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2023.06.07 06:39 dice1899 LFMW Rebuttal, Part 18: The Early Church – Polygamy [C]

Posts in this series (note: link will only work properly in new Reddit):
Sorry for taking so long to get this posted! I’ve been putting in more than 60 hours a week at work lately, and I just didn’t have time to properly research this post.
This week, the topic under discussion is Joseph’s wives and the way that he personally practiced plural marriage. It’s true that some of the circumstances a little unusual compared to how later members practiced it, and it’s also true that sealing practices in general were unusual compared to how we practice them today. The world was also very different in the 1840s than it is today in the 2020s.
All of that means that it can be very difficult for us to understand what was going on and why. I’m going to do my best to break this all down so that it makes sense, but just remember, it’s okay if it makes you uncomfortable. It’s okay if you don’t like the idea of plural marriage. It’s okay if you don’t ever want to practice it. I don’t, either.
But I do have a firm testimony that it was commanded by God. That testimony didn’t just magically appear one day. I had to earn it. I had to get on my knees and pray, and I had to ask Heavenly Father whether He instituted it or not. I had to study the issue and the circumstances surrounding it. More importantly, I had to ask Him to help me understand the reasons why He instituted it.
That’s the only way to really know for yourself.
So, having said that, let’s get into Faulk’s claims.
  • The Women
Due to the secretive nature of Joseph’s affairs, the actual total number of wives Joseph took is unclear. Written records, primary accounts and second hand accounts puts the number between 29-65 women.
They were not affairs, they were sealings. Sixty-five is also a pretty exaggerated number. Most reputable sources put it at around 30-35. And again, remember that sealings are different than marriages, even though we often perform them together today. Many of those sealings were for eternity only, not for both time and eternity the way that sealings are done today. In fact, some of those wives, such as Cordelia Morley and Rachel Ivins Grant, did not have any kind of union with him at all while he was alive, and were sealed to Joseph for the very first time after he was already dead.
One thing to remember is that the sealing power is to seal us all together as one giant family. It’ll be one unbroken chain connecting all of us together. Many of these sealings of Joseph’s were done for that specific reason, to bind families together in the next life. That’s why there were things like adoption sealings, where people would be “adopted” into each other’s families through the sealing process. Siblings were sometimes sealed together. Women who were married to men who were not members of the Church would sometimes to be sealed to righteous Priesthood holders for the next life.
Also, it drives me batty that Faulk keeps repeating that Joseph took wives. None of them were married to him against their will. They all had a choice in the matter.
Most disturbing was the fact that many of these women were already married, much younger and related to each other.
Why is that “most disturbing”? The women were all of legal marriageable age, and there is no evidence of any sexual relations between Joseph and any of the civilly married women, or with any of the youngest wives.
One of the reasons it’s believed that Joseph was sealed to so many women who were already married is because he was trying to satisfy God’s commandment while not hurting Emma. If he was sealing himself to married women, he wouldn’t have to actually marry them and live together as husband and wife. As the Gospel Topics Essay Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo says:
These sealings may also be explained by Joseph’s reluctance to enter plural marriage because of the sorrow it would bring to his wife Emma. He may have believed that sealings to married women would comply with the Lord’s command without requiring him to have normal marriage relationships. This could explain why, according to Lorenzo Snow, the angel reprimanded Joseph for having “demurred” on plural marriage even after he had entered into the practice. After this rebuke, according to this interpretation, Joseph returned primarily to sealings with single women.
Joseph’s youngest wife, Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, was sealed to Joseph when she was fourteen. We’ll discuss her in some detail a little later in this post. But that union was done for dynastic/adoptive reasons at her father’s request, to join Heber C. Kimball’s family to Joseph’s in the eternities.
And, believe it or not, some of the women who practiced plural marriage probably found it easier to do so when the other wife was biologically related to them. After all, they already loved them and knew how to live together with them in harmony.
At this point in the LFMW, Faulk posts a small chart taken from Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness. You can find that chart here.
1. Married: Between 8-11 women were married to other men at the time Joseph took them for his wives.
And every single one of them remained married to their husbands after they were sealed to Joseph. That’s because, again, sealings and marriages are not the same thing, and sealings for the next life had no bearing on their marriages in this one. Joseph did not live with these women as husband and wife.
He sent several men on missions for the Church then married their wives, or married their wives in secret and then sent the husbands on missions afterwards.
Many of the husbands in question knew about the sealings and even participated in them. Joseph also did not send the husbands on missions so he could marry their wives in secret.
  • Marinda Nancy Johnson-Hyde-Smith
In September 1831, Joseph and Emma Smith moved in with the Johnson family while Joseph and Sidney Rigdon worked on translating the Bible. While staying with the Johnsons in March, 1832, Joseph Smith was dragged out by a mob and tarred and feathered. Marinda’s brother Eli led the mob because he felt that Joseph had been too intimate with Marinda.
Um. No. Eli Johnson was Marinda’s uncle, not her brother, and he wasn’t the leader of the mob. The mob also didn’t attack him for that reason. Marinda herself said that Joseph had never acted inappropriately while he was staying in her father’s home. This accusation was first introduced during the infamous 1884 Braden-Kelley debate, and repeated by Fawn Brodie, Grant Palmer, and a host of others.
The mob was led by Symonds Ryder and Ezra Booth, because they thought he’d try to steal their property under the Law of Consecration. They’d both already apostatized for various reasons, then led a smear campaign against Joseph and the Church through local newspapers for a while before leading the attack. The only evidence that Eli Johnson was even involved are brief reports that he was the one who provided and heated the tar. According to at least one account, he wasn’t even an active participant, but just left it out for them to use. The mob tried to castrate then murder Joseph and nearly did kill Sidney Rigdon, and were unsuccessful in all attempts.
However, as we all know, Joseph’s infant son tragically died from the effects of the frigid weather that night. Pretty tough bunch of guys, right? Gathering up a violent mob to go murder a baby.
Soon Marinda married apostle Orson Hyde. On April 6, 1840, Orson was sent on a 3 year mission to Jerusalem. Shortly after his departure, Joseph married his wife Nancy Marinda Johnson-Hyde while Orson was gone. In Joseph Smith’s journal, in a list of his marriages he wrote “Apr 42 Marinda Johnson to Joseph Smith.” In 1858 Orson and Marinda separated.
The separation of Orson and Marinda Hyde had nothing to do with her sealing to Joseph, which had happened 15 years earlier. The rest of this is also pretty heavily distorted. Orson Hyde was sent on his mission on April 15, 1840, and returned on December 7, 1842. There are two sealing dates for Joseph and Marinda, making it unclear when it actually happened. It was written down in Joseph’s journal by his scribe Thomas Bullock as taking place in May of 1842. This entry was apparently not recorded until after July 14, 1843, however, and the affidavit Marinda signed stated that the sealing took place in May 1843, after Orson was home.
Regardless of which date is accurate, Orson was not sent on a mission so Joseph could steal his wife if the sealing happened 2-3 years after he left. They were not sealed “shortly after his departure” at all. In fact, even the earliest sealing date is closer to the date he returned than the date he left.
  • Zina Diantha Huntington-Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina was 18 when her mother died and after went to live in the Smith’s home. Soon she met Joseph’s friend, Henry Jacobs. Joseph was to officiate their wedding, but never showed. Instead, bishop John C. Bennett performed the marriage. Later, Zina asked Joseph why he didn’t show, “He told her it had been made known to him that she was to be his Celestial Wife and he could not give to another one who had been given to him.” (Henry Jacobs, History of Henry Bailey Jacobs)
During Henry and Zina’s marriage, Joseph sent Henry on 8 missions. At one point Joseph sent a message to Zina through her brother Dimick. It read, “Tell Zina I have put it off and put it off until an angel with a drawn sword has stood before me and told me if I did not establish that principle and live it, I would lose my position and my life and the Church could progress no further.” After four proposals and pressured with the responsibility for the life of the prophet, Zina finally accepted. (Brian C. Hales, Mormon Historical Studies 11, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 69–70.)
That last line there is a pretty big exaggeration of what the article actually says. In fact, the article doesn’t talk about Zina Huntington at all. The only place she’s mentioned at all is her inclusion in a chart of the different accounts of the angel with the drawn sword. I’ve included a screenshot of the only three mentions of her from Faulk’s cited source. In fact, it’s actually a paraphrased line from Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness.
Zina, however, clarified that she came to accept the principle through searching the scriptures and praying, and that she received an answer from God that it was from Him. It wasn’t because she felt pressured into it at all.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to pin down exact details when it comes to Zina’s timeline, as there are a lot of discrepancies. When I wrote my response to the CES Letter, I cited liberally from a book titled 4 Zinas: A Story of Mothers and Daughters on the Mormon Frontier. This book used to be housed on the Internet Archive, but has since been taken down. Forgive me that I can’t show exact pages anymore on those citations. Many years after all these events took place, Zina gave testimony saying that she first learned of the principle of plural marriage from Dimick, who had heard it from Joseph. Other sources, seemingly reliant on her diary, say that she learned it from Joseph while she was staying at his home. Some sources say that Joseph proposed to her three times while she was living at his home and that she refused him each time out of respect for Emma. Other sources say she declined to give him an answer and kept putting him off, also out of respect for Emma. Some sources say that Joseph wrote Zina a letter saying he’d been threatened by an angel with a drawn sword, while others say that it was a verbal message passed to her by Dimick, who had been sent to offer her another proposal (even though she was already married to Henry Jacobs at that point). Some sources say that Henry was present for that initial sealing to Joseph, but absent from the other resealing to Joseph for eternity and sealing to Brigham for time. Others say Henry was there for the sealing to Brigham, but are silent on whether he was there for the first sealing to Joseph. Zina said in her later testimony that it was just Joseph, her, and Dimick present at their initial sealing, but that Brigham later resealed them after he returned from a mission to England, meaning that she would have been sealed to Joseph three times in total. However, in signed affidavits collected by the Church, Zina, Dimick, and Dimick’s wife Fanny all verified that Fanny was there at the sealing, too. Etc.
Because of all of this, it’s difficult to know exactly what happened, who was aware of what, and when and how they all became aware of it. However, Zina did say that the Lord had prepared her for the doctrine prior to her hearing it:
I will tell you the facts. I had dreams — I am no dreamer but I had dreams that I could not account for. I know this is the work of the Lord; it was revealed to me, even when young. Things were presented to my mind that I could not account for. When Joseph Smith revealed this order I knew what it meant; the Lord was preparing my mind to receive it.
Additionally, Henry was called on his first mission in May of 1839, before he ever even met Zina. The guy was a prolific missionary who served repeatedly throughout his life. None of those missions overlapped with Joseph’s sealing to Zina.
In fact, according to family tradition, he was present when Joseph told Zina that the reason he hadn’t officiated their wedding is because she was meant to be his plural wife. Henry accepted the news because he was close to Joseph and trusted him. Zina was the one who hadn’t received an answer yet and still had reservations.
After Joseph’s death, Brigham Young also took Zina for his wife while she was still married to Henry Jacobs. Brigham called Henry to serve a mission in England and told him to find another wife. While Henry was in England, Zina began living at the Young house with her children and soon bore a child with Brigham.
Let’s walk through all of this. First, many of Joseph’s sealed wives who were already civilly married to someone else just stayed married to their husbands after his death. They had the choice on whether to re-seal themselves to Joseph or not, and the single wives had the choice of which members of the Twelve they wanted to be sealed to for time. Zina wasn’t forced to leave her marriage to seal herself to Brigham. She chose to do that.
Brigham supposedly told Henry to find another wife, though that can’t be corroborated. He also supposedly had to tell Henry to stop writing love letters to Zina after they were married.
Brigham eventually had several dozen wives and 57 children, in addition to being the leader of the Church and the governor of Utah Territory, owning multiple businesses, and directing the settlement efforts across a very large area. Dude was a busy guy, just saying. Zina did not live with him and did not spent tons of alone time with him. She lived for a time in a separate home with her children, and for a time in a house with several of his other wives. The time she spent alone together with him was sporadic and infrequent.
How would Brigham know that Zina was getting love letters from Henry Jacobs unless she told him? And if she enjoyed receiving those letters, why would she tell him? Why not hide them from him? It would’ve been pretty easy to do so—all she had to do was keep her mouth shut. It’s not like Brigham was snooping through all of his wives’ things in his limited free time. The only reason for her to bring the letters to his attention was if she didn’t like receiving them.
Imagine it from her point of view. You get divorced and move on. You describe that marriage as an unhappy one at several points throughout the rest of your life. You marry someone else and even have a child with them, but your ex keeps contacting you, telling you how much they still love you and still want to be with you. How uncomfortable would that be? It’d be an extremely awkward situation for anyone.
To me, it’s far more likely that Zina went to Brigham and asked him to intervene because it was making her uncomfortable than it is that Brigham found out on his own and flew into a rage and forbade Henry from contacting Zina despite her protestations.
Aside from a very few notable exceptions, most of Brigham’s wives and children spoke of him in glowing terms. Zina herself mentioned his kindness repeatedly.
Henry, meanwhile, was married three more times and all four of his marriages ended in divorce. I don’t know what led to the end of the other three marriages, but I do know that he’s the common denominator in all of those marriages.
It seems clear that Zina left him in what is sometimes called a “folk divorce,” which was a thing in the 19th Century where the man and woman decided to dissolve their marriage and go their separate ways, leaving each of them free to marry again. She chose to marry Brigham for time, and Henry struggled to move on afterward...for a time. Brigham asked him to back off, and he did.
  • Vilate Kimball
Shortly after Heber’s return from England, he was introduced to the doctrine of plural marriage directly through a startling test. He had already sacrificed homes, possessions, friends, relatives, all worldly rewards, peace, and tranquility for the Restoration. Nothing was left to place on the altar save his life, his children, and his wife. Then came the Abrahamic test. Joseph demanded for himself what to Heber was the unthinkable, his Vilate. Totally crushed spiritually and emotionally, Heber touched neither food nor water for three days and three nights and continually sought confirmation and comfort from God. On the evening of the third day, some kind of assurance came, and Heber took Vilate to the upper room of Joseph’s store on Water Street. The Prophet wept at this act of faith, devotion, and obedience. Joseph never intended to take Vilate. It was all a test.” (Heber C. Kimball, Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer by Stanley B. Kimball, p.93)
Yep, because blessings come after the trial of our faith. Heber and Vilate were sealed for time and eternity that same night as a reward for their faithfulness. Theirs was one of the very first sealings of this dispensation.
Teenagers: Ten of Joseph’s wives were teenagers.
Here, Faulk posts another little chart, which I have also linked.
  • Helen Mar Kimball-Smith
Instead of taking Heber C. Kimball’s wife, Vilate, as Joseph had done with others, he married Heber’s 14 year-old daughter, Helen, in May of 1843.
This is presented somewhat disingenuously. Joseph and Helen were sealed two years after Heber and Vilate were sealed. The two incidents are not connected at all. And, as mentioned earlier, Joseph and Helen were sealed at Heber’s urging. He wanted to link his family to Joseph’s in the eternities.
“The youngest was Helen Mar Kimball, daughter of Joseph’s close friends Heber C. and Vilate Murray Kimball, who was sealed to Joseph several months before her 15th birthday.” (Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo,, Oct. 2014)
In a letter written by Helen Kimball, her father had asked her if she would be willing to be sealed to Joseph Smith, Joseph himself came to her and said,
“If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation & that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.” She talks of her mother’s hidden grief “to see her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer, following in the same thorny path [of polygamy].” “I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.” (Helen Mar Kimball, Mormon Polygamy: A History, by LDS Historian Richard S. Van Wagoner, p.53)
Ooh, this is super dishonest framing! The first two lines in quotation marks are indeed taken from an autobiographical letter written by Helen to her children in 1881. The first is from page 482 of a book titled A Woman’s View: Helen Mar Whitney’s Reminiscences of Early Church History, and the second from page 486.
But that third quotation, about how she’d never have been sealed to Joseph if she knew it was anything more than a ceremony? That’s taken from page 19 of an early anti-Mormon pamphlet called Narrative of Some of the Proceedings of the Mormons: Giving an Account of Their Iniquities by Catherine Lewis, published in 1848. She claimed to have heard Helen say this to her mother at some point, though everything in the book is suspect. It’s all pretty badly distorted from reality, which you can see for yourself just by reading it.
Helen herself certainly never backed up its claim. She did admit to being upset as a 15-year-old at being prevented from going out to dances with her friends because of the sealing, so it’s possible she said something like that at one point in her frustration and disappointment. But the circumstances surrounding it are certainly skewed, since Catherine reports it in the context of Helen refusing, after Joseph’s death, to be sealed for time as her father’s plural wife. That surely never happened. And in fact, after a few more years, Helen became a very vocal defender of plural marriage and of Joseph Smith for the rest of her life.
So, I’d take that statement with a very big grain of salt. That Faulk presents it here as if it was a direct quote from Helen’s own letter to her children is repulsive.
Joseph told a reluctant Helen Mar Kimball that if she married him it would ensure her salvation and the salvation of all her family. Imagine the burden on a 14 year old girl’s emotions of the salvation for her entire family riding on accepting Joseph’s proposal.
Except that Helen herself admitted that she didn’t understand what he was trying to teach her, and neither of her parents, who were there at the time of the proposal, understood it that way at all.
  • Nancy Winchester Smith
While records show Nancy was married to Joseph, no dates were written. At the time of Joseph’s death, Nancy was 15 years old. It is possible that, like Helen Mar Kimball, Nancy could have been 14.
It’s not confirmed that Nancy Winchester was a plural wife of Joseph Smith, though evidence leans that way. We also have no idea when that sealing would have taken place, because no records of the sealing exist. We don’t know much about her at all. Her brother Benjamin was a known and rather hostile critic of Joseph’s who never mentioned the fact that they were sealed, so either he didn’t know about it, he didn’t see anything wrong with it (which is highly doubtful), or it never happened and her inclusion on the list was a mistake.
Eliza R. Snow listed her as one of his wives, and so did Orson Whitney, the son of Helen Mar Kimball Whitney. Helen was one of Nancy’s good friends so there’s solid evidence to believe it, but it’s not confirmed.
Unlike what is commonly taught in Sunday school lessons, marriages to young teenagers were not “common in pioneer days.”
Not true, and Faulk’s evidence for this claim doesn’t even say that:
“In 1890, when the U.S. Census Bureau started collecting marriage data, it was recorded that the average age of a first marriage for men was 26 years, and the average age of marriage for women was 22 years.” (
Note that this quote says the average age was 22 years old. That means that some women were much older and some were much younger. 1890 is also half a century later than 1840, and society can change a lot in 50 years.
Craig Foster wrote a great article for the Interpreter a few years ago) which demonstrated that in frontier America in the 1800s, females often married quite young, and their husbands were usually older and more settled. It was much less common in the settled cities along the East Coast, but on the frontier (which included Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and especially Utah), it was relatively common. Men in their 20s-40s marrying teenagers was not unusual.
Even today, it’s legal for teenagers to get married. Let’s not forget that most of Joseph’s teenaged wives were 17-19 years old. Many of us in this church know women who got married at 18 or 19. While they are technically still teenagers, calling them teen brides is implies that they were underage.
The entire concept of “underage” did not exist in the 1800s. In fact, the concept of “teenagers” didn’t even exist back then. You were either a child or an adult, and there was no in-between.
Applying our societal standards to a past society and judging them for their lack of adherence to our norms is a logical fallacy known as “presentism.” I get it—today, it’s unusual and it makes us squirm to hear of girls aged 14-16 getting married. But it was also not out of place in that day and age. And, most importantly, there is no evidence of any sexual activity between Joseph and his youngest wives.
3. Mothers and Daughters: Joseph married a mother and daughter pair.
  • Patty Bartlett Sessions (Mother – already married to David Sessions)
She was sealed to Joseph for eternity while her husband was a faithful member of the Church, and though she and her husband both later received their endowment, they weren’t sealed at that time. She also didn’t re-seal herself to Joseph in the temple after his death the way that many of his other plural wives did. The reasons why are unclear. After her husband’s death, she was sealed for time to another man. Around 1867, after submitting an affidavit concerning her plural marriage to Joseph, she was offered the chance to be re-sealed to Joseph again, though I’m not sure if she accepted or not.
We don’t know the reasons for this sealing, just like we don’t know the reasons behind many of Joseph’s sealings to civilly married women.
  • Sylvia Sessions Lyon (Daughter – already married to Windsor Lyon).
Windsor Lyon was excommunicated from the Church in November of 1842. Joseph and Windsor remained good friends for the rest of Joseph’s life. There are conflicting dates from two unsigned affidavits saying that Sylvia’s sealing to Joseph either took place in early 1842 or early 1843. Brian Hales favors the later date.
If he’s right, this appears to be one of those sealings where Joseph was sealed to a woman whose husband wasn’t (at the time) a faithful member of the Church so that she could still obtain exaltation.
Sylvia bore children with both husbands; three children with Windsor and one with Joseph. (Josephine - February 8, 1844)
No, no, no. She most certainly did not have a child with Joseph. For a long time, it was considered an unproven possibility, but was never definitive. However, even the possibility was ruled out by DNA testing in 2016, seven years ago.
The fact that this is still in the LFMW after all this time caught me by surprise. We know the LFMW has been updated since its first posting, since the original FAIR rebuttal addresses differently worded accusations. There was plenty of time to correct the inaccuracy. In fact, this particular objection appears to have been added to the original text, rather than removed.
4. Pairs of Sisters: Joseph married 3 pairs of sisters.
  • Emily Dow Partridge and Eliza Maria Partridge.
  • Sara Lawrence and Maria Lawrence.
  • Zina Huntington Jacobs and Presidia Huntington Buell.
Yep, he sure did. Zina and Presendia (her name is not Presidia) were both sealed to Joseph for eternity only, with no marriage in this lifetime. But Emily and Eliza Partridge and Sarah and Maria Lawrence were all sealed to Joseph for time and eternity.
Again, though, I’m not sure why this is supposed to be a point of scandal. None of them were married against their will. They all had the choice, and they all agreed to these arrangements. Is it unusual? Sure. It’s weird, I think we can all agree with that. But is it sinful? Nope. When God commands polygamy, it’s not sinful, and levirate marriages have been around for thousands of years. This is somewhat similar to that practice, particularly in the case of Mary and Mercy Fielding and Hyrum Smith. Or, one could argue, between Zina Huntington and Brigham Young.
Remember, when plural marriage was first introduced, they weren’t really given a rule book. There are some directions and guidelines given in D&C 132, but they only cover certain situations. In the Nauvoo days, they were basically winging it. They had to adjust to the new commandment that completely upended their entire lives and then figure out the best way to live it. There was trial and error, heartache, sacrifice, and suffering involved. It was not easy for any of them, and they did the best they could. If they made mistakes, they need our grace, not our judgment.
submitted by dice1899 to lds [link] [comments]

2023.06.07 01:43 onewatt The Coming Revolution in Gospel Study - or "how nerds read scriptures"

The Coming Revolution in Gospel Study - or
My hype for AI-related tools combined with gospel study is very high right now.

AI Interpretation of hype levels in the church when we get semantic search!
Beep boop beep.
Despite the vast amounts of hype-vomit related to "AI" in recent months, a lot of which is unwarranted, there are some really exciting possibilities out there in technology land. I've gone back to AI and AI-adjacent tools to solve a few problems related to study and research in the gospel setting. What I found is surprising and thrilling. In fact, it sucked me in HARD the past few weeks.
I'm so excited about what is possible I want to write a super long post about it! Here is my report.
Young people will be powerful speakers with AI help! Also apparently ice cream will appear at the pulpit!

Writing a talk.

I was asked to speak in church recently and, on a whim, decided to "talk" with ChatGPT for part of that process. I asked it for advice on a certain subject, tried outlining, etc. The results were very boilerplate and uninspiring. I would say this could be a good tool to get started, brainstorming ideas, creating a first outline, or distilling points from a talk. I imagine youth speakers could get a lot of mileage out of using it! :)
Use cases for talk writing:
  • Brainstorm: Paste the text of your assigned conference talk and tell ChatGPT to distill it down to its main principles or points. See if any of those resonate with stories from your life.
  • Outline: explain you are giving a talk on your given subject and ask it to provide an outline for a X minute talk. You can then use that as a starting point, cutting and replacing sections you don't like.
  • Expand ideas: Try asking the program to expand a concept. For example: "How could I explain Christ's Healing Power in a talk? Are there scriptures that I could cite which relate?" If you do this in a conversation where you have already made it clear this is for a talk in the LDS church, the program will know to include our unique doctrines and scriptures in its response.
What it can't do: Write a joke.

According to AI, this is what \"Latter-day Saint News Reporter\" looks like. Nice.

Eliminate clickbait from Latter-day Saint News? Check.

What is it?
For many years I have been aware of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Latter-day Saint focused blogs, news sites, online magazines, etc. The problem, of course, is that ain't nobody got time for that.
I've tried a few different solutions to this, relying on google alerts to find me relevant articles, but it often gets overwhelmed when something hits the news, or by false positives like obituaries, church building construction announcements in regional news outlets, or even ads. I tweaked and tweaked and finally gave up on that, resorting to just a simple feed aggregator.
The downsides of a feed aggregator are that A) many sites nowadays don't have feeds, and B) It can still be way way way too much since you still have clickbait titles, unclear titles, and, well, a decades-old technology that isn't really approachable.
So I tried an experiment. Could ChatGPT read the article for me and let me know if it's something I actually care about?
The AI News Flow:
  • A website posts an article.
  • New articles are sent to ChatGPT with the instructions to summarize the article in the style of a news roundup email. That summary is saved in a google sheet.
  • Once per day, all the new rows of the google sheet are put together as a single "post" and sent to Chat GPT with instructions to:
    • Read the post and generate a fun, social-media style title based on the content.
    • Read the post and generate a welcome paragraph or two based on the content.
  • The daily roundup post is emailed to me with the title as the subject, and the body as the welcome plus the list of summaries.
This works pretty ok. It could work great if I was willing to pay for ChatGPT4 to do the work but that would cost me about 20 dollars per month instead of a buck or two in processing time. By using ChatGPT 3.5 it costs me next to nothing, but it often forgets to return the link to the original post or to format properly. I'm not too fussed about that. You can see the results of this experiment in /mormonism where I have MoroniBot post the results daily.
I really like this because I can skim the email or the post in /mormonism once per day and get a pretty good idea of what's available to read without dealing with clickbaity headlines. I'd love your feedback.
What would be neat:
If I were feeling bold I would work on a system where ChatGPT actually ranks each article based on relevance and other factors. That ranking could then be used to eliminate false-positives, repetitive content, etc. and allow me to go back to using Google Alerts which would make the feed more news-like instead of just blog focused. The downside, of course, is that this would cost a lot (maybe an extra 20 - 30 bucks per month?) since GPT4 is really the best for this kind of qualitative task.
Second, while I can gather videos from youtube, if they don't include a lot of details in the video description then there's not much for ChatGPT to go on. It would be cool to send any new videos that hit the feed to Assemblyai or some other transcription tool before GPT analysis. Then even videos with blank descriptions could be included. Same with podcasts. This, of course, would add significantly to the cost for a casual user like me, but it's crazy to think that the possibility is out there!
Tools used:
  • Pipedream - for automation, cron, email, etc. Cost: free
  • Google sheets - to store article summaries. I could also use pipedream for this, but eh. Cost: free
  • OpenAI API - used to connect to ChatGPT. Cost: couple dollars per month based on processing time
  • Reddit API - used to post on reddit. Cost: free
  • FreshRSS - used to gather blog posts. Cost: free
This little experiment shows just how disruptive LLM enhanced algorithms will become in the future. Imagine if Youtube, which already HAS the transcripts for its countless videos, is able to implement GPT-style analysis at scale. It suddenly stops being a case of "here's videos that people LIKE you also watched" but instead "Here are more videos which are like the ones you already enjoy." Ideally this will eliminate those annoying false-positives like when searching for Latter-day Saint related subjects and you also get bombarded with all the anti-mormon content. (The scary truth side of that is: ideology bubbles would only be made stronger. You'd have to actually want to see a different perspective before finding it.)
Speaking of improved searches:

Massive-handed President Nelson cavorts through data using Semantic Search!

Semantic Search

What is it?
Of everything on my list, this excites me the most!!
Underpinning the recent AI developments is a technology called "vectors." This is not new tech. In fact it's decades old. For our purposes, think of it this way: Instead of storing a word in a database, you convert that word into a shape. (That's the vector) Every letter, word, sentence, and paragraph could be turned into a unique shape depending on how your program works.
Why is this useful? Well, computers are bad at comparing words, or making sense of natural language. But they are VERY good at math problems like comparing shapes. See where we're going? So if you use vectors, you might be able to get a computer to identify when words are "pretty close" to other words.
Stick a bunch of words, phrases, and terms that mean "hate" in a vector database and a computer might be able to compare Yelp reviews to that database and figure out which reviewers hated their meals - even if they never used that word - simply because the shape of the review was mathematically similar or "close" to the shape of hate-related terms.
What makes the latest AI so powerful is that they are very very very good at generating vectors based on meaning or "semantics." So, for example, the words "hot dog" and "mustard" will be more similar than "hot dog" and "dog."
But what about in a gospel setting?
If this works right, it will mean much deeper studying and learning for us. Imagine l jump into the gospel library and search for "How can I access physical healing?" and get some great results in conference talks and articles which talk about that exact issue. But if I search "semantically" I might also get things like the gospel topic essay on death, and the one on adversity, since those are closely related semantically to the need for physical healing.
  • A search for "What is the purpose of suffering" will return not just articles about that subject but also topics like:
    • Adversity
    • Council in Heaven
    • Atonement
    • Conscience
    • Heavenly Parents
    • Original Sin
    • Mortality
  • Complex questions in conversation style can still get relevant results
  • Well trained AI can translate your human-style question into a more targeted query if needed
  • Well trained AI can examine all the returned results and summarize them for you
  • Scriptures can be connected not just by footnote, but by meaning
My tests
I tested this out in an app using "streamlit" and a database of general conference talks, scriptures, and other documents. I fed large chunks of the talks to OpenAI which created a vector for each. Then the app uses a user query to search those vectors for similarity. You can try it out here: It's not well done, and crashes often, (just try again if it happens to you) but I have had a great experience using it.
In the last few weeks I have used this tool to research reddit questions on this subreddit. Inevitably I find resources and insights I hadn't thought of before.
What's crazy is that I have ZERO programming and engineering experience and I was able to make something that I feel gets me some great results. A whole gospel search engine made from scratch by a total amateur in a matter of a couple of days!
I expect that real programmers and engineers will be able to create tools that will let members search through our vast gospel library MUCH more powerfully. Especially in the scriptures, where finding answers can be difficult, and meaning isn't always clear. I look forward to see what people create.
What would be neat:
There are incredible libraries out there that we ought to be searching through. The reality is that we just don't have the time to read the text, categorize it, and find places to include it in the existing gospel library. A semantic search engine fixes all of that!
I added BYU Studies and BYU Devotional texts to my app, but there's so much more. It would not take much to create a database that searches through much more than we currently have in the gospel library, but still be focused on faith. I hope to add more documents, to my test and if you have any ideas of resources that should be in my database let me know. I'd also love to see an app that can return results based on date of the talk, maybe even sorting by weight for "authoritativeness" in some way. There's some very interesting opportunities here.
Tools used:
  • ChatGPT - to tell me how to write python scripts that will do what I want, and to generate vectors. - 20 / month for gpt4
  • Python - you know, for doing things. - free
  • Streamlit - creates an "app" from my hokey code -free
  • Supabase - database for the text and vectors - free

A perfectly average Latter-day Saint volunteer answers questions in chat, circa 1997

Trained AI

What is it
A process called "Fine Tuning" is how you train an AI into acting the way you want. ChatGPT is a large language model that has been fine tuned by having tens of thousands of conversations with real humans who then correct it and give it examples of the "right" way to talk. While this cost millions of dollars, some companies are creating trained AI for as little as 600 dollars by simply letting the big AI do all the training instead of actual humans.
Ideally you will upload a large database of questions and responses to your model, thousands and thousands of examples of how you hope it will behave, the types of answers it should give, the temperament it should have, etc. But creating that database is a big challenge. For example, if I want to create a chat bot for a law firm, I'd have to spend months and months finding and inserting common legal questions and the right kind of non-legal-advice responses that would be appropriate. So these fine-tuned models are still only options for bleeding-edge tech companies.
The Gospel Angle
For decades, we've been chatting online, human-to-human, about gospel questions, needs and desires. I can think of two massive databases:
  1. The Church Missionary Department, which ran live chats with missionaries for many years
  2. FAIR Latter-day Saints, which has been offering email-based human responses to questions for decades.
I'd be very very interested to see how a Fine Tuned model could be adapted to answer simple questions for websites like and FAIR in particular could really power up their search function by combining semantic search and a Fine-Tuned model to summarize search results. And the crazy thing is it wouldn't cost a lot. It might be a couple thousand to do the fine-tuning, but the database and the individual queries would be only a few dollars per month.
In essence, we could end up with a search function where the article you find isn't the static subject matter page with additional resources, but a custom response written specifically for your need and presented in the style of the thousands of faithful members who have volunteered their time to help people just like you. It could express sympathy for your unique struggles, and offer encouragement tailored to your perspective.
Perhaps most importantly, it could be trained to offer a gentle prompt in the right direction for many, encouraging users to reach out for help.

Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts.
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2023.05.27 16:02 AnyOpposed Google 60 minutes episode with Mormon Church. They're paying a lot of $$ to get FAIR to the top of the results

Google 60 minutes episode with Mormon Church. They're paying a lot of $$ to get FAIR to the top of the results submitted by AnyOpposed to exmormon [link] [comments]

2023.05.18 18:49 onewatt Our Faith and our People is not only unique, but uniquely good! You can see the fruits of the holy ghost manifest in the lives of the members. Here's my list of some of the unique benefits of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A few years back it became in-vogue amongst ex-mormons to say "What's good about the Mormon church isn't unique, and what's unique about it isn't good."
I remember thinking, "well that's an obviously untested assumption. What are some things about our faith that are not only good, not only unique, but uniquely good?" So I made a list and put it up at Here it is for those who are feeling discouraged and need a reminder of just how amazing this faith can be.
LOWER SUICIDE RATES - Greater activity in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints correlates with lower suicide rates among young men. (Hilton SC, 2002)
A BALANCE OF DEVOTION AND SATISFACTION - While adherents to some faith systems have greater reported life satisfaction or happiness, and adherents to other faith systems have greater reported religious devotion, only Latter-day Saints score highly in BOTH religiosity and life satisfaction. (Newbold, 2013)
A SHOCKINGLY LOW DIVORCE RATE - About 5.4 percent of LDS men who married in the temple were later divorced, and about 6.5 percent of the women. By comparison, some 27.8 percent of nontemple LDS marriages ended in divorce for men, and about 32.7 percent for women. Experts estimate that the average divorce rate is actually around 45%. (Heaton & Goodman, 1984) (O'neill, 2012) More recent studies show that trend to have continued, with Pew Research data showing Latter-day Saints less likely to be divorced than any other religious adherent. (Stephen Cranney, "Are Latter-day Saint Marriages More Stable?" Times and Seasons_ blog,_ October 19, 2021, accessed October 25, 2021)
A LONGER LIFE – Latter-day Saints tend to live longer than the general population, even when compared only to non-smoker, active persons. (Enstrom & Breslow, 2007)
IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH FOR GAY MEMBERS - According to a study in the Journal of Homosexuality which used a large population-based dataset, Gay Latter-day Saints have better mental health than their non-Mormon peers. (Cranney, 2017)
LIKELY TO VOLUNTEER, EVEN OUTSIDE OF CHURCH - Latter-day Saints are more likely to volunteer outside of their church-related activities than any other religious group. (Zelophedad's Daughters / Pew Research Center, 2018)
FAMILY FIRST - Though one might suppose Latter-day Saints value religion over all else, data shows that Latter-day Saints consider family to be far more important than anything, including free time, income, and, yes, religion. (Pew Research Center, 2012) Even those members who don’t have a high level of religious commitment still prioritize being a good parent and having a successful marriage far more than the general public. (Pew Research Center, 2012)
A THANKFUL PEOPLE - Latter-day Saints are also most likely to feel a strong sense of gratitude or thankfulness compared to all other major religious viewpoints. (Zelophedad's Daughters / Pew Research Center, 2018)
THE MOST WELL ADJUSTED TEENS - The National Study of Youth and Religion by Notre Dame finds that Mormon teens do better than all other demographic groups in coping with the challenges and risks of adolescence, even finding that not only does being LDS make it very unlikely teens will do drugs, smoke, or drink, but even decreases frequency at which you are offered drugs. (Smith & Faris, 2002) (Religion News Blog, 2005)
MOST LIKELY TO ACCEPT SPIRITUAL TRUTHS FROM OTHERS – Some like to paint us a closed-minded or strict in our beliefs, but Latter-day Saints are more likely than the average person to find spiritual value in tenets and practices of other religions, such as yoga or meditation. (Pew Research Center, 2012)
THAT “GLOW” IS REAL - A random sample of people was able to select “the Mormon” out of a photo lineup – even with some facial features distorted – significantly more often than by random guesses, showing that the long joked-about “Mormon Glow” is a real phenomenon. (Pincott, 2012)
FHE DOES WORLD-CHANGING GOOD - A major study of religious practices spanning four decades found that the Latter-day Saints’ Family Home Evening program was one of “the most successful [religious] programs fostering intergenerational connections and the nurturing of families.” (Bengston, 2013)
GENEROUS - University of Pennsylvania researchers found that Latter-day Saints are not only generous in helping others, they volunteer seven times more than the average American, producing the equivalent of over $9000 of social contributions annually per member, plus an average of $1800 in money donations to social causes. (DiSanto, 2012)
A BREAKNECK PACE OF SELF-RELIANCE TRAINING - In its first three years, the church’s self-reliance initiative trained over 700,000 people in 130 countries on topics like starting a business, finding a better job, managing finances, and getting an education. (Mormon Newsroom, 2018)
VACCINES AND VACCINATION TRAINING - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the single largest religious donor to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and continues to donate $1.5 million per year to provide immunization supplies. Our volunteers then educate local community members on how to perform their own vaccinations, so they need not rely on charity organizations. (Wrigley, 2012) LDS Charities has also contributed $7.3 million to the Global Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Initiative, providing vaccines to women of reproductive age, health education, training of birth attendants and more.
COMPREHENSIVE AND EFFECTIVE SOCIAL WELFARE - Bloomberg reports that "Mormon Church... essentially runs the most comprehensive and effective social welfare system in the country... maybe in the world." (Mcardle, 2013)
MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF GRAIN DONATED ANNUALLY - The LDS Church keeps 9.1 million bushels of wheat on hand for emergencies at all times divided between 28 cities across the USA and Canada. That’s 546 million lbs or $72.8 million. As stores are replenished, this wheat is milled into flour and given away across the world as loaves of bread and boxes of pasta. (Swensen, 2014)
AN ESSENTIAL PARTNER IN DISASTER RESPONSE - The president of the Red Cross says: “Our partnership with the LDS church is absolutely essential for the Red Cross to fulfill its mission every day. With us, the church has been there in so many different parts of the world in large numbers... The most critical thing in disaster response is moving large groups of people to the site of the disaster. There is no one who can mobilize groups of people better than the LDS Church.” (Mormon Newsroom, 2013)
FIGHTING HOMELESSNESS - The LDS Church support of Utah’s “Housing First” initiative helped reduce chronic homelessness in Utah by over 90% (Carrier, 2015)
RESOURCE CENTERS AND PERPETUAL EDUCATION - The LDS Church operates over 1,100 Self-Reliance Resource Centers which includes access to the Perpetual Education Fund which gives disadvantaged people access to education loans to learn new skills for a better life. This project was so well funded by members that the church is not even accepting donations for it anymore. (LDS Church, 2018)
IMPROVING THE WORLD, NOT JUST REPAIRING IT - As an example of disaster response philosophy: when disaster struck, Latter-day Saints didn't just rebuild homes for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, they bought them tools, taught people how to build their own houses, then gave them trade certificates in construction that helped them qualify for better jobs. (Walch, Perpetual Education Fund's success led to massive expansion of LDS effort to lift the poor, 2016)
DOING MORE THAN JUST TITHING - Members and supporters of the LDS Church donate an additional $50 Million per year on average to humanitarian assistance such as emergency response, clean water efforts, wheelchairs, developing country neonatal care, and immunization projects ON TOP of donations made for Tithing, food storehouses, employment assistance, thrift stores, and other welfare efforts. 100% of these funds are used to help those in need, rather than a percentage due to overhead or management. (LDS Charities, 2011) (Wenger, 2012) (LDS Church, 2018)
BILLIONS SPENT SUPPORTING THE NEEDY - According to the Economist Magazine, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spends at least $50,000 per congregation (that’s 1.2 billion worldwide) per year on direct cash aid to local congregations to buy food, pay for housing, cover medical bills, assist in substance abuse recovery, provide food and clothing, and other welfare benefits. (The Economist, 2002)
MORE THAN JUST BISHOPS AVAILABLE TO HELP - The Church has programs to train and support employment specialists, disability specialists, and community service specialists on global, area, stake, and ward levels.
HELPING OTHERS SERVE - The LDS Church created and continues to support – a free service that uses the power of the internet to connect volunteers with needy individuals and organizations around the whole world, increasing the amount and efficiency of service done globally. (Lloyd, 2018)
THE FAITH OF OPPORTUNITY - Bloomberg reports that Utah’s upward mobility – that is, the ability a person has to change their own economic status from bad to good – is not just good for a US state, but is nearly the best in the entire world. This is attributed to a number of factors, but especially to how the Church mobilizes, encourages charity and social programs, tears down political walls, and builds the community. (McArdle, 2017)
REFUGEE HELP – When the refugee crisis in Syria grew to extreme levels, the Church expanded its existing infrastructure in neighboring Jordan, sent a letter to all congregations instructing them to give more generously to humanitarian aid, and launched a program called “I was a stranger” designed to assist members in finding ways to help with humanitarian crises from their own communities. When the U.S. Government moved to reduce refugee aid, the Church issued a strong statement calling on all governments to instead focus on meeting human needs and relieving suffering. (Walch, LDS Church issues statement after Trump orders ban on refugees, 2017)
PROVIDING SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN FOOD – LDS Charities partners with One Acre Fund seeking to provide people in underdeveloped countries with the training and resources needed to provide their own food through sustainable farming in dozens of countries around the world. (One Acre Fund, 2019)
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT FUNDING - In 2018, LDS Charities provided the seed funding for Learning for Life, a multi-country program designed to meet the Early Childhood Development (ECD) and education needs of children affected by the South Sudan and other regional refugee crises. Thanks to the support of LDS Charities, these programs are being supported and scaled up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. (UNICEF, 2019)
KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT RELIGION, EVEN OUTSIDE THEIR OWN FAITH - Latter-day Saints score higher than all other Christian faiths on Religious Knowledge tests. (Pew Research Center, 2010)
THE MORE EDUCATED, THE MORE FAITHFUL - As religious persons become more educated, they tend to become LESS devout and their religious commitment declines. The Latter-day Saints are the exception to this pattern. Church attendance, affiliation, and religious observance increase as Latter-day Saints become more educated. (Albrecht & Heaton, 1984) (Pew Research Center, 2012)
A LOVE FOR LEARNING - Latter-day Saints are significantly more likely than the population overall to get some advanced education. (Pew Research Center, 2009)
PROVIDING HIGHER EDUCATION TO THE WORLD - In addition to the perpetual education program, the church also operates BYU Pathway Worldwide which provides a highly subsidized, fully accredited college education to people around the world, with pricing adjusted based on local cost of living (for example, a student in, say, Argentina can pay as little as 67 dollars for a full semester of classes). (Mormon Newsroom, 2017)
INVESTING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS PER YEAR INTO EDUCATION - Given the average cost of tuition at church-owned schools, and the average cost of neighboring comparable schools, and a student population of roughly 100,000 at all of its campuses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is spending something like $420,750,000 per year to subsidize the education of its membership and those who choose to learn with us.
FOCUS ON HIGH-IMPACT INITIATIVES LDS Charities focuses on 10 initiatives, chosen for acute need and high impact on improving lives: Food security, clean water, international partners, emergency response, immunization, maternal and newborn care, refugee response, vision care, wheelchairs, and domestic issues in the USA and Canada such as homelessness and immigration. (Widows Mite Report 5/16/2023)
BRINGING ISLAMIC TEXTS OUT OF OBSCURITY - The Church and BYU established the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative: an effort to bring the intellectual and political writings of classical Islam to the whole world, with the highest academic standards, allowing the majority of Muslims to read them for the first time ever. (Davis M., 2013)
STUDYING FAITH AND FAMILY FOR ALL RELIGIONS - The church university, BYU, has supported the creation of the American Families of Faith project to engage in rigorous scholarship to explore faith and family life in order to share research-based ideas about how to encourage faith in marriage, family, and to facilitate human joy and stability in relationships. (American Families of Faith, 2017)
100 YEARS OF FAMILY FOCUS - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints introduced Family Home Evening – a program to encourage regular family togetherness and shared experiences – over 100 years ago. (Smith, Lund, & Penrose, 1915)
WORKING WITH OTHER FAITHS TO ENCOURAGE BELIEF - The Church has joined with several other religions to form – a program dedicated to enhancing the faith of all people, no matter their religious background. (Faith Counts, 2019)
OPPOSED TO SLAVERY FROM DAY 1 - Joseph Smith ran for president on a platform to abolish slavery 17 years before the civil war. (, 2018)
PIONEERS IN WOMEN’S RIGHTS - Women’s right to vote in Utah was given to them by a Mormon-dominated legislature 50 years before the right was given nationally. The church and its members continued to push women’s suffrage in the Utah territory and state even after the Federal government disenfranchised women. The first female state senator in the US was a Mormon woman, and the first all-female town council was in a Mormon settlement. (Ulrich, 2017) (Wikipedia, 2018) (Davis & Fields, 2018)
EMPOWERING WOMEN - Women in the church were taught they had the right to choose who they wanted to marry, and the territory of Utah was the first place in the US to grant women the right to “no fault” divorce, along with the right to own their own property and income, giving women unprecedented freedom and flexibility in determining their own destinies in a time when most women could only have security through their husbands. (Ulrich, 2017)
BRINGING IMMIGRANTS HOME - The church created the perpetual emigration fund, used to help even the poorest of people make the trip to America to fulfill their dreams. This fund assisted over 26,000 immigrants come to the United States from other nations and kept operating for over 30 years. (Jensen, 2018)
FOCUSED ON FAIRNESS FOR ALL - When an LGBTQ+-focused non-discrimination bill seemed doomed to failure in the traditionally conservative Utah legislature, the church used its political influence to revive the bill and help it pass. (Bever, 2015)
FACING THE DARKNESS - In the spirit of transparency and truth, the church published the most thorough and accurate book on the Mountain Meadows Massacre ever written through Oxford University Press, even though it would more fully bring to light the darkest period of Latter-day Saint history. (Walker, Turley, & Leonard, 2008)
EMBRACING THE HIGHEST SCHOLASTIC STANDARDS - Unwilling to accept faith-positive histories only, the Church initiated the Joseph Smith Papers project and sought endorsement by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a division of the National Archives, to ensure research is conducted according to the highest scholarly standards and is free of bias. It has been called a “model of modern documentary editorial practices” by the Chief of the Library of Congress’ Manuscript Division and received accolades from scholars all over the world. (The Joseph Smith Papers Project, 2019)
PREACHING AGAINST PREJUDICE - Multiple members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have spoken out against prejudice in general conference, calling on members to “eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism.” (Anderson, 2017)
REJECTING THE NUCLEAR ARMS RACE - The church officially opposed and spoke out against the MX Missile program and the nuclear arms race during the height of the Cold War. (The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981)
BRINGING AN END TO SLAVERY IN UTAH - When it became clear that the territory of Utah would need to allow slavery in order to become a state, they submitted to the requirement, but Brigham Young and the state leadership enacted a law that would require families to be kept together, the children of slaves to be set free and their education to be provided for by their parents owners, a roundabout way to attempt to end slavery within a generation. Moreover, the law said that if an owner abused his slave, that slave would be set free immediately. (Christopher B. Rich, 2012)
PROTECTING THE NATIVE AMERICANS WITH THEIR LIVES - Even when slavery was allowed in the territory, Brigham Young banned slave traders from entering the territory and mobilized the militia to enforce the ban, driving out some slave traders who commonly raided the Ute tribes for slaves. (Nichols, 1995)
ANTI-WAR – Through political leaders of all stripes, the church has repeatedly and clearly opposed war. (Grant, Clark, & McKay, 1942)
FAMILY AND LOVE COME BEFORE POLITICS - The church has repeatedly called for compassion in immigration laws, encouraging laws that keep families together and condemning aggressive and racist statements by officials. (Church News, 2018)
REHABILITATION, NOT JUST PUNISHMENT - Joseph Smith campaigned to abolish debtors’ prisons and instead replacing such institutions with an educational system that would help people become more enlightened and able to support themselves. (Roberts, 1900)
OBEY THE LAW - When Same-Sex Marriage was legalized, church leaders immediately condemned those who chose to break the law through civil disobedience fighting against such marriages. Instead, we are instructed to obey and uphold the law and seek fairness for all. (Walch, Elder Oaks makes national news with statement on gay rights, religious liberty, 2015)
TOLERANCE OF ALL FAITHS - When Nauvoo was built, one of the first city ordinances passed was one which required equal privileges and toleration for any and all religions, not just Mormonism. (Church, 1845)
PREVENTING SUICIDE - Study after study supports the reality that membership in the LDS faith reduces suicide, suicidal ideation, and depression for youth, regardless of sexual orientation and gender. In at least one study, suicide risk for both straight and LGBTQ+ teens was cut nearly in half compared to non-LDS peers. (Dyer, William & Goodman, Michael & Hardy, Sam. (2020). Adolescent suicide ideation in Utah: The role of religion and family.. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.) (McGraw, J. S., Docherty, M., Chinn, J. R., & Mahoney, A. (2021). Family, faith, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs) among LGBTQ youth in Utah. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.)
EMPOWERING WOMEN - Women who serve LDS missions are 33% more likely to change their major into an area with higher earning potential than those who do not serve missions. (Utah Women & Leadership Project Research and Policy Brief, February 2, 2023, No. 48. "Impact of Gap Time for Missionary Service on Utah Women’s College Outcomes")
GIVING 100% to the Poor and Needy The Widows Mite Report reports that 100% of donations made to LDS Charities and Church Welfare are passed along to the poor and needy, with no amount deducted for overhead or management fees. This is on top of tithing donations and applies to donations made by both members and non-members. Aid is also distributed to the needy both inside and outside the church.
citations available on Please feel free to add your own in the comments.
submitted by onewatt to latterdaysaints [link] [comments]

2023.05.02 08:28 dice1899 LFMW Rebuttal, Part 15: The Early Church – The Endowment [B]

Posts in this series (note: link will only work properly in new Reddit):
In full disclosure, I’ve been concerned about this post this week. There are some things coming up today that I am not very comfortable discussing in a public setting. It involves questions I feel are important to address, but I do take temple covenants very seriously and I don’t know that this is the best place to address them. There will be things from the Letter For My Wife that I can’t copy and paste directly, and things I’ll have to skim over and paraphrase. It’s going to be a difficult needle to thread, and I can’t guarantee I’ll do it well. I’m trying to follow the counsel we’ve received in recent years to be more open about what happens inside the temple, while still not crossing the lines we’ve covenanted to keep sacred.
We’ll start off with a little bit more temple history, and from there, Faulk will move into the difficult portion. He picks up with more discussion of Freemasonry:
  • LDS Masons
Joseph’s family and several of the first members of the Church were Masons. Joseph Smith Sr. was a documented member in upstate New York. He was raised to the degree of Master Mason May 7, 1818 in Ontario Lodge No. 23 of Canandaigua, New York. His older brother Hyrum was a member of Mount Moriah Lodge No. 112 at Palmyra, New York. Other prominent members include: Joseph’s other brothers Samuel and William Smith, Brigham Young (2nd president of the Church), John Taylor (3rd president), Wilford Woodruff (4th president), Lorenzo Snow (5th president), Sidney Rigdon (first presidency), William Law (first presidency), John C. Bennett (first presidency), Newell K. Whitney (Presiding Bishop), Heber C. Kimball (first presidency), Orson Pratt (apostle), Parley P. Pratt (apostle), Orson Hyde (apostle), Lyman Johnson, (apostle), William Clayton (Joseph’s secretary), Porter Rockwell (Joseph’s bodyguard) and many more.
Yes, while there was a strong anti-Mason sentiment in various parts of the country, Masonry was also a popular organization for many men. In fact, in the Northeastern United States, the organization experienced “rapid growth” between 1800-1830, the time period in which several of those men listed above were inducted.
During the early part of the United States’ history, it was basically the most popular way for men to gather socially and hang out together. It’s not surprising that many early Saints—who were friends with one another in Joseph’s inner circle—would seek other ways to spend time together. Many of us today do the same thing with our friends, whether it’s game nights or movie nights or book clubs or whatever. Freemasonry was essentially the pre-Civil War version of a modern D&D group.
You can see a list of members of the Nauvoo Lodge from 1841 in the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, pages 27-28 of the cited link. It’s not comprehensive and it’s difficult to read, but most of the men listed above are on it.
As soon as the saints erected the Nauvoo lodge, Joseph Smith also sought membership in the fraternity.
“15 March 1842 Tuesday - I officiated as grand chaplain at the installation of the Nauvoo Lodge of Free Masons, at the Grove near the Temple. Grand Master Jonas, of Columbus, being present, a large number of people assembled on the occasion. The day was exceedingly fine; all things were done in order, and universal satisfaction was manifested. In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office.” (Joseph Smith, Journal 1841–1842. Also in History of the Church, vol.4, p.550)
Yes, Joseph Smith joined as an Entered Apprentice the night the Nauvoo Lodge was officially instituted.
Just seven weeks after his initiation as a first-degree mason, on April 4, 1842, Joseph introduces the endowment ceremony in the upper room of his red brick store; the same room where his Masonic initiation took place. Present were Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, William Law, Heber C. Kimball and others.
I personally think this is because he was excited by the things he saw in the Masonic lodge. He’d finally figured out how best to teach the Endowment. I spoke last week about the message and the messenger, or the gift and the wrapping paper. Joseph had the message/gift already. But the Lord didn’t give him explicit instructions on how to implement it, and let him figure it out for himself. The ritual drama he saw at the Lodge, along with the ancient elements that he would have known about, gave him the messengewrapping papedelivery method.
He already knew the Endowment would be happening in the new Nauvoo temple that was being built. After all, on October 12, 1841, the Quorum of the Twelve published a letter in which they declared that the Nauvoo Temple “would be a place for proxy baptism, worship, endowment, the revelation of God’s laws, and the manifestation of ‘all the ordinances.’”
I don’t consider this an odd or unusual move, considering the things that had already been revealed to Joseph about the Endowment by that point. We covered this last week, but by March of 1842, Joseph had been receiving segments of revelation concerning the Endowment for thirteen years. Portions of it had already been instituted in the Kirtland Temple six years prior. Joseph had already lamented that he’d never had the opportunity to give the Saints the full plan that God had revealed to him before they were forced to flee Kirtland and abandon the Temple. It was also 11 months after the revelation now known as D&C 132, the celestial marriage revelation, was starting to be taught to select members of the Church that Joseph knew he could trust. The first documented plural marriage of the Nauvoo period was in April of 1841. There were things echoing temple language in many early revelations and sermons. As Jeffrey Bradshaw explained:
It appears that the Prophet learned much about temple ordinances through personal experiences with heavenly beings and revelations associated with his inspired translation of scripture. His revelations contain many unmistakable references to significant components of priesthood and temple doctrines, authority, and ordinances. Many of these date to the early 1830s, a decade or more before the Prophet began bestowing temple blessings on the Saints in Nauvoo. And given Joseph Smith’s reluctance to share the details of the most sacred events and doctrines publicly, it is certainly possible he received specific knowledge about some temple matters even earlier than can be now documented. These matters include: 1) the narrative backbone, clothing, and covenants of the modern temple endowment; 2) the sequence of blessings of the oath and covenant of the priesthood; and 3) priesthood keys and symbols expressed in keywords, names, signs, and tokens.
So, given all of that, of course Joseph was excited to finally have a way to teach those things to the Saints. And we know that’s likely how he viewed it, because Joseph Fielding told us:
Many have joined the Masonic institution. This seems to have been a stepping stone or preparation for something else, the true origin of Masonry [or, rather, the Priesthood]. This I have also seen and rejoice in it.
They viewed Masonry as a stepping stone to something greater, something true and restored. Jeffrey Bradshaw explains what Joseph might have been trying to teach the Saints by using Masonic elements:
One aspect of this preparation apparently had to do with the general idea of respecting covenants of confidentiality. For example, Joseph Smith once told the Saints that “the reason we do not have the secrets of the Lord revealed unto us is because we do not keep them.” But as he later observed, ‘“The secret of Masonry is to keep a secret.” Joseph may have seen the secret-keeping of Masonry as a tool to prepare the Saints to respect their temple covenants.
In addition, the rituals of the Lodge enabled Mormon Masons to become familiar with symbols and forms they would later encounter in the Nauvoo temple. These included specific ritual terms, language, handclasps, and gestures as well as larger patterns such as those involving repetition and the use of questions and answers as an aid to teaching. Joseph Smith’s own exposure to Masonry no doubt led him to seek further revelation as he prepared to introduce the divine ordinances of Nauvoo temple worship.
Finally, although Freemasonry is not a religion and, in contrast to Latter-day Saint temple ordinances, does not claim saving power for its rites, threads relating to biblical themes of exaltation are evident in some Masonic rituals. For example, in the ceremonies of the Royal Arch degree of the York rite, candidates pass through a series of veils and eventually enter into the divine presence. In addition, Christian interpretations, like Salem Town’s description of the “eighth degree,” tell of how the righteous will “be admitted within the veil of God’s presence, where they will become kings and priests before the throne of his glory for ever and ever.” Such language echoes New Testament teachings. Thus, apart from specific ritual language, forms, and symbols, a more general form of resemblance between Mormon temple ritual and certain Masonic degrees might be seen in the views they share about the ultimate potential of humankind.
Steven Harper gave a great presentation at the 2013 BYU Church History Symposium in which he explained how Joseph “translated” the Masonic imagery for Latter-day Saint audiences the same way he translated ancient scripture, or “restored” it the way he restored the Church and Priesthood. (He also made a truly hilarious joke about “hermetic sealing” that you guys really should check out. It makes me laugh every time.) Samuel Morris Brown agrees and says something very similar in his book, In Heaven As It Is On Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death.
That’s also exactly how Heber C. Kimball explained it to Parley P. Pratt in a letter dated June 17, 1842:
We have received some precious things through the Prophet on the priesthood that would cause your soul to rejoice. I cannot give them to you on paper, for they are not to be written. So you must come and get them for yourself. We have organized a lodge here of Masons since we obtained a charter. ... There is a similarity of priesthood [ordinances] in Masonry. Bro. Joseph says Masonry was taken from priesthood but has become degenerated. But many things are perfect.
Bradshaw puts a slightly different spin on it:
However, sometimes it may be more accurate to see the process by which revelation came to the Prophet in an inverse fashion. In other words, we might see the revelatory process, at least in some cases, not primarily as a “translation” of elements of Masonic ritual into Mormon temple ordinances, but rather as a “translation” of revealed truths — components of temple ordinances that Joseph Smith had previously encountered in his translation of the Bible and through his personal revelatory experiences — into words and actions that the Saints in Nauvoo could readily understand because their intuitions had already been primed by their exposure to the Bible and to Freemasonry.
It should be no more a surprise to Latter-day Saints if some phrasing of the rites of Freemasonry parallel selected aspects of restored temple ordinances than the idea that wording similar to that of the King James Version was adopted in the English translation of scriptural passages from the Old Testament included on the Book of Mormon plates. In both cases, the use of elements already familiar to the early Saints would have served a pragmatic purpose, favoring their acceptance and understanding of specific aspects of the ancient teachings better than if a whole new and foreign textual or ritual vocabulary had been introduced.
So, Bradshaw believes that seeing the Masonic rituals and drama allowed him to convert the revelations he’d received over the years into something concrete and understandable to the Saints of the Nauvoo period. He did that by using elements they were familiar with through participation in Masonry.
Heavenly Father often gives us direction to do something without telling us how. He leaves that up to us, because things like that are how we learn and grow. If He told us exactly what to do in every situation, we’d never be able to become like Him, because He’s taking all of the difficulty out of it. We don’t truly learn until we stand on our own feet. By teaching us to “study it out in our minds” and come up with solutions before going to Him, He’s letting us learn to stand on our own, rather than carrying us.
I believe that’s precisely what He left Joseph to do here. And Joseph followed the model Heavenly Father had already given him when He used the seer stones to help Joseph learn how to become a prophet. Joseph he packaged the Endowment, something new and overwhelming and confusing, into something digestible by using the familiar packaging of Masonry they were used to.
  • Similarities between Masonic rituals and LDS Temple Ceremony
What exactly was Joseph exposed to during this initiation and is it possible that any of it made its way into the endowment ceremony? Two expository books on Masonry written by William M. Morgan and Jabez Richardson disclose various temple ceremonies. (Illustrations of Masonry by One of the Fraternity, 1827 and Monitor of Free-Masonry. freemasonry/eb0348.pdf) They show that the words, actions and symbols used in Masonic rituals are nearly identical to LDS temple ordinances. Below is a small collection of those that bare most striking resemblance.
Okay, obviously, this is the part we’re not delving into in any kind of detail. I will just say first that while there are similarities, there are also instances of Joseph Smith using those same symbols and signs in Latter-day Saint theology before becoming a Mason. Matthew B. Brown’s book, Exploring the Connection Between Mormons and Masons spends an entire chapter titled “Early Mormon Symbolism” going through those evidences.
These include things like the all-seeing eye being described as early as 1829; the handclasp as early as 1832, with a more specific teaching of using that handclasp to determine whether an angel is one of the light or of the darkness in 1839; “Holiness to the Lord” as early as 1830; and bees were obviously first mentioned in 1829 in the Book of Mormon, but as a specific symbol of the Saints as early as 1832. Joseph was also using the sun, moon, and stars in multiple documents, including in the capacity of scripture, as early as the late 1820s. Additionally, in D&C 124:42, during a revelation given in January of 1841, the Lord says He “will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house” (the Nauvoo temple). Joseph later stated that the symbols on the outside of the temple were given to him in revelation, fulfilling this prophecy.
Brown also explains why Joseph would not have taken the Endowment ordinance itself from the Masons:
About one year and give months before Joseph Smith became a Freemason (5 October 1840), he told the congregants at general conference in Nauvoo, “God will not acknowledge that which He has not called, ordained, and chosen. ... [T]he ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed, otherwise [the] priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing.” On 22 January 1843—just a little over eight months after giving the Nauvoo endowment for the first time—the Prophet taught the very same concept, saying, “All the ordinances, systems, and administrations on the earth [are] of no use to the children of men unless they are ordained and authorized of God. For nothing will save a man but a legal administrator, for none others will be acknowledged either by God or angels.”
Since the Prophet was teaching near the time of his Masonic initiation that the system of the Masons was “degenerated” and had been “taken from [the] Priesthood,” he certainly would not have viewed its administrations as being ordained and authorized of God, nor efficacious in matters of personal salvation. It should also be emphasized that there is no primary, secondary, or tertiary historical source where Joseph Smith states that he borrowed elements of the Masonic ceremonies....
The nature of the Nauvoo Temple ordinances was plainly spelled out by the Lord before they were introduced among the Saints and before Joseph Smith was received into the Masonic fraternity. At the beginning of 1841, the Lord said that Nauvoo Temple activities would be a restoration of rituals once practiced in the Tabernacle built by the prophet Moses and the temple constructed by King Solomon (see D&C 124:37-39). In other words, they would be Hebrew in their basis and content, not Masonic.
So, if Joseph had declared on multiple occasions that no ordinance was valid unless it was ordained, given by those holding authority, and performed exactly as God decreed, and he was teaching at the same time that Masonic rites were “degenerated” and corrupted, why would he copy them for use in the Temple? That makes no sense at all. Corrupted ordinances by their very nature cannot be performed exactly as God decrees.
I found it interesting that it was not until after Joseph Smith’s exposure to Masonry that he introduced the endowment ceremony. Just seven weeks separated Joseph’s Masonic initiation and the instructions for the first endowment.
I don’t. He’d been searching for a way to teach it, as he stated in that 1839 letter mentioned above. This gave him an idea on how to do that. And again, that is just the “messenger,” or the outer packaging for delivering the ordinances and covenants. The actual ordinance is not adapted from Masonic ritual at all.
He used certain elements to teach people how to keep sacred things private, and to teach certain concepts like the eternal progression of man.
According to Steven Harper:
Joseph seems to have used Masonry as a point of departure, a beginning rather than an end in itself. Several scholars of differing degrees of belief in Joseph Smith’s teachings have analyzed the evidence and arrived at this conclusion. Michael Homer argued that “the rituals of Freemasonry provided a starting point for the Mormon prophet’s revelation of ‘true Masonry.’” David Buerger argued that the pattern of resemblances was too great and the content of the endowment too unique to explain simply. “Thus,” he concluded, “the temple ceremony cannot be explained as wholesale borrowing from Masonry; neither can it be explained as completely unrelated to Freemasonry.” Allen Roberts concluded that “Joseph’s Masonry was not a conventional one. He attempted to restore it in much the same way the gospel was restored. That is, he saw Masonry like Christianity, as possessing some important truths which could be beneficially extracted from what was otherwise an apostate institution.”
Joseph modified one ritual drama into another one, changing it and using it to teach a completely different concept and story. I don’t think that’s very scandalous, personally, but I know this is an issue that bothers some people quite a bit.
  • March 15, 1842 – Joseph Smith became a Mason in his general business office. (History of the Church, vol.4, p.551)
  • May 4, 1842 – Joseph instructed the other leaders on the washings, anointing, signs and tokens. (History of the Church, vol.5, p.2)
And, as we went over, many of those were already taught by Joseph a decade or so before the Endowment was first taught as a whole. All the Masonic rites did was give him a vehicle he could adapt for his own purposes to teach the Saints.
Steven Harper explained:
It requires a logical leap to bridge the evidentiary gap between similarity, which was obvious to those who knew both Masonry and the endowment, and dependence, which is assumed—not known. Some people reason that Joseph Smith initiated men and women into the endowment ordinances after he was initiated into Freemasonry; therefore, the temple rituals derived from Masonry. One problem in this theory is that Freemasonry itself borrowed much of its ritual and ceremony from elements preserved since antiquity. There is ample similarity and difference not only between Freemasonry and LDS temple ordinances, but in many other ancient and more modern stories and rituals as well. Disentangling the complex relationships between them is not possible and should not be oversimplified.
It is possible to discern differences in the functions (however similar in form) of Masonic and LDS temple ordinances. Masonic rituals use aprons, door-knockings, and unusual handshakes to foster brotherhood. Bonds are made between men, not between people and God. LDS temple ordinances endow believers with power to regain the presence of God as they make and keep covenants with him. The ritual is not the endowment of power itself. It may be that some ritual forms were adapted from Masonic traditions, but the endowment teaches a divine plan of creation, Fall, and redemption through Christ—promising those who covenant to keep God’s laws that they will gain power over the effects of the Fall. As Heber Kimball was perfectly positioned to know, the endowment did not simply mimic Masonry.
The Endowment and the Masonic rites are not the same thing. As I said last week, “Yes, there are some elements of Masonic ceremony in the endowment. But those elements link back at least to early Christianity, and some are far older than that. Additionally, those elements are small things, like signs, tokens, symbols, minor phrasing, and the fact that there’s a ritual drama to teach us important lessons. They do not include the lessons themselves or the ordinances and covenants.”
It appears that every LDS temple ceremony has a nearly identical Masonic ceremony with the corresponding symbols. This brings up the question – Who is the real author of the endowment? Parallels between Masonry and the endowment seem to be problematic. Could Joseph Smith have simply borrowed this "revelation"?
It doesn’t bring up that question unless you’re reaching for it, and it’s not problematic when you actually study the details around it. Joseph Smith obviously didn’t “borrow this revelation” if he was discussing prominent elements of it as far back as 1829 and all throughout the 1830s. Greg Kearney gave a great overview of all of the similarities and, more importantly, some of the major differences between Masonic ritual and the Latter-day Saint Endowment. Scott Gordon also gave a fantastic presentation on this at the 2017 FAIR Conference. The section of the Church’s website on temples is also full of good information.
I also have to take exception to the scare quotes around “revelation.” Joseph received the Endowment in many revelations across more than a decade, and there is documented proof of that. Jeffrey Bradshaw’s paper gives a good timeline of that, and so does Matthew Brown’s book. Just because Thomas Faulk doesn’t believe that the Endowment came from God, does not mean he’s right. He’s not.
The Endowment is a beautiful gift, the bestowal of God’s power to us.
President Nelson once taught:
When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us. His law is written in our hearts. He is our God and we are His people. Committed children of the covenant remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity. When that doctrine is deeply implanted in our hearts, even the sting of death is soothed and our spiritual stamina is strengthened.
The greatest compliment that can be earned here in this life is to be known as a covenant keeper. The rewards for a covenant keeper will be realized both here and hereafter. Scripture declares that “ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, … and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven … [and] dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.”
God lives. Jesus is the Christ. His Church has been restored to bless all people. … And we, as faithful children of the covenant, will be blessed now and forever.
And Brigham Young said:
Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to talk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.
There is so much for us to learn and understand about the temple. It’s a lifelong process, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or inadequate. But when questions arise, or when you see the attacks of critics, just remember the very wise words of President Nelson:
Now a little word of warning. There are those who would undermine your ability to call upon the power of God. There are some who would have you doubt yourself and minimize your stellar spiritual capacity as a righteous woman [or man].
Most certainly, the adversary does not want you to understand the covenant you made at baptism or the profound endowment of knowledge and power you have received or will receive in the temple—the house of the Lord. And Satan certainly does not want you to understand that every time you worthily serve and worship in the temple, you leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having “charge over” you.
A friend and I had a conversation tonight where he said that there are no guarantees in this life. I have to respectfully disagree. This is a guarantee: God has gifted us His power, and He will go before our faces, on our right hand and our left, and His Spirit will be in our hearts. He will send His angels to watch over us and gather round us, to bear us up. Because of that, we “need not fear.”
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2023.04.18 02:30 dice1899 LFMW Rebuttal, Part 13: The Early Church – The Word of Wisdom [B]

Posts in this series (note: link will only work properly in new Reddit):
This week, we’re continuing with the Word of Wisdom discussion. There were some important concepts introduced in last week’s post: the need for ongoing revelation, the Word of Wisdom as a mark to set us apart from the rest of the world, that there are differences between the revelation found in D&C 89 and the version we follow today, and that it was not meant just for physical health, but also for spiritual health. These are things to keep in mind this week, too.
The LFMW picks up:
Additionally, the Lord’s Law of Health seems to lack real health considerations.
This is a bit of an odd statement to me. The Word of Wisdom was not meant to be an all-encompassing list of everything that was healthy or unhealthy. It doesn’t cover every single individual circumstance. It makes very few definitive health statements, and mostly just says whether things are good or not good according to the Lord’s definition.
This is similar to the Creation account we find in Genesis 1, where God saw that His creations were good. We read in the Book of Abraham (chapters 4 and 5) that this meant that those things obeyed the council of the Gods. Meaning, they functioned as they were intended to.
This suggests to me—and this is entirely my opinion, so take it with a big, old grain of salt—that the things the Lord labels as “not good for man” and “not good for the body” are things that alter the body’s natural state.
Alcohol gets you drunk and can have serious effects on your liver and other organs over time. Coffee and tea contain caffeine, and while that is not against the Word of Wisdom in and of itself, that causes your blood pressure to rise and your heart to speed up. It can overstimulate your brain and cause withdrawal symptoms. Illegal drugs can have mind-altering effects as well as increase your heart rate to the point where it can sometimes be fatal. That’s in addition to being incredibly addictive. Smoking tobacco causes your lungs to fill with chemicals, which leads to heart and lung disease, diabetes, stroke, emphysema, COPD, and more. Chewing it causes those same chemicals to eat through your gums and destroy the enamel on your teeth. Both forms can lead to at least 14 different types of cancer: lung, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, liver, bladder, cervix, colon, rectum, and a certain type of leukemia. Eating too much meat can lead to all kinds of health issues. Red meat, as many of us might know, is linked to numerous cancers. But processed meat of any kind, including poultry, can also lead to “ischaemic heart disease, pneumonia, diverticular disease, colon polyps and diabetes ... gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, gastritis and duodenitis, ... [and] gallbladder disease...” if you over-indulge. These all cause our bodies to function in ways that it wasn’t originally intended to.
Following the Word of Wisdom won’t keep your body completely free from any outside influences, as that is impossible to do. But it does cut down on some of the biggest things that can negatively alter the processes of your mind and body.
And guess what? At least one notable study conducted by UCLA over 25 years showed that following the counsel in the Word of Wisdom leads to longer life expectancies compared to people who don’t follow its counsel.
Currently, extremely obese members are given temple recommends, while active, healthy, and fit members who drink coffee and tea would not qualify.
I discussed this last week, as it’s something I’ve seen come up occasionally on Reddit. While we’re charged with caring for our earthly bodies, there is no commandment against being obese. That’s because there are a lot of things that could cause someone to become overweight, and many of them have nothing to do with that person’s diet. Injury, illness, prescription medication, mental health issues, etc., can all lead to sometimes serious weight gain, as well as prevent that weight from coming back off. Individual circumstances vary too much for us to say that someone is sinning by being overweight.
That doesn’t give us free rein to abuse our bodies, but calling to spiritually punish someone for something that is not a commandment and that is so individualized is also not okay.
Overweight people are still given temple recommends because they’re not willfully violating a commandment. Just because Thomas Faulk thinks it should be a commandment does not mean that it is one.
Active, healthy, physically fit members who drink coffee and tea are breaking a commandment they covenanted with God to keep. So no, they do not qualify for a temple recommend.
It seems that if God really wanted to give the saints a code of health that would have prevented pioneer deaths due to a long list of illnesses including scarlet fever, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, influenza, pneumonia, cholera, malaria and small pox, he would have added things like the need for sanitizing water by boiling, increased personal hygiene and quarantining of sick persons.
Where does it say that the Word of Wisdom is meant to prevent pioneer deaths due to grave illnesses? It doesn’t even say it’ll ward against illnesses at all. It only says that A) it was given to avoid the conspiracies of evil men (such as those in the cigarette industry who knew that their products caused cancer and hid the information while touting their supposed health benefits in order to make money); B) that they would be healthy and strong, which does not mean they would never again get sick; C) that they would gain great knowledge; and D) that they would be marked as the covenant people of God so that the destroying angel would pass by them the way he did during the Passover.
This is just a silly straw man that has nothing to do with the text or intent of the Word of Wisdom.
In fact, the Church has long taught that coffee and tea were unhealthy; however, this reputation appears to be mistaken. Studies involving over 1.5 million participants who consumed 3-5 cups of coffee a day were at the lowest risk for cardiovascular diseases, stroke, prostate, breast and lung cancers, compared with those who drank none. Similar research show that polyphenol, a powerful antioxidant found in black, green and white teas, combat free-radicals that contribute to cancer, heart disease, kidney damage, diabetes, and helps lower cholesterol. ( and (
Yep, that’s because early studies did show that coffee and tea were unhealthy. Church leaders were repeating scientific consensus at the time. Scientific consensus changes as more information comes to light. That’s exactly what happened here, and it’s why Church leaders no longer make that claim.
However, just because black coffee and green tea have some health benefits, it doesn’t mean that drinking multiple cups daily loaded with sugar, milk, or creamer is good for you. We all know the negative effects of too much sugar, but milk and creamer both also have high levels of potassium. Combined with the potassium already in coffee, for example, 3-4 cups of that per day, every single day, can lead to too much potassium in your diet. Too much potassium leads to kidney disease.
Even things that are supposedly healthy come with caveats and restrictions. Black coffee is not the same as a mocha latte. All of the extra sugar and milk in it makes the mocha far less healthy than the black coffee.
Additionally, look at the wording of D&C 89:9:
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
That’s literally all it says. It doesn’t say whether they’re good or bad for you, just that the Lord didn’t approve of them for drinking or using on injuries. But compare that to the admonition against tobacco in verse 8:
8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
It specifically says that tobacco is not good for man to ingest or use, but is only to cure bruises or sick cattle. So, clearly, sometimes the Word of Wisdom did say that things were bad for you. But it never actually says that coffee or tea or “hot drinks” are bad for us, just that we’re not supposed to drink them.
So, it doesn’t matter if they’re good for us or not, that’s not why we were prohibited from drinking them. The answer is essentially just, “Because God told us to.” That’s it, that’s the entire reason we avoid coffee and tea.
  • Possible Influences
1. Popular Misconceptions Regarding “Hot Drinks”
One common misconceptions in this era said that hot liquids were not good for the body.
A popular book titled, “Wholesome Advice against the Abuse of Hot Liquors,” particularly targeted tea, coffee and hot chocolate labeling them as unhealthy. This book argued that an excess consumption of hot drinks caused the blood and insides to heat up and that “Excess of heat is the most common cause of sickness and death.” Medical science at the time was so basic that the evidence presented in the book was based largely upon crude anatomical knowledge and references to classical Greek and Roman texts.
I didn’t read this entire book, personally. I kind of doubt Thomas Faulk did either, since the info he provided is mostly pulled from the full title. The quoted line is from page 91, about 1/3 of the way through.
Regardless of whether he read the entire thing or not, it was published in 1706, 127 years before the Word of Wisdom was introduced. Just to put that in perspective, that’s the same time difference between today and 1896, when Utah became a state. The world was very different in 1706 than it was in 1833, just like it was very different in 1896 than today. Science has grown by leaps and bounds since then.
Prior to the 19th Century, it was true that both excessively hot and cold drinks were thought to cause illness and even death. However, it was precisely because of the popularity of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate that those old ideas began to change. People were drinking a lot of each of them—because remember, coffee in particular was pushed as a substitute for whiskey, because tea was seen as unpatriotic after the Boston Tea Party. It was over the course of the 19th Century that things began to change in earnest, as new medical discoveries were being made and deeper knowledge about the body became known. By the turn of the century, this idea of hot and cold liquids being bad for you was almost completely gone.
More curiously is what’s not in the Word of Wisdom. Paul Hoskisson gave a presentation at the 2008 Sperry Symposium that discussed this very topic. While everything in the Word of Wisdom could be found in the thoughts of the day if you looked at the broader society, there were a lot of other things included in those thoughts than made it into the Word of Wisdom. For example, when Joseph and Hyrum both defined “hot drinks” as being “coffee and tea,” they didn’t mention cider, hot chocolate, herbal tea, or hot milk, which had to be drank after boiling it to rid of its impurities. There was also no mention of common medicinal cures like laudanum or calomel, which is especially surprising since an overdose of calumel is what killed Joseph’s brother Alvin. There was nothing about hygiene, and no admonition against eating vegetables with the skin on, which something you’d see during that time period. Even “too much thinking” was considered to be bad for your health. Etc. According to this Deseret News article by Michael De Groote:
While it is true that all of the items in the Word of Wisdom were at least mentioned in contemporary literature of Joseph Smith’s time, “clearly the Word of Wisdom contains none of the stupid and strange ideas that were rampant in the Prophet’s day,” Hoskisson said. “Neither does it include all the reliable and good stuff in his day.”
It’s something entirely different than that: a revelation from God, stating what was and was not acceptable according to Him.
A few decades later, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was arguing for complete abstinence from tea, on the grounds that it gave rise to “numberless disorders, particularly those of a nervous kind”. He placed emphasis on the religious importance of self-denial. (
Interestingly, Joseph Smith became very familiar with Methodist teachings when in June 1828 he became a member of minister Nathanial Lewis’ Harmony, Pennsylvania congregation. It is important to note that Joseph became a member after the First Vision where he was told that all religions were incorrect.
Nope, Joseph did not “become a member” of this congregation. Testimony of hostile witnesses (two of Emma’s cousins) states that at most, his name was on the roll for three days. To join the Methodists at that time, it was a six-month probationary period, which Joseph did not engage in. Their account is also not backed up by any other source at all. We only have the words of two men, coming decades later in 1879, who hated Joseph. There are, however, multiple witnesses stating that he did not join any other church.
2. The Temperance Movement
Alcohol had been socially acceptable during the colonial era, but a social shift in the early 19th century initiated the belief that drinking was no longer acceptable.
It was more than “socially acceptable.” As we discussed last week, drinking hard liquor at every meal was a mainstay of most families in the Americas during the time period. Though that slowly started to change in the early 1800s, abstinence from alcohol is a belief that never fully took hold. Even during Prohibition, bootlegging was a common and profitable venture. If you wanted to drink alcohol during that time period (1920-1933), you could easily find a way.
Faulk words this in a way that insinuates that that drinking alcohol is not considered acceptable in the United States, but that is not accurate. Though there are a few dry counties in the South, this is not the norm for the vast majority of the country.
The temperance movement was an organized effort to encourage moderation in the consumption of alcohol or press for complete abstinence.
Marcus Morton founded the American Temperance Society in 1826 and it benefited from a renewed interest in religion and morality in America. The movement began to grow exponentially. Within 12 years it claimed more than 8,000 local groups and over 1.5 million members. By 1839, 18 temperance journals were being published. Some groups took positions on moral issues and advocated temperance with alcohol rather than abstinence. The movement split along two lines: moderates who allowed some drinking and relied on moral persuasion alone, and radicals who demanded prohibition laws to restrict or ban alcohol. Prohibitionists dominated many of the largest temperance organizations after the 1830's, and temperance eventually became synonymous with prohibition.
“On October 6, 1830, the Kirtland Temperance Society was organized with two hundred thirty nine members.... This society at Kirtland was a most active one.... it revolutionized the social customs of the neighborhood. The Temperance Society succeeded in eliminating a distillery in Kirtland on February 1, 1833, just twenty seven days before the Latter-day Saint revelation counseling abstinence was announced, and that the distillery at Mentor, near Kirtland, was also closed at the same time.” (Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, pp.39-40)
Yep, the temperance movement happened, and yes, the Kirtland Temperance Society was an active one. But just because temperance was a idea in place, doesn’t mean that that Joseph stole the idea from them. Like the Revelations in Context article points out, the Lord was preparing the people to receive the law.
And Faulk did not show any link between the Kirtland Temperance Society and the membership of the Church. How many of those 239 members were also Latter-day Saints? All of them? Any of them? I don’t know, and Faulk didn’t provide any evidence either way.
Many members of the Church during the Kirtland years were former Campbellites, and there were many more current Campbellites in the area during those same years. Alexander Campbell taught that alcohol should be avoided except during the Sacrament. They were clearly comfortable with the idea of prohibitions on alcohol, and a large number of people in the Kirtland Temperance Society surely had a Campbellite background.
3. Emma Smith
Joseph Smith started a training school called the School of the Prophets for the elders of the Church, which opened in Kirtland on the second floor of the Newel K. Whitney mercantile store in January 1833. Brigham Young stated that the Word of Wisdom was given in response to problems encountered while conducting those meetings:
“I think I am as well acquainted with the circumstances which led to the giving of the Word of Wisdom…When they assembled together in this room after breakfast, the first they did was to light their pipes, and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom, and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet [Joseph Smith] entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke. This, and the complaints of his wife at having to clean so filthy a floor, made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the Elders in using tobacco, and the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was the result of his inquiry.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol.12, p.158)
Yep, I think most of us are familiar with this story. It sounded like a disgusting atmosphere, so I’m not surprised Emma complained about it. I would’ve complained, too.
As I said last week, revelation rarely happens in a vacuum. It usually comes in response to our sincere questions. If Emma’s distaste for the practices led to Joseph asking the Lord what He felt about those things, I have no problem with that. That’s exactly how most revelation comes about: something occurs to us, we ask, and the Lord reveals His will to us.
  • Timeline
1826 – American Temperance Society founded.
1828 – Joseph Smith becomes a member of the Methodist church that discouraged hot drinks.
Where is any evidence whatsoever that Joseph became a member of a Methodist church? Can Thomas Faulk provide the rolls for the church, showing Joseph on them for longer than the six months necessary to become a member? Or even a roll with his name on it at all? Because he certainly didn’t cite them for us.
1830 – Kirtland Temperance Society founded.
1833 – (Jan) Joseph Smith hears complaints from Emma about tobacco.
1833 – (Feb. 1) The Kirtland Temperance Society eliminates the distillery in Kirtland.
1833 – (Feb. 27) Joseph writes the Word of Wisdom limiting hot drinks, tobacco and strong drinks.
Again, Joseph did not “write” the Word of Wisdom. He received the revelation and dictated it to someone else, who wrote it down.
Even after all that, the History of the Church records that Joseph taught the Word of Wisdom but did not practice it. If the Lord really gave this revelation to Joseph, one would think he would at least follow it himself.
It wasn’t a commandment, it was a guide, and in Joseph’s day, wine and mild drinks were allowed under certain circumstances, particularly if the wine was of their own making. It was hard, distilled liquor that was forbidden.
And, as Paul H. Peterson says in his Master’s thesis, “An Historical Analysis of the Word of Wisdom”:
[I]t appears clear that Joseph Smith never interpreted the revelation as demanding total abstinence, but stressed moderation and self-control. His opposition to intemperance is evidenced by earlier statements which referred to intemperance as a “monster” and “the bane of humanity.” The Prophet almost never used tobacco, although it is recorded that once at Nauvoo he tried the faith of the Saints by smoking a cigar after having preached a discourse on the Word of Wisdom. He had no objections to using tobacco for medicinal purposes. With regard to wine and “strong drink” possibly the most accurate index to the Prophet’s position was expressed by Benjamin F. Johnson, who personally knew Joseph: “As a companion, socially, he was highly endowed; was kind, generous, mirth-loving, and at times even convivial. He was partial to a well-supplied table and he did not always refuse the win that maketh the heart glad....”
Moreover, there is some evidence that Joseph sought to avoid needless dissension among the Saints by urging moderation and charity. It would appear that some Mormons had been influenced by the fanaticism that characterized sermons of some of the radical temperance reformers, and tended to be intolerant of those with professed Word of Wisdom weaknesses. The Prophet, recognizing that the revelation must be seen in perspective with other matters and doctrines pertaining to the growth of the “Kingdom,” urged them to be slow to judge or condemn others.
So, if his aim was to teach charity and moderation while the Saints built up to living the law as a commandment, I don’t fault him for that.
1. We then partook of some refreshments, and our hearts were made glad with the fruit of the vine. This is according to the pattern set by our Savior Himself, and we feel disposed to patronize all the institutions of heaven.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, January 14, 1836, vol.2, p.369)
Again, wine was not completely forbidden by the Word of Wisdom during Joseph’s day. And again, his goal—especially so soon after the revelation was given—was to urge moderation and a gradual building-up of obedience to the law.
2. Ordinance on the Personal Sale of Liquors - Section 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of Nauvoo, that the Mayor of the city be and is hereby authorized to see or give spirits of any quantity as he in his wisdom shall judge to be for the health and comfort, or convenience of such travelers or other persons as shall visit his house from time to time. Passed December 12, 1843. Joseph Smith, Mayor. Willard Richards, Recorder.” (History of the Church, December 12, 1843, vol.6, p.111)
Certain alcohols, such as brandy, were seen to have medicinal purposes, and to warm and heal people who were exposed to cold temperatures. This was an ordinance giving Joseph, as the Mayor of Nauvoo, the ability to care for travelers who arrived in poor shape.
3. “Before the jailor came in, his boy brought in some water, and said the guard wanted some wine. Joseph gave Dr. Richards two dollars to give the guard; but the guard said one was enough, and would take no more. The guard immediately sent for a bottle of wine, pipes, and two small papers of tobacco; and one of the guards brought them into the jail soon after the jailor went out. Dr. Richards uncorked the bottle, and presented a glass to Joseph, who tasted, as also Brother Taylor and the doctor, and the bottle was then given to the guard, who turned to go out.” (History of the Church, June 27, 1844, vol.6, p.616)
Again, wine was not completely forbidden. And honestly, if Joseph needed a drink while he was waiting for death in Carthage jail, I don’t personally have much problem with that.
I have never been taught in Church that abstinence from alcohol and other hot drinks were already popular concepts of time leading up to the revelation.
I am genuinely baffled by this comment. Church is for fellowshipping and learning how to draw closer to Christ. Why would anyone expect to be taught secular US history in Sunday School? We don’t even learn about the parts of US history that entwine with the Restoration, such as Manifest Destiny or the history of the First Amendment.
Why on earth would we use our limited time at Church to learn about the temperance movement in the United States? And why would any member expect that we would? That’s what high school is for.
It appears that the Word of Wisdom may not be unique instruction, but well within the context of 19th century assumptions.
My response to this comment is twofold.
First, I’m not aware of any source that claims that the counsel given in the Word of Wisdom was wholly unique and had never been suggested before. The intent wasn’t to declare counsel that nobody had ever heard before. It was to declare counsel that God recommended for physical and spiritual health, a starting point to ramp up to living the commandment.
Second, the Word of Wisdom was somewhat unique as written in D&C 89, as we discussed last week. The warnings against indulging in those substances were given in a completely different way than they were given in organizations like temperance societies. They would try to frighten people by claiming that alcohol use would lead to an entire host of diseases, among other things. The Word of Wisdom does not do that. It’s not comparable in tone or consequence to any kind of abstinence literature from that day and age.
Perhaps it was spurned by Emma’s complaints, added to by Methodist teachings and pressured by the local Kirtland Temperance Society.
If that was true, there would be evidence of it. Yet, Faulk hasn’t provided any. All he has provided are insinuations, accusations, and misrepresentations. If you’re going to accuse a prophet of being a liar and a fraud, you have to provide evidence of that if you expect me to believe you. Faulk hasn’t said anything here that’s alarming when you actually look at the evidence behind the accusations.
But, as always, the surest way to know whether or not the Word of Wisdom was revelation from the Lord is to get on your knees and ask. The Spirit will tell you, because the Spirit confirms the truth of all things. Despite what people like Thomas Faulk and Jeremy Runnells claim, that is a witness you can trust.
Remember, the Lord has graven us on the palms of His hands so that He would always remember us. In turn, we promise each week during the Sacrament to always remember Him. We are His, and He has ransomed us. As long as we remember that and follow His path, we will not be lost. His Spirit will not lie to us or lead us astray.
The entire intent of these letters is to make you lose your trust in God. Do not let that happen. We are His children. He loves us and He wants us to learn to hear His voice and to recognize His hand in our lives. He’s there, waiting to give us shelter and guidance, but we have to ask for it. He won’t barge into our lives. We have to invite Him in. Please do. While you study these things, open the door and let Him in. Ask Him your questions, and let Him guide you to the answers. He will.
And as He does, we will “grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.”
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2023.04.13 16:36 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 15 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
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Kee Safety Installer - Structural Steel Henderson
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The Quack Pack Llc Line Cook Henderson
Triumph Property Management Vacancies Coordinator Henderson
Triumph Property Management Vacancies Coordinator Las Vegas
Olives Inc DBA The Beast Line Cook Las Vegas
Sparrow + Wolf Chef de Partie Las Vegas
AtWork Personnel Services Off Site Property Manager Reno
Standard Management Company Property Manager Reno
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2023.04.12 16:22 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 9 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
Atmospheric Science Technology, LLC Weatherman Fallon
Aeropostale Store Lead Reno
Kee Safety Installer - Structural Steel Henderson
Steelman Partners LLP Senior Interior Designer Henderson
Steelman Partners LLP Lead Interior Designer Henderson
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Steelman Partners LLP Lead Interior Designer Las Vegas
Kee Safety Installer - Structural Steel Las Vegas
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2023.04.11 16:34 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 10 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
Atmospheric Science Technology, LLC Weatherman Fallon
Aeropostale Store Lead Reno
Steelman Partners LLP Senior Interior Designer Henderson
Kee Safety Installer - Structural Steel Henderson
Steelman Partners LLP Lead Interior Designer Las Vegas
Steelman Partners LLP Interior Decorator Las Vegas
Jobot BIM Specialist Henderson
Intermountain Healthcare Traveling Nurse Practitioner- Las Vegas Las Vegas
Jobot BIM Coordinator Las Vegas
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2023.04.08 19:09 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
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LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
Steelman Partners LLP Senior Interior Designer Henderson
NV Energy Trader Las Vegas
Steelman Partners LLP Senior Interior Designer Las Vegas
Steelman Partners LLP Interior Decorator Las Vegas
EMPLOYERS Senior Legal Analyst Reno
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7320 3225 RETAIL DR Carson City
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7308 309 E WILLIAM ST Carson City
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7317 3 RETAIL RD DAYTON Dayton
Jack in the Box Crew Member Store 7317 3 RETAIL RD DAYTON Dayton
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7322 2423 MOUNTAIN CITY HWY Elko
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Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7309 1345 HWY 395 GARDNERVILLE Gardnerville
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7309 1345 HWY 395 Gardnerville
Merrill Gardens at Green Valley Ranch Caregiver Henderson
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7322 2423 MOUNTAIN CITY HWY Lamoille
TCD Construction Project Manager Las Vegas
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7316 185 LEMMON DR RENO Reno
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2023.04.07 14:51 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
Atmospheric Science Technology, LLC Weatherman Fallon
Steelman Partners LLP Senior Interior Designer Henderson
TCD Construction Project Manager Henderson
Steelman Partners LLP Lead Interior Designer Las Vegas
TCD Construction Building and Construction Project Manager Las Vegas
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7320 3225 RETAIL DR Carson City
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7308 309 E WILLIAM ST Carson City
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7320 3225 RETAIL DR Carson City
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7317 3 RETAIL RD DAYTON Dayton
Jack in the Box Crew Member Store 7317 3 RETAIL RD DAYTON Dayton
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7322 2423 MOUNTAIN CITY HWY Elko
Jack in the Box Store Worker Elko
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7315 225 HWY 95A N FERNLEY Fernley
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7315 225 HWY 95A N FERNLEY Fernley
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7309 1345 HWY 395 Gardnerville
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7309 1345 HWY 395 GARDNERVILLE Gardnerville
Kee Safety Installer - Structural Steel Henderson
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7322 2423 MOUNTAIN CITY HWY Lamoille
Jack in the Box Store Supervisor Reno
Jack in the Box Keyholder Reno
Jack in the Box CREW MEMBER STORE 7316 185 LEMMON DR RENO Reno
Jack in the Box TEAM LEADER STORE 7318 122 LOS ALTOS PARWAY Sparks
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2023.04.05 19:06 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 17 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
HealthMarkets Healthcare Benefit Provider Boulder City
Molina Healthcare Medical Services Director Carson City
Domino's Pizza LLC LTL Driver Las Vegas
Aeropostale Store Lead Reno
HealthMarkets Healthcare Benefit Provider The Lakes
US Customs & Border Protection Border Patrol Agent, Entry Level Henderson
EMPLOYERS Senior Legal Analyst Reno
US Customs & Border Protection Border Patrol Agent, Entry Level Reno
RIX INDUSTRIES IT Desktop Specialist Reno
RIX INDUSTRIES IT Technician Sparks
RIX INDUSTRIES IT Desktop Specialist Sparks
Bestinfo Systems LLC Immediate Openings Primary Care Physician Institutional Special Needs Patients Henderson Henderson
Palisades Tahoe Immediate Openings Rental Technician Palisades Alpine Henderson Henderson
AMR EMT Paramedic Henderson
Livanta LLC Review Coordinator Las Vegas
Livanta LLC Patient Service Representative - Call Center Las Vegas
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2023.04.04 23:48 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 15 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
HealthMarkets Healthcare Benefit Provider Boulder City
Molina Healthcare Medical Services Director Carson City
Schneider CDL A Driver Las Vegas
REACH Medical Holdings Helicopter Pilot Las Vegas
Aeropostale Store Lead Reno
HealthMarkets Healthcare Benefit Provider The Lakes
TCD Construction Project Manager Henderson
TCD Construction Building and Construction Project Manager Las Vegas
EMPLOYERS Senior Legal Analyst Reno
RIX INDUSTRIES IT Desktop Specialist Sparks
Synechron Immediate Openings Senior Software Engineer Henderson Henderson
The Stepping Stones Group Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) Henderson
AMR Immediate Openings Emergency Response Paramedic Located In Lake Havasu City Az Henderson Las Vegas
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2023.04.03 23:02 3am_doorknob_turn FACT: In 2022, the number of Mormons convicted of sexual abuse in the United States was greater than the number of Mormon wards added WORLDWIDE.

Note: We've only focused on the United States so far in our research into Mormon sexual abuse cases; the actual number of LDS members worldwide convicted of sex crimes last year may be much higher.
LDS members who were convicted of sexual abuse or other felony sex crimes in 2022:
  1. - was an LDS church member in Utah and later an elders quorum president in Minnesota; pleaded guilty in 2003 in Utah to misdemeanor lewdness involving a child; pleaded guilty in Utah in 2006 to felony forcible sexual abuse; sentenced in 2022 in Minnesota to 30 years in prison for sexual abuse of a juvenile under his care
  2. - was a Mormon church member and Utah Valley University professor; accused in 2021 of voyeurism and electronic communication harassment; convicted and sentenced in 2022
  3. - was an LDS bishop in Nampa, Idaho; was removed from his position in 2021 after child sexual abuse allegations surfaced; was charged with four sex crimes; pleaded guilty to one felony count; sentenced in 2022 to prison
  4. - was an LDS primary teacher in Utah; was convicted in 2022 of sexually abusing a girl from his LDS ward
  5. - was a Mormon church member in California; sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for sexually molesting a child; in 2022, again found guilty of child sexual abuse; sentenced to three consecutive terms of 75 years to life
  6. - was an LDS church member and former prosecutor in Utah; pleaded guilty in December 2022 to four second degree felony charges related to child sexual abuse; sentenced in January 2023 to one to 15 years in prison
  7. - was an active LDS church member in Utah and music composer for multiple videos posted to official Church websites or social media accounts; in 2022, he was found guilty and sentenced to prison for rape of a child
  8. - was an LDS bishopric counselor and Idaho city councilman; signed a plea agreement in 2022 indicating he would admit to committing lewd conduct with a minor; sentenced to prison in 2023
  9. - was an LDS church member; convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl, sentenced to serve a minimum of 16 years in prison
  10. - was an LDS church member and scout leader; sentenced to prison in 2022 in Michigan for sexually assaulting two of his boy scouts
  11. - was a Mormon church member; sentenced in 2022 to prison in Utah for sexually abusing LDS missionaries
  12. - was a Mormon bishop and stake presidency member in New Mexico; admitted to molesting an 11-year-old girl while lying in bed with his dying wife; found guilty of sexual abuse in 2022; sentenced to prison
  13. - was a Mormon bishop and stake president in Wyoming; later moved to Utah and worked as a massage therapist; pleaded no contest in 2022 to two class A misdemeanor charges of sexual battery for touching a female massage client in a sexual manner
  14. - was an LDS church member and ward young men's leader in Argentina; arrested in 2021 for alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in 2017; sentenced in 2022 to 13.5 years in prison
  15. - was a Mormon church member in Utah; found guilty of sexual abuse and sentenced in 2022 to prison
  16. - former bishop in Utah; accused of 60 years of sex abuse of multiple children; found guilty of attempted aggravated child sexual abuse; sentenced in 2022 to up to 35 years in prison
  17. - we've got to add him. Chiropractor in Kaysville, abused several femal patients. He's still listed as a member of the LDS Chiropractic Association:
  18. - was a Mormon church member and police officer in St. Johns Arizona; pleaded guilty in 2022 to knowing access to child pornography
  19. - was a Mormon church member and former stake presidency member in Utah; accused of sexual abuse in 2022 after allegedly groping women in a Logan grocery store; pleaded guilty in December 2022
Again, this is a very incomplete list. I just wanted to show that the average number of convicted LDS sex felons per ward increased in 2022.
LDS church official stats for 2022:
And for 2021:
edit: added cases and updated details
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2023.04.03 19:29 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 17 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
United States Secret Service Criminal Investigator Las Vegas
United States Secret Service Criminal Investigator Reno
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
Molina Healthcare Medical Services Director Carson City
Guardian Flight Fixed Wing Pilot Carson City
Guardian Flight Fixed Wing Pilot Dayton
Guardian Flight Fixed Wing Pilot Dyer
College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving - DG&CO LLC Van Operator Las Vegas
Amr Emergency Response Paramedic - Located in Lake Havasu City, AZ Laughlin
Professional Case Management Registered Nurse - RN Pahrump
Aeropostale Store Lead Reno
RIX INDUSTRIES IT Desktop Specialist Sparks
Wipro Immediate Openings Dotnet Architect Henderson Henderson
AMR Immediate Openings Paramedic Located In Lake Havasu City Az Henderson Henderson
Varex Imaging Corporation Immediate Openings Software Engineer Henderson Henderson
Nuclear Care Partners Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Las Vegas
USHA Customer Service Representative Las Vegas
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2023.04.02 18:57 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
United States Secret Service Criminal Investigator Las Vegas
United States Secret Service Criminal Investigator Reno
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
HealthMarkets Healthcare Benefit Provider Boulder City
Molina Healthcare Medical Services Director Carson City
REACH Medical Holdings Helicopter Pilot Las Vegas
College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving - DG&CO LLC Van Operator Las Vegas
HealthMarkets Healthcare Benefit Provider Nellis Afb
HealthMarkets Healthcare Benefit Provider The Lakes
Steelman Partners LLP Interior Designer, Decorator Las Vegas
Taylor Truck Line CDL-A Lease Purchase & Owner Operator Truck Drivers Carson City
Dedicated LLC / Kam Way Transportation, CDL A Company Driver - OTR Carson City
RoadRunner CDL A Owner Operators $4,900 Weekly Dayton
US Navy Navy Diver Henderson
Synechron Immediate Openings Senior Software Engineer Henderson Henderson
Inno Supps Immediate Openings Web Developer Henderson Henderson
US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD) Reno
Nuclear Care Partners CNA Las Vegas
B2B CFO Chief Financial Officer - Partner at B2B CFO Fernley
Swift Transportation Car Mechanic North Las Vegas
Swift Transportation Service Truck Mechanic North Las Vegas
Swift Transportation Automotive Technician North Las Vegas
B2B CFO Chief Financial Officer - Partner at B2B CFO Pahrump
Jacksons Food Stores Class A CDL Fuel Transport Driver Reno
Jacksons Food Stores Store Manager in Training (Hourly) Reno
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2023.04.01 17:07 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
United States Secret Service Criminal Investigator Reno
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
Aeropostale Store Lead Reno
Steelman Partners LLP Senior Interior Designer Las Vegas
Marson Foods Production Line Worker Carson City
ENTEK Design Engineer Henderson
ProCaps Laboratories Facility Porter - Weekend NOW HIRING Henderson
in-lite Design Corporation Account Manager Boulder City
Andrus Transportation Services Inc CDL A Teams Drivers - OTR 10K Sign On Carson City
Smith Transport Class A and B Oil and Gas - 7 Axle Tanker Drivers Wanted Carson City
RoadRunner CDL A Owner Operators $4,900 Weekly Carson City
in-lite Design Corporation Account Manager Enterprise
FYZICAL Corporate Physical Therapist / PT Henderson
Network Marketing Pro, Inc. Social Media Video Editor Henderson
EOS Fitness Kids Club Associate Henderson
Safe Life Defense Head of HR Henderson
V Dental Dental Assistant Las Vegas
BakeMark USA Multilocation Corporate Operations Manager Las Vegas
Lee's Discount Liquor CashieStocker Durango & Warm Springs Las Vegas
LinkTech Senior Project Manager Las Vegas
Island Flavor Line Cook Las Vegas
Ubs Administrative Manager Las Vegas
International Paper Part Picker Mccarran
Empowering Center Office ManageMedical Receptionist North Las Vegas
Vans Vans Supervisor (Meadwood Mall 385) Part Time Reno
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2023.03.31 18:04 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 7 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
Fremont Street Experience Media Services Manager Las Vegas
Aeropostale Store Lead Reno
Steelman Partners LLP Lead Interior Designer Henderson
Steelman Partners LLP Interior Decorator Las Vegas
NV Energy Immediate Openings Senior Project Manager Renewable Energy Las Vegas Henderson
NV Energy Immediate Openings Senior Project Manager Renewable Energy Las Vegas Las Vegas
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2023.03.30 18:16 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 14 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
Rosendin Electric Buyer Las Vegas
The Home Depot Retail Merchandising Associate Reno
Aeropostale Store Lead Reno
The Home Depot Retail Clerk Reno
Steelman Partners LLP Lead Interior Designer Henderson
Steelman Partners LLP Lead Interior Designer Las Vegas
RepairSmith Automotive Technician Henderson
System Transport CDL A Driver Fallon
System Transport Class A Driver Fallon
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System Transport CDL A Driver Fernley
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NV Energy Immediate Openings Senior Project Manager Renewable Energy Las Vegas Las Vegas
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in nv. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
submitted by PritchettRobert506 to NevadaJobs [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 10:21 Lost_Tapir Temple endownment changes present and past -- group effort

I see people are still asking for what the changes are: Many thanks to u/missedinsunday for the below post six years ago plus others' comments from around the web. Also and u/gr8_and_spacious
Some of the changes are below with more historic changes from u/missedinsunday -- see the other links for recent full details.
👉 Feb 2023 The endowment starts with a message from the first presidency about the adjustments. The video starts with a picture of Jesus. Images of Jesus and references to Jesus now appear throughout the endowment.
There is a new intro that explains the 5 covenants prior to inviting people to leave or stay. The narrator voice is accompanied by soft music.
There is no witness couple; Adam and Eve play that role on the big screen.
There is no movie -- a glorified slide...beep
The 'charge' to refrain from loud laugter removed
Removed "who is dead" after stating the name of the person for whom th ework is being undertaken
"brethren" to "brothers"
References to the garment being a symbol of devotion to Jesus Christ
At the beginning of the session the narrator lists the five covenants as well as learning tokens, signs, names, etc. Then after they explain it, they offer for anyone to leave of their own free will and choice before proceeding.
No longer says Eve is Adams helpmeet and companion FOR him, Elohim says they are companions for each other, equals.

👉 1. Oath of Vengeance Removed (~1930) The 'oath of vengeance' was an oath made by participants in the LDS endowment ceremony between 1845 and the early 1930's. In it, they vowed to pray that God would avenge the blood of the prophets (Joseph and Hyrum Smith) against the United States.
"You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children's children unto the third and fourth generation.” - Oath of Vengeance in the LDS Endowment Ceremony
👉 2. Blacks Allowed In (1978) Over a decade after the civil rights movement the priesthood ban was lifted on black members in 1978, allowing them to enter the temple to receive saving rites.
Prior to the revelation lifting the priesthood ban, the LDS church was facing many external pressures including the upcoming dedication of the Sao Paulo temple in Brazil. Problematic, because as Bruce McConkie wrote, “the Brazilian nation is now composed of people who have some degree or other of Negro blood in their veins. Many of these have no facial or other physical characteristics to indicate in any way that they have Negro ancestry.” It would have been near impossible to filter out who had ’negro’ ancestry or not.
Mark Petersen and Delbert Stapley of the Quorum of the Twelve (both vocal their racist views) were indisposed at the time the revelation was ‘approved.’ They were notified after.
A 1987 article by David John Buerger (an active but liberal Mormon) in 'Dialog: A Journal of Mormon Thought' suggested LDS leaders make changes to the temple endowment ceremony to counter declining rates of attendance. A few months later the LDS Church issued a survey to 3,400 members in Canada and the U.S. to determine members opinions concerning temple work and various other topics. Perhaps as a result of this survey, a slew of changes were made in 1990 to the endowment ceremony.
👉 3. Preacher character removed (1990) Prior to 1990 there was a character in the endowment ceremony, the preacher (or minister), who was hired by Lucifer to teach ‘false doctrine.’ Before ~1960 the preacher character would often lead the congregation in a protestant hymn. The implication being that non LDS churches would deceive humankind under direction of Satan.
👉 4. Penalties (Blood Oaths) Removed (1990) Prior to 1990, LDS Temple participants made ’secret’ oaths with penalties attached should they reveal them outside of the Temple. Aligning almost word-for-word with Masonic penalties, they were softened in the 1930’s, removing the graphic, violent language. In 1990 they were altogether removed.
“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so, we agree that our bodies be cut asunder in the midst and all our bowels gush out.” - Prior to 1930, one of three penalties associated with LDS temple oaths.
Stage 1 : "my throat ... be cut from ear to ear, and my tongue torn out by its roots;"
Stage 2 : "our breasts ... be torn open, our hearts and vitals torn out and given to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field;"
Stage 3 : "our body ... be cut asunder and all your bowels gush out."]
👉 5. Five Points of Fellowship Removed (1990) Identical to the masonic ceremony of the same name, the Five Points of Fellowship was enacted at the veil of the temple. Temple attendants (both male and female) would embrace the Lord (male stand in) "by putting the inside of the right foot to the inside of the Lord's, the inside of your knee to his, laying your breast close to his, your left hands on each other's backs, and each one putting his mouth to the other's ear..” - Temple Mormonism, page 22
👉 6. ‘Pay Lay Ale’ is changed to the English ‘Oh God, hear the words of my mouth’ (1990) As part of the endowment ceremony, participants would gather in a circle around an alter, and while raising and lowering their arms, would repeat three times 'Pay Lay Ale.’ This phrase was said to be taken from the language spoken by Adam (Adamic), though some believe it's derived from a Hebrew phrase "pe le-El" (פה לאל), "mouth to God”.
👉 7. Women’s Law of Obedience is Modified (1990) Prior to 1990 women covenanted to obey the ‘law of their husbands’. "You and each of you solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar that you will each observe and keep the law of your husbands, and abide by his counsel in righteousness. Each of you bow your head and say “Yes.”"
This covenant was modified in 1990, softening the admonition. "You and each of you solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar that you will each observe and keep the law of the Lord and hearken unto the counsel of your husband as he hearkens unto the counsel of the Father. Each of you bow your head and say "Yes.”"
👉 8. Washing and Anointing, or Initiatory, Changed (2005) Originally, initiates were presented to the washing room naked. Sometime in the early twentieth century, it became customary for initiates to wear a "shield," a sleeveless robe open at the sides. The shield preserved modesty while allowing officiators to touch the various parts of the body named in the rite. In a slightly complicated procedure, the temple garment was placed on the initiate under the shield following the washing and anointing.
Beginning in 2005, initiates were instructed to clothe themselves in the garment in the privacy of their locker, before being presented at the washing room. This means that they are clothed throughout the initiatory.
Honorable Mentions:
👉 1842—Two months after his initiation into Freemasonry, Joseph Smith administers the first endowments on the upper floor of his Nauvoo store. The rite consists of washing, anointing, clothing in the garment, and instruction in the signs, tokens, and keywords of the holy priesthood.
👉 1843—First women receive the endowment.
Male-to-Male Adoptive Sealings per “The Law of Adoption) The law of adoption was a ritual practiced in Latter Day Saint temples between 1846 and 1894 in which men who held the priesthood were sealed in a father–son relationship to other men who were not part of nor even distantly related to their immediate nuclear family…
👉 1877—First time endowments are performed for the dead.
👉 1923—The garment is shortened to no longer reach the wrists and ankles, it is allowed to be made with bleached linen and buttons, and the crotch is closed. The old garment is still required in the temple.
👉 1945—The endowment is first offered in a language other than English (Spanish, Mesa Arizona Temple).
👉 1953—The first endowment film is made.
👉 1975—The long, pre-1925 garment becomes optional in the temple and is eventually discontinued.
👉 1990—Language blaming Eve for the Fall is dropped. "Eve, because thou hast hearkened to the voice of Satan and hast partaken of the forbidden fruit, and given unto Adam, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children. Nevertheless, thou mayest be preserved in child-bearing. Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee in righteousness."
👉 2010—Fred Hunting, the actor who played the apostle John in the 1990 temple film, was professionally edited out of the film after signing a petition against the church's position on homosexuality.
👉 2017—Single endowed men were allowed to serve as temple ordinance workers. Previously, single men older than 30 and members who had been divorced (within the previous five years) were banned from officiating in some temple rituals.
submitted by Lost_Tapir to exmormon [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 22:50 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in NV Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
LDS Trucking CDL Truck Driver Sparks
FRITO LAY Route Sales Representative Elko
Advance Auto Parts Commercial Parts Pro Gerlach
University of Arizona Ranch Livestock Specialist (Rimrock, AZ) Henderson
Restaurant Depot Picker Henderson
SEGA of America Manager, Commercial Analysis Henderson
Frito Lay North America Route Sales Representative Las Vegas
IAA Yard Attendant I Las Vegas
Publicis Groupe Dealer Territory Sales Consultant (Remote) Las Vegas
Hinton Transportation Investments, Inc. Outside Parts Sales Las Vegas
Andersen Tax Manager - Corporate/Commercial Las Vegas
Nations Best Cattle Consultant - Sparr Building & Supply Stores Las Vegas
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Burns & McDonnell Renewable Energy Consultant - & Co. (Phoenix) Las Vegas
Intercare Community Health Network LPN - Care Specialist Las Vegas
Clark County School District 2023-2024 Explorations Teacher- Mack MS Las Vegas
IGS Energy Inc Territory Sales Consultant - Dayton North Las Vegas
The Salvation Army Nursery Worker (Part-Time) - CAS/Riverside Corps North Las Vegas
Caterpillar Commercial Manager Reno
Eaton Electrical Sales Representative Sparks
Thorntons Seasonal Worker Sparks
Elkhart Lake's Road America, Inc. Camping Attendance Winnemucca
Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Sales Representative - Associate Territory Manager - Primary Care Winnemucca
CBRE Commercial Manager - GWS Local Winnemucca
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in nv. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
submitted by PritchettRobert506 to NevadaJobs [link] [comments]

2023.03.23 12:56 Ricosss Sertoli cell adaptation to glucose deprivation: Potential role of AMPK in the regulation of lipid metabolism. (Pub Date: 2023-03-22)


Sertoli cells (SCs) provide an adequate environment for germ cell development. SCs possess unique features that meet germ cells' metabolic demands: they produce lactate from glucose, which is delivered as energy substrate to germ cells. SCs store fatty acids (FAs) as triacylglycerols (TAGs) in lipid droplets (LDs) and can oxidize FAs to sustain their own energetic demands. They also produce ketone bodies from FAs. It has been shown that exposure of SCs to metabolic stresses, such as glucose deprivation, triggers specific adaptive responses that sustain cell survival and preserve lactate supply to germ cells. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether there are modifications in rat SCs lipid metabolism, including LD content, FA oxidation, and ketone bodies production, as part of their adaptive response to glucose deprivation. The present study was performed in 20-day-old rat SCs cultures. We determined LD content by Oil Red O staining, FA oxidation by measuring the release of3 H 2 O from [3 H] palmitate, TAGs and 3-hydroxybutyrate levels by spectrophotometric methods, and mRNA levels by RT-qPCR. Results show that the absence of glucose in SC culture medium entails: (1) a decrease in LD content and TAGs levels that is accompanied by decreased perilipin 1 mRNA levels, (2) an increase in FA oxidation that is in part mediated by AMP kinase (AMPK) activation and (3) a decrease in 3-hydroxybutyrate production. Additionally, we studied whether sestrins (SESN1, 2 and 3), proteins involved in the cellular response to stress, are regulated in glucose deprivation conditions. We show that there is an increase in SESN2 mRNA levels in deprived conditions. In conclusion, glucose deprivation affects SC lipid metabolism promoting FA mobilization from LDs to be used as energy source.


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submitted by Ricosss to TheKetoScienceJournal [link] [comments]