The desire for self-preservation is one thing that a lot of disciples don’t understand in others and this is the thing that frustrated the building of Zion in the early Mormon Church for they were a threat to the system. We have all heard the stories about the early Mormons and how they bragged to their neighbors that they were going to take over the world someday – that Zion was going to be built and there would be no room for outsiders. That was a big threat and it really alarmed non-Mormons. One thing the disciples of this age have to learn is to not present themselves as a threat to the system or a threat to anybody.
There is a principle which is called; “the principle of harmlessness” and this must be learned by the disciples of this age because the disciples of this time are different than any other age. This is the age where we finally reach a point where we have the intelligence and the spiritual evolution to cause the true creation of Zion. One of the reasons it will be created is because the laborers will understand the principles of creation. They will understand the principle of harmlessness and not present themselves as a threat to the people. That has always been the problem in the past.
Look at Jesus and the apostles back in His day. When the early Christian Church started they killed all the apostles then they found the Christians and threw them to the lions and did everything they could to destroy the entire Christian Church. Why? Because, Rome saw the Christians as a threat to their system, and other religions saw them as a threat as well. In order to create anything in this world you have to not be overly threatening to the powers that be. Now many people are very threatening. For example, let’s say a guy does not agree with the tax system the way it is. Suppose he’s going to create an anti-tax program and gather tax protesters. What happens? Automatically the government comes after him and tries to destroy him.
That is not the way to create change. Which is more powerful; a handful of tax protesters or the government? What is more powerful – a small movement or a big movement? Every time throughout our history the powers that be have always destroyed the saints, as it says in the scriptures, the antichrist “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of Days comes.” (Daniel 7:21-22) It is interesting that the saints will be overcome again and again and again. Other scriptures says they will be worn down. (Dan 7:25) If you ever tried to build up any work of light or anything that improves society, even if you are working for a government office and say you want to improve something in that office, you will be worn down with opposition.
If you are working for a big company and you want to improve it you will often be worn down and this is what the scripture says – that the powers that be will wear out the saints of God and this is what has happened time and time again. The last attempt to build Zion was in the days of Joseph Smith, and this wearing down happened all over again. They attempted to build Zion and the saints were worn out and everything changed and was altered so now nothing is as the way it was.
Most LDS do not realize this because they do not know their own history. People that are raised in the church today think that the way things are in the Church today is the way it was back in the 1840’s and it is not. It is totally different. For instance, in Boise a few years ago there was a group called the Godmakers and they introduced a film. It was a strong anti-Mormon film trying to illustrate how absurd it is that Joseph Smith said that men can become as God. This Godmakers film centered on this idea, and they were advertising all over the place in the papers and in the media. So I called my nephew.
We did quite a few things together at that time and I told him the scriptures and the Doctrine and Covenants says that if anyone challenges us like this that we should confound our enemies and challenge them to meet us in public and private and if we are in the right it says the spirit of God will be with you to the confounding of your enemies. (D&C 71:7) I said the church is actually breaking this commandment. It says in the D&C to confound their enemies and what were they doing with their enemies? They were ignoring them. I said since the church was not obeying this commandment then we ought to obey it. I said lets run an ad in the paper and we will challenge these Godmakers to a debate.
Curtis thought that sounded like a good idea so we spent a good deal of money to put together a nice little ad and we ran it in the major paper in Boise. We challenged anyone who believed in the film The Godmakers to a debate on the principles that Joseph Smith taught about man becoming god and we would discuss it from the Biblical scriptures.
After we ran the ad we waited and we did not get one single call from any born again Christian that read this paper but we did get some calls – and you know who called us? The LDS church authorities. They were the only ones who called and do you think they wanted to give us a pat on the back for defending Joseph Smith? No, as a matter of fact they probably thought we were wayward members of the church that did not understand the church’s approach. The brethren from the church just wanted us to just lay low and let this thing pass. We told them that we were not members of the church and we are not under their authority and we were going ahead with this no matter what they said so they could just forget about instructing us what to do. Of course, he did not like that answer.
So anyway I told Curtis this was amazing that we did not receive one call from the anti Mormons who must be a bunch of cowards. I said lets run another ad twice as big. We worded it something like this, “Two weeks ago we ran an ad challenging the people who made the film The Godmakers or anyone that believes in the film to a debate on the principles that Joseph Smith taught about man becoming god and there has not been one person, not one member of any Christian congregation willing to defend his faith or his God. We virtually called them a bunch of cowards.
Well this time the phone did not remain silent. This time it rang constantly and everybody wanted to debate us. We got calls from 12 year old kids wanting to debate us, from old men, from housewives, from ministers… We received responses from almost every state in the United States. We just ran the ad in Boise, so how did this happen? Because people clipped out that ad and they sent it to people they knew outside of Boise. We even got calls from famous authors wanting to debate us.
We thought boy this is pretty good and we had a good time answering all those phone calls. So I said to Curtis lets pick the two best ones to debate us. So we picked the two best responses. This was about 20 years ago that we did this. Anyway one was from a guy named Dick Hunt, and at the time he had sold millions of books so he was a well-established Christian author and at the time I think he had the number one selling Christian book in the country. He wrote us back and said he had “gotten several letters saying that you wanted to debate me about Joseph Smith out of the Bible. Is this is a Joke?” He did not think it was possible to defend Joseph Smith out of the Bible.
So he said if it is not a joke he would debate us so we contacted him and informed him it was not a joke and we were willing to debate him. The other guy was Wally Tope. He was a famous anti-Mormon guy and he was totally against the church and whenever a temple opened he would visit the area and pass out anti-Mormon literature. He traveled from temple to temple and he was perhaps the most famous and notorious anti-Mormon guy and was totally focused.
So we picked these two guys and the local Christians were very enthused about this because they thought we were going to be totally humiliated. The Christian community picked up the ball and they did all the advertising and rented a big ballroom at Boise State University and arranged for us to be on the radio. They encouraged their congregations to see this debate. You would think the Mormons would have been interested in this but the Mormon authorities from Salt Lake City issued a command to the local people and it circulated all throughout the local regions that no Mormon was supposed to attend this debate. They were just supposed to ignore us hoping we will go away.
So when the big day came we went into the big auditorium and the only Mormons that were there were Curtis’ Mom and Dad who reluctantly came to support their son. I think there were about 1300 people there and the place was full and there were only two Mormons in the whole audience to see a defense of Joseph Smith. This is kind of sad really.
What was funny about this event though was whenever Wally Tope and Dick Hunt got up and shouted that Jesus is Lord and God, Hallelujah – the audience would rise up and repeat this and scream with approval. Then we would take our turn speaking and they would boo us. It was like Daniel in the lion’s den. I never felt so much negativity in my life. We were lucky to get out of there alive. Chuckling. My friend Wayne came and another friend of mine came that was not a Mormon. I think we had about six people supporting us, and the rest of the 1300 people thought we had been belched right out of hell.
So it was a pretty interesting debate but we held our own. I made the mistake of over preparing. I don’t usually prepare when I make a speech but I prepared for that one because I thought it was important. The first segment of the debate I felt like I was not impacting anyone and then the second segment I threw away my notes and just talked off the cuff and this worked out a lot better. But what was interesting was that we were the ones who used the scriptures and they hardly used any scriptures. They just rambled on about Jesus being lord and the audience cheered them along. They did not really have any good points in the debate but because they kept touching on what the audience believed in they had the audience on their side. If you listened to the audience you would really think that they won the debate and they were convinced they won because a good portion of their debate consisted of them shouting Christian catch phrases and the 1300 standard Christians in the audience cheering completely overwhelming our six supporters. The cacophony made it sound like they were winning but if you listened to the words then we won the debate of reason. It was an interesting experience.
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