First, I have to say that although the article lists the man as an emeritus "General Authority," I do not agree.
Area authorities are only a half-step above stake presidents and are below Seventies. Also, since they are NOT listed in the Church Almanac, they are NOT true general authorities.
The 4 church doctrines the man told the N.Y. Times he questions have been around for decades and pre-date the Internet.
Also, I find it simply startling that the man didn't find these questions decades ago and he just now tries to come to grips with them then?
Where has he been for decades?
He just now comes up with these rather common questions? Curious and curious.
In my case, I believe the Web has made my testimony stronger, not weaker.
I offer this blog as some possible answers to the man in question -- and others -- who need their testimony jumpstarted.
I now examine the 4 church doctrines the man questions in some detail:
1. Why the church portrays Joseph Smith as translating the Book of Mormon from golden plates, when some witnesses say he looked down into a hat at a “peep stone,” rock?
This claim pre-dates my life.
Why does it matter the HOW the Book of Mormon was translated? We have it now and the proof is in the reading of it and the living of its teachings.
Anyone hung up on this claim has a testimony based on facts and history, not on faith and spiritual power.
I still believe the Book of Mormon came from golden plates, but the vehicle Joseph Smith used to translate it is of far lesser importance, though it makes sense he had to use some aid, since he wasn't a scholar.
And, you'd got to judge that question by its context. This question first came back in Joseph Smith's lifetime, when searching for treasure was a fad, and "peep stone" is a term from that era, not from our time.
2. Why were blacks prohibited from the priesthood from the 1850s, until 1978?
All worthy black men in the church have access to the full priesthood now, so the past is much less a question now.
The Lord doesn't tell us, or even the Prophets everything.
I'm sure the Lord has his reasons for a ban in the priesthood. We will know what it was someday, but it is not a key question worth losing sleep, or your testimony over.
3. Why is the Book of Abraham, in the Standard Works, claimed to be a translation of ancient writings, when Egyptologists now claim the papyrus Joseph Smith used had nothing to do with Abraham?
How many church members today have read All the Book of Abraham?
I bet, not many. (Too many read the Book of Mormon over and over again and that's all.)
You've got gems, like the Theory of Relativity, showing up in the Book of Abraham.
Again, its proof is in its content -- divine content -- not how it came about.
Science is always at odds with the Gospel in some manner and always will be -- in a Telestial World -- where faith is the prime quality needed.
I trust Joseph Smith and that he did translate ancient writings into the Book of Abraham, far more than what any scholar may claim othwerwise.
4. Is it true that Joseph Smith took dozen of women as wives, some very young and some possibly still married to other men?
Again, these sort of claims have been around for more than 1 1/2 centuries.
Godhead, in a true eternal context, means an exalted man has MANY exalted wives in an infinite marriage situation.
Any concerns, or questions about that aspect will disappear in a nanosecond once people regain their full memories of life before birth-- and know (again) that plural marriage is the norm among Gods.
You can't argue against the eternal and we -- those now on earth -- are offspring of that process.
Did Joseph Smith marry young women, or those already married?
Times were different in the 1830s and early 1840s. I'm certain laws and a low marriage age were not as strict, and records weren't as absolute then.
Also, I'm certain some women wanted to be married to the Prophet and may have tried to spread rumors they were secretly married to him.
Also, marriage on Earth and in eternity are two different things. Only God sanctions eternal marriage.
Furthermore, a women could perhaps be married to Joseph Smith for eternity, but not for "time" (on earth).
(I suspect there will a lot of changes in eternal marriage partners during the Millennium.)
Again, I trust Joseph Smith in the matter of marriage and know he did right as best he could. But also, we should not judge others, since we don't know a person's heart or thinking.
God told Joseph Smith that which is wrong under some circumstances, might be right under other circumstances.
So, judge not, lest ye be judged.
Either Joseph Smith was a prophet, or he wasn't. It's a package deal. You can't cherry pick and choose what you will and won't believe.
Yes, his wife Emma had incredible ordeals to go through regarding plural marriage. Almost any woman would have that.
But ancient prophets took wives and concubines in the Old Testament. They key question is if God sanctioned them to do so.
I believe Joseph Smith had God's sanction in ALL his plural marriages. End of the debate.---------------------------------------------------------------------
-If you want to read the New York Times article, go to:
NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are the author's conclusions and opinions only.