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October 2, 2020 11:55 am
.1 Mormonism examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this addition. A viewpoint on Mormonism.
I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM this week we've been looking at one of the many splinter groups of the restoration movement. In particular we been looking at the community of Christ, which is originally known as the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and you've probably noticed during this series that a lot of these groups claim that they are the rightful successors of Joseph Smith after he died in 1844.
There seem to be no real clear plan as to who would be the rightful heir to the authority of this church, the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As we mentioned, was started in 1860, its first president was Joseph Smith the third, the son of Joseph Smith Junior, the founder of what's known today as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, however not following the lead of Joseph Smith the third, because at the time of Smith's death.
He was still a very young boy chose instead to follow Brigham Young and eventually left the Midwest and came out to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, but they've always felt that they are the rightful error if you will of Joseph Smith's authority, a phrase that's often used by Latter Day Saints. Is this phrase of an on broken chain. They feel that Joseph Smith, for instance, had hands laid on him by Peter James and John, who they assume also had hands laid on them by Jesus himself. So this unbroken chain becomes very important when it comes to who has the authority to now, the community of Christ comes on the scene as we said in 1860 and they claim because Joseph Smith.
The third is there president who is related to Joseph Smith Junior that they have this rightful authority. So there's this rivalry, you might say going on between these two groups. But then, here's what happens in 1981. A paper surfaces. It's called the Joseph Smith the third blessing and according to this paper. It seems that Joseph Smith did give authority to his son to become the rightful heir.
If Joseph Smith was to pass away. Believe me, folks, I don't think Joseph Smith had any hint that he was going to die at the age of 38 and 1844, but this document surfaces and now the Mormon church is going to have to do some damage control because it appears that this document is vindicating the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, later to be known as the community of Christ before I get into some of the specific things that Gordon B. Hinckley, who at this time was an apostle in the LDS church.
I think we need to give you a little bit of background regarding this paper and the controversies that surrounded it. Yes this document was a forgery and it was put together by a man by the name of Mark Hoffman, and if you want to type that into your computer Mark HO FM a and and you'll find out a lot of information there have been books written on the forgeries. It ended up with bombings, murders, and there's all kinds of intrigue. If you want to do some more research on it, but Mark Hoffman is getting his start in 1981 and I'm reading from the Wikipedia article that's on wikipedia.org and this is what it says in 1981, Hoffman presented the LDS church with the document which supposedly provided evidence that Smith had designated his son Joseph Smith the third, rather than Brigham Young as a successor in a forged cover letter purportedly written by Thomas bullock, and dated January 27, 1865. Bullock chastises Young for having all copies of the blessing destroyed. Bullock writes that although he believes young to be the legitimate leader of the LDS church.
He would keep his copy of the blessing now is the document that Hoffman claims to have such a letter. If true, would portray young and by extension the LDS church in an unfavorable light. In February 1981. He tried to sell the letter to the chief archivist of the LDS church.
He expected the church to quote unquote by the blessing on the spot and bury it. When the archivist balked at the price. Hoffman offered it to the our LDS church, which had always claimed that the line of succession had been bestowed on Smith's descendents, but had never had written proof. I scramble to acquire. The document occurred and Hoffman posing as a faithful Mormon presented it to his church in exchange for items worth more than $20,000. Nevertheless, he also ensure that the document would be made public. The next day. A New York Times headline read Mormon document raises doubts and succession of churches, leaders and the LDS church was forced to confirm the discovery and publicly present the document to the our LDS church during the race by the Utah and Missouri churches to acquire the blessing document Hoffman discovered quote a lever to exercise enormous power over his church." A power to quote menace and manipulate its leaders with nothing more sinister than a sheet of paper." What's fascinating is Hinckley believes that the document is authentic, so much so that in general conference of April 1981 he gives this talk as I mentioned the Joseph Smith. The third document in the keys of the kingdom.
This is what Gordon B. Hinckley said I think I should like to say a few words this afternoon about the recently discovered transcript of a blessing reported to have been given January 17, 1844 by Joseph Smith to his 11-year-old son.
This is received much attention in the media of late. The document is evidently in the handwriting of Thomas bullock, who served as clerk to the prophet. Our historical department secured it in pursuit of their practice of obtaining artifacts of many kinds related to our early history, we determined that we would give full publicity to the discovery even though we were confident that critics knowing little of the factual history of the church would seize upon it as suggesting a flaw in our line of authority now. Eric let me just stop here. In his talk, because now looking back, knowing that the document that he is just mentioned in this conference address is a forgery when he talks about critics and critics suggesting a flaw in our line of authority. I would say no. I would argue it's a flaw in your discernment.
Gordon B. Hinckley fell for this. The first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints fell for this.
They thought this document was authentic, so much so that a whole talk in general conference in 1981 would be dedicated to defending the LDS position and their line of authority as opposed to the community of Christ or reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Let me just say that towards the end of this talk, Gordon B. Hinckley makes a big deal out of this. He says, speaking of the Council of the 12 and Brigham Young and every president of the church since then has come to that, most high, and sacred office out of the Council of the 12.
Each of these men has been blessed with the spirit and power of revelation from on high. There has been on on broken chain from Joseph Smith Junior to Spencer W. Kimball and the reason why of course he mentioned Spencer Kimball is because Kimball at this time is serving as the president of the church. But here's what's fascinating in the last few remarks he makes.
He refers to this document as a precious artifact.
It's not a precious artifact folks. It's a latent forgery done by Mark Hoffman to embarrass the church even though Hoffman was a member of record.
He certainly didn't seem to believe a lot of what Mormonism stood for, but he did know enough about its dubious history to create documents that would cause embarrassment to the church. We have to understand that Mark Hoffman would only give this to the church and trade it for $20,000 with the documents. If it was made public.
And so the church went ahead and said yes and it was the next day that the New York Times has an article that goes all over the United States.
Everybody knows about this is quite embarrassing. And so it was just a couple of weeks earlier from when he gave this talk in April 1981 that they actually traded with the our LDS church they receive some documents in exchange for this blessing and the our LDS church ends up putting it into the doctrine and covenants their own version of it and it was very exciting for them but I want to read the last paragraph what Hinckley said I think everybody needs to hear this and you can go online and see this from April 1981 and check out what the speech is all about and actually has a videotape of Hinckley delivering it. It says this we were glad to see our brethren of the reorganized Church get the document which contains a father's blessing given upon the head of a sunny love. It is a precious artifact with great sentimental value for the family of Joseph Smith.
It does not seriously raise any question concerning the validity of succession in the presidency through the Council of the 12 apostles that that body was established by the prophet, and as it is functioned under the revelations of God, of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Over the next five years.
Gordon Hinckley is very much involved in buying many other documents from Hoffman all forgeries and if you read this talk that he gives in April 1981.
He makes it sound like he wants everybody to have full access to this, but that's not what he did with all these other documents.
They got married in the church archives. For instance, there was a salamander letter that was very embarrassing. They bought that up and didn't tell anybody really about that, but he but Hinckley was very much into trying to embarrass his former church still belonged, but he was not a faithful member, but what I find interesting in the online version of the April 1981 talk that is given by Gordon Hinckley. This is what the editors note says this blessing was later discovered to be a forgery of fact that in no way affects the history of priestess succession in the church or the wisdom of Elder Hinckley's observations herein. What I hear you saying Bill is used to say he did not have wisdom in how he dealt with this issue. Gordon B. Hinckley got played. The leadership of the community of Christ, the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We been discussing this week the leadership of that organization got played, so it makes you asked the question what kind of discernment.
These leaders really have that a man like Mark Hoffman as good a forger as he was could fool these men we know that the LDS church. They give the impression that they have the best discernment available they can speak for the mind of God, and it seems odd to me that God would allow them to be full by this person, and to spend thousands of dollars to buy bogus documents. There were many people who are accepting what Mark Hoffman was doing but one person who did not Gerald Tanner who was the founder with his wife Sandra of the Utah lighthouse ministry and I think that to be pointed out because Mark Hoffman would go visit the tanners and he try to convince them that what he was doing was authentic and Gerald always had his doubts about Mark Hoffman and he told Mark Hoffman that and it really angered Mark Hoffman that the tanners would not accept his his documents tomorrow will continue looking at some of the Scripture as well as doctrines of the community of Christ, headquartered in Independence, Missouri. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information we guarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is