point it out with a neon sign.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #3

            The Tribune and Peggy Stack are at it again, as we have come to expect, this time with more extremist feminism rubbish. In an article titled, “Mormon church has taken ‘baby steps’ toward greater gender equity, but LDS feminists say it’s time to lengthen that stride,” she again rashly uses her public platform to seek to push extremist feminism on the Church.

The first question that immediately arises is this: is this actually, really, news? True it is that what often passes as news today has changed over the last few decades. Legitimate news used to be just the facts of the story—no making things up to suit a reporter’s fancy or pushing personal ideologies. Now news has become filled with opinion and viewpoints. Even in that broad and generalized sense, this piece still struggles to resemble any kind of news. It is really what today is often labelled “fake news.” (I have found that pretty much any story the Tribune prints/posts about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has elements of fake news in it.) This Stack article is really trumped-up (pun intended) extremist feminist propaganda, meant to act as both a rallying cry for feminists and to criticize the Church for not heeding the suggestions of its dissident feminist members.

The larger secondary question is, should a newspaper that bills itself as legitimate be running opinion propaganda disguised as real news? And because they do run such items, they forfeit any pretext to solid accurate journalism in their Mormon-related coverage. Hence my occasional efforts to do some watchdogging on an alleged news outlet that calls itself a watchdog. Peggy Stack is a glowing example of a yellow journalist—negative and personal bias, criticism, lack of balance, inaccurate facts and statements, sophistry, and manipulation abound in her work. The Tribune needs to clean their own house before they show others how to. Why can’t they get rid of the propagandist and hire a reporter without a liberal social agenda? Someone that won’t use their position and pulpit to push their personal causes. But the Tribune has a long and infamous history of using its pages for nefarious purposes on matters Mormon.

Who are the 144,000 elect?

by Christopher R. Greenwood
and Spiritual Atrophy

Who are the 144,000 elect who will accompany the Savior when He returns to the earth as discussed in Revelations?  There has been much speculation discussed about it, but I have tried to limit my answers to recognized authorities, prophets and apostles.  I have tried faithfully to assemble answers that address who, what, where, and why.  For obvious reasons, it is impossible to answer when.  Each of these has been addressed, by section, from recognized sources:

A.    Who are the 144,000?:
(The 144,000 are) a select group of individuals. John foretells of 144,000 righteous high priests, all of whom have honored the law of chastity, who will receive a special ordinance. (See Rev. 7:3-4; 14:3-4; D&C 77:11.) These 144,000 will be organized into groups or quorums of twelve thousand each according to the twelve tribes of Israel. (See Rev. 7:4-8.) As of the middle of 1992, there were over two hundred and fifty thousand ordained high priests within the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is uncertain, however, how many of them would spiritually qualify for this ordinance and be physically able to fulfill the tasks and callings that await this group when they are called to administer the everlasting gospel throughout the earth. (See D&C 77:11.)  Also, it appears that these 144,000 might be gathered from the actual scattered Israelite tribes. (See D&C 77:9.)

        B.  How will they administer to the people of the Earth?:
Depending upon the earth's population when the Millennium is established, each of these 144,000 high priests could have responsibility for many thousands of people. For example, if the earth population were only three billion, there would be over twenty thousand people for each of the 144,000.  In other words, they could be like Regional Representatives (or Area Authority Seventies) today, with responsibility over a number of stakes and the nonmembers living in that region. With the dramatic change of political and social events in eastern Europe and Asia, perhaps great numbers of converts and priesthood holders in these areas will help supply this body of leaders needed to help the Messiah govern his kingdom on earth. (See D&C 133:18.) (emphasis added)
Excerpts from:  Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel
Victor L. Ludlow  Chapter 37, The Signs of the Times

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #2

            It looks like if I can keep up the energy to do it, these exposés of the Salt Lake Tribune’s long-standing miserable reporting record on things Mormon could well become a series. Sometimes it simply comes down to how aggravated I get at the false or misleading information contained in one of their sorry stories. Most long-time Utah LDS residents are aware of the Tribune’s critical bias against the Church, and many others besides me have noted and been annoyed by it.

In doing a little online surfing I came across this fine piece on another website: “Of 'MormonLeaks,' intellectual property and The Salt Lake Tribune – recipe for bias?” by a former Deseret News reporter that keeps an eye on things and evidently knows what he is talking about. The blog reviews a little history of the two Salt Lake City newspapers, then names some of its more prominent current reporters (such as Peggy Stack), and rightly concludes that “This newspaper has often run pieces critical of, if not hostile to, the LDS Church, mostly in the opinion pages, but occasionally elsewhere.” “Elsewhere” is, of course, the religion section or the front page, where Stack runs amuck with her activist agenda critical of the Church she purports to be a member of.

In the case of the commentary found in the linked blog about the Tribune’s bias against the Church, a different Tribune reporter is rightly taken to task for bungling and slanting the story he covered—strongly favoring an anti-Mormon copyright-infringing organization to the detriment of the LDS Church. A fine example of the Tribune’s recipe for bias coming through load and clear. “The journalistic issue is balance – the latest Trib story is heavily weighted towards [the anti-Mormon’s] perspective and downplays the church's viewpoint….”

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe

             The Salt Lake Tribune calls itself Utah’s “Independent Voice”. Correctly translated, what that means is “criticize the LDS Church continually, especially regarding so-called social issues.” It has been disappointing and sad to me to see it continue bashing the Church under its new Huntsman family ownership. If the Huntsman family wants to retain an honorable name and reputation, some firings need to take place.

            The Tribune’s main religion reporter, Peggy Stack, obviously has an agenda of extremist liberal social activism. Whether it is extremist feminism (ordaining women to the priesthood), or LGBT issues (gay marriage/sex), or some other false or wrong-headed liberal cause, she uses her considerably-sized pulpit to push her activist propaganda. The fact that she constantly misinterprets and misunderstands LDS doctrine while doing so doesn’t seem to bother her. And I am informed she is a member of the Church! Well…if you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and your employment causes you to write things that are not honest and honorable and accurate, perhaps that person should rethink their method of earning a living. But in this case, Stack seems to feel it is better to try to change the doctrine than to report it accurately—extremist activism at work, doing great harm instead of helping. She has the pulpit and by darn she is going to use it to seek to affect public sympathy for liberal change in the Church, and, it would seem, if she has to criticize and distort and misinterpret and so forth, so be it.

            A recent example. A pro-evolution story covering a pro-evolution biologist’s pro-evolution speech at a symposium, where the biologist incorrectly stated that church members should believe in evolution—a blatant falsehood. Peggy falsely states: “The Utah-based faith takes no official stand on the question.” This is utter nonsense and I bet Peggy knows it. An apostle directly addressed her false statement three decades ago:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Veil of Forgetfulness

by Christopher R. Greenwood
and Spiritual Atrophy

So... When We Will Remember Everything?

Sometime ago, my Dad asked me the question, “When we die, will we remember our pre-mortal existence?  If not, when will that happen?”.  The following quotes and narrative is to provide insight into that wonderful topic.  I would encourage you, however, that like all doctrine, we need to study this out, pray about it, and determine for ourselves what we believe and what we need to do additional research on.  The following paragraphs encapsulate what I have been able to find on the subject copied from a variety of resources.

We are told that we are to function in this life by faith.  If the gospel is preached in the spirit world as it is here and one remembers everything there, they could not very well exercise faith because when one has sure knowledge, it excludes the need for faith.

There is sometimes an expectation that the veil is removed when we die, an assumption that may have originated some decades ago with the landmark film, Man’s Search for Happiness. Near its conclusion, the grandfather in the film dies and his spirit is depicted emerging into a circle of loved ones who pre-deceased him. Juxtaposed over this scene the commentary mentions that the veil over our memories will be removed and that we will recall our pre-mortal existence. While it is true that we will eventually have the veil of forgetfulness removed, that does not take place when we leave mortality. Not until the day of our resurrection, when our physical and spirit bodies are inseparably joined, will our pre-existent memories be restored. And that agency seems to be necessary after death if those in spirit prison are to freely choose and accept their proxy temple work.

On October 25, 1831, during a general conference, Joseph Smith taught,