Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

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deacon blues
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Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by deacon blues » Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:02 pm

The night of June 22, 1844 Joseph Smith was faced with the choice of going to Carthage to face arrest and the threat of death, or to flee Illinois and either go back East to seek federal help and protection, or go West and presumably prepare for the Saints to leave the USA. The History of the Church, tells us (HC:VI, p. 546-47) after discussion Joseph said, "The way is open. It is clear to my mind what to do. All they (the Illinois authorities) want is Hyrum and myself." This suggests that Joseph received either revelation or inspiration to flee Illinois. After spending most of June 23 across the Mississippi in Iowa, Joseph received a letter from Emma, asking him to return. Other Saints (notably Reynolds Cahoon) told Joseph they felt abandoned when he left Nauvoo. Joseph famously replied, "If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of no value to me."
From my point of view, Joseph was facing a tough decision, unless the Lord had told him to leave Illinois. If that was the case, Joseph's decision to return, for whatever reason, was in disobedience to God's commandment to leave. I think this decision has been debated over the years, with no clear consensus of what the Lord commanded, or if He commanded Joseph to leave.

The situation looks different, depending on one's worldview. It seems more likely that Joseph changed his mind than that the Lord changed his mind. One way or the other, did Joseph, from a TBM view disregard one of God's commandments. I can't get TBM's to discuss this with me. Can anyone put on their TBM hats and tell me what a faithful LDS would take away from this scenario?

One other question. I have been intensively studying the last few years of Joseph's life, and it seems that the Lord could have saved the Saints, and the mob a lot of trouble by telling Joseph lead the Saints to migrate to Utah in say 1842 or so. Did the Lord forsee and/or intend for Joseph to be martyred in Carthage?"
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jfro18
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by jfro18 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:31 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:02 pm
One other question. I have been intensively studying the last few years of Joseph's life, and it seems that the Lord could have saved the Saints, and the mob a lot of trouble by telling Joseph lead the Saints to migrate to Utah in say 1842 or so. Did the Lord forsee and/or intend for Joseph to be martyred in Carthage?"
Considering that we are to believe that God foresaw Joseph losing the first 116 pages and had the small plates engraved to fill in that exact gap... I'm sure a TBM would make the argument that it all needed to happen as it did for the church to be ready and willing to follow Brigham to UT. God also said the church would be protected in Missouri, so obviously you have to give God's words a lot of slack to make it all work anyway as a TBM.

As for the other stuff- I think a TBM would probably argue that since we have no direct revelation recorded as to what Joseph was supposed to do (flee from Illinois or face the music), he was acting 'as a man' and thus it doesn't violate his commandments from God.

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Palerider
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by Palerider » Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:51 pm

I think Joseph was pretty much making his own decisions at this point. Legal troubles had dogged him since he first received "leg bail" for glass looking.

And I think that had become his preferred reaction when authorities were pursuing him. Just run away. The exception was when he had stacked juries (Mormons) or the occasional sympathetic judge.

But generally if he could manage it he would just run away and I think this was what bothered someone like Cahoon. The Saints were in a terrible mess and Joseph was just going to run away and leave them to deal with the coming crap storm.

From a TBM point of view, they might be thinking that Joseph's first inclination was to flee for his life but then he had a change of heart and decided to sacrifice himself for the Saints if it would alleviate the problem.

From Joseph's final point of view he probably figured after reading the two letters, the gig was up. He would lose so much face with the Saints that he wouldn't be their leader anymore when all was said and done. Running was no longer an option. Better to go back and take his chances with the civil authorities and try to hold on to power. He really was in a lose/lose situation.
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Hagoth
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by Hagoth » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:06 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:02 pm
I can't get TBM's to discuss this with me.
It would be one of those rock-and-a-hard-place discussions, like why didn't Joseph follow the instructions God gave him in D&C 132 and why does the church defend him without acknowledging his disobedience?
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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deacon blues
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by deacon blues » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:23 pm

I guess you are referring to the verses that say the first wife has to give permission for her husband to marry more wives, which we know Joseph failed to do. I am reminded of Joseph writing Nancy Rigdon and telling her "whatever God commands (through me, Joseph, his prophet) is right." In other words Joseph is saying: "Revelation is what I say it is."

In my studies, I am reading a book about the political and legal implications of Joseph vs. Illinois, by a former BYU prof: LeGrand Baker. At one point, Prof. Baker in comparing Joseph's situation to that of Rhode Island Governor Thomas Dorr says, (and it appears he's serious) "Justice, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder." (Baker, "Murder of the Mormon Prophet," p. 531)

I think what both Joseph Smith, and apparently Prof. Baker really mean is: "Justice is whatever I say it is."

I see this pattern in Pres. Oaks's talks over the years: It (Truth, Sin, or whatever he is referring to) "Is what I say it is."

The TBM conundrum is: they are in denial of the fact that some things aren't "what they say they are."
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Palerider
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by Palerider » Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:39 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:23 pm

I see this pattern in Pres. Oaks's talks over the years: It (Truth, Sin, or whatever he is referring to) "Is what I say it is."

The TBM conundrum is: they are in denial of the fact that some things aren't "what they say they are."
Just ran across this little article recently. I think it deserves some attention. I'm thinking if one were to expand on it, we might have better luck with persuading TBMs to take a closer, unthreatening look at the facts.

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/a- ... -true.html

Although in Oaks case it may very well be a lost cause. ;)
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by Hagoth » Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:49 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:23 pm
I guess you are referring to the verses that say the first wife has to give permission for her husband to marry more wives, which we know Joseph failed to do.
Two commandments broken in verse 62 alone:
62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Hagoth
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by Hagoth » Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:58 pm

A TBM would have to agree that Joseph wasn't obeying all of God's commandments. After all, he had to send an angel with a sword to force Joseph to amp up his sex life to a level that was acceptable to Elohim.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by Mormorrisey » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:23 pm

Why would Joseph even worry about keeping the commandments? Isn't this the guy that came up with this lovely piece of rationalization, "that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another"?! Why did he even need to worry about being obedient in this circumstance? He could just say this wasn't the circumstance to obey. Easy peasy.

I know an older gentlemen in our ward who is abnormally angst ridden about the "situational morality" of the millennial generation. I think I will try to remember this little gem, that the founder of his religion absolutely believed in it. That will be a fun day if I remember to tell him.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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deacon blues
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by deacon blues » Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:40 pm

Palerider wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:39 pm
deacon blues wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:23 pm

I see this pattern in Pres. Oaks's talks over the years: It (Truth, Sin, or whatever he is referring to) "Is what I say it is."

The TBM conundrum is: they are in denial of the fact that some things aren't "what they say they are."
Just ran across this little article recently. I think it deserves some attention. I'm thinking if one were to expand on it, we might have better luck with persuading TBMs to take a closer, unthreatening look at the facts.

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/a- ... -true.html

Although in Oaks case it may very well be a lost cause. ;)
Thanks Pale. I liked that the article mentioned that it isn't easy, and that quoting facts won't make a difference, but emotional intelligence might. I agree that as long as "there are facts that aren't useful" to people like Packer and Oaks, it would be a pretty hopeless.
God is Love. God is Truth

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Angel
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by Angel » Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:04 pm

Interesting - if the choice was
a) obey the law, knowing you will be killed (commit suicide)
b) disobey the law, and save your own life

It seems like murder (suicide) is a bigger law to break than just going against the law of the land. Plenty of scriptures about the Jewish people rebelling against the law of the land...

... but then I guess you could start saying the same thing about Jesus - he chose to kill himself, rather than save himself...
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Corsair
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Re: Did Joseph ALWAYS obey God's commands?

Post by Corsair » Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:43 pm

Joseph Smith was quite consistent on obeying commandments when it was convenient to do so. This can be easily noted by the contrast of this statement in the Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo essay:
Probably Brian Hales notoriously wrote:Although the Lord commanded the adoption—and later the cessation—of plural marriage in the latter days, He did not give exact instructions on how to obey the commandment.
Compare this with God's exact instructions for plural marriage in D&C 132:61-65 and Jacob 2:24-30. The "TL;DR" of these verses is simply:
  • plural wives should be unmarried virgins
  • Have children ("raise up seed")
  • Let your first wife know about every additional wife
How many of these commandments were obeyed by Joseph Smith? (Answer: None) Lest some true believer claim that some further revelation absolved Joseph of an misdeed through some special permission, let me also note famous and oft-cited Seminary Mastery scripture Amos 3:7:
Amost 3:7 wrote:Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

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