Posted on Leave a comment

Jim Tackles DNA & Book of Mormon

We’re continuing our discussion with Jim Vun Cannon, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Jim gave his testimony of the Book of Mormon in part 2 of our conversation, and we touched on the Book of Mormon in our previous episode, and we talked about Remnant scriptures including the Doctrine & Covenants and Book of Mormon.  Today we will delve deeper into mysteries such as whether issues surrounding DNA & Book of Mormon are compatible.  I first asked Jim if he believes the Book of Mormon is a literal history or simply a foundational scripture as the Community of Christ believes?

GT:  Let’s talk about the Book of Mormon.   We’ve talked about that.  I know in the LDS Church, most people I think believe it’s a literal history.  It seems like in the Community of Christ, most probably don’t. {chuckles}

Jim:  I would say you’re probably right.

GT:  Where does the Remnant Church fit on that spectrum?

Jim:  We believe that it is an absolute literal history.  We believe that there were Lamanites and Nephites and Jacobites and Josephites and all the different –ites that were here upon the land.  Obviously there’s a good debate on where they really were exactly for North and South America and so forth, and where maybe in North America and so forth.  But yes we do believe that it was a literal people that were here.

DNA & Book of Mormon

I also asked him some of the questions of critics.

GT:  One of the big knocks against the Book of Mormon is DNA.  A guy by the name of Simon Southerton, an Australian researcher has said you don’t find any evidence of DNA.  I think the LDS—well I won’t say the LDS Church response, [because] the LDS Church I believe is neutral on the issue, but a lot of LDS researchers have said, well the population was probably a lot smaller, so you wouldn’t have any evidence of that.  What do you think?

Jim:  Well you know, first of all, I think that whole study—I feel there was a motive to putting together that research, first of all.  I don’t feel that was fair and scientific in the way that it was done.  Considering if you really want to look at the groups of people, you could argue that Ishmael, is that really the name of a good practicing Jew?  I don’t know, but I have a lot of questions.  Oh by the way, how many peoples actually came to the Americas?  I’ll just put it that way.  We’ll summarize.  How many different people came?

Well there were a lot of people, and they’re finding a lot of archaeological evidence of a lot of people, so to say that we know that all the Indians were Lamanites I think is really a fallacy.  I don’t think you can really say that.  They may or may not be.  We really don’t know which ones really are or aren’t.  For them to go forward and try to put together DNA evidence based on that, plus the other thing is you’re talking about many, many generations back.  Trying to argue that you’ve got somebody you can match DNA with from that time period to this time period, I don’t think that science is quite there yet for that.

I really think that it’s a, “ah, we got them!  We’re going to disprove the Book of Mormon in one fell swoop.” It’s just kind of like, ”no guys, I don’t think so.”  I just don’t think that from my background, being in engineering, I don’t really feel like all the boxes were checked.  I don’t really feel like it was an exhaustive study.  I felt like there was more of a motive for putting together the research instead of actually looking at it objectively.”

Do you agree with Jim.  Did Simon Southerton have an agenda to prove the Book of Mormon was false?  Check out our conversation…..

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Who Owns the Temple Lot in Missouri? (Part 1)

Steven Shields has been studying various Mormon schismatic groups since he was in Seminary in the 1970s.  We’ll get acquainted with him in this first episode, and learn more about his background, and why he got so interested in our Mormon cousins.  What does he know about the temple lot?  There are several sections in the Doctrine & Covenants where Joseph Smith received revelations on a temple in Missouri.  That temple was never built.  Who owns the original temple lot on Independence, Missouri?  It turns out some of our Mormon cousins own it.

Steve: The Hedrickites is a name that people use. I don’t like to use -ites or schism or break off or offshoot or splinter. I’ve tried to avoid all of that language in my new addition because I don’t think it’s helpful. All that stuff started out as pejorative, and in some ways it’s still used as a pejorative.

And so I thought, let’s try and get away from that, you know? We don’t say Pope-ites or Luther-ites or those kinds of things. So maybe we can get out of that mode in the Latter Day saint movement, I don’t know.

GT: There’s too many -ites in the Book of Mormon.

Steve:  That’s where it all probably comes from. I guess. I’ll let you keep Israelites. But yeah, to be honest, my paper on the earliest church was an anti-RLDS apologetic and my seminary teachers loved it.

We’ll talk more about how Steve go interested in our Mormon cousins.  Find out our next conversation….

This is the Temple Lot Church, owned by the Hedrickites.
This is the Temple Lot Church, owned by the Hedrickites.

If you’re interested in other groups, here’s an interview with Jim Vun Cannon, Counselor in the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

067: What are Remnant Church Views on Temple Worship? (Vun Cannon)

066: Women Will Not Hold Priesthood! (Vun Cannon)

065: Joseph was a Monogamist! (Vun Cannon)

064: What’s the Order of Enoch?  Consecration in Modern World(Vun Cannon)

063: Jim Tackles DNA & Book of Mormon (Vun Cannon)

062: 18 Revelations to Gather to Missouri!  Remnant Church Scriptures (Vun Cannon)

061: What’s the RLDS Perspective on Succession Crisis? (Vun Cannon)

060: From Convert to First Presidency in 5 years!  (Vun Cannon)

059: Found!  A Literal Descendant of Aaron! (Vun Cannon)

Posted on 1 Comment

Different Succession Claims: Other Mormon Groups

Yesterday was President Monson’s funeral.  When an LDS President dies, the First Presidency is dissolved.  Have you ever wondered why that is the case?  Historian John Hamer and apostle Lachlan MacKay of the Community of Christ will talk about why that happens in the LDS Church.  It’s a really interesting conversation as we discussion several succession claims.

John:  One of the last acts that Joseph Smith does before going to Carthage is he had given another one of these special blessings to Joseph III and several of these where Joseph had been prophesied at one point or another that he would be in his father’s role in being prophet, but he was what?  He was eleven?

Lachlan:  Eleven or eleven and a half.

John:  He’s eleven, so ok.  He wasn’t going to be the successor at that point.  What I argue, I think anyway, I think that the person who had the best claim at the point, in terms of both civil, and canon, which is to say church rules and law is Sidney Rigdon, who even though he’s been a little on the outs, he is still actively campaigning as the vice-presidential candidate in Joseph Smith’s U.S. presidential election.  So Joseph Smith then Sidney Rigdon; Sidney Rigdon is the only guy left in the First Presidency.

Even though in the LDS tradition, there is this idea that the First Presidency dissolves, and then the senior most apostle always succeeds, the only reason that is the idea is because they didn’t want to have Sidney Rigdon be in charge.  It doesn’t say that in the Doctrine & Covenants or anything like that.  There’s no canonical, there’s no canon law that says anything of the kind.  The First Presidency had been a completely distinct [quorum] in the early church tradition from the Twelve.

Lachlan:  There’s nothing that says it dissolves.

John: There’s nothing that says it dissolves and also not like the First Presidency is just like three more of the Twelve or something like that.  It’s a completely distinct [quorum.]  Anyway, so what I say is Sidney Rigdon is the last surviving member of the First Presidency and then according to the actual incorporation like we’re talking about the Church’s possession, William Marks had signed it over to Joseph Smith on behalf of the Church.  The Church is incorporated in the state of Illinois, and part of incorporation and the documents in Carthage, it says held by Joseph Smith as Trustee in Trust for the Church and my successors in the First Presidency.

Because of that, when Brigham Young does take over, he doesn’t create a new First Presidency; the Twelve just take over headquarters.  It’s one of the reasons why he is not able to get title to these temples is because James Strang knows about that because he has a lot of these guys in his group.  They know about this incorporation ruling.  This is really complicated details, but anyway, part of the idea of it is he charges that since he is the successor to the First Presidency, he has organized a new First Presidency.  This doesn’t in Brigham Young’s church until 1847, so he’s operating that way with the First Presidency, and so he says, “You don’t have a First Presidency. I have title to the Nauvoo Temple.  You’re trying to sell my temple.”

GT:  James Strang created a First Presidency and said that should be the successor?

John:  Yeah, he did that at that point.  But before that, I’ve got to dial it back.  The person who was the surviving member of the First Presidency then is Sidney Rigdon.  Sidney Rigdon gets outmaneuvered in this showdown between Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon.  He gets kicked out of Nauvoo, or flees for his life and he goes back and reorganizes and creates a new headquarters of the church in Pittsburgh.  But at that point, he suffers one of these things that all kinds of schismatic Mormon Latter Day Saint heritage churches do which is, then they start asking themselves:  where did we go wrong?

We will also talk about some of the other leaders who wanted to take over leadership of the LDS Church in the early days.  There’s a lot more people than you may recognize.  I also encourage you to check out the video.  John was kind enough to share some slides about the Succession crisis, and I have included them in the video.  Don’t forget to check out our conversations with Greg Prince and Jim Vun Cannon on the Succession Crisis.  Check out our conversation…..