Since I haven't done so yet, let me explain how my faith crisis came about... someone was lying. Not just anyone mind you, an Apostle of the Lord! A little over a year ago, I was preparing a lesson for my YW class. I was searching on the internet, when I came across a PBS interview with Elder Holland. I couldn't believe what I was reading! The interviewer asked him about the priesthood ban on the blacks, here's the question he asked Elder Holland:
I've talked to many blacks and many whites as well about the lingering folklore [about why blacks couldn't have the priesthood]. These are faithful Mormons who are delighted about this revelation, and yet who feel something more should be said about the folklore and even possibly about the mysterious reasons for the ban itself, which was not a revelation; it was a practice. So if you could, briefly address the concerns Mormons have about this folklore and what should be done.
Let me explain at this point, I was a completely devout Mormon, married in the temple, raised our family in the church. I never questioned anything about the church. So when I read this question, the first thing that seems odd to me, is the use of the word "folklore", I had never heard that word used to describe any of our doctrine, "folklore" why was this interviewer calling our doctrine "folklore"?
This was Elder Holland's response:
One clear-cut position is that the folklore must never be perpetuated. ...
What? Why was Elder Holland expounding on the word "folklore"? Why didn't he refute it by saying, this was not folklore, this was a revelation from God. I had been taught my entire life that the ban on the blacks was a revelation from God and that the reason for the ban was that black people were from the lineage of Cain and that curse was placed on them because of Cain killing Abel. These people were less valiant in the pre-existence, therefore they came to earth through that lineage. Elder Holland went on to say:
I have to concede to my earlier colleagues. ... They, I'm sure, in their own way, were doing the best they knew to give shape to [the policy], to give context for it, to give even history to it. All I can say is however well intended the explanations were, I think almost all of them were inadequate and/or wrong. ...
It probably would have been advantageous to say nothing, to say we just don't know, and, [as] with many religious matters, whatever was being done was done on the basis of faith at that time. But some explanations were given and had been given for a lot of years. ... At the very least, there should be no effort to perpetuate those efforts to explain why that doctrine existed. I think, to the extent that I know anything about it, as one of the newer and younger ones to come along, ... we simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.
Now my mouth is hanging open! Did he just say ... we simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.
What is he talking about? First of all he is an Apostle, so how can he not know how a doctrine came about? AND, I thought our doctrine came from God. How could he say he doesn't know? I thought ALL our doctrine came from God. That's what I had been taught my entire life. And by the way, this is not some insignificant doctrine! This is huge, racist, life altering, life denigrating doctrine. It attacks the character of all black people.
At this point I get up to find my husband. I read him what Elder Holland said in the interview. I ask him, did you know that an Apostle could claim to not know where our doctrine comes from? He was as shocked as I was. Then I hear my self say, "Elder Holland is lying." He has to be, there are only two choices, either he's the dumbest member of the church I have ever run across to say he doesn't know where that doctrine came from, or he's lying. All of his squirming around and saying as, one of the newer and younger ones to come along... blah blah blah, have you ever had a child lie to you? You can see right through it, and I could see right through his lies.
Next, I began to see a pattern of lies. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, had one thing in common... many wives. They even had some of the same wives in common. Brigham married several of Josephs wives after Joseph was killed. But with all of this in common they couldn't get their story straight... one of them is lying. Joseph said in his 1844 Testimony Against the Dissenters at Nauvoo, "What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers." In an 1838 Elder's Journal, Joseph answered the Question: Do Mormons believe in having more wives than one? The answer, No, not at the same time. But they believe that if their companion dies, they have a right to marry again..."
So here we have Joseph Smith saying he only has one wife and that Mormons believe in only one wife at a time, monogamy in other words. Yet the Church says he was a polygamist; they show his multiple wives on their family search website, and they have D&C 132 in their canon of scriptures that clearly states the acceptance of polygamy and the rules for it. So again, someone is lying!
Brigham was a big polygamist, we all know that. He taught about polygamy numerous times in his sermons, these quotes, among many others, can be found in the Journal of Discourses:
Brother Cannon remarked that people wondered how many wives and children I had. He may inform them that I shall have wives and children by the millions, and glory, and riches, and power, and dominion, and Kingdom after Kingdom, and reign triumphantly.
Talk about polygamy! There is no true philosopher on the face of the earth but what will admit that such a system, properly carried out according to the order of heaven, is far superior to monogamy for the raising of healthy, robust children!
And these are just a few of Brigham's quotes found in the Deseret News:
Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned; and I will go still further, and say that this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord had given, and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned.
Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord's servants have always practiced it. And is that religion popular in heaven? It is the only popular religion there...
Then we have a recent prophet, President Hinckley, comment on polygamy in a Larry King interview. When asked if he condemns it, President Hinckley said:
I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal.
Again, I hate to keep repeating myself, but someone is lying!! Either it's not doctrinal as President Hinckley says, or you're going to be damned if you deny it, as Brigham Young said, Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned..
President Hinckley, in the same interview, said "When our people came west they permitted it on a restricted scale... The figures that I have are from--between two and five percent of our people were involved in it. The Church's own essay on plural marriage states, that the "practice of plural marriage was instituted among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the early 1840's. Well, that's before they came west. The essay also states that: "Probably half of those living in Utah Territory in 1857 experienced life in a polygamous family as a husband, wife, or child at some time during their lives." That's just ten years after they came west. If half of the people would be involved in polygamy as a family member sometime in their life, then it was on a much larger scale then "two to five percent," as President Hinckley said. Then to illustrate how the number diminished, the essay says: "By 1870, 25 to 30 percent of the population lived in polygamous households, and it appears the percentage continued to decrease over the next 20 years." Again, do I need to say it? Someone is lying. And I'm not going to couch it in terms like, "well his facts may not have been accurate, or he didn't know". Sorry, if you are going to go before the world and proclaim yourself the Prophet of the world, Christ's mouthpiece on the earth, then you have no excuse for bad data, you are the Prophet. Sorry, either you're lying or the essay is. That's just how life is, to coin a phrase from President Hinckley, I still believe in, "right is right and wrong is wrong." I was taught by this church that any intent to deceive is a lie, and I'm holding our leaders to that standard.