Taken from the blog To the Remnant by Adrian Larsen
This post is a continuation of parts 1 and 2. If you haven't read them yet, I'd start there.
I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, called by God, authorized to teach, and given God's word for the world. I believe he taught pure truth, though to a largely unreceptive audience.
I believe truth, and only truth, gives us power to exercise faith unto life and salvation, so I have a real problem when falsehoods are taught in Joseph's name, with a design to manipulate the gullible and confuse the ill-informed.
Trusting your eternal salvation to such falsehoods is beyond dangerous. It is damning.
I want to know what Joseph knew. He parted the heavens, stood in the presence of God, and received the promise of eternal life. Therefore I'm keenly interested in ANYTHING Joseph taught.
And I'm keenly UNINTERESTED in falsehoods attributed to Joseph that he did NOT teach.
It's vital to know the difference.
Previously, we've examined some of the quotations attributed to Joseph Smith, Jr. in the
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith manual, Chapter 27: Beware the Bitter Fruits of Apostasy.
We need to continue with a couple more. Let's start with this gem:
"I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives."
This particular quote is cited as follows:
History of the Church, 3:385; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on July 2, 1839, in Montrose, Iowa; reported by Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards.
Therefore, this quote is cited from three sources:
The quote does indeed appear in Source 1, History of the Church, but that's not the original source. History of the Church simply lifted the quote from the other two sources, as follows:
First is Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, where we find the lengthy notes Woodruff took during the meeting in question. Trouble is, Woodruff's Journal completely omits this quote, though it directly (and without interruption) supplies the rest of the sermon used in History of the Church.
The other source is Willard Richards' Pocket Companion, which does contain this quote.
OK, so got that so far? Woodruff omits this paragraph from the sermon. Richards has this paragraph in the middle of the sermon. Woodruff, no. Richards, yes.
Woodruff, who was present at the meeting in question, is considered the most reliable source because he recorded the notes of the meeting while in attendance. But this quote does not appear in that record. The sermon before and after this quote appears there uninterrupted, but the quoted paragraph is completely absent.
Richards' Pocket Companion is actually a collection of material Willard Richards copied from other sources. Therefore, though this material appears there, Richards was not actually present when Joseph gave this sermon, and Richards copied the material from elsewhere, most likely Wilford Woodruff’s journal. As to how the quote in question got into Richards' Pocket Companion while NOT appearing in the original record is a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from. It is therefore hearsay and not a historical record.
We are left to wonder where Richards obtained the quote and why he stuck it in the middle of a sermon he didn’t hear Joseph give. There is no original source that contains this quotation, and Richards was on a mission in England when Joseph was supposed to have said it.
The quote's dubious provenance is not helped by its doctrinal difficulties. For example, scripture is replete with true prophets, called of God, who did indeed "rise up to condemn others, finding fault with the church, saying they are out of the way." Some obvious examples are as follows:
In fact, you can pretty much summarize the mission of any true prophet as calling people to repentance. (D&C 11:9) How is this not " condemn[ing] others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way?"
Therefore, since Joseph Smith himself was "on the high road to apostasy" if this quote were true, it is utterly preposterous that Joseph Smith ever said this. Nobody quite knows where this quote came from, but it wasn't Joseph Smith.
Orson Hyde, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, reported:
"Joseph the Prophet … said, 'Brethren, remember that the majority of this people will never go astray; and as long as you keep with the majority you are sure to enter the celestial kingdom.'"
The reference given in the church manual for this quote is as follows:
Orson Hyde, Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, June 21, 1870, p. 3.
Now, the first thing you need to know is that this is how the church manuals cite early General Conference talks to avoid citing them from the controversial Journal of Discourses where the talks actually appear. Since the talks were also published in the Deseret News, the church cites them there. But good luck finding the original newspaper reference! You’ll have to go to the Journal of Discourses if you want to actually read the talk.
The statement can be found in the Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, page 367 in an address by Orson Hyde entitled "Punctual Payment of Debts," given at the tabernacle on May 5, 1870 while Hyde was serving as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
In this sermon he chastised the saints for being slow to pay their debts, and encouraged them to get out of debt.
Here are the relevant facts:
But...Hyde was an apostle when he made this statement! In fact he was President of the quorum! Therefore he is trustworthy...right?
Ramifications of this doctrine:
Here is perhaps the strongest repudiation of this false doctrine: The vast majority of the church, the Twelve and the records currently teach and believe the false doctrine that tells us we will never fall for a false doctrine! Now that’s clever! The Devil has actually managed to lead us astray with the appealing idea that we can never be led astray!
This is the same illogic Nephi warned us about: "[A]nd he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance." (2 Ne. 28:22)
No wonder the devil looks up and laughs, having a great chain in his hand. (Moses 7:26)