Tough Questions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
TO: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Dear Stake President
Subject: Former Mormon Bishop Considers a Retrial of His Excommunication
I was somewhat puzzled by the comments of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, this past General Conference.
As one of the many thousands of past Leadership within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who “Struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past.”, I would now ask if my excommunication as an Ordained Bishop of the Mormon Church was based in-part on the numerous “unanswered questions”, which I have brought to you and the Church Leadership over my 32 years of service as a faithful Latter-day Saint?
As the Presiding Authority at my excommunication on the morning of December 7th, 2008, I sincerely ask, if you believe that my past questions about Church History and the activities of Joseph Smith Jr. are now somewhat reasonable, as President Uchtdorf states:
“There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles or doctrine.”, and that such “things” have been clearly described by President Uchtdorf (recognized as a Prophet, Seer and Revelator) as: “mistakes” by the past Leaders of the Church.
As neither the Church nor President Uchtdorf have elaborated on what specific “mistakes” were made or by which specific “Leaders” of the Church may have made these “mistakes”, I would ask for your review of only a few of the actual questions I have struggled with, which lead to my excommunication several years ago:
1. Why did the 1835 publication of the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Scripture) teach in direct and clear opposition to the practice of Polygamy from 1835 to 1876 (41 years), during the very height of the actual practice of Polygamy and Polyandry? See: http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/statement-on-marriage-17-august-1835?p=1&highlight=statement%20on%20marriage#!/paperSummary/statement-on-marriage-17-august-1835&p=1
2. Did Joseph Smith Jr. follow the three Laws of the Priesthood governing the plurality of wives (to include taking the wives of other men and teenagers) as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, either the 1835 (101:4) or the 1876 (132: 61) versions? See: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/132?lang=eng
3. Did Joseph Smith Jr. lie when he stated in May of 1844: “What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one.”, when he was in reality married to at least 33 wives? In fact, did Joseph Smith Jr. ever claim or admit to being a polygamist as is now openly celebrated by the LDS Church? See: Official History of the Church, Vol. 6, page 411., statement from Joseph Smith Jr.
4. Were the actions of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr., as they relate to his personal and private practice and teachings of Polygamy and Polyandry, under the solemn direction and commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself? See: https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng
5. Why has the Senior Leadership of the Mormon Church presented so many “Nigger Jokes” year after year in the Official General Conferences and Authorized Publications of the Church, yet claimed to be tolerant and accepting of all peoples? Additionally, is it true that the Blacks were restricted from the Mormon Priesthood and thus Salvation itself for nearly 150 years, without the Church Leadership knowing specifically when, how or why such a worldwide racist Doctrine was implemented? See: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/race-church
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/deseret-book–lds-media-release-collectors-library-2005-75777692.html (Sermons – word search for Nigger, Darky and Sambo)
Thank you in advance for your deliberation of these few questions in consideration of the recent comments and new direction from your superiors within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Given this new information, I should be afforded a retrial to consider if the specific questions I have asked in the past are central to the “mistakes” of the Leadership of the Church and as such, very much open to reasonable questions by the general Church Membership. In view of the stunning Official position that Mormon Church Leadership may have made serious mistakes and that the Church Leadership may have said or done things that were not in harmony with the established Church values, principles or doctrine, I formally request a retrial of my excommunication.
Sincerely, Lee B. Baker Former Mormon Bishop and High Priest