Comments welcome relevant to the website www.greaterthings.com
For the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth, both pertaining to the gospel and the government of God; for freedom, for scholarship, for truth, for honesty.
As the DNA controversy itself is beyond my comprehension and I am not able to discern whom is the more accurate scientist, I tend to put such information on the shelf for further discovery and contemplation. I would also tend to rely on my friend, Randall Shortridge's opinion, as I have found him to be a balanced person and scientist willing to look at the truth rather than that which is comfortable. But this controversy has sparked something for me that has hit me full square.
Allen Wyatt in his discussion of the DNA controversy wrote an essay entitled "Motivation, Behavior and Dissension" (http://www.fairlds.org/apol/antis/200207.html). In it he says, "While the Church does not actively seek out and target non-believing members, it does not always stand idly by when a member stops being a thinking non-believer and becomes a proselytizing non-believer. In other words, when a member starts publicly promoting ideas that seek to justify their non-belief or encourage non-belief in others, the Church is within its rights to separate those persons from the body of the Church, based on 'open and harmful apostasy.' " Earlier he defined apostasy and commented, "Notice that apostasy is a charge leveled against the actions of an individual. Someone is guilty of apostasy if their behavior indicates they have renounced their religious faith, or if their behavior indicates they abandoned a previous loyalty. Thus, it is acceptable and, indeed, expected for the behavior of a person charged with apostasy to be examined. The Church of Jesus Christ does not have a formal concept of heresy (false belief), but only a concept of apostasy (false behavior)."
Apostasy is seen, then, as being disloyal to the body politic of the LDS church. Murphy has lamented that he had no forum within the LDS church to discuss his findings and therefore had to go outside of it in order to discuss his serious misgivings. Wyatt sarcastically points out Murphy has been inactive for 10 years since '"1993 after the high-profile excommunications of several dissident scholars" so "an absence from the venue he seeks is certainly not conducive to discussion." It leads me to ask what should our loyalty be based on?
If we are seen as disloyal if we question the church's policies, actions, conclusions or official history to anyone else, then the charge that the LDS are merely lockstepping behind their leaders is accurate. If there is no room for honest questioning and apprisal and if it is true "when the brethren speak, the thinking is done" then honest intellectuals are forced to walk away or are excommunicated for questioning. The behavior that is considered apostate is just asking the pointed question , disloyally, in some leader's opinion.
Even a light perusal of the Book of Mormon reveals regular apostasy of the CHURCH as a whole from its foundations. I learned in seminary and institute classes that every 160-170 years another apostasy took place among the majority of the CHURCH. My math tells me it has been 182 years since Joseph Smith's vision in 1821 and 173 years since the church was legally formed. There were always INDIVIDUALS who were calling the majority to repentance. They were called prophets and were not necessarily a part of the recognized church of the time. Samuel the Lamanite is the most prominent example of this occurrence.
So an individual today within the LDS faith who sees an inconsistency is faced with being loyal to the church or to the truth. It is not a simple decision which way to go. Leaving the church often means losing your family, your friends, and in Utah often affects your job security. And if the person believes the keys are still held by the church, they may also fear losing their very salvation by being cut off from the ordinances the church performs. Most individuals start out thinking that there is a compromise--that they can bring this to one of their leader's attention and the problem will be rectified. They are too often horrified to realize that they are labeled apostate for having the question in the first place, especially if they have questioned others about it or discussed it in any way.
In my own case, I chose to be loyal to what I perceived the truth to be; declaring that I would not let any man or leader come between me and the source of all knowledge--God. I admittedly didn't always choose correctly, but even in my mistakes I learned discernment. Today I feel like I have full freedom to explore, question, dissect, discern, and conclude. When I was an accepted LDS member, I was constantly concerned about what others, especially my leaders, would think. I do not fear for my very salvation and when I do things it is from my own free will and choice, not fear. My goal is to align my will with God's. When I am not free to explore that relationship, but am most concerned about what some man or woman thinks, I make very different decisions.
I believe the LDS church is losing its strength with its attitude about what does and does not constitute apostasy. I would love to see a gradated Sunday School forum kind of like the colleges have. There are level 100 classes for the beginner, level 200 classes and so forth. Gospel Essentials classes and Gospel Doctrine classes are both so simplified that they could be compared to no-fat and 1% milk classes. We need whole milk classes, cereal classes and meat classes. The leaders need to be open to the possibility mistakes have been made along the way and quit trying to hide behind a facade of a smooth transition from 1830 to now and our doctrines and beliefs and practices. In other words we all need to be open to the truth and embrace God in all His Glory and refinement. We are not and have not been perfect. Until we can take an honest look at ourselves, as individuals and as a church, we will remain in danger of apostasy from the truth. I would rather be considered an apostate from the LDS Church than from God.
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If you have not done so already, here is a page where you can view a documentary on DNA evidence
and the Book of Mormon:
In reply, I've posted an index here:
I'm anxious to get the response of my friends. Others of you that I don't know are also welcome to
post your comments as well.
Here is my response:
April 27, 2003 -- Date I first watched the DNA documentary.
Having been one who was raised with a second-nature belief in the Book of Mormon as a factual
historic document, and having had numerous epiphany spiritual experiences in conjunction with
the Book, and having personally discovered many unique evidences in the Book
especially relating to Parallel and
Chiastic linguistic patterns, and Alphabetics
word-number patterns within it, as well as a huge
historic/prophetic parallel between Book of Mormon history and the history of the house of
Israel from beginning to end, focusing on our day and what lays ahead; and having had even personal
spiritual experiences in which I have felt to be in the unseen angelic presence of ancient Book
of Mormon personages; and being privy to modern discoveries of North
American relics that bear Hebrew religious philosophy; I am not so quick to dismiss the Book of
Mormon as a fraud, even though my B.S. in Microbiology and two years of graduate work in Virology
and Physiology have given me adequate scientific background to know that the DNA testing is very
There are too many signatures of angels and of the Holy Spirit of God on the book for me to
dismiss it as bogus because of this recent revelation regarding a lack of DNA evidence to support
the claim that the Book of Mormon is a factual historic document.
It's not that I'm not being dishonest with myself about the facts when they are presented.
Rather, it is because I also consider spiritual phenomenon to be factual, and I know of many times
when science is not always right -- a fact that is borne out by later science.
So rather than base my conclusions on what science is telling me now, I choose to hold out for
Meanwhile, I will say that even if it were indeed shown that the Book of Mormon is a work of
inspired fiction struck off by the pen of Joseph Smith, this will not cause me to disregard the Book
of Mormon as worthless. The literary evidences I have personally discovered, as mentioned
above, bear strong witness that the book is extraordinary and worthwhile as a book of spiritual
That said, let me present to you a piece of contemporary archeological evidence for
the Book of Mormon and the religion it spurred. This is something that is overlooked by most
I draw your attention to the headquarters of the Mormon faith -- Salt Lake City, and the
surrounding Wasatch Front. There are some remarkable unique geographical parallels between
this location and the country of Israel. Both regions sit on a major north-south fault that
has pent up potential for a huge quake. Both are situated near a dead body of water -- the two
largest and only such significant bodies of water on earth: the Dead Sea, and the Great Salt
Lake. Both are filled with a river named Jordan, which comes from a large lake: Utah Lake, and
the Sea of Gallilee. Both are surrounded by large mountains. Both are headquarters to a
peculiar religious body of people noted by people worldwide -- the Jews and the Mormons. Both
are situated at a crossroads of trade: Salt Lake City is considered the "crossroads of the
The notable difference is that the arrangement is North-South in one, while being South-North in
the other, which calls to mind the chiastic scripture: "the first shall be last, and the last
shall be first."
The prevailing thesis of the
GreaterThings.com website I operate is that the Mormons were ordained of God to be his chosen people
in these latter days, even as the Jews were chosen to be his peculiar people anciently, and that as
the Jews rejected their Messiah on religious grounds, the Mormons are rejecting the Lord on
The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. North, south, south, north. The
grand Chiasm -- manifest right before our noses in the modern archeological setting of the Mormons.
Now there's a double helix for you to think about!
p.s. The last portion of the documentary
in which Pastor Joel Kramer makes an alter call to all Mormons who have been deceived, taints the
presentation significantly. The video loses its objective, professional touch at that
point. It would be much more effective without it.