Society Magazine

What In The World Is Going On With The Church Leaders Lately?

By Rockwaterman
What In The World Is Going On With The Church Leaders Lately?Previously: Religious Exemptions: You Don't Need Your Bishop's Permission

Many thousands of devout members of the church are understandably confused by recent statements of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve. Setting aside some of the more bizarre presentations heard at general conference last week, what most disturbs these faithful members is how blatantly the leaders have been lying to them.
The most notable falsehood was the official statement by the First Presidency encouraging members to submit to the Covid "vaccine," wherein they made the outrageous claim that the shot has been "proven safe and effective." 
The reason these members find that statement troubling is because those who have been following the actual science know it is an outright lie. The data simply doesn't exist to support such an outrageous claim.  The very reason the FDA has not approved those medicines manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson is specifically because there has not been adequate time to test them to find out if they are safe and effective.  All the data so far shows the opposite to be true. A report released just this yesterday shows that the covid shot kills five times more people than it saves.
Just as this controversy was really heating up, I was shown this report about an admission made by Elder Ronald Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve:

"Elder Rasband was speaking at a meeting in Boise last week.  Our nephew was in attendance. Someone asked about the vaccine and Elder Rasband responded that each person should understand that the Church is being threatened and sued on a continual basis.  The CDC has the Church in their crosshairs.  This request for the members to participate in the vaccine was simply to reduce liability for the Church from the government.  He said that members are to go to the Lord with this...and do what feels right for them.  This has never been, nor ever will be a commandment."

Whew! Well, that's a relief, ain't it? So members of the Church aren't really being told to take the vaccine after all! It's just a ploy to keep the government at bay. 
But hold on a second... doesn't that raise at least two very troubling questions?

1. Given that members of the Church are raised to believe that when the president of the Church speaks he is relating instructions directly from God, is it then moral for President Nelson to put the lives of the saints at risk just to keep a government agency off his back?
2.  Since our constitution prohibits the government from dictating policy to any religious entity, what possible jurisdiction can the government claim that would give one of its agencies authority to make demands on a church? 

Allow me to take a stab at answering those questions:
1. No, it is not moral. 
2. The reason the federal government has jurisdiction over the LDS Church is because the LDS /Church is not really a church.

Oh, it used to be, make no mistake about that. The church that was organized by Joseph Smith and five others on April 6th, 1830 had been properly organized under American common law principles.  And like every other church in its day, the Church of Christ (as it was originally known) stood independent of, and immune from, governmental interference. But in 1851 Brigham Young directed the territorial legislature to convert the church into a  corporation under federal law. That shadow "Church" was now a creature of the federal government, and in 1887 the United States government, as was its right, dissolved that territorial corporation and directed federal marshals to seize its assets. We came within an inch of losing Temple Square.
The lesson that should have been learned by that scary episode (but was not) is this: The State giveth, and the State taketh away.
Because 36 years later Church lawyers convinced President Heber J. Grant to incorporate the church under a model identical to that held by the Catholic Pope.  In addition to several unscriptural "improvements" to its operation, this corporate charter legally changed the name of the Church to reflect the executive office held by a man.[1]  All this was done in secret without informing the members, who up until then had been the rightful Holders of Interest in the church. 
[1] "How be it my church," Jesus asked rhetorically, "save it be called in my name? If it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man."  Ever wonder why the Lord saw fit to point that out? Other than the Lutheran church, I can think of no other church at the time that was named after a man, so what do you think compelled the Lord to even bring that topic up? Well, perhaps he was preparing us for a future event. The actual, legally recognized name of the LDS church today is The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or "Corporation of the President" for short.  The fact that the corporate charter is named after the president is a clear indication that for the past 96 years, this "church" has been named after a man. 

If the Church held the same status under the law as when it was organized in 1830, it would be directed by those principles contained in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants.  Alas, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was long ago converted from a church into a Corporation Sole, an act that gutted the Church's basic structure and gave the erstwhile "Church" an entirely different status, leaving it vulnerable to the whims of societal change. To read a detailed explanation of how it all went wrong, see "How Corporatism Has Undermined and Subverted The Church of Jesus Christ."
Whereas the church that was founded by Joseph Smith operated under the distinct doctrines revealed by Christ, The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates under the doctrine of political expediency. By definition, any church that has been incorporated cannot claim the Lord Jesus Christ as its sovereign head. In an incorporated church, the State is sovereign.
That's not just speculation on my part; it's a legal reality. What it all translates to is this: if the Board of Directors of the Corporation of the President expect to keep the Corporation intact, at times they will be forced by circumstances to set aside the religion. This abandonment of principle has occurred many more times than we would like to believe, as documented here.
But That Was Only The Beginning
Converting what was once a religious society of equals into a corporate entity controlled by a single man at the top was just phase one of the transformation. In the middle part of the last century, leaders of the LDS Church, along with those of many other denominations, were tricked into applying for special 501(c)3 status under Title 26 of the United States Code. This status, government lawyers assured them, would provide their churches special benefits, as well as guarantee their churches remained exempt from taxation.
But Churches were already non-taxable, and guaranteed to remain so under the First Amendment to the Constitution. That exclusion is still plainly codified in the government's own Code of Federal Regulations at 26 IRC 508 (c)(1)(A). But Americans in the 1950s tended to completely trust their government, so when the government began actively promoting a way for churches to better protect their assets, it was an easy sell. Most churches, including our own, willingly signed up.
Well, it was a scam.  Known as The Johnson Amendment after its chief promoter, senator and future president Lyndon B. Johnson (according to this guy, the 'B' stands for "Butthole"), the law had one purpose and one purpose only: to neuter and muzzle America's churches.  According to author David Fiorazo:
What In The World Is Going On With The Church Leaders Lately?"Texas Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was a powerful politician running for reelection as Senator, but two anti-communist, tax-exempt groups were opposing him and passing out literature during the campaigns. He contacted the IRS and found the group’s activity was legal, so he sought other options to fight them. 
"Johnson shrewdly appeared on the Senate floor on July 2, 1954, and offered his amendment to a pending, massive, tax code overhaul bill. The bill was supposed to modernize the tax code. Records indicate an absence of committee hearings on the amendment. No legislative analysis took place to examine the effect the bill and the amendment would have, particularly on churches and religious organizations. The amendment was simply created to protect Johnson." (The Cost of Our Silence: Consequences of Christians Taking the Path of Least Resistance.)
Under this radical overhaul of the tax code, churches were now restricted as to what could be preached from the pulpit. If they dared talk about the bible as it relates to cultural, political, fiscal, and social issues, they were in danger of losing their tax exempt status. If a pastor preached contrary to what the courts refer to as "fundamental public policy" he was walking a thin line.
If you remember LDS Church leaders preaching vigorously against abortion in the nineteen sixties, and you were puzzled when they suddenly seemed to shut up about it following the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade; or if you wondered why Gordon Hinckley, in his wishy-washy conference talk on the Iraq war did not once reference the many places in our scriptures that clearly prohibit God's people from participating in pre-emptive warfare; well now you have your answer. In the LDS Church of today, the revealed word of God is disallowed where it contradicts government practices and policies.
The Church Of Public Policy Of Latter-day Saints
Our leaders have not forgotten the beating the Church took in 1887 when their predecessors were on the losing side of a battle with the feds.  As Denver Snuffer documented at the 2014 Sunstone Conference, every major policy change in the Church since then has been the result of the Church bowing to political and social pressure from outside the Church.  Not one of these changes has come by way of revelation from God.  Don't believe me? Look around. When was the last time you saw any president of the Church issue even one bona fide revelation the way Joseph Smith did on a regular basis?
No one really knows where the courts will draw the line on "fundamental public policy" so preaching the gospel with boldness can be risky. The primary reason why incorporated Churches will do anything to avoid a confrontation with civil authorities, even to the point of giving up religious principles, has been neatly summarized by author Jerry Finney:
What In The World Is Going On With The Church Leaders Lately?"The IRS determines, subject to costly and time-consuming challenge, whether a restriction has been breached by a 501(c)3 organization. These restrictions subject a religious organization to suit in the courts for violating a federal government law. Fundamental public law is above biblical principle if the two conflict."  (Jerald Finney, Separation of Church and State: God's Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? pg 37.)  

Because the LDS Church today is a legal entity and no longer a spiritual one, it's safer to avoid making waves.  The bottom line is that our leaders have sold us out. The Lord said we cannot serve both God and mammon. They chose mammon.

"When a church incorporates, it becomes a 'creature' of the state. Having created the incorporated church, the State governs them via corporate law and public policy, grants and revokes privileges, burdens them, restricts them, penalizes them, and can dissolve them." (Peter Kershaw, "Does the Government Control Our Churches?")
Remember how, until very recently, Church leaders vigorously resisted any hint of accommodation toward homosexuality?  And did you notice how quickly the Church began to palliate its position as soon as it became apparent the Supreme Court would be ruling in favor of same-sex marriage?  What you're seeing is the Church that used to be directed by Jesus Christ frantically trying not to displease its new master.
Fellow blogger Anonymous Bishop tells of a priesthood meeting he conducted where he, as the bishop, had made an innocuous statement on the importance of standing up for traditional values.  After they dismissed, a general authority who happened to be a member of his ward asked to see the bishop in his office. He gave the bishop a very stern look.
"He then proceeded to warn me to 'not get ahead of the Brethren on these issues.' He said, 'Things are changing in the church and it’s important we await further direction from the prophets.' ”
One has to ask: further direction from the prophets, or further direction from the State?
The bishop tells how, back in 2008, this same general authority had actively encouraged members in that very ward to do all they could to work for passage of California's Proposition 8, stressing how important it was for the Church and its members to "continue fighting on these eternally important issues."
"But now, only a few years later, the same church leader was warning me, as his bishop, to 'not get ahead of the brethren' as the church 'upgrades' its position."
This is why the Church in recent years has spent so much time and energy instructing local leaders on the importance of following the Church Handbook of Instruction. When government lawyers are investigating an incorporated church for infractions, they aren't interested in that Church's religious beliefs. What they want to see is the Church's policies, practices, and procedures. I've been on the phone with three former bishops who all informed me they had been instructed by their higher-ups that the CHI is the only source they are to consult in the performance of their duties, barring even the scriptures. This would also explain why the Church released a training video back when Monson was President featuring Monson actually testifying of the Church Handbook, and did so in the name of Jesus Christ!
If that doesn't qualify as taking the name of the Lord in vain, I don't know what does.

The thing that made Monson's odd testimony all the more disconcerting to me is that at least one blogger has noted and documented that in the past ten years, Thomas Monson "has not borne testimony of any of his own Church’s unique foundational doctrines, including the truth of the Book of Mormon or the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith in any of the church’s General Conference meetings"
But he enthusiastically bears his testimony of the corporate handbook.
Painting Themselves Into A Corner
As I pointed out in my blog post of August 29th, when the First Presidency issued its egregious policy recommendation, they made no pretense that they were relaying a message from God.  Yet I've heard numerous otherwise good members insist that "the Lord will never let the president of the church lead us astray."  Why do they believe such nonsense?  God never made that promise.
So now the Brethren find themselves in the unenviable position of having to try to justify a teaching that the Lord has not backed them up on, while at the same time trying not to appear to be backbedaling. Perhaps they weren't expecting such a massive pushback from even their most devoted followers.   Hence we have Rasband awkwardly admitting that really, this was all for show, and members don't have to take that instruction to heart. 

If the leaders really want this headache to go away, they could easily solve all their problems by dis-incorporating the Church. That would place them once again under the protection of the first amendment to the constitution, removing the church from any and all interference from government harrasment.
But this they will not do. As Moroni observed when looking into the Church in our day, "ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches..." The risk in dis-incorporating the Church is the very real certainty that all those perks the Brethren enjoy would evaporate, and they would be forced to get regular jobs between conference gigs just like the Book of Mormon says they should.
As I related in an earlier post, Congressman George Hansen confided in me some years ago that he personally knew several general authorities who would prefer the Church rescind its corporate status. He did not name those particular apostles, but he did say they differed from the newcomers in that the old school apostles were firmly rooted in the doctrines of the faith. Those general authorities are all dead now, replaced by corporate yes-men who can't imagine the Church operating in any other form than the business model they have grown accustomed to.
I grew up in a different era. I can't imagine such theological giants as LeGrand Richards, Mark Petersen, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard Hunter, Harold B. Lee, Joseph Fielding Smith, or even Bruce McConkie sitting still while their lesser informed Brethren gutted the church of its core teachings and turned it into the obvious counterfeit it is today.
The good news is this: leaders can only lead as long as they can hold on to a cadre of followers. So maybe the upside of this is that devout believers will finally stop trusting in the arm of flesh and re-learn the imporance of having an eye single to the glory of God.  It is possible -indeed preferable- for members of the Lord's church to affirm the divine role of the prophet Joseph Smith, embrace the Book of Mormon, and celebrate the Restored gospel, while still concluding that the current leaders are seriously lacking inspiration. "Hold fast to that which is true," the apostle Paul taught. That also requires letting go of that which is not true. Tens of thousands of devout believers worldwide have been learning to do that for the past several years now. You can, too. 

I highly doubt the Church will be reformed from within, because that would require the current administrators giving up all that wealth, power, and adoration.  I get the sense they don't have the moral capacity to do that.
Notes & Asides:
Much of the information in this post was previously covered in a couple of posts I wrote back in 2015. Rather than recreate that information from scratch, I lifted whole sections for inclusion in this one. There was a whole lot left behind and not included in here, so if you would like to see the originals, here they are:
The Real Threat to Traditional Marriage Part Three
The Hidden Reason for the Policy Change on Baptisms
From way back in 2010, here's the granddaddy of Momon hidden history, courtesy of information provided mostly by Damon Smith who worked deep in the bowels of the magisterium.  He's the guy who revealed the real name of the church, and that one arm of the corporation, Intellectual Reserve, maintains ownership of the name "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" as a trademark rather than as the actual name of the entity:
How Corporatism Has Undermined and Subverted The Church of Jesus Christ
Finally (for now), a reminder that there have been several updates to my last blog post, consisting mostly of important information you'll need to know if you intend to challenge the vaccine mandates (if and when those mandates ever go into effect).  Go to that site and scroll down to the bottom (just before the comments begin):
Religious Exemptions: You Don't Need the Approval of Your Bishop


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