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Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 17: The Salt Sermon (Part 2)

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 24, 2020 8:00 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 17: The Salt Sermon (Part 2)

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 24, 2020 8:00 pm

This is the fourth week of a series of articles on the 2018 history manual titled Saints: The Standard of Truth. Today Bill and Eric take a closer look at the Salt Sermon part 2.


Viewpoint is the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 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 so glad to be with us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host Bill McKeever Felder director Mormonism research ministry in with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we continue looking at the book Saints. The standard of truth published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2018.

It is a replacement volume for the documentary history of the church, a seven volume set. This is volume 1 that were looking at.

There are going to be four volumes total in today we are continuing our look at what came to be known as the salt sermon, a speech given by Sidney Rigdon in response to a lot of the complaints that were being raised by members in the church against not only the leadership of the church.

But Joseph Smith. In particular, and as I mentioned yesterday, Sidney Rigdon had finally gotten fed up with a lot of these criticisms. And now he's going to come out with a message threatening those critics of the church and yesterday show I mention how we are going to be looking at a book titled Sidney Rigdon a portrait of religious excess written by a Mormon by the name of Richard Van Wagoner and the reason why we felt it important to go into this book is because Mr. Van Wagoner gives is a lot more details regarding this salt sermon than it does in the book Saints. Now we admit this new volume is a lot more honest and open and a lot of their historical works of the past, but still there is much that could be said and I don't want to sound like were criticizing them because they didn't put everything in it that we think they should put in there, but I think it helps you, our listeners to know a little bit of this background so it makes a bit more sense than what you might get from just reading the book Saints but on page 218 of Sidney Rigdon, a portrait of religious success. Richard Van Wagoner says this although a complete text of Rigdon speech is not extent. Several listeners recorded portions of this protocol to arms at the time it was given read pack recalled Rigdon in his introduction, declaring that quote unquote some certain characters in Far West had been crying quote you have broken the law. You have acted contrary to the principles of Republicanism" resorting to his trademark exclusivist ideology.

Rigdon reasoned that quote when a county or body of people have individuals among them, with whom they do not wish to associate in a public expression is taken against the remaining among them, and such individuals do not remove it is the principle of Republicanism itself that gives that community a right to expel them forcibly and no law will prevented" now it's interesting about this. Eric is yesterday I was talking about projection when someone accuses someone else of doing the very things that they themselves are doing.

Doesn't it seem a bit ironic that they are running into conflict with locals in Missouri at this time who really want to get the Mormons out of their hair and out of their sight.

The Mormons are upset about people wanting to expel them from a certain area but yet here we have Sidney Rigdon advocating the very same thing when it comes to dissenters within the LDS church at this time. I just find the irony to be fascinating to me that they don't seem to have a problem in what they are wanting to accomplish but they don't like it when others are trying to force their will on them. He goes on and writes Rigdon focused his intense hatred for dissenters by adapting Matthew 513 in defense of his political purposes. Quote Ye are the salt of the earth. If the salt has lost its savor.

It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men." Observers noted that the eloquent preacher than with the crowd to a frenzy by proclaiming that it was quote the duty of this people to trample the dissenters into the earth, and if the county cannot be freed from them any other way. I will assist to trample them down or to erect a gallows on the square of Far West and hang them up as they did the gamblers at Vicksburg and it would be an act at which the Angels would smile with approbation" boy I sure wish we had the entire manuscript of this sermon. It's too bad that we have to rely on the secondhand accounts but it shows just how serious the LDS leadership was willing to go when it comes to threatening these people that are criticizing the leadership. Let's be honest here, though, folks. We know that the Mormon church is not behave itself like this any longer but yet how many Latter Day Saints and we talk to Eric who have decided to leave the church and have found themselves the victim of character assassination by those that they have left behind. Now the church does not discuss why people are excommunicated, they normally don't make it a habit to discuss what goes on in the secret excommunication trials.

I guess I could use that word. That's the way it was understood it was once called the bishops court, but they don't talk about that publicly.

So you, lift your own imagination unless the individual themselves tell you why they left and why they were excommunicated, but certainly we find here Rigdon wanting to get rid of the critics. Now you might think well this is just Sidney Rigdon.

Sidney Rigdon is a hothead.

Sidney Rigdon says things from the top of his head that we find out later that a lot of people close to him probably wish he never said, but what does it say in the The prophet delivered a short speech sanctioning Rigdon's address, though, said he I don't want the brother to act unlawfully but I will tell them one thing Judas was a traitor and instead of hanging himself was hung by Peter. Okay he stuck his head, Eric. Let's say you're listening to the salt sermon by Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, now gets up and as Van Wagoner says the prophet delivered a short speech sanctioning Rigdon's address.

In other words, he is approving of what Rigdon said though with the qualification.

I don't want the brethren to act unlawfully goes on to say, but I will tell them one thing Judas was a traitor and instead of hanging himself was home by Peter Bill. I don't know of any New Testament manuscript that would say anything close to this that so this is something that he has come up with because of his prophetic insight and I'm going to say that he has no support from any documents we have let you talk about Joseph Smith and the comment that you recorded here okay here's what I find interesting. Let me ask you Eric. If you were hearing what Joseph Smith said, how would you interpret that I would think that it would be lawful then to kill somebody who was a traitor to your cause. But at the same time he saying don't act unlawfully see the confusion here is Mrs. don't act unlawfully but did you know that Judas was a traitor and instead of hanging himself was hung by Peter will okay how my supposed to take that hanging people or is the word was back then it is today lynching someone was certainly illegal. Why would he say that I don't understand why he says it at all because as you mentioned, there's no historical evidence. And there's no textual evidence for our New Testament that gives any indication that Judas was hanged by Peter. In fact, we need only go to the Joseph Smith translation that Smith claimed he finished in 1833 were in Matthew chapter 27 is found in verse six it says, and he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed courses.

The speaking of Judas and went and hanged himself on a tree, and straightway he fell down in his bowels gushed out and he died. Now here in this account. Joseph Smith is recorded as saying that Judas hanged himself that the deed was done by Peter himself. But in Joseph Smith's translation of the New Testament. Here in Matthew chapter 27 it says very clearly that Judas hanged himself and not only that, what is he do, he conflates the two passages are referring to this death of Judas. Matthew 27, five in the regular version of the Bible is going to have that that he hanged himself and then in acts chapter 1 verse 18 it said that his bowels gushed out.

So what he does as he touches the passage and he puts the two together and so showing that he must've thought as I think is a good conclusion that Judas did die by hanging as well as the falling down it will finish the job. There would Joseph Smith seems to have done is by completing these two accounts. The one here in Matthew and the other in the book of acts. He answers the question the way I would say most Christian apologists would answer the Mormon might say will. Those are two contradictions. No really, they're not. The two go together and I think what Joseph Smith is done here is okay. Judas hangs himself. Then after a period of time of this body hanging out there detain for how long. Nobody knows, but eventually something happened you the rope breaks or the knot comes untied the body falls and he is body verse open, but what did he not add in Joseph Smith does not add in that Peter has anything to do with the death of Judas. He hanged himself is how he puts it exactly. So what we have here.

If anything else is a contradiction between Joseph Smith's inspired version of the Bible, known as the Joseph Smith translation in Matthew chapter 27 and the comment that's been attributed to Joseph Smith here by Richard Van Wagoner on page 218 of his book, portrait of religious success.

Again, though I think the question needs to be asked, how would someone hearing Joseph Smith say this understand Joseph Smith what do you think he's implying it seems pretty clear to me personally that even though he saying I don't want you to act unlawfully at the same time it seems like you can righteously act unlawfully by taking the law into your own hands and now you're going to punish these dissenters in a way that is been described as well. I would say something to be taken very seriously. Rigdon and Smith are both leaders of this church, and while they may not have actually committed any of the murders are to take place in the next few months and some of the unrest that takes place between the people in Missouri versus the Latter Day Saints there so I think responsible because as leaders they have an opportunity to squash any kind of rebellion any kind of hatred toward the. The enemies are people who are leaving their their movement and yet here we have Rigdon giving a very fiery sermon the salt sermon and you have Joseph Smith approving of it and saying something that is at best is just confusing. Tomorrow were going to continue looking at this wholesome room because there's a lot of things involved in this to get a good grasp of the claimant. What was going on in June 1838. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information is research ministry.

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