Monday, June 30, 2008

Wat do ppl really think about the mormon religion? —Carli

evry1 who has ever said they hated the mormon religion has been COMPLETELY wrong and only hate the myths they hear. so if u hate the mormon religion, can u tell me why? i wanna see if ppl hate something real or just a myth.
Carli, I'm equally interested to hear what "myths" you've heard already. Was it the myth that Joseph Smith married young girls and other men's wives? Or the myth that the Book of Abraham facsimiles have been translated by Egyptologists and have nothing to do with Joseph's explanations? Maybe it was the myth that pre-Columbian inhabitants of Mesoamerica only domesticated two animals, the turkey and the dog (and not the assortment of cows, horses, pigs, sheep, and other animals found in the BoM).

I suppose it's possible you heard someone say things that were "COMPLETELY wrong" about the Mormon religion, but most people are pretty reasonable about stuff like this. Maybe you could do a little research next time and show them how they're wrong. If nothing else it might help you understand why many people conclude that the man you revere as prophet is a myth.

Joseph's Myth:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Top Ten Proposed "Pioneer Re-Enactments" —Runtu

10. Kirtland Ant-Banking Society. Youth will learn self-sacrifice and obedience by giving their savings to church leaders, who then leave the premises with the cash. Youth must then pay off church leaders' creditors. Cash or credit card accepted. Meals not provided.

9. Zion's Camp. Ill-prepared youth will walk long distances through the summer heat and contend with poor food and disease. If you're wondering how this is different from Pioneer Treks, the youth will be carrying guns.

8. Fun In Old Nauvoo. Young Women will be organized into families. A church leader portraying the prophet will approach the group's "ma and pa" and promise them eternal life in exchange for one or more of the young women. From there, the young women will participate in such traditional games as "bed-hopping with Joseph" and "Keep Away from Emma."

7. The Battle of Crooked River. Youth will be organized into a legion and then attack units of the state militia. Leaders will then teach the youth how to blame the state for victimizing and persecuting members of the church.

6. "Camp Seerstone." Youth will dig for "slippery" Spanish treasure under the direction of the stake president, who will guide them through the use of a seerstone.

5. Mission to Chile. Youth will construct hundreds of cardboard facades representing church members, wards, and stakes. They will then be inspired by Jeffrey Holland's valiant work in cutting through the facades.

4. The Life of Gordon B. Hinckley. Youth will learn the fine art of spinning bad things into good and will attend a workshop on recognizing fraudulent documents. Each youth will be presented with a small monument to his or her own ego.

3. Heber C. Kimball Marriage Preparation. Young men will learn how to choose a wife by learning about raising cattle.

2. Book of Mormon Witnesses. Youth will learn the importance of blind faith and gullibility.

1. Pioneer Trek. Youth will pull handcarts in hot summer weather with poor food and equipment. Some youth and leaders will be hospitalized, and the rest will suffer sunburn, heat exhaustion, ticks, mosquitoes, and chiggers. Wait, no one would actually propose such a thing, would they?
9. Zions Camp ... will be carrying guns and then be hit with a "surprise" cholera outbreak.

2. Book of Mormon Witnesses ... Activities will include walking into the woods in groups of four, holding a group prayer, and then waiting until everyone "sees" the angel holding the plates. Any not seeing the vision will be given a second chance with a priesthood leader. Writing skills not required, but youth should be able to sign their names.

Seriously, this is one of my favorite lists you've done, Runtu.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mormon lifestyle ?? —K

I was exploring Mormonism earlier this year with a relative, but we backed off after deciding that it was somewhat cultish. Now he's interested in reassessing Mormonism. My impression is that Mormons are able to keep their community clean and wholesome in part because they become "Mormon" - i.e. they brush aside their own personalities, and their flaws, and model themselves instead after the idea of "the nice Mormon." All of the Mormons we encountered seemed to be the same, and I had the sense that Mormon interaction is stiff and formal, never really moving past the initial polite, getting-to-know-you stage. I don't feel that I'd be happy as a Mormon, but I may not know enough about it to judge.

Current or former LDS members? Am I right or am I totally off the mark?
I'mjustme...a duck! said: "We don't abandon our own personalities and become mindless lemmings and we don't model ourselves after the idea of 'the nice Mormon'. Instead we try to model our lives after Jesus Christ."

I have a question for you, I'mjustme. What color shirt did you wear to church last Sunday? How about the week before?

How do you become Mormon? —kcfan1219

What do you have to do to become Mormon? I live where there are no Mormon churches around but think that I would like to join. How can I find out where the closest Mormon church is to me?
Why is this question reminding me of Monty Python?

Arthur: I am your king!
Woman: Well I didn't vote for you.
Arthur: You don't vote for kings!
Woman: Well 'ow'd you become king then?
[holy music]
Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king!
Dennis (laughing): Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!
Arthur: BE QUIET!
Dennis: You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you.
Arthur: Shut UP!
Dennis: I mean, if I went 'round, saying I was an emperor, just because some moistened bink had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!

All right, back to your question about a baptism ceremony to become Mormon.

What is it that makes the Mormon missionaries so unflappable? —Disgustin' Justin

It's true. Every other type of street evangelist, I have been able to annoy. Including the ones whose faiths promote meditation. And with reference to a previous question, my success rate with Scientologists is 100%. Not so with the missionaries of the LDS. They just stand there smiling.

Mormons, this atheist grudgingly salutes you.
Hey, great username. Are you a Garbage Pail Kids fan?

So were you really impressed by this nonanswer to your questions? They may just not have known what to say, or didn't want to look foolish or appear to be doubting in front of their ever-present companion. Also, the mishies are taught this scripture from the Book of Mormon:

3 Ne. 11: 29
For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

In other words, they're taught not to argue, and instead just "bear testimony." Pretty welcome advice to most kids on missions, given how little they likely know about the world outside Mormonism. And it's a pretty effective strategy for the most part. Think about it, you say, "Joseph Smith was a convicted con-man who married little girls and couldn't translate Egyptian to save his life."

And they say, "I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, and you can know too if you'll sincerely pray with faith."

There's nowhere to go from there. They haven't engaged anything you said, and in their minds they're satisfied because they've been taught that bearing testimony will confound you.

Anyway their lives are hard enough without all the cog diss in their heads. Let 'em finish their missions and then they can google this stuff later.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why are people so concerned with Mormon clothing? —darkwingedducky

Doesn't every church do things differently? What is more strange about my church than yours?
I don't care what underwear you wear, darkwinged. Nor do I think garments are the strangest thing about Mormonism. (The strangest thing is that they can't think of a way to include non-Mormons in a wedding ceremony.) But I'm not clear on what you're asking of people here. Do you want people to pretend they don't think it's strange or superstitious, or even cult-like and controlling? Sorry, just labeling something "sacred" does not exempt it from rational discourse anymore. Welcome to the information age.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"You'll be back." Ugh. No. No, I won't. —Babblonian

I hear this relatively often from TBMs in my extended family (and sometimes in my own home). You're going through a phase. Deep down, you still know the church is true. Once you lose the pride, you'll understand. You'll be back. I can see in your eyes how unhappy you are. I know you'll be back because God told me so.
And later: You look happier. What happened?! You're on your way back! I knew it.
No. No. I'm just happy. INDEPENDENTLY happy. Imagine that.
How do you deal with these kinds of statements? How do you shut this stuff down?
I've heard it from family too. My FIL says one of my sons will baptize me one day. What I've done is volunteer to sign something saying that I, Guap, do irrevocably and eternally vow never to join the Mormon church or accept any vicarious ordinances done on my behalf. No one's ever taken me up on that.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mosiah 18-And it came to pass that as many as did believe him did go forth to a place which was called Mormon? —travis

Why did the King name the land Mormon? Which King?? It was infested with wild beasts, is that what Mormon means???
Well I'd guess it was King Mormon. ;) Could be there was more info about him in the Book of Lehi.

The name Mormon does not mean wild beasts. Joseph wrote in the Times and Seasons that "We say from the Saxon, 'good'; the Dane, 'god'; the Goth, 'goda'; the German, 'gut'; the Dutch, 'goed'; the Latin, 'bonus'; the Greek, 'kalos'; the Hebrew, 'tob'; and the Egyptian, 'mon.' Hence, with the addition of 'more,' or the contraction, 'mor,' we have the word 'mor-mon'; which means, literally, 'more good.'"

The wikipedia reference below points out that W. W. Phelps may have written this, but it certainly sounds like Joseph* and anyway he was the editor of T&S so he must have approved this being penned under his name.

*In his Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar Joseph wrote, "Were I an Egyptian, I would exclaim Jah-oh-eh, Enish-go-on-dosh, Flo-ees-Flos-is-is; [O the earth! The power of attraction, and the moon passing between her and the sun]." Languages were clearly a subject he enjoyed.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tension in the family since my mom has converted to being Mormon. I need advice on how to adjust well.? —Amanda D

My mom has been converting for 2/3 months now and the first day I whent with her and her brother, wife & kids to their mormon church, I wanted to go to see what its all about (curiosity since i'm not christian). I definitley wasn't digging it, but my mom was. She's now starting to change her whole way of thinking, on big issues that were taught to us as children (gay rights, independant women, relationships ect.). Me and my brother are exempt from church and visiting missionaries since we are adults (who apparently will be going to hell...i'm sure) but she is getting my 14 year old devout catholic sister in on this and she is not happy. I am glad that mom is happy but I feel that her being Mormon is causing a rift in our once tight family. Can anyone who has been in this type of situation help? Advice?
My advice is that you begin to set some appropriate boundaries with your mom. For your relationship to stay strong there has to be an element of mutual respect, so that's something to talk about. I do not, however, think you necessarily have to respect her religion--just her right to choose to be a part of it.

If you're happy with the way you're living your life and the views you've grown up with about gay rights, women's independence, and so on, she should allow you room to do that. And you should do what you can to accommodate her in her new faith, recognizing that it may inconvenience you in small ways (no Sunday shopping together, no alcohol, busy with church callings, etc.). Adults can usually agree to disagree about such things.

But please don't feel like you need to reinforce her beliefs for her. In other words you don't need to be codependent in any way. If she wants to talk about it, then you have every right to be frank about what you do and do not agree with. I suspect you'll find the best chance of success in your relationship will be to simply not talk about things you can't agree on.
I actually stepped foot in a momon church….but got BUSTED
OK, here's my drama for the week. My son received his "Arrow of Light" for Cub Scouts (a big deal for him) and wanted me to go. So, I dragged my boyfriend (true-blue redneck....he even wore a Miller Lite t-shirt) to the shindig. Well, we suffered through it and in the midst of chatting with fake-nice morgbots - I let it slip that my boyfriend and I are living next door to the head scout master. No one - besides my TBM ex and kids knew he was living with me. We are well aware that word will get back to the bish and a court will be held against me. Do you advise that I send in my resignation letter NOW and beat tscc to the punch or wait and see what happens?
My bf and I were laughing about all the gossip going on after we left the church. I would've LOVED to be a fly on that wall!!
I'm sure they'll handle it with dignity and respect, Tequi.

Seriously, I'm a big fan of sending the letter and giving it closure, but only if it's what you want. No problem with just waiting to see what they do if that's your preference.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mormons: What would happen if you allowed non-Mormons into Mormon wedding ceremonies?
Would you all be struck down? —Hellfriar

Good grief, where are the rational LDS responders? First, my answer to the question is that the ceremony will likely have to be changed somewhat, but Mormon weddings are very likely IMHO to become public in one of two ways in the near future. Either they will allow nonmember witnesses into the sealing itself, or they'll allow for a civil ceremony prior to the temple sealing.

bigondrums2: Hello, it's a wedding. You think because I'm not Mormon I'm somehow more likely to disrupt my little girl's ceremony and ruin her day? That's offensive and myopic. And incidentally, your comments about "worthiness" are just as offensive. Believe it or not some people who choose not to be Mormon are actually decent human beings, and don't need your stupid little church deciding whether they're "worthy" to see a loved one be married.

Wahnote: Did you even think about what you were writing? You can't understand why a non-Mormon would want to attend? That doesn't even merit a response.

book fan: What makes you so sure it will never happen? I seriously think this is coming in the next five years. And what do you know about people sneaking into temples? I've known a few people who did this. One was purely out of curiosity, but the others simply wanted to attend a relative's wedding and hadn't yet "outed" themselves as nonbelievers. Note that I am not condoning this behavior (it's trespassing if nothing else), but I'm not sure what you mean by "it never works."

joshsybs: Your comment seems disingenuous, frankly. So you're not secretive about the temple and do all you can to educate people about it? So can I read about the sealing ceremony, the clothing, handshakes, and all the covenants on I think you should get comfortable with the word "secret." Richard Bushman has. Bushman said he doesn’t like when Mormons say the temple is not secret, that it is sacred. “It is secret,” he said.
Mormons: Can you please define "Jack Mormon" for me?
I've heard the term thrown around and was wondering what you consider a Jack Mormon to be. I once saw a doctor who told me he was one. —Gandalf™

The usage of this term has changed over time. Michael Quinn explains that it was "originally an LDS term of endearment" used during Joseph Smith's lifetime for "non-Mormon allies" (Origins of Power, p. 101). In other words, Jack-Mormons were not Mormons at all.

Leonard Arrington also wrote about this in the church's Ensign magazine (March 1974, p. 25). He says in Utah the meaning of this nickname changed completely to a negative description of Mormons who did not participate in church services or observe LDS standards of conduct, yet who were too friendly toward Mormonism to be called "apostate."

R Rosskopf, I don't know anything about this survey, but anecdotally I would agree that the vast majority of people who are "inactive" actually seem to believe and even defend the church when pressed. Is there a reference for the 90% figure?
Gay Marriage and Tax Exemption

JAD, I'm not getting what you mean by rules regarding tax-exempt status being unconstitutional. It's already narrowly defined in §501(c)(3) who does and does not qualify. And there's a precedent. According to the Supreme Court (U.S. v. Bob Jones University, 1983), charitable exemptions are justified entirely on the basis that when an organization is given an exemption, that organization is providing a public benefit and that the organization is not "so at odds with the common community conscience as to undermine any public benefit that might otherwise be conferred."

Some people think this was the impetus for the 1978 revelation on the priesthood, and it may someday be the reason we have women bishops and recognized gay marriages.
Quick, trite phrases the church uses to minimize our doctrinal concerns and how to combat them.

Great topic! The gross/net blessings one is alive and well. We had a high councilman drop that one on us in Sacrament a few months ago. This one you can quote James E Faust saying, "The law of tithing is simple: we pay one-tenth of our individual increase annually. Increase has been interpreted by the First Presidency to mean income. What amounts to 10 percent of our individual income is between each of us and our Maker. There are no legalistic rules." On the other one, bi, I'm assuming you meant "I can't afford not to pay my tithing," right? You can call them on this one by asking how they know. That is, do all the mysterious checks and avoided catastrophes you hear about add up to more than 10% of income for life? Srsly.

Lise, I hate the one about the church being perfect but the members aren't. Doesn't that just eat at you? I say it's just the opposite. In fact, the best response I've seen when people talk about the sacrifices of the early Saints is that the message wasn't worthy of the messenger. Keep 'em coming, these are great!

* * *
Another one I really hate is "If you'll just pray about it and really pay attention to your feelings you'll KNOW that it is true!" I saw a really scary movie a while back and I got all goose bumpy and tingley about it, does that make _________ movie true too?
I don't know if Domo posts over here, but we talked about visions and revelations over at FLAK once and his response was priceless:

-Domokun-: I'd like to bury my testimony that I know snow skiing with gorillas is true. I also have a testimony that showing up at my high school, unprepared for a test, in my underwear, is true. And where would I be without the sure knowledge that even though I pee a gallon, I still have to pee 30 seconds later? Of course, nothing compares to the witness I have of starting my mission again, even though I know I'm married, with kids, and even though I'm a greenie, I know the language fluently? It must mean the church is true!

* * *

Oh, and here's another one they love to use: "They can leave the church but they can't leave it alone."

I'm willing to grant them that one. Why should I leave it alone? I like talking about it, and I think bullies should be stood up to. Besides, the church has hardly left me alone. It has been and always will be the biggest wedge in my family and many of my most important relationships.

* * *
dave (elder_nomo):
When I would ask about some confusing doctrine, or seeming contradiction, someone would invariably say...
"Don't worry about that - it's not vital to your salvation."

ARrrggh.... even as a TBM this made me crazy.

Are we not supposed to know anything that's not vital to salvation? Are we just supposed to pretend questions and issues don't exist? If the church is "true," why would there be any need to hedge? Why distract people from their quest for knowledge?
Ewww, that one tops the list for a whole category of phrases I call "thought killers." You could include here terms like "anti-Mormon literature" (whatever that is) and all the reasons TBMs tell themselves that people like us leave the church. Anything to not have to think about what we're actually saying.

The "not vital to your salvation" thing is a pure distraction of course, since that's not the point of talking about the various First Vision™ accounts or the BoA facsimile translations. Actually I think you could argue that it's vital to your salvation, if those things show how demonstrably untrue Mormonism's claims are. Makes your head hurt, don't it?

Monday, June 16, 2008

I tricked my Mormon friend into drinking coffee, and now he won't speak to me. What should I do? —Paul K

I Have a friend who is ok except for being a Mormon. He kept going on about it, so to teach him a lesson I made him a cup of hot chocolate and put coffee in it. He said it tasted strange, but drank it. Half way through I burst out laughing and told him it had coffee in it, and he stormed out and won't speak to me. How can I make him get over himself and his dumb belief in not drinking coffee?
Dude, there's a huge difference between *discussing* beliefs and actually tricking someone into violating their own moral code. That was cheap and immature. If you think his beliefs are goofy then talk about it, if he's willing. But right now what you need to do is apologize. You clearly have no idea how big a deal this was in his mind. I was Mormon once, and I wouldn't have tasted coffee for any price--and I even liked the aroma. [I had no problem drinking Mountain Dew though.] Good luck getting your friend back.
How do I know if the book of Mormon is true? —newagekook2000

I have been reading the Book of Mormon lately! It has really changed me, but my family who aren't even relegious in anyway but "spiritual" won't even let me go to any church! I feel like Samuel the Lamanite and my family are a bunch of zoramites! Is this a sign from god to give up spritiuality?
I'm glad you're relating to the story and found a hero in Samuel the Lamanite. Many characters in the Book of Mormon seem to have a twin in the Bible, but I'm not sure Samuel does. Maybe Elijah? (See 2 Kings 1:9-16.)

Anyway, I hope you can separate in your mind the fact that you found something of interest in the book with the bigger question, which you asked: is it "true"? I don't think it can possibly be, but that's what you'll need to find out if you're thinking about joining.

Think carefully about the way the mishies are telling you to approach this. If this were any other subject, would you ignore contradictory evidence and focus only on feelings, and even start by telling yourself that you have faith that it is in fact true? Seems like a recipe for getting a false positive, don't you think? If it's true, it should stand up to scrutiny.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How did the French word “adieu” get into the Book of Mormon? (Jacob 7:27)? —~Truth Seeker~

So your saying that God in his infinite wisdom chose to use a French word and use it on those ancient plates?
Look, some anti-Mormon claims are so stupid you wonder if an overzealous Mormon actually made them up so people wouldn't look at the real issues. This one tops the list, my friend.

How do you figure this question is anti anything, it is a question and as such no inference is implied. Only for those folks who are programmed to believe such would actually say that.
~Truth Seeker~: I'm not "programmed" to believe anything. I'm an ex-Mormon, and I left because I didn't believe Joseph Smith or the LDS church's truth claims. I've been actively participating in ex-Mormon discussion groups the past two years, and I've never seen a single person list the "adieu" thing as a part of the reason they became disaffected.

And what do you mean "no inference is implied"? Of course it is. You even spelled it out in the line just above: God in his infinite wisdom would not (you feel) use a French word in his inspired translation, and therefore the book cannot be what it claims. Sorry, I just find this argument completely unconvincing. If this were all the BoM had to overcome, I'd still be Mormon.

Friday, June 13, 2008

LDS / Mormon : How much and what type of evidence would it take...? —Truth_Seeker

Would it take to convince you to research your own religion and consider it is a lie? I've seen how easily you can discount scientific and historical evidence and you can discount lack of archaeological, anthropological and biological evidence. Would testimony for someone in the Quorum of the 12 apostles that professed the lies he has told and experienced or current documents within the church that showed proof of lies and deceit in the church. Or what evidences would help convince you that you might believe incorrectly?
I'm sure you recognize this, Truth_Seeker, but I'll just point out that for most believers it's not about academic study and objectively weighing both sides. Once someone buys into the proposition in Moroni 10:4 that feeling = truth, it's a foregone conclusion they will "gain a testimony." Convictions that came through emotional and social and spiritual means are easily protected by the human psyche from "cognitive dissonance."

That may sound like I'm saying Mormons are deliberately obtuse when it comes to subjects that are challenging to their faith. I don't think that's so, I just think it's worth pointing out that as humans we seem to have a blind spot when it comes to ideas we cherish or feel we need. Of course Mormonism may actually be objectively true, in which case any similarities to other closed belief systems would be purely coincidental.

The Sub:
It hurts my head to even imagine how that makes sense to you. How does that stance possibly equate to "integrity" in your mind? John Maynard Keynes said, "When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?" I hope you'll ponder that one, sister. After all it didn't take Christ's Second Coming to make you believe in the first place, right?
Mormon. WHY are the re-marry, 'sealing' rules different for men than for women? Where can I find this information in the online mormon religous books or writings? —hanging in there

There are other exmos who've spent far more time than I have researching the polyandry side of Mormon history. But the short answer is that Jessica is misinformed, there certainly was this element in early Mormonism. The most commonly cited example is a woman named Zina Diantha Huntington, who married both Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young, all while still married to her first husband, Henry Jacobs.

This does not mean, though, that women were on equal footing with men in the whole polygamy thing. Getting back to your question about sealings, it was never believed that Zina or someone in her position would have multiple husbands in the hereafter. Rather, Brigham Young taught something to the effect that men with higher priesthood might claim the wives of those in a lesser office. I'm sorry to give such a general answer, but I haven't read Todd Compton's book, which is really the best resource on this topic. (Todd is a practicing Mormon, by the way.)

Mormon undergarment question: Straight forward yes or no do they protect the wearer against injury? —Please dont club me

If so by what mechanism?
My mormon friends dont get so uptight here at work as the respondents on this forum when I say they are magical. I am of course out numbered 3:1 and they like to try to convert me with the notion that in standard christianity you dont get to keep your wife. Of course I agree with them that if you are happily married its got a serious good point to it and they dont have the whole eternal hellfire thing going just the outer darkness.
I can only take the LDS respondents here at face value, but at least for me I did believe the garments were a physical shield and protection against injury. It's not just folklore, it's a teaching that comes directly from the temple. I take it some of you are now interpreting that as purely a spiritual protection?

I realize that to outsiders the garments just seem silly, but they have a strong if subtle impact on adherents. Even for ex-Mormons there's a fear in not wearing them, sometimes long after the person concludes intellectually that they do not believe in Mormonism. For most people it's a memorable moment when they trade in their garments for regular underwear.

When I start a religion there will definitely be garments and they definitely will give physical protection. And they'll be much sexier. ;)
How to get out of Mormonism —Runtu

I've decided that the single best thing you can do in leaving Mormonism is to not take it so damned seriously.

Let me explain. We were taught our whole lives that Mormonism was the center of our existence. Without it, we were nothing, and we had nothing. And when we figure out it's not true, it's as if our world completely fell apart.

Meanwhile our friends and family are still stuck in the "Oh my God they've apostatized" mindframe, so they use every weapon at their disposal: guilt, shame, anger, manipulation to keep us in the church.

And we let them do it, because we still are in the same state of mind: we lost our life, we think. This is *supposed* to be a big deal, so we make it a huge deal.

I've figured out that you have to break yourself from treating it so seriously. At some point you have to realize that it is not an earth-shattering event to learn that a moneygrubbing, sex-starved con man did not actually see an angel who told him about a Hebraic culture that flourished in the Americas for a thousand years without leaving a trace.

In some ways, Mormonism is unintentionally but hysterically funny, like a Madonna film. Let your friends and relatives take it seriously, but don't follow them into the trap.

Learn to laugh at the silliness so that you don't have to cry at the cruelty of it all. It's much harder to get angry when you see the church for the absurdity that it is.
Here's what that brought to mind for me:

"The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn." --Luther

Never thought I'd be substituting "Mormonism" and "reason" into that one. Smile

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Would anyone be interested in starting a Post-Mormon Book Club?

.........what was the other one? About the kid who was mormon, but became inactive, and then felt all guilty about it?
Probably The Backslider by Levi Peterson? I love that book.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

LDS / Mormon : What do you believe the main reason an individual speaks against the church? —Truth_Seeker

Do you believe an individual that speaks against the Mormon church is influenced by the devil? Or what reasons do you believe a person pursues in discrediting the church?
I speak against the church because the devil put me up to it. Also I couldn't live the standards and was too proud. Did I mention I was offended? Seriously, y'all, whatever you have to tell yourselves to not have to think about what ex-Mormons are actually saying.

I appreciate the more nuanced responses to this one, but some of you outright scare me with your black-and-white thinking. For rac and the others, if you believed in something passionately and gave your time, talents, and whole heart and mind to the cause, then learned something that--for you--was the tipping point and completely changed the way you felt about it, would you just go on your merry way and never speak of it? Even if it divided your family? Would silence even be an ethical choice?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I need help please!!! —August Rush

I received an email from my old friend, who is completely TBM. When I was living at my parent's house after my divorce I was in their "ward boundaries" and he ended up becoming my home teacher. He and his wife were extremely good friends of mine in college, and I was excited to become reacquainted with them when I moved back into town. Now I have avoided them like the plague because their only reasons for wanting to reestablish friendship with me is to bring me back to church.

I received an email from him last night on Facebook and he is saying they want to have me and the kids over for dinner. They really are, and always have been, great people...I've realized they always will be great people, just disillusioned. I want to reply to him, but unsure of how to word what I want to get across without sounding like a heathen apostate.

I want to reestablish a friendship with them, but as PEOPLE, not as members of the church. I want to have boundaries with them, but unsure of where to start.
I'm more than happy to go to a dinner or just hang out with LDS friends. I'll sit quietly through a food blessing too. What I won't do is be put in a position where "the gospel" is being taught or discussed, like a Family Night or something. I'd say go, and just be clear about expectations.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Well, I got the call I knew was coming... —KingFolly

I turned it down too. Apparently this is the calling du jour for exmos with believing spouses. I went to the BSA home page and found the form you have to sign to be a leader, and you have to make a declaration that you believe in God. Funny, it doesn't matter what God you believe in or what you believe about him or her, just as long as you're credulous. And then of course there's the whole homophobic thing with the Boy Scouts, and also that feeling, sort of like Domo had, that they're just trying to make use of you somehow.
Chiasmus in the BoM —Radioactive Wrath

Stormin Post Mormon wrote:
Anyway, chiasmus came up in one thread ...

Not sure if this is the same thread you're referring to, but here's the legendary response from Dr. Shades on the FAIR board:

auteur55 writes:

Hello friends, I am sure this topic has been debated before but I am really curious as to how antis have explained the discovery of chiasmus in the book of mormon. I don't see how they could rationally explain it away and I was wondering what excuses they give. This may have all been debated but I am new to this board and don't see how this doesn't authenticate the book of mormon very strongly.

A Hello friends,
B I am sure this
C topic has been debated
D before but I am really curious
E as to how antis have explained the discovery of chiasmus in the book of mormon.

e' I don't see how they could rationally explain it away
d' and I was wondering what excuses they give.
c' This may have all been debated
b' but I am new to this board and don't see how this doesn't authenticate the book of mormon very strongly.
a' Cheers.

That's how we anti's explain it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mormons: what is the purpose for the Book of Mormon? Does it have a purpose? if so, what? —duckblood4u

It's an interesting question, probably not one you can easily answer (unless you happen to be Mormon, of course). But for a non-Mormon, it's a bit of a puzzle. What would be the motivation for Joseph Smith and possibly Sidney Rigdon to put this book together? Did Sidney hope to lead a new congregation with this book as a supplementary text to the Bible? Did Joseph hope to profit from book sales? I don't know that it means anything, but it's interesting to me that in all the writings of Joseph Smith I've seen he does not seem to reference the BoM much if at all. The book seemed to really gain its present-day prominence later, particularly with the emphasis placed on it by Ezra Taft Benson.
What age does the damage start? —Timber

I think you also have to consider the level of investment the person has made in the church. It's easy for kids to leave because the church hasn't yet cost them anything. Remember this from Carl Sagan:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge—even to ourselves—that we've been so credulous.

As kids progress in the church, pay tithing, go on missions, make life decisions and even marry in accordance with the church's prescribed pattern for their lives, each step makes it that much harder for someone to see their way out.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I need to get it out and you guys are the ones who will understand.

Hi there. I've been an exmo for a decade now... and while I'm 95% over it... every once in a while I find another LDS tentacle that I haven't scraped from my brain. Last night a big tentacle reared its ugly head. I was essentially told in my Patriarchal Blessing that one of my children would die. It's a source of extreme anxiety for me. Extreme. Anxiety. I know that that "blessing" was an old man just saying stuff. I know it in my head. But, when you're 16 and you hear that one of your children will die, well, that's a mind #### that stays with you. I have a child... a beautiful 14 month old son. And I live in terrible anxiety that he will die. Every time he gets sick, even with a cold, I'm sure it's something awful (like meningitis). It's like I'm just waiting for it to happen. I've been with my husband (never ever mo) for nearly 7 years now. Things sort of came to a head last night... and I finally told him about it. He laughed in my face and asked why I hadn't burned "that piece of shit paper" yet. It didn't phase him in the least. He didn't care what some old man fixed on doomsday stuff had to say to a 16 year old me. And I realized that this is some part of Mormonism that I cling to. This one part. I've had 2 miscarriages now... and I keep wondering if *that* is what the blessing was referring to... even though intellectually I *KNOW* that the whole thing was crap. I just can't seem to let this part of it go. Is anyone else experiencing this sort of stuff? Did you and you got over it? How???
help! Thanks! Julie.
I wonder how prevalent this kind of blessing is. I had a close friend in high school whose patriarchal blessing talked in glowing terms about his youth and preparation for and then serving a mission ... and then abruptly ended. No explanation, and of course his family took that to mean he would die. (He's alive and well at 35.) Maybe these patriarchs really believe they're on to something with the morbid predictions, but it's a sick joke.

As someone who's dealt with childhood illness, I have some sense of how that fear works on a parent, NEJulie, and I'm sorry for what that patriarch has put you through. My little girl was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was three months old. She kicked cancer's ass, all while her dad was publicly leaving the church and subjecting his family to the buffetings of Stan. I wish you the best in taking your power back from this stupid little church.