Not to beat a dead horse, but I think I’ll be stuck with writer’s block until I get clear of the main point in my last post: —–Can a prophet lie?—–
I think the leaders of the mormon church have laid the cornerstone of their own graves by defining it for themselves:
- Many will teach false doctrine, saying: lie a little and there is no harm in it 2 Ne. 28:8–9; (D&C 10:25; )
- “Elder Gordon B. Hinckley preached against the widespread and fashionable dishonesty that threatens governments, institutions, and our personal dignity. His talk was titled “An Honest Man— God’s Noblest Work” (see Ensign, May 1976, p. 60). Satan is the great deceiver and the father of lies, but he will also tell the truth when it suits his purposes. Satan’s most effective lies are half-truths or lies accompanied by truth. A lie is most effective when it can travel incognito in good company or when it can be so intermarried with the truth that we cannot determine its lineage.” Dallin Oaks : 9/12/1993
- “Complete honesty is necessary for our salvation…People use many excuses for being dishonest. People lie to protect themselves and to have others think well of them. Gospel Principles ch 31
- “Let every man’s life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that he will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. , 252)
- “We can also be guilty of bearing false witness and lying if we say nothing, particularly if we allow another to reach a wrong conclusion while we hold back information that would have led to a more accurate perception.” Ensign 10/1994
Something that seems to be disappearing from the vernacular of the church has been the concept of ‘lies of omission’ and similar phrases that imply that the withholding of salient truth is, in fact, a lie. This is odd since, during my upbringing in the church, I heard that expression in talks, priesthood lessons and interviews, and classes. However, if you go to lds.org and search for anything about lies of omission, you only seem to get results for sins of omission.
As I’m finding, the leaders of the church have been lying by omission AND by commission. Each new generation of self-titled apostles and prophets have the interesting job or re-vamping and covering the past. Unfortunately, the age of data is upon us and the lies are being exposed from the rooftops.
In the fireside talk by Oaks (linked above), he creates an odd scarecrow argument when he contorts himself through the gyrations of explaining away the “lying for the Lord” issue by making it sound like the issue only really revolved around the polygamy issue and that of course a person would be stuck in a moral dilemma of betraying a friend or helping to condemn a husband to jail. The real issues are:
- Did the authorities of the early church (and Joseph Smith in particular) lie about polygamy in order to manipulate public opinion, hide it from prospective members, and/or to avoid legal issues? Note: polygamy was never legal in any state it was practiced in even from its inception.
- Did Joseph Smith lie about polygamy as a law of God in order to cover up the stain of his affair with his teenage housemaid, Fanny Alger?
- Did Joseph Smith attempt to cover the lies by ordering the destruction of a printing press office that was about to publish the first-hand accounts of how prevalent polygamy was in the church and, specifically, that Joseph Smith was a polygamist?
Some lies are debatable, but some are so glaring. Following here are a summary of the Key Lies that opened my eyes to how bad the issue is even today. For more examples, just examine some of the ways mormons try to explain around the issues in the comments sections of the videos linked below.
FlackerMan produced a video here that is the best examination I’ve found yet on how lying in the church continues to this day.
Officials of the church dissembling about Joseph Smith having teenage wives by claiming that it was a societal norm at that time. Actual census data shows otherwise clearly showing that most of what you hear is current leadership making this up as they go along.
Hinkley lying and dancing around the issue of blacks and the priesthood.
A fantastic multi-part presentation regarding first-hand experience with “Lying for the Lord” can be found here.
Also, please take a few minutes with Analyzing a Mormon Apologist.
What a tangled web they have woven. Say what you will to explain the past. Ignore the present if you need to. Anyone who stays in the church will have to do so eventually against their better judgement or by willful ignorance that the leaders of the church have always and continue to lie, dissemble, prevaricate, tell half-truths, double-down, and misdirect all while expecting obedience and faith in their every word.
I wonder what the future leaders will be tasked with re-writing?
Edit (2015-10-21): Hi! Had to add this great (and short) post at ExploringMormonism re the ever growing list of the lies. Big thank you to all those out there keeping the conversation alive. Mmmm. Key Lie Pie.