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Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 16: Salt Sermon

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 23, 2020 8:56 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 16: Salt Sermon

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 23, 2020 8:56 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.


Mormonism 101 is a research ministries Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson has helped many to understand what separates Mormonism from the Christian faith. Mormonism 101 is available at your favorite Christian bookstore online. .1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a perspective view .1 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. What was the salt sermon welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we continue our look at a history book titled Saints the standard of truth published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2018 and covers the years 1815 to 1846.

This is volume 1 of a four volume set Eric. We've been discussing. After going through the many topics that we have so far and folks as I mentioned earlier, we do not plan on doing this chapter by chapter were, skipping around but we've been discussing among ourselves, why did the LDS church come out with this history, as opposed to a history that they voted already had in print for many years and that of course is the documentary history of the church, a seven volume set and to be quite honest I like the seven volumes that much better than what I'm finding here but what why do you think the church came out with this and who was it really directed at how many Latter Day Saints to think on the seven volume set.

I doubt very many unless they are somebody who is serious or that that set was passed down from their previous generation. But I think this is more of 1/5 grade writing style that's going to appeal perhaps to even millennial's who might be able to sit down and read this, especially since they have been promoting it.

It has a chapters of it have been published in the inside magazine and so there certainly encouraging that and what you find in here is probably much different than if this book had been written even 10 years previously because they are being honest with a lot of the ideas that led Latter Day Saints didn't know about a decade ago and now this is come out especially with the gospel topics essays just a few years ago they published a series of a dozen essays that a very clearly stated some of the things that we've been talking about, but are kind of embarrassing. I would say what you think. So Bill will we have commented about the higher level of transparency when it comes to some of those embarrassing and even awkward moments in Mormon history, especially dealing with the person of Joseph Smith himself, but a question I'd like to ask you is if you were Latter Day Saints and you have read volume 1 of Saints would you feel comfortable giving this book to a nonmember neighbor. Let's say who is been asking questions about your church. Would you feel comfortable giving them this morning. I don't think I would because there's a lot of honesty in here that the average Latter Day Saints is probably not can be able to answer the questions that people are going to have by reading this and then asking more about Joseph Smith are some of the events that took place in this first volume going all the way until his death, but very interesting question that you're asking because I'm not sure they really intended it for people outside the church's mate made more I think to conform everybody to what the actual history is according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I'm sure there's a lot of opinions out there regarding the purpose of this volume, but today we want to talk about what I think is an embarrassing part of Mormon history. Last week we were talking about some of the bad decisions that Joseph Smith made regarding, for instance, the Kirtland bank and how the Kirtland bank after it folded.

There was a lot of hate and discontent among members in the church against Joseph Smith and this would continue for quite a while now we are getting to 1838 in the book were going to begin with. Page 313 when we talk about Sidney Rigdon and his salt sermon, as it came to be known now.

Who is Sidney Rigdon was just Who he is.

He's, like, the second in command under Joseph Smith right now. Sidney Rigdon had an interesting personality. He tended to say what he thought and sometimes in doing so he could get his church in trouble, but don't just blame Sidney Rigdon Joseph Smith didn't help any. Because some of the things that Sidney Rigdon did Joseph Smith approved of and really talk about that and in this particular case, you have a number of people in the church who were expressing very harsh criticism against Joseph Smith for some of the decisions that he's made and and is still making to work gets to a point with Sidney Rigdon that he's had enough of this and now he's going to lower the hammer on these people and he's going to condemn them publicly. And as we get to page 313, we find that there were more and more dissenters and it mentions how shortly after Oliver Cowdrey's hearing, the high Council had excommunicated David Witmer and Lyman Johnson. Now I know were throwing out a lot of names and this could be very confusing. I think for even members in the church are not very familiar with their own history.

I don't mean to cloud the issue with all these names is just important to throw them in their to let you know who was involved here and so would it mentions. For instance, Oliver Cowdrey, his hearing and it mentions David Witmer will we know that those are two of the three witnesses to the authenticity of the book of Mormon. If you open up any copy of the book of Mormon. You will see Oliver Cowdrey's testimony and David Witmer's testimony because they are one of the so-called three witnesses. Then there's also Lyman Johnson, who plays a pretty important role in early Mormon history, but this is not long after that the bishop's counsel had rebuked William McClellan for losing confidence in the first presidency and indulging in lustful desires know what's interesting about this as we know from other Mormon historians character assassination was not uncommon during this time so you can come to take that with a light these the pond, but a grain of salt because some of these guys I think have some real serious accusations and of course the church tried to push back by making their character look questionable. What when we see that William McClellan had lost confidence in the first presidency and his adult in lustful desires. We talked last week about Joseph Smith and Fanny agar and that whole situation. I mean that wasn't dealing with lustful desires and then later Joseph Smith is going to marry almost 3 dozen women. That's not lustful desire what we notice in this story, though Eric is what we see really today and that is the subject of projection projection is when you accuse other people of doing what you're doing and giving the impression that you were clean of these discretions but your opponent however is really involved in these things, but yet you're doing it were going to see projection being done in this time.

In 1838. Around the middle of 1838 we start reading at the bottom of page 313.

William had since left the church and moved away from far west but Oliver David and other dissenters had remained in the area and we should mention that Far West is a Mormon settlement in Missouri at this time. That's what it's talking about for West in June.

Sidney Rigdon had condemned these men publicly echoing language from the sermon on the mount. He compared them to salt that had lost its savor good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden underfoot.

Afterward, Joseph expressed his support for the rebuke. Although we urge the saints to obey the law as they dealt with the sent okay so Sidney Rigdon as I mentioned gets a little bit tired of all these accusations being made at not only Joseph Smith but the leadership of the church which would include himself because he is a leader at this time. As I mentioned earlier, he's right under Joseph Smith. So he comes up with this sermon.

It says in June the exact date was June 17, 1838 now Sidney Rigdon is pretty much known for two sermons that he gave one of them is this sermon on June 17, 1838 and another was what was called the July 4 or ration. Do not confuse the two. They are different sermons and basically they address two separate topics. This one deals with dissension in the church and how to deal with those that are criticizing the leadership in the July 4 or ration deals with Sidney Rigdon's concerns, problems and discontent with the critics outside the church as well. III agree with you that we cannot put these two sermons together and yet I was just looking on the Internet and it seems like that is a common complaint that many people do with Sidney Rigdon is put these two would make them the same, but I think this book doesn't really do a good job of helping us to distinguish the two sermons because they can't go back and forth and they will say it back in June and then July 4 but it back and forth. I think the average reader could get confused even by reading the churches own history book and I think you're right and that's one of the criticisms that I have with this book. Unlike the documentary history of the church, which seems to flow in a chronological order, and a lot of the incidences are specifically dated this one does seem to go back-and-forth like a movie you have one scene and all of a sudden you're going back in time to give you a little bit of what led up to this particular time. In the film and that can be very confusing even myself when I'm reading this I have to pay careful attention to the names and the and the time. Otherwise I'm going to get them confused number.

Why is this happening now. Well, that's the reason why this is happening now is because they've gone back in time and we know that there were a number of contributors to this book and their names are given at the front of the book as well as some acknowledgments in the back. No, last week, Eric. We had mentioned that we had noticed the similarity between some of the things that are written in this book, saints, and some of the things that Richard L bushman put in his book rough Stone rolling Richard bushman's name is not listed among the acknowledgments and is also not considered a contributor to the book but there's another name that seems to tie bushman with this book. So even though we might see a similarity to the book. It may not be bushman himself who wrote what is in that book.

At that time is what I'm trying to say it. And you're right on that bushman's name is not found in saints, but we have a at the beginning of Joseph Smith. Rough Stone rolling that bushman wrote that we been quoting from these past few weeks. It has been on the main page with the assistance of Jed Woodworth and Jed Woodworth is in this saints. Volume the standard of truth. He is one of two historical review editors so we do have a tie-in possibly maybe Woodworth had some information that he included in the book here that he had helped bushman with we don't know exactly how that work but sometimes when we been looking at bushman's book on the same events is what this the standard of truth is saying we find very similar language in very much the same order and we would highly recommend reading Richard L. Bushman's book rough Stone rolling. I think he feels in a lot of the links if you will that we do not find in this new volume called saints. But tomorrow were going to be looking at another Mormon author, a man by the name of Richard Van Wagoner, who wrote a book titled Sidney Rigdon a portrait of religious excess. And since, in tomorrow's show were going to be dealing more specifically with the salt sermon in the history behind it. Why not go to a book that was written about Sidney Rigdon by a Mormon historian that gives us a lot of interesting I think.

Information regarding his person, as well as some of the things that he said in this speech that certainly I think also caused a lot of problems for the latter-day Saints in tomorrow's show we are going to go into more detail regarding the salt sermon. Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is

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