For Mormons in Missouri, a time of healing

AP AP This photo released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shows a sealing room, where eternal … Continued

AP

AP

This photo released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shows a sealing room, where eternal marriages take place, at the new Mormon temple in Kansas City, Mo. The temple will largely serve about 25,000 members in the Kansas City area and about 100,000 members in Kansas and Missouri. The only other Mormon temple in Missouri is in St. Louis.

It was just a small group – perhaps a dozen and a half people – who assembled in one of the most sacred rooms of the new Mormon temple in Kansas City, Missouri, a couple of weeks ago, but what happened there was deeply significant and will be long remembered.

It was during the public open house –the period when newly built temples are opened to the public for several weeks before they are officially dedicated. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, along with the state’s first lady, the attorney general, several dignitaries and a handful of church officials, had toured most of the building and had found their way to one of the sealing rooms on an upper floor. This is the place in the temple where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints undertake their most sacred sacraments –the marriage ceremonies that they believe unite couples for eternity.

AP

AP

The baptismal font at the new temple is shown.

As they were about to leave, Governor Nixon, in a reflective, meditative mood, asked if he could speak to the group, and he did so quietly for several minutes. (Most conversations in those carpeted, beautifully appointed rooms are spoken in quiet tones, precisely because the building engenders that kind of reverence). Three times in his remarks, Governor Nixon referred to the opening of the temple as symbolizing “a time of healing.”

You would have to come from Missouri, or be a Latter-day Saint, or very well-versed in American history to appreciate just how significant that phrase was, and how mightily it resonated with the Latter-day Saints in the room. In the troubled history of Latter-day Saints in the 1800s, incidents of persecution in Missouri rank among the most heinous. The brutal shooting of seventeen Latter-day Saints, including a ten-year-old child, at Haun’s Mill on Shoal Creek in eastern Caldwell County, in October of 1838 came just three days after Missouri Executive Order No. 44 – more commonly known as the “Mormon Extermination Order” issued by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. That order was formally rescinded by Missouri Governor Kit Bond in 1976, citing its unconstitutionality.

Every Mormon knows this history from the Missouri period, and in any dispute it is rare that all the fault rests only with one side. But there was no trace of animosity, ill will or institutional memory as church leaders welcomed guests to the temple open house. Most journalists who sat for interviews were well-versed in the history and asked about it, but church leader William R. Walker, who oversees the church’s temples worldwide, declined to dwell on it, speaking only of the times of growth and progress born in the Missouri period, and remarking that some of the church’s most powerful modern scriptural passages have emanated from that same period.

AP

AP

An ordinance room is shown at the new Mormon temple in Kansas City, Mo.

On April 4 and April 5, Governor Nixon and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback each issued official proclamations, noting the contribution of Latter-day Saints to their states in warm and welcoming terms. “A time of healing” seemed perfectly to capture the moment.

“Healing” suggests not so much a debate on the rights and wrongs of history in which none of us had a part, as much as a willingness to set aside modern personal biases and engage in the kind of mutually respectful treatment befitting a nation that wears religious pluralism as a badge of honor. In such a society in 2012, we don’t call each other “cults.” We don’t automatically assume the worst of those who worship differently from us. We don’t mischaracterize their beliefs or quote their scriptures out of context.

At a time when people are asking questions about Latter-day Saints with renewed interest and curiosity, some journalists really do seem to be striving for the right tone, and exploring in very open and honest ways how to represent a faith group that is still little known to the public at large. Of course, there are exceptions. We can always count on a minority to launch the verbal equivalents of Haun’s Mill’s hail of bullets. But today is 2012, not 1838, and I like to think that we have learned something in 170 years. Over the next few months, with the intensity of interest in Latter-day Saints as high as it is, we may find out how much.

Michael Otterson is an On Faith panelist and heads the worldwide public affairs functions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


More On Faith and Mormonism:

Otterson:
What baptism for the dead means to Mormons

Kathryn Skaggs: For Mormons, this moment is personal

Sally Quinn:
Mormonism’s modern-day problem

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  • XVIIHailSkins

    I’ve quoted George Bernard Shaw on here before but I think his words are worth repeating;
    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

    This is not the discussion that we need to be having. I think that mormons and believers in any other sect need to assume the burden of proof and stop trumpeting about how wonderful the church makes them feel.

    I want to know how you square your belief that the first man and woman were born in Missouri with empirical evidence, or the notion that all Native Americans are descendants of a lost tribe of Israel.

    I want to know how you reasoned through your church’s fundamental shift in its attitude towards race in 1979. I want to know why so many apologists on here call themselves pluralistic and accepting of homosexuals when these ideas fly in the face of mormon doctrine (and the church’s massive financial support for proposition 8 in California). I’m terribly uninterested in the fact that being mormon makes you feel good, what interests me is the reasoning behind your beliefs. Take some responsibility, there is no room for emotion in this discussion.

  • patnhu2aolcom

    iF YOU ARE UNINTERESTED IN BEING A MORMON, WHY BOTHER WITH THIS COMMENT. WHY NOT DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY? I. AM NOT THE LEAST BIT INTERESTED IN YOUR
    BELIEFS AND WOULD NOT ASK YOU TO EXPLAIN WHY YOU WANT MORMONS TO EXPLAIN THEIRS.
    SEEMS LIKE A GREAT WASTE OF YOUR VALUABLE TIME TO ME…

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Indeed, but the thing is I don’t have an army of missionaries going door to door explaining to people why mormonism is a cosmic joke. I am not currently expanding my operation into Missouri. I am not erecting temples so people can genuflect to my beliefs. In the modern world, bad ideas should no longer be propagated with impunity, so in fact I think it is very much worth my time to ask people these questions, care to answer any of them?

  • patnhu2aolcom

    I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE BELIEFS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTERDAY SAINTS, SO I
    CAN’T SPEAK FOR THEM. I DO KNOW THAT MORMON WAS A GOOD PLAY AND MORMON IS NOT A CHURCH BUT A BOOK.
    IT STILLS SEEMS ODD TO ME THAT ANYONE WOULD FEEL IT NECESSARY TO SPEND TIME PREACHING ABOUT THE FALSE
    TEACHING OD A CHURCH THEY DON’T BELONG TO OR WANT TO BELONG TO. IF I WASN’T RETIRED AND HOUSE BOUND I SURE WOULD NOT BE INTERESTED IN WHAT THE MORMONS BELIVE OR FOR THAT MATTER WHAT YOU CARE ABOUT, I WOULD BE OUT IN THE GULF FISHING AS IT IS SUCH ABEAUTIFUL DAY HERE IN SUNNY FLORIDA. NOW DON’T TELL ME YOU HATE FLORIDA!

  • XVIIHailSkins

    OK well I suppose my quarrel isn’t with you then (just with your caps lock button at this point), but I think I adequately explained in my last post why this is important to me so I’ll leave it at that.

  • Cesarcris

    “I want to know how you square your belief that the first man and woman were born in Missouri with empirical evidence, or the notion that all Native Americans are descendants of a lost tribe of Israel.”

    The garden of Eden location is not relevant in our doctrine here is our position about this subject:
    “We do not know exactly where the original site of the Garden of Eden is. While not an important or foundational doctrine, Joseph Smith established a settlement in Daviess County, Missouri, and taught that the Garden of Eden was somewhere in that area. Like knowing the precise number of animals on Noah’s ark, knowing the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important to one’s salvation than believing in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

    About the man and women creation the church don’t have an official doctrine. Many mormons believe in man evolution and others don’t believe it.

    Also is not doctrinal that “all Native Americans are descendants of a lost tribe of Israel”. The BOM describes also an migration to Americas from a non Israelite people.

    The Church embraces everybody (colored, white, gays and sinners) The church loves the sinner not the sin. Homosexual sex violates the chastity law just like the adulterous sex. So the Church helps all the sinners who desire to overcome their weakness to become closer to God.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Utah is the only state in the U.S. with a mormon majority, so I would say any state-wide poll should be statistically meaningful if mormonism is under discussion. I mean, the fact that I’m giving you rankings should indicate that these stats are arranged in comparison with other states, that’s what rankings are for.

    I’m also getting very weary of mormon’s reacting to any form of criticism of their faith or the type of society it produces as hate speech. Where was the hate in my comment? I listed some statistics, and posited a fairly mild conclusion at the end. The repetitive use of the ‘victim card’ by religious apologists is sublimely childish, and a wonderful escape tactic that prevents the discussion from continuing further.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    By the way, reading a study conducted by the religious studies department at Brigham Young instead of a U.S. gov’t census is not exactly a lateral move. I hope I shouldn’t have to explain why.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    So I think an adequate distillation of the quote you posted would be the following;
    ‘Since this historical postulation by Joseph Smith clearly sounds imbecilic when faced with empirical evidence, we are prepared discard it because it is not crucial to the redemption promised by our faith.’

    I’m willing to follow your claim that the BOM does not explicitly state that ALL native americans (although I’m fairly sure it does) are the descendants of this tribe, but how do you address the fact that no DNA evidence has ever been posited that indicates there could have been an Israeli immigration? How do you circumnavigate the fact that genealogists have formed a consensus that all Native Americans trace their roots to an early migration from East Asia?

    Finally, I would remind you that there are many adolescent suicide victims (as well as victims of electroshock therapy and shunning) that can testify that the church does not in fact love the sinner. Your belief that homosexuality is a sin is simply wrong on the surface, but I suppose I’m willing to grant it to you as long as you stop pretending that the mormon chruch (or most any other one) actually practice some form of tolerance towards gays.

  • mwpalmer

    Curiously, high suicide rates are a problem for all the mountain west states. States bordering Utah, all with lower percentages of Mormons, have higher suicide rates. What shall we conclude from that? I suspect your implied causality is errant (or just missing.)

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Perhaps, but have a look at the top 10 states ranked by depression rate; Utah, West Va, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Nevada, Oklahoma, Idaho, Missouri, Ohio.

    See the same errant causality? I sure don’t. Perhaps being ranked 1 in depression is the more telling statistic.

  • Nashville33

    I work on various projects for Lifeway Christian Stores in Nashville, TN. I’ve also worked for the United Methodist Publishing House and the Southern Baptist Convention. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is definitely Christian. As with so many things in life, it’s fear of the unknown that leads to the negative comments. Mormons are some of the most Christ-like people I know. I see these people as Christians especially because I never hear of their speakers or teachers speaking ill of other religions and they don’t get paid for their service in the church. This website- Mormon.org explains their core beliefs and isn’t tainted by fear spread online. The beliefs are simple, but profound. I’ve read them and felt a feeling that has changed the negative to positive.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    I don’t think a single person on these threads has accused mormons of not being christian (although I’m aware many mainline evangelicals in the US do). I’m entirely uninterested in the distinction, I think the mormon doctrine is a slightly more absurd and superstitious version of typical protestant/catholic doctrine, so I’m not thrilled to see it spreading anywhere, the same I say about the spread of scientology.

  • Cesarcris

    There is no evidence that drug abuse or the suicidal rate is because of stress from the LDS lifestyle and culture. I think I don’t have to explain why.

    Your comment is misleading and inspired in anti-mormon propaganda. As you must know many anti mormon sites with a clear anti mormon agenda (ex members or evangelical ministries) have been using your arguments. So if you are copying arguments from biased websites why I shouldn’t also arguing with religious studies from BYU?

    Utah is not the only state with mormon majority. Idaho and Arizona, the two other states in the “Mormon Corridor” with large LDS populations, did not rate high in antidepressant use. If LDS culture is responsible for high levels of stress leading to antidepressant use, why didn’t those two states rank closer to Utah?

    Utah ranked seventh in TOTAL PRESCRITION OVERALL. This indicates that people from Utah are heavier than average users of all prescription medications.

    Utah also ranked high in use of penicillin, insulin, thyroid hormones, antirheumatics, and anticonvulsants. Is Mormon culture also responsible for higher incidences of infection, diabetes, hypothyroidism, arthritis, and epilepsy?

    Or maybe this numbers show that Utah people just go to doctor more often. That is something to worry about?

  • Cesarcris

    Sorry an adequate distillation would be:

    You are arguing with irrelevant and non doctrinal subjects of our Church and you are lying when you say that they are OUR BELIEFS. Because they aren’t!

    BOM clearly shows there were many migrations to Americas (israelite and non Israelite) and the non Israelite migration (Jaredites) is a people from Asia and came to Americas a few thousand years way before the Israelite migrations. In the BOM there is also many clues that the Israelite migrations found other peoples already living in Americas. So the DNA investigation (which only shows a probabilistical population origin not the full genealogical history of the people) doesn’t enter in contradiction with the BOM.

    Well I can remind you that suicide sometimes is contagious (werther effect) and I think some people (for example you) EXPLORE the suicide as propaganda. If a sinner kills himself this horrible act doesn’t clean the sin. I also know many adulterers and thieves who committed suicide. Are you saying we are intolerant to adulterers and thieves?

    Well Your arguments are simply ridiculous!

  • XVIIHailSkins

    ‘If a sinner kills himself this horrible act doesn’t clean the sin. I also know many adulterers and thieves who committed suicide. Are you saying we are intolerant to adulterers and thieves?’

    If a person read these two sentences, I have a feeling they would not expect the next one to read; ‘Well Your arguments are simply ridiculous!’

    Any point you were trying to make in the above post was literally unintelligible to me, please rephrase.

  • Emily_Jacobson

    Members of the LDS church are taught to remember the past. But we are also taught not to dwell on the past. It’s sometimes a balancing act to do the former, without falling into the habit of the latter. I’m glad that Elder Walker, Governor Nixon and the other members of the temple tour were able to achieve that balance, and could share a beautiful moment of good will in such a beautiful place. Thank you. Brother Otterson, for sharing this story with us.

  • Emily_Jacobson

    Patnhu2aolcom, I wish you weren’t housebound. I wish you were out spreading some of that common sense around in the world. I also wish you could be fishing.

  • wenrojas

    All I know is that going to a Mormon Temple always leaves me feeling better about myself, about life, about my connection to God. In a world that is so full of contradictions, haste, strife and unease, the Temple is a sanctuary where all of that is left behind and a true sense of higher purpose is felt. To many, the Mormon beliefs will appear bizarre and incomprehensible. But to those who have chosen to believe in this religion as their path to God (like myself), it is deeply satisfactory. I wish every reader the same satisfaction in your chosen path to God.

  • genelibutti

    A new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis explores Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints culture and explains LDS members’ volunteering and charitable giving-habits. It is the first study focusing on giving and volunteering practices of Latter-day Saints that has been carried out within LDS wards by a non-church-affiliated university. The researchers are Ram Cnaan, a professor in Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice; Daniel W. Curtis, a student earning his Ph.D. in social welfare; and Van Evans from IUPUI. Researchers surveyed 2,644 active Mormons in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Michigan, Utah and California. Overall, researchers found that members of the LDS Church are the most “prosocial” members of American society. (The full study and comments can be easily found on the internet).

    “Regardless of where they live, they are very generous with their time and money,” Cnaan, an expert in faith-based social services and the lead researcher said. “Through a theology of obedience and sacrifice and a strong commitment to tithing and service, Latter-day Saints are model citizens.”

    Researchers found that active members of the LDS Church volunteer and donate significantly more than the average American. When it comes to the time they spend volunteering, the average adult American LDS member contributes as much as seven times more than that of the average American.

    In terms of the LDS members’ financial contribution to not only the church but also to other charitable causes, they outshine non-Mormon Americans yet again.

  • peaceman2

    HailSkins is a professional anti-Mormon, this might be his job. I know, it’s crazy that people are actually hired to promote hatred against a religious minority (sounds like 1030’s Germany etc) but there really are people who do this (some also hate for free).

  • ccnl1

    From the Land of Loading More and More Comments:

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (as does M. Romney and M. Otterson)

    “Latter-day Saints (e.g. M. Romney and M. Otterson) also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.”

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tin-kerbell” got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (as does B. Obama and his family)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other “no-namers” to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these “pretty wingie thingies” to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the “fems” (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Reality makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

  • manwaringjd

    You have something boiling inside of you it is evident. Wish you some peace.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Perhaps this is the final time I’ll have to repost this quote, it seems to become more relevant every time.

    “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” – George Bernard Shaw

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Although I don’t agree with the tactics of this poster, I think what all the apologists imagine must be ‘boiling inside’ of the skeptics is simply the use of human reasoning and critical faculties.

  • genelibutti

    The worth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the world, its doctrines and claims and its continued growth, the truth of the Book of Mormon, the lives of the church members, how they live and what they stand for–it is all dependent on one question: Was Joseph Smith a prophet (like Abraham, Moses, Elijah, etc) and did he see God and Jesus Christ as he said he did? If God did speak to him and his successors, this church must be what its name implies and it follows it would be the most incredible thing on the earth today. We ought to all find out for ourselves. Stop by a Mormon chapel sometime when you see cars in the parking lot–go in and ask some questions. You will be surprised at the answers you get.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Would a prophet translate divine revelation out of a hat, and then fail to reproduce the first hundred or so pages of this translation after they were lost? Stupid question, I know.

  • Tornogal

    Gene is right. I sincerely believe people should visit with Mormons. They should visit the LDS church websites, too. They are very well done.

    But they should also do some objective research on their own. These sites are good, but there is plenty of information out there:

    http://www.mormonthink.com

    http://www.20truths.info

    http://www.postmormon.org

    There is also an interesting video on YouTube regarding the origins of the Book of Abraham.

  • Benevolentia

    I sure hope so cuz I’m sure tired of reading it.

  • Benevolentia

    Thank you Tornogal but what does that article have to do with this one?

  • haveaheart

    Try http://www.exmormon.org for the unvarnished truth.

  • haveaheart

    I’ve never heard it. Excellent!

  • netzach

    Nothing.

    Tornogal is one of those people who left the Church, but cannot leave it alone. She has fallen prey to the anti-Mormon literature and is intellectually convinced that the Church is wrong – but something deep inside, at a visceral level (I’ll call it heart for want of a better term,) is telling her she made the wrong choice.

    In an attempt to resolve this conflict, mind must continually “shout down” the heart. This manifests as continual posting of articles critical of the Church, regardless of whether they are topical or not.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Ah yes, Benevolentia of ‘I can’t understand why people are so concerned with the way others choose to marry’ fame. The great defender of the faith strikes again.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Once again, I have to point out that when apologists cry ‘hate speech!’ the moment they see any idea that is critical of the church or sheds light on the ridiculous flaws in its historicity, they convict themselves of an extremely childish defense mechanism. Have some psychological courage instead of throwing your hands up and playing the victim, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, you should be willing to provide it.

  • netzach

    I don’t believe I stated – or even implied – hatred for Mormons. And I freely admit that as a psychologist, I make a pretty good computer programmer.

    That said, I was merely trying to explain why some people expend such time and energy fighting an organization that has, as its primary goal, making bad people good and good people better.

    Even in the present case, an article about the healing of bad feelings between members of the Church and the great state of Missouri, you and tornogal and several others seemingly cannot resist bringing up non-topical stuff.

    Constructive criticism we do not mind. In fact, we’ve already answered most of the standard, one-each, OD, garden-variety criticisms for DECADES. But it’s still waah, waah, waah, polygamy, waah, waah, waah, Mountain Meadows, waah, waah, waah, racism, waah, waah, WAAH.

  • Scott_

    So you’re comparing Mormons to drunks? Sounds like hate speech to me.

  • Benevolentia

    XVII don’t even go there. Your posts are germaine, thought provoking and show logic even though I may not agree with them.
    Tornogal on the other hand just keeps rehashing the same links (or variations on old ones that have no relation to the original article) over and over with no critical thinking. I defend her right to post as this is thankfully a country that still has freedom of speech.
    Her posts are just boring to me. Maybe others see some value in them but have seen little evidence.

  • netzach

    Going to exmormon.org for “unvarnished truth” is a little like going to an ex-spouse, after a nasty divorce, for “unvarnished truth.”

    Not going to get it in either place, in my humble opinion.

  • netzach

    Objection, Your Honor! Questionable logic.

    If the Australian find is a “common Egyptian scroll” – how could it validate anything with respect to the Book of Abraham? If it’s “common,” then finding yet another example doesn’t add to the theory that it’s common.

    The Book of Abraham facsimilies, are rather uncommon. For one thing, the figure on the Lion Couch is always dead – usually mummified, or in the process of becoming so. The BofA, on the other hand, shows the figure dressed in knickers, one leg in the air, hands raised. Palms in or palms out, we can’t tell – but either is a standard Egyptian depiction of prayer. A fact that Joesph Smith got right.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Netzach – I believe I was saying something about the defense mechanisms of a child…

    Bene – I’ve said before many times that tornogal’s tactics are useless and insulting to the folks that actually take the time to post their thoughts on here, but scrolling through this thread it would be dishonest to deny that that majority of apologists would rather accuse skeptics of bigotry or hate-mongering than engage in a real discussion.

  • Tornogal

    It’s interesting that rather than address the issues that are raised, Mormon apologists declare objective critics as disaffected former members of their church (wrong), hate-filled (wrong), or even paid employees of opposition groups (wrong again). But we ought not be surprised, as the arguments critics raise can’t be reasonably dismissed. So the apologists instead try to call into question the motivations of the critics.

    And to those who don’t see the connection between points critical of the LDS church to the original blog posting, I think it’s pretty clear. The paid (and expensive) LDS church public affairs offices generate reams of news releases that paint the oh-so-wonderful view of the Mormon church. This blog is a product of that.

    People deserve to understand that this is a group founded by an immoral charlatan, based on hugely racist and provably false doctrine that has never been apologized for, and one which to this day uses its money to promote socio-political causes it favors and to build multi-billion dollar shopping malls.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Much more human of you, enough with the copy/paste war of links, it does nothing to advance the conversation.

  • Tornogal

    I am not seeking your approval.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    And what about the LDS sponsored website? In your humble opinion, are those pixels closer to objective truth?

  • XVIIHailSkins

    It’s not my approval you need, but it would be a good start considering most of what you post on here is detrimental to a cause that we share.

  • Tornogal

    No thanks. This is a free forum. I will post as I see fit, you are free to do likewise.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    The apologist never fails to expertly miss the point.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Indeed, enjoy the path of least resistance.

  • Tornogal

    Hardly.

    Kindly explain these comments:

    Egyptologist Dr. James H. Breasted, University of Chicago:

    “… these three facsimiles of Egyptian documents in the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ depict the most common objects in the Mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph Smith’s interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation through Abraham, therefore, very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian writing and civilization.”

    Dr. W.M. Flinders Petrie of London University:
    “It may be safely said that there is not one single word that is true in these explanations”

    Dr. A.H. Sayce, Oxford professor of Egyptology,
    “It is difficult to deal seriously with Joseph Smith’s impudent fraud…. Smith has turned the goddess [Isis in Facsimile No. 3] into a king and Osiris into Abraham.”

    But if you can find a single non-LDS expert who has indicated there is one shred of evidence that the Book of Abraham is factual, I will be more than happy to reconsider my view that the book is an abject fraud.

  • Benevolentia

    Boring.

  • Benevolentia

    Xxvi, we know what your cause and motives are. If I understand correctly you are a humanist and basically are trying to make the case against all religions – Mormons, Baptisms, Muslims, …
    It is unclear what Tornagals cause or motives are. They appear to be Mormon focused only, but I’m not sure.
    Regardless, her posts are boring and never provide any new insight and are always anti-Mormon, which is her right. But come on, maybe once in a while we could read something positive about what is better than Mormonism. Whether we agree with you or not we know that you are proposing a humanist approach to life. That can be debated on its merits and shortcomings. Constant carping about the other guys beliefs really provides no value in my opinion.

  • Benevolentia

    I cannot speak for other apologists. I’m sure I could sit down with you and have an interesting debate. We are both entrenched in our own path and I don’t think we would make much progress in conversion. Nevertheless, I enjoy the conversation.
    Tornogal on the other hand is like a whiner that keeps repeating the same thing over and over again and not even very well.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    You’d like a depiction of something better than mormonism? Something better than a world enveloped by dogmatic religious ideologies, in which each one makes claims of moral and logical certainty, and each one sees the others as ludicrous? Hard to picture, isn’t it?

    I’d like to see a world in which people recognize that the ‘God’ concept is an outdated psychological defense mechanism that has been present in human culture since the dawn of man. Whenever we sense that we have reached the limits of our collective knowledge, we simply give it up to God. Before we knew what caused earthquakes, thunderstorms, droughts, disease, famine, we offered these things up to God. When Newton sensed that he could push no further in his investigation of the planetary orbits, he gave the rest of it up to God, same with Galileo. Nobody in the world today can claim to know the cause of the big bang, so the religionists continue to give it up to God.

    Far more importantly, in parts of the world that are less pluralistic than our own hemisphere, the parties of God can exercise a veto on peace, compromise, and progress. Look at Israel, any rational person would agree that a two state solution would be best for all parties, but religious fanaticism on either side prohibits this outcome.

    What you have to understand is that even though you reject all the other religions of the world (one less than the atheist, I might add), you are in bed with all of them. If you claim to be in communication with a divine artificer that endows you with morality and compels you to spread the ‘one true faith,’ you are on the same side as the genocidal theocrat. In a nuclear world, humanity cannot afford to live under the yoke of superstition any longer.

    I want to ask you, if you are capable, to detach yourself from faith for a brief moment and look at religion as I do. Think of the most primal, frightening questions that our primate ancestors might have hoped to answer through religion. What happens when we die?

  • XVIIHailSkins

    As difficult as it must be to understand, I am not entrenched in anything. Having been raised for fifteen years in a church, I might be described as ‘entrenched’ if I had never acted on my suspicious or subversive thoughts as a child. If I had plugged my ears and said thirty hail mary’s instead of asking myself why the same god that created humanity created hell, then I would have been ‘entrenched.’

    As I’ve said before, my point of view is fluid. If evidence surfaced tomorrow that indicated mormonism was in fact the one true faith, I would be obliged to accept it. On the other hand, I’m willing to bet that if you encountered some evidence that shattered the foundations of your faith, you would still find a way to contort your intellect around it. That is what you mean by ‘entrenched,’ and I’m afraid it’s a quality we do not share.

  • Benevolentia

    Well said. Your position is clear and I respect it although I may not embrace it.
    If you could get Tornogal to explain what she believes not what she doesnt believe that would be interesting.

  • Benevolentia

    Ah, but you rely solely on the 5 senses for proof so it would be impossible to prove to you that any church was the true one or that there is even a God.

  • mwpalmer

    So, how did that vision work out for Pol Pot in Cambodia (Kampuchea, as he prefered it)?

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Hate to say it Bene, but so do you. All else is window dressing.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Also, you have to realize that the Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, or Taoist will use the exact same rhetorical posturing to justify the supremacy of their faith, who are you to tell them that they are wrong?

  • pmarlow

    To all those who feel the need to go on misinformed rants against Mormons, I have this to say: Thank you. I know many people who have joined the LDS Church after reading comments like yours. And they are wonderfully intelligent and courageous people. Why do you think the church has been growing so fast lately? Amazing people taking notice!

    You get them curious. Do Mormons really believe such nonsense? Indeed, they will use the internet to look into some of your claims and, of course, find many like you who are consumed by a desire to destroy this church. The more intelligent and courageous among them will wonder, “Why such antagonism?” and then feel it fair to study the other side of the story. They will go to mormon.org and lds.org to find out what we really believe. They will discover sensible answers to every objection at mormonvoices.org. For those who enjoy the smallest details, every word that the Prophet Joseph Smith ever wrote is available online at josephsmithpapers.org.

    As intelligent and courageous people read and study LDS Church teachings, they will begin to see a godly beauty in it unlike anything else they had ever heard taught before. They will be fascinated by the pure Christ-like love expressed in our teachings and note that we have a cohesive theology that makes wonderful sense at every level. Our unique and beautiful doctrines, like eternal marriage and eternal families, will touch their hearts. They will find answers to questions that everyone else had always told them shouldn’t even be asked.

    They will come to see how “The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ” fits so well with their understanding of the Bible, that it takes nothing away from the Bible, but rather enhances their belief in its truthfulness while helping them better understand just how much God really loves them. They will quickly forget the unkind words of a few obsessed detractors.

    Then, they will put to the test the promise that only Mormons make: If they study the

  • pmarlow

    God loves us. He wants us to know truth. And to those who faithfully seek it, He will reveal truth by His Spirit in a way that cannot be mistaken or confused as anything else. And once they receive this spectacular witness directly from God, they will then know as I do that Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and Savior, that the Book of Mormon and Bible are true, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, His restoration of His original Christian church, restored by Him through a man He had called as a prophet, Joseph Smith. Imagine that!

    What a wonderful thing it is to know truth by the Spirit and power of God!

  • XVIIHailSkins

    The delirious self-righteousness of religious apologists is on full display. They will never hesitate to trumpet about how wonderful a full investment in mormon doctrine makes them feel. Just be sure to never ask them about the logical, historical, or moral preachments of their church actually translate to the real world. Never ask them why the perfect prophet of God’s word would have to start over from scratch after the first hundred or so pages of his translations were lost. Never ask them how they feel about the fundamental change in their church’s position towards race in 1978. Never ask them about the historicity of a doctrine that claims that native Americans are the descendants of Israelis, or that the first man and woman were born in Missouri. Never ask them why the name of a racist bigot is displayed on the diplomas of every graduate of the only mormon institution of higher learning. Never ask them about the practice of necro-baptism, or the channeling of their church’s massive financial resources towards the prevention of equal rights for homosexuals. God loves them, and that’s all you need to know.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Please note that any criticism of mormon doctrine, however polite or objective, is unequivocally labelled as hate speech. Please note that anyone who disagrees with mormon preachments on morality, race, or history are bigots. Please note that anyone who feels that the spread of this dogma throughout the U.S. or the international community is a misinformed hate-monger who could have never possibly taken the time to investigate the scriptures or doctrine of the LDS church. The mormon worldview is perfect in every sense of the word, and anyone who disagrees is a neanderthal who is beyond saving.

  • netzach

    Appeal to authority. You do realize, do you not, that an appeal to authority only works when the authority is actually an authority. Otherwise it’s a logical fallacy.

    Let’s check for a freshness date, shall we? Lessee now … oh yes, here it is: 1912. Hmmm – no wonder this seems a little stale.

    Breasted: Almost half a century (1961) after Breasted’s pronouncement, here’s what Alan Gardiner had to say. “Unhappily, in Breasted’s day our knowledge of Late-Egyptian syntax was not sufficiently advanced to enable him to translate the damaged portion of the Turin papyrus correctly.” (“Egypt of the Pharaohs” [Oxford: Clarendon], 291) Breasted’s main argument against the BofA was that Hebrews were monotheists and Egyptians polytheists; both points have always been disputed by Egyptologists.

    Petrie: Never went to school, and hampered by a complete inability to learn languages. According to his biographer, Guy Brunton, he hired a tutor to teach him French, Latin, and Greek grammar – for which he had “no aptitude whatsoever.”

    Sayce: His specialty was Assyriology, not Egyptology. In his review of “The Religion of Ancient Egypt,” H. R. Hall wrote that Sayce’s speculations in Egyptology “do not carry much conviction.”

    In terms of support for the BofA, you could turn to “Traditions About the Early Life of Abraham” by Tvednes, Hauglid and Gee. The book’s premise is that BofA contains several elements not found in the Biblical account. Depending on your mindset, these were either things we didn’t know about Abraham before (Mormon viewpoint) or things Smith made up out of whole cloth (anti-Mormon viewpoint). IF our view is correct, these elements will be attested in non-Biblical Abrahamic literature.

    Including index and credits, they find enough support to fill 565
    pages, from sources in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Demotic, Old Coptic, Old Turkish, Persian, and Geez. Sources from three different continents and thousands of years of human history.

    “The nonbiblical tradition

  • bkc97814

    Everyone is definitely entitled to their opinion – and just as entitled to post it. With few exceptions (fascists perhaps?), no one would want to take this venue away from anyone.

    But I wonder why so many seem to object to others taking advantage of this cyber-medium; that is to say there are some who seem to be bothered that anyone publishes things that show the LDS Church in a positive way – heaven forbid that something good or admirable be said about the Church or its people. They also seem to be bothered by the fact that the Church has some talented people who are paid to help present its message. (A message that I, as well as others, are more than willing to pay for because of our belief in it – we want other people to have the opportunity to know our faith, too). Considering there are some groups of people who feel it their duty to misrepresent and lie about our religion, it would be silly not to support those who are able to portray us, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fairly and favorably.

    The ‘reasonable arguments’ the detractors of the Church trot out for every so called debate are the same arguments that have been made against the Church since the beginning. They’ve been addressed ad nauseum, but the people who bring them up are not interested in answers – they just want to voice the same old libelous claims and try to give the Church a black eye. Sincere ‘dialog’ isn’t possible with them. And when you have heard the ‘shocking truth’ a thousand times, it gets old (and boring). What used to get me mad now makes me yawn. And I don’t think that one can call most of us who try to make our voices heard here ‘apolgists’. We are just people who love our faith & want a little balance out in the ‘nether world’.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve never looked at any critic’s accusations and not found them to be either misrepresentations or lies. Some I think are duplicitous, knowing that they misrepresent while others are themselves misled; some are honest, others l

  • Tornogal

    bkc97814,

    Okay, please explain these things as “misrepresentations or lies”:

    1. Elder Poelman’s October 1984 General Conference talk being re-recorded in front of an empty tabernacle, including the addition of a “cough track,” after his talk was regarded as unacceptable, and having the revised text appear in the Ensign as the “talk of record.” is that true?

    2. Joseph Smith denying polygamy, while practicing it, including him marrying a 14 year old girl.

    3. Mormon prophets saying things like Blacks are inferior, and the only reason they were preserved through a biblical flood was so Satan could have representation on Earth.

    4. Every non-LDS egyptologist who has examined the Book of Abraham and compared it to what it was derived from has declared it rubbish.

  • Benevolentia

    I believe netzach answered 4 at 1:45 AM EDT

  • netzach

    1) Yes, the talk was revised. It was pointed out to Elder Poelman, after the sermon had been delivered, that it might provide ammunition to certain apostate and/or polygamous groups – Poelman decided to revise it.

    You can see the differences here: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/045-44-57.pdf

    Given the way that anti-Mormons like to comb through old talks, looking for anything they might use for criticism, it’s little wonder that Poelman wanted the correct meaning to be delivered.

    2) No discussion of Smith’s wives can be complete without exploring the difference between a marriage and a sealing. Stating the Smith married a 14 year-old is disingenuous without ALSO stating that all evidence points to the union as being non-conjugal. Even if that were not true, the girl was three years past the age of consent (in that time and place), and had the blessing of her parents. In some states (California, for one) that marriage would be legal TODAY. Except, of course, for the plural aspect of it.

    3) The Curse of Cain/Ham nonsense did not originate with Mormon prophets, nor did it cease to exist when the Church renounced it. Study the history of the Southern Baptists, or the origin of the various AME churches.

    Paraphrasing Bruce McConkie, any Mormon leaders who stated that Blacks were inferior, in any way, were speaking without the benefit of the light and knowledge that came in to the world in 1978.

    As the Book of Mormon puts it, it doesn’t matter your color, your sex, or whether you’re Jew or Gentile – “all are alike to God.”

    4) By the time the story contained in Book of Abraham got to the Egyptian priest who owned the scrolls (about 100 BC) it was already 1500 years old, had been drawn in Egyptian characters, and recast using Egyptian dieties in place of the original Hebrew ones.

    Little wonder that non-LdS Egyptologists – even modern-day ones (unlike those jokers you tried to pawn off on us earlier) – looking at the JS Papryii from a purely Egyptian viewpoint, might say th

  • netzach

    XVIIHailSkins: “… why the perfect prophet of God’s word …”

    If we expected perfect prophets, we’d be waiting a really, REALLY long time. Luckily, God is able to work with imperfect human beings – sometimes in really remarkable ways.

  • Tornogal

    1. And it strikes you as okay for an institution to clandestinely re-record a speech and publish it as though it was the original one given, even to the point of adding a “cough track,” and make ZERO mention that the version published was not the original? It is fraudulent and deceptive behavior, period.

    2. Of course a discussion of Joseph Smith’s wives can be genuine without mention of the difference in “sealing” and “marriage.” He married them, including the 14 year-old and other teenagers. And more, the Fanny Alger episode, which arguably “inspired” the revelation on sealing was anything but non-conjugal, as were other of the relationships. “Emily Partridge Young said she ‘roomed’ with Joseph the night following her marriage to him, and said that she had ‘carnal intercourse’ with him…Other early witnesses also affirmed this. Benjamin Johnson wrote: ‘On the 15th of May . . . the Prophet again Came and at my hosue [house] ocupied [sic] the Same Room & Bed with my sister that the month previous he had ocupied with the Daughter of the Later [late] Bishop Partridge as his wife.’ According to Joseph Bates Noble, Smith told him he had spent a night with Louisa Beaman . . . many of Joseph’s wives affirmed that they were married to him for eternity and time, with sexuality included.” Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997). The man was a adulterer.

    3. So you are confirming that Mormon prophets were mistaken when they gave those prophecies, right? So how does one know when the prophecies of Mormon prophets are right, and when they, too, are wrong? Might this apply to Mr. Packer’s comments on homosexuality? Might your church one day accept normal gay and lesbian behavior as it now accepts Blacks?

    4. “Unlike those jokers you tried to pawn off on us earlier.” Nice. Those were reputable men. Please show us one non-LDS “non-joker” egyptologist or archaeologist of your choice who believes the Book

  • netzach

    XVIIHailSkins: “… the channeling of their church’s massive financial resources …”

    In actual fact, very little of the Church’s resources were used. something like $200K – most of that “in kind” (in other words, free use of Church buildings and other facilities which, if monetized, would have added up to about $200K).

  • Benevolentia

    Nice try to you as well Tornogal.
    1. Yes it is perfectly fine the way it was done and I think most unbiased people would agree. “It is fraudulent and deceptive behavior, period” in YOUR OPINION. You do not speak for the world, although you often act like you are the final determiner of how facts should be interpreted.
    2.You are quoting all sorts of people that made those claims. Why is it that you believe them as opposed to those who said it never happened that way?
    3. Why not ask some black Mormons to explain this to you? Apparently they have been able to deal with it. But you, who have no intention of joining the Mormon Church, feel the need to avenge the misjustice you perceive that they can live with it.
    4. I haven’t looked for one, but I will. The fact is that even if I do you will just move on to your next item on the list of why you don’t believe Mormonism.
    Frankly, I don’t care if you believe or not, at least not as much as you seem to care that others don’t.
    As I have requested from you before on these posts tell us what you think we should believe not what we shouldn’t believe. I’d love to hear you say something positive about anything. And before you get into the “we’re-not-haters” boohoo mode, I’m not saying you’re a hater.
    Try the Noah principle “There are no rewards for predicting rain, only building arks.”

  • netzach

    1) Yes. But I am more interested in doctrinal purity than I am in putting arrows into anti-Mormon quivers.

    2) If the court please, enter your last response as “Exhibit A” in the case of anti-Mormons being more interested in loading up their quivers with arrows than they are in knowing the truth.

    Dr. Todd Compton, author of “In Sacred Lonliness” and (more recently) the diaries of Helen Mar Kimball during the last 12 years of her life (800+ pages!) has studied her extensively – and still is of the opinion that there was nothing physical in the relationshihp between Smith and 14-year-old Helen.

    And bringing up the fact that some of Smith’s relationships were physical does not mitigate this.

    3) Asked and answered. I quoted a priesthood manual from 40 years ago – in a nutshell, we know they are right when they (a) are not at variance with what the Lord has already revealed on a given subject, (b) they “ring true” – that is, the Spirit of Discernment tells us they are correct, and (c) if we are still confused, we can call down our own personal endorsement via the Holy Spirit.

    4) Reputable, yes. Expert enough in Egyptology to defend what they said of the BofA, no.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    You do realize that the author of the article you are commenting (head of the mormon PR department) has openly admitted that the funds directed towards prop 8 were in the millions, right? Not that the specific number is important at all, the point is that the church monetized its bigotry towards homosexuals, the same type of archaic bigotry that the church will certainly renounce one day just like it did in 1978. For some reason god takes a long time to change his mind when it comes to some of his more tribalistic preachments.

  • netzach

    In the matter of what-them-mormans-ree-lee-bee-leeve, yes, as a matter of fact, those pixels are much closer to the truth.

    We’re in the construction business, not the demolition business.

    I passed, one day, through a lonely town,
    And saw men tearing a building down.
    With a “Ho! Heave ho!” and a lusty yell,
    They swung a beam and a side wall fell.
    I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled?
    The kind you’d use if you had to build?”
    “Oh, no,” he chuckled, “No, indeed.
    A common laborer is all I need.
    And I can destroy in a day or two,
    what builders have taken weeks to do.”
    I thought to myself, as I went on my way,
    “Which of these roles have I tried to play?
    Am I a builder, who works with care,
    strengthening lives by rule and square?
    Shaping my deeds to a well-made plan,
    and patiently being the best I can?
    Or, am I a wrecker who walks around,
    content with the labor of tearing down?”

  • Benevolentia

    Finally we agree on something!

  • XVIIHailSkins

    The fact that religion destroys the human sense of irony?

  • Tornogal

    1. “Doctrinal purity.” I love it.

    2. Avoiding any discussion of Fanny Alger or Emily Partridge. I understand why.

    3. LOL. In other words, they are wrong sometimes. A lot of times, in fact. But they are still “prophets.” Huh.

    4. Still waiting for a non-LDS scholar who agrees with what either the Book of Mormon or Book of Abraham says they are.

  • Benevolentia

    Nice try to you as well Tornogal.
    1. Yes it is perfectly fine the way it was done and I think most unbiased people would agree. “It is fraudulent and deceptive behavior, period” in YOUR OPINION. You do not speak for the world, although you often act like you are the final determiner of how facts should be interpreted.
    2.You are quoting all sorts of people that made those claims. Why is it that you believe them as opposed to those who said it never happened that way?
    3. Why not ask some black Mormons to explain this to you? Apparently they have been able to deal with it. But you, who have no intention of joining the Mormon Church, feel the need to avenge the misjustice you perceive that they can live with it.
    4. I haven’t looked for one, but I will. The fact is that even if I do you will just move on to your next item on the list of why you don’t believe Mormonism.
    Frankly, I don’t care if you believe or not, at least not as much as you seem to care that others don’t.
    As I have requested from you before on these posts tell us what you think we should believe not what we shouldn’t believe. I’d love to hear you say something positive about anything. And before you get into the “we’re-not-haters” boohoo mode, I’m not saying you’re a hater.
    Try the Noah principle “There are no rewards for predicting rain, only building arks.”

  • Benevolentia

    I was being funny, I know you were being sarcastic. Take a break.

  • Tornogal

    Bene,

    If you intended to send new thoughts, the last ones were a repeat of the ones before that.

  • Benevolentia

    Yes. But you did not respond to any of them.
    Particularly this part:
    As I have requested from you before on these posts tell us what you think we should believe not what we shouldn’t believe. I’d love to hear you say something positive about anything. And before you get into the “we’re-not-haters” boohoo mode, I’m not saying you’re a hater.
    Try the Noah principle “There are no rewards for predicting rain, only building arks.”

  • Benevolentia

    The real significance of Mormonism is portrayed in the words by the current Church President (Prophet):

    “I believe that none of us can conceive the full import of what Christ did for us in Gethsemane, but I am grateful every day of my life for His atoning sacrifice in our behalf.

    “At the last moment, He could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things. In doing so, He gave us life beyond this mortal existence. He reclaimed us from the Fall of Adam.

    “To the depths of my very soul, I am grateful to Him. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. He secured our salvation.”

  • Tornogal

    Bene,

    How does the Mormon church define the term “prophet”?

  • netzach

    From “Gospel Principles,” the lesson manual for new members and those investigating the Church (“Meat ‘n Potatoes Mormonism,” as I like to call it)

    “A prophet is a man called by God to be His representative on earth. WHEN A PROPHET SPEAKS FOR GOD [emphasis mine], it is as if God were speaking. A prophet is also a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the word of God. He calls the unrighteous to repentence. He receives revelations and directions from the Lord for our benefit. He may see into the future and fortell coming events so that the world may be warned.”

    Notice the qualifier: “When he speaks for God …” which eliminates grocery lists, knock-knock jokes and, yes, even the occasional uninspired utterance on the subject of religion.

  • netzach

    I expect, if you read it carefully, you’ll find Otterson saying that individual church members had donated money that was in the millions. That’s completely different than the corporate church making such a donation.

    We do not practice bigotry towards homosexuals, archaic or otherwise. In fact, in Salt Lake County, the Church recently stepped up and supported legislation that would have prevented discrimination in housing and employment.

    We do not, however, believe that the traditional definition of marriage – along with its attendant social benefits – should be jettisoned in favor of genderless marriage.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    What is archaic is that you can’t tell the difference. What’s archaic is that you don’t see the connection between the bigotry that the church renounced in 1978 and the bigotry it practices now.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Isn’t it wonderful how churches of every sect have very few coherent things to say about cosmology, history, morality, etc, but they always manage to tell us who we should idolize as slightly better than human in no uncertain terms. There lies the foundational deception of religion, it offers pious old men the opportunity to exercise power over undiscerning minds.

  • Benevolentia

    I assume you are not homophobic, racist, etc. based on your past posts. But age discrimination is okay? And what’s the age limit? I am fast approaching 60 so I want to know what I’m dealing with.
    Also, I think rational folks would have a hard time labelling all Mormons as having undiscerning minds, unless by that you mean anyone that believes in spirtuality outside of mere mental reasoning. But that is probably what you mean as a humanist. A vast majority of Americans do not believe as you do if you are to trust surveys.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Out of all the reactions to that post I might have possibly anticipated, an accusation of age discrimination was somehow not one of them. I suppose at this point there should be literally no form of apologist posturing that surprises me, but wow, a bit childish Bene.

    You are absolutely right that I would call anyone who believes in a literal interpretation of a revelation-based religion undiscerning. So would Jefferson, Plato, Voltaire, Freud, Einstein, etc. I realize that you will take offense to that deduction, but my overarching point is that you should not be offended.

  • Benevolentia

    X, you still fail to catch my humor. I am not offended.
    Sometimes I feel I need to be humorous to cut through the tripe of the various posters.
    Also, ironic that you would call my ageism childish! [joke]
    And just clarifying for other readers that you think all religion is bogus.
    I think I have made it clear before I respect your opinions, observations and beliefs although I may not agree with them. I also appreciate your logic and defense of your beliefs (usually). Others, like Tornogal, not so much.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    As a nonbeliever, irony is right at the top of my list of reasons to live, so I’m ashamed to have missed it. I think your delivery was a bit too deadpan even for me.

    My personal failure notwithstanding, we have stumbled on my favorite sub-topic of religion. What is your position on clerical authority? Have you ever dabbled in the ‘each man his own priest’ philosophy? If you took religious intermediaries out of the equation, my objections to religion would certainly be less forceful, maybe even nonexistent. No judgment, I’m genuinely curious, because I am begrudgingly beginning to respect your opinions as well.

  • netzach

    Or, alternatively, we reverence our wise elders (as in many Eastern cultures) after a lifetime of selfless service.

  • Tornogal

    So Bene, how do you tell when a prophet is in “prophet mode,” and how do you tell when he (and as the role in your church is limited to males, the pronoun fits) is “speaking as a man”?

    And more to the point, how do you tell from a historical perspective, and how do you tell in a contemporary timeline? From a historical perspective, you no doubt disavow the racist rants of Brigham Young as “speaking as a man.” And it appears you excuse Joseph Smith’s abundant philandering as the “actions of a man.”

    But what about today. What of Thomas Monson’s counsel have you discounted as “speaking as a man”? What is prophecy? How can you tell them apart? And what of Boyd Packer? Is his stand on gays prophecy? (And you can pick either the talk he gave in Conference or the “revised” official version that was published as the talk he gave.)

    I think you can see where I am going with this. It is so easy through the lens of time to look back and say racist talk was “clearly” speaking as a man. But to many of us, it surely looks convenient.

  • Benevolentia

    “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”
    ― Mark Twain

  • DrWaffles

    I find it fascinating that you all can keep debating like this when you’re all clearly getting nowhere.

    In response to a few points:
    1) I believe that we all have the agency and intelligence to evaluate the principles and concepts of the gospel on our own. Everyone should evaluate for him/herself what they think is right, rather than handling things like a lemming and blindly charging off a cliff. I’m not saying pick and choose what standards are convenient to live by, I’m saying figure out for yourself what is right and wrong. Obviously, you guys have all done that, since nobody is letting up. Regarding some of the more controversial historical happenings, I believe that God lays things out precept by precept. He only gives us what we can handle. Unfortunately, prior to 1978, there wasn’t enough racial tolerance to admit black members. I don’t like it, and wish this stain on church history was not there, but I guess at that time we weren’t ready for something like that.

    2) Good luck finding an objective source. Sites like lds.org are obviously heavily in favor of the LDS faith. On the other hand, sites like the exmormon one tornagal posted are obviously populated by the opinions of those dissatified with the church for whatever reason. In order to compile any significant amount of data on a topic so controversial, the compiler of the information will somewhere along the way develop an opinion, if there is not already an opinion. Even solid numerical statistics can be manipulated by personal bias.

    3) I commend my fellow members of the LDS faith for trying to defend their beliefs, but this forum is covered in contentious remarks. One of our key beliefs is that we should love one another, and I’m not seeing much love here.

    4) It is far easier to judge the church based on the members, not the teachings. In the words of Dieter Uchtdorf, “don’t judge me because I in differently from you.” None of us are perfect, even the prophets. As I said, before, it is up to each of us to

  • ccnl1

    From the Land of Loading More and More Comments:

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (as does M. Romney and M. Otterson)

    “Latter-day Saints (e.g. M. Romney and M. Otterson) also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.”

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tin-kerbell” got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (as does B. Obama and his family)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other “no-namers” to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these “pretty wingie thingies” to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the “fems” (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Reality makes its triumphant return all because you.

  • DrWaffles

    Can you stop copying and pasting this irrelevant drivel everywhere? I think we warrant more respect than this same old statement, which half the time isn’t even in context.

  • ccnl1

    When a statue of mythical, horn-blowing Moroni sits on top of all Mormon temples then the review of the stupidity of angel belief is definitely contextural.

  • Benevolentia

    As usual ccn1 you only respond to 1/2 the post and that response is in the “I know you are but what am I” mentality. Give us something mind stretching for once.