Friday, March 4, 2011

To Trust In Man (Part 10)

Author's note: The following post is part of a series dealing with my experiences in the Jeffrey Lundgren cult and what I learned from those experiences. My hope is that my story will teach others the importance of listening to the voice of God within for their answers. Peace. cse

Expanded Teachings

Jeff Lundgren was a master of weaving various ideas together in order to prove the truth of his teachings. His vast knowledge of the three books of scripture my church used, the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, coupled with some ideas he had discovered on archeology and even linguistics made his arguments ever so convincing.

Jeff had happened upon an idea the first summer I was there known as chiasmus. This is an ancient poetry form found in many cultures and writings (the Bible being among them) where ideas are first written and then restated in a reverse order, the most important idea in the "chiasm" will be the parallel statements in the middle of the chiasm. Jeff jumped on this idea to not only prove the validity of the Book of Mormon, where chiastic writing is prolific, but also to emphasize points he wanted to make. Increasingly, the Book of Mormon became central in his teachings. Jeff would make points about how there was a "pattern in all things" (an idea I actually believe is valid and I used to convince myself he was on to something). By the time my second summer in Kirtland began, 1987, the concept of patterns was essential to many of Jeff's teachings.

As the summer went on, Jeff began to emphasize several points over and over again. Violence played a significant role in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Indeed, he brought up story after story about wars of the Isealites in the Bible and the wars of the Nephites and Lamanites in the Book of Mormon. He also began to relate the story of Christ appearing to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon to how it was going to happen again at Christ's second coming. Jeff taught God would cause a massive, worldwide earthquake to occur, leaving the Kirtland Temple somehow erect but also heralding the return of Christ. I was so convinced in the validity of the pattern concept and that Jeff was an inspired teacher I sincerely began to believe it.

By this time, my ability to discern the truth within was clearly suspect. I was in well over my head.

The story continues:

*(For more information on this incident, one of the best books written is Prophet of Death. the Mormon Blood-Atonement Killings by Pete Earley. It's very detailed and uncomfortably graphic, but he did his research well. Earley gets to the heart of why Jeff and his followers acted as they did, without bias. Also, A&E did a segment of their show American Justice on this topic: American Justice: The Cult Murders.)

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