Thursday, February 22, 2018

Rev. Billy Graham Fought to end racism in 1957

The Reverend Billy Graham died this week.  I was amazed that in the 1950's he was fighting to end racism.

I was also embarrassed to realize that Mr. Graham did that more than 20 years before the LDS Church ended it's racist temple and priesthood doctrines.

Pretty sad for the "One True Church" to be 20 years behind in this social issue.

King and Graham

The LDS Church did not end its Temple and Priesthood ban on "People of African" decent until 1978 and still has racist statements in all of their scriptures. 

Billy Graham's Quotes on Racism

LDS Essay on Race

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Did Thomas S. Monson Really Speak at Every one of "His 85 Widow's" Funerals?

Following the death of President Thomas S. Monson, I read several obituary articles and blog posts that mentioned that he had attended ALL 85 funerals of the widows who had been in his ward when he was a Bishop.

Deseret News Article

They all cited an Article that says, 

“Although his Church callings and responsibilities over the years have often taken him on the road for weeks at a time, President Monson made it to every funeral of his widows and spoke as he had promised them he would. “.

The article gives no reference for this comment. I’m curious about the origin of this story. 

Did President Monson ever claim to have attended and spoke at EVERY funeral? 

Did none of the women pass away while he was serving as mission president? 

Did he actually SPEAK at every funeral? 

It seems like subsequent Bishops might have spoken instead. 

While he was away on assignment in Europe for months at a time as an Apostle were there no funerals?

Many of the widows were from World War II soldiers.  That would mean the women could have been about his age.   Are some still alive ? 

Edit:  I have spend some more time researching this topic.  In her 2010 book, To the Rescue, Heidi S. Swinton says on page 142, 

" He promised to speak at their funerals - All  Eighty-five - and he made it to everyone, though he sometimes had to slip out of a meeting or fit the service in between general conference sessions."

I contact the LDS Church History Library and they said the following:  

Thank you for your inquiry. President Monson himself talked about this. It is written in his biography To the Rescue, written by Heidi S. Swinton on page 142. The page is attached.

I hope this helps.

Well no, Church History Library people, a Biography is not the same as an Autobiography, and the biography you cite does not quote President Monson, it states an unverified story.  

Further Edit:  The more I research here the more I feel like it is another case of story embellishment.  I think it may be related to this talk by Jefferey R. Holland from 1986.

"Furthermore, these sweet folks never seem to die until Brother Monson is back in town from his many assignments, enabling him to speak at their funerals. Perhaps no one in the present leadership of the Church has spoken at so many funerals—he once had three services in one day."

Although this quote by President Holland doesn't specifically say he spoke at Every Single funeral, I can see how the Monson Biographer might have taken it to mean that.  Of course this quote was from 1986.  More than 30 years before President Monson's death.  

A TIMELINE of President Monson's Death that might help clarify.  

Born:  1927
Called to be a Bishop: 1949.
Called to be a Mission President:  1959 - 1962.

Let's make a rough assumption that when he became a Bishop in 1949, his 85 widows had an average age of 70. That would mean that while he was on his mission for three years they averaged in age from 79 to 82.  Does my logic make sense?  So during the three years he was on his mission, not one widow died?  

Scan from Biography of Thomas S. Monson:

Talk by Thomas S. Monson in 1981 where he talks about visiting widows.

LDS Newsroom Article about President Monson

Article about being Mission President in Canada Biography of Thomas S. Monson quoting book several times. 

Monson by the Numbers

Monson Press release  ( 84 widows )

Talk from 1980 - ( Mentions 87 Widows )

2008 Ensign Article ( Says he went to All 84 Funerals ) (April 2008)

USA Today Obituary says, "he was a spiritual leader for about 1,000 church members, including 84 widows, many whose husbands had died in World War II."

Many of the widows were from World War II soldiers.  That would mean the women could have been about his age.   So some may still be alive.  

Newsroom Biography

2010 BYU Devotional

Mormon Hub Obituary

2008 Ensign Article by Jefferey Holland.  For some reason this has been wiped from
(Jun 2008)
"He continued visiting them in their declining years and, somewhat miraculously, has been able to speak at each of their funerals-all 84 of them!"  This is the oldest reference I can find to the story. 

1986 Article by Jefferey Holland ( Mentions 85 Widows )

Furthermore, these sweet folks never seem to die until Brother Monson is back in town from his many assignments, enabling him to speak at their funerals. Perhaps no one in the present leadership of the Church has spoken at so many funerals—he once had three services in one day—and always very personal remarks are given for the sometimes ordinary and otherwise unknown souls that he has met and loved somewhere during his ministry.

When Jefferey Holland said these words it was 1986.  It was only 37 years since he was put in as Bishop.  If he really had war veterans widows, they would only be 

February 2008 Newroom Press Release

Interesting that it says, "One way that this attribute became part of his life was in the way he served the 84 widows in his congregation while he was a young bishop and for decades afterward. He said that they all asked him to speak at their funerals, assignments he was happy to accept notwithstanding heavy travel and other commitments."  Somebody on Wikipedia gave this quote as a reference for the fact that he spoke at every funeral.

From 2008 Biography Book about the Prophets.  

References 1986 by Jefferey Holland almost implying that he spoke at every funeral, the book takes it one step further and says he spoke at each of their funerals. 

Obituary Article from The Blaze
In 1949, he served as a bishop for two Salt Lake City congregations leading about 1,000 church members. More than 80 were widows whose husbands died in World War II. He regularly visited each one and promised to speak at their funerals one day, according to Religion News.

Religion News Obituary

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Suspend the LDS Leadership Succession Rules Immediately

I know that nobody in Church Leadership cares about my opinion, but as an active, tithe paying member I say that.....

Romney is qualified, faithful and would give the church positive exposure.  It would be a win, win for everyone but Bednar.  If the Law of Common Consent is really a thing, can "we" as a united membership, nominate him?   

Friday, December 15, 2017

10 Questions about the Baptism for the Dead Rules

10 Questions to Consider:

#1. Why can't young women be witnesses?  Untrustworthy?

#2.  Why is it that boys need to be 16 to baptize but girls only need to be 12 to pass out towels?

#3.  If no adults are needed, doesn't that make the baptistery a teen pool party?

#4. Was this a revelation, if so, who received it?

#5. If President Monson didn't receive the revelation, who is authorized to speak for the entire church?

#6. Does this change the rule about youth driving other youth to the temple?

#7. Does this mean that Young Women's leaders don't even need to go on temple trips?

#8. Will the jumpsuits worn by the girls be made thicker?

#9. Does this warrant an addition to the Doctrine and Covenants?

#10. Can you imagine this conversation in 1000 years?

Jesus, "Edith, why aren't you coming into Heaven?"

Edith, "I've been waiting for my temple work to be done."

Jesus, "There must be some mix up, let me check on it."

several hours later....

Jesus, "They did your baptism in 2018, but all the witness and recorders were distracted by the 14 year old girl in a thin white jumpsuit that was your proxy and they didn't notice that a couple of hairs on her head didn't get submerged.  It got flagged in Heaven, but on earth it was recorded as done.  So sorry!"

Edith, "So I've been waiting in Spirit Prison for 1000 years because horny teens screwed up?"

Jesus, "Um, yes."

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Clarifying and questioning teen suicide numbers....

I was just doing the math to clarify the suicide stats and now I'm wondering if they are in fact correct.

The article being shared says that the rate of suicides is 11.1 per 100,000 for youth between 10 and 17.

According to the census there are 354,129 people in Utah between 10 and 17.

354,129 / 100,000 is 3.54.  3.54 times 11.1 is 39.2. 

So according to my math there were 39 or 40 suicides / year. 

Do these numbers seem low?  

Obviously one suicide is horrible, but I think those numbers are sadly low.

Your thoughts?

Ogden Standard Article

Momma Dragons

Youth Suicide Factsheet

Utah Age Demographics

Suicide Hotline Numbers

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Running with plates

#4 Smith Running with 100 pounds of Golden Plates

Myth Summary:  Joseph Smith received revelation through his seer stone that someone was going to steal the Golden Plates.  He took them from this hiding place and carried them three miles through the forest while fighting off men hiding there.
Why it is wrong:  This is another unsubstantiated story based only on the testimony of Joseph Smith.  Gold plates would weigh somewhere between 50 and 200 pounds.  Joseph walked with a limp.  Running three miles like that would be impossible.  It is also strange that in the path through the woods that Joseph chose, he would happen upon three men hiding there in the unlikely chance that he would run by.
Links and additional details found here

Hauns' Hill Massacre

 Hauns' Hill Massacre

Story Summary:  The lesson quotes Joseph Smith saying, "At Hauns' Mill the brethren went contrary to my counsel; if they had not, their lives would have been spared".  It gives no further commentary on the reasons why they died. 
Why it is Wrong:  Blaming the victims for their own brutal deaths is horrible here.  There are lots of reasons for the Hauns' Mill Massacre.  The first group to blame is the brutal thugs who committed the crime.  Unfortunately Smith's quote blames the victims and teaches the children that Joseph Smith had no responsibility for the brutal killings that took place.  The reality is that if Joseph warned anyone it was mill owner Haun who was not a member of the church.
It is important to note that Joseph Smith had promised through a revelation from God that Zion would be created in Jackson, County Missouri.  It would be a place of peace.  He also promised that God would fight their battles for them and be by their side.  None of that happened. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sweetwater River Crossing

Monday, November 27, 2017

Joseph Smith Can Heal Malaria

The Primary Lesson make is very clear that Joseph Smith has the miraculous power to cure malaria.  This post is not questioning that.  The problem is that the lesson makes no mention of the fact that at least 175 people died of malaria in Nauvoo between 

Part of the story in the lesson says, " ‘Brother Fordham, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to arise from this bed and be made whole.’ His voice was like the voice of God, and not of man. It seemed as though the house shook to its very foundations."

BYU Studies - Article - Deaths in Early Nauvoo

From the BYU Study:  "Malaria was the most common cause of death in Nauvoo. Since Nauvoo was a swamp before the Saints arrived, it was undoubtedly a haven for mosquitoes."

"There was an average of about 40 recorded deaths each year from Malaria"




Mean Age​


Pct. Male​

1 mo. to 81 yrs.
28 years
10 days to 86 yrs.
21 years
1 mo. to 71 yrs.
24 years
Canker (Noma)
18 days to 66 yrs.
17 months
1 mo. to 45 yrs.
18 months

Other Sources

Entire quote from the manual:

The Saints Do the Lord’s Work

The Saints did the Lord’s work by helping others, and in return the Lord helped the people of Nauvoo. When the Saints first came to Nauvoo, the land was very swampy. The Saints did not know that the mosquitoes that thrived in the swamplands spread a dangerous disease called malaria. Many of the Saints came down with this disease, which caused severe chills and fever. Emma Smith nursed many people, and her six-year-old son helped her by carrying water for the sick until he also came down with malaria. Even the Prophet was sick. The Lord blessed the people, however, giving the Prophet the ability to heal them. Wilford Woodruff reported what happened when a group of priesthood holders led by Joseph Smith visited the home of one sick man:
“The next place they visited was the home of Elijah Fordham, who was supposed to be about breathing his last. When the company entered the room the Prophet of God walked up to the dying man, and took hold of his right hand and spoke to him; but Brother Fordham was unable to speak, his eyes were set in his head like glass, and he seemed entirely unconscious of all around him. Joseph held his hand and looked into his eyes in silence for a length of time. A change in the countenance of Brother Fordham was soon perceptible to all present. His sight returned, and upon Joseph asking him if he knew him, he, in a low whisper, answered, ‘Yes.’ Joseph asked him if he had faith to be healed. He answered, ‘I fear it is too late; if you had come sooner I think I would have been healed.’ The Prophet said, ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ?’ He answered in a feeble voice, ‘I do.’ Joseph then stood erect, still holding his hand in silence several moments; then he spoke in a very loud voice, saying: ‘Brother Fordham, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to arise from this bed and be made whole.’ His voice was like the voice of God, and not of man. It seemed as though the house shook to its very foundations. Brother Fordham arose from his bed and was immediately made whole. His feet were bound in [bandages], which he kicked off, then putting on his clothes, he ate a bowl of bread and milk, and followed the Prophet into the street” (quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History,pp. 223–24).

Whistling and Whittling Brigade

From Lesson:

"Children also helped build Nauvoo. If they were old enough, they helped take care of the animals and the farms, gathered wood and berries, and helped make cider, soap, and candles. They also went to school. One group of young boys helped in a unique way. Many criminals came to Nauvoo, and the Saints did not want these people in their city but did not want to use violent means to get rid of them. A group of boys was organized into a “whistling and whittling brigade.” Whenever the boys saw a suspicious stranger on the street, they would surround him and walk along with him. They would not speak, but would just whistle and whittle as they followed the stranger wherever he went. It would be annoying and frustrating to the stranger, but he could not fight all the boys at once, so he would soon leave town."

Lesson 33 - Group of boys has a whistling and whittling brigade to help watch for bad people.  
The lesson uses the words "young boys" and "children".  The reality is that the brigade were older teens and not children.  The impression the article gives is of primary children, but in reality they were full grown young men.  Think of a high school varsity football team following you around with bowie knives.