Praise to the web, bringing news from all over! Gives us more knowledge than prophet or seer.
Revealing the facts about horny con artists, garmies and handshakes and Joe's love for beer.
Hail to the data, we send it to servers! Traitors and tyrants now fight it in vain.
Across the globe, truth exposes the bretheren, lies cannot conquer its spread again.
Praise to the memory of hard drives and RAM chips; They store the
doings of the corporate game!
Long shall they keep smoking guns about bloodshed, those in denial will soon feel the flame!
Great are its newsgroups and endless its chat rooms. Ever and ever the
facts will be told.
Of multiple wives, Danites, slaves and racism, cureloms and horses, and fake plates of gold.
Connecting brings forth and end to their haven; Earth now can see
through the B.S. of that man.
Wake up and walk from the cult that he started. Millions now know what 'ol Joseph has done.
(end with Chorus)
Joe's book is a whopper, by Dickens!
With each version, the plot always thickens;
With characters, themes
And digressions it teems;
As for truth, though, it's mighty slim pickin's.
For a church that claims to have a direct fountainhead of knowledge from God himself, the Mormon church makes no effort to clear up the confusion about how a person actually accesses that fountainhead of knowledge. The entire question of where truth comes from is such a circular argument that it sounds more like an Abbott and Costello routine.
In fact, I canít think of a better way to illustrate the confusion than to summon the ghosts of Abbott and Costello themselves to debate the point themselves. Without further ado, then, I proudly present to you the comedy stylings of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello:
Abbott: Where does truth come from?
Costello: Truth comes from prophets. Theyíre Godís representatives on the earth, and they tell us what God wants us to know.
Abbott: Splendid! So, as long as someone claims to be a prophet, we can trust that whatever they tell us is a direct communication from God.
Costello: Well, no. There are false prophets.
Abbott: False prophets?
Costello: Yeah. People who claim to be prophets but really arenít. They claim to preach the true word of God, but you shouldnít listen to them. They have no authority.
Abbott: Oh, I see. Thatís troublesome. How can I tell the difference between a false prophet and a true prophet?
Costello: You can ask God.
Abbott: Brilliant! And how does he answer me?
Costello: He sends the Holy Spirit, who gives you a warm pleasant feeling in your heart.
Abbott: Aha! So, if I donít feel any warm, pleasant feeling, that means Iíve encountered a falsehood of some sort.
Costello: Not necessarily. It might just mean that you donít have enough faith to feel the Spirit.
Abbott: Hmmm. But, every time I do feel that warm, pleasant feeling, I know that Iím receiving confirmation from God?
Costello: Well, no.
Costello: Sometimes you just feel good about something, and it has nothing to do with the spirit.
Abbott: Thatís odd.
Costello: It can be easy to confuse your own emotions with the confirmations of the spirit.
Abbott: Well, how can I tell if Iím feeling the spirit or if Iím just feeling my own emotions?
Costello: Check the scriptures. The spirit will never give you a confirmation of anything that isnít in the scriptures.
Abbott: Excellent. And I never have to worry about the scriptures changing, now do I?
Costello: Actually, the scriptures have changed pretty substantially over the last two hundred years. First the Book of Mormon was introduced, which changed lots of the doctrines that we understood from the Bible. Then the Doctrine and Covenants was introduced, which added even more new doctrines. And, of course, the Pearl of Great Price changed our understanding of pre-earth life and what heaven will be like.
Meanwhile, the Book of Mormon has had thousands of changes made to the text since it was first printed in 1830. Many of those alterations were simple corrections to spelling, word usage, or grammar, but at least a handful of them are significant changes in story, character, or doctrine. Also, the talks given by the prophets and apostles twice a year, at General Conference, are considered scripture.
Abbott: So, how can I confirm the confirmations of the spirit with the scriptures, if the scriptures are constantly changing?
Costello: Always make sure youíve got the most recent edition of the scriptures. And stay up to date on the teachings of the modern day prophets.
Abbott: Okay. I can do that. But how do I know that the scriptures are true in the first place?
Costello: The spirit will give you a confirmation of the scriptures.
Abbott: What? The spirit? How can I use the spirit as confirmation of the scriptures, if I also need to use the scriptures as confirmation of the spirit?
Costello: The spirit will never lead you astray.
Abbott: As long as I know Iím feeling the spirit, and not my own emotions, right?
Costello: Well, not quite.
Costello: Sometimes there are false spirits. The devil can pretend to be an angel of light. He can give you good feelings in your heart, and you might mistake those feelings for the promptings of the spirit.
Abbott: You canít tell the difference between promptings from the Holy Spirit and the influences of the Master of Darkness?
Costello: If youíre keeping the commandments of the Lord, youíll know if itís the devil.
Abbott: And you can always keep the commandments because they never change, right?
Costello: Actually, they change all the time. Sometimes itís a commandment to have more than one wife. Sometimes itís a commandment to have only one wife. Sometimes itís a commandment to give everything you own to the church. At other times, you only have to give ten percent of your income to the church. Sometimes youíre not supposed to lie to people. At other times, youíre supposed to bear testimony of the church before you even have a testimony, since ďa testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!Ē (Packer 1982). Recently, tattoos and nose-rings seem to have become prohibited by new commandments.
Abbott: Okay, so where do the commandments come from in the first place?
Costello: From the scriptures and from the prophets.
Abbott: So, to learn about the commandments, I have to read the scriptures and listen to the prophets. But, to know if the scriptures are true, or to know if the prophet is a real prophet, I need to feel the spirit, which may or may not actually be the devil. And to know whether itís the Holy Spirit or the Devil, I need to keep the commandments, which are revealed by the scriptures and by the prophets.
Abbott: Youíve got to be kidding me.
Costello: Just follow the prophet, and youíll always be in good company.
Abbott: Okay. So, whenever a prophet speaks, his words can be always be accepted as commandments.
Costello: No. Sometimes prophets just say stuff that isnít important. And sometimes they say stuff thatís actually opposite of the truth.
Costello: The living prophet will never lead you astray, but you might get mixed up by paying too much attention to the teachings of old, dead prophets. Brigham Young, in particular used to teach some crazy stuff. He taught that Adam was God and that there were people living on the moon. He also taught us that there are certain sins not covered under the atonement of Jesus Christ and that the only way for people to be forgiven of those sins was for them to be executed by the leaders of the church. He called it ĎBlood Atonement.í
Abbott: Thatís insane.
Costello: Yeah, you shouldnít listen to any of that stuff.
Abbott: Brigham Young, the prophet of God, taught that stuff?
Abbott: But it isnít true?
Abbott: Then why would he teach it?
Costello: He was speculating.
Costello: He was speaking as a man. Prophets are just men, you know. Theyíre not perfect.
Abbott: Okay. But, as he was speculating, he told everybody that he was just making stuff up, right? He told them that he was just speculating?
Costello: No. He preached this stuff in the same way as he preached pretty much any other doctrine.
Abbott: So, if past prophets could be guilty of speaking as men, propagating their own speculations throughout the church as if it were doctrine, how do I know that the teachings of the current prophet are true?
Costello: They are true.
Abbott: How do you know?
Costello: God will never let the prophet lead the people of the church astray.
Abbott: Then what about Brigham Young?
Abbott: What about all that crazy stuff he taught?
Costello: Thatís not fairÖ
Abbott: Well then, what about all of the times that the prophets (and their counselors and apostles), preached that the blacks would never get the priesthood?
Abbott: You know who taught that doctrine? Prophets and apostles. For starters, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, and B. H. Roberts. Those guys lead the church astray.
Costello: Those were past prophets. The Lord has corrected their misconception. But the Lord will never let the current prophet lead the people astray.
Abbott: At some point, werenít Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Joseph Fielding Smith the current prophets?
Costello: Yes. And the people who obeyed their teachings will be exalted and glorified in the highest kingdoms of heaven.
Abbott: Even if that stuff wasnít true?
Abbott: So, a prophet could teach anything, true or false, and the people of the church would have to obey it?
Abbott: And if people actually obey those false teachings, theyíll be sent to heaven?
Abbott: And if they disobeyed those false teachings? Will they be punished?
Costello: Ummm. We donít really know. God will sort it all out.
Abbott: So, whatís the point of having a prophet, if the prophet might be teaching truth or falsehood at any given point in time?
Costello: Prophets have a direct connection with God. They communicate with Him on a regular basis and perform His work on the earth.
Abbott: Okay. So, maybe I should just ignore all of the previous prophets and only study the teachings of the current prophet.
Costello: No way! Our church has a rich heritage of prophets, and we should study their teachings as though they were scripture.
Abbott: But only the true teachings of the modern day prophets?
Abbott: We should ignore all of the false teachings of the modern day prophets?
Abbott: But how do we know which teachings are true and which ones are false?
Costello: True doctrines taught by the prophets are always supported by the scriptures.
Abbott: If a doctrine wasnít supported by the scriptures, why would a prophet be teaching it in the first place?
Costello: If he was speaking as a man, rather than as a prophet.
Abbott: But how can I be expected to determine whether a particular teaching is supported by the scriptures if a prophet of God canít even tell the difference?
Abbott: Living prophets always take precedent over dead prophets.
Costello: What do you mean?
Abbott: If the living prophet says something that contradicts a dead prophet, you should listen to the living prophet.
Costello: But what about the scriptures? Arenít they written by dead prophets?
Abbott: Technically, yesÖ
Costello: So, when Brigham Young said that there were some sins that Jesus didnít atone for, he obviously contradicted what had been written in all of the existing scriptures.
Costello: Naturally, the members of the church should have just ignored all of the teachings of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon and listened to Brigham Young instead?
Abbott: No. Brigham Young was contradicting the scriptures. Thatís how we know he was just speaking as a man.
Costello: But when Joseph Smith introduced the concept of plural marriage, he was also contradicting the scriptures, notably Jacob 2:24. Should people have disregarded Joseph Smith?
Abbott: Of course not. The principle of plural marriage is part of the New and Everlasting Covenant, and itís part of the churchís essential doctrine, even if it isnít practiced on the earth right now.
Costello: But it contradicted the existing scriptures. Doesnít that mean it should be rejected?
Abbott: After the doctrine was revealed, it was added to the Doctrine and Covenants as a new scripture.
Costello: So, if a prophet teaches something that contradicts existing scripture, we should ignore it. But if a prophet teaches something that contradicts existing scripture, and then adds that teaching to the scriptures, it should be considered doctrine.
Abbott: Right. Just let the spirit be your guide.
Abbott: The spirit?
Abbott: The same spirit that might not really be the spirit. The same spirit that might just be my own emotions or might even be the devil trying to trick me?
Costello: Yeah, thatís him.
Abbott: Let me get this straight. Iím supposed to keep the commandments, but the commandments keep changing. And the commandments are written in the scriptures, which keep changing. And the commandments are given by prophets, who contradict each other. And weíre supposed to study the teachings of the prophets, except when theyíre not true. When thereís a contradiction, weíre supposed to check the scriptures. But the prophets can add their own teachings to the scriptures. And their teachings may not actually be true, since prophets are imperfect people and sometimes speak as men. To know if the scriptures are true, we have to seek the confirmation of the spirit. But you canít tell the difference between the spirit, the devil, and your own emotions.
Costello: That sounds about right.
Abbott: So, there really is no reliable source of religious truth on the earth?
Costello: No, not really.
Papa tried to baptize me,
When I was only eight.
He didn't realize or see,
It was already too late.
When he pushed me under,
I thought I might drown,
I cried out like thunder,
But he kept holding me down.
I got those Papa tried to baptize me blues,
He never asked me, I didn't get to choose.
He said well now you got the spirit, boy,
It's time to start paying your dues.
He made a deacon on the Sunday after Easter,
When I resisted, I got a pounding on the keister.
He said now you've got the priesthood boy,
Just be glad you're not your sister.
At nineteen, he sent me on a mission,
Never asked my permission.
He looked at me with a tear in his eye,
And said you're grown up now, it's time to learn how to lie.
I got those Papa tried to baptize me blues,
He never asked me, I didn't get to choose.
He said well now you got the spirit boy,
It's time to start paying your dues.
Futile Attempts to Rescue Mormon Scholarship - FARMS - anon
Brainwash (the) Young University - BYU - by Misspeabody
The Church of Can't Fool Me Twice of Scatter-brained Saints - anon
The Utah state bird should be the cuckoo, not the seagull. by Jerry the Aspousetate
10. You don't have to spend 3 hours a week watching Star Wars if you don't want to.
9. Star Wars is a hell of a lot more fun to watch than General Conference.
8. If someone decides they no longer want to watch Star Wars, you don't have to "fellowship" them.
7. Princess Leia is much better looking than Chieko Okazaki.
6. Blacks can watch Star Wars.
5. Young men aren't commanded to spend two years trying to convince people to watch Star Wars.
4. At Christmas, your kids would much rather get the Darth Vader action figure than the Captain Moroni action figure (yes, they are sold at Deseret Book!).
3. The music you hear in Star Wars is much better than any music you'll ever hear in church.
2. Every time a new Star Wars movie comes out, the fans don't have to deny that there was a previous one.
1. You don't have to spend years and years trying to "earn" or "work for" a true conversion to Star Wars. It just happens the first time you see it.