Sunday, June 21, 2015

More Family, Kibbe Museum and why all the hatred toward Mormons

My niece, Arick Connor and  nephew, Andrew Brown came to Nauvoo with their families.

 Another Nauvoo miracle: Andrew decided to bring his family to Nauvoo over a year ago. While planning his trip, he threw the idea out to his half siblings who are spread all over America to meet him in Nauvoo. The invitation was accepted, and all six siblings met in Nauvoo gathering together for the first time in fifteen years. The cousins blended and the brotherly and sisterly love was so thick I think I could have cut it with a knife. So sweet....Thank you Nauvoo!
 Niece, Arick, at the visitor's center.
 My sister, Rachel Gardner, husband, and her youngest two sons also came to Nauvoo this week.
 Elder Johnson had them mesmerized while giving them a demonstration in the brick yard as shown in the picture below. The family reported that they loved the tours we gave even though they don't actually look that impressed. What do you think?

This week on our Preparation Day as we call it, we took four of the full- time young sister missionaries first to lunch and then to the Kibbe Museum in Carthage.

 The sisters have these cool and stylish bicycles to get themselves around in Nauvoo so a car trip to Carthage and lunch made us the heroes for the day.
The Kibbe Museum is a neighbor to  our Carthage Jail Visitor's Center in Carthage. Numerous times last summer we tried to visit but whenever we were off work, the museum was closed and vice versa. Our visit this week was delayed again as the main tour guide was on vacation and it didn't open until noon. However, after getting groceries in Keokuk, we perservered and were able to tour the museum.

It's much bigger than it looks, and we were amazed at what we found. Alice Kibbe is the woman that the museum was named after. As a professor of the Carthage College in the late 1800's, she had quite a collection of random but interesting items from rare ocean shells, to newspaper articles from the 1840's when the Mormon's were here. We also saw models of the Abraham Lincoln Arch erected in Chicago in 1865 as well as the train and casket that President Lincoln's body was taken in around the country. Did you know the practice of embalming humans came into practice in America during the Civil War when deceased soldiers were taken back to their homes for burial? Abe Lincoln was embalmed several times during the 20 day trip around the country after his murder.

Okay, you're right, I was most interested in fact even fascinated with the newspaper articles printed during the 1840's describing the conflict with the Mormons. I was so fascinated that I purchased copies of everything they had available. 

 John Taylor was editor of the Nauvoo Neighbor and in the paper mentioned above, he defended the church and it's leaders against the writings of Thomas Sharpe as well as clarified church doctrine.
One paper I still hope to get soon was distributed by the Warsaw Signal on June 28, 1844-the day after the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. However, the editor didn't get the story right. Four men were not shot and killed in Carthage--only two-- leaving two witnesses to declare the rest of the truth... Neither had the Mormon's come to Carthage to help Joseph and Hyrum escape like Sharpe claimed, but the prisoners had been shot in cold blood while incarcerated illegally and with a promise from Governor Ford of Illinois that Joseph would be provided safety and a fair trial. Hmmmm, since in those days it took at least half a week to set the type and print a one page newspaper, how did the paper appear merely 14 hours after the shooting? Is it coincidence that there were all sorts of falsehoods? Sounds more like self incrimination to me!

 The Nauvoo Expositor below printed the paper that put Joseph in Carthage Jail. Printed right here in Nauvoo, (the old printshop is currently a furniture store) it was full of horrific lies. I purchased this paper but could not stomach much due to the offensive topic and language. Elder Johnson read more of it. Here are a few of the debaucheries:

1. Basically, the Mormon men were made out to be guilty of seducing young orphan girls. Spiritual wives is the term used. The broken girls were said to be left lifeless and in ruins.

What is the truth? Only about 5% of the Mormon men (between about 1843 and 1890) were ordained to practice plural marriage. No one could practice it without prior approval. The fact was, during that time period there were many more women than men in the church and many women would have been left without a husband and children had plural marriage not been instituted. Husbands were required to love, cherish, provide, and care for all wives and all their children. Not all marriages were consummated, but rather were in name only to provide support for the women and children. 

In other words, the practice of plural wives practiced by the Mormons was nothing what-so-ever like what the Nauvoo Expositor described. (I'm curious what percent of the current 15.3 million members in the church today have ancestry connected with plural wives. I bet it's really high because we talk about it from time to time amongst ourselves and many if not most of the members claim to have ancestors that practiced it. I've never heard even one story like the one in the Nauvoo Expositor.)

If you still have questions see

2. The Nauvoo Expositor claimed that much of Joseph's activities were done in secret--specifically excommunicating individuals without their knowledge or receiving a fair church trial, or marrying women secretly and leaving them alone and broken.

None of this was true. In Doctrine and Covenants 28:13 ( Mormon scriptures) it says: "For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith." There are many church records to show that the actions taken by church counsels were performed with love, prudence, and transparency. Marriages were the same.

3. Sylvester Emmons who is mentioned above claimed that the Mormons believed and taught that there are many gods who fight amongst themselves. Emmons denounced this teaching as blasphemous and therefore worthy of being eliminated from off the face of the earth.

Hmmmm, I've been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my whole life. I've been to hundreds of meetings, taught hundreds of lessons to all ages, read all the standard works as well as any history I can get my hands on, and never once heard this doctrine. I can safely say that it's simply not true. We believe in God the Father, his son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. The three are so much in agreement that we refer to them as "one in purpose". Does that sound like fighting?

Anyway, what if it were true that we believe in many gods who fight amongst each other...what of it? Sounds more like Greek mythology to me. Please, help me understand. If a particular doctrine is politically correct in one eara in a certain part of the world, why is it worthy of death and extermination in another? Is it dangerous to society? It is certainly incorrect but that is a matter of opinion I think.

4. Joseph was accused of usurping political power over the people in the surrounding communities. 

A little background: Though the Mormons had escaped the Missouri mobs after the Extermination Order in October, 1838, enemies were still trying to extradite Joseph and bring him back to Missouri where they could kill him. This was common knowledge even to Joseph. One time, while visiting Emma's brother in an outlying town in Illinois, Joseph was taken by Missourians and while on their way to Missouri, soldiers from the Nauvoo Legion escorted Joseph to Monmouth, Illinois instead where he appeared before a judge and was freed. This action was used to paint a picture that Joseph used the Nauvoo Legion for his own selfish interests and seemly proof that Joseph was thus capable of abusing the authority given him as Lieutenant General of the legion. It's kind of a twisted way of saying, "You're not allowed to use the Nauvoo Legion to save your own life even when law is broken in the attempt to kill you." 

Bottom line was that the Mormon's were a problem in the political world. They voted against issues that supported slavery; they voted for candidates who were kind to them (Hmmm, is that a bad thing?) while enemies voted for candidates who promised that they would do all they could to destroy Mormonism. Remember there were three political parties in 1844--The Whigs, Democrats, and Anti-Mormon Party. (Looks like discrimination and persecution was legal in those day.)

More: Nauvoo was growing faster than any other city in Illinois and rivaling Chicago in population. New converts were coming in by the boat loads from Europe and other countries regularly. Converts were also coming in droves from across America. This was all frightening to the citizens who were depending on control over their new settlements. This new and melting pot of people was confusing and threatening. The Mormons learned to do business between themselves or with people who were fair and kind to them. (Heaven forbid!) Land speculators were angry and upset financially, when the Mormons refused to buy land if it were outlandishly over priced. (Imagine that!) 

Still more: Selling newspapers was good business. Thomas Sharpe in Warsaw was a good story teller and had money to make. Related to financial concerns settlers in surrounding communities wanted the Mormon's out of the way if they couldn't be controlled. Spreading derogatory falsehoods through the printed word was an easy way to do that. With anti-Mormons working with Thomas Sharpe, mean and slanderous rumors did fly. Also, preachers all over the world were loosing good members in their congregations to this new rival church. There was plenty of financial motive for initiating hatred toward this strange religion.

Okay, so there you have a mouthfull. Next posting I'll relate these old beliefs to why people around the world today are still leery of a growing church that promotes concepts like living a good life, following Jesus Christ in all he taught, obeying the laws of the land, and being accountable for your own behavior- to name just a few. I think I can shed just a little more light on why America would reject a Mormon President even at the risk of re-electing a President that they are diabolically opposed to. Stay tuned.

In the mean time, I invite you to read and look up some of your most pressing questions about the church. Remember, you wouldn't interview Judas Iscariot to determine Christ's teachings so go to a site that will give you truth about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There certainly are a great deal of twisted and convoluted teachings about it so get the facts straight from the source.

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