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EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 23
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| The Chicago Tribune (and others) are reporting this morning that death threats were, in fact, the reason for the admins taking down their event page on Facebook. See: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/na...
Mormon feminists have hit on fashion to promote demands for a larger say in church affairs: This Sunday is "Wear Pants to Church Day," intended as a show of solidarity for women's religious rights. Their sartorial flair has triggered some support - along with some bitter anger.
With regard to the content of this article; seems to me as though TBMs are often seen expressing hate and posturing in a threatening and confrontational manner when it comes to ex-Mormons and liberals, be they political liberals or liberal Mormons.
The event, which was being promoted on a special Facebook page, had drawn more than 1,200 supporters, a relative handful compared with the 6 million practicing Mormons nationwide. But by Thursday evening, the original page had been taken down and a new one posted, with this note:
"The event page got taken down due to the death threats. this is a page to further the cause but without a face attached. This page is for women who are choosing to wear pants this next Sunday."
"Mormons actually threatening to kill others because of pants??? There is seriously something wrong when people are threatened by women wearing trousers," one woman wrote on the new Facebook page. "We are supposed to be members of a church that teaches love and tolerance and acceptance. Honestly, the hate I have seen about this issue leaves me wondering why people are members of Christ's church if they can't at least try to not judge others."
Unfortunate day for Richard James Robertson, with a major in philosophy at BYU, to be widely quoted writing this:
"every single person who is a minority activist should be shot .. in the face . point blank . GET OVER YOURSELVES .."
He can't even reasonably make the excuse that he was intoxicated with alcohol or other substances at the time he aimed that gun at his foot and fired.
Travis has since deactivated his Facebook account.
| Article title: Another Stock With A Similar Business Model To Herbalife's Is Getting Slammed
As Bill Ackman makes the rounds presenting his thesis for why Herbalife, a nutrition company with a multi-level marketing scheme, is actually a pyramid scheme, another stock is floundering in the shadows – Nu Skin.
Nu Skin, another nutrition company, uses the same business model as Herbalife. That's why, back in May when notorious short-seller, David Einhorn got on Herbalife's call and smashed the stock by asking questions about its business model, Nu Skin got crushed as well ...
And there's political component to all of this as well. Nu Skin is a Mormon-owned company and was a huge supporter of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Now that he's not going to occupy the White House, Nu Skin could come under the scrutiny of regulators without the help of powerful friends who share ties to the Mormon Church.
There's an old joke in the direct-selling business: MLM stands for "Mormons losing money." It's no coincidence that Latter-day Saints have a reputation as having a particular affinity for direct selling. Their missionary work, which requires knocking on doors, spreading a message, and recruiting followers, often in foreign countries, offers perfect training.
Nu Skin itself is an insular organization dominated by faith and family, blending the evangelical and the commercial. Top executives hold prominent positions in the Mormon church. Myriad relatives of the company's founders have played key roles...
Gotta love it when Mormonism's pride and joy, the good old MLMs, suffer from the consequences of Mormonism's fight-to-the-death to save the so-called inherent "righteousness" of unregulated financial markets. But you know, come to think of it, I really do think that Mormonism is correct about the free markets being inspired by God, I mean just look at what the free markets are doing to Mormon owned companies ... well, it looks like God has spoken. Long live the free market economics!
Free Markets 1, Mormonism 0
| Yep, the finest author Mormonism has ever produced has weighed in on the pants rebellion. You ought to read it, well worth your time.
"Wear Pants to Church Day" undermines the salvation of millions. It strikes at the very heart of Mormon theology-correlated apparel."
"Back to the heart of the matter: correlated dress codes. We have one. Don’t let anyone tell you different. If we didn’t have a stereotypical look, we wouldn’t need all those "I’m a Mormon" commercials."
"We start this white-shirt-and-tie obsession early by making it mandatory for young men who want to participate in church ordinances. You see them passing the sacrament dressed in their general authority starter kits."
For those who don't know about Robert Kirby - this one on his Mission call will give you a bit more on his attitude. Big Tom and Paranoid Boyd could learn a lot from him.
And then he can help the BigBoys to figure out tithing as well.
As wierd and frustrating and heartbreaking as Mormonism can be at least one guy can take it with a grain of salt and laugh a bit. Yes, he is an active member. Even got some death threats over his column where he said he could beat up Gordon B. Hinckley in a fight.
| I have been a strong supporter of Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth" for many, many years.
I am convinced that religion is indeed "human mythology" created from the general concept of God Myths.
Almost all religions follow a general pattern in it's conception and composition and elements.
Understanding that all religion is based on God Myths allow us to cull the universal truths from their stories as they are very similar. Human history repeats the same kinds of stories over and over. The stories in every religion has as their underpinning, a kind of set of rules to live by based on human nature. They tend to be territorial and inclusive by nature.
They are also tribal. It's my observation that Mormonism is a generational, patriarchal, societal,cultural, familial tribe. Elements of belief in tribes are included in their belief system, and tribes are included in their lexicon and an important part of the Patriarchal Blessing.
Leave Mormonism and the elements of it's tribal nature are very often clearly apparent.
Religions in general are most often set up as an us VS them system. As a member, the inclusiveness is clear.
Choose not to live by the religion's set of acceptable behaviors and choices and support is withdrawn.
What amazes me is that many people believe the Bible is to be understood only as a literal, factual document, which is, in my view, preposterous!
Those that think the Mormon temple rituals, etc. are only understood as literal is also preposterous.
Somehow, many people have missed the importance of how symbols are used to teach a principle, obtain obedience and show allegiance to the religious claims.
It's been quite liberating in my evolutionary process to gain an understanding of symbols, and myths as those are always the basis of all religions.
| I've never met a convert who joined the mormon church without being aggressively fellowshipped or coerced.
People who love flowers seek out garden clubs. Those who like birds might search for bird watching clubs. Someone in need of spiritual guidance could go to a church to meditate or talk to the pastor or other spiritual counselor. They tend to pick and choose the organization they want without being tracked down and manipulated into participating.
I've never heard of "investigators" joining the mormon church unless someone pursued them, manipulated them, and dangled some kind of a come-on in front of their faces. Fulltime trained mishies and members go after people and do their best to hook them into joining the mormon church.
They utilize human vulnerabilities whenever they can to do this. Every convert I've talked to has told me they joined the mormon church to combat depression or loneliness, to find comfort in grief, or to find support during a divorce, setback, or trying time.
I'm bothered by mormons and exmos who lambast converts by saying, "I have no sympathy for adult converts whatsoever. It's up to them to check out the organization they choose to join.
I say yes, converts do need to be less gullible. But it isn't fair to blame them for believing lies while excusing the liars.
Shisters who are guilty of fraud need to pay the price for their crimes. Society doesn't put grannies in jail for giving away money to crooks. They've suffered enough and wouldn't have lost their nest eggs if devious perpetrators hadn't formulated and aggressively sold them lies.
I don't expect mormons and exmormons to beat themselves up for mistakes, but I'm bothered if they shrug off all responsibility by blaming those they aggressively converted for the painful results of conversion.
| These are specific to ways that the LDS church has a detrimental impact on families - the main thing they claim to support.
1) Unless you pay money and a lot of it you are excluded from temple weddings. If you have done something so that you aren't able to answer affirmatively to all the temple questions you are excluded - this can be as simple as drinking green tea. This causes huge rifts in families. For example, I will probably not be able to watch any of my children's weddings.
2) Priesthood widows and orphans exist - people get called to callings that take up a huge chunk of their time and cause real hardship on their family. I was one of them - and my relationship with my Dad suffered greatly because of it. The most faithful in the church see the least of their children and wives. This is very real. As the church says in it's marketing - it's all about time. The church regularly steals time that members don't get to spend with their families.
3) If there is a difference of belief on religion within a family, the Mormon church is a huge wedge in the relationship. Much larger than most religions. For example my wife told me point blank this week that she would drop me like a rock and move to Missouri if that is what the prophet said to do. The Mormon church demands that it comes first - before family. People often put the church over their family relationships, especially when a member doesn't believe.
4) The church today teaches that women and men are not equal partners in marriage. Sure they give lip service to it but at the end of the day the woman is told to obey her husband - and that is what she uniquely promises to do in the temple. They are treated as second class citizens. In cases where the husband wants to exercise unrighteous dominion the church gives him a big club to do exactly that.
a) Women today deal with huge emotional baggage if they are divorced and want to remarry. More than one ex-husband has used their required consent for a temple divorce as a weapon. (I just saw my female neighbor remarry 17 years after her divorce and the ex hubby refused a temple divorce so she could not remarry in the temple. He directly told her that it was so people would assume that she and her fiance were fooling around and not worthy to have a temple marriage.)
b) A woman can only be in charge of other women and children - never a man.
c) Women who divorce an abusive man are not allowed a temple divorce in many cases. She is told that she is still sealed to this man for eternity.
5) The scriptures contain explicitly racist passages. 2 Nephi 5 contains one example.
6) Today the church participates in public humiliation and shaming with not being allowed to take the sacrament, church courts, etc. Family participates in the public shaming. My wife has already dragged my 13 year old son to the bishop twice to confess viewing porn which has resulted in his public shaming and her sitting by as a party participating in this shaming. (Incidentally this was the last week I attended sacrament meeting - I still attended after I resigned for a time - I refuse to participate in any way that publicly shames my son and destroys his psyche.)
7) The church discriminates strongly against gays. They strongly encourage BSA to do the same. If you are in a family with a gay family the church puts up a huge wedge.
8) The church teaches that bishops and other church leaders represent the Lord. They are then given minimal training - just listen to the spirit. Members are told to obey without question - never speak evil of the Lord's anointed. Untrained bishops and other leaders OFTEN give counsel, advice and even commands that are detrimental to families and marriages. You don't have to read very far on this forum to find multiple examples of bishops and other leaders causing very direct harm to people's families and in their lives.
9) Tithing puts a significant hardship and stress on many families. Yes, in many cases 10% doesn't make a gigantic difference. However, in other families it causes a huge hardship.
10) The church encourages people to get married based on poor criteria. It encourages them to have children too quickly often causing financial hardship and other problems. It causes parents to engage in magical thinking in child rearing thinking that everything is going to turn out OK without the resources or training to be good parents, which makes them less effective parents and spouses.
11) The church has had essentially zero success in limiting divorce rate. This is despite extremely high "emotional blackmail" that it is important to stay married even in a bad marriage.
12) Utah has the highest percentage of people with depression in the United States. Suicide is also sky high.
13) The missionary program takes young men and women away from their families for 1 1/2 to 2 years. They are not allowed to go home for something as significant as a funeral for their parents. They are only allowed to speak on the phone twice a year. Likewise grandparents give up/minimize relationships with grandchildren and children, especially the serial missionaries who go on mission after mission and never really see their grand kids.
14) Members of the LDS church who don't tow the line - e.g. drink, smoke, etc. are made to feel out of place. The church gives lip service to this, but the reality is those people don't feel welcome at church. Much of this stems from the concept of worthiness and local leaders judging this worthiness. These people self select out of church. This causes a rift in families and a judgmental attitude of those in church towards those who aren't active. The very people the church should be helping are the ones it pushes away.
15) Members who are not part of an "ideal family" suffer a lot of heartache.
16) The church doesn't really teach forever families. For example as an apostate you will not be allowed to be in the Celestial Kingdom with your family. The church teaches forever splintered families. Even if you are active the stress and guilt associated with trying to ensure that your children, spouse, etc. are all worthy to enter the Celestial kingdom with you is immense.
17) The church encourages spouses to see each other in scripted roles that are often detrimental to the marriage. One very common example is that many wives feel the need to chronically nag their husbands to be better priesthood holders.
18) My wife just spent 8 hours away from me to watch general conference. I saw her notes lying out and she had written to "conference resolutions". 1. Go to the temple every weak. 2. Spend more time to have meaningful scriptures. Yep she wasted 8 hours away from her spouse and her only resolution is to waste even more time. More time away from her family.
| The Mormon Church has clarified its position on homosexuality, saying that gays and lesbians are almost human.
That's not my self-indulgent hyperbole, that's their straightforward theological position, although with different words.
They now talk about the need for compassion toward anyone who experiences same-sex attraction. After all, says their manipulative new website, "The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is." Elsewhere, it says "With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God's children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."
The "all God's children" thing is nonsense. After all, if gay men and women are as much God's children as straight men and women, why aren't they allowed the same divine right of consensual sexual expression? If Mormons now admit that God makes some people gay ("individuals do not choose to have such attractions"), does the Church simply reject the wholesomeness of this creation? Does the Church deem itself fit to judge that gay people should not act within the integrity of how God created them?
Do they think God makes a mistake every time God creates a gay person? After all, every day some 300 American babies are born who are destined to become gay adults.
Mormons celebrate that sexual expression and loving, blessed relationships are the singular domain of humans. By admitting that people are born gay, and then denying them the glories of sexual expression and loving relationships the Mormon Church denies them their humanity.
Some "love and understanding."
Church leaders helpfully state that "they aren't changing the Mormon teaching that same-sex relationships are sinful." Of course, if gays could marry, those couples' sexual expression could be considered blessed by God and they would not be living in sin.
Church leaders say they hope their new project on same-sex attraction will foster a "greater understanding of homosexuality among Mormons and a more civil conversation about the issue." I think people already understand exactly where Mormons stand on this issue, and what they mean by "civil conversation." Just four years ago, the Mormon Church poured millions of dollars into California's Proposition 8, which successfully removed the then-existing right of gays to marry each other in California.
There's your "civil conversation." There's your "We can all come together to foster a climate of goodwill and a determination to understand the workings of God in each individual life." In what ways is this arrogant Church attempting to understand how it seeks to truncate the humanity of gays, denying God's plan for them and their sexuality?
You and I personally subsidized that 2008 Mormon political campaign, through the tax exemptions the Church enjoys on its billions of dollars worth of property. Why their tax-exempt status-contingent on non-involvement in electoral politics-wasn't immediately revoked remains an enormous scandal that never happened.
And just a reminder: the Catholic Church is on the same marketing kick. Last week the Pope encouraged members to treat gays with compassion and dignity, while reminding them that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered." So God creates people who desire sex with a partner of the same gender, and the Church judges that inborn desire as pathological. The Church valorizes marriage, sexuality, and the family as part of God's gift to humanity, but firmly opposes those God-given creatures' right to marry, be sexual, and build a family. The Church denies their humanity.
Compassion? Dignity? It's just a marketing slogan. These institutions hate the sin, and loathe the sinner. And now they've even lost the integrity of their hatred by calling it compassion.
| If you read Recovery Forums long enough, you'll see why they say active Mormons make the best anti-Mormons. Using some examples people have shared, I'd like to give thanks for the following, very effective anti-Mormon efforts :
Thank you to the PTA ladies who acted superior to their non-LDS counterparts. Not only will those women want nothing to do with "those snotty Mormons" but they will keep their children safe from Mormonism too.
Thank you to the Utah teenagers who wear Sunday dress to school the Fridays before conference for uniting the non-LDS kids in disapproval of the Mormon attitude and helped them find other, supportive non-LDS friends.
Thank you to the Boy Scouts who wore suits on Sunday or insisted on very obvious prayers. Nothing like creeping out other teen boys when they are most impressionable. Nice.
Thank you to those Mormons who relentlessly post Mormon propaganda on Facebook, not realizing that they look like fanatics.
Thank you to those who turn down coffee and tea and alcohol with the statement "No thanks, I'm Mormon" since what non-Mormons hear is "No thanks, I'm a self-righteous pig."
Thank you to all those who look disapprovingly at people with tattoos and extra piercings for making non-Mormons realize they never want to be anything like the judgmental members of your church.
Thanks to everyone who set a nice, happy, good example for a non-Mormon until it was clear that the non-Mormon wasn't interested in your religion and then dropped them like a hot potato. Another great way to keep people from wanting to know more about Mormonism.
A BIG thanks to whatever monster decided to keep the rule that non-worthy relatives can't attend temple marriages. Other bad Mo behavior makes people dislike or disapprove of the church. This one actually makes people HATE the church and talk badly about them to anyone who will listen. Perfect for keeping people away from the Mormon beast.
Thank you to all the missionaries who have been caught publicly mocking another religion or who felt they should call someone to repentance. Teenagers acting like wise elders always, always looks bad.
It's also been helpful when anyone has discussed the importance of obedience to Mormon church leaders. Nothing screams "CULT" like compelled obedience.
And nothing screams "run" like members who claim their co-religionists are so offensive that the majority of people who join up with them would rather go to hell than spend a few hours in church with a Mormon (i.e. people only leave the church because they are offended.) I've actually had non-Mormon friends ask why the church leaders don't do something to help the membership learn to be less offensive after hearing this comment.
Thanks to everyone who brags about the good works the Mormon church does. Did it ever occur to you that the reason it seems like the LDS church does more than other religions is because other religions think it's vulgar and un-Christlike to brag continually about their good works? You don't do more - you are just tacky enough to brag about the things you do accomplish.
Finally, thanks to all those who were arrogant in their disapproval of non-Mormons, secure in their righteousness, proud of their different path in life. You look like jerks when you act like that. Good work. You are keeping good people from ever wanting to join your church and we all appreciate your efforts.
| The Church makes a big, big deal about celestial marriage, so it must be very important. But how important is it?
Is there a big difference between the highest part of heaven, where only celestial marrieds can go, and the second highest part, where righteous unmarrieds can go? How big is the difference? Will people in the second highest part be in eternal misery because they didn't marry, will they not care about marriage one way or the other, or will they have a different attitude? How important is "eternal increase"? Is celestial marriage the only way to have sex in heaven?
If you get married in the Temple and get divorced, are you still eligible for celestial marriage heaven, or not? Must you celestial marry a second time to get there, or will you be assigned to a spouse after death?
If you never celestial marry, can you be assigned to a spouse after death, or not?
If you never marry on earth, do you need to do a certain amount of dating to qualify for a celestial spouse in the hereafter? How much dating to you need to do to qualify? Must you date at least 20 times a year? 10? 50? Must you date 10 different people? 20? 30? If you date less than this, are you out of luck?
If you marry outside the Church, do you need to get divorced so you can celestial marry?
If you marry in the Church but not in the Temple, do you need to get divorced to celestial marry if your spouse refuses to marry in the Temple?
If you stay in a time only marriage and never divorce, can you get paired with a spouse after death, or not?
The biggest problem with celestial marriage is that it seems to make your salvation dependent on somebody else's action. You are saved if somebody agrees to celestial marry you, but damned if they don't. You are saved if your celestial spouse obeys God, but damned if they don't. Is this really true, or can you still be saved in the highest heaven even if other people don't cooperate, as long as you do the right thing?
These questions may have been addressed by various Church leaders over the years, but main problem is that Joseph Smith didn't explain celestial marriage very well. The Church can only explain it as well as its founder did.
Celestial marriage actually evolved from plural marriage. It comes from the same scriptures. After plural marriage was scrapped by the Church, celestial marriage remained. If the Church tried too hard to examine celestial marriage, it would have to delve into the original scriptures and history, and this would point straight to plural marriage. So the Church remains silent.
Isn't it strange that the Church does not like to examine the details of this most important teaching?
| We've all seen how stubborn Mos can be. Dominant religions like LDSinc which encourage identifying one's ego with membership (e.g., you are a strong person because you have a strong testimony; you are a weak person if you fail to obey) cause a self-identity crisis for those who try to separate themselves from the church. Once you feel being LDS is strongly tied to your core person, it's nearly as hard to emotionally leave as it would be to cut off an arm. It's insidious. It's abuse of a serious nature.
New information that threatens the self-identity (which is based on false information) feels like an actual threat to one's existence, when that future existence is wrapped up in promises of the hereafter based on myths.
Arguing with facts doesn't seem to penetrate the cult-think. In fact, they act more like they're in a life-struggle when confronted with facts that "murder" their self-identification with their myth.
How then, do you help deprogram the identity crisis programmed member?
This youtube video discusses it at the end.
The technique proposed is --
Self Affirmation: The assertion of a personal identity and self-worth decoupled from belief and insulated from new and threatening information.
The method involves:
However, I ask, do you see this as a slightly manipulative method? A butter-them up before you bonk them with the facts...
- Reassure the person that their identity is grounded in other things beyond their religious beliefs and myths.
- Remind them that life outside of religion can be satisfying and happy, can have purpose and joy.
- Tell them that they are an admirable that can have a postive influence and impact on others.
- That they have integrity such that reason and truth mean more than belief, status or conformity.
Legitimate or not?
| I'm watching the inauguration. President Obama is just "so right". For an instant I imagined Romney taking the oath and giving the speech...and it wasn't meant to be. It didn't fit.
I TRY to tell myself it's NOT because he's a mormon. As an atheist I think being mormon shouldn't have been held against him in itself...except for a select number of specific prejudiced doctrines that he should have made clear he would not apply to civil secular government.
But I realized that his only qualification for the presidency, to me, was that he had been governor of Massachusetts. But in his campaign he seemed to DOWNPLAY that. I think it was because he was governor of a very BLUE state and had to act awfully blue the whole time...which is why I think it was his best qualification. And it seems to me (from the perspective of having never lived anywhere near Massachusetts) that he did a good job and was well-regarded there.
But ironically, the things he tried to trump up instead as qualifications to be president were what defeated him. That is, he tried to act righter/redder than he really was, or had been, to win the right-wing vote...which is why he lost the REST of the vote...as the "right" is no longer a majority.
It baffles me now that he put his Bain business exploits above his governorship, or anywhere near or equal to it, as a qualification to be president.
I guess he was stuck having to win the nomination from the right-wing in the first place. If not for that, he might have WON as a moderate republican from Massachusetts. Instead, he moved so far to win the right, that he completely threw away the left and center.
Funny, Romney might have made a good democrat before he slid so far right.
The reason why I say this is because the same thing is now causing the church itself to slowly but surely "lose".
When I was a proud TBM all through the '90's and well into the '00's, I was like I thought Romney was (well, not rich and not a governor, but I was a mormon living in a solidly blue state, having core mormon beliefs I recognized as "conservative", yet having liberal sympathies).
At the time I considered the church to be progressive about many things. I thought it was centrist and popular. I thought mormons were about evenly divided as democrats and republicans like the country was, and I was proud of that. I voted for both. I believed the church really was politically neutral.
But, like Romney, the church has "come out" in the past 5 years as a right-wing hardliner. This is pushing lefties away enmasse.
The dive started, IMO, with Prop H8 (I've never lived in California). Then, the two Romney bids exposed the otherwise low-profile church and mormons as overwhelmingly politically right-wing.
Soon, the church was at a generational high of rightward pressure not seen since the ERA fiasco. I was just a child for that, but I surmised that it had been a crisis that split the church politically. The church had backed off most politics outside of Utah for a whole generation.
But then it came back hard.
IMO the wellbeing of the church depended on a pluralistic diversity that, ironically, they isolated politically. The same people that reelected Obama and defeated Romney are the ones that are turning their backs on the LDS church...and they're a majority now.
As long as the LDS church "stays the course", the wrong course that is, they'll continue to slide downhill and their fate will probably parallel the fate of the Republican Party. It'll either change, or fade.
| School Chaplain: Oh Lord. Ooh you are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh we're all really impressed down here I can tell you. Forgive us, O Lord, for this our dreadful toadying. But you're so strong and just so super. Amen. Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1983, Chaplain to children
Hymn from Chaplain: O Lord please don't burn us. Don't grill or toast your flock. Don't put us on the barbecue. Or simm our arse in stock. Don't braise or bake or boil us. Or serve our arse in a rock. ibid.
Either God exists or God doesn't exist.
"Do the gods exist or do they not?" asked Cicero. "There is a God," replied that twentieth-century giant of philosophy Sarah Palin.
If God doesn't exist, we rot in the ground, and worms and maggots eat our flesh and bore into the marrow of our bones. We fittingly provide fodder for further families of flowers and bees and dickies, and not forgetting of course jolly good grass.
If God exists, why bother? Why take an interest in God when God takes so rare an interest in us? We stagger home, we grab en passant another beer from the sideboard, we lean out the window, and release not only the beer but our bugbear: "Look, Lord. I intend to watch Network when I get around to it. But rest assured, I'm mad, and I'm not going to take this any more."
That should get God quaking in Her boots, hey?
Why would God bother to be God? Why would God want to be God? Did God have a choice? asked Albert Einstein. Why would God not rest from days one to seven in Her favourite armchair and spliff the stiffest, spiffiest trumpet? (not asked by Albert Einstein). The scientific burning-bush question is not whether Life exists elsewhere in the universe, but where in the universe can we find a planet infested with weed more wickeder than the weed we've been blessed with.
What's God's job description? What qualities does God need to be God?
JOB VACANCY: GOD
God required for seven billion people. Minimum wage excepted. Must have own transport. Psychopaths and sociopaths considered. Will involve some Sunday shifts. Experience of plagues and famine desirable. Main duties will include not answering prayers, dividing the sheep from the goats and non-executive director on Spurs board. Pension scheme available. Heaven Inc is an equal opportunities employer.
We quietly dissemble and back-engineer God to find what pre-requisites for the job does your back-street-galactic-roaming space-johnny need to qualify as God.
"You couldn't meet a nicer bloke than God.
He really is a thoroughly good guy.
He doesn't ever ring you
When you are in the bath,
And if your haircut's lousy
He never ever laughs." (Spitting Image s2e2, Conservative Party at prayer)
How do we tell the difference between God and a fascist intergalactic empire builder?
"Who are you carrying all those bricks for anyway? God? Is that it? God? Well I tell ya. Let me give you a little inside information. He's laughing his sick fucking ass off. He's a tight-ass. He's a sadist." (The Devil's Advocate, Al Pacino as Satan)
How to tell the difference between God and a fascist intergalactic empire builder is a material question as the God of the scriptures shows little sign of being God and every sign of being a fascist intergalactic empire builder.
"There can be but little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven." (Robert G Ingersoll)
A slurry of souls, I swear, are so god-damned determined to believe in God, it doesn't make a jot of difference how fascist and fickle their God threatens to be.
"I can't believe that God created parasites in order to torture small children." (David Attenborough)
Epicurus sets the job-test for any fancy-dan-space-hopping-johnny out there fancying a stab at God: "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
Picture a slime-green alien landing a small space-craft on the lawn of the White House. "I am God," squawks the slime-green alien in pigeon English, green veins bulging in Her thick neck. Are you a believer? What should be the proper level of proof? More than just a few party tricks? An open-palmed exposition pulls the first rabbit from the hat.
"God doesn't exist. So I guess nobody loves you." (Author Unknown)
Does it matter what God looks like? A snake-God tends to shed skin on the red carpet. A good hat, a God who doesn't wear flared trousers with sandals, and a God who doesn't dribble green slime at award ceremonies are admirable traits for the top job.
"Q: You're dead. This is the afterlife. And I'm God.
Picard: You are not God!" (Star Trek: The Next Generation: Tapestry s6e15)
A vox populi survey of Board members might reveal the required qualities of a God and democratically compile God's Job Description. What percentage of members would prefer God to be perfect? Perhaps we should hesitate on humanitarian grounds before forcing God to be perfect. We recall the faults bedevilling the Greek gods, and the mad killing sprees beloved by the God of the Hebrew Bible.
"I am in contact, in communication, with those at the highest levels of Creation who are passing on this information ... With the Being we call the Godhead, certainly." (David Icke, televised interview)
God forbid we give up the ghost and allow God to escape blame-free to a spiritual sanctuary with no law of right and wrong, and claim God-given immunity against the war-crimes, and the mass slaughters and the plagues and the famines and the hunger for sacrificial animal blood: "If God says something is right that isn't right, God's wrong." (Professor Colin McGinn)
All right, let's cut God some rope and say God needs to be reasonably (the standard of English law) good, and reasonably have our interests at heart, and God has a reasonable explanation of why we've been dumped on a lonesome and dreary planet three-quarters the way across the universe.
"God has blessed us so much I can't afford to feed you anymore." (Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1983, Catholic father to children)
On second thoughts (I have them occasionally) even burdening God with the need to be reasonably good may be building the gallows a bit high.
"When it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that. But I got to tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realise something is fucked up. Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong in the r,sum, of a supreme being. This is the kind of @#$%and you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. Just between you and me, between you and me, in any decently run universe this guy would have been out on His all-powerful arse a long time ago ... I firmly believe if there is a God it has to be a man. No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, if there is, I think most reasonable people might agree that He is at least incompetent. And maybe, just maybe, He doesn't give a @#$%and, doesn't give a @#$%and, which I admire in a person, and would explain a lot of these bad results." (George Carlin, Religion is Bullshit)
The best prize we can hang around God's neck is maybe God was good at some point around the time of the Big Bang, maybe God had our interests at heart once, and maybe once God thought about doing some good God stuff. Our God isn't much up to snuff. Which positions snugly with my homeboy theory that God must have played left-back for the Spurs.
We anthropomorphise God supine on a plump cloud and sporting an enormous snow-white beard which She or He strokes every time we covet our neighbour's ass: "All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a senile delinquent." (Tennessee Williams)
"The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying ... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity." (Professor Carl Sagan)
God must owe us a duty of care (English law standard). God must be discernible. God must be subject to the rules of science and be a promoter of the probity of evidence. Do we really hold to God being a third-rate magician, fond of planting dinosaur bones in the ground? Then the joke has gone too far. Has God really so little regard for the scientific method?
"But should we believe in such things if it's at the expense of everything that corresponds with scientific method, with reason?" (Matthew Alper, The God Part of the Brain)
Lost in the line-up of usual suspects is a God so featureless, so without form and void as to defy description, a vague mere presence in the universe reductive of a hope that while we can never draw near to God we sense with a warm fuzzy feeling that Life is fated to fiddle a happy ending.
Hidden in a holy [ - What the flying frig is holy? Holy Father, Holy Mother, Holy book, holy this, holy that. Holy bollocks. Amen.]
Hidden in a holy ha-ha-land we find ourselves holding the woolly bollocks of a God bound in a nutshell of Nature, a concept, a consciousness, a captureless recrudescence:
"Some people have views of God that are so broad and flexible that it is inevitable that they find God wherever they look for him. One hears it said that `God is the ultimate' or `God is our better nature' or `God is the universe'. Of course, like any other word, the word `God' can be given any meaning we like. If you want to say that `God is energy', then you can find God in a lump of coal." (Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory)
Perhaps the Board reader fancies a party of Gods? God by committee. If the reader fancies a God who sleeps around in the bowels of Nature, or in an orgy of Gods, the reader may slap his or her back as a pantheist. Which sounds a bit saucy. But you and I are not normally invited to those sort of parties. The temptation of the Hebrew Bible with its gods plural must be tempered with the straight monogamy of, `O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.' I Chronicles 17:20
You don't find many Baalists these days, or followers of Zeus and Apollo. Never mind, we've been blessed with the Jehovah Witnesses to take the piss from so we shouldn't complain.
"It would be no different if Bush were to summon up Jupiter and the Palace Athena. Whatever happened to those gods anyway? Where are the people to believe in them now? How quaint they seem and yet how seriously they were held to be, to exist." (Ian McEwan, interview Professor Richard Dawkins)
Perhaps the Board reader fancies a God who, having kick-started the universe party, kicks back in Her favourite armchair and rolls the Big One rather than answer prayers, count sins or ruin the party with a few cheap miraculous tricks. Yours is a chilled God who would rather hang about the bookmaker's than run the universe. And with good reason. Your God is probably ashamed of Her creation after the advent of the Spice Girls, and if you press Her, your God will deny creating the universe on the grounds of diminished responsibility. If you hold with a half-hearted God who wouldn't be seen dead around Planet Earth you are a deist. Which sounds boring and a bit like a Catholic S and M party with whips and chains, but such parties should be avoided for a lack of heavenly herbs, and with lashings of nuns and hermits and Earthly habits.
If the reader fancies a God who does the business, a busy- body, subordinates sins, and pruriently espies us through the mean end of a telescope, and frowns furiously over human affairs, prefers a good hymn and a tambourine, tampers with the temporal time-lines, terrible temperament tapered and trailing hell-fire, you can talk to yourself as a theist.
But a personal God presents prestigious problems that overshadow, say, the paradoxes put forward by the possibility of travelling back in Time.
So take your pick from a God with no redeeming features (think of the Spice Girls), a God who is ashamed of Her creation (Spice Girls) or an interfering God with a sad taste in music (again it's the Spice Girls).
For example, what on Earth are blessings? This quirk of Mormonism never failed to tickle my cognitive dissonance bone.
Why should I seek an advantage or favour over my neighbour? Why should I be so solipsistic to consider God is willing to shower me personally with a golden show of blessings? Which blessings, and how do I measure the success of the appeal?
Do theist Mormons believe God is moveable to bless Her blue-eyed favourites with a bounteous Brucey bonus? Funny definition of a God. If the payment of tithing is rewarded with blessings, is there a sliding scale of reward?
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." (Dorothy Parker)
The debasement of begging for blessings is an example of the trouble you attract with a belief in a personal God. "God speaks through me," prophesised a monosyllabic George W Bush with his finger on the button.
"The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive." (Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation)
"Who says that I am not under the special protection of God?" reasoned Adolf Hitler. ("Oh no you're fucking not," roared God from Her favourite armchair and returning to the lucky-stars column of The Sporting Life.)
"Simply put, they want a human God to eliminate all risk from their Life. Pat them on the head, kiss their bruises, put a chicken on every dinner table, clothe their bodies, tuck them into bed at night, and tell them that everything will be all right when they wake up in the morning. This public demand is incredible." (Bill Cooper, Behold A Pale Horse)
The personal God soaks the praise for every drop of good fortune that befalls our Lives from God's high Heaven; the personal God escapes the blame for the deluge of bad fortune that drenches our Lives with almost deliberate determination.
"If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever." (Woody Allen)
For God has a plan - a personal plan - that plagues our feeble prospects and from which we never find relief. The late Christopher Hitchens lamented hymn-like God's battle-plan: "Some design. Some father. Some caring God. Some designing supervisor." (Collision: Christopher Hitchens v Douglas Wilson)
Overarching the unravelled rainbow of a multi-spectral belief in a pot-luck God, Professor Dennett draws the distinction between belief in God and belief in, well, Belief: "There are no good reasons for believing that God exists. And plenty of good reasons for believing that God does not exist. But there are several good reasons for declaring a belief in God." (Daniel C Dennett, AAI 2007)
Why would God give a rat's arse about whether we believe in Her? Why would God set Faith as the deciding factor in winning Her favour?
"The most preposterous notion that homosapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history." (Robert A Heinlein, Time Enough For Love, 1973)
The noble and honourable stance for the reader when standing in the dock is to protest against this God in solidarity with our many brothers and sisters who were wasted with disease and starvation and the wicked wayfarers condemned to blow the fag-end of Life in flaming Hell. Religious people fawn and cower and praise God-knows-what, and are selfish in the saving of their own souls rather than protesting support until every last brother and sister is `saved'. Selfless solidarity is the highest lesson we learn of a Life sentence, and is the answer to Pascal's challenge that we may as well believe in God because we have nothing to lose.
"Why do you write to me, `God should punish the English'? I have no close connection to either one or the other. I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His non-existence could excuse Him." (Albert Einstein)
French author Jules Renard takes the `pleasure of breaking' `un grand silence roux': "I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn't."
The living fear of being dumped in Hell and having your backside used as a toast-rack is not sufficient reason to worship a fascist intergalactic empire builder.
Under English law a contract made under duress or fear is invalid. `To rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world is just as base as to use force.' Hypatia
Shake free your spiritual shackles, shed your fear, show some backbone, and shine in support of your brothers and sisters:
"If he is infinitely God, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future?" (Percy Shelley, pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism)
The prevailing philosophy of why God permits such suffering in the world, and why so many feeble infants are fated to die of suffering and starvation, presents a stunningly powerful Epicurean argument against God being God.
"Maybe at the very bottom of it ... I really don't like God." (Professor Steven Weinberg)
The comedian George Carlin fires the first shot in a spot of God hunting: "If we could just find out who's in charge, we could kill Him."
"He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him." (George Orwell, Down And Out In Paris And London)
The free-thinking Mormon adult after a Life sentence of indoctrination may feel obliged to worship a weirdly fascist God festooned with faults and funny habits. But many Mormon addicts openly admire and hanker for a fascist God and a Sturmbannfuhrer brotherhood.
"If it were to be true, one would be living under a permanent surveillance, a round-the-clock celestial dictatorship that watched you while you slept; and could convict you of thought crime, could indict you for things you thought in the privacy of your own skull, and sentence you to quite a long stretch, namely an eternity of punishment for that. Or dangle not to me very attractive reward of life of eternal praise and grovelling and sprawling and singing the praises of someone who you are ordered to love; someone whom you must both love and fear ... Compulsory love - how fascinating." (Christopher Hitchens, interview Divine Impulses_
The late Christopher Hitchens coldly laid out the horror of a real-life Sky-Daddy: "It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable unchallengeable tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep. Who can subject you - who must indeed subject you - to a total surveillance ... A celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate? ... At least you can fucking die and leave North Korea."
| I once took prayer very seriously as a source of obtaining wisdom with dangerous consequences. Somehow I survived my years of this good intentioned but harmful practice to tell about it. I had some thoughts this morning I wanted to share.
The long lasting psychological affects of Mormon style prayer need to be addressed for living successfully outside (or inside) the Mormon worldview by replacing it with something better.
This seemingly well meaning practice involves
1. Talking to a deity named Heavenly Father
2. Thanking for the circumstances of your life
3. Asking to be forgiven for violations of God's will.
4. Asking for help to know and do God's will and for good fortune.
5. God's will ultimately equals the Mormon church's authority and official position.
Reliance on this practice can seem benign and probably is for a few people, but with a closer look it is apparent how this can be a self harming habit that trains a person to see their well-being as conditional on being obedient to a subjective and illusive concept of "God's will." Equally harmful is the habit of giving credit to this god for everything, even when problems come from following interpretations of God's will from the advice of church authority and Scriptures.
If you ever took prayer in this way seriously and are finding it difficult to make satisfying decisions and know what you want, then you have some work to do to replace this habit for seeking approval and outside inspiration with something else that serves you better.
What is Mormon style prayer?
I see it as a misguided mental hygiene practice that is maladaptive for many individuals while being a powerfully adaptive practice for the interests of Mormon society as a group. It may weaken the individual in some instances, but it helps the group to remain loyal and obedient to a central authority.
The brain left to itself may tend to go different directions depending on what situation is perceived. It focuses on approaching and maximizing pleasure while avoiding and minimizing pain based on what seems most urgent. Prayer is intended to assist by helping to prioritize and identify the most urgent pleasures to pursue and threats to avoid according to a trusted set of beliefs. Serious problems start when this set of beliefs do not resonate with your best interest or go completely against it.
One of the most severe examples is a gay or lesbian asking forgiveness for a satisfying tender romantic experience or even thought based on the belief that they had gone against God's will. This path is an extremely deep disconnect from what is emotionally satisfying and rewarding. It is also going against empirical facts that leave no doubt that sexual orientation is not changeable even if one wants it to be for some ideological reason.
Using Mormon style prayer for decision making or mental hygeine using rigid beliefs can be extremely self harming. A rigid belief can be anything that is too inflexible to change when facts and emotional satisfaction are considered irrelevant or at worst believed to literally be influences from evil spirits.
Once upon a time in a simple magical worldview, low in empirical facts, prayer was important to our ancestors for some adaptive reason for groups and individuals. Mental hygiene for sorting through pleasure and pain is still very important, but there is no one size fits all approach. It is clear that whatever you practice do not ignore facts or your own desires for emotional satisfaction as valuable guides.
Recently I made a list of "what I want." I found it interesting that everything I wrote down were things that would be meaningful, satisfying, noble, and healthy for me and people around me. Absent from the list were self destructive behavior, cruel acts, stealing, cheating, laziness, or harming anybody. It is clear to me that what "I want" when I am calm and empathetic is not naturally disconnected from what is good for me and good for those within my influence. I seem to always prefer win-win situations over a continuing struggle of dominance. Prayer had a way of making me feel that "what I want" is likely to be against God's will, which was dangerous ground that would have horrible consequences for myself and others. "Thy will be done" meant seeking outside approval from an inconsistent yet rigid deity for my decisions and thinking.
I'm relieved to realize this and for the future I am going to make a regular practice of simply taking time to list "what I want to happen" while respecting reality and looking for win-win solutions when I have conflicts with other's interests--not necessarily to prioritize or judge these desires, but simply to become more aware of what feels most rewarding, satisfying, meaningful and motivating to me. I see this as a practice to increase coherence within the different compartments of the mind, which prayer similarly attempts to do, but through a filter of approval from religious doctrines.
I feel confident to say that the attitude of "Let my will be done" is not inherently self destructive, selfish, or evil. We want our own well-being and the well-being of others that we can empathize with. So empathizing with people you have conflicts with is probably a good idea too so you don't end up as the next Hitler.
Well, I think I've got out what I wanted to.
Please share any thoughts you have about how Mormon prayers affected your decision making or self-esteem development and your experiences about changing this practice to something else.
| So, Our SP has decided that each ward in the stake will have the goal of 1 baptism per month for the year. Yup, each ward has 12 baptisms as a goal. I went to a 3rd hour, 5th Sunday goal a few months ago where they mentioned that "Service" would be one of the main ways in which this would be accomplished. Huh?? :shock:
So, as you know, this is now the end of January and we should have our 1st baptism. There was nothing setup with anyone, so they decided to exercise faith. They set a date to have the baptism (yesterday). The decision was to go ahead and plan for the event, fill the font up, have speakers, music, guests, the whole thing.
So, yesterday, several members of the ward went to the stake center dressed in church clothing.
Guess What Happened?
There was no-one there to baptize. There is no one in the teaching pool. No one even close. The Bishop knew this beforehand and let the event happen anyway.
Just stunned. It probably turned into a faith-promoting activity and induced proper amounts of guilt as the people who were they hadn't been faithful enough to make it actually happen. The Bishop in his talk today actually referred to the small group of people in attendance as his "True Believers". What does that make of everyone else in the ward that stayed home and spent time with the family.
You just can't make this crap up.
| I see him as a tragic character, like Winston in Orwell's 1984 who wanted to find a middle way but in the end was too cooped to really follow through with his initial conclusion of "Down with Big Brother.". I think John was easily put aside by Mormon brass and in the end lacked the courage to leave the organization.
I am curious about some of his motives and would have enjoyed asking him some questions regarding specific actions.
For example, in the pod cast interview he speaks about his decision to not publish the Tom Phillips' Second Anointing interview. John explains that AFTER taping the interview, he went to his stake president, with whom he had been having weekly interviews (including confessions of sin), and asked for permission to publish the interview. Unsurprisingly and easily predicable, the stake president strongly inferred that the publication of the interview would result in church discipline against John, who seems distraught about being judged unworthy to baptize his own son.
At this point John believes it would be unfair to Tom to destroy the interview after having taken five hours of Tom's time. So John "compromises" is to release the interview to Tom to allow Tom to do with it as he pleases. While I am personally appalled that Dehlin would feel the need to seek church permission, I cannot reconcile his apparent duplicity in taping a controversial interview without first seeking his stake president's permission. I see John's behavior as disingenuous. Had he really needed church permission, he should have asked for it first.
Also, he bemoans the "wife swapping" and "pot smoking" that he says occurred after some of his Mormon Story Conferences. Yet, he states that he never actually witnessed any of this behavior. So did he learn about it through hearsay? However, he uses this information as a reason to change directions from what he apparently saw as his eventual dark destination. I don't buy it. I think he is jut employing the Mormon motif of only sinners leave the church.
I think in the end, John was too timid and perinsally hurt about not being worthy to baptize his son. The church found his secret fear, exclusion from family, and exploited it to betray his cause to the Brotherhood. Like Winston who knew of the constant revisions of history and policy, the mental pressure became too great and he succumbed to the manipulative force of the organization to comply (pray, pay and obey). The last four words in 1984 are "He loved Big Brother." These are the same words that came to mind in hearing Dehlin speak of his love of the church, the happiness it brings him, and his desire to fully submit and re-emerge in church membership.
Many of John's interviews are classics for which I am very grateful. I feel sorry for John and hope that one day he sorts his life out. I truly hope John happiness and peace. I think all of us who have struggled with Mormonism have gone through enough. I have always thought John's attempt to reform Mormonism by enlarging the tent to encompass all was a fool's journey. The LDS Church does not reform itself because of disgruntled or non-complying, non-orthodox members. I think it would had been easier for John had he severed his membership ties with the church which would have given himself greater autonomy in his actions. It appears that Dehlin would now agree that being a New Order Mormon is foolish.
| I haven't followed John Dehlin at all, other than listening to his interview with Tom Phillips. I did listen to this one. I believe John is expressing himself honestly in this interview. I don't think he planned anything in advance or is putting on a show - his struggles are real.
John seems to be primarily a people-pleaser. His biggest concern is whether the Mormon church can accept him, now that he knows their dirty secrets. As long as his apostle friend (I'm fairly certain it's Jeffrey Holland) and his stake president make him feel loved and accepted, John doesn't really mind the fact that it's all a fraud. As John says in the interview, it's about the emotional and spiritual, not just the intellectual. I take that to mean that as long as he feels accepted, those social ties are more important to him than objective truth. That's just his personality, as shown by his early experience with his parents' divorce when he took on the role of peacemaker.
The part that bothers me is how completely the Mormon stereotypes about apostates are imbedded in his psyche. He knows, intellectually, that people can be good and moral outside of Mormonism. He says that he doesn't judge people who violate Mormon standards. But he never fully deconstructed Mormonism to the point of recognizing that their standards are meaningless, and he never did the work of reevaluating and constructing his own morality. When talking about morality outside Mormonism, the word that keeps popping up is "scary". I think he's afraid because he believes the slippery slope arguments of Mormonism that have been ingrained in him for his entire life. He subconsciously thinks that breaking the Word of Wisdom will lead to alcoholism and drug abuse. Even more disturbing, to me, was how closely in his mind sexual morality was linked to Mormonism.
I wonder how many Mormon men are like John Dehlin, who are faithful to their wives only because the Mormon church tells them they should be. To me, that is such an incredibly shallow morality. It reminds me of the Church spokesperson who recently said that Mormon women benefit from men being active in church. What kind of husband has to attend church every week to be reminded not to cheat on his wife?
John seems to think that, at least for him, leaving the church creates anger and pride. Once again, the stereotypes are true for him, because he is subconsciously following the script that was programmed into him. I expect that he sees himself as the returning prodigal son. He fails to see that he never really left the church at all. He tried to set up a community because he doesn't think that people leaving Mormonism can handle the freedom - he thinks they need structured community and rules, and he felt responsible for them. He can't allow people to learn from their own mistakes.
With regards to his psychological counseling practice, I am sure he means well and genuinely wants to help people, but I don't think he can help others when he still hasn't resolved his own issues. Human beings are meant to live authentic lives. John Dehlin knows that Mormon leaders have no real authority, yet he still defers to them. Why is he so impressed by positions and titles? He still hasn't learned to stand his ground and calmly demand respect for his own views. It's just not in his nature.
John has been able to put a positive spin on the things he does believe, so that it is acceptable to the Mormon church. That may be good enough to keep his membership, but it's going to be a problem eventually. When he's sitting in church meetings and the teacher says something he knows is false, John won't speak up, because he won't want to upset the people around him with the truth. Out of respect, deference to authority, and fear of possible retribution for getting out of line, he'll have to remain quiet. That acquiescence to falsehood will take a toll on him psychologically. It's not a healthy place to be. And what about his children, who also know the problems with the church? They will be in the same situation, living what they know to be a lie.
| The big idea behind Mormonism is the restoration of priesthood authority to a modern prophet. Woo! We can act in God's name! We got the sh!t straight from the Big Guy!
But the validity of ordinances is just part of the importance of authority. The rest (the biggest part, maybe?) is about the validity of the boss. Because the boss is to be obeyed. With as little grumbling and as much @ss kissing as possible.
I got thinking about this as I was reading "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout, Ph.D. After writing about how sociopaths are well equipped to gain power and leadership, she raised the question of why we non-sociopaths follow sociopaths anyway. That led to a discussion of the Milgram Experiments. (Check Wikipedia if you don't know what they were.) Milgram summarized his research by writing:
A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority.
SO LONG AS THEY PERCEIVE THAT THE COMMAND COMES FROM LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY.
Let's see, who claims to have legitimate authority?
Milgram believed that authority could put conscience to sleep mainly because the obedient person makes an “adjustment of thought,” which is to see himself as not responsible for his own actions. In his mind, he is no longer a person who must act in a morally accountable way, but the agent of an external authority to whom he attributes all responsibility and all initiative. This “adjustment of thought” makes it much easier for benign leadership to establish order and control, but by the same psychological mechanism, it has countless times rolled out the red carpet for self-serving, malevolent, and sociopathic “authorities.
A TBM might respond, "But the brethren are totally benign leaders, not self-serving, malevolent and sociopathic." They say that, of course, because they believe the brethren have legitimate authority. Because the brethren told them they do. And the brethren wouldn't lie. Because the brethren told them they don't.
The extent to which authority dulls conscience is affected by the perceived legitimacy of that authority.
What could be more legitimate than God-given authority? Right? RIGHT?
When the Milgram experiments replaced the watchful man in a lab coat (the authority figure) with an "ordinary guy," obedience dropped from 62.5% to 20%. That's why Big Brother must always be watching. If not the brethren themselves, then the Holy Snitch and his note-taking angels. And his home teachers and visiting teachers. And "random" visits from cookie bearers to subconsciously bring The Dear Leader to mind. And if the brethren can't be there themselves, then you should watch them on TV (larger than life, larger than lies), read their articles, hang their photos on the wall, sing songs about them...
Follow, follow, follow the prophet...
When the test subjects considered the authority figure to be of equal status (research scientist vs. business executive, for example) they were less likely to obey directives to administer the shocks. That's why the brethren cultivate an aura of being on a level far above regular members. NO ONE sees the Great and Powerful Oz. Except at the podium. He doesn't take your calls, he doesn't answer your mail. He has more important things to do, peasant.
And faithful Mormons fall in line because not only are the leaders authoritarians, the followers are too. They believe with every fiber of their beings (or beans) that it is the One True Way to have some big important guy issuing all the rules, making all the decisions and being treated like the next best thing to God. Otherwise, independent thinking breaks out and everything goes to hell in a Relief Society decorated handbasket. For more on this, read "The Authoritarians" by Bob Altemeyer. Here's a link where you can get the free PDF version:
Like they say, question authority. That doesn't mean only to question what they say and do, but to also question whether their authority is legitimate.
| I think the Big 15 really believe this will slow down the exodus of their young members, it will have the opposite effect. I didn't go on a mission, as described it seems to be 2 years of frantic religion selling hell, and then its over. Staying busy does make time go by faster, I can relate as grad school rocketed by because I was so busy with a career, family and school.
These missionaries will not be busy, there is no demand. Door knocking doesn't work, this isn't the 1950s and the product isn't useful like say a vacuum. Member referrals won't work, the smart members value their friendships with never-mos or inactives and won't sic the missionaries on them. The dumb clueless members will reinforce their neighbors suspicions of their true mindset. What is the missionary to do in the mission field circa 2013? Blog about the church? That requires the internet, and the internet is evil.
The influx of many more sister missionaries, closer ages of the elders and sisters, lack of any real work to do, younger more immature minds in the real world, and the realization that no one wants what you are selling will hurt the church more severely than the businessmen at LD$ Inc could have ever imagined.
| They hold meetings to discuss what inactives are thinking and plan how to manipulate their behavior. Worse, they officially take action to coerce these non-believer into coming to church and giving the church free time, talents, and money.
Tell mormons NO, and they mind read how exmos will someday change their minds given enough fake smiles and snickerdoodles.
Mormons learn this intrusive behavior at church and then practice it in their families and neighborhoods. "I'll take brownies to Sister Fanny. You follow up with a phone call and offer to give her a ride to church. If we pray about it, she might come back to the fold."
Do RfMers "mindread?"
Yes, sometimes they do. Is there a difference with the TBM tactics?
As I see it there is. No one on RfM requires other posters to donate time or money to them. Everyone who offers advice knows it's up to the readers if they want to do whatever is suggested. We all know that there is not one only true course of action for any situation. There are usually dozens of good ways to handle any problem under discussion.
But when TBMs go after converts and former mormons, it's assumed that lavish fellowshipping will facilitate mormon agendas if the target victims are touched by the Lord. If they don't respond the "right" way, mormons mindread that their hearts are hardened. Mormons seek friendship to build their church.
Some exmos probably do want to undermine the mormon church but they know individuals have freedom of choice and accept that they won't leave their church if it's fulfilling their personal needs.
My own opinion is that the mormon church will continue and I don't care. I'm only here to try to help those who want to leave or have left and need help to recover from a destructive cult experience.
We've almost all been mormons and can look back at the experience with better perspective than when we were drowning in it. I think our mindreading efforts are likely to be more accurate than the mormons who read our minds and say we are lazy, like to sin, or are easily offended.
| When I went to the Orem High Seminary in the 80s I was kicked out for questioning too much.
This was a key event in my eventual discontent, disaffection and disavowal of Mormonism.
Reading John Dehlin's upcoming "Mormon Story" about Josh and Lolly Weed begging for parenthetically "respectful" questions forced me to flash back to that day I was called into the The Principal's office where he proceeded to grill me about my testimony interspersed with his own.
Up to this point I had thought Mormons were just what I came from and only different in a few peculiar ways like their history of marriage and their Word of Wisdom. That day I got a wakeup call and I was shown the door - literally. I saw that Mormons say they accept questions and that they will defend themselves respectfully. The truth is so different. The truth is Mormons can't handle questions and questioning well at all.
The only questions and questioning Mormons can tolerate are ones that do not include anything that makes them uncomfortable. In the dellusional world that Mormonism creates, most questions are going to cross their metaphysically reinforced lines for their god's work and world view.
This is why John Dehlin is a minor celeb in this myopic world view. He asks "hard questions." But does he really?
I don't think so. I see him standing next to that silverhaired employee principal in the morg's "Education System" and judging my questions with as little disregard for them as the principal had. If Dehlin thinks he needs to disclaim his request for questions with his idea of respect he might was well submit the questions to "The Brethren" to make sure they meet their ideal of "respect." They don't respect anyone's right to define marriage for themselves including any marriages falling into their DandC 132 category.
So what do I do when my ideal of respect is trodden down by Mormons? They feel they can ask all sorts of personal questions attempting to see if I pass or fail "The Brethren" test if whether I'm sinning or offended.
Funny how it always comes full circle on respect - we often don't respect other people's ideals of it but insist ours apply. Well, I think I'll turn the tables the next some Mormon attempts to "figure" me out. I'll ask them why they believe in ancient American israelites given "The Brethren" changed the preface to The Book of Mormon? Or how about how accurate does The BooK of Mormon have to be given it claims millions of ancient American israelite Mormons for them to believe in it? Or how about if they have read their patriarchal blessing recently and how accurate they thought it was for them? What about the super-forbidden questions about "The Temple"? How about I ask them if they are being "true and faithful" and if their is anything they need to confess to me before I tell them about myself?
Just a thought.
Oh and the old principal of The Orem High Seminary called me an antichrist before asking me to never let my shadow cross those seminary doors.
| Johns decision affects more than himself. He has made the decision for his children. He blocks their right to know the truth by capitulating. That decision would be fine if he did not have progeny that are affected daily by the fraud. Will he teach and counteract every meme of indoctrination of the children? Will he see to it that they are fully informed so that informed consent is not raped to protect their testimony of what he knows is a fraud? Johns decision affects more than himself and it’s the innocents that will suffer.
He may be a good therapist. So what? He may be a good guy. So what? He may see good in the church. So what? Still it will never, ever, ever, make it true. What will happen when one or more of his kids in the future learn of the fraud? What will be the thinking of family then? Will it be “Dad stayed even knowing these ‘little flecks of history’ therefore your decision should also be to stay! Shame on you for letting Satan affect you in this manner”. You bet you your ass it will!
When I learned of the fraud I had a very hard talk with myself as to what I was willing to sacrifice for the future of my children. I made a decision then and I and many others have stuck with it. We are the chain breakers. We are the ones who are and were willing to do the physical, mental and financial surgery to stop the generational fraud. We are the ones to show our children that not only can they leave but that they have a right to leave and that it can be done, nor will life end or be miserable if they leave.
John, even though he is a “good guy” in the eyes of believers or some non-believers, will never be the caliber of man that is rock solid when it comes to integrity. The church is a fraud. Period. It will never be good. It’s a lie. The people are basically good but that will never make the church good or the Nephites real. He knows this. He stays on the fence where he is safe. I understand this but how does it make him better than others who left?
We left safety because the truth was worth more than safety. Do we understand his position and why he decided to return to church? You bet we do! There is little mis-understanding going on here. It is a crock to say that we mis-understand and that we sound like rumor mongers in church. John has a right to do what he wants but John does not get the moral high ground. So what if he has helped others see the way out? He now blocks the path for his own kids. John is the epitome of what keeps the fraud going. Selfishness. He would rather be comfortable with the pretenders and teach his children to do the same by providing the perfect example for them to do so.
There is no moral or ethical high ground to be had by his actions. Good for him. He can go to church and check the boxes.
I hope he enjoys his after church dinners. Better that he have comfy meals with the family. The future will take care of itself. Right? His belly is full. Fence sitters don’t win wars. They root for either side and enjoy the show while others die.
John has had a great time “talking to people” just like he does in his profession. John likes to talk. John has sacrificed lip service while hundreds of thousands have sacrificed everything including some cases their very lives to stand for something more.
| John, I have listened to all three hours of your podcast about yourself. I have also read many of your facebook comments, and comments left at Mormon Stories. I have since read your clarification. And, frankly, you have surprised me. I have responded to this story in a few forums, some hosted by your critics and some by your followers. I am sure my response is of no surprise to you.
I do not like what you have said about the people you met. I do not like your condescending apology or clarification. You couldn't even apologize for throwing people under the bus without reinforcing that the Mormon Stories followers were meeting lovers and getting drunk. I do not think you are dumb, I think this is deliberate on your part. "- when a spouse comes up to you and says, "My spouse met their lover at a Mormon Stories conference, and that was the beginning of the end of our marriage - so thanks a lot." or "My spouse started drinking heavily once he started hanging around folks from the Mormon Stories community"". Wow, nothing says I am sorry to have implied that you people are wrong, like pointing out exactly where they are so very wrong.
In your revisionist apology you insist you pulled the ripcord on your regional clubs because you were concerned about reinforcing exmo stereotypes. But on the podcast you threw us under the bus by saying you would "rather have the problems of the Church than the problems of an open marriage." Does someone with your intelligence and experience really say something like that accidentally? No.There can be no confusion in your intent, so what exactly are you apologizing for, what you said about these people, or are you just apologizing for not being their official leader any longer?
I too have meet with people that left the LDS church. And in the same period that you describe, 8 years, I have seen men and women do amazing things. I have seen people graduate from law school, get a PhD, get an MBA with the highest marks in their class. I have seen people be published internationally and create careers out of hobbies. I have seen people work for startups and for major corporations in upheaval. I have seen them have children and raise children. I have seen people dig in for a family business in a tough economy. I have seen people manage a huge entity with a modest promotion. I have seen people buy out their founders to salvage their own profession and many others' jobs. These are the people you are describing. They also have divorces, have taken in step-children, changed their families. Women have gone back to work after many years of working at home. They are exmormons, not anti-mormons. They are real people. Sure, these same people may be offensive to you, and they may have episodes in their journeys that you don't like. They are the people you threw in front of a bus. They are the people that may also have sinned in your eyes, or gotten a little outside the lines. You don't even know them well enough to judge them, you just saw a bus and some people to toss.
More, you don't seem to listen to what they really have to say. They are parents and Grandparents. They have kids facing huge decisions. They live and are awake. They make decisions that affect their kids and their kids' abilities to think for themselves. The people for whom you are so sad and upset and hurting don't need your tears, your platitudes, or your pity. You are not really listening; you are just filling your ego, using your time, enjoying your hobby and basking in the light. The people that you are describing, both in the church and out, almost all have kids. Have you noticed that? Not all of them, but a ton have kids. People are leaving, and choosing to stay away, largely because of their kids. They know that it is not fair or reasonable or kind or even a choice, to raise their kids in an institution like that.
Your so-called fears of any or all of other families' alternatives are only your fears and have no practical application outside of your Mormon bubble. You pretend to be accepting, it is not even close to the truth. A listener would never use terms like "alternative" where people are dealing with the hard reality of a gay, lesbian or bisexual life or family member. I went to a wedding where a former Mormon Bishop was married to another man. The wedding was attended by his kids and mother. The support from these families was amazing and profound. That sort of support is not what I am sensing from you and your grand apologies and podcast. You, apparently, would be afraid and scared and fearful for your children. You might pretend to be hosting some cute website where you are kind and accepting, but, we know, you are afraid of so-called alternatives and you apparently wouldn't have that around your children. That is your choice as a parent. Other people may be in a situation that requires them to raise their children differently.
Your return to the chapel is not surprising. I get it. We all saw this coming. I also get it about Holland. He converted my own dad. He has been in my home too. I have been home when my brother answered the phone and said, "Mom, it is Elder Holland." His wife was with us when my parents were sealed. I have been in touch with these men and acknowledge very well what they are. I am not bitter about these men. I understand their role and talents. I do not like what they do, and I find them to be dishonest about finances, among other things. Though I have no doubt that Holland had the best interests of my family in mind, and may have the same for yours. But you don't have the same best interests for me, your subscribers, or even the subjects of your podcasts. You will toss people to and fro. At least Holland is consistent. Holland wants you in the bench, paying your tithing, and spreading the word. You on the other hand, seem to be acting recklessly. You, want subjects, information, data, followers, friends on facebook and a crowd. You want them looking at you, and giving you statistics and anecdotes. You then, use that for the church and then describe these people condescendingly, and judgmentally.
Lots of people have made Mormonism into their careers. Some have paid the price for what they have written, see Quinn. Signature books is primarily a publisher of Mormon material. The founder of Signature is, from what I understand, very fond of his heritage and history. He publishes historical material. He no longer attends church regularly, he has found a niche and way to stay connected, but does not feel the need to handhold the readers of his material. The readers' choices are theirs, he is fine to help them see the facts, but does not need adulations for it. The same is true for Palmer. Grant Palmer is one of the most humble people I have met on this journey. He clearly cares for the people that read his book, but his ambition was to tell the truth. I don't feel, in your born again podcast, or in your apology, that the truth or facts are very relevant to you. You are attached to these stories you hear, and that you tell yourself. And like some self-proclaimed prophet, you feel responsibility for what people did with any facts you may have shared along the way, so now you want the facts to be controlled so the people will be happier.
You have been pursuing this for 8 years. During that time you have spoken with many people, including me. You have hosted podcasts with authors, families, and even with me. You have established a huge following that includes donations and, as you admitted, glorification. You admit this. You took social media to a new level within the Mormon community. And you used these people by collecting their information and giving it to the Mormon church for your own gain. You used it to get an audience with Holland and Jensen. Your intent appears now to gain for yourself and get invited into their circle. You were sorely disappointed that you didn't present it yourself.
Unless you have a regular omelet buffet going, you have called me out specifically and personally in your podcast. I was a guest in your home. I was at your table. Your wife was present. Your mother in law was there. Your children came in intermittently at your invitation. You were asking the questions, I answered. YOU were leading that discussion, and free to let it go anywhere you chose. If there was any topic off-limits, you could have mentioned it. I do not recall being out of line. I was told twice that your wife and family were Sunstone subscribers and okay to hear anything. I was responding to your inquiries in your home. It was pleasant. Your mother in law gave me a hug and said she enjoyed talking. You took me from the kitchen to see your studio. We continued a dialogue for years after that visit. How could you possibly describe it as threatening after we worked together and you continued to call and catch up with me? Your description of your reaction to our visit, in your resurrection from the DAMUpodcast, was so odd.
We spoke for years after that breakfast. You continued to speak to other people I knew. I posed no threat to your home and family, and you know this. Perhaps there was something that you judged inappropriate, but that is your own judgment and bigotry. And yes, if you had really been listening to me, you would not be describing my experience, and my life, as something alternative. You have no clue the paths I have walked, and how I got here, today.
John, one my best friends said to me recently that he too could return to the church, and would, like you are doing, if the church promoted and welcomed a Black Lesbian into the quorum of the twelve. You seem to be the exact opposite of my friend. You seem to want to excuse all the faults and make minorities or gays and lesbians dismiss faults so that you feel better about your allegiance. Unlike my friend, who loves the church, his mission, his marriage, his family enough to leave and take a stand for the right things, you love all that too, and choose to stand in judgment of those that love all that, but cannot sit still. My friends would also like an audience with Holland, but Holland would never do that, because he wouldn't get the same response he got from you.
You do have a lot of followers and admirers. But you have also crossed a few lines. You describe in your podcast that people called you when you were driving home from the airport. That is not what I understand to be perfectly accurate. You were the one dialing numbers and filling your rolodex. You were calling people, especially, at late hours, when you were alone, from your car and from your home. I know this. I know of the calls while driving between SLC and Logan. You were dialing. You do not have to explain it, at least one woman I know has her story and she doesn't seem to be talking about you, like you are talking about her.
The women you would call sometimes had brutal stories. Loveless marriages and invisible lives were often tidied up in ribbons and bows to look good every Sunday. Then these women were finding things online and waking up a bit. There is no doubt that many were flattered by you, your calls and your interest. I know this because you told me this about these conversations. These women probably really did think you cared about them, and sympathized. You might have thought you were thoughtful in how used people and how you refer to them with stereotypes, but you are not behaving like someone who cared. You are behaving like a creep. It is not these other peoples' faults that your life was cracking and your marriage was tough. And it is not your association with them that made your life not so rosy.
John, you are in and out, then out and in, and you're still shooting blanks. A walking, talking Mormon vasectomy, if you will. It wouldn't matter if it was just your personal bouts, but you seem to thrive on drawing a large group into your drama, and then using them as material in your explanation. In this case, the people you are judging were part of your Ross Perot data pitch to the nation of Holland.
I don't care if you go back, many people go back. But, you went back saying that your association with exmormons is largely why you are going back, oh and those missionary discussions your Stake President taught you, and the VIP visits. You are going back and telling us that this is better for your kids, and implying that what other people are doing is not better. If you go back, go. If you change your mind tomorrow and want to follow another path, so be it. Just don't blame it on me or anyone else, and don't disparage good people on your way out/in.
| Dear Doubter,
The church is now almost openly admitting they cannot stem the tidal wave of information on the internet available to anyone interested regarding the truth and historicity of the early Mormon church, it's culture and the character and integrity of its players. i.e. Joseph Smith, for starters. It seems pretty clear that the Mormon church now wants everyone who is on the fence to go ahead and do the "research" needed to satisfy their curiosity to know whether or not they have been lied to by the leadership. Basically, strip off the bandage and lance the wound, so to speak.
Actually, this movie is pretty clever. My hat, rock included, is off to Heartsell for their ingenious preemptive strike against defections due to exposure to the actual truth of the church's origins. This being a church demonstrated to have been begotten in witchcraft, incubated in a hybred of ancient and early American occult and born into a time of human history wherein every religious offspring is a bastard grandchild of the Roman Catholic church.
Doubting members are being asked to not leave the church simply because having found (by accident or deliberate effort, it no longer matters) ample evidence to prove to an entire life to be built upon a foundation of lies and hopeful "assumptions." Assumptions like Joseph Smith to have been honest about heavenly inspiration being the source of his "translations." Assumptions such as that have to be put way on the back of "the shelf" along with other optimistic notions the church is no longer sure whether or not they now teach, or really ever did for that matter.
The American Indian being the Judaic descendant Lamanites of the Book of Mormon? While that was certainly being investigated as one possibility, that was only a theory and NEVER taught as doctrine of the Church of Latter-day Saints. What a silly assumption, and certainly never doctrine.
Yes, shelve your doubts and continue to study, and study and study until you exhaust your mind in the effort effectively desensitizing your reason historical distortion, faith promoting fiction and outright lies targeted at keeping you on the books of the church as an actual tangible asset that can be taken to the bank and borrowed against. Literally true. I was heartsick when I learned I was actually listed on a financial document as a financial asset of the church. Not as a respected member (at least in this particular document) but an asset. If you can see it for what it truly is, being a literal, tangible, bankable asset of any church is NOT something to be proud of spiritually.
The people who are using you do not cherish, love or even appreciate you. In fact, quite the opposite. The contempt for those who put the food upon their tables is palpable. You will likely never be asked to dine at the table you have sacrificed so much to provide for. In fact, unless there is a vacuum in your hands you are unlikely to ever see the inside of the luxurious private jets, lovely homes, or sumptuous "vacation" condos the church owns all over the world made available to the highest ranks of the church.
Yes, don't leave simply because you have discovered a few "anti-mormon" lies are in fact anti-mormon truths. Just continue to study until you have exhausted your will and completely desensitized your wit searching for your reason to stay. They don't care whether you believe or not, as long as you're paying your dues for membership. Tithes are the bottom line for any religious organization anywhere. You can bank on that.
Bravo Heartsell, bravo.
| In Jan. 2012, ABC News in SLC published a report that said:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is losing a record number of its membership. A new report quotes an LDS general authority who said more members are falling away today than any time in the past 175 years."
The related Reuters special report, "Mormonism besieged by the modern age", started with:
"A religious studies class late last year at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, was unusual for two reasons. The small group of students, faculty and faithful there to hear Mormon Elder Marlin Jensen were openly troubled about the future of their church, asking hard questions. And Jensen was uncharacteristically ##### in acknowledging their concerns.
"Did the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints know that members are 'leaving in droves?' a woman asked.
"'We are aware,' said Jensen, according to a tape recording of his unscripted remarks. 'And I'm speaking of the 15 men that are above me in the hierarchy of the church. They really do know and they really care,' he said.
"'My own daughter,' he then added, 'has come to me and said, "Dad, why didn't you ever tell me that Joseph Smith was a polygamist?" For the younger generation, Jensen acknowledged, 'Everything's out there for them to consume if they want to Google it.' The manuals used to teach the young church doctrine, meanwhile, are 'severely outdated.'
"These are tumultuous times for the faith founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, and the rumbling began even before church member Mitt Romney's presidential bid put the Latter-Day Saints in the spotlight."
From a Jan. 2013 CES talk given by 1st Prez. member 'Heil, Josef!' Uchtdorf:
"As we all know, it is difficult enough to sort out the truth from our own experiences. To make matters worse, we have an adversary, 'the devil, [who] as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.'
"Satan is the great deceiver, 'the accuser of [the] brethren,' the father of all lies, who continually seeks to deceive that he might overthrow us.
"The adversary has many cunning strategies for keeping mortals from the truth. He offers the belief that truth is relative; appealing to our sense of tolerance and fairness, he keeps the real truth hidden by claiming that one person's 'truth' is as valid as any other.
"Some he entices to believe that there is an absolute truth out there somewhere but that it is impossible for anyone to know it.
"For those who already embrace the truth, his primary strategy is to spread the seeds of doubt. For example, he has caused many members of the Church to stumble when they discover information about the Church that seems to contradict what they had learned previously.
"If you experience such a moment, remember that in this age of information there are many who create doubt about anything and everything, at any time and every place.
"You will find even those who still claim that they have evidence that the earth is flat, that the moon is a hologram, and that certain movie stars are really aliens from another planet. And it is always good to keep in mind, just because something is printed on paper, appears on the Internet, is frequently repeated, or has a powerful group of followers doesn't make it true.
"Sometimes untrue claims or information are presented in such a way that they appear quite credible. However, when you are confronted with information that is in conflict with the revealed word of God, remember that the blind men in the parable of the elephant would never be able to accurately describe the full truth.
"We simply don't know all things-we can't see everything. What may seem contradictory now may be perfectly understandable as we search for and receive more trustworthy information. Because we see through a glass darkly, we have to trust the Lord, who sees all things clearly.
"Yes, our world is full of confusion. But eventually all of our questions will be answered. All of our doubts will be replaced by certainty. And that is because there is one source of truth that is complete, correct, and incorruptible. That source is our infinitely wise and all-knowing Heavenly Father. He knows truth as it was, as it is, and as it yet will be."
And Monson's nonsense spouted in Gen. Conf. in April 2009:
"...most of you [young LDS females] have access to amazing technological advances. You communicate through cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging, e-mailing, blogging...and other such means....
"Although this is a remarkable period when opportunities abound, you also face challenges which are unique to this time ['the last days']. For instance, the very technological tools I have mentioned provide opportunities for the adversary [Mormon boogeyman Satan] to tempt you and to ensnare you in his web of deceit, thereby hoping to take possession of your destiny[.]"
As per usual, LD$ Inc.'s brainwashed Profits couldn't refrain from doing some fear-mongering involving the invisible Satan (What if the translation of ha-Satan, "the opposer", from Classical Hebrew had actually been Stan? Would Mormons during the past 6-7 generations have been afraid of Stan, the Evil One?).
The Morg will continue to weaken.
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