This is going to be long, and difficult (When are my posts not?), but I think this illustrates that the church will use any means to hide mistakes, including using anti-mormon literature… just not the LDS kind of Mormon.
Anyone who ever questions your sources in the future, this should be plenty of ammo to say, “You should apply the same to your leadership.”
He seems to take the quote, and only exactly that much of the quote from this book.
This book is an openly anti-reorganized LDS Church book. So what is the full quote?
In this book, the quote reads as thus:
“Yes sir, I am the successor of my father in his office… I am in a position to exercise the gifts of president if required and directed so to do,” with some clarification, then the quote, and then he says his definition of the word “ordain.”
Without the definition of the word “ordain,” or his testimony that he is to succeed his father, Hinckley implies that Joseph Smith III never had a claim to lead the church, but this is CLEARLY not what Joseph Smith III is stating here.
Then Hinckley states:
“It should be noted further that at various times Joseph Smith had indicated a number of men or groups of men who might possibly succeed him. These included his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, his son Joseph III, even his yet unborn son David; and, most importantly, on a number of occasions, the Council of the Twelve Apostles.”
I’d like to point out that Strang is not mentioned. I’d like to point out that Samuel Smith is not listed, even though he was clearly indicated. To Hinckley, this confused mess is evidence for the LDS church having a clear claim.
“Nor was it unusual for fathers to give their sons blessings of this kind. “
Really? Was it unusual for fathers to have their sons broken INTO jail? Because the blessing was given to Joseph Smith III, when he was 6 years old, INSIDE the liberty jail. They broke him IN to do that (Source, the tour at the liberty jail, sponsored by the LDS church at their visitor center, with the facts also detailed in D. Michael Quinn’s books).
Casting this as an ordinary, run-of-the-mill blessing is pretty disingenuous at best, and downright misleading at worst. This was not just a father’s blessing and Hinckley knows it.
“Brigham Young and others similarly blessed their sons.”
Again, saying that this was a common or “normal” occurrence is simply hiding facts:
“Brigham Young, Sr. ordained his son Brigham Young, Jr. as an apostle at the young age of 27 in 1864. However, he was not placed in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until four years later in 1868.”
So it’s NORMAL and just a casual occurrence to ordain your son an apostle and then not put him into the quorum of the twelve for years. Hmmm… nice example of regular day-to-day business. Brigham Young, Jr.’s story will have to wait for another post though (it is interesting) as right now we’re focusing on Joseph Smith III.
“We in the Church recognize that the fulfillment of all blessings given under authority of the priesthood is conditioned upon two things: one, the worthiness and faithfulness of the recipient, and, two, the overriding will and wisdom of God.”
Got that? One has to be worthy (please look up the lies and false doctrines/doctrines of men taught by Brigham Young) in order to lead the church. Oh, and God can override anything at anytime.
“For instance, in the great revelation on priesthood which we know as section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which was received and recorded on March 28, 1835, the Lord spoke of the governance of his Church and said of the Twelve after speaking of the Presidency: ‘They form a quorum, equal in authority and power to’ the presidency.”
Here is another bit of misdirection. The High Council, the Three Witnesses and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were ALL equal in power to the First Presidency. The High Council and First Presidency combined together to back Rigdon… doesn’t that make them twice as powerful in their belief of a legitimate claim? Probably not, but you can see how the logic here is shaky and not including all the facts.
Let’s not forget that WITHIN the quorum, no one knew who was supposed to lead. The minutes of the Nauvoo council state that some proposed it should be whomever got their second anointing first. Others proposed it be by the position held in the council of the fifty. Seniority was finally settled on after great debate, but this was in NO WAY a clear cut choice.
I’ll skip the D&C 112 section as I think it’s just more misdirection. Yes, they all have the priesthood… well said. Nice.
“The record of a special conference held in Nauvoo on August 16, 1841, states: ‘The time had come when the Twelve should be called upon to stand in their place next to the First Presidency, … and assist to bear off the kingdom victorious to the nations.'”
Again, also misdirection. This seems to be more talking about missions in context rather than leadership. The phrase “Grasping at straws” comes to my mind. If there were a clear instruction that “The Twelve lead next,” then the succession crisis would have been a succession picnic.
“The record of a special conference,” by the way, were the minutes of the Nauvoo City council. That’s right, the leadership of the church was determined by the city council. Not by the GA’s all gathering in a conference. Not by some sort of religious body, because by the time the council of the fifty existed, the secular world and religious world crossed over a lot. So the leadership of the church was determined by elected officials.
“It is abundantly clear that the Lord placed the Council of the Twelve, with Brigham Young as its president, next to the Prophet Joseph Smith and gave unto them the keys and the authority to advance the Church under the direction of the Prophet while he was alive, and to govern after his death.”
Say it with enough conviction and they won’t doubt you. That’s the motto.
“The revelations I have just read and the minutes of the Nauvoo meeting were recorded from three to nine years before the blessing of which we are speaking.”
Again this is horrible misdirection. The blessing in the liberty jail occurred in the Missouri Era, before Nauvoo was even purchased. But there is a SECOND blessing of Joseph Smith III to lead the church that did happen in the upstairs of the general store (still owned by the reorganized church… visit them sometime and they’ll tell you all about both blessings). SOME of these revelations happened before SOME of the blessings of young Joseph III. Can you guess which ones are the strongest in favor of the apostles? Are they the ones before the blessings?
If it were clear cut and didn’t require shenanigans, Hinckley would have simply given the dates of all the concerned documents, told what the meeting was, etc. But no, it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors to confuse and try to hide truth.
“Our archives contain a number of documents attesting to these meetings and what was done in them. I have time to quote from the record of only one who was present. There were many.”
“Our archives, which, by the way, I can see and you cannot. Since I’m such a history scholar, and I am in no way misdirecting you all up to this point, just trust me that there is nothing damning in all of these records… and pay no attention to D. Michael Quinn who also saw and published many of these documents.” — Gordon B. Hinckley’s inner monologue
These same archives where I keep documents recently purchased from Mark Hofmann, that happen to include this blessing (even though it was a forgery), and then tried to hide it from the world, until that blasted Hoffman released the contents to the press after I made him promise he’d keep his mouth shut as part of the bargain…
“This great and good man was led, before his death, to call the Twelve together, from time to time, and to instruct them in all things pertaining to the kingdom, ordinances, and government of God. He often observed that he was laying the foundation, but it would remain for the Twelve to complete the building. Said he, ‘I know not why; but for some reason I am constrained to hasten my preparations, and to confer upon the Twelve all the ordinances, keys, covenants, endowments, and sealing ordinances of the priesthood … for, said he, the Lord is about to lay the burden on your shoulders and let me rest awhile; and if they kill me … the kingdom of God will roll on, as I have now finished the work which was laid upon me, by committing to you all things for the building up of the kingdom according to the heavenly vision, and the pattern shown me from heaven.’” (Parley P. Pratt, “Proclamation,” Millennial Star, 5 [March 1845]: 151.)”
Wait… did you catch that? He cites an apostle as a source that the apostles have power. That’s right, I’m going to quote Rigdon that Rigdon should have power, because that kind of logic is TOTALLY safe and is in no way misleading.
And when was this printed? 1845? Convenient that it was printed a year after Joseph’s death, after Brigham was already in command. Too bad no one remembered Joseph saying anything like this in 1843, because if they had, you can BET that Hinckley would have used that quote instead.
“Sidney Rigdon, who had served as a counselor to Joseph Smith, spoke for an hour and a half, proposing that he be appointed guardian of the Church. There was no affirmative response.”
Got that? No affirmative response. Despite the High Council confirming him… no affirmative response.
“That afternoon Brigham Young spoke on behalf of the Apostles. Many present testified that he looked and sounded like the martyred Prophet. “
Remember that there isn’t a single contemporary document, despite many people recording what Brigham said, that cites this. Every document comes after a GA states in conference that this happened. Suddenly everyone remembers it, even some people who can be proven to not have been there. This is as shaky evidence as ANY portion of the Spaulding-Rigdon theory. Spaulding’s widow, E. Howe’s affecting the affidavits, and the loose connection between the printer and Rigdon PALE in comparison to there being contemporary records that do not record this event, and the clear view that the “knew it all along phenomenon” was at play with journals and records.
“the vote was overwhelmingly in favor.”
” Then in February of 1846 the unparalleled movement began from Nauvoo on the Mississippi to Winter Quarters on the Missouri.”
Just a note here. There were no mobs on the prowl driving them from their homes. They stayed in Nauvoo for 2 years after Joseph’s death without any homes burned. No one killed. There WERE federal marshals trying to arrest church authorities for polygamy, however. I guess that qualifies as persecution? This would be a long and detailed interaction of leadership ducking and dodging the law.
“So great was the faith of the tens of thousands involved, so strong their testimony, that many gave their lives rather than falter.”
Yes, and over 10,000 stayed in the east… is that a great testimony to their commitment to the church or does one have to walk/ride a long way with a handcart for their faith to count?
“Where could one find a more powerful witness for the validity of their leadership than in the actions of those who left their homes in Nauvoo to gather here in the valleys of the mountains in response to the call of the Twelve with Brigham Young at their head and subsequently as president of the Church?”
Maybe in the testimony of Christ, found in Matthew 24:26, in which Christ says not to follow church leaders into a desert. Maybe if people had followed this advice they wouldn’t have died. Just saying, anything can look like dedication to those who already have all the answers.
“If he wrote that blessing, he knew about it. It was reportedly found among papers left at his death.”
This is how Mark Hofmann knew how to scam Hinckley. He knew enough about church history to know where documents SHOULD be found, or could be found. This is a rare opportunity to see a top apostle of God, who would later be prophet, someone in control of the church, defending that the forged document came from a legitimate source… and that this in NO WAY detracts from the church because of a quote the person made later:
“‘But,’ said he, ‘I am a Mormon, and if I live, I shall follow the Twelve.’ He was one of the sick and dying carried from that place, whose life, along with those of others of his company, was preserved by the miraculous coming of flocks of quail into their Iowa camp.”
Again, misdirection. Brigham Young said at this time that he was to watch over the church until the lad (Joseph III) was to be grown (source: the Autobiography of John D. Lee, body guard of Brigham Young). So, of COURSE he would say he would follow the twelve. That statement does not preclude in anyway that Joseph Smith III would one day be prophet. And Hinckley knows it because he’s done history, or the person who wrote his talk for him knows it, and Hinckley is just a puppet presenting for the historian.
“Would he have been willing to pay so heavy a price for his membership in the Church and to have suffered so much to advance its cause as a missionary at the call of Brigham Young if he had any doubt that President Young was the proper leader of the Church.”
Again, sure… he was doing what he thought was right because the debate against Joseph Smith III didn’t come until later.
“We were glad to see our brethren of the Reorganized Church get the document which contains a father’s blessing given upon the head of a son he loved. It is a precious artifact, with great sentimental value for the family of Joseph Smith. It does not seriously raise any question concerning the validity of succession in the presidency through the Council of the Twelve Apostles as that body was established by the Prophet and as it has functioned under the revelations of God.”
“By the way I spent tens of thousands of dollars of tithing money to hide this all from you… but now it’s in the media, I have to say something.”
This talk was given in May 1981.
“The forger later conceded he created material that could be embarrassing to the LDS Church in hope that Mormon leaders would spend large sums of money to keep them private.”
“During the early 1980s, a significant number of new Mormon documents came into the marketplace.”
“In 1981, Hofmann arrived at the headquarters of the LDS Church with a document which supposedly provided evidence that Joseph Smith, Jr., the Mormon prophet, had designated his son Joseph Smith III, rather than Brigham Young, as his successor. In a forged cover letter, purportedly written by Thomas Bullock and dated January 27, 1865.”
Yup, this talk is a total CYA of President Hinckley to try to explain how the church was still true when there was what was believed to be HARD EVIDENCE in the vault to prove it wasn’t…
The fact that it was a forgery does not negate that the leadership will lie, selectively edit, pull from questionable anti-sources, and misdirect to keep you in the church, even when there is good evidence against it.
Given that only half the church (in total) followed Brigham, that 1/4 followed Strang (some of the strangites later followed Brigham so there is some overlap), that some stayed behind, that most of the 5 churches weren’t there, and that this was only the population in Nauvoo, this is a pretty bold claim. But of the people present, maybe the vote was “overwhelmingly.”
TL;DR: Hinckley makes a long talk explaining how even though he thinks he knows that Joseph Smith III is the correct line (at the time, it’s proved to be a forgery later) the church is still true!