No one faces LDS Church discipline for criticizing Mitt Romney

(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here.) Last week the media engaged in silliness by surmising that a disaffected LDS blogger, David Twede, was facing a church disciplinary council supposedly because he had criticized fellow Mormon, Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s presidential candidate. The Daily Beast breathlessly headlined that the Mormons want to excommunicate a “Romney critic.”

Even the Standard-Examiner has a misleading headline in our wire story, “Mormon writer says he faces excommunication for criticizing Romney.” (Read) Now there’s no doubt that my church has a distressing record in the past with punishing dissent. The most recent example was 1993. It still irks me that a faithful member such as Lavinia Fielding Anderson was excommunicated. She deserves to be reinstated and apologized to. But David Twede, who I do have sympathy for, is not facing church disciplinary action, and potential excommunication, because he is critical of Mitt Romney.

Put on a common-sense hat, folks. If criticism of Romney merited expulsion from the LDS Church, Harry Reid would have been bounced a while ago. Many of my faithful LDS friends, who despise Romney, would be getting ominous letters from their church leaders. That’s ludicrous, of course.

The reason Twede’s church standing is in trouble is easily located in the Daily Beast article, and it’s a pity author Jamie Reno lacks more basic knowledge of the LDS faith. It states, very deep into the story, Twede saying “… They didn’t like that I was writing a blog critical of the church, and they were upset by the fact that I was discussing the temple, which is connected to Mitt Romney in my article. I revealed things about the temple, and secrecy, and other things that they just don’t want anyone to talk about. …” (article)

Criticizing Mitt Romney is no big deal. Revealing LDS temple ceremonies, which are considered sacred by faithful church members, is a big deal. It’s an offense that can lead to excommunication. If Twede wishes to retain his membership, he made a serious error posting that temple ceremonies information.

The best Mormon-themed blogger out there, the Salt Lake Tribune’s Peggy Fletcher Stack, pointed out days ago that the temple ceremony information was the big deal (Read). As Stack points out, “Mormonthink (Twede’s blog)  did have an entire section discussing LDS temple ceremonies and their connection to Masonic rites, with links to photos and text of LDS temple rituals.”

It’s worth debating whether revealing such information should cost a member his church identity. I hope Twede retains his membership. But it needs to be clear that criticizing Mitt Romney had absolutely nothing to do with his current trouble with church officials, and most media dropped the ball.

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49 Responses to No one faces LDS Church discipline for criticizing Mitt Romney

  1. Trepan says:

    It’s certainly not a problem to criticize Mitt Romney, Orin Hatch, or Harry Reid who are all LDS, I criticize them all the time, I am Mormon and I am also American. :)

  2. RB says:

    We can’t know the real reason, and even the church’s purported reason hasn’t been stated by them. But consider this: it was a previous editor that had the temple section moved off MormonThink.com, and it was a different writer that authored the temple section that was removed. Twede’s discussion of temple covenants certainly was in the context of criticizing Romney.
    In any case, what Twedd wrote was true. I’m not pleased with a religion disciplining someone for telling the truth. But I think that is the church’s privilege if it so desired. Twede can choose to remove himself from the church, or he can abide by their rules. He has the power; the church only holds authority over him by his own consent.

  3. Bean says:

    What most reports fail to mention is that Twede was NOT criticizing Mitt Romney at all, he was criticizing the LDS Church and the likelihood that it would at least attempt to influence Mitt Romney.

    The trouble with reporting on Mormonism is that it is such an intricate and complicated religion, complete with underhanded influence methods and a thorough system of doublespeak, that it is almost impossible to get an accurate account from any practicing Mormon.

    • Elle L. says:

      Exactly, Bean, I just wrote something to this effect. Most people have no idea how underhanded and shady it is. With a smile. There is no other organization that runs things in such a way in our country, at least.

  4. Laotzu says:

    The church is enforcing its rules in disciplining Twede? That would make sense if there were such a thing as consistent rules. But Tom Phillips, a senior leader who received the secret Second Anointing and has revealed the most intimate details of the temple and its ceremonies, has not been punished in any way.

    In fact, the church has no consistent principles. Just like the Marriotts profiting from the sale of pornography while some members are excommunicated for watching it; just like Romney being allowed to have a temple marriage days after a civil marriage rather than waiting the one year mandated for less connected members; just like President Hinckley dissembling about LDS doctrine on national television rather than “standing for something,” there are different rules for different classes of Mormons. Twede’s fundamental error was being too unimportant to merit special privileges.

    This is really about the conflict between the church’s desire for control and its timidity regarding its own public relations. The church wants to dictate what its members say and do; it will discipline dissenters as long as that punishment does not hurt Mormonism’s reputation. The practice works reasonably well, from the church’s perspective, unless the decision-makers miscalculate the PR effect of going after a person.

    That is precisely what is happening now. Church leaders thought they could punish Twede because he is an unconnected lowlife, but they were wrong. In an internet age about which the octogenarians in Salt Lake City know very little, even commoners can get national attention–particularly during the Romney-inspired Mormon Microsecond.

    Once again the church has proved itself both Machiavellian and inept.

  5. Tom says:

    Doug

    I may be mistaken but I think Twede hisself later stated that his Church discipline thing had absolutely nothing to do with anything he wrote about Romney, but was all about his Church ceremony disclosures.

    And “Laotzu” – this occasional Mormon critic thinks that your contempt for the Church might be a bit overboard. Especially the part about slamming Hinckley for not “Standing for Something”. I think Hinckley was a very classy, noble and outstanding leader who in fact stood for a whole lot of good in this troubled world. Also, it seems the Church doesn’t bother Xing folks who don’t really care one way or the other. Maybe a good thing as I would have been booted a long time ago!

    • Laotzu says:

      Tom,

      Thanks for your thoughtful, measured response. I do view the church with contempt. I have seen it do immense damage to people both through Prop 8 and other things enforced from the COB and also through mistakes at the local level. In the latter instance, the rule that was explicitly expressed to me by a senior leader was that the church will not reverse its errors if doing so would embarrass the organization. I think that is profoundly wrong because it relieves individual leaders of the responsibility–even the ability–to make restitution as part of the repentance process. I do not recall ever being taught that the obligation to repent ceases to apply when a person rises to a certain rank in the hierarchy, and yet I have never seen an official apology for anything.

      On Hinckley, I respect your different view. But I knew Hinckley, and I have read his dishonest Truth Restored; and I saw him deny on national television the doctrine that men can become gods, a principle that is still in the gospel doctrine manuals. I also heard him say, again in a public interview, that polygamy is not Mormon doctrine–despite the fact that D&C 132 stipulates that only those who practice plural marriage can get into the Celestial Kingdom and that multiple apostles have said in conference that in taking second wives after the passing of their firsts they were already living that principle.

      Hinckley urged us to “stand for something.” But for what? For truth, as Jesus taught? Or for public expediency, as he practiced in denying doctrines and telling his underlings to hush up church errors? I guess that he did “stand for something,” though in my experience that “something” was moral compromise. And I find that contemptible.

      • Collin Simonsen says:

        Please give me a source. I think that his comments should be interpreted much more charitably. I highly doubt that he denied the doctrine that men could become gods. When speaking about polygamy, you and I both know that he was talking about what the common man considers to be polygamy. Almost no one who is not mormon believes that mormons will practice polygamy in the afterlife, so to say he was “lying” is an unfair interpretation. Seems almost like you want him to be bad.

        Please also tell me what is dishonest about Truth Restored. I know that it leaves some uncomfortable things out of mormon history. Does it really rise to the level of “dishonest?” Would you judge your own words as harshly?

        • Erick says:

          Hinckley didn’t “deny” the comment, in fact when asked about whether Mormon’s believed they could become God’s he something to the effect that there was something of an old couplet “as man is, God once was….”.

          President Hinckley did, however, distance himself and the Church from the “doctrine” by saying that he didn’t know alot about it, and that nobody really did. I took that to mean that he was saying that we don’t actually understand the full implications of what Lorenzo Snow was saying. I was a little bugged by this because the King Follet discourse, which he didn’t really comment on, is quite explicit. I saw it more as a dodge than an outright denial.

        • Laotzu says:

          For Hinckley on either the deification process or polygamy, just google his name and Larry King. You can watch the videos for yourself.

          On polygamy, you are both right and wrong. Most Americans hate the idea of polygamy altogether; they certainly do not think God has sex or is a polygamist. But they also, as you note, don’t like polygamy here and now. What was dishonest in Hinckley’s statement was that he denied both. He made a blanket statement that left no room for doubt–which is why there was such a strong negative reaction in those parts of the LDS community that had expected him to testify of true doctrine.

          Deceptions in Truth Restored? Oh, I don’t know. How about the Urim and Thummim? According to Joseph, B.H. Roberts, Russell Nelson in June 1992, and others, not one page of the Book of Mormon was translated that way. The U&T were taken away when the 116 pages were lost. The BOM itself was translated through the use of a seer stone in an overturned hat. The First Vision? Why use the account that George Q. Cannon popularized in the 1870s rather than the earlier ones that taught that God and Jesus were the same, as Joseph taught in Lectures on Faith? Polygamy? Hinckley says the church stopped that with the manifesto in 1890. The truth is that the first presidency continued to authorize new plural marriages for many years after that, which is why the Second manifesto was issued nearly 20 years later, saying, “this time, guys, we mean it.” But of course that was not true either, since polygamists continued to practice while still in full fellowship for decades longer. In short, Truth Restored established the “party line” that was to be taught regardless of actual facts. It was a public relations masterpiece but a moral travesty.

          Would I, finally, apply the standards to myself that I apply to Hinckley? In the first place, I do not speak as a prophet of God. That means that you and I know that I am subject to errors in judgment and memory. But for a prophet of God speaking in his capacity as God’s spokesman, the standard should be different–and higher.

          But in the second place, yes, I would admit to dishonesty if I ever intentionally said something that I knew was false. Something of my attitude should be clear from this thread, in which I have at least twice admitted errors and tried to fix them. The difference between me and Hinckley is that he didn’t feel the need to correct the record. That would bother me.

  6. Noah B. says:

    I have it on good authority that the link to one of the videos made by me (see my NewNameNoah YouTube channel) on MormonThink.org is what got Mr. Twede in trouble.

    Whatever the case may be, now the temple ceremonies are officially no longer secret. They’re all over YouTube now in full color.

    • LasvegasRichard says:

      The temple ceremonies haven’t been secret as long as I can remember. But they have changed dramatically over the years, all without any apparent revelation or ‘thus saith the Lord’ episode. Makes one wonder what evolution they will eventually attain. So where then did the original version come from and who decided it was o k to make major changes ? What then was the point ?

      • Collin Simonsen says:

        Why do you care? You are manufacturing a controversy. Obviously the people that mormons believe are prophets made the change. They aren’t going to announce it over the pulpit. If you don’t believe that mormon revelations are real, then why do you care if there is an official “revelation”? Why don’t you stop hating?

    • Collin Simonsen says:

      I see those youtube videos as an act of genuine hatred. It feels to me like a nude photo of me or a loved one was posted. You may not see it as such a big deal, but many mormons do. It isn’t about it being “masonic.” Most mormons don’t know or care that it is masonic. To us, it is just a very special ceremony. That is mocked by the world.

  7. JohnL says:

    The only reason the Mormon temple ceremony is not to be talked about is because that was borrowed from the Masonic Temple ceremony with the secret handshakes and passwords. The Masons had you swear to secrecy upon pain of death and so did the original mormon ceremony that Joseph Smith took from Freemasonary.

    So in reality Joseph Smith broke his oaths to the Freemason by taking parts of their ceremony. That is why Mormons for a longtime could not be a Freemason in Utah due to the stealing of the ceremony

  8. Sylv says:

    Laotzu,
    I’m not going to change your mind, I’m sure, but the men becoming gods doctrine was, according to a BYU prof, never part of canonized scripture. As to the polygamy thing in the D.C., most people would go to current revelation on the matter. It’s also very understandable to make a distinction between current and temporal doctrine and future and eternal doctrine–esp. in front of a non-LDS audience.

    • Laotzu says:

      Sylv,

      Another thoughtful reply.

      I don’t know which BYU professor you were referring to, but he should reread his Doctrine and Covenants. D&C 130:22 says that God the Father is a “perfected man;” and D&C 132:20 says of those who live faithfully according to the law of plural marriage, “then they shall be gods. . . . Then shall they be gods because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” There is no question that this is official canonized doctrine, which is why it is still taught in church textbooks and why President Hinckley’s dissimulation was so disturbing to me and many others.

      As for polygamy, you are right. There is a difference between the church’s policy for this world and its eternal doctrine. I would have no problem if that were what the apologists say. But their position, and this includes Hinckley and his son Richard, is a blanket denial. It is “not doctrinal,” the prophet told Larry King, despite the fact that D&C 132 is the heart of Mormonism, combining polygamy, temple marriage, and the man-becomes-god doctrines in a manner that fundamentally differentiated Mormonism from traditional Christianity.

      The difficulty arises because Hinckley wanted to pretend that Mormons are a mainstream Christian group rather than the “peculiar people” that we were once told we were. The scriptures are clearly closer to our “peculiar” position than to Hinckley’s “sanitized” version. That he would not admit, let alone stand up for, canonical LDS beliefs was unfortunate.

    • LasvegasRichard says:

      I disagree with almost every part of your post . What I see is that things that made God out to be a waffling liar are o k now and in the future.

  9. Tom says:

    Laotzu

    Interesting reply on your feelings and attitude toward the Mormons, thanks.

    We can only speak on the subject based on our own individual experiences with the Church. Far be it from this “born into the Church but never practiced it Mormon” to defend it or try to explain it – beyond my own experience with it. Those experiences over way too many decades has been uniformly good and positive.

    I have never felt jammed, lied to or manipulated by the Church or any of its many officials who I have known. None of them have ever tried to shove it down my throat, although as the old saying goes “every member a missionary” and I have of course had many make good efforts to expose me to their gospel.

    I have loved and cherished many members of my extended family and many friends who were true believers. I could never understood just how they could believe it, but none the less I have had great respect for them anyway.

    My more recent experiences have included:
    A Bishop paying rent for my laid off tenants even though they were not Mormons.

    A whole passel of ward members showing up bright and early after last December’s wind storm and worked hard all day cutting up and removing 10 wonderful and very large old pine trees on my property that had been knocked down. Not one of them ask for anything in return nor did any of them try to preach the gospel to me.

    A couple of years ago the whole mountain behind me was a raging fire. The sky was literally raining fire on my wood shingled house and out buildings, and at 2AM in the morning the local elders quorum showed up and worked for several hours fighting the fire and saving my home and property. I had never met any of them, and none of them ask for anything in return.

    So although you see where they have done “immense damage”, a claim I do not deny, especially as it pertains to Prop 8 over in California, I have seen the Church do immense good as well.

    I also recognize that the Church and a lot of it’s leaders don’t seem to be able to admit past wrong doings or errors, especially as it pertains to it’s prophets, which for sure has led to some rather interesting situations. However, I don’t think that is unique to the Church, but more a part of human nature. Just reading the comments section here seems to indicate that is a wide spread malady.

    As to the teachings that men can become Gods, given the other strange and often bizarre teachings of most organized religions, I don’t find that particularly strange or out of line. I’m not sure, but I don’t think that D&C 132 limits only polygamists to the so called Celestial Kingdom, does it? If so, what about the vast majority of good Mormons who have ever lived who didn’t practice plural marriage, are they excluded from those pearliest of gates?

    My understanding of the “Man can become God” thing is that it had it’s origins in Joseph Smith’s “King Follet sermon” wherein he said something to the effect of “As man is now, God once was”. In that sermon he went on and on and on about the nature of God and how it is the goal of all religions for men to become more like God. There were other lengthy sermons (and apparently they were all very long winded) where he made very clear statements that there was only one supreme God, one Jesus and one Holy Ghost. Three separate individuals which apparently is one of the bones of contention between the Mormons and other believers in the Bible story. In those sermons he also seems to lay out the idea that just because there is only one supreme God, that there are also many lesser Gods – which men can aspire to become through good works and loyalty to his teachings.

    The ideas I have the most puzzlement over is his teachings that only the good become Gods of their own planet and the bad die off. The idea seems to run into a practical problem in that if all the good become Gods and the bad are gone, who are the Gods God over?

    Perhaps I am one of the lucky Mormons who never took it serious to begin with and therefore have never had any outrage or indignation over the Church teachings and practice.

    • trytoseeitmyway says:

      Tom, I wanted to reply on a couple of things, which I admit are off the subject of the main article. Still, you seem interested in them and you might be interested in this.

      Specifically, you said, “As to the teachings that men can become Gods, given the other strange and often bizarre teachings of most organized religions, I don’t find that particularly strange or out of line.” I think that’s a terrific, and highly tolerant, observation. Thanks for making it.

      The truth is that doctrines of theosis or divinization have long roots in Christian (among other) religious traditions. The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church says, “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” The highly regarded Christian theologian, C.S. Lewis, wrote: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship.” [C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, rev. ed. (New York: Macmillan, Collier Books, 1980), 18]. His work, Mere Christianity, has a lengthy section on theosis as part of God’s plan.

      Laotzu claims that he “saw” President Hinckley deny the doctrine of theosis “on national television.” He’s mistaken about that. He must have one of those special memories which include things that didn’t happen. There’s a lot of that going around.

  10. Laotzu says:

    Hello Tom,

    Most fundamentally, I agree that people must judge from their own experiences. I too have seen the church, or its people, do great things for others. Where our views probably diverge is over the experiences that some of us have had who were for decades committed to the church and hence exposed to a degree of control and arbitrary authority that most people who have kept their distance have not seen. My family was deeply committed, including mission presidents and stake presidents and two people above that rank. I personally served a mission, was a branch president in a very small congregation, and lived very close to the ideal Mormon life. It is that proximity to the power structure that exposed me to many of the things I considered, and consider, abuses of power. It is decades of studying doctrine that makes me so sensitive to the dishonesty that is now so pervasive. So you and I are judging things from different perspectives.

    On your specific arguments, you are right about institutional dishonesty: all organizations do that. But an entity that claims to be God’s one true church and is supposedly led by men in constant communication with deity should be different. Such a church should make very few major mistakes, acknowledge and apologize for the ones that do occur, and hold its leaders to the same ethical standards that it applies to its members. To say that all churches behave this way is to prove that the LDS church is not uniquely moral or uniquely inspired.

    You are also right about the Celestial Kingdom. I mis-wrote when I said that one must be a polygamist to enter that august realm. But it is only polygamists who may enter the top level of the CK, whose members are “gods and goddesses.” As to the nature of deity, the truth is complex. At first Joseph taught the traditional Christian notion of a God and Jesus who were the same being; that idea was in some of his early accounts of the First Vision and in his Lectures on Faith, which were part of the Doctrine and Covenants for decades–even after he had started teaching that God and Jesus were distinct beings. Joseph altered course again in the 1840s, when he embraced the King Follett logic, which said that all faithful polygamists could become gods. That particular speech was never canonized, but parts of D&C 130 and 132 explicitly endorse the doctrine; and every prophet from Joseph’s time until the late 1990s or early 2000s confirmed the idea.

    As for the questions of gods and subjects, the answer is two-fold. First, none of the less- or non-good die off. They are saved through Jesus’s sacrifice and live eternally in lesser kingdoms. The faithful ones who fail to participate in plural marriage enter the Celestial Kingdom and become servants to the polygamist gods and goddesses who alone occupy the top tier of that kingdom. Those newly minted deities then continue to procreate, creating an infinite number of children who then populate new worlds. In short, the gods rule over their own spirit children.

    • Publius01 says:

      Laotzu, frankly you have a surprising self-assurance that you alone know what is and is not Mormon doctrine. Has it occurred to you that there are many equally as studied in the history and development of Mormonism who simply understand that history and development differently than you do?

      Perhaps it wasn’t that President Hinckley was lying, but that he was reflecting the fact that Mormonism doesn’t claim to know as much about the afterlife as its members (and it critics) pretend. It is fine for you to quote scripture and prophetic statements in support of your personal conclusions, but perhaps THE underlying principal of Mormonism is that none of these people are perfect and their teachings are subject to at least two things: that we are here to learn by our experience, and that there is yet further light and knowledge that God has for us when we are ready to receive it. That is why authorized representatives are so important in Mormon theology in the first place.

      In my view, you simply apply a rigidity and finality to Mormonism that it doesn’t claim for itself, even if some of its members (and many of its critics) do.

      • Laotzu says:

        Publius01,

        I find that a remarkable argument.

        You need to reread the texts you are dismissing. In D&C 132 God describes himself as “I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching” polygamy. “Thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph. . .” “For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant.” “I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment. . .”

        Was Joseph “speaking as a man” when God said those things? Was God speaking as a man? Your statement that “none of these people are perfect and their teachings are subject to” change and learning cannot possibly refer to God. Or, in your mind, does it? If so, then perhaps that is the biggest difference between your Mormonism and traditional Christianity: a God who misspeaks.

        As for the deification doctrine, D&C 132 puts these words directly in God’s mouth. “Then shall they be gods, because they have all power. . . Verily, Verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.” Then, in verse 54, God says that if Emma does not let Joseph have his extra women, He will “destroy” her.

        What I find amusing in the argument you present is that it requires not that humans have imperfect language and make mistakes but that God does. The church once taught that we could believe what the scriptures say and what the prophets pronounce over the pulpit. Now you guys are telling us that the scriptures are not credible; that God was still “learning” when he spoke word-for-word to his prophets, and hence that we cannot believe what he said. Frankly, your religion then devolves into simple obedience: we cannot trust what God says, we simply follow whatever it is that today’s leader tells us today, knowing full well that he may say something different tomorrow.

        As to Hinckley’s dishonesty, was he telling the truth when he said that polygamy is “not doctrinal?” When he said “I don’t know that we teach” the notion that “as man is, God once was; as God is, man may become?” He really didn’t know that that prophetic statement was in the Gospel Doctrine books he’d been reading and teaching for many decades? Or conversely, was Hinckley lying when at a local conference after the King interview he replied to concerns about his speech with a wry smile and said, “don’t worry. I know what our doctrine is.”

        So you tell me. Was Hinckley dissembling when he denied God’s explicit doctrines or when he reassured everyone that he did not mean what he told Larry King? Or, I guess, being an imperfect man with imperfect knowledge, perhaps he had learned something between the two events? . . . That must be it. He forgot decades of learning during his few minutes on national television, then recalled those lessons before giving the subsequent speech to church insiders. . . That must be it.

    • Tom says:

      Laotzu

      Very interesting and informative reply, again thanks. If this keeps up I will be owing you some tuition!

      Your explanation of just who those future Gods are going to be Gods over was great. I have read around the subject a number of times and could never quite figure out the rationale, now I think I understand it a little better. Servants in the Celestial Kingdom! WoW, now that is interesting, sorta like something out of the segregated deep south “House Mormons”. Also had never known about the different levels in the Celestial Kingdom. I always thought there was the basic levels – Basement, Ground level and the Top suite with a corner office and a great view. Didn’t know there were sub floors in between.

      Reading about your, and your family’s, involvement with the Church makes me even more grateful for my own limited acceptance of the theology. I have read extensively on the Church history, and a very fascinating one it is! I also of course have numerous family and friends who are active members. Although I have been exposed to the dogma off and on for all my life, I could never really get into any of it. This is especially so after I went to college and studied the physical sciences. Given your experiences I think I might have dodged a big bullet!

      Your experiences and attitudes about the Church remind me very much of my own toward the Republican party. I spent considerable time and money on the Republican party over 35 years only to see it go to hell ethically and intellectually during the last 15 or so years. As a consequence I am fed up and very disappointed in where the party has gone since it has been taken over by the Tin Hat and integrity challenged NeoCons who lie through their teeth routinely and appear to be in it only for themselves and their big money cronies.

  11. Elle L. says:

    I don’t think we will ever know what really triggered the excommunication movement. I do believe that Mr. Twede’s feelings for his family are being held hostage, though. last I heard he wanted to remain a member, mostly for his family. I’m a longtime mormonthink reader, he’s been doing his work for years now. The timing of this is not coincidental.

    • trytoseeitmyway says:

      “The timing of this is not coincidental.”

      I have no idea what you mean by that? You think that the timing of the discipline is intended to coincide with … what exactly?

      I’m not a long-time mormonthink reader but I have visited that website. I was offended by the tendentiousness, not to say hostility. Let’s be honest: it’s an attack. While I guess you feel that nothing there merits Church discipline, that would be a difficult conclusion for me to draw if I assume that the Church will adhere in a consistent way to its own standards for membership or fellowship.

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  13. E B says:

    The issue is not about telling the truth. The issue is broken promises with God, called covenants. Covenants are not lightly made and they are not lightly broken, which is where the Church discipline comes in, if the person is unrepentant (unwilling to change). It has nothing to do with truth beyond that Twede broke sacred promises.

    • Fred Kratz says:

      Does it seem the least bit odd to anyone that such secrecy exists in the first place with all these Masonic type rituals? If God wanted to offer up a reformed gospel of good news to the Christians on planet earth because Christian creeds had become corrupted, why make this entire process so convoluted in the first place? Not only was the “reformed Church” nearly persecuted into oblivion as war against it was contemplated, but its exclusivity would be manifest in the very rituals it followed, and continues to follow today. This most certainly does not seem like the best plan for getting out the “good news” of a reformed gospel.

      • trytoseeitmyway says:

        Does it seem the least bit odd? No. If God wanted to offer up a reformed gospel of good news, He would organize a church to spread that gospel through missionaries and other means. He would invite all to the meetings of that church and open baptism to the public as was done anciently. If God then invited members of His church to enter into sacred covenants with Him, He would instruct that the rites be conducted in a way that preserves their sacredness, and that shields them from the mockings of braying jackasses. Such as … well, you know.

        • bignevermo says:

          you mean that God wants people to have secret handshakes and tokens to let them into the “pearly gates”? really? sacred does not have to be secret…also why would God want Joseph Smith to take the signs and tokens from the Masons? Kinda weird if you ask me!

          • Collin Simonsen says:

            Bignevermo,

            It is easier to mock than to understand. But having individuals take actions along with their promises helps them know the seriousness of the promises they are making. Hence baptism is not just about signing a document. You actually go under water in a symbolic act of rebirth. Have you ever had something sacred in your life that you didn’t want the world to make fun of because they probably would call it “weird” and not understand?

          • trytoseeitmyway says:

            “Kinda weird if you ask me.” Gee, thanks for your dismissive bigotry. Something comes along outside your experience, doesn’t meet your preconceptions … so you dismiss it as weird.

            There are a wide variety of religious and other beliefs in this world my friend. I accept some and reject others. I have the wisdom, tolerance and kindness not to reject ANY of them as “weird.” On account of, you know, not being a jerk.

  14. bignevermo says:

    well here is the real quote from the Catholic church: While St. Athanasius’s quote might be easily misunderstood, the previous line in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Catechism), from St. Irenaeus, provides the appropriate context: “The Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God” (no. 460). To be the Son of God and to be a son of God are therefore two very different things: Christ is Son by nature (the “only Son” in John 3:16), while we are sons by grace (“sons in the Son” according to Gaudium et Spes, 22). Further, since man is a creature and there is only one God, man can never be God in the proper sense. Within the context of this paragraph, we see that St. Athanasius’s statement means something other than a man becoming the one God.
    http://www.cuf.org/faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=257
    just correcting!

    • trytoseeitmyway says:

      Just correcting, what, the Catechism? You provide “context” for the following quote by treating it as though it were not stated: “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” So, your comment isn’t really “context,” it’s dissembling.

      Now I know of course that there are differences between the Catholic notion of divinization and Mormon theosis. But so many perfect idiots try to present Mormon doctrine as coming from left field … and it just ain’t so. My comment was that this is part of a long theological tradition. It’s hard to know what “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8) can mean if not heirship to the Father. It is remarkable that in the effort to disparage Mormon doctrine, so many so-called Christians want to argue that God’s plan for His children is intentionally limiting for them.

      Here is what the Catechism says in full: The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

      You can dismiss that if you want to, but that’s undeniably the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

      Of course, there is a difference between exaltation and becoming equal to God the Father. As Elder Packer once said,

      ” The Father is the one true God. This thing is certain: no one will ever ascend above Him; no one will ever replace Him. Nor will anything ever change the relationship that we, His literal offspring, have with Him. He is Eloheim, the Father. He is God. Of Him there is only one. We revere our Father and our God; we worship Him.”

      • trytoseeitmyway says:

        Somehow the numeral eight comes out as a smiley face. Please read my reference to the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans with that in mind. 8

  15. Collin Simonsen says:

    This section says that the new and everlasting covenant of marriage is required for exaltation. This covenant is commonly referred to as “celestial marriage” and can be fully practiced by one man and one woman. Polygamy is not required.
    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_polygamy/Requirement_for_exaltation

    • Laotzu says:

      You refer us to FAIR??

      Which is the authoritative statement? That expressed by God as recorded verbatim in D&C 132 or that by the men, with no formal ordination or power, who pontificate at FAIR? You prove my point that the apologists are denying the word of God.

      They are the heretics, the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who tell people not to believe what God himself said. That’s why Scott Gordon’s tattling on Twede is so amusing.

  16. Erick says:

    Collin:

    Overall, I don’t think it is helpful in this discussion to debate what the “actual” definition of Celestial Marriage is, as that notion presupposes that the Church is “true”, as we like to say. In other words, if that is true, then Celestial Marriage is in fact whatever Church leaders say it is at any given time. In this case your fairmormon link is useful for clarification.

    On the other hand, if we are examining plural marriage to try and gauge whether the Church is “true”, then commonly we are trying to do so by pointing out inconsistencies in what former leaders have said, compared to what modern leaders are saying. In these cases, it is not just the contemporary definitions of “Celestial Marriage” that matter, but it is also important to understand what earlier Church leaders meant when they used that phrase.

  17. Tom says:

    Doug

    You have sparked one of the better discussions I have seen on the Standard site. And surprisingly it is for the most part very civil even though there are some pretty wide differences of opinion being expressed. Too bad all discussions on the Standard site cannot follow this example.

    And even better it has for the most part been very informative about Mormon theology, or at least a narrow band of it.

    Thanks to those who have participated and added to my understanding of these subjects.

  18. Laotzu says:

    I agree with Doug. This has been a pleasant discussion, and I feel that nobody got unduly personal. Thanks, and best wishes to you all.

  19. Laotzu says:

    Oops. I mean, I agree with Tom. But thanks to Doug as well!

  20. ontou says:

    I don’t expect anyone to believe me when I say I know David personally, but I would like to just add that I do know him, and while I do not profess to know his motives for sure, I can tell you he will bash the church every chance he gets. I cannot imagine that he values his membership for anything but to hold a little more clout as he tries to discourage Mormon’s from their church and their faith. David knew, and said so himself, EXACTLY why he was being summoned to appear before his local leaders. Of course he did retract it, for whatever reason. Just because you hate something about the Mormon church, do yourself a favor, and do not jump on David’s bandwagon. He is a very sad mess right now. Call him and talk for a while. I, for one, do not think it is in his best interest to continue on as a member, and keep trying to lead people astray. Remember Alma the Younger people? Maybe David will get that lucky…

  21. Pingback: You have got to see these articles on Romney and The Mormon Church « GALACTIC CONNECTION

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