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EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 4
The "Opinion" topic was created to separate out recovery from opinions on posts made in Ex-Mormonism. A large selection of posts made by Ex-Mormons that do not fit in "Recovery". These are more considered "Soap Box" posts. While they may be opinions, they are still very important in the steps to recovering from Mormonism.
| I read this AP article yesterday in the religion section of the newspaper,
The last 3 paragraphs, I found interesting and worth discussing here,
"Moyers said his selected authors believe “fundamentalism can lead to 9/11. It can lead to politics that settle nothing, in which all of us go for the other’s throats and we have holy wars, in effect, in the political square.”
“People who think they know the mind of God don’t want to listen to people who think that maybe we can’t know the mind of God,” he asserted.
As New York Times critic Edward Rothstein observed, the Moyers gospel branded religious traditionalism as synonymous with terrorism and political oppression and ignored any positive contributions to civilization from such faith."
I tend to agree with Moyer's guests, that religious fundamentalism not only can, but definitely did, lead to 9/11. And it not only can, but HAS and will continue to lead to politics that settle nothing, in which all of us go for the other’s throats and we have holy wars, in effect, in the political square."
As for the positive contributions to civilization of religious traditionalism? You mean like the Crusades? The Inquisition? The Dark Ages? The suppression of scientific discovery? Genocide amongst the natives in the Americas in the name of religion and manifest destiny? Holy wars that continue to this day? Wars that continue to this day?
Just what positive contributions to civilization are we talking about here?
It seems to me that adherence to religious dogma and myths is the one thing that inhibits discovery and progress of civilization. Instead of flushing hundres of billions of dollars of precious resources down the toilet fighting religious wars, those resources could have been devoted to fighting ignorance, disease, poverty, homelessness, ecological destruction and so many of the other ills of civilization.
He's also right on when he says, “People who think they know the mind of God don’t want to listen to people who think that maybe we can’t know the mind of God,”
How many of us know Mormons or to be fair, believers of other dogmatic, fundamentalist, black or white religions, who are incapable of having a conversation about the subtlties of what we know, and the vastness of what is yet unknown, left for us to discover.
It reminds me of something brilliant Salman Rusdie had to say in his interview with Bill Moyers for Faith and Reason, here:
"...what I'm trying to say is that the purpose of--you could even say grandly the purpose of life. A purpose of our lives is to broaden what we can understand and say and therefore be. You know, it's to become, it enriches us as people to push outwards against the frontiers of knowledge and, if you like, of acceptable ideas. And there are of course people who don't think like that. And who want to do the opposite really, want to push those boundaries in."
Which describes exactly my attitude towards Mormonism and Islam and any other fundamentalist, dogmatic religion, which contiue to inhibit individual freedom to broaden what we can understand, and fight against the natural progression of civilization, to push outwards against the frontiers of knowledge and acceptable ideas. Religious fundamentalism has always been the main force pushing those bandaries in, and limiting what we as individuals and as a civilization can know about reality.
the link to PBS's excellent Faith and Reason program.
| I think the Mormon church is in transition, trying to move from the frontier to the city, the 19th Century to the 21st Century, the weird fringe to the mainstream, the unhinged to the hinged. Its a struggle.
There are areas where the struggle is painfully obvious, due to confusion over doctrine, and the inability to articulate what the church believes and practices.
Hinckley stumbled several times in his apparent quest to straighted things out on television. "We are not weird," he told Mike Wallace, and I am sure he meant it. He does not want to be weird. No rational Mormon does.
So how does one lay some issues to rest? Polygamy, becoming a god, revelation, and the worship of Joseph Smith are all burrs under the saddle.
If the church does not worship Joseph Smith, why did last December indicate it does? The "nativity scene" at BYU (Joseph Smith in the manger instead of Jesus), the meetings, articles, videos, and songs--it was remarkable worship . Mormons still believe that Joseph will judge us when we die. And we don't worship Joseph?
Polygamy! Such an ugly thing. It has brought nothing but embarrassment, heartache, and misery. It did when it was formally practiced, and it does now. Why can't the church get away from it? Its sick. Leave it to the Moslems. Let them stew in it.
But we can't get away, because we still teach it. Mormons do not "abhor" polygamy. They look forward to it. How depressing.
What is revelation? Is it more than just a "feeling?" I would like to know. And how do we know when something is inspired, or just opinion? That has never been explained. It needs to be.
Will we become gods? I don't know that we have ever stopped teaching that.
I think its as much a part of the church as polygamy. The two are linked--all part of the Kolob package.
These are some of the things that hurt the image of the church as it struggles to become mainstream, "respected," and admired. Mormons want to be called "Christian." And I knew many who were--in every positive connotation of the word. Its hard, however, to be taken seriously as "Christian," or "mainstream" with the anchors of revelation, polygamy, becoming a god, and Joseph Smith worship holding you back. It has not been solved yet.
| Mormonism, and many others religions, are like fast food franchises. Please bear with me while I stumble through an analogy.
If you want to make a decent and fairly predictable return, you can buy a McDonalds franchise. They have a system that is already in place that works. Customers get food fast, and the owners, along with McDonalds, get a decent return.
But look at the product. The food is generally poor in quality and lacking in nutrition. The workers are low-skilled, so they earn low wages. The consumers are satisfied and full, but never really ‘enjoy’ the meal. The owners make decent money, but not a fortune.
Now, let’s look at the people. The workers generally command low wages. They haven’t taken the time or energy to improve their skills to earn a better wage. It’s an easy, no-brainer solution for someone who needs some spending money. The consumers are almost always eating unhealthy food, and they know it. They’re in a hurry, and need something fast. The owners of the franchise generally don’t work there; they just get a satisfactory return on their investment.
Generally speaking, every player in this scenario is choosing the lazy answer. The easy, low-risk, no-brainer way. They chose to accept another person’s solution to their particular dilemma.
But, with more effort and thought, each player could have dramatically improved their experience and results.
To me, organized religion is similar. They have a system that seems to work for a lot of people. People go to church, get baptized, follow the system or ‘moral code’ and turn out to be decent people.
People wonder,”How can I raise moral kids in this world?”, or, “How can I find happiness for myself?” There is a market for anyone who can answer this question. Along comes religion and says, “We have a ‘system’ of belief that, if strictly followed, will be the answer to all of life’s dilemmas”
To people will little spare time and lots of questions, that’s a pretty attractive proposal!
I am learning this: Organized religion is a lazy answer to some of life’s most important questions. Morals, principles, and natural laws are the birthright of every human, not just the religious. My destiny on this planet does not consist of following and obeying another person or organization.
If I want to be happy, I must learn about happiness, decide for myself what will bring it, and then do it.
If I want to raise moral kids, I must study morality for myself. I must test it, and then live it.
This may seem quite obvious to most of you. And it is. But I have been raised to ‘follow the prophet’, and it’s quite a revelation to me. To learn that reason is my greatest asset, not a stumbling block, makes me want to shout for joy! I’m allowed to think! I’m allowed to exercise my own judgment!
I don’t want a system of belief for me or my kids to follow. That sounds way too boring. I want to discover my own system, and have fun doing it!
| The downtown redo has been very silent the last few months. However, the door is starting to crack open.
Word is, over 300 leases are being renegotiated by PRI, the church entity that is over this whole thing. PRI (Property Reserve Inc.) is headed up by bishop burton (Presiding Bishop).
The amazing thing about this is that PRI asks each lessee to keep what is going on with their individual leases confidential. And they do! Utah Woolen Mills got out of hand for a few moments there. They are in the middle of the block, directly across the street from temple square, with a 100 year lease they do not want to give up.
So I am hearing that PRI is screwing people over. As their secrecy gives them power over morgbots, the morgbots are taking one for the Lord.
On the other end of the spectrum, their secrecy is giving power to those who are not morgbots, and just run a business. All a lessee has to do is suggest a phone call to the press, and PRI caves. PRI is calling this blackmail.
Meanwhile, some of the lease negotiations are costing PRI millions of what they call sacred funds. I am starting to hear murmurings from the faithful that the terms sacred funds and confidentiality are being used rather loosely to bully morgbots into line.
It will be interesting to see how much longer PRI can keep the lid on this boiling pot.
| The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has little to do with Christ. Joseph Smith, the founder of the feast, gets all the attention--including, of late, a nativity scene, and special meetings, hymns, tributes, and books.
Poor Jesus--he is forgotten and cast adrift.
The Mormon church teaches that the temple is the pinnacle of spiritual experiences. When members actually get there, they find they are in a CULT, with weird clothes, a ceremony which has been changed, and promises they are told to make without being warned. The ceremony leaves many feeling scared, disgusted, and offended.
Mormons are taught that a temple wedding is a beautiful thing to aspire to. When it occurs, it excludes "unworthy' family members, and puts the entire business of being married into a short, uninspiring ceremony, where those getting married are put in ridiculous clothes they cannot be photographed in. They would not want to be photographed in the ludicrous attire.
The church teaches its leaders have the "power of discernment," and then launch an inquisition of interviews, more interviews, spying and snitching to find out what is not revealed by the "power of discernment."
The church teaches that tithing will be a blessing, and you will flourish if you pay it. Yet, Utah leads the nation in bankruptcy.
The Mormons church teaches that "no success can compensate for failure in the home. " Then, they turn all family activities into planned and programmed ordeals, and take the family members away from the home again and again.
The Mormon church teaches that the "Word of Wisdom" will improve one's health. In fairness, the use of tobacco makes no real sense. But recent medical evidence shows that alcohol, tea, and coffee can be very beneficial.
Mormons are told the gospel makes them happy. They had better be goddam good and happy. Taking anti-depressants in huge doses--nation leading doses--helps bring about that "happiness."
The Mormon church teaches you have "free agency, " and then they do all they can to take it away. You are "free to choose," as long as you choose the way you are told.
The Mormon church preaches the value of knowledge and education. Then, the real history of the church is hidden and lied about.
Mormons are told--by many a returned missionary--that the mission was "the best two years of my life." Get a missionary to be honest, and he will tell you he was abused, lied to, manipulated, and mistreated.
Spencer Kimball wrote a popular church book "The Miracle of Forgiveness." Those who read it felt depressed, full of despair, and convinced they will never be forgiven. The God of Kimball's book is not one you would wish to meet in a dark alley.
The Mormon church has a semi-annual "General Conference." During these ordeals, no-one actually "confers." The members are told what to do, and its all one-sided.
Joseph Smith practiced polygamy as one of the crowning doctrines of his church. Yet, it killed him in the end. Fear of having the truth told led him to destroy the "Nauvoo Expositor," which landed him in Carthage jail, and got him killed.
Brigham Young was "the great colonizer," an man who "built the west." As time goes on , we have learned he took the wives of other men, advocated blood atonement, probably helped encourage the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and enriched himself at the expense of his followers. He lies in an obscure grave, and no-one gives a thought to visiting him.
Mormons are told that they--alone-- know where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going. Yet, when it comes to the actual business of dying, they are as uninformed, afraid, and puzzled as anyone else. Even Bruce McConkie, who had his "calling and election made sure" was afraid of death. Can't blame him. There are no easy, free, or exclusive answers.
Mormons are admonished to pray and pray and pray. Yet, the heavens are as closed to them as everyone else. No-one really expects their prayers to be answered, And they are not. Prayer is an exercise of faith--with no hope of results.
Mormons are told they can bless and heal the sick. But Priesthood blessings don't do anything. They are just another exercise of faith--blessed with no particular result.
Mormons are told they have more scriptures, more "standard works" than one can shake a stick at. Problem is, they have been discredited until there is no hope of taking them seriously.
Mormons were told that "Lamanites," would become "white and delightsome." When that did not materialize, the doctrine was changed.
It never ends. You could not list it all if you had to.
| I'm reading George Orwell's 1984 for the first time. I can't believe I haven't read it before now. I ordered it used through Abebooks.com, and I got an American 1949 first edition hardback with dust jacket for $4. Woohoo!
Anyway, last night I read the part where it's announced that chocolate rations are reduced from 30 grams to 20 grams. Then the very next day, Big Brother is praised for increasing the chocolate rations to 20 grams. The main character Winston is sitting at lunch with two other guys, and he watches their reactions to the news, thinking they are complete imbeciles for not even being able to detect the contradiction even after only a single day.
I'm reminded of my mother's denials that the blood oaths ever took place in the temple ceremony, even though I watched her perform them in 1987 when I went through my first time.
Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to update prior published books, newspapers and other media with the current days "truth." When he's done, he tosses the originals down a chute called "the memory hole," which leads to an incinerator. He has trouble even remembering exactly what happened in the past, because there is no evidence of it anywhere but in his mind, and he's not sure he remembers it correctly. In fact, he doesn't even know for sure that reality itself doesn't change from day to day.
Something fascinating that Orwell describes is a language called Newspeak. Winston has a friend who is involved with the development of the language who tells him that the idea is to destroy words and reduce the language to a concise subset. This way, once Newspeak is rolled out to the masses, "thoughtcrime" will become impossible because there are no words to even describe or express heresy.
The book is very psychological and even oppressive to read. Obviously, Mormonism isn't this bad, but it's startling to run across ideas like the memory hole in this dystopian literature that I used to deal with all the time as a Mormon. Doctrines that were once eternal truths would become heresy within my own lifetime and nobody but me would remember it. Thank you, George Orwell.
Anyway, I'm sure all you guys have read this book decades ago, but I never did and I'm only getting it now. I wish I'd read it as a Mormon. I wonder if it would have gotten through to me. Maybe not.
| I tried hard for ten minutes this afternoon to come up with some pithy retort to that poetic question, and couldn't. But you posed a challenge to me and I took the bait. During my two-hour appointment I could barely concentrate enough to take notes, for all the thinking I was doing.
I hate to put it in these terms, but as I get older I recall events that used to send me into screaming fits, and I can amuse myself for a long time remembering my own folly. I look at headlines and instead of getting all amped up about the latest crisis I roll my eyes and think "what, again?" and go on with my day. San Francisco must have some of the snottiest drivers ever to sit behind a steering wheel - there are endless tales to hear and tell around here - but unless they are directly forcing me into "fight-or-flight" I laugh out loud and think "god, are you a dope!".
What is it about mankind that enables us to see humor in situations where there would ordinarily only be anger, pity, or pained embarrassment? When the only appropriate response is a sympathetic one, what triggers the impulse to burst into laughter? Well, I went looking for answers and found 'em. I'm only an armchair psychologist, so for those of you who want to read a good deep article about laughter, go here, scroll down, and click on DSW07:
They explain things a lot better than I ever could. In the article, there is reference made to causes of laughter: "a sudden unexpected change in events that is perceived to be at once not serious and in a social context that is, nonserious social incongruity". There, I couldn't have said it better myself. Then I started drawing conclusions; hmmm, now I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous to myself, but here's my one-shot idea. I'm going to divide it into two parts, one for males and one for females.
Ladies first: "The Lucy Syndrome". When I was a kid, I used to sit in front of our TV all afternoon, and my favorite show between the ages of four and seven was I Love Lucy. Lucy was NOT TO BE MISSED! I could quote entire scenes complete with accents till I drove my parents to distraction. Fast forward to a few years ago. After finally finding the love of my life, I had the opportunity to educate him in, of all things, American pop culture. The poor deprived guy grew up in France where they had nothing like sitcoms to watch on TV. Rubbing my hands together like some gleeful maniac, I rented episodes of I Love Lucy and we watched them, he with dubious anticipation, I with a tremor of fear - what if they weren't as funny as I remembered them? That fear was soon put to rest; "Luuuuuuuuuu-ceeeeeee, joo hab some 'splainin' too doooooo!" The chocolate factory, the pizza parlor, those zany schemes with sidekick Ethel! Oh my god, we laughed till we cried. And poor Lucy! She tried endlessly to get a gig at the club, onstage with Ricky. And once, on a show that I remembered with crystal clarity, she finally did make it onstage at the club; announcing at the same moment to Ricky, her real-life husband, and the world that she was pregnant with their son. What a poignant, beautiful moment it was - no one can fake those emotions! I think we cried real tears at that one.
So here's the point: Lucy Riccardo was forever trying to "do good"; always trying to be the perfect wife, the perfect businesslady, the perfect-ly talented spouse of "big-time" Ricky Riccardo; she cooked up scheme after scheme to promote herself and her "talents", and harried and finagled Ricky again and again to get him to just give her a little credit . . . always failing pathetically in the end of course, because it would have been incongruent with the characters and plots. And yet we all laughed at her antics. Does this sound familiar? Don't most Mormons try, try, try like Lucy to be perfect, only to be foiled in the end by one big circumstance that was always beyond your control? The Church always set you up for failure. And here's the difference: unlike the Church and you, Ricky ALWAYS loved Lucy in the end, NO MATTER WHAT.
Now the men's turn: "The Three Stooges Effect". Don't throw brickbats at me for the violence in that show. I watched it after school for probably ten years, learning every move of Moe, Curly, Larry and later, Shemp. Don't think I don't know getting hit in the head with a two-by-four hurts, or getting an ear-twist or an eye-jab just might main you for life! My brothers tried those antics out on me, and I returned the favor whenever I could. Mostly I'm glad I survived intact. So, with a little jazzed up "Three Blind Mice" music to remind us that here were three guys who really were socially "blind", they bungled their way through scene after scene as the most hopelessly funny, brainless dolts one could ever hope to lay eyes on. Who could forget those hysterical sleep scenes, when they all had a different snore playing one after the next like a human concerto, all rolling over in unison?!? Was not Moe a lovable goon? Was not Larry the perfect klutz? And was not Curly's repertoire of noises and quirky moves something amazing to behold? Nyuck nyuck nyuck! There they were, optimistically, even cheerfully, dealing with whatever life dished out, always failing miserably in the end because, of course, they were truly stupid beyond belief. Well-meaning, I'm sure, but totally clueless. Cue the music; up come the masks, Comedy and Tragedy; "wahwah, wah wah wah wahwah, . . . " And we all laughed at their silliness.
I think a psychologically happy person is one who can laugh at themselves when they discover themselves to be in that state of "nonserious social incongruity". We all know it isn't an easy thing to do, and we've all lived through those episodes. When we laugh at someone else, is it because we've been there ourselves once and we know life just goes on? I was standing with my best friend at a stoplight in Santa Monica once, waiting to cross the street, when the only seagull in the whole sky crapped on my perfect white T-shirt. It was so big it even made noise when it hit. What a badge of honor! It was disgusting! My best friend saw the whole thing - he laughed until I thought he would pee himself - he laughed so hard I started laughing; what else could I do?
But what, you ask, does this have to do with Mr. Bachman's quote?
"Book of Mormon cities have been found, they are well known, and their artifacts grace the finest museums. They are merely masked by archaeological labels such as 'Maya', 'Olmec', and so on."
Read what the minions of the church are up to. I probably owe them some kind of credit, because these guys TRY so hard; but like Lucy and the Three Stooges, all their schemes are doomed to magnificent failure. Circumstances beyond their control have fated that they'll just never succeed, and in the process they are inadvertently creating tragicomedy with whatever they touch. Poor Mormons! Striving endlessly for perfection, striving valiantly to be right. Well-meaning, I'm sure, but totally clueless. So I laughed, what else could I do?
Still waiting for your answer about tragedy versus comedy, flattop." - Tal Bachman
| In the introduction to the New Testament Chapter of Paine's work, he makes the following statement:
"I lay it down as a position which cannot be controverted, first, that the agreement of all the parts of a story does not prove that story to be true, because the parts may agree, and the whole may be false; secondly, that the disagreement of the parts of a story proves the whole cannot be true. The agreement does not prove the truth, but the disagreement proves falsehood positively."
When I read that paragraph, I was struck first by the simple clarity of the premise, and second by how easily it debunks virtually ALL of the fundamental Mormon claims. The parts of the restoration story CAN be individually analyzed, and if any of the parts disagree, then it is positive proof that the whole cannot be true. This concept is the very kernel that spawned LDS apologetics, which exists for the sole purpose of trying to hold the parts together, and invent arguments that keep the whole from exposure to the power of this simple premise. Typical TBM's encounter this dilemma every time they think about doctrine or history or policy. That is the whole reason for "putting it on the shelf" or "We will understand it in God's own timing" or "The gospel is perfect but the people aren't" or "no answer to prayer is not a 'no' answer to prayer", ad-nauseum.
The more I studied the doctrine and history, the more I encountered these contradictory parts:
..and on and on and on
- Was Joseph 14, 15, 16, or 17 years old when he had is "first vision"?
- Was his "first vision" a theophany (elohim and jesus) or an angelic visitation (and was it nephi or moroni)?
- Was it a toad, a Spanish soldier, a salamander, or a Nephite that gave him a shock?
- Was Joseph told to bring his oldest brother, his wife, or his first-born to the hill?
- What was in the box, the Urim and Thumim, the plates, the breastplate, the bow, the sword of Laban, some of the above, all of the above?
- Did Joseph translate with the breastplate/UrimandThumim-looking at the plates, or with his head in a hat looking at a stone, with the plates hidden in the woods?
- Was the experience of the witnesses a mind-vision or an actual angelic visitation?
- Was the first printing full of errors because of the printer or did the scribes screw it up or was that the way it came through the translation process?
- Did the translation/scribe process stall when the spelling was wrong?
- Did the Melchizedek priesthood get restored before they ordained elders and apostles, or after?
- What came first, the angel with a sword or the revelation denouncing polygamy?
- What came first, Fanny Alger or the angel with a sword?
- What came first, ascension to Masonic Grand Master, or the revelation of the endowment (true masonry)?
- Did Joseph get the revelation on the priesthood wrong to begin with, or did elohim change his mind about what the revelation should have said?
- Was Joseph just testing the faith of his brethren, or did he really intend to bang their wives (until their wives refused)? (There were wives who did not refuse
- Was Adam Elohim?
- Was Elohim once a man, who became a god, or de we not really teach that?
- Is the American Continent a promised land, or was the promised land a small region somewhere in the southern Mexico/Guatemala area?
- Are native Americans Lamanites or are they asian beneficiaries of Lamanite promises?
So, if there are indeed "parts" of the story that disagree with other parts or with the whole, what does this say about the whole? Is it that big of a deal to say that the whole cannot be true, but still leave the possibility that parts of the whole can be true? How much of the whole has to retain its integrity before we determine that whatever is left is not worth our commitment? Obviously we have made that determination, but our families and friends have considered the contradicting parts and, thanks to apologetics, have not skipped a beat in their commitment.
I think the answer to our dilemma may rest with the stripped down version of the whole.
What is left of Mormon history and Mormon doctrine, if we discard the contradictions, and retain only that which contains no contradictions?
What is left? A fraud; perhaps a social club.
- No first vision
- No angelic visitation
- No Book of Mormon
- No reliable revelations (DandC)
- No priesthood (or at best, no Melchizedek priesthood)
- No "True Masonry" temple endowment
- No polygamy commandment
That is the issue.
| A while ago there was a post linking to the book "The Mormon Conspiracy". One of the Amazon reviwews hit on a subject that is sometimes, but not frequently, addressed on this board (Utah-Land of The Pod People, November 5, 2005). This woman, Anna V. Carroll, wrote of her experience in Utah:
"After months of trying to get work in SLC I briefly went to visit a friend in San Francisco. He introduced me to a couple of his gay Mormon friends who encouraged me to: go back, join the church, and you'll be working in no time. I took their advice. At my Baptism ceremony, the sister of the lady I was living with, took me aside and told me about a job I was more than qualified for."
This caught my attention because I know of 6 individuals who have left Utah in the past year because they could not find work here.
On another web site ( http://nowscape.com/mormon/thanks.htm Subject: Job Opportunities, Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005) a commenter relates their own difficulties finding a Utah job, and relates that of another woman who they claim was told outright "you don't wear the right underwear".
Either these are disgruntled people blaming Mormons for their misfortune, or this is perhaps a case of "where there's smoke, there's fire." Perhaps the local culture has developed a passive-aggressive form of discrimination that is not easily confronted. I know my daughter explains the social atmosphere in here high-school as 85% Mormon who pretty much just associate with each other, while the other 15% form a pretty close-nit altenative social group as a counter-reaction.
Mormonism's early history shows a pattern of outright disregard for "gentiles" that include the stated goals of "consecrating" land in Missouri, and latter aggressive accumulation of land in Illinois. Later in Utah, there was MMM, of course. Brigham Young also declared what was essentially a boycott of "gentile" merchants and even had police visibly patrol shop fronts to intimidate any patronizing. He used his influence to reroute the intercontinental railroad from connecting in the gentile town of Corrine. Ogden became the major rail road hub of the 19th century. Later, when the boycott fell apart BY formed ZCMI, which existed until just a few years ago, to encourage the brethren to patronize only fellow Mormons.
To what extent does the this operate in contemporary Utah society? Mormons I know deny any discrimination even while they associate almost exclusively with other members.
Even most non-mormon people I've spoke to about this deny there's any outright discrimination, but I also often read here about how TBM families talk about non-members, and the "unspoken order of things", when in the safety of their own circle.
| So said Joseph Smith. Not really sure he said it, but it sounds good.
So, how do the Mormons govern themselves?
Isn't it fun to be free and govern yourself?
- three hours of meetings each Sunday
- endless hours of meetings for those who are "called" to various church jobs
- Personal Priesthood Interviews--"Do you masturbate?"
- snooping, snitching neighbors
- interviews to go to BYU
- interviews at BYU
- Dress Code at BYU
- Honor Code at BYU
- organized activities at BYU
- concert restrictions at BYU--anyone up for Andy Williams?
- Young Adults program
- Correlation, and the death of free thought in lessons
- "The Mantle is Greater Than the Intellect"
- "The Miracle of Forgiveness"
- tear up part of your back lawn, and plant a garden
- food storage
- fast offerings
- everyone must read the "Book of Mormon"
- birthday party for the great leader--dictatorship at its best
- pilgrimages to places like Martin's Cove
- official versions of events, and movies like "Legacy," and "Joseph Smith"
- Desert Book, Bookcraft, and "The Ensign"--your reading choices made for you
- interviews to go on missions.
- interviews on missions
- countless mission rules
- being with a companion 24 hours each day
- interviews to go to the temple
- oaths and "covenants" in the temple--be perfect under pain of death
- BYU Security
- Strenghtening the Members Committee
- General Conference
- church run Boy Scouts
- home teachers
- visiting teachers
- Word of Wisdom
- tithing, and loss of financial control
- rules of sexual conduct--many of which destroy a person's self-worth
- admonitions about what to watch on television
- warnings about the internet
- warnings about what you read
- warning about movies--nothing "R" Rated
- warnings about non-members and "apostate groups"
- Family Home Evenings
- groaning weight of patriarchal authority
- censored textbooks at BYU
- censorship of movies at BYU
- censorship of art, including Rodin, at BYU
- ward dinners
- MIA dances and "balls"
- singles dances
- singles wards and programs
| Why was it always so secret? It got old with me, even when I was very young.
I recall the "audit" results at General Conference. The "auditor" would say something like "all church funds have been spent properly." That was it. No details. Just take him at his word, and don't ask questions. Why, oh why did they even bother with the ludicrous "audit" announcement?
I laughed at that as a kid. It was too pathetic for words.
Why tunnels under the streets? Why do the brethren move in secrecy? Its laughable. They pop up from underground, listen to their audit, and vanish again--back into the tunnels.
Land purchases? They are secret. Uses of land? A secret. Everything is a big secret. Lease details with stores in the mall? A HUGE SECRET. Salaries at BYU? Always a very STRICT SECRET. All was hush hush. Everything was cloaked in secrecy.
The whole temple thing was too secret. You were put in a position to take oaths you had not been warned about . That, too, was far too secret. Why not tell people before they go in? I mean it--- why not be honest, and let them know? People should not have surprises like that. It makes things "secret," not "sacred."
Why a First Presidency vault? If the church is true, all should be public. ALL. There are too many secrets, which lead to many doubts and questions. Of course, it will always be secret, but as long as it is, you can't take the statements and "history" seriously.
Secrecy sucks. In the end, it does no good at all.
| It has always been interesting to watch the way Mormons run things in Utah. I am sure every state has a legislature full of self-serving morons, but Utah has more than its share. Its as though they are a bunch of mullahs, ever so eager to feather their own nests, and put the screws to everyone else.
A few examples:
The legislature had a choice between putting money into a fund for uninsured children to obtain dental care, or improving the parking at the State Capitol . Nothing wrong with the parking-- it was just not adequate to meet the imagined needs of the legislators.They were "tired of walking in the snow."
We must keep our priorities straight.
About ten years ago, the legislature had another choice. They could fund schools at a higher level, or use the money to construct new office space near the Capitol Building. There was nothing wrong with the office space near the Capitol. It was just not up to legislative expectations. As one might expect, the schools were screwed, and the office space was improved. Funny how a state which claims to hate "big government" loves BIG GOVERNMENT.
There was a time when people with new cars paid higher property taxes than those with old cars. The legislators found this annoying. They got new cars on a regular basis, and they hated those pesky taxes.
A change in assessments was made, and the burden of the property tax on cars was shifted to the poor. Old car owners started paying much more, much longer, while new car owners got a huge tax reduction. After all, it was only fair. The members of the legislature are righteous, and taxes are for other--lesser--people.
If people in Utah vote against a new stadium, they get it anyway. The men who run the state know better than the voters. Mormon business interests want the stadium. Other Mormons make sure its built--at taxpayer expense.
The Olympics were another example of the way Mormons work. Prophecy said the "world would come to the tops of the mountains" or some such nonsense. The church badly wanted the Olympics, and they were fully prepared to join in the bribe giving to get it. That included scholarships to BYU (pity the poor non-Mormon Korean kid who got one), and other uses of money not mentioned. Mormons were eager to have the Olympics--no matter what. God was behind the leaders, moving money here, there, and everywhere.
The games went well and all. The church got what it wanted. But if Mormonism had any real integrity, the scandal would not have occurred. Orrin Hatch, the Hinckster, the Governor, and God knows who else sold their souls--or a portion thereof--for a steak dinner at Sizzler. It was interesting to watch the "true church" in action. Big church, big government, big lies---its all the same.
Hinckley wanted the Olympics. He got them. Simple as that. As a devout Mormon friend of mine said "If Gordon Hinckley wants the Olympics, we will have them." Gordon wanted, Utah got, and the world "came to the tops of the mountains."
Another gem was the old Bennett building on 3300 South. It remained there for years, rotting, and turning into an eyesore of the highest magnitude. The city finally tore it down--after the Bennetts made a contribution to Deedee Corridini. A few dollars changed hands, and the taxpayers coughed up the bucks to "improve" the city. The Bennetts should have paid to tear down their own building. But Bennetts do no such thing. They hold the Priesthood--the Priesthood of influence.
And let us not forget J. Willard Marriott and his passion for pornography. I heard it mentioned on a national radio show this week--a man wondering how a devout Mormon could allow himself to profit from porn. But no-one should be surprised. If you live in Utah, you see the "invisible hand" of Mormon greed operating. Mormon leaders never had a difficult time rising above morality. From the many "risings" of Joseph Smith (early to bed, quick to rise) the proud tradition has continued.
| As I have been researching the Morg, I have been compiling some of the information into subject specific essays. This is what I have so far on the nature of God.
Church leaders and educators consistently teach that Joseph Smith’s greatest lesson on the nature of God was the first vision.
“The truths about God that Joseph Smith restored are of paramount importance. In 1844, he taught that ‘it is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another.’ Ten years earlier, the Lectures on Faith, which Joseph Smith directed and approved, taught that to acquire faith unto salvation one needs a correct idea of God’s character, perfections, and attributes, and that one needs to know that the course of life one is pursuing is according to God’s will. He also added, “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.” (Donald Q. Cannon, Larry E. Dahl, and John W. Welch, “The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: The Godhead, Mankind, and the Creation,” Ensign, Jan. 1989)
“During the short time of his great vision he learned more concerning the nature of Deity than all of those who through centuries had argued the matter in learned councils and scholarly forums.” (Gordon B Hinckley, “Joseph Smith: Restorer of Truth,” Ensign, Dec. 2003)
“Joseph’s first vision clearly revealed that the Father and Son are separate personages, having bodies as tangible as man’s.” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 4)
LDS leaders often quote the Lectures on Faith to stress the importance of understanding the nature of God. However, they don’t tell you what the lectures themselves teach about the nature of God.
The Lectures on Faith (referred to by Cannon, Dahl and Welch) were included in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. The following statement is in the third lecture (p. 36), “Let us here observe that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. First, The idea that he actually exists. Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes. Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.” In the fifth lecture is the following statement (p. 53), “There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things...They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle...” The Holy Spirit is included as part of the Godhead, but not as a personage. At the end of each lecture there is a list ofquestions and answers which help to clarify what is in the lecture. The following question and answer are included in the list after the fifth lecture, “Q: How many personages are there in the Godhead? A: Two: the Father and the Son.”
If Joseph Smith learned during the first vision that the Father and the Son both had physical bodies, why would he call the Father a “personage of spirit” and the Son a “personage of tabernacle” in the Lectures on Faith?
On April 2, 1843, Joseph Smith said, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. (DandC 130:22) Just before his death, Joseph Smith said, “First God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret...if you were to see him today, you would see him in all the person, image and very form as a man...they are the simple and first principles of the gospel, to know for a certainty the character of God...” (Times and Seasons, August 15, 1844)
The contradiction in the Lectures on Faith cannot be excused by claiming that Joseph Smith was misquoted. He directed their publication and used them in the school of prophets.
The following excerpt is from a letter written by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon and F.G. Williams. The letter is at the beginning of the 1835 DandC.
“To the members of the church of the Latter Day Saints--Dear Brethren: We deem it to be unnecessary to entertain you with a lengthy preface to the following volume, but merely to say, that it contains in short, the leading items of the religion which we have professed to believe. The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of Lectures as delivered before a Theological class in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important doctrine of salvation, we have arranged them into the following work.”
Joseph Smith seems to think that the Lectures are important enough to be included in official church scripture. In fact, their inclusion caused the name to be changed from the Book of Commandments to the Doctrine and Covenants. However, the Lectures on Faith were eventually removed.
In the “Explanatory Introduction” to the 1981 Doctrine and Covenants is the following paragraph, “Beginning with the 1835 edition a series of seven theological lessons was also included; these were titled the “Lectures on Faith.” These had been prepared for use in the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1834-1835. Although profitable for doctrine and instruction, these lectures have been omitted from the Doctrine and Covenants since the 1921 edition because they were not given or presented as revelations to the whole Church.”
The Lectures on Faith were presented to the whole church as “important doctrine” (see the above letter), so not being “revelations” must be the reason for their removal. If that were the only reason, then why were the following sections retained? They are not revelations either.
With the Lectures on Faith removed, most members don’t know about the contradiction concerning the nature of God. How ironic that the LDS Church teaches that “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” (DandC 131:6) then keeps the members ignorant of its own history.
- 102: Minutes of the organization of the first high council of the Church.
- 113: Answers to certain questions on the writings of Isaiah.
- 123: Duty of the saints in relation to their persecutors.
- 127: Epistle from JS to the Saints.
- 128: Epistle from JS to the Saints.
- 129: Instructions on the correct nature of angels and spirits.
- 130: Items of instruction.
- 131: Items of instruction.
- 134: A declaration of belief regarding governments and laws in general.
- 135: Martyrdom of JS and Hyrum Smith.
| I have to admit that I'm really enjoying my ethics class. The vast majority of my classmates are Christian, and follow through with their christian beliefs with a divine-command ethical philosophy. Divine-Command ethics, simply stated, is the philosophy that a person should behave as God has ordained. I think it would be safe to say that most of us, while we were Mormon, followed this style of ethics. Usually, a part of this theory includes the idea that a person will be punished or rewarded for their actions in this life, an afterlife, or in a reincarnated life. Philosophers such as Moses Maimonides, Muhammed al-Ghazali, or Christian philosophers Thomas Aquinas and Augustine were certainly advocators for this type of ethics.
There are some major problems with this style of ethics. First of all, the world is not entirely sure what exactly it is God wants us to do. To interpret God correctly, we would have to determine which book is God's true word. Is it the Bible, Quran, Bhagavad Gita, Book of Mormon, etc.? Also, some of the ethical dilemmas that face us today are not mentioned in these books. This is why, I believe, religious types have such a hard time with abortion. It wasn't too much of an issue when the bible was written thousands of years ago. To make it worse, the interpretation of the holy books are not quite clear. A lot of the passages are self contradictory. A key example: mosaic law states clearly that it is reasonable for a person to be punished for their crime in an equal manner according to the damage inflicted. An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Christian ethics declare ethical behavior as turning the other cheek, forgiving oppressors rather than punishing them.
One key fallacy that I have noticed, yet haven't yet brought up in class, is that this type if ethics is the key to establishing a cult. What happens when a person declares themself to be God, or God's prophet? This person would have absolute say in how they want their followers to behave, a totalitarian rule. Who can think of an example of this type of society? This is certainly not ethical.
Now I pose a question for all my exmo comrades. What is your new ethical philosophy? There are six basic types that I will explain. I must note that personal ethical beliefs do not have to fit into one single category, there can be an overlap. I'd just like you to explain which styles you adhere to and why you've chosen them.
1. Divine-Command Ethics: Previously explained.
2. Cultural or Society Relativism Ethics: This type of theory states that a person ought to do what their own culture or society tells them to do. This would include doing what you have been taught by your parents. Contemporary philosopher Gilbert Harman is a good example of someone who advocates this type of ethics.
3. Consequentialism: A person ought to do what has the most desirable consequences. What is desirable is up to debate. Hedonists would say to do the actions that bring about the most personal pleasure. Utilitarians would say to do what brings about the most happiness for the most number of people. Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham are examples of utilitarians how advocate consequentialist ethics.
4. Deontological or Moral Duty Ethics: A person ought to do actions based on their moral duty rather regardless of consequences. Immanuel Kant would be a good example of a Moral Duty philosopher. He thought it was a person's duty never to tell a lie. Can you think of a situation where it might be ethical to tell a lie? Confucius would also be a good example of this type of philosopher.
5. Virtue Ethics: Ethics are based on personal virtues. The question is not what a person ought to do, but rather who a person ought to be. Personal virtues could include truth, courage, integrity, patience, etc. Virtues are best taught at a young age. Plato and Aristotle were the first to advocate virtue ethics. Aristotle's famous book 'The Nicomachaen Ethics" laid the ground work for this philosophy.
6. Social Contract Ethics: A person ought to do what the "social contract" calls for them to do. In other words, persons have a voice in constructing moral principles through negotiations among impartial, informed, rational agents. Basically, one who abides by social contract ethics would be someone who obeys the letter of the law, and who is a personal participant in one's government decisions (voting). The Mayflower Contract" or the "Declaration of Independence" might be considered social contracts. The key advocator of the social contract theory is John Locke. His writings greatly influenced American Government.
I don't follow divine-command ethics in any way. There are too many problems with it, and I don't really believe in God anyway. I don't believe in cultural relativism. At least I don't believe that a person should do something just because society says it's right. If this were the case, America would still be a land of slavery and other unjust principles. Consequentialism is a sound philosophy. I have to admit that I might be a bit on the hedonist side, but I also enjoy utilitarianism. Moral Duty Ethics doesn't sound quite right to me. This is probably because of all the Mormon programming I got in priesthood meeting. I don't believe that a person should base their actions simply on moral duty. Personal decisions should come into play. I think that virtue ethics might be my strongest style. This is certainly the style of ethics that most influenced me to resign my membership from the morg. I did it because I wasn't willing to live my life in a lie. This displays personal courage, integrity, and shows a greatvalue for truth. Also, I feel that standing up to an unlawful authority is a strong indicator of virtue ethics. I agree that virtues are best taught in youth and must admit that it was the Mormon Church and my parents upbringing that taught me these principles. To bad for them I used it to find my way out of their control. Social contract is a great idea. I'm grateful I live in a country founded on such principles, but I can't say that my own personal ethics rest entirely upon them. A great example is that I'm not yet twenty-one, but I have been known to have a drink. I also might have smoked a certain type of rolled cigarette which might not be lawful under the current social contract.
So, to sum it up I think I value consequential and virtue ethics the most. How about you?
| Having left the church over twenty-five years ago, I generally tended away from contact with TBM's, but sporadic episodes through the years and more recent increased interaction, as well as observations taken from this and other web pages makes me wonder if Mormons have a certain way of looking at the world that I never noticed before, or if there are other larger cultural factors at work exacerbating an existing quirk into an overriding obsession. The "My way or the highway" habit of dealing with certain situations: that "scenario 'X' fits in the "A" genre, therefore I must react to it this way: 'Y'" seems to be an increasing trend, so visible that I started critically asking how influential this mechanism is in Mormonism, and what are it's controlling factors?
I make it a habit to try and view as many sides to an issue as I can before reaching some kind of conclusion; this can have a maddening effect on others at times because I know I have reversed myself on the basis of having assimilated more information. But with the increased effort of committing myself to researching a particular issue, I discovered that an opposing force sometimes gets in the way: venturing too far down Path A can compel one to commit oneself to Path A without having explored Paths B, C, D, E, and so on. The discipline of will is easier to exercise when the commitment of time invested in research is less. Having made the mistake a few times, it finally became more visible, and I could take steps to combat the force of time=commitment. Anyone who has spent time doing research learns this rule: overview first, depth later. Much investigative time invested in the beginning and middle can save time at the end when conclusions need to be drawn and frequently it is discovered that, for example, Paths A, B, C, and E were flawed.
Once outlined and organized, the principle sounds easy, although in practice it does require discipline. Complex subjects and issues simply require more effort and time to explore. My vexation stems from the apparent impossibility of many people to use critical thinking skills and honest research to address matters of religion. They should not be absent from the process especially as this is a matter of defining one's faith, and even in the evaluation of intangibles the ability to think critically in order to make assessments is vital. I'm going to use the metaphor of a swimmer to make my point. Many otherwise intelligent people disregard the necessity of critical learning skills and plunge into the twin pools of spiritual and philosophical thought without knowing how to, or remembering to use their arms and legs to swim. When the water gets deep and they start to founder and panic ensues, they grab for the first solid object they can lay hold of. If that solid object is another person who is in a similar situation, they will actually try to drown each other in order to save themself. They find themselves in a state where they can neither help themselves or anyone else, and are even dangerous to those highly skilled swimmers who could help them to safety. What hubris caused this in the first place?
When faced with issues of spirituality or philosophy, one should tend to remain open from the beginning. It is obviously very easy to become solid in a stance that to others appears patently ridiculous. This does mean that one should, and must, draw a line strictly separating tangible knowledge from intangible supposition or faith: it is a mandatory discipline that must be developed first. Too many problems arise from the inability to separate the two and deal with the verities of each as a separate entity.
Why is research and critical thinking so difficult to adhere to when working through questions of faith? My experience with the Mormon church, Mormons, and some ex-Mormons has given me a solid block of behavior to observe that is rooted in an inability to a) remain open to new information; b) constantly question, weigh and balance facts, realities and hearsay; c) maintain open avenues to other alternatives; d) discard obsolete, irrelevant or incorrect information. Too many times, in discussions about any subject you care to name, I've explored an avenue of thought only to find myself shanghaied down at the end of a one-way cul-de-sac, with no path of egress that can rescue the subject. How frustrating!
| I was always amazed at the mediocrity of Mormon undertakings. For a true church --- with God given answers, ongoing revelation, a prophet at the top, and money, money, money --- there should have been more. Much more.
A few examples:
Chapels, complete with a "cultural hall," which is where kids play basketball. On some wonderful occasions, folding tables and chairs come out, and you get a meal--turkey, stuffing, and canned corn with rolls--baked by the abused Relief Society. The tables are covered with butcher paper, and the drink is usually warm water, or red punch, in a small paper cup.
And speaking of paper cups--the sacrament is a pretty dull and bland affair. Wonderbread and warm water. The absence of wine makes it laughable. I mean that. Water is the mediocre substitute, just the ticket for Mormon leadership. Somehow tiny bits of bread and warm water symbolize those who lead the church.
Then there is BYU. I recall the constant talk of making BYU the "Harvard of the west," or a "great university." Hey, there were some good professors there, and there were some pretty good programs. But the atmosphere would not allow questions, free inquiry, or real study. The students had church activities about four nights each week, and those always took precedence.
I took a class in Oriental Mythology, and brought in Joseph Campbell's book to add to the reading. The professor saw, it , and said "We cannot use Campbell, because too many students said he hurt their testimonies." This sort of thing kills learning. BYU was full of such restrictions.
The required freshman health class had the chapter on sex removed when I took it. Instead, we got a film about sex, with an illustrated penis becoming erect and ejaculating on screen. What a hoot. We also got some sort of crap about the "spiritual aspects" of sex. They were not to be overlooked. How could you not overlook them with that pulsing penis on the screen? What a moment! The penis came, and I went.
The church used to have special programs, where some poor sap in the ward was asked to act a part. I got stuck in one as a kid. My mother played the role of a mother telling her son's friend about the "gospel." We had to practice the crap for hours. When it finally came, it was about as good as one might expect. I was a fine actor, let me tell you. I said all the right things, and bore my testimony to my "friend," as my mother beamed at me. My mother could never say "no" to anything. In a way, it was sad. By God, she did try.
Then there is the July 24 parade. If you go to one, you will never go to another. It is touted as the" nation's longest parade." Maybe it is. Its one ward float after another, an endless procession of crepe paper, put together by forced labor, and centered around such themes as "Our Pioneer Heritage," or "Temple Marriage, the Path to Eternity." You also get the cars--provided by Ken Garff-- with General Authorities sitting in them. They beam, wave, and wear cowboy hats. Its about the only time a General Authority smiles.
Many Mormons have made attempts to produce "Mormon music," or "Mormon movies," or "Mormon literature." I admire their sincerity, but wonder where the divine inspiration is. In all fairness, productions like "Saturday's Warrior," and "My Turn on Earth" are sad examples of culture.
There are endless choices---"The Work and the Glory," the "Joseph Smith Movie," "Legacy," and all the others. None leave much of an impression. I gather the "Book of Mormon" movie was a knee slapper. I pictured it as a bunch of local commercial actors wandering around the shores of the Great Salt Lake wearing bathrobes and sandals from Payless Shoes. I gather it was better than that, but not much.
I won't even mention the temple ceremony. I went in the throat slitting days, and I came away sick.
Anyone can be a critic. I probably have no right to be critical. But I don't want to have to hear about the wonders of Mormon culture, either. Until its as good as some claim, the less said, the better.
| Mormons believe that Mormonism represents God’s church here on earth for a reason. It’s not like these people are mindless, thoughtless robots who have no reasoning ability (not to say people like that don’t exist, but on the whole). Many are highly educated, successful, intelligent people who believe sincerely and wholeheartedly in Mormonism.
For me, this has been one of the toughest things to understand since I ran into the brick wall of truth when researching Mormonism’s early history. It was so blatantly obvious to me that Mormonism is a sham that I found myself looking around at all of the highly charged TBMs around me wondering how it was possible that any of them really believed this story? Hello! This religion was started by a man who literally staged a fake wedding to deceive his wife into thinking he was marrying two sisters (the Partridge sisters) for the first time when he had already married them two months previously! And that’s only the proverbial tip of the iceberg when talking about issues in Mormonism’s past.
Obviously, there are many reasons why people believe Mormonism is what it claims to be culture, lack of information, family, pressure, society, friendship, etc. But I think the number one reason people believe is spiritual experiences and then the mental correlations they make as a result of those experiences.
Before analyzing these correlations, it might be easier to start with a correlation that everyone in today’s world agrees is incorrect even though it was accepted as truth in the world of ancient Greece.
STEP 1 (fact): The sun moves across the sky.
STEP 2 (correlation): The movement of the sun is directly related to the actions of the god in charge of the sun, Apollo.
STEP 3 (conclusion): In order for the sun to move it must be pulled by Apollo in his chariot.
Obviously, the actual mental construct would have been much more complicated than that, but I put it in its most simplified form to demonstrate how an incorrect correlation can bring someone to an incorrect understanding of truth even if the underlying fact is correct! How many people lived their entire lives believing that Apollo was a real god who controlled the path of the sun each day? Every person who ever believed such a thing had his or her facts right, correlations wrong, and probably didn’t ever distinguish between the two!
It’s not like these people were mindless, thoughtless fools who had no reasoning ability (not to say people like that didn’t exist, but on the whole). Many were highly intelligent, successful, creative people who believed sincerely and wholeheartedly in the reality of Greek gods. But they couldn’t see the troublesome fog of a false correlation.
So, bringing it back to Mormonism for a TBM, the construct goes something like this:
- STEP 1 (fact): I have an experience that I interpret as “spiritual” in nature
- STEP 2 (fact): I had the spiritual experience in the context of Mormonism either while reading Mormon scriptures, sitting in a Mormon temple, having a dream, praying about Mormonism, attending a Sunday meeting, etc.
- STEP 3 (correlation): Moroni’s promise (Moroni 10:3-5) teaches people, in essence, that spiritual experiences are a way for God to demonstrate that Mormonism is God’s true church here on earth.
- STEP 4 (conclusion): Therefore, I am safe in concluding that God has revealed to me personally that Mormonism is “true”.
Voila a recipe for a mental construct that is extraordinarily difficult to break! An outside person can throw all kinds of historical facts and information at this mental construct and end up doing little more than banging his or her head into a brick wall since God is seen as the ultimate end of the equation. Who has higher authority than God to dictate truth? People are fallible, historical information is distorted, the understanding of men is imperfect; therefore, I will trust “God’s” revelation to me and discount anything from “man” that might contradict it.
An outside person who begins by attacking the validity of the first two steps (one’s personal spiritual experiences) can easily be dismissed since the TBM knows what he/she has experienced. Just because an outside person hasn’t had those experiences or doesn’t believe them doesn’t diminish the reality of them for any given individual.
But I don’t believe that’s the issue in the first place! Let’s start by assuming a TBM truly has had some powerful spiritual experiences. On my mission, I was kneeling with my companion and his mom (the investigator) and was praying right there with her when she received her “witness” that Mormonism was true. It was a special experience that carried a lot of weight in favor of the truthfulness of Mormonism in my own mind for many years to come.
STEP 1 was a fact I had a personal experience that I interpreted as highly “spiritual” (much different, by the way, then saying this actually was a “spiritual experience” the only “fact” here is that I interpreted it as such). STEP 2 was a fact this experience was in the context of Mormonism. Where I failed to make a distinction at the time was that STEP 3 was a correlation, not a fact.
Who said that if you pray to know if Mormonism is true or not (technically, what is written in the BofM and then Mormonism as an extension), God will reveal the answer to you? That is only found in the Book of Mormon (the Bible says certain things about the Holy Spirit, but, as far as I’m aware, in far more general terms than what is stated in the BofM if there’s a Biblical scholar out there, please feel free to correct me).
The major problem with this equation is that it is possible that the BofM was written by someone in the 1800s and not by a prophet who lived somewhere on the American continent 1,600 years ago. Obviously, if it was written by someone in the 1800s then it severely damages the credibility of the promise, but either way, it’s a neat bit of circular logic since there’s no outside source to independently and empirically verify the truthfulness of this statement. In other words, “You should put your trust in the correlation that I’m about to present to you because I’m telling you that it is God’s way to answer your prayers. If you do receive an answer, it verifies the claim and if you don’t receive an answer it’s for some other reason (you weren’t sincere or prepared or God has His reason for it).”
The only way to perceive a false correlation is to test it in every single way possible! This is why I felt that Mormonism’s early history was as critical as any other aspect in understanding if Mormonism was “true” or not if my correlation was valid, then the history would support it and the resulting conclusion. I wasn’t expecting everything and/or everyone to be perfect certainly there has to be room for human error and incorrect interpretations of events, but I certainly believed there would be real, substantial validation to support the correlation.
So, I developed my understanding of early Mormon history with a passion and desire to understand the truthfulness of what I believed. Eventually, I found myself faced with the uncomfortable (for me) realization that Mormonism’s correlations were severely flawed and my testimony collapsed forever under the weight of that realization.
Yes, I could have searched for all the facts that would support my “correlations” and ignored or explained away the ones that didn’t match. But I wasn’t out to defend my paradigm I was out to understand truth. I didn’t want to be trapped in a paradigm of false correlations that led me to believe Mormonism was true when it wasn’t anymore than I would have wanted to falsely believe that Apollo was the reason why the sun was “moving” across the sky every day.
For me, the most valuable thing I took away from my experience was an appreciation of the difference between facts and correlations. Just because I know an underlying fact is true doesn’t as a result mean that the correlations that I have learned or believed over the years based on that fact are true. It’s an uncomfortable realization at times, but one that I feel is much more honest and true to reality.
For that same reason, I will never say I “know” Mormonism is false, only that I can’t accept it as God’s church here on earth for many real, true occurrences in it’s past that I am unable to accept as supporting the correlations I had been taught my whole life. For me, the Mormon God may as well be Apollo both sprang from false correlations and both are completely irrelevant in my life
| Mormonism has derisive terms built into it, including:
- non-recommend holder
- part-member family
- single adult
- childless couple
| Not too many years ago, I was a good LDS foot soldier in a great effort, that of preparing the earth for the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. I totally believed that one day Jesus Christ would return to the earth amid great destruction, sorrow yet happiness to the long awaiting LDS Saints. In that moment, I believed the LDS Church would be vindicated.
I believed that prior to that great and dreadful day, Jesus Christ, Adam, and all the great prophets would meet at Adam-ondi-Ahman, otherwise known as Spring hill in Daviess County, Missouri, and discuss the transition of ecclesiastical leadership to global leadership as priesthood keys were returned to Christ via Adam, the Ancient of Days.
I believed that the work of the LDS Church was to present the message of Christ to all and invite them to be part of Christ’s kingdom. I believed that Christ independently, personally and authoritatively directed the affairs of the LDS Church through a living prophet.
Although I knew individual men had personal weakness and character flaws, the work and destiny of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was to usher in the great millennium.
I believed that when I died, I would continue to be a missionary in the Spirit World, that I would teach those Spirits who spoke Spanish the restored gospel and invite them to accept the temple ordinances performed by proxies on the earth.
I believed one day that I would be resurrected and be joined with my beautiful wife to rule and reign with her forever.
All these beliefs I held were founded on a complete and total faith that the work commenced by Joseph Smith, Jr., who saw God and Jesus Christ as a fourteen year old boy, was the only acceptable religion on the face of the earth.
Coupled with this belief was my assurance that no matter the persecution endured by the LDS Church or its members, no matter the attacks by the Adversary, the LDS Church would continue to grow until someday it encompassed the earth. Joseph Smith’s eloquent words once ennobled me:
"No unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing. Persecutions may rage; mobs may combine; armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say, 'The work is done' . . ."
Then it all came crashing down. The truth did go boldly, nobly and independent until it penetrated my heart, mind and reason forcing me to accept that my long held beliefs since childhood were based on the teachings of a fraud and his successors.
I see the same level of belief in family members and LDS friends. They truly believe that nothing can affect or alter the course of the LDS Church. When facts are presented which call into question the credibility of LDS claims, explanations are presented no matter how ludicrous. For example, my own father now acknowledges that the Church owes its members some explanation regarding the DNA issue. He is not impressed with the limited geography theory, but yet, he tells me that he will patiently wait for the Brethren to provide the answer. He will die waiting for an explanation that is impossible to provide.
I am beginning to think that the air of infallibility the LDS Church members have regarding the LDS Church will blind them as to the seriousness of the attacks. Many LDS members believe that the Church is immune from destruction, injury or setback. This somewhat cocky arrogance may be its Achilles heel.
Any organization which fails to understand the obstacles facing it or the real challenges confronting it will ultimately fail. History had shown time and again that empires, businesses and religions that fail to understand its vulnerabilities ultimately succumb to them.
| I've read the various threads addressing this issue and invariably they all come down to the weirdness of beliefs and doctrines. That, obviously, is a no-win debate.
What makes mormons just like moonies and scientologists is the official sanction of policies and spy networks designed to harm anyone who wants to leave the fold. The evil of this coersion to conform is incidious and goes far, far beyond the cruelty of casting off life-long friendship and the destruction of families. Defellowshiping is an ugly business, but when an organization goes out of its way to cause real harm to people, it's no longer a religion but has crossed the line into an organization whose sole contrivance is to control and to survive.
I do not know of any other main-line Christian church which has ecclesiastical courts to test and judge "belief" of its non-clergy members; I do not know any other main-line Christian church that deliberately uses all their considerable financial resources to try and smash the reputations and businesses of anyone who challenges them or who tries to leave the church. From the church's legal suits against the Tanners to their petty efforts to harrass this web site, they consistently act exactly like a cult: they lie to get you in and then try to destroy you when you try to leave.
Yesterday's thread about the incidious spy network which actively threatens not just mere membership but careers and reputations, is like reading a script based on the excesses of NAZI Germany and the Soviet Union. That mormons are scanning these boards in a effort to identify and "punish" individuals is such a heinous crime against liberty and freedom, I do not see how any good person can sit idly by and allow it. Don't you see the similarities between requiring mormons to turn in their roommates and Germany's use of children to turn in their non-conformist neighbors and family members? Folks, this is not mere belief or intellectual disagreement or debate over facts. This is an assault on the very soul of freedom, and that convinction is confirmed every time I read a post here which conveys not just a fear of social ostracism, but which speaks plainly of the consequences they face in terms of rumor, loss of income, their children paying the price through the cruelty of their mormon peers, the loss of family,and now I understand the threat of a student losing college credits because they are caught reading or viewing unauthorized material.
The stories and experiences and the blatant words of the church itself is like the pages of Farhanheit 451 or 1984 come to life. Surreal but real. I've always been hard pressed to understand how the "good" people of Germany could turn a blind eye to the hate-filled minority party which took the reigns of government, and then passively accepted the pograms, Kristalnacht, the disappearance of all Jews and finally still deny what was happening even as they lived in the falling ashes of the victims. The "good" German answer was "what could I do?" or "I didn't know." The real answer is that they could have done plenty had they acted with conscience in the early 1930's, but they liked the prosperity and the feeling of superiority.
The good mormon answer is that it's all right to lie and spy and hurt others and judge souls for God, but I think a truly good person sees that dicodomy for what it is: a vast stupidity and a cowardly justification of wrongs that never in any circumstances could be right.
| Susie Q asked on her (now closed) thread about the origin of the idea of JS standing at heaven's gates determining our eternal destination. Looks like BY said it, among others:
"No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith...every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are... [Joseph Smith] reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven. Many will exclaim – "Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!" But it is true." - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.289-91
I know that Mormon doctrine evolves. The idea of "continuing revelation" comes in very handy when there are features of your past doctrine and practices you want to bury. But it would seem to me that it's not so easy to discount what the founders of Mormonism clearly taught. Can today's leaders ignore and change such classic teachings?
As for the recent threads about the eternal Mormon/Christian debate, again, the primary point to me is what Mormon leaders themselves have actually said and how quickly and quietly they have made an abrupt about-face. In most faiths, doctrinal changes are usually very slow, if at all, and are subject to open debate and even votes from membership. With the Mormons, it's more like sleight of hand and you're left wondering which shell the pea is under.
It's quotes like these that demonstrate just why mainstream Christians point to such disparity in basic doctrine such that there is literally no common ground between Mormonism and traditional Christianity. That is not a criticism of Mormonism. It's more an affirmation of what core teachings are affirmed by the traditional teachings, accepted by the Christian family of churches of many denominations. The Anglicans may choose to sprinkle rather than submerge a baptismal candidate, the Mennonites may choose grape juice over the Catholic's wine but they all generally acknowledge each other as branches of the same family tree, primarily because the basic doctrines about Jesus and God are essentially similar, which are the foundation of "the church". Mormonism starkly contrasts:
"He that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ" - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p.312
"I tell you, Joseph holds the keys, and none of us can get into the celestial kingdom without passing by him. We have not got rid of him, but he stands there as the sentinel, holding the keys of the kingdom of God; and there are many of them beside him. I tell you, if we get past those who have mingled with us, and know us best, and have a right to know us best, probably we can pass all other sentinels as far as it is necessary, or as far as we may desire." - Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.154-155
If they want to change doctrine, that's fine, as long as they're honest about it. That is all I expect. And if the words of past "prophets" are totally passe in the light of the so-called continuing revelation, well, take a look at the stance of more recent leaders, including the current one - still singing the same tune:
"This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth..." - Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.164-165
"In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints 'do not believe in the traditional Christ.' 'No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.'" - Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, LDS Church News, June 20, 1998, p.7
Here it is in black and white. The current Mormon prophet teaches:
"In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints 'do not believe in the traditional Christ.' 'No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak."
From his own lips comes the position of the Mormon Church. He freely acknowledges that what the Christians are saying is true - Mormons **DO** "preach a different Jesus".
That is the main point that I'm trying to make here. Christians say that Mormons preach a different Jesus and the current Mormon prophet acknowledges that, just as all the Mormon prophets before him have.
So, Mormons are not "Christian" in the sense that Christians are "Christian".
Maybe they are Mormon-Christians or LDS-Christians. I can live with that.
The point that some of us were trying to make is that to say you're Christian is to affirm that you hold to the basic tenets of the traditional Christian faith. That discounts many of the foundational and still core doctrines of Mormonism.
And the Mormon prophets acknowledge that.
Interpretation of scripture, who has "authority", evolution/creation debates, god/science and whether any of it matters anyway are all other topics.
When a Christian says that Mormon doctrine is not "Christian" that is all they're saying on that particular point. Mormons and many exmos get particularly incensed by that, assuming it's meant to be derogatory. That too is another issue.
I don't mean it as a criticism. I just like to keep the definitions and issues straight.
I think a lot of Mormons don't realize what their leaders have said and do say and honestly, I have never seen anything as confused as the question of Mormon doctrine. I don't care if they want to change it, all of it. I just want them to be honest about it.
But confusion and misrepresentation and withholding of information seems de rigeur for those elusive Mormons at the top.
| Coming to the conclusion that the church was a fraud was one of the hardest decisions of my entire life. Unlike many here, it was an extremely excruciating and painful conclusion for me to come to. With all my being, I wanted the church to be all it claimed to be. But the depth of the lies, cover-up and whitewashing coupled with so many obvious false claims was just too overwhelming for me to maintain faith in Mormonism. I agonizingly came to the conclusion that the faith of my youth had been built on false and unfulfillable promises of eternal life, families, marriage and godhood through allegiance to Mormonism. As Tal Bachman has so succinctly stated, “The church is not what it claims to be“.
To me ... this is the underlying evil of Mormonism ... like the snake oil salesman ...Mormonism sells its members false hopes in the eternities that it will never have to make payment on. It sells its membership false promises that it will never have to keep.
Some knowledgeable members believe (my TBM wife included) that a lifetime of dedication and obedience to the church is warranted because of the earthly benefits that are inherent in doing as the church commands in this life. Because the church brings these members closer to Christ...they overlook or ignore the difficult history and false claims of the church. They buy into the claim that the church makes them a better human being. The promises of eternity are merely the “dessert” on an already wonderful lifestyle. In other words, some members are willing to overlook the truth claims of Mormonism because they perceive or reap earthly benefits. So the lifestyle benefits are worth forfeiting so-called earthly gratifications.
Some here are relieved that they no longer have to live up to so-called Mormon standards. Some others (me included) have uncomfortably dipped our exmo toes into the shallow end of the deep cold waters of worldliness BECAUSE the church is NOT true. I have tried to acquire a taste for wine... it hasn’t happened YET, but I keep trying ...I’m determined to find peace in a lifestyle that I was programmed to believe was evil and of the devil. I’ve made progress; I’ve developed a fondness for lattes and frapachinnos. So my post Mormon life finds signs of life.
So Mormonism is a false religion because its claims are false. It claims to be the only true church on the face of the earth...yet it’s doctrine is riddled with falsehoods.
Several Months ago I asked for RFM posters to share some of the false testable claims found in Mormonism... here is a small portion of that effort. Feel free to add to this list...
Testable false claims found in Mormonism:
1.) If there was not a universal flood 4000 plus years ago, Mormonism is a fraud.
2.) If there was death of any kind, animal or vegetable, prior to The Fall, 5700 plus years ago, Mormonism is a fraud (check your local fossil record).
3.) If any human being on earth today descended from any human, or humanoid, other than two people who lived in Missouri 5700 years ago, then Mormonism is a fraud.
4.) If there were ANY humans living on earth prior to Adam and Eve 5700 years ago, Mormonism is a fraud.
5.) If the canonized Book of Abraham is not what Joseph claimed it to be (a "translation" of those particular scrolls), then Mormonism is a fraud.
6.) If the Book of Moses is not what JS claimed it to be (a restoration of Moses' original book of Genesis), then Mormonism is a fraud.
7.) If "spirit" is not "matter", then Mormonism is a fraud (that is, we ought to be able to detect the "matter" of "spirit", shouldn't we? Why is it totally invisible and undetectable, that is, IMMATERIAL?)
8.) If the Native Americans are not who "Jesus Christ" in the DandC said they were, namely, "Jews", then Mormonism is a fraud.
9.) If our sun is not drawing its light from a star called Kolob, then Mormonism is a fraud (wording from the facsimile may allow apologist spin job on this one - course, "wording"'s never had much of an impact on whether a spin job comes up or not).
10.) If those who currently have themselves sustained as "seers" cannot actually perform the function of a seer by, say, translating unknown languages while looking through a seerstone, as outlined in the BOM and other places, Mormonism is a fraud. (Why haven't they translated the "papyrus scrolls of Joseph" yet?).
11.) If "A" and "not A" cannot both possibly be true, then Mormonism is a fraud, since in so many cases it requires us to believe just that, i.e, "The Lord won't let the prophet lead us astray"/"I don't know that we teach that"..."The Negroes weren't valiant in the pre-existence"..."birth control is an impure and unholy practice"..."plural marriage is necessary to exaltation"...and a million more reversals of previously taught doctrines by sitting church presidents. If the Lord won't let the prophets lead the church astray, how is it that in under two centuries, the Godhead had been reconfigured by them so often? The Lectures on Faith were even CANONIZED for almost one hundred years! Can you imagine? The Godhead was the trinity for awhile, then it had two people in it, Adam's in there for awhile, JS thinks Jehovah is God the Father in section 109, or at least thinks it's okay to pray to Jesus which now it's not, the Godhead actually has three, James E. Talmage invents "divine investiture"....it's nuts. In which one of those evolutionary stages was the Lord not allowing the prophet to lead us astray? When we worshipped Jehovah? Or Adam, in the endowment ceremony? Or does it not matter who we worship? If not, then what's that commandment doing there in the Ten Commandments? And if it IS the case then that the Lord WILL let the prophets lead the church astray, then that torpedoes the whole thing anyway (as if all the contradictions don't anyway).
The funny thing is, you don't even need to go searching around for steel and barley and stuff. You don't even need to go outside Mormonism itself to see that it can't possibly be what it claims to be. You can pretty much establish there is no way just on www.lds.org itself.
12. If the Earth is NOT 6,000 years old (see DandC 77) Mormonism is a fraud
13. If there were not Steal, Horses, Elephants, Wheat, Barley, Wheeled vehicles Figs, Grapes, etc in the Americas during the timeline of the Book of Mormon. Mormonism is a fraud
14. If the island inhabitants of the Pacific are not descended from the population of the Americas and of Hebrew blood, Mormonism is a fraud
15. If Joseph Smith’s claim to have translated Egyptian Papyri is proven a false translation, Mormonism is a fraud
16. If Joseph Smith translated the Kinderhook plates, which have been proved to be a modern day hoax, Mormonism is a fraud.
17. If Jews from the time of Moses until at least 600 B.C. were not proto-Christians, Mormonism is a fraud
18. If Ancient Jews didn’t believe in the Devil/Satan, Mormonism is a fraud
19. If Ancient Jews didn’t believe in an afterlife, Mormonism is a fraud
20. If there wasn’t an original, pristine Christian church started by Jesus Himself which fell into apostasy, Mormonism is a fraud
21. If Joseph Smith used the same method of translation for the BoM that he uesd to defraud unsuspecting farmers of their hard-earned money with his claim to find treasure, Mormonism is a fraud
22. If the JST of the Bible is found to be totally unsupportable as a translation of any original biblical manuscripts, Mormonism is a fraud
23. If the substantive narration of the BofM - King Benjamin's discussion involving Jesus bleeding from every pore - debunked as a fabrication when Bible scholars learned that the Book of Luke account of Jesus sweating blood was a fabrication inserted by proto-orthodox believers (precursor to Catholic Church) - see research by Bart Ehrman. The plates of brass insertion is also debunked via the 1769 KJV errors. The Nephite sermon on the mount text is also a demonstrated fabrication because of the Lord's Prayer that Bible scholars have found to be partly fabricated during the Middle Ages - see any Bible, like a NIV version or annotated NKJV for a discussion., Mormonism is a fraud
24. If the characters in the he claimed were on the golden plates bear no resemblance to any ancient writing forms, and particularly no form of Hebrew or Egyptian, Mormonism is a fraud .
25. If the Book of Mormon contains anomalies of history, anachronism, geography, archaeology, etc., and obvious plagiarisms from the Bible and other works, Mormonism is a fraud
26. If changes were made to the original so-called Book of Mormon translation after Moroni declared the translation correct and took back the Golden Plates, Mormonism is a fraud
And on and on and on...
| I just watched a couple of video clips for the movie "Jesus Camp." One of the most disturbing lines in the few minutes of footage I saw came from the woman who directs the militant, evangelical camp for kids that is the main subject of the movie.
"I wanna see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I wanna see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel ... because we have--excuse me, but we have the truth."
In other words, it's wrong for radical Muslims to train their kids to sacrifice their lives for their beliefs, but it's right for radical Christians to do the same thing. Normal rules of behavior, everyday courtesy and the general agreements of society are for everybody else, but people who have "the truth" don't have to follow them.
Once when I was in high school, I won some scholarship that included a trip to Washington, DC. On the flight back to Idaho, I had one of those Mormon clichι missionary conversations with the person sitting next to me. I probably did little more than annoy this person, but I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. I couldn't wait to tell my seminary teach about it the next week. He responded by suggesting that I consider doing what Mormon apostle LeGrand Richards was known to do on airplanes. According to my seminary teacher, LeGrand Richards would often stand in the aisle at the beginning of a flight and, in a loud voice, announce to the whole plane that he was an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and invite anyone who was interested in his church to speak with him during the flight.
Even as an impressionable, gung-ho, prospective missionary, Mormon youth, that idea just didn't seem right to me. I realized how much of a disruption it would be if every passenger on a commercial flight decided to make a similar announcement, so it would therefore be rude for any one passenger to do so. I expressed that reservation to my seminary teacher, and he pointed out to me that, unlike most of the other passengers, Elder Richards had the truth, and the importance of his message justified his approach to sharing it.
A couple of years later, I was approaching the end of my second year of college, preparing to leave on a mission in June. I had already received my call to serve in Japan. On a warm evening in early May, I was walking down Garden Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A couple of women approached me and asked if I knew that I could achieve happiness by chanting "Nam yo ho ren ge kyo" and practicing Buddhism. I told them that I knew a little about Buddhism, but not a great deal about how to practice it. They told me that their particular Buddhist group was holding an informational meeting in a nearby building, scheduled to start in about twenty minutes. They invited me to attend the meeting with them, assuring me that I would incur no obligation by doing so.
I was on my way back to my dorm, looking forward to relaxing for a couple of hours before going to bed. I didn't really want to attend a meeting, and I was about to beg off. Then it occurred to me that I would soon be going to Japan where I would be spending every day asking people, almost all of whom were Buddhist, to listen to my religious message. It seemed a bit hypocritical for me to deny these people here on the sidewalk the courtesy that I was hoping to have extended to me in Japan. So, I went to their meeting. I found it mildly interesting, but didn't end up converting.
A year later in Japan, I shared that story with a few of my fellow missionaries. The concept made sense to me, but I remember one of them telling me that we didn't owe any other religions that courtesy because we had the truth, and to truly consider a conflicting religious message was to deny our own conversions.
Bill Maher was right. Religion truly is arrogance masquerading as humility.
| I'm an exmo. Left the morg in my early 20's after a mission and all that mormon stuff that led up to that. I made the dreaded mistake of tugging on a tiny shred of doubt over 25 years ago. Of course we all know that real truth can withstand scrutiny, so I thought it should withstand a few simple questions if it were true. Instead I unraveled the whole sordid fairy tale, which as the audience here knows, the mormon story falls apart easily on its own.
Expectedly, my TBM family and friends became cold and suspicious of me, and I was left to fend for myself in the so-called darkness of my lost ways. I spent the next couple decades emotionally on my own in a sort of re-birth and re-learning how to live and love all over again. When I made my decision to abandon the church, it was absolute. There was simply no reason to continue participating in the charade. I truly left the church, but the church never left me alone.
I spent years smiling at the missionaries and family members letting them enjoy their illusions that perhaps I was just temporarily under satan's influence, or perhaps never understood the truth to begin with. My mother is always sending me copies of the Ensign, or news articles she felt would persuade me to return. I respect my mother and read anything she felt was important. It's always been the same old stuff, but I listen and read. A couple weeks ago she sent me the article titled: The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
After reading that arrogant piece of sanctimonious shit, I completely blew a screw!
The nerve of the mormon church to 'declare' and 'proclaim' that they are the ultimate authority to all that is divine made me want to puke. Perhaps my reaction was a trail marker indicating just how far my understanding had changed since taking part in that damaged cult, but it struck deep.
How dare the mormon church claim a formula for 'family togetherness.' After all, it was the church that ultimately tore my family apart. My siblings and extended family won't speak to me and my mother is constantly pained with guilt of eternal consequences that she made mistakes in my upbringing that led to my abandonment of 'the gospel.' It hurts me to see her grieve over such a non-matter.
I know families that are destitute, have to deal with natural disasters, disease, drug abuse and other hardships that are not mormon. The difference between them and me is that they are still together, and accept each other unconditionally over any stupid outside ideology. Isn't that what family is really about? Furthermore, do you need a traditional family unit of woman/man/children to provide this refuge?
Do you know what would happen if I requested any type of support from my family? I'd get a lecture and boot out the door for not living some commandments. Is that family I ask?
I did not know what love was inside the church, obviously it can't teach what it doesn't understand. What the church labels love is nothing more than a vile stew of self-righteousness, fear, and arrested emotional development. I've learned that a family unit needs to be a place where there is shelter and unconditional acceptance. That doesn't have to be the Cleaver home, as the church proclamation would like you to believe. While all outward signs of my traditional mormon family growing up were healthy, in looking back I see it was all a charade and we emotionally lived in a dank dark dungeon.
The nerve, and the pompous arrogance. The church has only one thing; lots of money, which gives it prestige in this society. In reality the mormon church is a cancer on the soul, completely bankrupt of all spirituality. I have nothing but contempt for those pious assholes in the business suits proclaiming to be a mouthpiece of god. I challenge those hypocritical douchebags to defend any of their claims.
The church is nothing more than a business that sells lies and false hope. It preys on human weakness for it's power. I went from thinking church leaders were divine, to realizing they're benign, and now I see the human damage they cause because the leaders themselves were too weak and fearful to question. So they cower, and perpetuate this mental illness from generation to generation. It's got to be stopped.
The mormon church makes sickening claims while tearing families apart every day. The misery that mormonism spreads is epidemic. You TBM lurkers need to wake up to the sleep you are in.
My proclamation to you is that the church is absolutely NOT true. It was not divinely inspired and you do not have any authority from any god to mandate any type of human behavior. You don't even need to pray about these claims, just open your eyes. The evidence is astounding.
I encourage you to seek out your true character and break the evil cycle that you were born into. It will be temporarily painful because your so-called family and friends will abandon you, but you'll only ever understand and experience true love and human relationships outside of the church. Build your own family on real trust for their future. Anything less is cowardice.
The mormon church proclaiming itself the authority of proper family unity is like a child molester proclaiming his bedroom to be proper daycare.
Bring it on TBM lurkers, I need a fight and I'm ready smack some sense into your frightened heads. My email is listed with the message, so let those worthless testimonies roll!
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