TMD Volume 5 – Update Notes

Subsequent to the publication of TMD Vol. 5 in February 2012, the Mormon Church republished the D&C (in 2013), making several changes to headers and adding a few dates matching some (but not all) of the ‘Joseph Smith Papers, Vol. 2′ corrections. For example:

Sections 39 & 40 headers conclude James Covill was really named ‘Covel’ and that he was a Methodist minister rather than Baptist – not that it makes any difference. Jesus is still recorded as pronouncing an abundance of blessings and promises on James Covill (now Covel), a man Jesus says he ‘knows’, in Section 39. Covill was called to the Ohio in that section but returned to the east the very next day to rejoin his own flock. Section 40 still contains Smith’s feeble attempt at an excuse for this by Jesus – who clearly didn’t know Covill (Covel) after all, even for just twenty-four hours. It now transpires that Jesus didn’t even get Covel’s name or religion right!

Section 74. Is now re-dated from January 1832, to (no specific date in) 1830 and the location has been changed from ‘Hiram, Ohio’ to ‘Wayne County, New York’.

In TMD Volume 5 (p.165), I had commented:

“…Section 74 is dated to January 1832 at Hiram, Ohio, in the current D&C. The JS Papers, Vol. 2:512 & 721 re-date it to circa December 1830, and that calls into question the location, as Smith was in Fayette, New York at that period, some three-hundred miles from Hiram.

The header refers to a conference to be held on 25 January. “Upon the reception of the foregoing word of the Lord [D&C 73], I recommenced the translation of the Scriptures, and labored diligently until just before the conference, which was to convene on the 25th of January. During this period I also received the following, as an explanation of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 7th chapter, 14th verse.” (History of the Church 1:242).

‘History of the Church’ does indeed read that way, following the record of what is now Section 73 which JS Papers Vol. 2 dates, the same as the current D&C, to 10 January 1832. There is no mention of such a conference in January of 1831 in the Sections surrounding that period (Sections 35 to 40), so I am confused about the new dating in the JS Papers. However, as my current work concerns what is actually in the so-called revelations, rather than exactly when they were written, I will leave it at placing Sec. 74 where the Church currently, albeit illogically, suggests it belongs, according to JS Papers Vol. 2…”

With this 2013 D&C change, the Church is accepting the ‘JS Papers’ dating and has also therefore altered the suggested location. It still doesn’t match up with Section 73 details. Not that it really matters.

Section 76. The header to this section previously specifically stated that “It was after the Prophet had translated John 5:29 that this revelation was given.” This has been altered to read “At the time this vision was given, the Prophet was translating John 5:29.” This appears to be more ‘make it up as you go along’ nonsense. As Smith recorded he and Rigdon as “being in the spirit” (v.11), perhaps the Church considers it more appealing to think the vision occurred simultaneously rather than after the so-called ‘translation’.

Section 135 (the one describing what transpired in Carthage Jail when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed), was previously attributed to John Taylor, as “a witness to the events”. That idea has now been removed and replaced with a statement that it is an “Announcement of the martyrdom…”, (a atatement that already appears in the text of the section) so no one now knows who actually penned this section – or therefore how accurate it is. It could only really have been written by John Taylor or Willard Richards as they were “the only persons in the room at the time” (v.2), but the record is not transferred to Richards so possibly it was a construct – including fact and fiction. No changes were made to the text which still ignores the guns smuggled into the jail and details of the two or three men reportedly shot and wounded by Smith before he was killed.

Various Sections, including 78, 82 & 104. There are a number of header changes which have been altered to include details of the change of designation from the “Firm” or “United Firm” to the “Order” or “United Order”, it being reorganised rather than dissolved as originally suggested. This will no doubt be treated as ‘clarification’. Anyone who has already studied the history of it will be aware of the facts. More details are available in TMD Vol. 5.

Various Sections. A number of section headers previously referenced ‘History of the Church’ (as HC). These have now been altered to read ‘Joseph Smith’s history’. Clearly, the Church wishes to emphasise that it is not just any old history – it is Smith’s personal history, but locations previously referenced are now missing. For example, in Section 77, the header previously read “HC 1:253-255. The prophet wrote…”, and now it just has “Joseph Smith History states…” but we no longer know where it is stated, so you can’t look it up! It is the same reference, whatever you call it, but the information regarding its location has been unceremoniously deleted. Perhaps the Church doesn’t want members reading the rest of JS-History while they are checking references. There is never a note added to explain the fact that Smith didn’t actually write all of it himself – that much of it was written after his death, in the first person, so it looks like he wrote it.

It would have been more honest to have retained the HC volume and page numbers, and at the same time come clean about the fact that Smith didn’t actually write some of it, even though it still reads as though he did. I am reminded of Article of faith 13 (“We believe in being honest…”), and the Church lesson manual which states: “Honest people love truth and justice. They are honest in their words and actions. Lying is intentionally deceiving others. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.” (Gospel Principles 1979. Chapter 31. Honesty). Despite high expectations of its members, the Mormon Church coninues with its own very clear agenda of obfuscating the truth with double standards and perpetual lies. No change there.

Official Declarations 1 and 2. Notably, there are additions to the OD1 & 2 headers, toning down details of the claimed cessation of polygamy and earlier attitude toward blacks. Note the new statement that the manifesto “…led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church” rather than ‘ended‘. This is despite the fact that an immediate cessation had been pledged to the government by Church leaders who would supposedly then cohabit with only one wife each. Modern leaders are of course aware that no such thing happened and that it took over two more decades before the leaders themselves stopped the practice. See TMD Vol. 1 for details of post 1890 Mormon leaders’ polygamous marriages and over one-hundred children conceived and born to polygamous (not first) wives of the ‘big fifteen’ – plus details of the prophet Joseph Fielding Smith’s arrest and conviction in 1906 for cohabiting with four women, two years after he published a statement upholding the 1890 manifesto, which clearly didn’t come via any god. If it had, there may just have been a chance that they would have taken some notice of it! The new header to OD1 still pretends the Manifesto was a revelation from the Mormon god – but the ongoing behaviour of the ‘big fifteen’ subsequent to 1890 confirms the obvious lie – and it remains upheld instead of being discarded.

Official Declaration 2 has an additional header blatantly denying that black skin was ever a ‘curse’ from God or that the ‘blacks and the priesthood’ idea was ever doctrine in the statement that “Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice”, calling on the Book of Mormon in evidence of racial equality. Unfortunately, it fails to mention other Book of Mormon passages that confirm their God did at times curse people with a black skin.

2 Nephi 5:21-23 still reads “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

  1. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.
  2. And  cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.

Note that 2 Nephi 5:21 retains “white” and “delightsome” despite the previous change in 2 Nephi 30:6 from “white and delightsome” to read “pure and delightsome.” The Church claimed that it was to ‘clarify’ the meaning. When you falsify so-called scripture, it is best to make sure you ‘correct’ all of it so it remains consistent! Otherwise the game is up – and up it is. No god would have any of it.

They also ignore the fact that there actually are “clear insights into the origins of this practice.” They fail to explain that the root of the doctrine remains in canonised scripture. Abraham 1:21-27 & 31 needs no further comment. It is perfectly clear that if Mormon leaders have no idea where the doctrine is derived from, they haven’t read their own so-called scriptures. The Church is hoisted on its own petard. The fact that it is nonsense and there was no global flood or a land for Egyptus to ‘discover’ are ignored here. More ‘Book of Abraham’ analysis and details of real Egyptian history are available in TMD Vol. 2.

Abraham 1:21-27, 31. Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.

  1. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.
  2. The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;
  3. When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.
  4. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.
  5. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.
  6. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;
  7. But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.

A list of the recent ‘adjustments‘ is available from the Church, where further links are also available.

This is the official Church link to page by page alterations to the 2013 D&C. (It is a large PDF file and may take time to load).

There is still no comment on impossible issues such as the Earth having a mere seven thousand years of temporal existence, as recorded as ‘revelation’ in D&C 77. We know through conclusive scientific evidence how old the Earth really is – and also how old the universe is. In fact, information gathered from the Planck satellite, released by the European Space Agency today (21 March 2013), revised the previously calculated age of the universe, extending it by another fifty million years or so. As Professor Brian Cox tweeted earlier today (21 March 2013), “You can’t have a “view” on the age of the universe – it’s like having a “view” on the distance between London and Manchester.” The truth is that clear!

Yet the Mormon Church still remains quiet about D&C 77, just as it does about evolution, and appears to take no stand on such issues at all; in spite of our scientific understanding of the age of the Earth, the evolution of species through natural selection, and formatting of the tree of life through DNA – something that is added to almost daily. Such issues not only deserve comment by the Mormon god through his earthly leaders (rather than apologists who do not represent any god); this god should have explained the way he created the Earth and evolution in the first instance – it should comprise Genesis 1.

In the beginning (if a god was involved), in creating ‘the heavens and the earth’, he (she, they or it) also created the laws of nature – the first and second laws of thermodynamics, relativity, space-time curvature etc., and then set evolution in motion. These laws exist – and they are unbreakable, so if a god does exist, that’s the only way he could have achieved everything that is claimed. By not updating beliefs in line with science – even if that means admitting Smith was a fraud – the Mormon Church is guilty of continuing to expect members to have faith in what is now provable fiction. It is little wonder that so many Mormons are questioning the Church rather than science and leaving the fold in droves.

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May 2013

Last month, the web site ‘Mormon Think’ published an article by Grant Palmer – author of ‘An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins’. Palmer claims to have had regular meetings with a General Authority and a returned Mission President. Details are so bizarre that at first it is very hard to believe. In view of this, I took the time to verify, from a first hand reliable source who spent over an hour on the phone with Palmer, that Palmer does indeed claim to have had such meetings and confirmed that the details contained in the article represent an accurate version of Palmer’s understanding of genuine discussions. It seems to me that if the General Authority concerned with the purported ‘leak’ of such information is happy for it to be made public, he must be about to announce his defection from the fold, as surely a witch hunt will ensue and the ‘big fifteen’ should have no problem identifying the ‘traitor’. Whatever the truth may be, I am sure we have not heard the last of this story.

This is a short extract:

The General Authority “…said that each new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is given one million dollars to take care of any financial obligations they have. This money gift allows them to fully focus on the ministry. He said that the overriding consideration of who is chosen is whether they are “church broke,” meaning, will they do whatever they are told. He said the senior six apostles make the agenda and do most of the talking. The junior six are told to observe, listen and learn and really only comment if they are asked. He said that it takes about two to three years before the new apostle discovers that the church is not true. He said it took Dieter F. Uchtdorf a little longer because he was an outsider. He said they privately talk among themselves and know the foundational claims of the restoration are not true, but continue on boldly “because the people need it,” meaning the people need the church. When the Mission President voiced skepticism and named ___ as one who surely did believe, The GA said: “No, he doesn’t.” The one million dollar gift, plus their totally obedient attitude makes it easy for them to go along when they find out the church is not true. For these reasons and others, he doesn’t expect any apostle to ever expose the truth about the foundational claims.”

The full note is located here: Three Meetings with a LDS General Authority, 2012-2013.

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A new feature length documentary film, ‘Refusing My Religion’, is underway and may interest exMormons. Co-Director, Michael Dorian, contacted me during April about the project and I am happy to assist in promoting it. It features preachers who’ve renounced their faith and become atheist activists within the larger context of America’s declining religiosity. Michael confirms “…to date, we have seven NY Times best-selling authors in REFUSING MY RELIGION, many of whom are pre-eminent figures in the atheist movement, notably Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, Susan Jacoby, Katherine Stewart, and Greg Epstein. We’ve also interviewed Dinesh D’Souza and several key voices from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and interfaith communities.”

I posted some details on the TMD facebook page a couple of weeks ago. Below is a link to the trailer plus further details and links, for those who may be interested in the project.

Refusing my Religion.

Michael Dorian, NYS Director for American Atheists, Co-Director & Producer.

Marc Levine, Co-Director & Producer.

Film Facebook Page.

Refusing my Religion on Twitter

Refusing my Religion web site.

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Following the successful launch of ‘The Book of Mormon’ musical in London, the Mormon Church has spent what must amount to millions on PR and advertising all over London, on the subways and the sides of London busses. It has created a UK ‘I’m a Mormon’ series web page and has also produced a supposed ‘News Report’ covering ‘reactions’ to the Church advertising.

There is little need for me to comment, as one person already commented as follows:

“People, please understand that the video accompanying the story is not an actual news report but a Public Relations piece put together by the Church. To make it appear as a news report is simply an attempt to manufacture credibility. The reason there are no negative comments is because they were left on the cutting room floor. Also note when the actor/anchor says that that since the campaign begun that interest in the Mormon Church has increased with articles in multiple newspapers, the articles shown are all about “The Book of Mormon” musical and not the church, but they fly by so quickly they are difficult to read. She also says the campaign is dispelling many misbeliefs about the church, but doesn’t say what any of them are. In 5:30 there is no mention of doctrine and very little mention of Jesus Christ except for in the name of the church. I do give the church props for conducting a very slick PR campaign, but please see this for what it is.”