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What are Remnant Beliefs about Temples?

Joseph Smith built temples in Kirtland and Nauvoo.  The LDS Church has more than 100 temples in operation now, worldwide.  In our last conversation with Jim Vun Cannon, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I asked  if temples are a part of their worship.

Jim:  Yes absolutely.  In fact we have a recent revelation that talks about beginning to prepare for the building of the temple, but we haven’t had a command to build a temple yet, but to prepare for that.  We do believe in temples, absolutely.

GT:  I know the RLDS Church/Community of Christ, I actually remember going to the temple, I was so excited.  In the LDS Church, you can go to the open house but after that it’s hands off, and I was really excited to go to the Independence Temple.  Even in Kirtland, that’s a temple that’s open to the public.  Would you anticipate that would be the case as well?  That it would be kind of a special meetinghouse?

Jim:  As best as I can say, I would think it would be very similar to how we treat Kirtland:  reverently but it’s still open.  There’ s nothing anything in there that someone couldn’t see.

GT:  Ok.  I know baptisms for the dead.  I believe that’s something that was canonized in the RLDS Church for a time, although then it was later moved to an appendix and actually has been de-canonized.

Jim:  Yeah, section 107 is what it is for us.  In the 1970 conference they put that in the appendix, yes.

GT:  Oh, ok.  Joseph I believe said that baptisms for the dead should be done in the temple.  I know that before the Nauvoo Temple was completed, they did some in the Mississippi River.  Is that something that you guys would participate in the Remnant Church?

Jim:  No.  Here’s where we’re at with that revelation.  We don’t deny that Joseph gave what we call section 107 which was talking about finishing the temple, otherwise you’ll be rejected with your dead.  I’m not sure what section it is for you all.

GT:  I don’t know off the top of my head either.[1]

Jim:  Oh you don’t either.  The way we look at that is that we see that there was only two places that it was given instruction that it could be done.  One was in the temple in Nauvoo, and the other was in Independence.  The other part of that was, the other issue that we have with it is that we don’t have any instruction through Joseph from the Lord through Joseph on that particular instance—for instance like I was talking about your section 20 which is our section 17, the Lord was very specific in explaining how water baptism was to occur and what was to be said and so forth.  We don’t have anything like that and so we find that kind of spurious that there wasn’t any instruction given that we can point the reference to and so forth that that was to occur.

[1] LDS section 124 deals which Baptism for the dead is found at http://bit.ly/2fl4R01

We also talked about a lay clergy, differences with high councils, and I discovered they don’t have stakes yet!  I hope you enjoyed our discussions, and I hope you’ll check out parts 18 as well!  Check out our conversation…..

 

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Joseph was a Monogamist!

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.  It’s been a long-standing tradition in the RLDS Church that Joseph Smith was a monogamist.  However current prophet/president Stephen Veazey announced that the RLDS Church, also known as the Community of Christ no believes Joseph Smith did not engage in polygamy.  What does the Remnant Church do?  Do they hearken back to the old RLDS positions, or do they agree that Joseph Smith was a polygamist?

Jim:  No I don’t believe he did.  Here’s what I would say to that.  Our position is what Joseph Smith III said which was he could find no evidence of it, but if there is, by some chance that he did, it was wrong.  That’s the position of our church.

I asked what he thought about D&C 132, and I mentioned that

The Community of Christ rejects a lot of those Nauvoo-era revelations, which 132 would have been.  How do you handle that?  You just don’t believe in any Nauvoo [revelations?]  Was Joseph a fallen prophet by then?

Jim:  No we don’t believe he was a fallen prophet.  We don’t believe he was at all.  I know there were people in the Reorganized Church and perhaps some in the Community of Christ.  I can’t tell, but I do know there was a belief that Joseph was a fallen prophet at some point because of some of the things that happened in Nauvoo.

The way we look at Nauvoo is different than I believe the way the old Reorganized Church looked at it.  They just kind of threw [it out.]  Nauvoo was there.  We don’t really want to talk about it.  We don’t want to talk about what happened because there were a lot of bad things that happened there.

The way we look at it was there was some good things, wonderful things that happened there, and there were some not so good things that happened there.  We tried to sift through those to see what’s there because to your point, there were just some revelations that didn’t [hold up]—and some of them, here also, we may not look at it as revelation.  We may question the authorship of and so forth and so on.  I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories or anything like that.  That’s not the rabbit trail I’m trying to go down.  It’s just we can’t tell.  For instance there was some things given in Far West, the Wentworth Letter.

GT:  Where the Articles of Faith are.

Jim:  Yeah.

GT:  The Articles of Faith are part of the Wentworth Letter.  That’s actually part of our Pearl of Great Price.

Jim:  Right.  That’s in there, but that’s not part of our Doctrine & Covenants.  As to why some of those things became, I hate to use the word ‘canonized’ because of where we are, why they weren’t included in the open canon, I don’t really know.  I can’t speak to that.  I’ve tried to go back and research through our line why the RLDS Church made some decisions they did and didn’t.  I think some of them were just, they just didn’t at that time know, and they just set it on the shelf and just left it there.

I also asked about some contemporary evidences, such as the Nauvoo Expositor, and whether they like to be called RLDS or Mormons.  Check out our conversation!  You might want to check out my episodes from Brian Hales where Brian talked about his evidences against Joseph’s  monogamy, and don’t forget to check our our other episodes from Jim!

 

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Did Hales Write the Gospel Topics Essays?

Yes & No.  There are the three Gospel Topics essays on LDS.org that deal with the topic of polygamy.  It probably won’t surprise you that Brian Hales played a significant role in this.  However, there are two other authors who played a very significant role in the other two essays!  Who are these women?

That was the first thing that was asked of me on the topic of polyandry.  Then I just sent them some general stuff, and I don’t know how many iterations it went through there.  Again I was excited to contribute to that.  I only looked at the Nauvoo material.  I know they had Kathryn Daines help out, and Kathleen Flake I think also are the other two that did the input on plural marriage.  I hope they don’t mind me saying that but they wanted outsiders to critique it.  If there were problems, they wanted to know about them before they published it.

Are you surprised who wrote these other essays?

I also asked Brian if he ward members know about his expertise on polygamy?

You know most of them don’t know.  We were at a ward party one time and we were sitting by some younger couples that I didn’t know because they had just split our ward, or rearranged the ward boundaries and there was a young gal sitting right across from me and she was, “Wait, you’re Brian Hales!”

Does he talk to people about polygamy?

Some of them come with faith and we can give answers, and then they go away happier.  I mean it isn’t an easy click your fingers, I’m doing better thing.  But we always tell people, just keep learning.  Be transparent.  Learn everything.  Don’t give up until you’ve learned.  You don’t have to give up faith today.  Find out what’s going on.  You can read the anti’s but read the answers.  Read the responses.

Other times when Laura and I meet with people, it’s just I think a box that they have to check as they’re on their way out of the church.  “Oh yeah I met with the Hales.  They didn’t help.”  So they’ve kind of already given up their faith.

The only thing I would say is if you’ve got questions, dive in.  I believe there’s somebody in the church who knows more about it than the person who wrote whatever you’re reading on the internet and they still believe.  With respect to plural marriage, we certainly have read a lot.  It strengthened my belief in Joseph.  It didn’t make me like polygamy.  I don’t.  I never want to do it, but my belief in him as a true prophet has just been strengthened.

Is he working on any other projects?

The thing that I would add as a response to your question, Rick, is that I’ve never been really been comfortable with the naturalist’s explanation of the text of the Book of Mormon.  If you can see up here, maybe you can’t but there’s all these versions of the Book of Mormon up here, the different printings year by year and if you look at the naturalist view, it’s just that Joseph got up one day and started to dictate this text, the 116 pages.  Then there’s a pause and we go to Oliver Cowdery shows up and then over a period of just a few weeks, he dictates 273,725 words by my count of the Book of Mormon text; that’s the 1830 version.

I’ve just never been comfortable that Joseph could have dictated that and so I’ve been investigating the different theories about that.  I’ve written an article I hope to have published.  In this article, what I did is I compared Joseph to other 24 year old or younger authors who wrote big books and I compared their education.  I compared their word counts and the complexity of their books.  When you line them all up, 24 years and older—Joseph was 23 when he dictated it but it was published a year later when he was 24.  I have to use the publishing dates of these other books because they are obviously written before.  The biggest book written by anybody 24 or younger is about 180,000.  Joseph’s book is almost 50% longer.

Look for Brian’s future essays on the topic of the Book of Mormon!  (Don’t forget to listen to our other conversations, from Canadian polygamy, to polyandry, to teen brides, to monogamy, to Fanny Alger, to justifications for polygamy!)

Check out our conversation!  There’s a video below and a transcript!

Brian Hales Role in Gospel Topics Essays

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