Comments about ‘Five ways Latter-day Saints can detect and avoid doctrinal deception’

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Published: Thursday, Sept. 19 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, March 28 2014 11:35 a.m. MDT

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WVC/Salt Lake, UT

"It never ceases to amaze me how gullible the Latter-day Saints can be." Elder Maxwell

This says it all. This is why Utah is the White Collar Crime Capital of the US. Elder Maxwell, if he's being completely honest, should also admit that this particular trait of Mormons comes in very handy to the leadership, in fact, it could be argued that it is the main reason for the continued existence of the organization.


"Is this Fred the man, or my Bishop speaking". I have found that this question --- when voiced to the speaker ---can be very useful in helping to decide whether to blow it off, or to seriously consider what has been said.

Bear in mind that Elijah went to town because a widow-woman was going to take care of him (you know what he found --- but it was necessary for her family's welfare, and his own development)

Orem, UT

Shouldn't the process of receiving revelation be simpler, and easier to understand? Shouldn't I be able to know, without following a long list of conditions, whether information is coming from God or from our own head?

I mean, it's terrifying that we even have to make that distinction. Shouldn't God's channel of information be clearly distinguishable from any other? The way it's set up, you can never be 100% sure that something is coming from God.

Salt Lake City, UT

" He advised class members to watch out for new interpretations of scripture ..." Cleon Skousen did this stuff all the time, and was never called on it.

Provo, UT

I read a book I was unsure about, "I stand all amazed" by Elane Durham (not Elaine) and it talks about strange things concerning revelation and the Second Coming. It was published a while ago and so it might be that one.
I hope he wasn't referring to writings of John Pontius. Those all seem to make sense. But if all else fails, stick with the standard works and conference talks! Don't get shaken. Stick with the basics.
@ "A Scientist", the blanket statement on all that Joseph Smith did failed all five should be reworded. I understand how some people may misunderstand some of what he did. I tell you so far most of what he had accomplished has helped me believe in Christ and trust Heavenly Father more.
I also enjoy the phrase I heard from an astrophysicist, the "god of science" and the "God of truth" and the "God of love" are one. When true real fact and truth is found, these two do not conflict.
Have fun =]

Church member
North Salt Lake, UT

To A Scientist:

I was thinking the exact same thing when I read this article.

Everything Joseph Smith did, from going to the sacred grove on, went against these 5 criteria.

Maybe Neil A. Maxwell was right with his comment about being gullible.

Provo, UT

I think Millet's article addresses the questions quite succinctly. Everything is expressed as an opinion, it is true. But opinions from God can generally be taken as fairly authoritative.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

"It never ceases to amaze me how gullible the Latter-day Saints can be." - Neal Maxwell

The most virulently anti-Mormon zealots couldn’t have said that any better. Ever since publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, the charge of gullibility has been hurled at adherents to Mormon belief. Such irony to now see that charge invoked to protectively guard Church authority from dissident views within the Church.

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT

This article is not very helpful for those who actually do have an in-depth understanding of LDS doctrinal history. It does nothing to address situations such as when one discovers that LDS "doctrine" has been pretty fluid over time. What should you consider doctrine--what Joseph Smith said in 1831 or what he said in 1843? Or perhaps what Brigham Young taught in 1856? Or what James Talmage revised in the early 20th century? Even LDS scripture is not consistent in presenting doctrine. Some Book of Mormon teachings are inconsistent with revelations given to Joseph a few years after the book was published. LDS theology evolved rather dramatically over its first couple of decades. In recent years, Church leaders have tried to impose some harmony on this evolving theology by reinterpreting early statements according to current understanding, but their attempts have not been entirely successful. Millet's five rules don't really address the more serious questions people are going to be facing.

Anytown, KY

zabivka said: "Shouldn't God's channel of information be clearly distinguishable from any other? The way it's set up, you can never be 100% sure that something is coming from God."

This is exactly as it should be. We are here, in this mortal life, to exercise faith. If everything was laid out neatly and clearly, we wouldn't have opportunities to learn and grow through making tough decisions.

Anchorage, AK

The Adam-God theory is an invention of our critics. They either misunderstood what Brigham Young spoke and/or failed to realize transcriptional errors of his recorded/published speech.
The written text in question has at one point a log dash --- which denotes missing text.
In collaboration of that, John Taylor's notes of the same speech indicated missing material.

This doesn't preclude the fact some members may also have been taken in with the same misunderstanding, and made statements that seemed to support what BY may have seemed to erroneously had said.(especially when critics try to cram this bogus doctrine down our throats, say this is what you believe)

Brigham Young referred to God the Father by the title of "Adam", or "Father Adam". BY knew that the Father Adam (God the Father) and the man Adam were two different beings. You have to read VERY carefully the things BY said re "Adam" to make sure WHICH Adam he was referring too.

LDS have never believed that God the Father was the one and same being as the man Adam.

Orem, UT

We live in an age of information, more so than at any other point in human history. It's all at our fingertips! How can we discern right from wrong, truth from lies?

The Lord has shown the way...and the first step is being humble and submissive to His will. He will never lead us astray! Study it out, ponder, pray about it, ask many trusted church leaders and friends, study the scriptures, pray some more, be humble and open, and the Lord will reveal the answer in his own due time.

This takes work, patience, and time. The adversary is cunning. We don't take him serious enough! He will slowly destroy us if we don't recognize our weaknesses. This takes humility!

We... 'must press forward with a steadfastness (resolutely firm and unwavering) in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men! Wherefore if ye shall PRESS (forcefully) forward, feasting (something that gives unusual or abundant enjoyment) upon the words of Christ (scriptures) and endure to the end, behold, thus sayeth the Father, Ye Shall Have Eternal Life.

This is the way, and there is no other way...


One of the important things to remember is the distinction between doctrine and policy.

Another important thing to remember is that, as far as anyone knows, none of the commentators on stories in this newspaper are official representatives of the LDS Church - and not one of them has any more authority than any other one of them to declare what is or is not doctrine. No matter how many times they repeat it.

sandy, ut


Nice try. Why is it that whenever there is a controversial doctrine mormons try to justify it as an error in transcription? That is comical to me, no claim would be made of that if the adam-god theory wasn't refuted as doctrine by the current LDS leadership. So conveniently, there must be an error in transcript, Brigham couldn't have said such things, right? That may be the case, with one of the quotes, but the Adam-God doctrine was mentioned numerous times by the early bretheren during the time or Brigham Young. I suppose each time it was an error in the transcript, or they were misquoted, right? But the rest of what they said is fine.

Anchorage, AK

falasha posted: Shafovaloff has asked a number of members of the church, if it is possible, that God was once a sinner like us.

Assuming he did, Why couldn't God have lived a sinless life on an earth, as Jesus did on this one?

Then/or assuming he sinned, was his Savior's atonement insufficient to redeem his sins?

Gallup, NM

In summary, we should question everything that doesn't come from church leaders. But we must sustain everything that comes from our church leaders.

Orem, UT

Craig Clark:

My 'gullibility' in being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is rooted in study and prayer. It's true I've been taught by many who, through faith, taught me what they thought was true. However, overriding all the doctrine and principles I've been taught was scripture, particularly The Book of Mormon, which says, "I would exhort you to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true. And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost...and by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye shall now the truth of all things."

What this has taught me is that I do not have to rely on 'men's' knowledge. Although it may not be the case in your world, in my world men and women are inherently weak. They don't know near as much as they think they do (including myself).

By saying I'm 'gullible', you are asking me to trust in the arm of flesh. I wholeheartedly decline...

sandy, ut


“He [Brigham Young] said that our God was Father Adam. He was the Father of the Savior Jesus Christ – Our God was no more or less than ADAM, Michael the Archangel.”

- Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Wilford Woodruff, Feb. 19, 1854

Pretty clear that he taught that Adam, of the garden of eden, otherwise known as Michael the Archangel is our god.

You're twisting their words when they have laid them out pretty plainly.

orem, UT

"........people claiming that following something outside the mainstream of the church brings deeper spirituality." I've had family fall into that trap many times and the end result was always wandering down really strange paths that ultimately lead nowhere. No, actually, it lead to serious self doubt when the promised extra spirituality did not come or it lead to being judgemental of members of the church who just "didn't get it" because they would not seek for "deeper things".

This article's five points are right.

And about Joseph Smith not fitting the 5 requirements, usually when comments are made they are more revelant when kept in the context of the article. The article was about LDS Doctrine and descerning truth from error within the context of LDS doctrine.
Point 1. The authority was not on the earth at the time for Joseph to go contrary to it.
Point 2. 14 year old Joseph was worthy.
Point 3. The revelations Joseph had established the doctrine that truth and error could be discerned against.
Point 4. Joseph's revelations could not be more edifying and instructive.
Point 5. Joseph's revelations completely build faith in and strengthen commitment to God.

Bountiful, UT

Every LDS member knows that prayer and personal relationship with Heavenly Father are the keys to obtain, understand and discern revelation. The following is a quote from Pres. Uchtdorf's latest CES fireside:

"Brigham Young said: 'I am … afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security. … Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates.' "

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