Sunday, March 26, 2017

Where Can We Hear Korihor's Words?

Korihor in Alma 30

A disturber of the peace that had come in the 16th and 17th years of the reign of the judges. Claimed Nephite traditions of Christ were false. Challenged the leaders publicly. The people did not threaten him with violence but brought him before judges to be tried for his crimes.

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Lehi: A disturber of the peace, publicly challenging what the leaders/elders of Jerusalem were teaching, claiming that the people had gone astray and needed to turn back to God. (Life threatened and attempted murder.) Laman and Lemuel bore fervent testimony that "we know [church leaders and members there] were a righteous people." (1 Nephi 17:22)
Abinadi: A disturber of the peace, publicly challenging the kingdom/church rulers, calling them to repent and teaching against their incorrect traditions. Considered a blasphemer and apostate by the church. (claimed Christ would come among men) Leaders accused him of demeaning their king/leadership and put him to death.
High Councilor Alma: A man ordained to be a priest because of his wickedness. Then, a disturber of the peace who publicly challenged King Noah. Believed the message of Abinadi the apostate when he taught against their traditions. Was forced to teach church members truth in private due to the disapproval and threats of church leaders. Considered an apostate by the church. Also, secretly baptized others before being chased away by armies threatening violence.
Jesus: A disturber of the peace, who publicly challenged church leaders. Openly broke the commandments of men (which he claimed was false tradition/religion) while simultaneously doing His Father's will in all things and obeying the actual law of Moses. Considered a sinner by church leaders, who demanded to know by what authority he did these things.
Joseph Smith: A disturber of the peace among church leaders and congregations wherever he went. Claimed their traditions & creeds were false, publicly challenging other church leaders/ministers. His life was threatened, he was tried on false charges many times, he was falsely imprisoned, and ultimately murdered by a mob led by current & former church members.
Enoch: A disturber of the peace and thought "a wild man" by believers. Men were offended at him for criticizing them, pointing out their errors though they were religious and knew better.
John the Baptist: A disturber of the peace and wild man, who preached repentance, taught Christ would literally come, and rebaptized church members in the wilderness to the dismay of church leaders in Jerusalem, whose "version of truth" he publicly challenged.
Samuel the Lamanite: A disturber of the peace and an outsider, preaching to the church repentance, such that they cast him out. Though legally banned from church property, he preached from the wall of their destruction causing a near riot. Criticized their prophets as false, pointing out their priestcrafts (salaries and profiting off church members' consecrations). Chastised them for abandoning the scriptures. Believing, repentant members are rebaptized. Unbelieving members claim he has a devil.

Modern LDS Sentiments

Anyone disturbing our peace (i.e., sharing any unflattering truth that contradicts the traditions we have invented) is by definition ungodly and contentious. Criticism of church leaders, or anything they do, is apostasy. Such individuals should be asked not to comment in class, should be shunned, or should just be excommunicated. Furthermore, when dealing with such disturbers, tools may be used as felt necessary, such as instilling fear among remaining members concerning such a person via official church letters & statements, destroying that person's reputation & honor among men, and allowing or even encouraging gossip, rumor, and falsehoods to spread about such individuals, particularly if they suggest the individual is a gross sinner. (molester, etc.) Suffering such rumors to spread concerning church members deemed to be in good standing is not to be tolerated, however.

Korihor in Alma 30

Taught there should be no Christ. (hence described as being "Anti-Christ") That to hope for His coming was to "be bound down by a foolish and a vain hope. … Why do ye look for a Christ?" (v. 13)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Nephi: Teaches that we should be baptized of water, receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, then persevere until "[Christ] shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh" (2 Nephi 32:6)

Joseph Smith: "God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye that Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest. ... After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in [John 14:12-27] ... Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions--Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn." (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p.149-151)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Teach that coming unto Christ is performed by keeping Church commandments. Christ does not come to people in this life. Such an expectation is a teaching of Satan: "The suggestion that [seeing the face of the Savior] must happen in mortality is a familiar tactic of the adversary." (Elder Oaks, June 13th, 2015) "Calling and election made sure" is not on the list of correlated topics permitted to be taught anywhere, as someone claiming the Lord has spoken to them is highly suspicious--a red flag, because it's just not normal for Christ to do. Some LDS Church members in higher Church offices or who are referred by them can receive the publicly-unacknowledged-as-having-been-resumed "second anointing" ordinance performed secretly in the temple (cover stories will be provided for their convenience), which assurance from leaders should end any concern for wanting to entertain angels or interact with the heavens or Christ. "Spiritual experiences" should be emotions only, otherwise someone might get deceived--not worth seeking!

Korihor in Alma 30

Taught against "the prophecies which had been spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ" (v.6)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Nephi: "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Nephi 25:26)

Modern LDS Sentiments

No longer concerns itself with the prophecies of Christ's Second Coming, including those of Isaiah, Micah, Nephi, Christ, Moroni, Joseph Smith, the Doctrine & Covenants, etc. For example, the prophecies summarized in the 10th Article of Faith have been abandoned: No longer does the LDS Church seek to literally gather Israel as Joseph Smith attempted (even among the Jews). Or to establish the city of Zion (preferring instead to spend billions of dollars of interest earned from investing members' sacred tithing on shopping malls, real estate projects around temples, 2% of the state of Florida, etc.). Or even to establish the conditions prerequisite to Zion, such as actually living the law of consecration and having "no poor among them" (Moses 7:18), instead using tithes that were meant for the poor (see JST Genesis 14:38) to employ a massive Church bureaucracy, handsomely compensate general authorities and mission presidents, and run & provide inexpensive college education to already privileged first-world members' children.

Korihor in Alma 30

"For no man can know of anything which is to come. Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers." (v. 13-14)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Moses: "[I] would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:29)
Moroni: "By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:5)
Alma (speaking to his people about their blessings): "[You] having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation." (Alma 9:21)

Modern LDS Sentiments

No man can be a prophet except one of the Fifteen. The prophecies of Joseph Smith and the scriptures are inconvenient & not-understood relics of our history. No one is authorized to prophesy except the Fifteen, even though they don't. Because no one really knows what is coming, scholars and subject matter expert consultants from the business world are used to brief the Brethren, instilling divine wisdom concerning the threatening world around them. All prophesying by anyone else is false. Impressive (and carefully massaged) statistics and splendorous building projects are seen as vindication of their inspired ("prophetic") leadership. It is better to leave off any studying as a Church of Isaiah, Micah, Nephi, Christ, etc. since only a couple of verses of those prophecies are (possibly, partially) understood by scholars. This would be embarrassing to admit, so they are superficially studied only when necessary (to complete an annual course of Sunday school study) and then, only possible fulfillment in the past, not future, is considered. It would be foolish to think they refer to the future. It is much safer to make predictions about possibilities without ever suggesting it is prophecy, so when we happen to guess wrong (like that Romney would become president), we can't be called "false prophets."

Korihor in Alma 30

"How do ye know of their [the prophecies'] surety? … Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see." (v.15)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Nephi: "And now I, Nephi, make an end of my prophesying unto you, my beloved brethren. And I cannot write but a few things, which I know must surely come to pass" (2 Nephi 31:1)
Alma: "For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come." (Alma 30:39)

Modern LDS Sentiments

We think we're pretty sure about one or two verses taken out of context from the middle of some prophecies, but you can't really have any actual idea what it's all about or when they might be fulfilled. Only pretenders claim that, and, let's face it, for all the stuff men have claimed so far, the Second Coming hasn't happened, so we're right. We're in good shape. And we're absolutely certain that the critical prophecies (Isaiah 28) or the ones about destructions (D&C 112:24-26), etc. are not about us, because we're pretty much assured of our success according to a tradition about a comment once made by a church president a hundred and twenty-five years ago about how God won't allow things to "go astray" even though He has allowed it every other time over the (we suppose) 6000 years of earth's history, even though that church president had just barely lied through his teeth about ceasing polygamy, hoping the US government would buy it and grant Utah statehood so they could make it legal again. Because we're pretty sure about that prophecy of "church leader never leading anyone astray", even though it was never claimed to be from God and was just public commentary on a Church press release.

Korihor in Alma 30

"Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so." (v.16)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Joseph Smith: "For as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost. In such a case, there may be more of a powerful effect upon the body, and visible to the eye." (TPJS, p. 149)
Alma: "I fell to the earth … for the space of three days … But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God." (Alma 36:10, 14)
Lamoni: "He fell unto the earth, as if he were dead. [later] He arose … and said: … For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer!" (Alma 18:42, 19:12-13)
Lamoni's Wife/Queen: "The queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit," (Alma 19:13) or as Korihor would say, having entered into a "frenzy". After Lamoni and then  Ammon had also "sunk to the earth, … and they all lay there as though they were dead," Abish comes along and "as soon as she touched [the Queen's] hand she arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying: 'O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, have mercy on this people!' And when she had said this, she clasped her hands, being filled with joy, speaking many words which were not understood," or speaking in tongues. (Alma 19:29-30)
Joseph Smith: "We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth." (7th Article of Faith)
Nephi: "Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels [language/speech unintelligible to man]? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels [language/speech unintelligible to man] save it were by the Holy Ghost?" (2 Nephi 32:2)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Being "born again" or "born of the Spirit" is a false tradition had by non-Mormon Christians who do not understand what was restored, particularly when they fall to the ground claiming to be overcome by the Spirit or when they "speak in tongues", thus claiming to have received a remission of their sins. This is more likely the effect of mental illness or just a frenzy of religious nonsense. The "baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost" spoken of is a life-long, " subtle and gradual" (per Elder Bednar) sort of effect. Because of this, Church members cannot detect it, and we need to remind them that strong positive emotions are what we should focus on getting--that this is the Holy Ghost. And that they don't need to worry about the rest of this stuff. Speaking in tongues is a nonsense Christian tradition and a deception--it really means when a person studies really hard in books and classes and learns to speak a foreign language, like anyone else in a university class, except, by our tradition, a little quicker. Maybe.

Korihor in Alma 30

Told "them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men" (v.17)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Nephi: Quotes Christ: "Follow thou me [Christ, not Nephi]" (2 Nephi 31:10)
Declares: "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Nephi 4:34)
Teaches that "the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name." (2 Nephi 9:41)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Christ did make an atonement for man, but it can only be accessed by virtue of our requirements, including baptismal interview questions that require the candidate to declare their willingness to follow a man. Also, if someone later proves insubordinate, preferring the words of God to our traditions, correlated manuals, or corporate handbooks we teach from, we can revoke the effects of the atonement by casting that person out, believing that Christ has "given his power unto men" (2 Nephi 28:5)--or "priesthood keys"--and that we are employed as servants to keep the gate.

Korihor in Alma 30

"Every man fare[s] in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore, every man prosper[s] according to his genius, and that every man conquer[s] according to his strength." (v.17)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Amulek: "Yea, cry unto [the Lord] for mercy; for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household … Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase." (Alma 34)
Benjamin: "For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? …  I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls, yet ye would be unprofitable servants" (Mosiah 4:19, 21)
Christ:, speaking to his 12 disciples: "Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on." (3 Nephi 13:25)
Mormon: "And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely." (Alma 1:27)
Moroni: "Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me [dear LDS Gentile reader of this book], and I know your doing. ... For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? [--and I'm not sure how you think that's someone else, when you claim to be the "only true Church"...] Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?" (Mormon 8:35,37-38)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Despite Joseph Smith's very poor business acumen (continually gave away too much from his store; was in bankruptcy at his death), we overcame this looming fault first with the great, prosperous state of Deseret, where a person could live their entire life not ever doing business with other than church-owned businesses. From there, our personal industriousness grew into the vast church corporate empire today, which some have estimated at $1 trillion in assets, where leaders now chosen for the 70's, the 12, and the First Presidency are very well renowned, respected, and honored in the world for their business management, lawyerly skills, and other professional accomplishments. And our marvelous tradition of entrepreneurial brilliance/genius/ingenuity among Utah saints. And church-owned schools (funded by tithing) to teach one of the greatest curricula available on business management and prosperity, including financial planning, management, accounting, etc., the BYU Management Society being a monument to the professional prowess of our church members!

We also encourage every member of the Church to become expert in "the management of [their] creature", so that they can prosper according to their entrepreneurial brilliance. (Capitalism is godly and must somehow be related to building Zion.) We therefore don't believe that "industry" is enough: though not mentioned in scripture, we preach that members must be completely self-reliant, not depending on their fellow-man or even God, if at all possible. Perfect independence from others and full preparedness--although we disapprove of "prepping", because we can't imagine there ever being disasters or collapses of civilization in our day like the Book of Mormon depicts at least four times. Guns are okay though, which is why we run a Church-owned hunting reserve for people willing to spend lots of money for a guided hunting expedition. Really, we just can't have Church members at all dependent on the Church for help, because that takes away money from other investments, GA salaries, building projects, university salaries, CES employees, etc., etc. The poor need to take care of themselves.

Korihor in Alma 30

"Caus[ed] them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms." (v.18)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Jacob: "Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell."
Quoting the Lord on polygamy being a whoredom: "For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none, for I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women, and whoredoms are an abomination before me."
Joseph Smith: "If a man commit adultery, he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if be is saved in any kingdom, it cannot be the celestial kingdom." (DHC 6:81)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Brigham Young had his historians alter the records to make it appear that Joseph Smith was teaching polygamy rather than his actual frequent & forceful preaching against it as a whoredom. (including manufacturing portions of D&C 132) This allowed for a successful adoption of the new primary doctrine of the church taught for decades in general conference: "the Principle", or that polygamy unequivocally must be practiced in this life in order to qualify for the celestial kingdom. Preached that if the church ever departed from the practice, it would be in apostasy. Brigham also taught that if a woman could find a man with more keys than her husband, she could legally leave her husband and marry the other. He then did so, taking a woman to wife who was already married, fathering children by her. Today, of course, since our 180 degree doctrinal switch, we now forcefully excommunicate any practicing "the principle", sending law enforcement after them, and denying baptism to their children, too.
Today, adultery is a forgivable sin, one that even when a general authority or member may make that "mistake", it can be forgiven, and they can go to the temple to receive eternal promises.

Korihor in Alma 30

"Whatsoever a man did was no crime" (v. 17)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Jesus: "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart." (Matt. 5:28)
Jacob: "I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginning to labor in sin, which sin appeareth very abominable unto me, yea, and abominable unto God." (Jacob 2:4)
Benjamin: "This much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish." (Mosiah 4:5)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Sinful actions, such as homosexual acts, are an abomination before God. But it's okay to entertain lustful thoughts for other guys, as long as you don't act on them. (Yes, we used to teach thoughts mattered, too, but that is now outdated teaching per our Handbook.)

Korihor in Alma 30

"I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests." (v.23)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Joseph: "Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed." (TPJS, p.308)
Isaiah: "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." (Isaiah 24:5)
Christ: The day is coming where those who will not hear the voice of the Lord, nor the voice of His servants (angels), and won't heed the words of true prophets and apostles will be cut off from among His people "for they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant." (D&C 1:15)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Ordinances laid down by ancient priests, like Joseph Smith or those in the Book of Mormon, are not to be used by church members. We must use the modern, altered ones that are written & described in our priesthood handbooks, in temple films, etc., as directed by our corporate handbook of instructions. Anyone deviating from our modern tradition is abandoning what the Prophet/God has said, even though we don't pretend to claim any revelation directing the alterations. To do otherwise is a foolish performance, and must be redone in our way.

Korihor in Alma 30

"Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of the transgression of a parent. ... Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents." (v.25)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Lehi: "Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer." (1 Nephi 10:6) "For [the Lord] gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents [Adam & Eve]." (2 Nephi 2:21)
Mormon: "Little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them" (Moroni 8:8)

Modern LDS Sentiments

"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgression."

This is something we require little children to commit to memory in order to advance to higher classes in the Church, and we mostly believe it.

Except we do disagree with Korihor and say that a child IS guilty because of its parents. We believe that the little children of parents who have transgressed with the sins of homosexuality or polygamy should be punished for their parents' sins--sins so heinous that their children must be denied baptism, refused confirmation into the LDS Church, and denied ordination to priesthood (for males). These children are fundamentally tainted, and for their own safety (and the legal safety of the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) we cannot allow them to be baptized as Christ commanded until they are full-grown adults (the new age of accountability) and disavow their wayward parents (abandoning the 5th commandment).

On the other hand, the children of parents who are molesters, adulterers, rapists, abusers, slanderers, alcoholics, murderers, serial liars, or drug peddlers will not be punished for their parents' sins, because their sins do not influence their children--those children are welcome to be baptized and confirmed members of our LDS Church!

Korihor in Alma 30

[Accusation: You hold to these ordinances] "to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy words … Ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands" (v.23, 27)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Alma: "Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people; for behold, I have labored even from the commencement of the reign of the judges until now, with mine own hands for my support, notwithstanding my many travels round about the land to declare the word of God unto my people. And notwithstanding the many labors which I have performed in the church, I have never received so much as even one senine for my labor; neither has any of my brethren, save it were in the judgment-seat [--a civic position, separate from the church]; and then we have received only according to law for our time." (Alma 30:32)
King Benjamin: "And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day" (Mosiah 2:14)
Mormon: "And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength."
Nephi: "[The Lord] commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion." (2 Nephi 2:26-29)

Modern LDS Sentiments

In order to have the blessings of eternity, a person must be able to answer our questions correctly (according to the commandments we have come up with) and pay 10% of their income (according to our modern redefinition of tithing), and then they may enter into our temples (not commanded to have been built, no pillar of fire ever having appeared over them) and be married.

But this is not to compel people to pay the Church so our authorities can be salaried--it is so the people can be blessed. The fact that our authorities receive generous salaries and numerous other benefits and perks (parsonage allowances, use of Church vehicles, Italian suits, use of Church credit cards, regular Church-catered meals, paid travel and lodging, free college educations for all children and grandchildren via Church-owned schools, potential opportunities to sit on the boards of Church-owned businesses, private business benefits from lucrative Church building contracts, access to private hunting preserves, lucrative book deals from Church-owned retail stores, etc.) has nothing to do with our urging our people to pay their tithing to us so that they are allowed access to Eternal Blessings. These are simply ordinary personal and family costs that the Church covers for those who devote themselves to her service.

The fact is that the vast majority of our clergy are unpaid by the Church, and so we are fond of saying that we have an unpaid clergy and are not inclined to correct Church members and missionaries who claim it.

Korihor in Alma 30

Question to Korihor: "Believest thou that we deceive this people, that causes such joy in their hearts?" (v.35) [i.e., "that Christ shall come", just as He did to Alma; Alma 36:22]

"Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come." (v.39)

Korihor: Yea

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Nephi: Taught that Christ will come to a person while still in the flesh, if you enter in by the way and heed what the Holy Ghost directs you (2 Nephi 32:5-6)
Christ via Joseph Smith: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory, for strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me. But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also." (D&C 132:21-23)
Christ: "Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;" (D&C 93:1)
Christ: "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23)
Joseph Smith: "The appearing of the Father and the Son, in [John 14:23], is a personal appearance." (D&C 130:3)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Agree with Korihor on this point--that it is a deception.

"Coming unto Christ" is purely figurative and amorphous, consisting of trying to do some of His (non-miraculous) works only. You should not expect to meet Him.

Dallin Oaks: It is a "tactic of the adversary" to teach that men can or should receive the person of Jesus Christ (the Second Comforter) while in this life. What Joseph Smith taught and the scriptures teach is darkness and Satanic.

Korihor in Alma 30

Question to Korihor: "Believest thou that there is a God?" (v.37)

Korihor: "Nay"

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Joseph Smith: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! for we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father" (D&C 76:22-23)
Enoch: "And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face." (Moses 7:4)
Nephi: "[Isaiah] verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him, and my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him."

Modern LDS Sentiments

We do believe that he's there and that "the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men", so that we can bless everyone who will "hearken … unto [our] precept". (2 Nephi 28:5-6) We believe what President Hinckley said: we don't need much revelation from Him anymore. We got this.

As office holders of the quorum of the 12 and first presidency, we no longer try to actually see him or have Him lay his hands on us. Our witness is by the Holy Ghost, just like all other members of the Church (as Elder Oaks clarified), even though we're happy to both strongly imply in testimony that we have received Him (never confirming it, because that would be lying) and also happily allow Church members to teach and testify of the fable (i.e., that we have seen Him) without correcting them.

Korihor in Alma 30

Was "the means of bringing many souls down to destruction, by [his] lying and by [his] flattering words" (v.46)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Jacob: Sherem "was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil. And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken." (Jacob 7:4)
Mormon, speaking of the wicked Alma the Younger: "he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities." (Mosiah 27:8)

Modern LDS Sentiments

Use of flattery is not always bad. We commend the youth and the faithful brothers and sisters of the Church as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and as amazing women, hoping that it will keep them in "full Church activity." Or that they are the most amazing, impressive force of missionaries ever sent into the field, despite lack of miracles, healings, angelic visitations, raising from the dead, etc. But they are definitely impressive due to amazing numbers: phenomenal numbers of Church members (never mind that only about 30% attend at least once a quarter), impressive temple buildings & numbers of temples, amazing numbers for our Christmas and Easter campaigns, amazing numbers of missionaries (esp. during the Romney-as-president-anticipating missionary surge), impressive downtown SLC building projects (the $3+ billion mall & condos), etc. There is no dispensation that can compete with our numbers! Members should be amazed, flattered at their amazingness, and truly convinced that they should give even more.

Korihor in Alma 30

"I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe." (v.48)

True Prophets in Scripture, in Contrast

Christ: Faith in God does not come by signs, but signs do follow those who believe. (D&C 63:9-12)
Alma: "All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion; yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."
Christ: The adulterous are sign seekers (Matt 12:39; 16:4), including those who commit adultery in their hearts (Matt 5:28; D&C 63:16)

Modern LDS Sentiments

We pretty much believe there is a God, although we don't need to hear from Him much anymore. Miracles, angelic visitations all follow His Church--back in Joseph's day. We just don't need that stuff much anymore--it kind of wigs us out actually. Probably just angels of darkness, not from God anymore. We can have faith in God even though our scriptures claim we can't. We just cannot accept Moroni's claim that the ministering of angels to a person is the beginning of faith (Moroni 7:25,36-38) and that their absence means all our works are in vain and "awful is the state of man". His understanding of faith was certainly incomplete, even though he says he talked with Christ face to face. (Ether 12:39) We feel there are many signs that "do follow [our members] who believe" given that ours is the "only true Church", such as our impressive statistical numbers and magnificent building projects, which are the main examples of our favor with God. Miracles like not dying from drinking poison, raising the dead, healing of people with terminal disease, and so forth are just not reasonable to expect most of the time when spoken in Melchizedek priesthood blessings by elders that just don't ever materialize.

Also, astronomy is a nice subject and it's interesting that our scriptures talk about observational astronomy and some incorrect descriptions of the physics of stars as being important to the gospel, but we don't know much about it. Scientists know plenty--check with them. Joseph Smith or Abraham (or God) probably just got it all wrong and needed modern science to get it right. There is no need for us to reveal the timings of celestial bodies, their calendars, or their laws, even though we're 100% certain this is the "dispensation of the fulness of times". Joseph was just a little presumptuous about it all. (D&C 121:30-31)

And just because we don't practice polygamy on earth and do practice "eternal polygamy", believing that any of us sealed to multiple women in the temple are going to have celestial polygamy in the next life, we can't be considered as having "committed adultery in our hearts" just because we're kinda really looking forward to it, what with our resurrected bodies in the prime of our youth. Brigham certainly seems to have had it pretty good with 55 women--I could enjoy a little of that.

By the way, we'd like to redefine "sign seeking" as something that has nothing to do with questioning belief in God's existence. Really it should be all about whether or not someone believes they should worry about looking at the fruits of claimed prophets to determine whether they are from God or not. We all know, by virtue of the office they hold, that the First Presidency and 12 are beyond questioning in this regard. It's a given that they are from God. When Christ commanded that we should beware of false prophets and test them (Matt 7:15-20), he was really just talking about in the old days. Our fruits should not have to be related to prophecy--in fact, not at all. Take a look at how many people we have--see how "many there be which go in thereat!" (Matt. 7:13) It really is impressive and should be enough. Don't worry about fruit testing—fruit testing is what we now want to call "sign seeking". This kind of "sign seeking" is now also evil! Even though it could fairly be said that in this way Christ therefore wanted us all to become "sign seekers". But don't worry about that problem with this redefinition! All is well--trust us.

Summary

A good summary I once saw a while back:
Lehi followed Christ. Korihor did not. Lehi was a disciple of the Lord’s. Korihor was an enemy of His. Lehi propounded a true message, Korihor a false one. Lehi was Christ-like. Korihor was an anti-Christ. Lehi spoke the truth. Korihor was a liar. They were polar opposites. But the question illustrates that the god of this world is imitative. The difference between truth and error does not lie in the difference between religion and irreligion, but instead between true religion which will save, and false religion which cannot save. If it were any less a test, the very elect would not be deceived in the last days. Unless there are false prophets claiming they are authorized by God to preach false and idle messages, God cannot send true ones to declare the truth. The opposition of the one is required for the other. The enemy of your soul does not create a new religion, but imitates the true one. The Lord’s messenger will be mirrored by the adversary’s, but the reflected image will be reversed. Those who follow the image will find themselves descending, while they think they are ascending to God. Hence the name: 'the Deceiver.' He deceives, and even mirrors God’s angels by the claim to be an 'angel of light' while spreading darkness. The Deceiver’s false prophets will point you to themselves, to their great works, wonderful accomplishments, and the pride you should take in following them. The Lord’s will point you to Him and preach repentance. The false prophets will speak of riches here, and suggest God’s favor can be measured by success in this world. The Lord will speak only of riches in another world which are only obtained through the sacrifice of all things here.

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