FAIR Attempts to Change the Word of the Lord

When we first started Mormon Chronicle back in 2010, we wanted to go after apologists asApologists anti mormons much as anti’s where in they misrepresent the truth.  We did an introductory article on the subject that you can read here, but we really haven’t done what we wanted to when we first started.  We have a testimony of the restored Gospel, and truth is best defended with truth.  We also believe that the mistruths, convenient deletions of facts, etc of some apologists actually do more harm to people’s testimonies than the uniqueness of the Gospel does.  That being said, doing this in the way we felt comfortable proved to be more difficult than we originally imagined.

With this installment, we hope to be able to get back on track with these efforts and provide you with information that can help you come to your own conclusions on the topic presented.

In professional apologist’s attempts to defend the Gospel, they feel forced to change definitions of original meanings.   It may be due to their ignorance on the topic, or because they really want to cover up the facts. Whatever the case may be, they have done it again in relation to Doctrine and Covenants 84:18–19 which reads,

18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.

19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

Some critics, as well as believing Saints just wanting to understand a seeming contradiction, questioned how, if the priesthood and ordinances are necessary to see God, did the Prophet Joseph see God the Father and Jesus Christ before said priesthood and ordinances were restored.

Instead of looking to what the Lord and Church leaders have said on the topic, FAIR (either ignorant of such statements or think they know better) responded to the controversy with this diversionary tactic,

“The word ‘this’ in verse 22 does not refer to the Melchizedek Priesthood, but rather to ‘the power of godliness.’”

Sadly, changing the meaning of what was said is typical of such professional apologists.  The verses clearly state that it in the ordinances, administered by the priesthood, are what lead the power of godliness being made manifest. FAIR then goes on to describe the change that went over those that have seen God to prove their point, as if that change had any bearing on the question at hand.

This “controversy” doesn’t need to be answered with the changing of original meanings or diversions.  If one just continues to read the section they see that the Lord explains the issue for himself in verse 75,

“(T)his revelation…is in force from this very hour upon all the world…”

Expounding that thought, Joseph Fielding Smith also addressed the issue when he said,

“If you will look at the date of this revelation, you will discover that it was given in September 1832, which was two years after the organization of the Church and several years after the appearance of the Father and the Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Therefore, permit me to emphasize this fact:  There is no law or commandment which declares that the Father could not appear to a man in person when the Holy Priesthood was not among men on the earth.  In this day when the divine authority is here and men are appointed to officiate in its ordinances, there is no occasion for the Father to come to any man who has no divine authority.  At a time when the priesthood is conferred, and there are authorized servants who bear divine authority, there could hardly arise a time when the Father and the Son should have occasion to appear to any man who was without that authority.”-Answers to Gospel Questions 5:84-85

This implies that dispensation heads, where the Gospel needed to be either established or restored, were quasi exceptions to the rule.  However, when the priesthood and its ordinances are restored, then the principle remains in force.

The scriptures and Church leaders are so clear on the subject, I marvel to understand the motivation or ignorance behind the attempt to change the meaning of the word of the Lord. This does a disservice to those turning to these paid “defenders of the faith” who may be struggling with their testimonies when they see that the clear meaning is being denied.  Those seeking greater understanding might think that the Church has something to hide (incorrectly equating these apologists with the Church) when they see examples such as this. These apologists then, in effect, direct the struggling individual on a path away from the Lord. The restored Gospel is so invigorating and enlightening, with the word of the Lord and those of His servants, there is no need to stoop to such tactics.

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23 Responses to FAIR Attempts to Change the Word of the Lord

  1. Nice post! I have a lot of respect for FAIR, but this time they were caught with their pants down a bit. Perhaps you may want to look into the CES, who despite numerous statements by the prophets and apostles is still defending the “virgin birth”!

  2. My problem with some apologist is the tendency to win arguments by denying the truth we believe even though it may not be official Church doctrine. We really do not have much official Church doctrine. Most saints believe things Joseph Smith and other prophets taught that were not official Church doctrine. Denying the truth just to win an argument seem pretty cowardly to me.

  3. LDSDPer says:

    this is very interesting. I used to think I understood the gospel well; I read a lot, studied a lot–

    now I focus mostly on the Book of Mormon. People who are involved in CES and FAIR are, I am finding, not necessarily friendly to the truth–

    I avoid them.

    The church culture has become so complicated that it is hard to sort through it; a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Jesus Christ is vital–

  4. P Lea says:

    Wow. So, God IS a respecter of persons, after all. Thanks for the heads up . . .

    • James G says:

      Well said. I appreciated the article. If the BoM is any indicator, real danger comes from within. Apostates were always the ones who led the lamanites to attack the Nephites in the large battles.

      The sheep (from the general membership) that are actually ravening wolves(seeking to step outside their stewardships and steady the ark) are the true danger.

  5. Ed Goble says:

    I happen to agree with your conclusion about the issue you bring up as far as the fact that it is the priesthood, not the power. However, what you guys are referencing is the FAIR wiki pages here. These are edited by volunteer editors with their own opinions, and are not necessarily peer-reviewed by other FAIR members or representative of any “official” FAIR position. I should know. I used to be a wiki editor for FAIR. And as for “professional” apologists, I have no idea what you are talking about. The people that write these pages are not paid for doing what they do. So your whole criticism of what is likely to be one man’s opinion is way overblown and knit picky. Talk about a spirit of fault finding with your fellow saints.

    • Ed Goble says:

      Your goal is clearly to demonize people you don’t agree with who do the best they can on the best light they have. I would hardly say the position your site takes on Adam God Church doctrine. You contradict the official stance of Spencer W. Kimball that was announced in conference on it. So you are hardly on solid ground to be able to call the kettle black.

      • Orson Young says:

        Reference Requested:
        Spencer W. Kimball, “Our Own Liahona,” – paragraph #4 of General Conference Talk; Ensign (Nov. 1976): p. 77; Mysteries of Godliness, pp. 110-111.

        “Another matter. We hope that you who teach in the various organizations, whether on the campuses or in our chapels, will always teach the orthodox truth. We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.”

      • Orson Young says:

        Ed Goble may have also presented the September 1902 Improvement Era (pgs 873-880), where Apostle Charles Penrose presented information in his talk “Our Father Adam”.

        http://books.google.com/books?id=C9YRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA873#v=onepage&q&f=false.

        or

        http://www.mrm.org/our-father-adam

        Exerpt: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never formulated or adopted any theory concerning the subject treated upon by President Young as to Adam. The express declaration of the Church is: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”

      • Orson Young says:

        Your “Recommended Reading” section of 16 books suggests Drew Briney’s “Understanding Adam-God Teachings”. Your request for a “violation” seems transparent, as those who visit this site for truth and correct principles (truth that may be uncomfortable) are directed to study a book that compiles a massive defense of the Adam-God doctrine; despite clear and concise teaching of President Spencer W. Kimball on the matter (which your site has not once referenced until my comment). How is this not a “free pass” to look past modern revelation and marvel at a book pushing a seeker of truth to focus on the revelations of B.Y. and topics that have been clearly spoken of by the mouth of modern prophets?

      • Ed Goble says:

        Mr. Taylor, I might check your site only once in two weeks. Others have provided the references for you. I don’t owe you anything, let alone an apology for anything. Your site is an extreme right wing site with fundamentalist leanings like Adam-God. So I don’t frequent it that often, kind of like how I only read the LDSFF stuff once in a while and don’t post there anymore. If you want me to frequent it more often, then you should get authors that would bring more of a balance to your site with other ideas than you are presenting. You could send messages to FAIR to get them to explain themselves before you uncharitably blast them as an offender for a word. The most credit I can give you is that you are not caught up in the Denver Snuffer cult.

  6. andrew says:

    if it is owned and operated by FAIR that makes it their responsibility then to edit what is posted on their website. FAIR wiki is presented as an official website of FAIR MORMON thus all things posted on such website become the implied or express position of FAIR MORMON unless they make explicitly clear otherwise.

  7. Ed Goble says:

    Your comment assumes that I’m even the least bit interested in your controversy to engage you in it, and it assumes that I would care who you are from Adam to prove something to you, and that I care about who has the biggest shwartz.

  8. Zelph says:

    Why do L-d$,inc leadership think they have to tell lies to convince people they have the truth?

    Lies catch up to you. They make it more difficult as you have to try and remember the story you told. Telling the truth may be painful at times but at least you don’t have to work to keep the story straight as you do when you are lying.

    Mormon leaders are corporate liars, not religious leaders. They cover up, they don’t lead.

  9. Shawn Rackham says:

    Bruce R McConkie said in Mormon Doctrine that the reason that Joseph Smith was able to see God the Father and Jesus Christ was because he didn’t see them in the flesh (see verse 21). His spirit left his body and his spirit saw them. There are more than one account of the first vision because Joseph told different people only what they could understand and the watered-down version is in the scriptures. I don’t trust Bruce R. McConkie or Mormon Doctrine but I have read the other versions of the first vision and they seemed true to me.

  10. Steve Densley says:

    Ezra,

    You said: “We’ve actually gone to FAIR (and other apologist organizations) asking for a response on a few items with zero response.” I am the vice president of FairMormon (formerly known as FAIR) and am unaware of any such request. FairMormon exists in order to defend the Church and its leaders and to help strengthen testimonies. I’m sorry you do not think we are effective in doing this. We welcome suggestions on how we can improve. So if you or any of your readers would like to make suggestions

  11. BJ Spurlock says:

    It is my understanding that Joseph was able to see God the Father and Jesus Christ because he held the priesthood in the Pre-earth life. The priesthood covenant is simply renewed and confirmed up us here in this life (D&C 84:48).

  12. Jeffrey Richardson says:

    In the D&C Joseph also says he came to the earth with priesthood… which matches up with what we read in Alma 13, about how some by their repentance et cetera obtained priesthood before this probation.

    Just takes Gods voice to activate it here, as we read in D&C 84:42 (fitting for this article) and JST Gen 14 .

  13. Katie says:

    l wondered for years how Joseph could baptize Oliver without being baptized first. I didn’t find the answer for years, until reading an amazing book by Vern Grosvenor Swenson. Where he explained how Joseph was a literal descendant of Levi, and therefore, authorized by blood to administer in the ordinances of the Aaronic priesthood. What do you think of that?!

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