This week’s lesson focuses on the life of one of Jacob’s sons Joseph and the objective is twofold. They want to teach members how to abstain from sexual immorality when faced with temptations like Joseph was with Potipher’s wife and how to handle adversity when being punished for improprieties you haven’t committed.
We found this lesson to be rather interesting in light of the track record of their founder, Joseph Smith…
Their lesson comes from Genesis chapters 34 and 37-39. Giving examples of how Joseph didn’t sin against God when his brothers sold him into slavery, they were asked to compare his behavior to that of Reuben and Judah from Genesis 37:22-27.
As they went along they asked members to analyze Shechem’s behavior when he raped Jacob’s daughter Dinah from Genesis chapter thirty-four. From this example they’re supposed to learn that real love waits and doesn’t take things in haste, i.e. raping Dinah.
They moved on to point out Reuben’s sexual immorality when he seduced Bilhah, his father’s concubine in Genesis 35:22. And they finished up their example of sexual immorality with the story of Jacob blessing each of his sons. When it came to Judah the only thing they mentioned was Genesis 49:3-4 when he told Judah he was unstable without stating that Judah had sex with Tamar when she tricked him and dressed up as a harlot.
What I don’t understand in this lesson is why they’d bring these things up as examples of what not to do and then say;
They mentioned that no matter the circumstances in life you can use it for good and quoted Romans 8:28 without mentioning anything of how God worked regardless of men or more importantly how our sweet Jesus’ who is God and King came from the lineage of these people and why God allowed these things to take place.
How can you not discuss the sins of these men when you’re using their sins as an example in your lesson?
They repeatedly used Joseph’s godly behavior as something to emulate when everything was stacked against him and even his own family members had it out for him, but his example was a huge disconnect with the rest of what they introduced!
While Joseph’s behavior was exemplary in how he handled himself in Egypt, the way he rubbed the favorite son status in his brothers’ noses wasn’t even mentioned. I just found that funny because when I think of Joseph this is one of the first things that come to my mind! No, he didn’t deserve to be thrown into the well and then sold into slavery, but the guy wasn’t exactly sinless either.
At the end of the lesson they gave three takeaways to ponder that I think are important for us to take note of.
They pointed out that while Jacob was wandering the land he had the dream called “Jacob’s Ladder”. They said this land was called Bethel, meaning temple. They asked the reader what other place has the same name and of course they’re referring to the LDS temples.
I could go on and on, but for your sake and mine I’ll just say that the LDS temples have absolutely nothing at all to do with Jacob’s dream that night.
The second thing they pointed out was the restoration of Jacob and Esau’s relationship as brothers. They asked what they could learn from the brothers resolving their conflicts.
And last, but certainly not least, they threw in a quote from their not-so-beloved late apostle Bruce McConkie who gave a definition for concubines.
Random you say? Well one would think that if one wasn’t aware of how the LDS leadership works. They hate McConkie yet use his writings in everything from our example today to full blown General Conference talks.
Secondly, placing the definition of a concubine seems out of place if they weren’t supposed to discuss the sins of Jacob’s sons.
Here’s my twofold take-away for this lesson.
When pointing out the rape of Dinah they said;
“Behavior that makes it hard to pray, makes people unworthy to enter the temple, or breaks up families is not motivated by love.)”
So does that entail all behavior or just that of a sexual violation? I say this because we see this every single day here at the ministry. We have countless people who write or call us asking for help and prayers because their family has completely disowned them when they left the Church. Are the actions of the family members who are still LDS motivated by love or something else?
Furthermore, why would your church tell you not to discuss in detail about someone’s life? What is there to hide? Why shouldn’t the teacher discuss these things in detail?
The second take-away is obvious – at least I hope it is.
I’m praying hard that people who are sitting in this class will see how their leader Joseph Smith fits the pattern of someone who is sexually immoral. Last week they talked about the importance of choosing a temple worthy mate and this week they’re highlighting the behavior of men who were obviously sinning against God by engaging in sexual immorality.
If Joe was alive today would they accept his behavior as immoral? He married young teenage girls, he married sisters and mothers and daughters. He married pregnant women who were already married and he never passed up an opportunity to call other people liars when they called him out for practicing polygamy.
If anyone qualifies to be sexually immoral certainly this man fits that profile. How sad for the Mormon people when they close their eyes to the reality of their situation.
As always, we’re praying for you if you’re LDS and want for you to know how much Jesus loves you! I know it’s confusing and it causes anger to well up in your heart, but when you seek out the truth God is always faithful and will reveal that truth to you.
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18