Seek The Old Paths

Vol. 26   No. 1                   January,   2015

This Issue...


Victor M. Eskew
Women are being used in roles, which, in times past, were filled exclusively by men: serving on the Lord’s table, leading public prayers, leading singing, being elders, deacons, and preachers in pulpits.

        In the long ago, Moses warned Israel with these words: “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations” (Deut. 18:9). God did not want His people to become like the Canaanites. He gave them His law so they could be a people set apart for His holy purposes.
        A New Testament admonition that is similar to the one given by Moses on the banks of the Jordan is found in Romans 12:2. Paul writes: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Paul told the saints in Rome: “Do not let the world mold you.” Instead, they were to be radically altered through their adherence to the Word of God. Again, God’s precepts were to separate His people from the world so they can carry out God’s divine purposes.
        Over the last 50 years, God’s people have not been content with the practice of holiness as outlined in God’s Word. We no longer desire to be different —to be strange. We have become like Israel of old and desire to be like the nations around us (1 Sam. 8:4-5). Our speech, our dress, our behaviors, and our worship look almost exactly like the world. When worldly concepts are introduced into our churches, it seems that many people love to have it so (Jer. 5:21).
        One of the moves that many brethren have made over the last several years concerns the role of women in the church. Women are being used in roles, which, in times past, were filled exclusively by men: serving on the Lord’s Table, leading public prayers, leading singing, being elders, deacons, and preachers in pulpits. One of the most recent cases is found in the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ in Franklin, Tennessee. They have hired a young lady named Lauren King to assist as a “preaching minister” for the congregation. Recently (11/23/2014), she presented her first lesson to the church on a Lord’s Day morning. A video made the rounds through social media about this new “minister” for the church on Fourth Avenue. This video reveals more to us than just the fact that a woman is preaching in the pulpit. In this article, we want to discuss some of the things that were said and how God’s holy Word is being mocked and defied by Miss King and the Fourth Avenue Church.
        One of the things that Lauren said is that the Lord has “made it clear” that while in college at David Lipscomb University she needed to pick up a preaching emphasis in her training. One thing that needs to be asked is: “How did the Lord make this clear to Miss King?” We know that God has made known His will in the pages of the Bible. She did not hear the Lord’s voice from the Bible telling her to pick up a preaching emphasis. In fact, had she listened to God’s Word, she would have heard just the opposite. The New Testament instructs women with these words: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:12).
        Lauren does give us a little insight as to how she perceives the Lord’s voice. She says that she knows the Lord’s voice when she has “peace when I walk through open doors.” In essence, she is saying that as long as her conscience is clear when she does things, then she believes God’s voice is approving her actions. Lauren needs to take some lessons from Saul of Tarsus about this approach to God’s approval. When Christianity burst onto the scene on Pentecost Day in Jerusalem, Saul was a faithful Jew. He had steadfastly obeyed the Law of Moses all of his life (Phil. 3:4-5). In his zeal for the Law of Moses, he persecuted the church of Christ (Acts 9:1-2; Phil. 3:6). In Acts 23:1, we learn that this Jewish zealot never suffered the sting of conscience in all that he did. “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Saul always had peace of mind in all that he did, even when he was disobedient to God. A feeling of peace deep within does not indicate that God approves of one’s actions. If this were the standard, then every person who is religious would be acceptable to God. Lauren King has accepted a false standard of authority that will cause her to be lost in the last day if she continues to accept it as her guide.
        Miss King makes another argument to justify her public proclamation of God’s Word. This argument is based upon the talents that God has given to each person. She reasons that if God has given you a talent, then He has called you to put that talent into action. On its surface, this argument sounds reasonable to those who have heard of the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. The problem is that Lauren fails to understand that God has limited “where” she can use her talents. Lauren is free to use her talents teaching children, teenage girls, and women. She is not free to use her talents to teach men in the assembly. “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (1 Cor. 14:34). God is the one who is in charge. He has the right to put restrictions on our abilities if he so desires. Just because a person has a talent does not mean he/she can use it at any time and in any place (See 1 Cor. 14:27-28).
        Lauren is not the only person in error in this matter. The elders, the preacher(s), and the members at Fourth Avenue are all at fault as well. In the video, Patrick Mead (senior minister at Fourth Avenue), defends having Lauren there as a preaching minister. He says that the things that were written to the church at Corinth and the church at Ephesus regarding women, addressed temporary issues. In essence, he says the things written about the silence of women applied then, but does not apply today. In the video, he does not say how he came to this conclusion. Whatever his arguments are, he is wrong.
        In 1 Timothy 2:13-14, the apostle Paul gives two reasons why a woman is NOT to usurp authority over the man. Neither reason has anything to do with the cultural issues and problems in Corinth and Ephesus. Paul teaches: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” God delegated authority and oversight responsibilities in both the home and the church to men. He based this upon the order of creation and the sin that was committed in the Garden of Eden. It has nothing, nothing, to do with first century culture.
        In the video, Lauren King affirms: “Jesus is calling us to change.” Where does she read this in the New Testament? Jesus doesn’t call us to change. He calls us to obedience. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). In John 14:15, the Son of God says: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In John 14:23, He says: “If a man love me, he will keep my words...”
        The only change Jesus wants from man involves his heart (Luke 13:3,5). It’s called repentance. He wants all men to yield their hearts to the will of God just as He did in Gethsemane (Luke 22:40-44). He never approved the substitution of human tradition for the commandments of God (Matt. 15:1-9).
        Dear readers, let us not be tempted to follow in the footsteps of Lauren King and the Fourth Avenue church in Franklin, Tennessee.
                60 Cobblestone Dr.
                Springville, TN 38256

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Garland M. Robinson

        A video made its rounds lately featuring a young woman being hired as a preacher. This practice is not new, it’s been going on in denominationalism for a long, long time. It is, however, relatively of more recent origin among those who have a sign out front that says “Church of Christ.” Tragically, dozens and dozens of churches all across the U.S. now claim to be using women in leadership roles. (
        The introduction of the video reads: “Lauren King, preaching intern, preaches alongside Senior Minister, Patrick Mead.” Patrick Mead is the preacher at the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ in Franklin, Tennessee. He says:

“It wasn’t that long ago that Lipscomb called and said we’ve got somebody that wants to be a preaching major but needs to have an internship; and I said, send her.”

        Lauren King was the young woman from Lipscomb University who was hired in that position. She says she grew up in the church of Christ in the Nashville area and that her father preaches for the Donelson Church of Christ. Miss King reports that...

“The Lord made it very clear that he wanted me to do youth ministry, so I stared majoring in Bible with an emphasis in youth ministry and I’ve done three youth internships. The Lord also made it clear, through a lot of discernment and a lot of prayer, that I was supposed to pick up a preaching emphasis...and the people at Lipscomb have been so supportive of that.” ... “A lot of the ways that I’ve been perceiving the Lord’s voice is through having peace when I walk through open doors. If I have an unpeaceful heart, then that’s not really where I’m supposed to be, but if I’m at a place where I have peace about where I’m going, then that’s the Lord telling me, yes.”
She goes on to say, “In the beginning all of this was really uncomfortable....”

        Need we point out that Paul had a peaceful heart when he walked through the open door of persecuting the church? Acts 8:1 says he was consenting to the stoning death of Stephen as the witnesses laid down their clothes at his feet (7:58). “...He made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison” (Acts 8:3). Havock means to ravage, devastate, ruin. Haling means to drag one to punishment. All the while he persecuted the church he had a clear conscience before God (Acts 23:1; 26:9). So, having a peaceful heart or an unpeaceful heart means absolutely nothing when it comes to pleasing God. How we “feel” is not the standard in seeking God’s approval. Those who OBEY God’s word are those who go to heaven, not those who have a peaceful heart (Matt. 7:21). Jesus tells us about masses of people who have a peaceful heart in their religious service, but they will be told at the judgment, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23).
        Galatians 3:28-29 is often used to support unlimited roles for women in the church. Attention is called to the phrases, “ye are all the children of God” and “there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” To use these verses in such a reckless fashion makes them contradict 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:8-14 where the role of women is limited. The verses in Galatians 3:28-29 are simply showing that all humanity can be saved because “...God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35).
        We are told to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). That means we handle it correctly. God’s word does not contradict itself. If we understand a passage to say something that makes it contradict another passage, we have misunderstood one or the other or maybe both. Scriptures compliment one another. Some passages give additional information that is not found in other passages. If we’re going to understand God’s word (and it can be understood), then we must take all the Bible says regarding a matter and recognize the harmony between them. Easier passages help us understand more difficult ones.


        There are two passages of Scripture that specifically address the role of women in the church. They are 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Both of them say the same thing and place a limit or restriction on what women can do. Two other passages address woman’s subordinate role to man (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22-32).
        Patrick Mead is certainly aware of these Scriptures and seeks to dismiss them when he says:

“I do not believe that Paul, in two verses, two passages, was trying to undo the rest of Scripture. I think he was addressing a temporary issue in Corinth and Ephesus. ... He was not trying to make rules for everybody in every time.... No, these were temporary things for temporary times.”

        Again, let us point out that it does not matter what we “think“, what matters is what the Bible says.
        First Corinthians 14:34-35, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law. ... For it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
        Women are to “keep silence...not permitted unto them to speak...shame for women to speak in the church.” The word translated “silence” means to: hold one’s peace, keep silence, secret, concealed. The word “speak” means to not: utter words, preach, say, speak, to utter a voice or emit a sound. As always, the devil is ready to help you “wrest” (wrench, torture, pervert, twist) the Holy Spirit’s words unto your own destruction (cf. 2 Peter 3:16).
        First Timothy 2:11-14 is a parallel passage to 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. It sets forth the same limitation upon women but also gives some additional information. “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
        The injunction (command, order, charge) laid upon women was not temporary! It was permanent for all churches in all cultures in all generations. There is absolutely no indication or evidence to understand it otherwise. Therefore, it is just as much Scripture today as it was when originally given and written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
        To circumvent this timeless principle, Patrick Mead says:

“What the Bible does is that it tells me about Jesus. And I don’t read Jesus through Paul. I read Paul through Jesus. ... Now, everything Paul said, he was a fellow student with us. Let’s read it through Jesus.” “We no longer read all of the Bible as equal.”

        What Paul wrote were not his words or thoughts. They were words given him directly from heaven. They were words the Holy Spirit revealed to him. An effort, in some way or another, to make Paul’s words not as important, authoritative or equal to the Lord’s words is a denial of the inspiration of the Scriptures. Paul’s words were/are the Lord’s words. To make them any less comes from the cesspool of denominationalism.
        Just two verses after writing that women are to keep silence in the church, that it’s not permitted unto them to speak, Paul wrote, “...the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37). God knew there would be scoffers who would one day attempt to dismiss Paul’s words as not being inspired and not having authority like the words of Jesus, so He answered that objection in verse 37. So many other passages teach the same thing. Notice these words of John, Peter and Paul: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). “...2Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God ... 8He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God...” (1 Thess. 4:1-8). Compare also 2 Thess. 3:4, 2 Peter 3:2 and Jude 1:17.
        The words Jesus spoke were the words given him by the Father. “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak (John 12:49). The words revealed by the Holy Spirit were not simply his own. Jesus said, “...when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak...” (John 16:13). Likewise, Paul spoke and wrote the things given him from above (1 Cor. 14:37). To the church at Thessalonica he wrote, “...when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God...” (1 Thess. 2:13). This is so with all the writers of every book in the Bible. They wrote what heaven gave them to write.
        Every book, every chapter, every verse and every word, even the singular and plural of a word, is given by the inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17)! The Bible is the word of God, not the words of men! The Lord revealed some things while on the earth and the Holy Spirit revealed the rest through inspired men (John 16:12-13). If we take only the Lord’s words (red letter words), we do not have the complete will of God. Further, Peter said that we have been given ALL things that pertain unto life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). And, since no Scripture gives authority for a woman to teach in an assembly where men are present, then such a practice does not pertain to life and godliness.
        The Holy Spirit says a woman is limited, restricted in what she can do in worship. Women are commanded to have a subordinate role to men. There are two reasons given why this is the case: 1) Adam was first formed then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13), 2) Adam was not deceived in eating the forbidden fruit, but Eve was (1 Tim. 2:14). Heaven’s appeal is not to the culture of the times. The Holy Spirit goes back to creation to set forth this timeless principle!
        First Corinthians 14:34-35 and First Timothy 2:11-14 say the same thing. There is no contradiction between the two. They compliment each other. We must read them both to get the full picture of God’s will. They are equal to every word in the Bible.
        Knowing the teaching and practice of the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ causes division in the brotherhood, Miss King makes an appeal for unity by saying:

“...You prefer to worship this way and you get to know the Lord better this way and you serve him better over here. Awesome. And you serve the Lord over here and you get to know him better this way and you worship in this scenario. Awesome. Let’s just respect each other and be unified with the fact that we love the Lord. That doesn’t mean take away everything that we’ve ever done in our traditions. ... We are all believing in the same God.” “When God calls us to be united, why is it that other people that believe in God get in our way?”

        God certainly wants us to be united. Jesus prayed for it (John 17:20-21). But the ONLY way to have unity is IN and BY and THROUGH God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Unity in diversity is not of God, it’s of the devil. Man’s innovations will never bring about unity of the Spirit (cf. Eph. 4:3). Putting away the doctrines and commandments of men and accepting God’s pure and unadulterated word in both teaching and practice is the only thing that will bring the unity approved of God.
        (Note: the aforementioned video has been removed from public media outlets. Hmm, I wonder why?)

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        The place of women in society is being widely discussed today. The influence of the “Women’s Liberation” or “Feminist” movement is felt throughout the world. Most men and women would agree that there should be equality in employment and wages. Most would also agree that women should have the same rights under the law as men do. However, Christian men and women must oppose many of the ideas of the “Feminist” movement for they are contrary to God’s will.
        In the Lord’s church today, there are some who question the place that women have. Some are saying that women have the right to lead public prayers, preach, and even serve as elders. They have been influenced by the “Feminist” movement and by denominations, especially the Pentecostals, which allow women to do everything men do.
        Christians want to follow the will of God. God’s will for the place of women in His church is revealed in His Book, the Bible. It is inspired of God and is infallible (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16,17). We must follow the Bible if we want to please God and be saved eternally.


        There are some areas in which men and women are just the same before God. God’s love is the same for both (John 3:16). God is no respecter of persons in regard to salvation (Acts 10:34,35). Men and women must obey the same plan of salvation and will receive the same blessings (Gal. 3:26-28).
        There are, however, areas in which God’s plan for women differs from that for men. In the family, God has appointed man to be the head (Eph. 5:23). Man is to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of his wife and children (Gen. 3:17-19; 1 Tim. 5:8; Eph. 6:4). Women have a special place in God’s plan that men do not have. Women are to be helpers to their husbands, teachers of their children and keepers of the home (Gen. 3:16; Eph. 5:22-24; Titus 2:4,5). Men and women are different physically and psychologically. The place that God has appointed for each best suits them as God made them.
        There are several Scriptures which deal with women’s place in the church. In 1 Corinthians 11:3, the Apostle Paul wrote: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Man has a head to whom he must submit —Jesus Christ. Woman also has a head to whom she must submit —man. But even Christ has a head to whom He must submit —God the Father. Christ is not inferior to God because He submits to Him. Nor is woman inferior to man because she submits to him. The place that God has appointed for men and women has nothing to do with inferiority and superiority. It has to do with the natural order of things and the purpose for which God created them.
        First Timothy chapter two is a very important passage which deals with women’s role in the church. Paul is speaking of the public worship of the church when it assembles together (1 Tim. 2:1,2; 3:14,15). In verse one, Paul commands that prayers be made for all men. In the original Greek language in which Paul wrote, the word he uses for men is anthropos, which is the general word for human beings. It includes both men and women. Paul again uses this same word in verse four when he says, God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” But, in verse eight, when Paul speaks of leading in prayers, he uses a different word for man. It is the Greek word aner. This word is used only to refer to males. It does not include females! The command of God is for only men to lead the public prayers of the church.
        There is a clear contrast between verse eight where men are commanded to pray and verse eleven where women are commanded to learn in silence with all subjection (1 Tim. 2:8,11). The word “subjection” comes from a Greek military term which means “to rank under.” In verse twelve, Paul writes: “...I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Women are forbidden to “have authority” over men. They must not take a privilege which is not rightfully theirs. Preaching and public teaching of classes where men are present are forbidden to women. Leading public prayers in assemblies where men are present is forbidden to women.
        Paul gives two reasons why God has given the leadership in the church to men: 1) Adam was first formed, then Eve; 2) Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression. Man has leadership over woman because God created him first. Man was not created for woman, but woman was created for man (Gen. 2:18-15). Second, Adam was not deceived in the temptation in the Garden of Eden, but Eve was (Gen. 3:6). Woman is different from man. Satan took advantage of her more trusting nature to deceive her. Adam sinned also, but he was not deceived! He knew what he was doing and deliberately went into the sin with Eve.
        Women have many wonderful areas of service to God. Bearing children is not a curse brought on by the fall in Eden, but a blessing God gave women in the beginning (Gen. 1:28; 3:16). Women also have the privilege of being teachers, not of men, but of other women and children (2 Tim. 1:5; Titus 2:3-5). Christian women, like Priscilla, may assist their husbands in teaching others privately (Acts 18:24-26). Godly Christian women teach others by their example (1 Peter 3:1,2).
        Peace prevails in the church and God is pleased when both men and women serve Him in the roles He has created for them. Women are not suited to be elders, deacons, preachers or public leaders in the worship of God. But their work of being good mothers and teachers of children and other women is just as important. Let us humbly submit to God’s will!
                Tract printed by permission

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Elders Column

Roger D. Campbell

        God communicates the thoughts and desires of His mind (that is, His will) to you and me through His word, the Bible. The way that we, as humans, communicate or speak the message of our mind to God is through what the Bible calls prayer. In both the Old Testament, as well as the New, we often read about prayer. The truth is, it is only through the teaching of the Bible that we can know the Lord’s will concerning prayer. Thus, for any question about prayer, we must turn to the word of God and see what it says. Doesn’t that make sense to you?
        Does the God of heaven hear the prayers of humans? If you mean, “Does God know when people are praying to Him,” then the answer is “yes.” God knows all that is taking place on the earth at all times. He knows our every thought, every action, and every word spoken, including our prayers. How can we be sure about this? Because the Bible says, “God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things” (1 John 3:20). All the affairs of mankind are “naked and opened unto the eyes” of the Lord (Heb. 4:13). So, yes, God knows when humans are praying.
        Does the God of heaven hear prayers that are offered to Him in different languages at the same time? Because He is the “Almighty God” (Gen. 17:1), there is nothing that is too hard for Him (Gen. 18:14). He understands all languages in which humans speak. And, yes, He can handle all the prayers that might be coming His way all at the same time, regardless of the language!
        Should we conclude, though, that every prayer is acceptable to the Lord? To say that He can hear and understand when people speak to Him is one thing. To say that every prayer is acceptable to Him, well, that is another matter entirely. In Proverbs 28:9 it is written, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” This verse makes it clear that if a person refuses to heed or obey the message of God’s law, then he should not expect the Lord to receive his prayer. Why? Because God counts it as an abomination when men refuse to obey Him, and all the praying in the world cannot change that. Prayer cannot take the place of obedience. The Lord rejects the prayer or cry of a disobedient person.
        What does the New Testament say? In 1 Peter 3:12 we read, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers....” According to this verse, which prayers does the Lord receive? The prayers of “the righteous.” A righteous person is one who does righteousness (1 John 3:7). Since all of God’s commands are righteousness (Psalm 119:172), then a righteous person is one who keeps the commandments of the Lord. The Lord promises to receive the prayers of such a person, but not the prayers of the unrighteousness.
        One final consideration. What about praying for salvation? Never in the Bible do we read that the Lord or any of His inspired spokesmen told a person that had never been saved something like this: “To be saved from your past sins, you need to pray to God, and He will forgive you.” Such a notion is just not in the Bible! It is true that there are New Testament passages in which we read that people were told to pray in order to receive forgiveness, but when we closely examine the contexts of those verses, what do we find? They were addressed or spoken to those who were already Christians and had committed sin after being saved. Thus, as Christians or children of God, in order to get back into the right relationship with God, what they needed to do was pray. Simon, who had already believed and been baptized, was told to pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:13,21-23). We also read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Again, however, this was not spoken to non-Christians, but to those that were already God’s children (compare 1 John 2:12).
        Does God want men to pray? The Bible says He does. But does He accept all prayers? Not according to the Bible. Let us all search the Scriptures and accept the instruction that we find therein.
                120 Will Lewis Dr. SE
                Cleveland, TN 37323

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Nathan Franson

        The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is driven largely by a creed of thirteen “Articles of Faith.” To see our ongoing examination of these “Articles,” go to
        The twelfth item in the LDS Articles of Faith reads, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”
        On the surface, this seems like a respectable ideology and one certainly in cooperation with the Bible. Paul writes, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Rom. 13:1-2). However, an honest investigation will expose the hypocrisy of such a statement, originated, defended and encouraged by Joseph Smith their prophet, who ultimately violated it. Most in the Mormon religion will dismiss such claims as “propaganda,” but facts are facts regardless of how much they attempt to rewrite history.
        Evidence will reveal that Joseph Smith was the subject of numerous criminal charges and arrests. He and his contemporaries (at the beginning of the Mormon organization) were not the martyrs as they have been portrayed. In 1826, in South Bainbridge, New York, Smith was arrested, tried, and convicted for the misdemeanor crime of pretending to find lost treasure. Wesley P. Walters, a Reverend in the United Presbyterian church in Marissa, Illinois, who was critical of the Mormon Church based on his investigations, uncovered records verifying the case in the basement of the sheriff’s office in Norwich, New York. A historian further discovered that Joseph Smith had been in fact arrested on four occasions in the mid 1820s. (Spencer)
        In 1830 in New York, Smith was arrested and tried for disorderly conduct when he tried to perform an exorcism in Colesville but he was acquitted. In May 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio, Joseph Smith was accused by Grandison Newell of a plot to have him killed. Smith was acquitted, but Wilbur Denton and Sidney Rigdon both testified that the alleged conspiracy took place in April or May of 1835. (unknown)
        In 1838 in Kirtland, Ohio, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Smith based on a charge of banking fraud. Fawn M. Brodie (1915-1981), a biographer and one of the first female professors at UCLA, offers much insight into this affair based on her extensive research. Brodie writes,

All that was required to start a bank in the West was an unlimited amount of nerve and the necessary capital to pay the engraver and printer for making the notes. One bank in Ohio was chartered as an Orphan’s Institute; another was founded on the charter of a moribund library association, its total assets a remnant of dog-eared books. The number of authorized banks operating in the state had jumped from eleven in 1830 to thirty-three in 1836.
Besides these there were nine unauthorized institutions also issuing money... The bank was said to have been established by a revelation from God, and rumor skipped through the town that the prophet had predicted that like Aaron’s rod it would swallow up all other banks “and grow and flourish, and spread from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and survive when all others should be laid in ruins.” From its beginning the bank had been operating illegally.
The toppling of the Kirtland bank loosed a hornets’ nest. Creditors swarmed in upon Joseph armed with threats and warrants. He was terribly in debt. There is no way of knowing exactly how much he and his leading elders had borrowed, since the loyal Mormons left no itemized account of their own claims. But the local non-Mormon creditors whom he could not repay brought a series of suits against the prophet which the Geauga country court duly recorded. These records tell a story of trouble that would have demolished the prestige and broken the spirit of a lesser man. Thirteen suits were brought against him between June 1837 and April 1839, to collect sums totaling nearly $25,000. He was arrested seven times in four months, and his followers managed heroically to raise the $38,428 required for bail. Joseph had many additional debts that never resulted in court action.
One by one the weak in faith left the ranks... Joseph threatened to excommunicate any Saint who brought suit against a brother in the church... (Brodie)

        Smith and Rigdon fled to Missouri. It was there on November 1, 1838, that Smith surrendered to 2,500 state troops and agreed to leave the state after forfeiting their property. Smith was court- martialed and was almost executed for treason, but his attorney, Alexander Doniphan, insisted that he was a civilian. This sent Smith to state court in which several of his former allies turned state’s evidence against him. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and four others were charged with “overt acts of treason,” and awaited trial in the jail at Liberty, Missouri. They escaped jail by bribing the sheriff and fled the state to Illinois. In 1844 in Nauvoo, Illinois, he was arrested for burning the building of the Nauvoo Expositor and destroyed a printing press after an article was written about Smith’s polygamy. (Pangburn)
        Joseph Smith’s arrests became a pattern for his behavior. His life was filled with illegal activity that can be accessed by searching public records.
        The belief to honor and sustain the law obviously did not have any effect on him or several of his accomplices. Eventually, Joseph and Hyrum Smith faced trial for treason against the state of Illinois, which was punishable by death in the United States at that time. They found themselves in a jail in Carthage, where they would never live long enough to see the court. A mob of 200 stormed the jail and killed both of them.
        The Mormon Church is careful to edit the history of their founder. They paint him as a faithful servant of God, claiming he was martyred for his daunting work to restore Christ’s church and faced immeasurable opposition. But a sincere and honest analysis of historical evidence will prove otherwise. Those who come across the truth are faced with the decision to either accept it and act upon it, or willfully overlook it.

        Works Cited Brodie, Fawn M. No Man Knows My History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1971.
        Pangburn, D. J. Mormon Founder Executed 168 Years Ago After Starting Rogue Religious City-state. 1 July 2012. 10 December 2014 .
        Spencer. Joseph Smith’s Arrest Records Found. 16 September 2005. 10 December 2014 .
        unknown, Author. Criminal Charges Against Joseph Smith. 12 August 2011. 10 December 2014 .
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