Posts Tagged ‘Golden Calf’


When you see this man, think of Packer (or any other member of the First Presidency or Qof12).

2-Bit Prophets

I’m working on a different research project that I’ll hopefully upload here soon, but thought this might be worth adding.  As many of you probably know, Boyd Packer spoke to a “multi-stake” conference in Utah and the regions thereabout back on September 12th.  A few of the sites I meander to on occasion had devoted large threads to discussing what he did, or did not, say.  What these sites shared, and those posting stated, were the inspiration for this.

In an email correspondence with a couple of my friends, one of them received an email from another friend which discussed this same conference and what Packer had said.

What’s amusing is that this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has surrounded Packer.  In 2001, Packer rather infamously stated (or did he?) this statement that has been denied by all parties involved:

“The youth of the Church today were generals in the war in heaven.”

This rumor was so widespread that the LDS church had to issue a formal denial through the LDS Church News on April 28, 2001, which read:

“[Boyd Packer] did not make that statement.  I do not believe that statement.  … None of the Brethren made that statement.”

In 2008, at a rather infamous talk given to the Forest Bend Ward, Packer was alleged to have said some fairly dire things about the then current economic climate.  In one such email that made the rounds among the LDS community, one sister noted:

“I can’t even begin to describe what an amazing and wonderful meeting it was today. The Spirit was so strong and the counsel so heartfelt and direct:  a personal message for us, each of us, delivered by an Apostle of the Lord, from the Lord.  A message to counsel, inspire, and strengthen us in troubled and worry-filled times.  And yet so uplifting!  Reminding us of the great promises the Lord has made to us.  It was a sacred experience and I am so grateful I was there and that I’m able to share some part of it with you.[1]

This “inspiring” talk was, once again, denied to have happened by all the pertinent parties and merely a result of our internet culture.  The “Church Public Affairs” office stated that although Packer did speak a that ward (the Forest Bend Ward), there was no official transcript of the talk.  As such, the one making the rounds in emails must have been written after the meeting and therefore “not be considered authoritative.”[2]

That talk, it seems, stated that:

“We live in troubled times.  There is a great financial crisis and we’ve seen something that hasn’t happened in the last 60 years:  the world’s financial markets are collapsing … I pronounce upon you an Apostolic blessing. Comfort our children. Little children can be afraid of things we might not think of. Comfort them and strengthen our families. Turn off the television and focus on family. Pay your tithing. The promise is there – pay your tithing and you’ll be watched over. You’ll be alright. None of us is exempt from trials. If hard times come upon you and your income dwindles, remember that tithing is equitable for everyone: 10%. If you have nothing, then it’s 10% of practically nothing. Pay your tithing, do what you’re supposed to do. You’ll be comforted.  Sure, trials will come. Because of them, faith will increase. Happiness will increase. Security will increase.”

Whether or not true, in spite of the doctrinal inconsistencies mentioned therein, it’s alleged to not have happened.  In response to such matters, the Church reported, back in May 2004, that:

“From time to time statements are circulated among members which are inaccurately attributed to the leaders of the Church. Many such statements distort current Church teachings and are often based on rumors and innuendos. They are never transmitted officially, but by word of mouth, e-mail, or other informal means.

We encourage members of the Church to never teach or pass on such statements without verifying that they are from approved Church sources, such as official statements, communications, and publications. Any notes made when General Authorities, Area Authority Seventies, or other general Church officers speak at regional and stake conferences or other meetings should not be distributed without the consent of the speaker. Personal notes are for individual use only. [emphasis added by FAIR]

True spiritual growth is based on studying the scriptures, the teachings of the Brethren, and Church publications.”

Though you won’t find that letter on the LDS Church News site which acts as a repository for First Presidency Letters[3], it’s nevertheless assumed to be true.

Then again, this past week another one of these “events” is reported to have happened.  This time Packer is alleged to have said,

“I’ve thought a lot about this conference and all of you and brother Holland and the others have talked about the pioneer days. THEY HAD THE EASY PART. From now on it’s going to be different and it’s going to be rougher. When you think of the Hole in the Rock or Rocky Ridge or any of the other places where the pioneers served, in many ways their part was easier than our part is going to be.  … The easy times are in the past. The Rocky Ridge and the other pioneer challenges like the Hole in The Rock were the easy times. Now we have the difficult times. But we’re not being left without strength and power. The priesthood is with us and the gospel is with us as we live our lives as best we can. We have a father that will guide us and he will correct us, sometimes painfully, but he’ll correct us.”[4] (emphasis was in the original emailed sent to me.  I assume it’s not original to the actual talk).

LDS bloggers have gleefully responded:

“All of the messages were very strong and very clear. Despite all that was said I feel that those who have heeded the voice of the prophets and have done all that they could to prepare will not have reason to fear.  The messages were a strong confirmation for me of the timeline that we are on. … Big big changes coming in the next 6 months to a year. General Conference will be amazing I have no doubt.”

And:

“Just heard from a friend that attended and gave very much the same report as the others who have posted. I’m glad I got another 120 lbs of flour in sealed containers last week. Time to visit the cannery again this week for more milk.”

And:

“I really appreciate all of your posts. It sounds like it was an amazing conference. I hope some of you took notes and can share further with us. It certainly does seem that now is the time to get with the program and to do whatever we need to as soon as we’re able.”

And:

“Like others here, I was impressed that Pres. Packer was giving us a warning. He actually mentioned the fact that the pioneers had it easy three different times. I won’t give the exact quote (I wrote it down) but in essence he said The pioneers had the easy part. Things will be different for us in the future. It was similar to the warning he gave a year ago in April’s priesthood session where he said We move from a generation of ease and entertainment to a generation of hard work and responsibility. We do not know how long that will last. Some here have suggested that his talk was typical stake conference fodder, but I couldn’t disagree more. It was a warning loud and clear for those with ears to hear.”

And:

“Great day in the morning! [He] has now realized that the brethren are NOT and have NOT been silent!”

And:

“…our Stake Pres mentioned in the Sat night session that a lot of the negative influences are coming from the press. He also stated that he was going to stop listening to most of the news, including Fox as he no longer felt the Spirit during many of their broadcasts. Our Stake Pres works for the Church in the Education Department and travels all over the World on various assignments from the Brethren.”

And this would be the crème de la crème of the bunch:

“Elder Bruce R. McConkie said in General Conference, I don’t remember which one, that the saints would experience greater future persecution than any they have experienced in the past. That seems to be the same prophecy that Elder Boyd K. Packer is making here. In the mouth of two or more witnesses are all things established. This is the Law of Witnesses.”

As these examples show, people were very much satisfied to hear such a strong “voice of warning,” indeed, a “prophecy.”

In response to this email, a different (good) friend of mine chimed in:

“Elder Packer seems to be hinting about upcoming trials.  That agrees with the scriptures.  His conclusion “The priesthood is with us and the gospel is with us as we live our lives as best we can does not agree with what the Savior told the Nephites about the church in our day.  This sounds like more “feel good” and “follow the Prophet” tripe.

The Lord warned us quite clearly what to expect “But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.” (3 Nephi 1:15)

The “they” and “them” here refers to the people of the latter-day Gentile church which has frittered away the Fullness of the Gospel.  These things spoken of by the Savior, and by Elder Packer, appear to be at our door.

Living our lives “as best we can”…if that means chasing the idols of Babylon as the large majority of LDS people have been doing for generations…won’t cut it.  The Lord told us that He will not protect the Gentiles (LDS people) “if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice”.  The scriptures agree with Elder Packer that things are going to get ugly very soon.  The scriptures do NOT support his assurances of forthcoming Divine protection for those within the LDS church who live “as best we can.”

“Why should we any longer jump and twitch, or even take much note, of the weak hints issuing forth from modern day leaders who have failed so significantly in their responsibility to WARN of the rapidly impending “calamity” when every two-bit internet prophet can now see what’s coming!”

Every pundit on the internet is also hinting at bad times coming.  It doesn’t take a prophet to see that the economy is continuing to crumble, despite the lying assurances issuing out of the White House.  The “hard times” foretold by the Savior will catch most people, including those in the church who don’t study the Book of Mormon, by complete surprise.”

As the author of “The Unwritten Order of Things,” I fail to see how his remarks are anything remarkable.  Because a guy (Packer) is in a position of authority that LDS members cling to with their entire belief system only appeals to those inclined to believe in a “doomsday” scenario, waiting with bated breath.  Then, flags and eyebrows are all raised and suddenly everyone pays attention to what’s going on.

If Packer (or anyone else for that matter) were to truly prophesy and call everyone to repentance, then figurative riots would happen in the streets.  But, then, calling us to repentance would more than likely condemn our participation in the City Creek Center and other Babylonian endeavors.

My thoughts?

I find it amusing how quick we jump when someone inside the church, but only when it’s a member of leadership, says how bad things are and how bad they may become in the future.  If you take the exact same words and put them in any other persons mouth the information is shoved to the side and its truthfulness questioned.  When Boyd states it, though, it’s prophecy, truth and such an “inspiring” “voice of warning.”

Talk about an amazing cult of personality we hold to.

But, only so amazing as this comment (emphasis is mine):

“Over the years, I have had a hard time understanding people who get so angry or upset at something the prophet says, and they even go against what the prophet or apostles say.

If you believe that the President of the Church is truly a prophet of God, wouldn’t you want to know what he says? There are times when I don’t know exactly what is the truth, or which way to look at a situation, but when the prophet, or apostles speak, that clarifies it for me. I want to know what the Lord wants or desires. If there is something I have trouble accepting or understanding, I pray about it in order to understand and/or accept, but I don’t go against it, or the prophet, or the church. I stand back until that understanding comes.

If you believe that the prophet really is a prophet of God, then we should follow him, and I do know that Pres. Monson is a prophet of God & Boyd K. Packer is an apostle.

How many times in the scriptures have we read that a prophet was writting what had been revealed to him, when the Lord forbids him to write more. I know that the general authorities know more than we do. How many times have they been told not to reveal more to the general church members? I have no idea, but I know that they know more than I do.”

Cue sarcasm:

As we gather round the TV and Internet for general conference, we should remember that “general authorities know more than we do” and that if we follow the prophets blindly, yay, stupidly (because they do know more than us) we will be blessed.  The Lord honors those who follow the “arm of the flesh” in faithfulness.  Hooray for blind obedience.

Perhaps Nephi might have something applicable to this situation:

And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have atrusted.  My God hath been my asupport; he hath led me through mine bafflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.  He hath filled me with his alove, even unto the bconsuming of my flesh. He hath confounded mine aenemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.  Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me aknowledge by bvisions in the night-time.  And by day have I waxed bold in mighty aprayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.   And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been acarried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.”[5]

But see, Nephi was wrong here.  He only thinks his support was his God.  In actuality, had he been alive when there were 15 prophets and apostles prophesying every time their mouths opened, he too would have put is support and trust in them.  Heck, I can’t believe anyone believes any differently.  How can you not follow lockstep when you have men who (a) know more than you, or I do and (b) are speaking scripture every time they open their mouths?

It’s sheer insanity to believe any differently.  The pathway is marked clear.  If you have any question, simply read declaration #1.  They can’t be led astray.  They can’t do wrong.  They are infallible.  They are our pope.  They define, interpret, give, state, utter, profess and state scripture whenever they speak.  They are scripture.  They are walking books of knowledge.  The Book of Packer – The Written and Unwritten Order of Things.  The Book of Monson – To The Rescue.  The Book of Nelson – The Story of  A Disciple of Armand Hammer.  And on and on.  Come on people, the scriptures state what, “when you awaken to the sense of your awful situation.”  You need to awaken and realize that your only salvation is in following the Brethren.  Anything else is diced tomatoes.  Anything else is chopped liver.  Anything else is insanity.

Repent, ye vile sinners for thinking that you should have a personal relationship with Christ or God when you have men to whom your allegiance belongs.  Smart men.  men way smarter and way more inspired than you ever could be.  Thus Saith Tom, return to your golden calves (or gray haired old men) and hear their counsel.  Follow their ways.  Build multi-billion dollar investments and be satiated with your spoils.  Thus ended Tom’s saith-ings.

End sarcasm.


[1] http://community.babycenter.com/post/a1883615/forest_bend_ward-president_packer.  Retrieved 09/27/2010.

[2] http://www.fairblog.org/2008/10/20/talk-by-president-boyd-k-packer-goes-viral/.  Retrieved 09/27/2010.

[3] See:  http://www.ldschurchnews.com/letters/

[4] Packer, Boyd.  09/12/2010.  Utah Multi-Stake Conference.  Allegedly.

[5] See:  2 Ne. 4:19-25.


The topic of idolatry has been on my mind recently, spurred in part by an email conversation with one of my brothers and the conversation going on between a number of acquaintances regarding a recent change in focus for the LDS church.  I touched this issue briefly a while back in one of my posts, which I’ll bring back here, but it’s still a “live” issue for me at the moment.

In order to properly preface this post, it might be useful to define a few of the terms inherent in this discussion, namely “worship” and “idolatry.”  The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines idolatry[1] as, “The worship of idols, images, or any thing made by hands, or which is not God.  Excessive attachment or veneration for any thing, or that which borders on adoration.”  It also defines worship[2] as, “honor; respect; civil deference; obsequious or submissive respect.”  It may also be useful to add veneration[3] to this list, which is defined as being, “The highest degree of respect and reverence; respect mingled with some degree of awe; a feeling or sentiment excited by the dignity and superiority of a person… .”

Now, in turning to these two discussions to which I was privy, I will share a few details.  In the discussion my brother and I had, he had posed a couple of questions regarding the new “Gospel Principles”[4] manual.  The issues raised tie into the post I did on new members, as well as his general questioning of this manual.  This post isn’t about the manual, it’s good and bad points, but rather about a greater issue which has become visible in this discussion.  In his questioning, he made the following point:

“It’s weird, that the restoration was brought about by a question over some confusing topics and young Joseph found solace in James 1:5. Asking is not weird nor is Joseph’s quest for the truth, but today, it seems odd that when one individual questions a policy or a program it is viewed as heresy or apostate for questioning the brethren, when in fact, we are truly on a quest for answers just as Joseph was.  It is also weird because it becomes hard to confide in anyone.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not questioning my testimony or my faith, but I feel alive and feel vigor when searching for these answers and for asking these questions.”

Though it goes unsaid, he is experiencing what many experience – namely criticism for even questioning the decision of the hierarchy or body of the church.   Far too often, the mere act of the questioning of a decision made by the church or, perhaps more appropriately, by the correlation committee, is viewed as inherently weak, made by one who is wavering in their testimony and a sure sign of “apostasy,” whatever that means in the general LDS lexicon.  The only “real” apostasy that can happen is apostasy from Christ, but instead it’s viewed as apostasy from the church as an institution.

The second issue was brought forth in an email discussion of a group that I take part in.  The discussion was largely around the LDS church adding a “new emphasis” to the threefold mission of the church, namely caring for the poor and needy.  This pronouncement was largely heralded by various media outlets as being “a dramatic move and very important message,” “a move that tells the world that Mormonism is Christian more effectively than changing the logo to make the words ‘Jesus Christ’ stand out,” and one reflecting the life and service of the President of the LDS Church, Thomas Monson, “giving to and helping others is just a natural part of his life.  He is saying to every single member:  ‘You, too can … make a difference.”[5] Other news organizations repeated these same statements almost word-for-word.[6] There was no official press release through the LDS.org Newsroom.

In both of the above examples, there were two sides to the story.  One side firmly believing the “official” explanation (i.e. never question a decision that comes down through the approved church channels; the “new emphasis” of caring for the poor and needy is honorable and deserving of the praise given to the church); one side (of which I, myself, am a part) questioning the logic, reasoning and motives behind such pronouncements and programs.  It is, truthfully, interesting to see the differing sides talk and discuss, though sometimes there’s less talking and discussing (as in my brother’s situation).

How, you might be asking yourself, does this play into the topic of this post – idolatry?  Good question.  The answer to which I will try to give as best as I can.

Taking the first example, how might idolatry be perceived?  Taking the definition from the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, can those who adhere to the “no questioning” side of the argument be viewed as being excessively attached, submissively respectful, and paying more respect and reverence than needed?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  Mostly, this is an individual application.  I have personally witnessed such “obsequious respect” and have been left wanting.  Anytime, as the definition suggests, we lay down and accept something without thinking it through, it would seem this would fall in the definition of “worship” and “idolatry.”  If we think and presume that everything that comes from an individual, organization or any thing or body else, then we’re bordering on idolatry, if not already being idolatrous.

Taking the second example, could this be perceived as idolatry?  I think this example is further proof of our idolatrous nature.  In reading over the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News articles, as well as searching the LDS.org newsroom site, I was struck by the language used to describe the addition of this new addition to the threefold mission of the church.  All of the references to why this decision was made either had to do with the Church itself, or Thomas Monson, as President of the Church.  In the group discussion on this, the point was made, by at least one person, that we take these announcements at face value because we believe the Church to be the Lord’s church, and Thomas Monson to be the Lord’s prophet here on the earth.  As such, what they do and support are evidences of the Lord’s hand guiding them.

In thinking on this, it was made known to me that the language contained in the available quotes from church leadership on this topic and the newspaper articles previously mentioned neither contained any references to this being what the Lord actually wanted, nor the Lord’s hand in this decision, nor the example of the Lord in His teachings about caring for the poor and needy.  Instead, the focus was on the Church and the President of the Church.  My question, then, is if the Lord is indeed guiding the USS LDS Church on its journey, and if this is being implemented through the President of the USS LDS Church, the Lord’s prophet, then why are there no references to Christ, His teachings, or His example?  Christ has effectively been removed from the conversation and has been replaced by the Church itself and the President of the Church.  Some may say that this is of little importance given the name of the Church and given the titles that follow the “President” of the Church.  I argue the opposite.  Replacing Christ with an organization and a man is the essence of idolatry.  All true prophet s point back to Christ in all they do.  They teach what Christ would have taught and they inspire those they teach to seek Christ and Christ alone.  They deflect attention away from themselves and onto Christ.

To his credit, Bishop Richard Edgley stated, in an article at Mormon Times, “”All we’re trying to do is fulfill what he (Christ) has taught us.  We’ve been trying to do it forever, and we’ll continue to do it.”  That statement, however, was the only mention of Christ in that article before refocusing the attention on the President of the Church, “The principle coincides with the strongly held sentiments of the LDS Church’s current leader, President Thomas S. Monson.  ‘Anyone who knows President Monson knows his wonderful experiences and the wonderful example that he’s set for the rest of us,” said Bishop Edgley, adding “he has by example led us in how we can reach out and help with those who are suffering.’”[7]

In thinking this topic over I returned (once again) to the words contained in Come, Let Us Adore Him, a book written by Denver Snuffer on the importance of seeking Christ.  In this book, he offers the following insights:

“How easy it is to become distracted by the things of this world.  How easy it is for ministers claiming to be on God’s errand to stray into being on their own errand.  How easy it is for those who handle tithes and property to lose sight of the Lord and His house, and come to value only the property.  Measurable things – numbers, growth charts, revenues collected, statistics on attendance, numbers of buildings built – everything which could evidence prosperity, overwhelms those who think succeeding in their stewardship depends on increasing that which can be measured.  Nephi warned that we would also succumb to this number-crunching mentality.  And as we do, we will conclude, just like the scribes and Pharisees, that all is well (see 2 Nephi 28:21).  Magnifying a calling has never been statistics-driven.”

“After losing the Spirit, the mind runs wild.  It substitutes rationally developed theology for inspired direction.  Indeed, after becoming blind, they believe their conclusions are inspired.  All their followers fall in line once “authority” and “inspiration” have become conflated.  The people then find it easy to “strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”  Everything is disproportionate.  Since the light of the Spirit is gone, there is no way for them to tell the difference between the gnat and the camel.”

“…darkness can take hold of any people.  When it does they are inevitably led to take offense when the Lord (or any messenger sent by Him) walks in the light.  Darkness and light are always two different paths.  They are incompatible.  The people hearing Christ’s sermon at this time were required to choose between everything they had been taught all their lives and what Christ was teaching.  They were God’s chosen people, led by leaders chosen by God.  They were taught respect for the priestly authorities of their society by reading the scriptures, which assured them they were God’s “chosen people,” and by observing the traditions of their fathers.  They were led by recognized leaders, chosen in an established system of succession, on the one hand, and then this Man from Nazareth, lacking any sort of credentials, on the other, asking them to “come follow” Him.  Even though they had shouted “Hosanna!” at His arrival the day before, this sermon (Matt. 23) demanded they reject the established authorities in order to follow Him.”

“(Matt 23:27-28)…The hypocrisy and iniquity of these religious teachers was so toxic, so wrong, and so dark that it made others unclean.  This forced the audience to choose.  There could be no middle ground.  Either we trust in the traditions of our fathers, or we follow Christ.  This choice has always been required of God’s people.  Nephi assures us (2 Nephi 28:14) this will also be the case for our day.  Only a very few will find the way, and it will require them to overcome bad teachings; “because of pride, an wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are le, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.”[8]

Part of the reason why I feel these words relate to this topic of idolatry is because I think the Church and the President of the Church have replaced Christ in most member’s lives.  I highly doubt that this has happened purposefully, but rather through a serious of decisions and changes made over the course of the past 150+ years, the church has slowly been led away from Christ and led to Church.  Instead of confirming truth with and through Christ, we confirm truth by what the Church does.  If the Church does something, anything, then it must be what Christ would do, or so most members think.

Richard Scott, member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles of the LDS Church, discussed this very topic in a stake leadership meeting.  In that meeting he discussed what was being taught to the members and openly questioned whether the members of the church were being taught to Come Unto Church or to Come Unto Christ.  He stated it this way:

“Most the problems you are dealing with such as divorce, spouse abuse, child abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, anger, contention, fighting, immorality, many financial problems, many emotional and physical health problems, lack of temple attendance, lack of desire to go home teaching, lack of convert retention, lack of commitment – are merely symptoms of a root problem and what is that root problem?  Lack of a conversion to Christ!  Most of these painful symptoms could be vanished by what?  A personal conversion to and a personal relationship with Christ.  We have a serious problem within the Church in that we have been teaching one another to Come unto Church when we should have been teaching one another to Come unto Christ! It’s as if we actually think the Church can save or exalt us.  If we would spend more of our time teaching one another about Jesus and His Infinite Atonement, we would see most of our painful symptoms go away and we would find greater desire to serve Him and love others.”[9] (Layton Northridge Stake Conference 1995)

Both Denver Snuffer and Richard Scott teach that we, as individuals, must somehow find and, with the help of the Lord, establish a personal relationship with Him.  If we blindly follow what the Church does, if we give all the accolades and praise to the Church and the President (or presiding authorities) of the Church, then we are practicing idolatry.

As I alluded to before, I shared a quote from The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith which discuss this very issue and can, in my opinion, be applied to our idolatrous relationships with the Church and the leaders of the Church.  From that, I quote:

Joseph Smith similarly addressed the saints, though in a different context, whereupon he was expounded the meaning of the fourteenth chapter of Ezekial in the Old Testament.

As found in The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, we read:

“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel – said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church – that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls – applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall – that they were depending on the prophet, hence were darkened in their minds – in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.”[10]

The idolatry evidenced in Ezekiel 14 was that the people went to the prophet for their knowledge of God, not to God himself. They set up a stumbling block, a mediator for THE mediator (our Lord and Savior).  That is to say that instead of approaching God through prayer, supplication, fasting or whatever method, for knowledge of Him and his Son, we tend to approach a man.  No matter how inspired that man may be, the gospel is an individual gospel meant for “the one.”  That one, to me, is me.  That one, to you, is you.  As mentioned above, it is an imperative duty we have to seek an individual relationship and connection with God and when we do not undertake to fulfill that duty our minds must become “darkened.”

If we apply that to this topic – idolatry – what Joseph Smith is saying is that anytime we replace Christ with something else, either the President/Prophet or the Church itself (or anything else) – we are being idolatrous and the end result of that idolatry is a darkened mind.  This darkening of the mind is even more poignant when we consider the quote shared above from Denver Snuffer on how “darkness can take hold of any people.”[11] Instead of solely linking idolatry to a golden calf, or money, or cars, we should also be willing to admit when the Church and its leadership become the essence of idolatry in our own lives.  Making that connection, though, is much easier said than done.

Instead of ostracizing or ridiculing those who question programs, policies, procedures or whatever it may be that comes down through the centralized hierarchy of the Church, we should invite the open-minded inquiry.  Instead of assuming that all that happens and is published by or through the Church has the stamp of approval of the Lord, we should seek out Christ and obtain our witness through Him and Him alone.  When we replace the Lord with the Church or the President of the Church, blindly following what they say and do, then our own minds are necessarily darkened because of the true light which we reject.

In closing, the following passages are especially applicable to our day and time and may indeed provide a very compelling parallel to what we, personally, are witnessing.  Pay special attention to verse seven, and what follows:

5 For he put down all the priests that had been consecrated by his father, and consecrated new aones in their stead, such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts.

6 Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.

7 Yea, and they [the people] also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king and priests; for they did speak flattering things unto them.

8 And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of aprecious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper;

9 And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things.

10 And he also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the atemple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass.

11 And the seats which were set apart for the ahigh priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people.

12 And it came to pass that he built a atower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of bShilom, and also the land of cShemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about. [12]


[1] http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,idolatry.  Retrieved 2/6/2010.

[2] http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,worship.  Retrieved 2/6/2010.

[3] http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,veneration.  Retrieved 2/6/2010.

[4] http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,8865-1-4828-2,00.html.  Retrieved 2/6/2010.

[5]New LDS Emphasis:  Care for the needy.”  http://www.sltrib.com/lds/ci_13965607.  10 December 2009.  Retrieved 02/06/2010.

[6]LDS to boost emphasis on helping the needy.”  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705350795/LDS-to-boost-emphasis-on-helping-the-needy-Salt-Lake-Temple-not-closing.html?pg=2.  10 December 2009. Retrieved 02/06/2010.

[7] Care for Needy is Ongoing Charge for Mormon Church.  Mormon Times.  12 December 2009.  http://www.mormontimes.com/around_church/general_authority/?id=12237.  Retrieved 02/06/2010.

[8] Snuffer, Denver.  Come, Let Us Adore Him.  Pages 205-210.

[9] Scott, Richard.  Layton Northridge Stake Conference.  1995.

[10] Smith, Joseph.  The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Pages 237-238.

[11] Snuffer, Denver.  Come, Let Us Adore Him.  Page 209.

[12][12] See Mosiah 11.