Surprises in Romney’s Acceptance Speech

August 30, 2012

Thanks to my insider status, I’ve been given an advance copy of Romney’s acceptance speech, and it contains some interesting stuff;

10. Romney’s speech will be preceded by a youth speaker and a “rest hymn.”
9. First lines: “I’ve been asked to speak tonight about presidents. The dictionary defines the word “president” as …
8. In a Romney administration, “hearts will be gladdened, spirits will be lifted, and taxes will be lowered.”
7. Romney reminisces about telling Boyd K. Packer about that time he punched his companion.
6. A reference to Joe Biden as “Master Mahan” has been edited out in the final version.
5. To help Romney feel more comfortable at the podium, 15 decrepit old men will be seated (and sleeping) in large, red wingback chairs on the stage behind him.
4. Part of the speech was written by Bill Hamblin, who contributed the witty acrostic, “Obama is a wanker.”
3. The nomination will not be official until the delegates “indicate by the usual sign.”
2. No mention will be made of specific budget and tax proposals, as these items were outlined on a missing section of the speech that may have been up to 41 feet long, according to Dr. John Gee.
1. The speech will be given by an animatronic robot while Romney stays at home to watch the BYU football game. No one will notice.

Concise Dictionary of Mormonism – N

August 29, 2012

Name Extraction Program: A church program in which volunteers gather genealogical information by entering names and dates to provide names for temple ordinances. The program is primarily designed to keep members busy between meetings.

Name of God: God has used several names throughout history, such as Elohim, Adonai, Jehovah, and God. Currently He is known as a corporation sole registered with the Internal Revenue Service.

Name of the Church: According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus taught the Nephites,”How be it my church save it be called in my name?” In consequence of this teaching, the church has always carried the name of Jesus Christ, except for the times it did not.

Native Americans (see “Lamanites”): The aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas, otherwise known as Middle Eastern peoples brought by God to the New World. Cursed with a dark skin for their wickedness, Native Americans are becoming lighter-skinned, according to the prophets, and someday will be able to take their rightful place with the other Caucasian members of the House of Israel.

Natural Man: Fallen humanity living according to the inherent desires and drives that God gave them at creation, which therefore makes them enemies of God (Mosiah 3:19). The teaching that who you are inside is naturally against God is in no way linked to depression and self-loathing among Mormons.

Nauvoo: “The City Beautiful,” the gathering place of Mormons beginning in 1839 in a swamp along the Mississippi River in Illinois. At its peak one of the largest cities in Illinois, Nauvoo was the scene of much new revelation, such as the commandment for Joseph Smith to marry a lot of teenagers and married women, the adaptation of 18th-century Masonic ritual in a restoration of ancient Hebrew temple rites, and the anointing of Joseph Smith as king. Opposition to some of these revelations forced Joseph Smith to destroy a printing press, resulting in his willing martyrdom after he ran out of bullets.

Nauvoo Charter: A charter granting executive power to the mayor (Joseph Smith) and judicial power to the chief justice of the municipal court (also Joseph Smith), legislative power to the mayor as head of the city council (also Joseph Smith), and military power to the commander of the Nauvoo Legion (coincidentally also Joseph Smith. This reasonable granting of power streamlined important city decisions, such as the order to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor’s printing press, which resulted in the death of the aforementioned officers.

Nauvoo Expositor: A scandal rag filled with lies published by evil apostates bent on killing the Prophet Joseph Smith. These despicable lies included the false allegations that Joseph Smith was practicing polgyamy and had been ordained king.

Nauvoo House: A never-finished hotel that God commanded Joseph Smith to construct. In a departure from His usual practice, God personally set the price of shares at $50, set the terms for borrowing against stock in the hotel, and invited righteous members to invest, including bloodthirsty-apostate-in-waiting William Law (Doctrine and Covenants 124:60-82). Unfortunately, God gave no instructions for dealing with losses resulting from the abandoned project.

Nauvoo Legion: The authorized militia for the protection of the city of Nauvoo. Before 1844, the legion was notable mostly for staging parades and mock battles, with General Joseph Smith leading, resplendent in a blue and gold military uniform. In 1844, the legion enforced Smith’s declaration of martial law, though Joseph could not wear his uniform in jail.

Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Studies: An organization associated with Brigham Young University designed to provide the church with a zone defense that would prevent “uncontested slam dunks” on the part of critics of the church. Expanding beyond basketball, the institute has over the years produced a steady stream of scholarly apologia, ad hominem attacks on critics, childish acrostics, and indignant assertions that it doesn’t do ad hominem or behave childishly. As a result of the infiltration of those who sympathize with apostates, the Institute recently dismissed its founding director for reasons that had nothing to do with the institute’s growing reputation for aggressive, mean-spirited attacks. Only those who would like to destroy the church believe the institute has ever engaged in such tactics.

Nealagism: Excessive use of alliteration and other cute literary devices to make trite platitudes seem impressive and scholarly.

Necking: A mortal sin that occurs above, on, and below the neck between amorous couples in a stake center parking lot during a dance.

Neighbor: Potential convert.

Negro: People who were inferior and cursed such that they could not hold LDS priesthood offices or enter the temple. Thankfully, in 1978 the Lord revealed that they were as good as the white members. Until that time, they were allowed only to be servants in the celestial kingdom and but they could own Cadillacs.

Nephi 1: Born in Jerusalem some 600 years before the coming of Christ, Nephi was the son of a prophet and described himself as “large in stature” and obedient to God’s commandments. Despite his youth, Nephi was skilled at smelting ore to make weapons and tools and later was taught by the Lord to build a ship by which he transported his family to the Americas. Nephi taught these skills to his people, but unfortunately, after building cities and temples, the people lost the skills and nothing remains of their skilled metallurgy and construction. Rejected by his wicked brothers as a leader, Nephi wisely separated himself from them and created what would eventually become a vast civilization of Hebraic proto-Christians. Unfortunately again, the ravages of time have obliterated the traces of his great civilization.

Nephi 2: A righteous Nephite judge and prophet who lived at the time Christ was born, witnessing the miraculous signs of Christ’s birth the very same day the Lamanites had been scheduled to murder those who believed in Christ. A true Renaissance man, Nephi had great success as a missionary among the Lamanites, solved a murder, and brought down a famine on the wicked people before disappearing mysteriously some nine years after the birth of Christ, depriving him of the experience of seeing Lamanite skin become “white like unto the Nephites.”

Nephi 3: Son of Nephi 2, he was a righteous prophet who was given a day’s advance notice of the birth of Christ, which came just in time to save the righteous from being slain. Called forward by Jesus at the land Bountiful, Nephi became one of the Twelve Apostles called to serve the Nephites, though for some reason everyone gives apostolic credit to that Savior-denying Peter.

Nephi 4: Son of Nephi 3, he was so righteous and brought such love and peace to his people that little is known about him.

Nephites: The righteous, Christian, uncursed descendants of Lehi, who were fair with white skin and lived in the Americas but were destroyed by the wicked, dark-skinned, cursed Lamanites.

Nepotism: The practice of calling relatives to high offices in the church by revelation.

Neum: An Old Testament prophet not mentioned in the Old Testament but quoted by Nephi as foretelling the crucifixion of Christ.

New Era: The official LDS English-language magazine for youth ages 12-18. Notable for its cheesy, sanitized stories and ludicrous Mormonads, or inoffensive platitudes made into posters to grace the walls of Mormon youth.

New Heaven and New Earth: Earth’s destiny is to be melted into a sea of glass where the righteous will dwell. As such, it “will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim [or seer stone] to the inhabitants who dwell thereon” by which they will be able to see “all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order.” Note: Being able to see by looking into a stone has nothing whatsoever to do with the early American practice of seeing things by looking into a stone.

New Order Mormon: Sheep in wolves’ clothing who suffer through boring meetings and pretend to believe in an effort to destroy the church from within.

New Jerusalem: Independence, Missouri, which is part of greater Kansas City. Prophets have revealed that Jesus is a Chiefs fan and was “wroth” when the Kings moved to Sacramento.

New Testament: The inspired writings of Jesus’ apostles, recording His life and teachings, as well as the acts and teachings of the apostles after His death. Corrupted by evil and designing priests and scribes, the original text of the New Testament was lost until Joseph Smith restored it by inserting changes where words were italicized in the King James Version. Also contains letters from the apostles, though some disputed letters have been left out, such as Paul’s epistle to the Laodiceans, which begins, “You may have already won!”

New Name: A name given by revelation to each person entering the temple to receive their endowment. The name is so special that it cannot be mentioned outside the temple and is only given to every person who attends the temple that day.

New York: The location of the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith, who retrieved golden plates from the hill Cumorah–not to be confused with the other Cumorah in Central America–and translated them into the Book of Mormon. Also the state in which Joseph Smith used his seer stone to locate buried treasure for hire and was tried three times for being a “juggler” (or con man) and fraud, though these court records are merely forgeries created by enemies of God.

New and Everlasting Covenant: The New and Everlasting Covenant is the sum of all gospel covenants with humanity. This is not to be confused with the new and everlasting covenant of baptism (Doctrine and Covenants 22:1) or the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (see Doctrine and Covenants 132), both of which may be considered “a” new and everlasting covenant, but not “the” new and everlasting covenant. All covenants are new to those receiving them for the first time and are everlasting in their efficacy; thus “the” new and everlasting covenant can be considered “a” new and everlasting covenant. Note: Wo unto those who doubt because of God’s difficulty in using definite and indefinite articles.

Nibley, Hugh W.: A BYU professor who suffered for many years from undiagnosed parallelomania. Notable for grasping names and etymologies from widely dispersed times and places to prove the validity of Mormon scripture. Notable for publishing articles designed to get people to ignore the Book of Abraham papyri and for writing an embarrassing response to Fawn Brodie’s “No Man Knows My History.”

Noah: A man who during his 950 years of living on the earth was commanded to build an ark, or large boat, and place two of every kind of living thing on it, as well as the eight members of his family. Once that was accomplished, God caused it to rain 40 days and 40 nights, such that the entire earth was covered some 300 feet above the highest mountains, killing every living thing that breathed that was not on the ark; miraculously, the change in ocean and lake salinity apparently did not affect marine life. Thus through Noah was mankind preserved in what must have been a hot, sweaty boat full of urine, manure, and irritable animals, and we can know with confidence that every living human descended from a Semitic man who lived within the last 5000 years. Faith-destroying archaeologists have repeatedly fabricated evidence of continuous civilizations from before the flood until much later, but these are Satan’s instruments designed to fool the unwary.

Non-Mormons: Those who do not belong to the LDS church either know nothing of the truth or have deliberately chosen to fight God’s true church. Consequently, the church has gone to great lengths to express its love and respect for the wicked and ignorant.

Nudity: The shameful condition of mortal humans when they are bathing which must be remedied immediately. Nudity is forbidden by God’s commandments, with many prophets setting a wonderful example by never removing the garments, even during sexual intercourse. This sin has been around as long as humans have been on the earth. Nudity was responsible for the first occurrence of shame and ultimately led to sub-Saharan Africans being denied the priesthood (see Genesis 9:20-27).

A lifetime ago …

August 23, 2012

Today I was standing across the street from the Provo LDS temple, watching a group of MTC missionaries heading up for a session, and I thought of the snowy day in 1983 when I trudged up the hill carrying a paper bag of garments on my way to the temple for the first time. I felt an overwhelming sadness for the loss of the innocent, believing young boy I once was, because I know that part of me will never return.

I guess I’m at the point in my life at which arguing about the church and who is right just makes me sad. Mormonism will always be part of every day of my life, but sometimes, like today, it hits me how much my life has changed. The change has been good in many ways, but it is still painful. I have no idea why I needed to share that.

Joseph Smith and Sexual Polyandry

August 8, 2012

I’ve written before about sexuality in Joseph Smith’s plural marriages, but until now there seemed to be definite evidence that one of his polyandrous marriages, that with Sylvia Sessions Lyon, involved sexual relations. If we are to believe Sylvia’s statements (and I have no reason not to do so), it is highly likely that her daughter Josephine was the biological daughter of Joseph Smith. 

LDS apologist Brian Hales has done some pretty thorough work on Joseph’s practice of polygamy, but he believes that the polyandrous relationships were not sexual. I won’t go into detail about his support for this belief, as it can be found on his web site, but Michael Quinn has delivered a devastating response to Hales’s presentation on this subject at the Mormon History Association’s conference in June of 2012. Some highlights:

There is strong evidence for sexual polyandry in the case of Mary Heron Snider, a married LDS woman living in Nauvoo. Mary’s son-in-law Joseph Johnson testified in 1850 before a council of apostles that he “was familiar with the first frigging — that was done in his house with his mother in law — by Joseph.” Hales suggests that the statement was a fabrication to justify Johnson’s own sexual behavior. Quinn refutes that statement by noting Johnson’s statement just before the “frigging” sentence: “I never heard any conversation to say it was right to go to bed with a woman if not found out–I was aware the thing [with Mrs. Snow] was wrong.”

Johnson’s testimony was given before a council of apostles, presided over by Brigham Young. Although at least one member of the council said the statement had “taken me by surprise,” no one denounced Johnson for saying what he did. Quinn notes that in June of 1841, Mary Isabella Horne stated that “the prophet with Sister Snyder called in his buggy upon Sister Clev[e]land” in Quincy, Illinois.” This statement is significant for a couple of reasons: First, Sarah Cleveland, one of Joseph’s wives, had “served as [Joseph’s] “intermediary” in the spring of 1842 for introducing the idea of polygamous marriage to Eliza R. Snow.” At that time Mrs. Snider was living alone with her son. This visit does not definitively corroborate Johnson’s statement, but it does refute Hales’s statement, “Despite intensive research, I have found no additional evidence linking Mary Heron Snider with Joseph Smith.” Later that year Joseph Smith sent John Snider to England, as he done with other polyandrous husbands, who may or may not have been aware of their wives’ relationships with Joseph Smith.

Another polyandrous wife was Flora Ann Woodworth Gove, who married Joseph Smith at age 16 and then married Carlos Gove. Smith’s secretary, William Clayton, notes that Joseph met with Flora alone at Clayton’s house “while Clayton was intentionally absent.” Flora regretted marrying Gove and as Quinn puts it, “two subsequent trysts with the 37-year-old Prophet in Clayton’s house on consecutive days showed how much she regretted marrying a younger man earlier in the week.”

A third wife Quinn mentions is Esther Dutcher Smith, who married Joseph Smith in 1843. Although married for 10 years, Esther had not conceived a child by her husband, but at the time of Joseph Smith’s death, she was six months pregnant with a son, Joseph Albert. Her marriage to Joseph was noted by Brigham Young’s counselor Daniel Wells in 1877, who wrote that Esther “nearly broke his heart by telling him [her legal husband] of it, and expressing her intention of adhering to that relationship” with the prophet. Wells further wrote that Albert Smith “got to feeling better about it” seven years later. Wells’s wording shows that Esther was married to Joseph without Albert Smith’s knowledge, and had this been an “eternity only sealing,” Albert would not have been upset about the relationship, and her plans to “adhere” to it would not make sense. (Quinn further notes that there is no record of any “eternity only” sealings performed in the LDS church throughout the entire nineteenth century. 

A fourth wife Quinn mentions is Philo Dibble’s wife, Hannah Ann Dubois Smith Dibble, who is mentioned in an 1857 anti-Mormon book as having been Joseph’s wife. Quinn notes that in 1843, Joseph was accused of “improper conduct” with Hannah Dibble and Agnes Smith, who was Don Carlos Smith’s widow. Agnes Smith was later acknowledged as Joseph’s plural wife, and Benjamin Johnson’s autobiography states, “At this time [May 1843,] I knew that the Prophet had as his wives … Sisters Lyon and Dibble.”

Finally, Hales states that evidence was “ambiguous” for Joseph’s marriage to Elvira Ann Cowles Holmes, wife of Jonathan Holmes, although Hales cites the following statement from Elvira’s daughter Phebe:”I heard my mother [Elvira Ann Cowles Holmes] testify that she was indeed the Prophet Joseph Smith’s plural wife in life and lived with him as such during his lifetime.” That doesn’t sound ambiguous to me (or to Quinn). And, as Quinn puts it, “I find it difficult to believe that Elvira’s 37-year-old widower-husband Jonathan stopped having sex with her only six months after their civil wedding, simply to accommodate the Prophet’s sexual relations with her (which in June 1843 seemed likely to continue for many years).” This is an important point. If we are to believe that there was no sexual polyandry in this case, there are only two options: Jonathan Holmes stopped having sex with his wife, or Joseph “lived with” Elvira as a wife but did not have sex with her. I’m with Quinn on this one.

Regrettably, Quinn’s paper is not available online so far as I know, but I have a copy in my possession and can provide citations as needed. For me, there is no question that Joseph’s marriages included sexual polyandry, as the evidence is quite clear.

The Martyrdom of St. William

August 3, 2012

I discovered this piece of pre-Renaissance art today. I find it quite meaningful.

Todd’s Triple Favor?

August 1, 2012

More on our buddy, “Dr” Todd Coontz. In case you don’t know who this guy is, he’s a shameless huckster from South Carolina who preys on the gullible to enrich himself. Here, for example, is what he promises in return for a donation of $1000:

As a treasured Partner, you also share in the anointing and financial mantle on Dr. Todd’s life as he agrees to faithfully pray for you, your family, and your finances on a daily basis.

Elsewhere on his web site he tells us that we can achieve “financial freedom” and he will give us “7 keys to success [sic] investing.” You may ask, how’s that working for the good “doctor”?

“Dr” Todd’s full name is William Todd Coontz, and he resides with his wife, Dana, in Aiken, South Carolina. According to Google Maps, Rockwealth Ministries (Todd’s business) is located at 205 Loudoun Dr. Curiously, another business called Ministries Rockwealth is located at 324 Magnolia Lake Ct. It is a rather nice place. A third business, Coontz Investments and Insurance, is located at 3050 Whiskey Dr. A quick search of Aiken County court records finds the following:

2005: A $35,000 judgment against Todd and Dana Coontz.
2006: A debt-collection judgment against Todd Coontz for $4,184.52
2007: A debt-collection judgment against Todd Coontz for $18,945.81.
2007: A debt-collection judgment against Todd Coontz for an unspecified amount.
2008: A debt-collection judgment against Todd Coontz for $10,019.95.

Now, it is possible that the William Todd Coontz named in these suits isn’t “Dr” Todd Coontz, but W. Todd is the only Coontz I could find in the public records. If, by some remote possibility, this isn’t the good “doctor,” I apologize.

But how ironic is it that the guy who asking money from you so you can get wealthy is himself struggling to pay off debts?

Don’t worry, “Dr” Todd.” I’ll be happy to faithfully pray for you, your family, and your finances on a daily basis. Just send me $1000.