Prop 8 involvement a P.R. fiasco for LDS Church–SL Trib headline

Interesting SL Trib article on the PR fiasco that IS the Mormon Church’s involvement in the passing of Prop 8 in California.

This article reiterates a lot of what I have been saying for the past few weeks.

Just 10 months after the death of LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, who spent nearly 70 years burnishing his church’s public image, goodwill toward Mormonism that culminated during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games seems to have faded in a haze of misunderstanding and outright hostility.

Discuss amongst yourselves. And I KNOW you will. 😉

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About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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93 Responses to Prop 8 involvement a P.R. fiasco for LDS Church–SL Trib headline

  1. patriotboy says:

    Like I said last week, they are positioning the Church to help Romney win over evangelicals in the 2012 Republican primary:

    Benefits of battle » On the opposite side, are observers such as Kirk Jowers of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, who think the LDS Church actions may help it win friends among Evangelicals.
    “Other members of this coalition may realize the significant role that LDS Church members played,” and see that it took a disproportionate share of the opposition’s arrows, he said.

    Like

  2. Natalie says:

    I think you are completely right, patriotboy. I just don’t think they bargained on the backlash.

    Like

  3. Tommy Marx says:

    I would definitely say there will continue to be a lot of backlash against the LDS:

    http://tommymarx.com/wounds/?p=21

    Like

  4. km says:

    I think those of us who are disgusted by the Mormon church’s philandering with the circus churches should invest in a copy of “No Man Knows my History.” Using a red pencil mark key passages that are the most revelatory about the origins of Mormonism and label them with keywords so that you can find them quickly. Then when those young men come knocking with their three-in-ones, you can then present to them the reasons why they might want to rethink their adherence to the nonsense that is Mormonism. Just a thought.

    Like

  5. Cele says:

    The sad part is there are people out there who don’t care who they crawl politically into bed with as long as they have the money and voice to fight their battles… regardless of the right or wrong of it…because the self righteous are ALWAYS

    Like

  6. Cele says:

    right.

    darn tab key

    Like

  7. Todd says:

    Hey all. It’s good to be back after the Thanksgiving holiday.

    FWIW, we drove to Mexico City and spent a few days learning Spanish. What a beautiful country! 😉

    Natalie – You’re Christmas tree and decorations (and daughters) are lovely!

    Now on to the topic at hand…

    Your PR “fiasco” may actually turn out to be a PR “boon” as god-fearing people the world over recognize the divine goodness in the church’s actions and open their doors in ever-increasing ways to those darned missionaries.

    For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

    The work of God will proceed at an ever-increasing pace until Christ says it’s done. But we admire your feeble attempts to thwart it.

    Love,
    Todd

    Like

  8. Mel says:

    The anger, venom, and ridicule directed at the LDS church because of some members’ involvement in fighting to have it pass is pretty baffling to me. First of all, the Church *as an organization* didn’t donate money or anything else to the cause–individual members did. That is, in fact, an important distinction to make. Secondly, is it only obvious to me that it’s unbelievably hypocritical for people to seek retribution against people who exercised their right to free speech, when the cause they’re supposedly fighting for is “equal rights?” And third, those who support keeping the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman do not hate homosexuals; we simply believe that marriage is an institution set forth by God, and, as such, is not something that can or should be altered by governments or courts to include unions between same-gender people. I know this doesn’t make any sense to people who don’t believe in God, but just because someone doesn’t *believe* God exists doesn’t make it any less true that he does and that He has set forth rules for His children to live by. We, as believers, thus feel required by our faith in His existence and eternal plan to stand up for the truth when it is challenged.

    Like

  9. azteclady says:

    Funny… there’s some buzz in here.

    Like

  10. Todd says:

    Mel,

    The imbalance in ridicule is indeed very interesting. The California Catholic Conference, for example, came out in support of prop 8, even providing parishes detailed information to use in their homilies about the subject (Catholic Bishops Support Proposition 8)

    Their verbiage was pretty explicit to their parishioners as well:

    And finally, we strongly encourage Catholics to provide both the financial support and the volunteer efforts needed for the passage of Proposition 8. And—please exercise your citizenship and vote in November.

    Where’s the backlash against their efforts? Where’s the negative PR? Hmmm….

    No wonder the Catholics were befuddled with all of the negative attention given the LDS church (Catholic Bishop Decries Religious Bigotry Against Mormons)

    I guess the difference is that the LDS members actually DID (to a significant extent) provide both financial and voluntary support. (James 1:22)

    Kindest Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  11. Brownnn says:

    You have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the LDS church supported prop 8 for any reason other than to protect traditional marriage. You are simply angry, biased, and bitter dissidents who will turn anything possible into a slam on the church. It will never work! You only show your lack of judgement and sense in making such unsubstantiated and obviously outlandish attacks.

    Like

  12. Victoria says:

    I’m growing tired of the explanation the *church as an organization* did not support Prop 8.

    What makes up an organization? People.

    The collective people that donated because of the church’s influence are what contributed to this so yes, the church as a whole is to blame.

    If you think about it, it would be impossible to protest every single member of the Mormon church, so protesting the church itself is the only way to bring this issue to light.

    I think everyone should be assigned a gay friend. It’s not until you get to know the thing you’re so afraid of, on a human level, that you will be freed of your irrational fears.

    Like

  13. Kelly says:

    Hi All,

    Well Brownnn & Todd it’s this simple. As all the letters to the
    Editor and posts here and elsewhere from card carring members
    have stated. California’s LDS population is less than 2% so
    what’s the big deal and why is the LDS church being singled out?
    Well we wouldn’t be having these discussions if only 2% of the
    money used to get prop 8 passed came from Calf. Mormons.
    But instead, depending on whose figures you use, 50% to 77%
    of the Prop 8 funds came from LDS members. OR 48% to 75%
    of the funds came from outside California from members of the
    church. Plus BYU put together a huge telephone calling center
    manned by BYU students that spent weeks and countless hours
    calling people in Calif. to get out and vote for prop 8. That’s what
    is bringing on all the anti-LDS sentiment because the LDS Church/
    Members high jacked the prop 8 vote from the people of California.
    If the LDS Church had said that all LDS faithful in Calif. should
    do their all to promote Prop 8 there’s no problem. But when they
    organize all 12 million from around the world to weigh in on what
    should have been left to the people of California to decide. Then
    Hell yes the church is going to catch crap, and deservedly so.
    If the LDS church is going to jump in to the political ring and throw
    it’s weight around by using it’s membership and money. Then don’t
    expect everyone to NOT voice their opinions and or protests directed
    at the LDS Church.
    By the way the Catholic Church really put the wood to the poor little
    LDS church. They have the largest population of members in Calif.
    and when they weren’t getting any support or MONEY from their
    members out went the call to you know who. “Let’s make a call to
    the LDS Cult”. “They have money and their members do what they’re
    told.” Geese, guess who isn’t catching crap and didn’t have to pony up
    the bucks to get Prop 8 passed! Enjoy your victory 2% of the California
    population!!!!!

    Kelly

    Like

  14. Todd says:

    Kelly,

    Please explain how 2% of the population can “high jack” a vote.

    Didn’t the “No on Prop 8” campaign have the money edge?

    Aren’t there several universities in California, nay San Francisco, that were available to establish call centers to support the “No on Prop 8” cause?

    How about universities outside of California? Hmmm… that opens up even more available call centers.

    So what you’re basically saying is that the “No on Prop 8” campaign squandered what should have been a slam dunk, because they didn’t spend their money wisely and they didn’t organize their forces effectively. All it took was a phone call to SLC to beat them.

    The LDS church is getting so much positive PR from this issue, the ROI will be staggering. It’s been over a month already, and the national networks are still running stories about us.

    Someone should check Book of Mormon sales at Amazon to see if there’s a correlation.

    Live by faith, not fear!

    Todd

    Like

  15. JulieAnn says:

    Hee hee hee *wiping my eyes*

    Ah Todd, you slayeth me.

    “The work of God will proceed at an ever-increasing pace until Christ says it’s done.”

    I say let the missionaries IN! Let them share the message! We should all become Mormon (again)!

    And when every single person in the whole wide world is Mormon (except for those heathen bastards who believe in that Zen nonesense), then the Church will have to dismantle the missionary program, because there will be nothing for them to do…..THAT’S when we strike. Or thwart. Or whatever it is we’re trying to do.

    We will go on subversive missions, secretly preaching against the Mormons and murmuring against them until, yea, a heavenly presence shall come before them and render them all speechless and the Word shall be and always shall be:

    “SMILE! You’re on Candid Camera!”

    That’s right, people. The Mormon God is really Allen Funt.

    You all knew on some level, didn’t you?

    Thus sayeth me.

    Like

  16. Kent says:

    I checked out Amazon at Todd’s request and while it doesn’t indicate whether sales of the BOM have increased in the past few months, it did let me know that by looking at the BOM page, I’m in imminet danger of purchasing some vampire book — Twilight, I think it is called.

    Like

  17. Mel says:

    Thank you, Victoria, but I don’t need to be “assigned a gay friend.” What a silly thing to say. I have gay friends and close family members and siblings of best friends who are gay, and I may love them dearly, but I will never support the idea of them being able to wed someone of their own gender. I am saddened that they have chosen to pursue their lifestyle. Yeah, yeah–I know the argument: “But they can’t help it! They were born that way! That’s like asking them to change their height or shoe size!” But God has put in place a certain way of doing things, and it may be a whole lot tougher for some than for others, but His laws are immutable. There’s nothing anyone can say, emotionally or scientifically or otherwise, no matter how loudly or emphatically, that will change God’s laws. So Prop 8 (and all the other measures which were on other ballots attempting to keep marriage as a union between a man and a woman) is not something done in hatred for homosexual people, it’s just taking a stand for the divinely appointed institution of marriage. Thank goodness we still have that right in this blessed country.

    Like

  18. azteclady says:

    God’s laws may be immutable, but human interpretation of the same tends to shift according to convenience–just check the mormon church’s sudden acceptance of black people.

    After that, yadda yadda yadda.

    Like

  19. Kelly says:

    Hi All,

    Todd and Mel I gather from your statements that it’s OK
    and moral for people from outside of a state to donate money
    and time to promote or defeat proposed legislation within the
    borders of a state that they don’t live in or can vote in. That
    the people of that state don’t have the right of a free election
    by the people who live and pay taxes in that state without
    outside interference from people or organizations.

    Kelly

    Like

  20. Todd says:

    Kelly,

    Of course it’s moral to support an issue from outside the state, especially if one feels that the ripple effects of that issue could spill over. Duh….

    And, since the “No” campaign raised more out-of-state money than the “Yes” campaign, they apparently felt the same. (Proposition 8 – Tracking the money – Los Angeles Times)

    Since when did we start living in silos?

    Best Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  21. Todd says:

    JulieAnn,

    Dismantle the missionary program? Blasphemy! We’ll just expand it to other worlds! 😉

    Todd

    Like

  22. JulieAnn says:

    Cool! So….ehem….would ALL of the Mormons be boarding the space shuttle to Planets XYZ? Not that we wouldn’t miss y’all.

    So, bye!! (Sorry, I’m probably jumping the gun here.) *sigh*

    Like

  23. Victoria says:

    Well Mel, I feel sincerely sorry for you and for your “friends”. It’s very disheartening when someone is not able to open their minds and their hearts for someone they supposedly care about.

    To think someone would “choose” to be gay is ridiculous. Would you choose a “lifestyle” that would only cause pain and extreme discrimination directed towards you?

    If you ever feel so inclined, there are many studies showing homosexuality and transgendered people are the way they are because of something at a biological level.

    Who are you to say what they feel is wrong? Oh wait, maybe you are GOD. In that case I should be careful to offend you because obviously the Bible is lying about God being love and I’m going straight to hell.

    I’m actually trying to learn how to deal with situations and people in a more empathetic manner when it comes to things such as this but for you to insult the people I LOVE that cannot change the way they feel, upsets me deeply, and I will not stand for people hurting them any longer.

    Like

  24. Victoria says:

    Also, you do realize marriage is not something appointed by “God”, right?

    If so, we would not need to visit a court house just to obtain a piece of paper that proves we are married. Marriage is in the heart, not on a piece of paper.

    Like

  25. Kelly says:

    Hi All,
    Well Todd this is a Duh…., statement on state’s rights?

    (Of course it’s moral to support an issue from outside the state, especially if one feels that the ripple effects of that issue could spill over. Duh….)

    From all the BS, false statements and out right lies that you and the
    LDS Church have made over prop H8. I seem to have forgetten what
    ripple effects that would come about if prop H8 had failed? Maybe you
    could enlighten us with what’s so terrible to you and your marriage if
    prop H8 had failed? It must be just horrible to justify your sticking that
    big hate filled nose into a states right of it’s people to determine what
    they want within their borders.

    Kelly

    Like

  26. Todd says:

    Kelly,

    **yawn** We’ve been down this road already. Why don’t you go back and read whats already been written on this blog. Your unsubstantiated accusations and silly moral logic is a pretty thin veil for your hatred and bigotry.

    Bottom line, me and my marriage don’t have to have something terrible happen in order for me to support a cause in California that I think could impact my freedom to practice my religion in my state, even if that impact doesn’t come to fruition for years.

    If you’ve got something new to discuss, let’s hear it.

    Kindest Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  27. Stoney says:

    Todd:

    You asked for someone to bring something new to the discussion, and the same could be said of you… You say that Prop 8 would “impact [your] freedom to practice [your] religion in [your] state.”

    First off, you mean “affect” not impact. Common mistake.

    Second off, how on earth would two men being granted visitation rights and adoption rights in California bar you from your temple, if you could get a recommend with that hate in your soul, that is? From taking the sacrament? From paying your tithes? They wouldn’t. There’s not some gay Shawn Bradley that will pop up as you reach to take the body of Christ and smack it down with a high-pitched “Faaaaaaabulous!”

    And given your comments here, all filled with, at the very least, disdain for people who aren’t playing with the same religious Bingo card as you, I find it very ironic that you call people out for hatred and bigotry.

    Hi Pot, I’m Kettle. You’re black.

    Try practicing God’s Word: As I have loved you, love one another. That *was* a commandment from Jesus, after all. He also said the turn the other cheek.

    Most kindest, fuzziest and loving felicitations,
    Stoney

    Like

  28. azteclady says:

    See, here’s where I fail (surprise, surprise!)

    I believe that God is infinite love and compassion–which means that self righteous hypocrites have a chance to make it to his presence. And that chaps my ass, because by golly, I wish they would get a taste of the hell they work so hard to send others to.

    (And yes, I’m able to see that’s exactly what I’m doing above–only I am perfectly aware that I do not have a direct entry to heaven just ’cause I know the sekrit handshake or wear uncomfortable undies)

    Like

  29. Todd says:

    Stoney,

    The word “impact” is appropriate and correct, but if you prefer “affect” I’m okay with that.

    Was prop 8 about visitation and adoption? Hmm… I thought it was about marriage.

    Is practicing religion only about the temple worship, taking the sacrament, and paying tithes? Hmm… I think it’s bigger than that, much bigger. Although all of the calls for the LDS church to lose tax exempt status is a good example of an affect on free exercise of religion.

    “Loving” one another sometimes includes “reproving betimes with sharpness” and certainly does not include complete acceptance of sin in order to promote harmony. I hold no malice or hatred or disdain towards any homosexual person. I can oppose SSM without disdain for gay persons.

    The “No” campaign is the one having a hard time turning the proverbial “other cheek”. So your argument on me is truly ironic. You seem to forget that the “Yes” campaign was successful.

    Yours truly,
    Todd

    Like

  30. Kelly says:

    Hi All,

    Well Todd let’s check out your statements about how SSM
    will effect life as we know it. Let’s also look at who really has
    a thin veil of hatred and bigotry.
    Your claim of proof is an official LDS church website with the
    title of “The Divine Institution of Marriage”. It also lists as an
    additional source “Protect marriage .com”. Both sites refer to
    six things that will happen if SSM is legalized. All so called
    proof offered up is either a lie or a blatant misleading of the
    truth. To promote the churches hatred and bigotry against
    gays they have to resort to these lies and false truths because
    they don’t have a leg to stand on.
    Check out http://www.stopthemormons.com/?p=486 click on
    “questionable claims in the writing” This is written by a Calif.
    lawyer, who is LDS, he is legal consultant to the Joseph Smith
    papers and an adjunct professor at the BYU law school. He brings
    up the proof about all the claims made by the Church and proponents
    of H8 are false and total lies and misinformation.
    Just like the LDS church Todd all you put forth is half truths,
    lies and misinformation. But hell you learned from the best when it
    comes to fairy tales and lies.

    Kelly

    Like

  31. Brownnn says:

    It is extremely naive to think same sex marriage will not dramatically impact society. It is such a blind “knee jerk” response to say “why can’t two adults who love eachother get married.” Do you recognize that there is always a boundary for morally accepted behavior? And we are endlessly pushing that boundary to transform what is once unacceptable behavior into what is considered normal. Where is the end? Those who do not ever consider these questions seem to have too narrow a focus and see only the immediate issue being debated.

    Individuals and societies have shown that they can convince themselves that they are “good” despite very bad behavior. (example: germany in the 1930s and 1940s, USA before emancipation). It is this capacity to convince ourselves of anything that should cause caution. We have gone so far in accepting things that were once seen as very immoral and destructive. Not everything that is beyond the moral boundary is good or worthy of defense and support.

    And all US citizens have the same rights. Marriage rights are not being “stripped” or kept from anybody. Every person has the right to marry. But marriage has a certain definition.

    Everybody has the right to ride a bicycle. Those over 16 can drive cars. But nobody has the right to ride a bicycle on the freeway, or a car in a bike path. Similarly, nobody has a right to morph marriage into something different to satisfy every possible circumstance.

    Yes- LDS make up 2% of the CA population and contributed nearlyl 50% of the funds to support Prop 8. So what? There is nothing unconstitutional or illegal about religous people being involved in this process. It is their right! Just like you have your right to your opinion and to be involved in public debate. People can base their opinions on whatever they desire- atheism, religion, science, mysticism- you name it.

    And who has behaved in a bigotted manner? Look at the response from the Prop 8 antogonists since its passage. They scream for tolerance, then intimidate, smear, and vandalize when they don’t get what they want. It is very hypocritical. And it will not win you support.

    People need to grow up and be adults. Unfortunately, the adolescent stage is lasting longer and longer in a growing number of individuals in our society. Self-centered people can too convince themeselves of anything including the idea that the consititution guarantees the right to do whatever a person wants. It ain’t so!

    Like

  32. JulieAnn says:

    Brownnnnnnnnnnn…..

    “Do you recognize that there is always a boundary for morally accepted behavior? ”

    “We have gone so far in accepting things that were once seen as very immoral and destructive. Not everything that is beyond the moral boundary is good or worthy of defense and support. ”

    Yes, there is a boundary, and that boundary changes with the times and with the opening of minds.

    Whites marrying blacks was cinsidered immoral at one point in time.

    Women having equal rights was considered immoral and a direct threat to ‘the family’.

    Jewish people were considered immoral because they didn’t believe in Jesus as a Christ.

    You nailed it. “were once seen as immoral”.

    My hope is that we have evolved past the bigotry and fear associated with where people put their winkies.

    Morality is highly subjective and has no place in our laws. While laws can be simultaneously fair and moral, they are not, by any stretch, based morality.

    All U.S. citizens do NOT have the same rights. And those minorities that do have them had to fight for them. Fight against people like you. What arrogance to presume you have the right to define marriage according to YOUR world view, YOUR religious beliefs, YOUR perceptions of morality. Our First Amendment is there to prohibit Congress from making laws respecting an establishment of religion. Why? Because of people like you. Your opinion is based on a religious view and bias and has no place in our laws.

    “It is this capacity to convince ourselves of anything that should cause caution.”

    This is the most accurate statement of your comment.

    You have convinced yourself that a megalomaniacal con man peeked into a hat, wrote (plagerized) a book, started a religion based on his own grandiosity and saw heavenly beings while hanging out in the forest. A story which has changed numerous times since the first telling.

    You have convinced yourself that you are privy to the One and Only True Church based on nothing more than fuzzy feelings engendered by socio-psycho conditioning.

    You have convinced yourself that ugly underwear is sacred.

    You have yourself convinced that a book written, revised, rewritten, and spliced (the bible) is the literal history of the world. You believe in a talking snake, an ark that housed every animal on the Earth and a burning bush that was really god communicating with Moses (because god was plum out of other ideas on how to do that and warm, fuzzy feelings weren’t invented yet).

    As far as it is translated correctly.

    You have yourself convinced that “morality” is only according to your world view. Tell me, who is the self-centered individual in this scenario?

    And your opinion is based solely on where someone puts their winkie.

    The LDS Church fought against ERA and won–but did they really win? Women are in the armed forces, working outside of the home and are not subjected to lower wages. The LDS Church fought and even though they won, they lost.

    I’ll tell you what is naive and ingenuous; the belief that the United States Government will continue to support bigotry. Because time and time again it has peeled away the layers of bigotry sheathed in words like ‘morality’ and ‘family values’. It has peeled the layers away and this ugly layer will be peeled away as well.

    All of that money gone to fight against the inevitable instead of doing something truly Christian. How typical.

    The Constitution doesn’t give everyone the right to do anything, true; but it sure as hell doesn’t dictate morals.

    This issue will be a non-issue in five years. It will be overturned.

    And then you’ll only have fear to fear.

    Like

  33. JulieAnn says:

    Apology.

    Brownnnnnnnnn;

    Please allow me to apologize. Because of my world view and experiences I presumed and assumed that you were LDS, possibly by mistake.

    Please allow me to post script my comment by saying this:

    I must remember that bigotry comes in all walks of life and in many forms. Mormons didn’t corner the market on it.

    So if you are not LDS, please disregard paragraphs 13, 14, and 15.

    The rest stands.

    That is all.

    Like

  34. azteclady says:

    “It is extremely naive to think same sex marriage will not dramatically impact society.”

    Okay, it will impact society. I agree.

    The difference is, I don’t think it will be a negative impact. After all, homosexuals have been marrying in Massachusetts for a while now and, last I looked, nothing terribly horrible had happened there. Or in Canada. Or other places where marriage is between consenting adults, period.

    But wait–it will have a negative impact… on bigots and asshats.

    I can live with that.

    Like

  35. Todd says:

    Juliannnnnnn,

    tsk, tsk, tsk… You’re mischaracterizing the LDS position again. We don’t care where you put your winkie… But two winkies does not a marriage make.

    Ugly (and sacred) is in the eye of the beholder…

    Are you a licensed psychoanalyst? You’ve called me a megalomaniac as well. Does that mean you consider that I’m at the same level as Joseph? I’m flattered.

    The several versions of Joseph’s first vision are all very consistent. Plagiarism is another transparent anti-mormon accusation that has been proven false.

    The official position on the bible is “word of God” not “history of the world.”

    If you’re going to make stuff up, at least make it believable.

    Cheers,
    Todd

    Like

  36. Kelly says:

    Hi All,
    Todd speaketh,

    “If you’re going to make stuff up, at least make it believable.”

    Oh, like Adam & Eve is believable.
    Native Americans are decendents of the Lamanites.
    There were huge cities with millions of people along the
    east coast 2,000 years ago.
    The color of someone’s skin is because of Cain’s sin.
    Changing the out come of an election in a state you don’t
    live in with tons of money and false claims of what has happened.

    Oops wait a minute. That last one is believable because it’s true.
    I know, I know, it’s OK to lie or bend the truth. As long as you’re
    doing it in the name of YOUR God.

    Kelly

    Like

  37. JulieAnn says:

    Todddddddddddddddduh!

    Ah Todd, you had me at ‘tsk tsk’….

    I’ve missed you, darling! How are you…the kids? Ready for Christmas? Or as I like to call it, Winter Solstice (since that’s what the whole ‘birth of the son-sun’ is about.

    Was I talking to you? Hm? No. Quit fighting Brownnnnnnn’s battles. He/she/it is a big boy/girl/whatever.

    Now.

    There are some things that are across the board true and nothing–I repeat NOTHING can change it. NOT subjective:

    G’s are ugly.

    There is no way around it, so stop the pretense. I’ve seen those bad boys and damn.

    You’d think god would have you guys wear something to remind you of your blood oaths other than ugly lingerie–Talk about a mixed message! “Go, procreate, replenish! But do it in the dark or you won’t be able to, you know, salute the flag…” e-hem.

    Yikes!

    I am not “anti-mormon”, I am “pro-human”. Get it right. Just like you aren’t “pro-mormon” you are “anti-anything-that’s-not-mormon”. Ha. Labels aside…

    Please explain again–in layman’s terms, exactly HOW JS ‘translated the BofM’. I want to see it written down so people can read how ridiculous it is. Please? Sugar on top? Hee hee hee….makes me giggle. Magic glasses, a curtain and a hat…sorry, I’ll let you tell it.

    While we’re making stuff up allow me to explain. I am indeed a psychoanalyst, in my own mind. Which makes me as valid an expert as you, dear Todd. Kidding on the first part.

    So wow…I didn’t realize I needed a license to state the obvious! Calling someone a megalomaniac is not an official diagnosis, Todd, so I don’t need a license, just an opinion; megalomania itself is not a recognized DSM-IV disorder. An overwhelming and excessive preoccupation with one’s own importance, though considered pathological, is not always* delusional (so you’re safe on that front!)

    I’m merely stating an opinion based on my knowledge of old Joe. But, if it sounds to ‘psychoanalytical ‘for you, I’ll speak in unprofessional, layman’s terms:

    Joseph Smith, in my opinion, was a man possessed with grandiose ideations of power, sexual prowess and greatness; a man who was obsessed with doing grand and important things like talking to god *(also referred to as paranoid schizophrenia and delusional) Uh oh, there I go again! Diagnosing based on observing a person’s actions and behaviors! Tsk tsk…where’s that licensing commission! Lock me up!

    I am sorry, though–I didn’t realize I’d called you a magalomaniac. To toss you in with Joe Smith is really the worst kind of insult. Please forgive me. I don’t believe you are lying–I think you actually DO believe (which makes you more pitiable and gullable than megalomaniacle). My bad.

    Now, why don’t two winkies make a marriage again? Oh yeah, because of god. The imaginary friend for adults that conveyed “his word” in that uber-accurate bible thingy.

    So out of all of that, you got me at “history of the world” vs. “the word of god”? Mincing phrases again are we? Either way, the bible is a book of mythology, historically and religiously/spiritually. Either that or Jonah really was swallowed by a fish and language was determined by a tower. Which is it? Todd? Todd? Bueller? Bueller?

    But if you’re asserting that I am making stuff up, then give me some credit! The stuff I’m making up is very believable.

    See? I’m more like Joe Smith than you. Ugh, how depressing.

    dutifully yours in cheekiness,

    JulieAnn

    Like

  38. JulieAnn says:

    “Although all of the calls for the LDS church to lose tax exempt status is a good example of an affect on free exercise of religion.”

    How is “a call” equate to “the loss of tax exempt status?”

    Todd, you silly bean! The only thing that will cause the church to lose it’s tax exempt status is it’s own actions, not the passing or failure of Prop 8. You know better. Tsk tsk.

    affectionately,

    JulieAnn

    Like

  39. Brownnn says:

    Juliann,

    Of course you argue that this change (same-sex marriage) is like all good changes of the past. An easy argument to make, but not very deep or valid. How does women’s rights, civil rights, etc. have to do with this? Because they involve “rights?” Pretty weak my friend. You can lable opposing opinions as bigotted all you want, but that does not make your argument any closer to truth.

    To make my point- do you believe that all change results in good things? My point is that some change is good, some is bad. Your assumption is that any change that results in more “sexual freedom” is good. I believe this is very naive. And you also assume a great deal about me in an attempt to stereotype and dismiss my argument.

    What changes have there been that involve sexual freedom: how about the wide acceptance of premarital sex (i.e. the dissassociation of sex with the marriage relationship even to the point of marriage being abandoned to a significant measure), adultery after marriage (yes, I know these two existed long ago, but nowhere near the rates of today), legal and social acceptance of almost all forms of pornography, sodomy laws, and the general but pervasive trends of hypersexual images and messages in almost all forms of entertainment and advertising. We have all but completely abondoned the idea that there is even a right and wrong in these matters. To argue that there has not been a drastic change in the sexual mores of our society is simply dishonest or extremely uninformed.

    If you accept that the above changes have actually occured, next we must ask “what is the result(s)?” How about a teenage pregnancy rate exponentially higher than before these changes. An almost 8 fold increase in the divorce rate. A broken family is todays norm. STDs among teenagers. Juvenile delinquency, involvement in crime, and the abortion rate have all climbed. So have the rates of alcohol and drug abuse. A multitude of surveys conducted have clearly shown that measures of contentment and happiness among several age groups have also declined dramatically. The suicide rates have increased dramatically as well. I could go on.

    Now you will of course argue that there is no connection between the trends above. And I say this is naive to the extreme. Something has resulted in the astronomical increases of behaviors in the previous paragraph. What do you think the cause(s) are?

    What we have lost in all this is the concept of self-government, which is what this nation was founded upon. In our insistence on “total freedom” we have chosen a path with consequences that are not optional. And as we continue to push that “boundary” of acceptable sexual behavior, the negative personal and societal trends will continue. We cannot avoid the natural consequences of choosing sexual freedom over character and morality. We just as well might vote to repeal the law of gravity.

    There is an unrecognized but powerful assumption that society is inherently self-sustaining- that our culture will go on no matter what we do. This too is naive and is neglectful of history’s stubborn truths. We are not far away from not just economic, but societal collapse. Think this is outlandish? Maybe, but time will tell.

    One more thing- your claim that laws should not consider morality is surprisingly juvenile. All laws are based on morality. Whether it be environemental, philosophical, scientific, or religious- all laws are based on morality. And to argue that it is unconstitutional to base a person’s or generation’s morality on religion is just out-of-this world crazy. Please read the writings of the founders and the original documents they produced.

    Like

  40. JulieAnn says:

    Brownnn,

    Have you ever met Sigmund Freud? Never mind…

    Let’s talk about “rights” for a second.

    We are only addressing one right in this argument, ONE: equal protection under the law. Marriage is not a right, it’s an agreement between two consenting adults and the state. The agreement allows for inheritance rights, tax benefits, medical access–and it has no religious element whatsoever. If two adults are to be equally protected under the law, then ANY two adults must be protected under that same law. If it is otherwise, it is called bigotry (which means a lack of tolerance for another opinion, ie: two people of the same gender shouldn’t get married.) Hmm, still weak? I’ll explain further:

    The reason that I brought up civil and women’s rights is that is it exactly the same argument: equal protection was denied them under the law. Women were a repressed minority. People of color were a repressed minority. Gays are also a repressed minority. By all means, entertain your bigoted ‘opinion’ all you want– it has no place in our laws.

    Does that quell your confusion any, friend?

    Tell me, what attitudes propelled this repression? Bigotry. Bigotry spawned by “the word of god”.

    Now, never once did I argue that “any change in sexual freedom is good.” You even put little quotation thingys around “sexual freedom”–did I ever once write that phrase down? Go back and check, look it up….I’ll wait…

    There. Didn’t find it, didja? If you’re going to quote me, you might want to actually, you know, QUOTE me. I never actually wrote or intimated that, so I guess that negates the assumption that I’m naive. At least this accusation of naiveté. You accuse me of that throughout your comment. I find it humorous that my ‘naiveté’ is such a sticking point for you–basically your whole argument; a pedantic, superiority-complex riddled-argument.

    I assume a great deal about you? Really. I think your comment reveals exactly what you are–a bigot.. Your statements are rife with assumptions about me (more reflective of you and your psycho-sexual issues than about me, but I’m no licensed psychoanalyst, so I have to be careful on that one, eh, Big T?)

    I didn’t realize that stereotyping mormons as believing in the bible and the book of mormon as the word of god was a bad thing. Was that not accurate?

    Now. Your arguments, one by tedious one.

    First, marriage is being abandoned and premarital sex is pervasive. Hm, my answer to the latter is….so? Premarital sex is bad…why? Oh, because of the bible and god thingy. Right. Prove to me using something other than your own bigot-brain why pre-marital sex is bad. I want non-biased references and stats (that means no Ensign, Shawn Hannity and no “religious” texts) Wow, that’s all your material, isn’t it? I don’t need to prove that it’s acceptable because I’m not contending that it is or isn’t acceptable. I am asking you to prove your case. You can’t–because it’s un-provable. The only repercussions would be societal–motivated based on that particular culture, in your case, shame. As for the former, I believe marriage is being sought by thousands of people in this country right now–but their right to equal protection under the law is being denied at present.

    Adultery is pervasive. Really, do you read? Try Tolstoy and Flaubert. Adultery has always been pervasive, it’s just now more widely acknowledged and addressed as a symptom of unhappy marriages rather than hidden away by lack of acknowledgement ie: sticking your head in the sand. Ah, the Information Age is a wonderful thing. See, we have more information about it now, so therefore it SEEMS more pervasive. Show me how it’s increased over the last 300 years. Show me. Don’t tell me what you hear over the pulpit. Show me.

    “legal and social acceptance of almost all forms of pornography, sodomy laws,”

    Pornography is subjective. You might find my paintings pornographic. Others call it ‘art’. Pornography has been around since the Paleolithic people of this Earth decided to draw winkies on cave walls. The statue of David was considered (and at BYU is probably STILL considered) pornographic. Granted, you can’t compare art to something like meatholes.com, but with every up side to technology and progression (ie: Internet) there is a downside (abuse of information). Organized religion is an excellent example of this. It started out with Jesus saying “peace, love thy neighbor, be cool, drink wine, be chill”*, and ended up with people….like you. As for sodomy laws, again, between two consenting adults, what business of yours is it where someone puts their winkie? I mean, really?

    (*NOT direct bible quotes, but he talks more about that stuff than he ever did about homosexuality and mormonism).

    “To argue that there has not been a drastic change in the sexual mores of our society is simply dishonest or extremely uninformed”. There have been drastic changes. We agree on that point. And…? These problems will be fixed by keeping two consenting adults from marrying?

    Teen pregnancy. To what time frame are you referring? Hundred years, thousand years, ten years?

    Teenage pregnancy is not on the rise, it’s on the decline. Do your research. The cause of teen pregnancy is not lack of morality, but lack of proper education and information; too much shame and, dare I say it? Naiveté on the part of people who would rather hide their head in the sand than accept that people are sexual, and they will, for better or worse, have sex.

    A 100 years ago, teens were having sex and getting forced into marriages. Fifty years ago, no one divorced. Women were beaten to death rather than being able to leave abusive marriages. You want to know why there is more marital breakups? It’s because people are seeking happiness and realize they have a RIGHT to be happy–staying in an unhappy situation is no longer the only choice they have. This is really quite elementary and to blame divorce rates on lack of morals is horribly uninformed and ignorant.

    You listed many other societal ills. These are symptoms of our time. Did you even take a history class? Tell me, what were the pervasive societal ills in the 1800’s? People died of TB, the flu and women and infant mortality rates were at near 40%. Oh, you want man-made ills? Women were raped and had no legal recourse. Children were abused and it was called discipline. Blacks and other people of color were enslaved because they were inferior. “I could go on”.

    You cannot compare what was then to what was now because the information we have is different; the way we access information is different. Example: to say that child abuse is more pervasive now then ‘back in the good ol’ days’ is beyond asinine. It’s simply recorded and reported now.

    So, as to your “astronomical increases” I say this: show me. You can’t because the data we have now can no way be compared to the data of ‘then’. If you’re talking over the past 50 years, that still applies. If you’re talking the past ten, I’ll tell you this: crime is actually on the DECLINE. Substance abuse is now (as of 1987) recognized by the DSM IV as an Axis IV disorder. It has changed numerous times over the decades and so there can be no supporting or definitive data or proof of an increase: only perceptions relating to the specific time period.

    So what I’m reading in your argument in paragraph 6 is that ‘sexual freedom’ is the main cause for all of these societal ills. How very myopic of you. Did you factor in socio-economic issues? Culture differentiation? Globally accessible information? Of course not. Because it’s ALL ABOUT WHERE PEOPLE PUT THEIR WINKIES.

    Now, please enlighten me. Tell me about history’s “stubborn truths”; that societies and cultures collapse? You’re right; they do. And then they rebuild themselves and the cycle continues. I think you’re the one with the lack of historical perspective. Meanwhile, keep gathering that food storage and hunkering down at night when the news is on.

    Finally, you speak of laws being moral. You wrote: “…that it is unconstitutional to base a person’s or generation’s morality on religion is just out-of-this world crazy.”
    Really? Let’s see. I never said that basing one’s morality on religion was unconstitutional. Where exactly did I write that? I think we ought to define our terms shall we?

    “Morality” is defined as ‘conformity to the rules of right conduct.’ What is right conduct? To you right conduct may be going to church on Sunday, wearing ugly underwear and believing in a supernatural being who listens to our every need. That is not morality, that is ‘belief’.

    Now, you brought our forefathers into it, so lets look at their version of morality. Based on their writings (I actually have read them, thanks, have you? Or do you just have that neat painting by Friberg of George Washington praying in the snow on your wall?)

    Based on their writings, all laws in the United States were based not on religious morality, but on the idea of enjoying NATURAL RIGHTS as human beings. So yeah, if that’s morality to them and you’re in agreement that our founders wanted moral laws, then we agree on the fact that laws are moral.

    Again, they are not based on religious morality. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1779: “our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than our opinions in physics and geometry.” He went on to state that “…the impious presumption of legislatures and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greater part of the world and throughout time.”

    Does this sound like a religiously motivated man to you, Brownnn? Many christians mistakenly believe that our “Founders” would be supportive of their inane attempts to control others’ behavior based on their won religious views. Newsflash: most of our forefathers were deists and had no interest in melding government with religious morals (remember the whole ‘church and state separation’ thing?)

    So you’re right–all laws are based on morality–the morality of attaining and preserving the natural rights of human beings. One of those rights is equal protection under the law.

    Please keep your bigoted religious beliefs where they belong–in your head, not in other people’s bed (or our laws).

    JulieAnn–OUT.

    Like

  41. Todd says:

    Julieannnnnn..n..n..n…

    tsk…tsk…tsk… Marriage is an agreement between a man and a woman (both consenting and only a combined total of one winky), and not two adults as you erroneously state. There you go making stuff up again! What you describe is a “civil union.” You keep trying to redefine marriage you naughty girl! I see a lump of coal coming…

    I also find it quite amusing that while you’re telling me to quit fighting Brownnnnn’s battles; your husband, Kent, is stepping in to help you fight your battles (apparently doesn’t feel you’re big enough to handle on your own). I’m perfectly okay with that, mind you. This is a public format, and I’m sure Natalie likes it when the discussion is active and interesting.

    Oh, BTW, the kids are good. Both my oldest son and daughter are finishing up finals and will be heading south soon for Christmas. We’ve got the tree up and decorated, but there’s still a bit of shopping to do. It actually snowed in Houston yesterday! whoo hoo!

    Didn’t you hear? Joseph was able to translate the Book of Mormon by the “gift and power of God.” The specific methods, while very interesting I’m sure, are inconsequential to it’s divinity.

    Joseph has been called worse things than a megalomaniac by people far more influential than little old you. It’s a common trait amongst prophets of God and he was told that sort of thing would happen anyway, so you really can’t say he’d be surprised by your disrespect.

    So you really equate “word of God” and “history of the world” with respect to the biblical record. Hmmm… interesting…

    Are you asserting that a whale is incapable of swallowing a human, that God is incapable of confounding languages. Hmmm… interesting…

    Merry Christmas!
    Todd

    Like

  42. Kent says:

    Uhh, when I step in, you’ll know it. Besides, I don’t have to help JulieAnn out, she is ransacking and pillaging just fine without me. Unlike some, I don’t believe that women are still chattel or someone to hold unrighteous dominion or righteous dominon over, so I don’t have to step in or come to the rescue.

    This may come as a surprise to you, but JulieAnn and I don’t always agree and I don’t feel compelled to make her agree with me, i.e. Styx was a great band and I love the song Miss America and JulieAnn thinks my pop music taste is in the toilet.

    A big problem with this discussion seems to be that people try to win the argument in how they define terms, specifically marriage. Here in Utah, legal marriage is prohibited to couples of the same sex. Now, the argument is whether or not this is a violation of the state and federal constitution’s equal protection clauses. Whatever your beliefs, the arguments against same sex marriage in an equal protection context are incredibly weak, amounting mostly to jumping up and down and saying, “But it didn’t used to be that way and we don’t want it to change.” Until I here something more compelling, I’m not feeling particularly compelled to join in.

    On one last side note, the last time you and I took this argument in a circle Todd, I argued from a religious context, specifically that your professed doctrine would dictate and require a more compassionate and loving approach and more deference to the laws of the land. I felt that Mormon doctrine — taken in its best light — would have completely avoided the Proposition 8 fiasco and come out smelling more Christian than fundamentalist. You disagreed.

    For now, I leave you all to JulieAnn —

    Like

  43. Natalie says:

    LOLOLOL. You GO JulieAnn. You rock. Back to work I go….

    Like

  44. JulieAnn says:

    I don’t make up stuff unless you know I’m making stuff up. Lumps of coal aside.
    I don’t want to have to go over this again, Todd, but dang you’re myopic sometimes. Now, is it or is it not true that a man and a woman are, by definition, two adults? So what, pray tell, did I make up?

    The fact that marriage is “defined” as a man and a woman is a temprorary situation and justice will remedy it, I have no worries on that front. Once again, you can’t deny something to one person and grant it to another. Not according to the constitution.

    Now, I’m confused…where did my husband come in and rescue me exactly? His arguments are his own, and I believe the first one he made in this discussion was after mine. Unless you are asserting that he wrote my comments for me, which is ridiculous and belies a latent bigotry and misogyny on your part, Todd–don’t you think I’m capable of making my own points? It’s because I don’t have a winkie, isn’t it? Darn it all.

    Trust me, it’s allllll me, baby.

    Glad to hear the kids are good–are they excited for Christmas? Or as some Mo’s would call it, Joseph Smithmas?

    So the specific methods of how he translated it are irrelevant? Really? I guess that would coincide with the Mormon propensity for “don’t ask, don’t tell” in regards to “faith”. I have a favorite quote about faith:

    “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” ~Fredrich Nietzsche

    Or in this case, a casual stroll down a ward chapel.

    See, you can have all the faith in the world, but it won’t make or keep things just as you want them to be. No matter how many “nuh uh’s” you throw at me.

    Actually, Joseph Smith was not as bad as Brigham Young. And the church you belong to today is Brigham’s Church, not Joseph’s. Not by a long shot. Joseph was more along the lines of mysticism and groovy free love and Brigham was more militant and fundamental. But that’s my own opinion and take on the two men.

    David Koresh was also despised by men. Go figure.

    I read and re-read your “Hmmmm” question about the bible and I’m still rather stumped by it. Let me clarify MY position on the bible, just so you know.

    In short, I think the bible is a record of beliefs, superstitions, some historical data, a goofed-up timeline or two, and a fairy tale all rolled up into the driest reading material since word of the day toilet paper (yes, I actually have read the bible.) Except Song of Solomon….that s*** is hot! Mmmm better than porn, I think.

    But I digress.

    Am I asserting that a whale can’t swallow a human? Well, first of all, according to the biblical text, it was a great fish, not a whale. Now, I’m no marine biologist, but I know that the biggest “fish” in the world is a whale shark–but they mainly eat plankton, macro-algae, krill and the like. If Jonah were actually swallowed, he would have been immediately ejected through gastric eversion. Not kept for three days. AH, but “god prepared the fish…” riiiight. Bottom line: is it possible? Yes. Did “god” have anything to do with it? No. If you said yes, the show me how. Ohhh, this is where the “specific methods, while very interesting I’m sure, are inconsequential to it’s divinity.”

    ‘I’m sure.’

    That’s called the incontrovertible “god” card–where there’s no proof other than ‘faith’. How logical.

    Human beings have, since the beginning, created myths and supernatural explanations for events that they did not understand. (I would love to hear the myth circulating right now about how McCain could have possibly lost the election!)

    Is god capable of confounding language? Sure! In Pretend Land with made up omniscient beings who are based SOLELY on ‘faith’, you betcha!

    The thing is….we are at an impasse Todd, Brownnnnn.

    You have faith in things that I simply don’t believe. Apples and oranges, and never the two shall make a salad. There is nothing that will convince me otherwise. I have had more warm fuzzy feelings listening to Joseph Campbell and reading Clarissa Pinkola-Estes than I ever had reading the BofM or listening to the perfunctory syrupy vomit on fast Sunday.

    Do I think there is a god?

    I-don’t-know.

    But unlike most Mormons, I’m okay with “NOT KNOWING”. I believe that if god were really god, he/she/it would be a little more clear than tickles in the bosom and revealing itself to a con man.

    But that’s just me.

    Now, I have a book to write in and a post to author.

    yours in ‘faith’,

    JulieAnn

    Like

  45. azteclady says:

    Trying to reason with fanatics is a waste of time.

    But then, witnessing it can be highly entertaining 😉

    Like

  46. Natalie says:

    aztec (this is JulieAnn…I hate logging out once I finally find the damn login)

    Yeah I know it’s a time waster. I am done. I have a novel that I have been putting off and this has been a culprit. I’m glad you are being entertained, however. :0) Always a plus!

    Like

  47. PMP says:

    Are you kidding JulieAnn? You caaaaaaan’t stop! I anxiously await your rebuttals, it’s become somewhat of an addiction. So much so that I am contemplating starting a “schooled by JulieAnn” support group.

    Like

  48. Todd says:

    Julieannnnnnnnn,

    A man and a woman, for sure, are two adults. But two adults are not, necessarily, a man and a woman. Your made-up definition of marriage isn’t narrow enough for my myopic taste (nor that of the majority of voting Californians, but I digress, lumps of coal aside).

    Things get denied to one class of people and granted to another class of people all of the time, and it’s all very constitutional. There are a host of age-based laws that discriminate against classes of people within certain age categories.

    Kent came swooping in to the conversation exactly here, commenting on my post to you. You chastised me exactly here for commenting on your post to Brownnn. Hopefully this information will clear up your ridiculous comment regarding misogyny. I can only be correctly described as philogynist. See this comment for evidence. My philogyny extends even to you, JulieAnn, winkie-less though you may be.

    Now, mind you, I’m okay with anybody joining the conversation. I don’t feel the need to tell anybody to “butt out!”

    I believe the specific phrase I used regarding the method by which Joseph translated the Book of Mormon was “inconsequential to it’s divinity,” but “irrelevant” seems to work. The question has been repeated and answered ad nauseum, so your assertion that the church is following a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is disingenuous.

    Funny thing, faith. Jesus taught that even the smallest amount (using the very small mustard seed as His metaphor) can move mountains. Yet, your doctrine renders all the faith in the world completely powerless. Jesus could command the elements, walk on water, heal the sick, raise people from the dead, and atone for the sins of all mankind. His doctrine wins, Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote notwithstanding.

    Neither Joseph nor Brigham were “bad.” And the church I belong to is neither Joseph’s nor Brigham’s, silly girl! It’s Christ’s! I guess humanizing the church is just another one of your sordid anti-mormon, er, pro-human(?) methods.

    You admit that you’re “no marine biologist” while spouting details of the specific timing of the “gastric eversion” of the unidentified “great fish.” And, dang, you’re apparently an expert concerning what God would or would not do, too. And, yes, specific method is inconsequential; although, admittedly, I am really curious. The lack of an ability to explain doesn’t prove the lack of an explanation and certainly doesn’t prove the lack of occurrence. Your explanation that it didn’t really happen is certainly plausible, but so is the Bible’s that it really did, IMHO.

    Not KNOWING there is a god isn’t a major character flaw. Mocking and ridiculing others for the belief that there IS a god is, well, shallow. (Not that I would ever accuse you of being shallow, philogynist that I am!)

    Good luck with your book!

    Merry Christmas!
    Todd

    P.S. I read your Songless in Salt Lake post over at Ravings and can really empathize. I really feel stuck here in Texas during Christmas and miss the family parties, the snow, the singing, the cousins playing with each other, and the overall chaos.

    Like

  49. Natalie says:

    Todd–this is JA

    You said Kent swooped and gave a link. Where? Where did he swoop? That is all….for now. ;0)

    Like

  50. Natalie says:

    And this would be Natalie. Todd, you have GOT to be kidding me. The fact that he STUCK his freaking HEAD in a hat is irrelevant? Puuuhhleeezzzeeee.

    Now, back to my job…..

    Like

  51. JulieAnn says:

    Whew, I’m back for a second.

    Anyway, still confounded about the whole Swoop thing.

    PMP–you know I’ll still be around.

    Todd. Don’t take the victim role–it doesn’t suit you (“Mocking and ridiculing others for the belief that there IS a god is, well, shallow”) I mean, all I want to do when I read that is say “WAAHAAAAAAAAAH” and that’s never good.

    Bottom line–you are giving me “proof” of your statements using the bible and BofM and the “suits” that make up your religion. That is not proof nor is it a valid argument.
    If you were discussing this with a mormon, then it would be valid because both of you would accept the same standard of proof. As it is, I can’t accept anything from the bible or the BofM. Been there, done that, had the ugly t-shirt.

    What kind of scientific method would it be if scientists only sought evidence that supported what they believe? They results would be horribly biased and inaccurate–and more important, they would not be the truth.

    It seems many mormons are not interested in Truth, but in THEIR truth. The world is a big place with lots of different people in it. To say that god is a being who is active in our lives is to say that “he” is the cruelest of beings. On what does god base his bestowment of favor? Why is it that some people, though living good lives, are tried again and again? It is because they need to learn lessons?

    How convenient.

    What about those, like me, who have turned completely away from their beliefs but who have and enjoy a rich and spiritual life? Does god just let me have my moment of fun because Outer Darkness is in my future?

    It’s called the God Card.

    You can’t argue against it because there is an answer for everything, to everything and about everything. The funny thing is, god is the greatest of mysteries and has kept it that way. To assume that one has all the answers based on books like the bible is, IMO, complete arrogance. The God Card makes it so no one can argue logic because it’s all about feelings, justification and personal witness.

    Example.

    “I never recieved a witness that god is there or the gospel is true.”

    God Card: “You need to pray again, fast and be open to your feelings. You may have a sin for which you need to repent.”

    There is no allowance for the person to have a different experience, is there? If they do, it’s false or they are flawed.

    “I had a personal witness that the mormon church was a total lie.”

    God Card: “It wasn’t of god, it was satan.”

    No way to prove that, is there?

    “I was the best of Mormons, but I just wasn’t happy. When I left I finally felt at peace.”

    God Card: “You never had a true testimony, because if you had, you would have never left.”

    “They prayed, fasted, put her name in the temple and she still got sick/died/got passed by for a scholarship–“(insert anything bad here).

    “This is her trial. It may not be the will of god to have her be well, live, go to Princeton…” (etc.)

    “Prove there is a god.”

    God Card: “Prove there isn’t one.”

    “Why does god let bad things happen to good people?”

    God Card: “Because each person has their own lessons to learn and this is the way this person has to learn it. God works in mysterious ways.”

    “Why doesn’t god speak for himself?”

    God Card: “Human beings could never stand the voice/sight/presence of god.” (As if God couldn’t figure out a way to dumb down to be seen/heard by humans…)

    “I have read too many things to believe the church is true/god exists.”

    God Card: “You have lost the spirit of discernment, so you are easily swayed.”

    “I left the church and I’m happy.”

    God Card: “You just think your happy.”

    “I don’t like the treatment gays and lesbians have recieved.”

    God Card: “The bible says they are sinners and it’s their natural consequence to be kept from the blessings of the gospel.”

    “I don’t believe in the bible.”

    God Card: “You don’t have to believe in it–it’s true whether you believe in it or not.”

    “I left for logical reasons.”

    God Card: “You are drinking and other sins–you left so you could sin, and because someone offended you.”

    “I don’t consider it sinning and I am not angry. I left because it wasn’t right for me. I left because it made no sense.”

    God Card: “You need to pray again, fast and be open to your feelings. You may have a sin for which you need to repent.”

    And we’re back to the beginning; the ridiculous, circular arguments that mormons and other christians use to convey the message that they are right, YOU are wrong; they know best, YOU don’t know the Truth.

    Well I’m sorry if it seems I ridicule your beliefs, Todd. You see, when faced with arrogance, superiority and a smug holier-than-thou attitude that employs the God Card, it sends the message that one person (you) is RIGHT and the other is wrong. It’s inherent in the message. You want to know why I don’t respect your beliefs? Why don’t you respect mine? You don’t, because if you did, you would have said “Well, we agree to disagree” a long time ago.

    No one KNOWS the church is true. You can believe it with all your little hearts, but you don’t know. You will never know. You can say you know, and now, I am pulling the God Card:

    You don’t know and you can’t ever convey to me that you do.

    Ever.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Solstice…
    glad you ‘get’ missing the family at Christmas. It’s a tough one, but I have ‘faith’ that I will make it through. ha.

    Like

  52. Todd says:

    JulieAnn,

    WAAHAAAAAAAAAH!!!! Who is playing the victim? You get one guess, and it’s not me. You apparently left the church for some or all of the reasons you mention and everybody dropped the “God Card” on you. Sounds like you’re playing the victim to me. Oops, I gave you the answer. Dang!

    Let’s drop the whole Swoop thing, you apparently don’t GET it.

    Just like you don’t GET your own arrogant, superior, and smug holier-than-thou attitude that employs your own There-Is-No-God Card and sends the message that you’re right and I’m wrong.

    You don’t KNOW that no one KNOWS that the church is what it proclaims to be. You don’t KNOW that no one KNOWS that God exists.

    I have a great deal of respect for those who have the integrity to walk away from the church when they aren’t given a spiritual manifestation after a serious and sincere effort to obtain one. I have much less respect for those who say there is no such thing, when it runs contrary to my own experience; and who then ridicule and mock my beliefs in an arrogant, superior, and smug holier-than-thou way.

    So, we can agree to disagree.

    Respectfully Yours,
    Todd

    Like

  53. Todd says:

    Natalie,

    Oh, puuuhhleeezzzeeee explain how Joseph’s simple technique to reduce ambient light by putting a hat over his face whilst looking through the U&T is consequential to the Book of Mormon’s divinity?

    Your kind will grasp at ANYTHING to discredit the Book of Mormon and the prophet.

    Love,
    Todd

    Like

  54. Natalie says:

    Todd? That’s the stupidest explanation for ANYTHING I’ve heard in a damn long time. Please, please, please, if you are going to comment here, at least mount an intelligent argument.

    Your kind will grasp at ANYTHING to prove that a cock and bull scam story is true. That is sheer desperation.

    And it’s insulting to anyone with half a brain.

    Ambient light. LOL. I think Tom Cruise has a religion for you! How do you feel about space ships? And are your couch jumping skills in peak form?

    Like

  55. Natalie says:

    JulieAnn! You turned all the comments bold! Hmm. I think I like it.

    Like

  56. JulieAnn says:

    I didn’t mean to turn anything bold, Natalie. It’s just something that naturally happens around me (bwah hahahaha) 😉

    Like

  57. JulieAnn says:

    Todd–

    Gee, I am so transparent.

    Of COURSE I left because of some or all of the reasons above. You’re right. I’m not intelligent enough to differentiate between my own experience and the reality of other people. Really, what do you know about me? Do you know why I left? Do you realize the harm your church has done to thousands of people?

    I have spent a lot of time listening to exit stories, of people who have been so fucked up by your church that they can barely hold their heads up. Oh, but they {“insert one of the God Card’s stock answers in here”}. Right? And me….you assume that everybody pulled The God Card on ME. Well I’ve some news for you–we aren’t talking about me or why I left, are we, Todd? You have pulled the God Card in every one of your comments, and that is why I brought it up. But you know that, don’t you? This was a lovely attempt at misdirection on your part AGAIN.

    If I’m wrong, everyone who reads (except Todd) please tell me. Please feel free to jump in here and give your two cents about all of this. Oh and I’m sure Kent will “swoop” in again and ‘rescue’ me any time here. If he takes a break from work.

    The swoop thing. You read Kelly’s comment and misread the name, thinking it was Kent. I don’t GET it because of your inability to convey correct information. Seems a pattern for you. I copied the exact link you had in your post, btw.

    I am arrogant? Really. Something I want to quote for you:

    “Do I think there is a god?

    I-don’t-know.”

    I believe these are my words. I don’t know if there is a god or not. But I do know that I don’t know. I’m fine with that, Sound arrogant to you? Whatever,

    You have a ‘great deal of respect’ for those who walk away with integrity huh? Really. Allow me to L-O-L for a moment. Who are you to say or judge the level of a person’s integrity when leaving the church? Did Natalie walk away with integrity? How about me? How do you discern the ones with and without integrity Todd? The gift and power of god? Or do you judge them based on your observation of them and their words on a blog from hundreds of miles away?

    You have shown a total lack of respect for Natalie on her own blog. You have disrespected me and others as well, calling us “anti”mormon, and intimating that we are unintelligent, misinformed and naive.

    Let me ask you a question. What is wrong with being angry? I am typically not an angry person, especially when it comes to mormonism. But I am feeling a bit heated today.

    I love that “your kind” use the fact that former mormons are ‘angry’ as a way to discredit them. Anger is a valid human emotion. You, your kind and your church are in the business of INVALIDATING people’s beliefs, thoughts and feelings. And, add insult to injury, you have a great deal of money and power in certain communities. Don’t you think that engenders some anger among those of us who have watched as your church’s PR machine gobbles it’s way through life without any consequence or repercussions?

    You know nothing about me, nothing about what I’ve experienced. To say that you don’t know the church is true is the EXACT message you have given to every person on this blog who says it isn’t or hasn’t proven to be true. Truth is not debatable, it just is, and it can be found everywhere. The fact that there are so many who are unbelievers is a true testament to me about the flaws and holes that make up the mormon church.

    ‘Christ’ is what your church is all about? Well the Jesus I’ve read about wouldn’t be on a blog doing what you do, I’d wager. But “…ye shall know them by their fruits…” See, even a book of mythologies can contain truth.

    Doesn’t feel very nice, does it? But it sure is different on the recieving end, isn’t it Todd?

    SO, welcome to the world of the former-mormon. Welcome to being derided, ridiculed and mocked; welcome to having your experience invalidated by people who know nothing of you, nothing of your life and nothing of your reality.

    Welcome.

    Like

  58. Todd says:

    OMG… I am so ashamed! I did think Kelly’s comment was from Kent! Sorry Kent! Sorry Kelly! Sorry JulieAnn! Sorry all! It was a honest mistake, I swear!

    I’m sure I deserve all of the pouncing that will come as a result of this admission. Fire away!

    Ashamedly,
    Todd

    Like

  59. Kent says:

    Todd – I think that the issue of my swoop-age was caused by the fact that the link you provided was to a Kelly, not a Kent. Knowing my high school friend Kelly, I sincerely doubt that it was his comment, but maybe it was a high school flashback that got you confused.

    I’ve read the different comments, including my lovely wife’s, and thought I’d add my two cents. In some ways writing is a little bit like lightning, it never strikes in the same place twice and due to an errant mouse click, I’m writing this comment in an effort to recreate a nice post that vanished into the cyber eternity of outer darkness.

    Emerging adolescence is a time of extreme emotional tumult and an awe at the discovery of the world. By the age of eleven or twelve, I was completely enamored with UFOs, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness and Bear Lake Monsters. I read books. I read the sceptics. I analyzed the evidence. I wanted to know if any of it was true. The early 70s were big on this kind of supernatural hub-bub. Ford was in the White House without even being elected and anything seemed possible.

    Of all the supernatural phenomenon, I was most enamored with the idea of life on other planets. D&C 76:24 told me that God had created countless worlds. The idea of them visiting our planet seemed well within the realm of possibility, physics notwithstanding.

    At the time, I lived in Fruit Heights in an old brick pioneer home buried in a cheery orchard at the base of the mountain, with a smaller (and I assume polygamous wife’s spare) house in the adjoining orchard. We didn’t have a clothes dryer and the laundry was hung outside on a clothes line. One summer evening I was sent out to retrieve some clothes off of the line.

    I went outside into the stifling air which seemed particularly thick in my throat. My ears were accosted by a strange hum and metal cackle, rising and falling and pushing itself through the thick air. I looked up and saw two lights hovering before me. They didn’t move, although they seemed to flitter in time with the cackling hum. Then the lights began to move up and down, in a way that no aircraft could possibly do.

    I knew from my reading for the supernatural to be believed you needed witnesses. Without witnesses, everyone thinks you are a crackpot. I had to get my Mom. If you knew my Mom, you would know that if she said she saw it, you would just have to believe. My limbs were somehow in an awkward adolescent male way totally engulfed in flowing laundry. Struggling to extricate myself and make it to the swinging, spring held back door, I stumbled and lost my momentum into the house with my news of the UFO in the backyard.

    At that moment the familiar – Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of a helicopter’s blades penetrated my ears. I saw the lights rise straight up, move towards me and then head West towards the Great Salt Lake. It was gone before I could even regain my hormone and adrenaline misguided balance. As the helicopter noise faded in the distance, the metallic cackle of the cicadas and the hum of the crickets became discernible to my ear.

    I realized that if I hadn’t stumbled, I would have been a lifelong believer in UFOs. I know. I saw it. I heard it. There is no other rational explanation. I also realized that a sceptic had just been born. This was before I learned of Occam’s Razor, but something rang true in my soul that the simplest and most rational explanation was also the best. Helicopters and insects are much more likely and true than flying saucers from another galaxy.

    In a religious context I was encouraged in this scepticism by Joseph Smith, whose own story was based on James 1:5 and later Moroni 10:4-5 and figuring things out for yourself based on the evidence. I craved and love the empirical, scientific method for finding Truth.

    I know that was a long introduction to my comments on the various arguments and I apologize to those who have endured this far (and I hope you will endure to the end). For a discussion or argument to take place, you need some kind of ground rules or you just end up shouting at each other – “I saw a UFO when I was 12.” versus “No, you didn’t.” Not particularly productive.

    The argument should really be about evidence. I’m not discounting subjective belief. I think that is an important piece of evidence and it carries a lot of weight with an individual, so much so that sometimes it can never be overcome. Subjective belief alone though is simply choosing to ignore other relevant evidence. Another mechanism for evaluating subjective belief is whether or not other people can replicate your results, particularly in a spiritual context. I don’t deny that reading the BOM and studying and praying about it and searching for an answer won’t bring a confirmation that the words are good and true. I had several such confirmations – 2 Nephi 2:10-11 (need for opposition in all things – particularly blog posts) and 2 Nephi 2:25 (purpose of life is joy – I mean who wants to argue with that?)

    The question should be can other similar activities bring about the same results? Can you read the New Testament, studying and praying and get confirmation of its “Truth.”? Can you read the Brother’s Karamazov by Dostoyevsky and study and pray and get a similar confirmation of its Truth? Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer? Or do great movies, theater and poetry engender the same subjective feelings? What if those same subjective feelings come when “Church” doctrine says they shouldn’t? If in fact the search is for the Truth, then you need a philosophy that encompasses more than your own subjective belief and accounts for all the evidence at hand.

    My philosophy allows for Mormons to believe and practice how and where and what they may. I understand the believers need for verification, just like I did as I rushed in for another witness to my UFO. In fact the Church has institutionalized the practice in fast and testimony meetings, in a group confluence of saying together that they all see the same lights in the sky and hear the same hum and cackle. It is very comforting – for a believer.

    Relativity came about because, while Newton’s laws explained much in the physical world, there was some data that suggested he wasn’t completely right. Einstein’s relativity met the same challenge with inconsistent data that led to quantum mechanics. The next step in scientific enlightenment comes from examining the inconsistencies.

    The list of evidence and logical fallacies however leave me no choice, but to respectfully say that the doctrine and explanations of the Church are lacking. Many of the beliefs I’ve incorporated and attempt to practice, others I’ve rejected. My simple test is usually inclusion over exclusion. Christ was a great teacher of inclusion, hanging out with the publicans and the sinners and the Pharisees and the Saducees. Christ taught through paradox and parable. Joseph Smith said that by proving contraries truth is made manifest.

    You are included in my philosophy, Todd. How do I fit in yours? How do you deal with my equally devout rejection of your beliefs? Where is the truth between our contrariness?

    Like

  60. Natalie says:

    Nicely put, Kent.

    Like

  61. Todd says:

    Kent,

    Your “philosphy” is pretty much a verbatim copy of the eleventh article of faith, which I heartily endorse. I have no problem with you or anybody else believing whatever. Staying true to one’s beliefs and adjusting those beliefs in a line-upon-line, precept-by-precept kind of way is a fundamental LDS doctrine that I also heartily endorse.

    And while we may reach opposing conclusions regarding the evidence and (lack of) logical fallacies of the doctrines of the Church (explanations are a different issue), we can still be respectful of the other’s beliefs. I’m sure we have much more in common than not.

    Your discussion of relativity and of examining inconsistencies struck a chord with me, because I couldn’t help but see a direct correlation with Joseph Smith. After all, it was the inconsistencies that he perceived between the dogmas of the various religions that motivated him to seek to know for himself about the matter.

    Does your philosophy include the possibility that God actually appeared to the boy to answer his question? Or, does Occam’s razor preclude that as a possibility due to too many assumptions? Or, is it precluded as a possibility because it’s not scientifically reproducible? Or, is it precluded simply because there’s not enough evidence?

    It’s amusing to me the gyrations and contortions required to discredit Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. There’s a violation of Occam’s razor for you. Please explain again how Joseph duped three grown men into believing they saw an actual angel and heard the voice of God? Or better yet, how he duped eight grown men into believing they physically saw and handled the plates? I’ve read many attempts to explain how he was able to completely dupe so many grown men, and let me just say they’re sorely lacking in credibility.

    That said, I can understand someone reaching a different conclusion. I’m okay with that.

    We agree that Christ was the great teacher of inclusion. The Book of Mormon is first and foremost a witness to His divinity. Are you asserting that because he hung out with publicans, sinners, Pharisees and Saducees that he sanctioned what some of them were about? I think the record is pretty clear that he had some issues with some of them. Many of his disciples found his doctrine to be too hard and so they ultimately resigned. Definitely some interesting parallels going on there.

    How do I deal with your equally devout rejection of my beliefs? By having this conversation. As long as we’re able to learn from each other, we both come out ahead.

    And, we can always agree to disagree. Agreeing 100% isn’t near as much fun.

    Your friend,
    Todd

    Like

  62. Kent says:

    Actually Todd, I utilized a significant number of references in my post to Mormon doctrine and ideology, not just the 11th Article of Faith, but the First Vision and direct scriptural references, but those are not my philosophy.

    I don’t believe in a fixed or static ideology, but rather have a belief in what Mormon’s would call continuing revelation (although mine is individual, rather than institutional). As I said earlier, I was taught the empirical scientific method for discovering truth in Sunday School. I’m glad to hear that the truth of the scientific method resonated for you and that you could feel the spirit emanating from this heathen.

    Since my philosophy is not static or set, I can’t profess belief as fact. I can say what I think is more probable, than less however. Does my philosophy allow for people seeing God? I haven’t seen God myself, but I haven’t seen UFOs either (almost, but I stumbled and was saved). I don’t preclude that God appears to people, because so many claim to have seen him/her/it. Some common human experience makes people subjectively experience “God.” I think that much is irrefutable. My instinct, experience and rationality tell me that there are other, far more probable explanations.

    After eliminating the subjective element from the argument (since you agree we can have differing subjective experience), then all that is left is the eyewitnesses. I’ve tried a few cases as a lawyer and I’ve read enough to know that one of the least reliable types of evidence is an eyewitness accounts. The eyewitness accounts have to be backed up with physical evidence. Concrete evidence such as a fingerprint or DNA can destroy an eyewitness account for a jury. Cross examination of the witnesses allows for fleshing out ulterior motives and beliefs that color the eyewitness perception.

    Maybe we ought to start our own blog, Todd. You can prosecute my heresy and I’ll defend. We can present that most elusive of all things — evidence for our position — and we can see how the trial comes out. The readers can vote.

    A final note on Christ. Not only did Christ preach inclusion, Christ taught rebellion against stagnant authority (something that feels uncomfortably relevant in present day Mormon-dom). For the most part he “interacted” with the Pharisees and Sadducees (with a notable exception or two) and hung out with the publicans and sinners, which is why the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t like him so much and had him killed.

    Like

  63. Rick says:

    Okay, so that was quite a read! Seems like discussions that stem from religious beliefs are always a bit heated…maybe because we all feel the need to know what our “purpose of life” is? Or when we feel duped by an institution that controlled our life and thoughts for many years, there’s bound to be some emotional baggage.

    So, a little disclosure. I am a friend of Kent and JulieAnn’s. (At least I hope they consider me their friend…). I’m a born/raised in the LDS church, most normal Mormon upbringing guy out there; HS Seminary president, served an “honorable” mission, temple married, four kids born under the covenant, high (and dry) councilman, bishopric, and acting bishop. During my stint in church leadership, I observed some troubling administrative actions, concurrently and coincidently was led to and studied with a church educator who was writing a book about historical challenges of the church’s foundational claims. Within a few months it became clear to me that Joseph’s claims of divine guidance and “powers” were false.

    My entire paradigm of life was shattered. It became clear that the church had told me how and what to do and think every moment of every day — and that was now gone. It took me years of “going through the motions” every day to re-learn a new life paradigm. Do I drink coffee? Do I eat my young, like other species, or do I still love my kids…without the fairytale of the “eternal family” guiding my every thought?

    Well I think I’ve landed pretty well on my feet today without any permanent scars to speak of. As any Mormon graduate says, I’m happier than ever (I know, that’s because of my new wicked lifestyle). But I think it is for reasons quite different than what the average Mormon might surmise.

    I don’t believe in the perfected human God in the sky. It is clear to me how he was created…and I can’t blame Joseph alone for being opportunistic and learning how to control masses of people for personal gain (Joseph sure perfected how to get lots of babes in the sack though! I’ll hand that one to him!). I can’t even point the finger at traditional Christianity. Religions throughout history have created Gods in the sky (and elsewhere) who have magical powers to reward and punish us lowly humans for “doing” certain prescribed things. And in most religious cultures, they have plenty of “witnesses” to these results (yes, even beyond the three witnesses to Joe’s game). But when the perpetrator (God) is so completely different in each case, the logical mind is forced to question the validity of God’s intervention in any of these.

    So the Occam’s Razor becomes that all of them are fabricated. Not a one of them that I’ve heard about (the least of which is Joseph Smith) has ever correctly and consistently prophesied about future events. For some crazy reason, we still hold on to the written legends of our ancestors about supernatural events. Remember, it was these people that believed that thunder and lightning was a message from God…and that the earth is flat — and of course there are men on the moon.

    Fortunately, there is a pattern evolving (sorry Brother Buttars…). The educated cultures are staying away from religions. The areas where religions are growing are third world countries and impoverished peoples where any hope of improving their lives is snatched up.

    Of course it will all take time. It’s not easy to go to your parents and tell them you don’t believe in their Santa Claus anymore. Many CUBs (closet unbelievers) take the path of least resistance, choosing to avoid the family conflicts that are certain to come when their paradigms are challenged. But these people are quite prevalent — right here behind the Zion curtain. It’s amazing how they open up when they know they are safe to speak….

    Anyway, (sorry, HUGE digression there), I see the future of this American culture being much more tolerant and respectful of differences. Yes, the church won round one of the prop 8 battle, but ultimately love will prevail. When you look at the issue completely outside the box of religion, there is no logical reason to keep them from having the same rights as we have. And the reasons given for denying gay marriage are so hateful and full of fear and misunderstanding, that good education will eventually prevail, and we will all learn to live in peace with each other — just as we did with people of color.

    Like

  64. Todd says:

    Rick,

    I’d be interested to know what smoking gun(s) you discovered with the church’s foundational claims that shattered your “entire paradigm of life.”

    My entire paradigm of life has been that there are always very reasonable explanations for what appear to be smoking guns that always cause me to error on the side of caution. You apparently found something that made you jump ship.

    Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  65. Rick says:

    Yes, I agree. The very reasonable explanations usually don’t involve magic or claims of supernatural powers. Particularly when it comes to Joe’s escapades with teenage girls and other men’s wives…would the “reasonable explanation” be “God told me Ishould shag you,” or that he had an active libido and found a way to convince others it was “God’s commandment?”

    That’s only one of hundreds of issues that made go ” hmmmm…” But when you take them all together, the picture is clear.

    Oh, the book was/is “Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” by Grant Palmer. Like most expose’s of the early church, apologists have done their best discredit Grant’s credentials…like “he says he’s an ‘insider,’ but he only taught seminary and institute…” (somehow that makes his brilliant and well researched work unacceptable?).

    The pattern I found when I approached church historians was “there is no proof that it happened the way that so many people reported…” It leaves a crack in the door to accept it all by “faith.” After all, it is a wicked generation that asks for a sign, right? The problem is most Mormons I know follow the quest for truth backwards — just like Moroni’s promise suggests — assume it is true, then ask/search for the answer that it is not?!

    Think about it…if I came to you and said Iam the reincarnated Jesus, and it must be true because you can’t prove otherwise?

    Quite simply, when you look at the results of Joe’s life — from a true historical position, rather than what we learned in primary, he went from a convicted fraudulent treasure hunter to a “visionary” that claimed multiple, contradictory “first visions, claimed to have been visited by many “angels” (there was that Angel “Nephi”…which later changed to “Moroni” because it fit the story better…); threw together an extremely boring book by plagiarizing borrowed (or stolen) stories, inaccurate KJV Bible translations, bedtime stories told himby his father, almost word-for-word speeches actually given by early American leaders (see the work of Tom Donofrio), many stories from the Apocrypha he owned…I could go on, but you get the point.

    Then the nail in the coffin for me was the Book of Abraham. Joe was no dummie, despite what the church tries to project. The church was flailing and needed a new miracle. Joe saw another chance to “translate” another scripture with the papyri. Since there were no scholars that could translate the symbols at the time, Joe could have at it again! He said it was written by the hand of Abraham…he even drew in missing parts of the pictures — totally wrong!

    Then it was found, and guess what? It’s a normal funeral document — nowhere near the time of Abraham, and says nothing that resembles what he wrote. Imagine that?!

    Then, when his escapades are about to be exposed, he orders the destruction of the printing press (very prophet-like, wouldn’t you say?!). A warrant is issued for his crime, and he ends up in Carthage Jail. His murder was not a martyrdom…but revenge by many whose wives and daughters had been propositioned by the “prophet.”

    Some call it karma. I see it as another normal political event in history that seems to happen when one charismatic man sees a chance to get what he wants — then he gets caught ( ala another Illinois leader as of late), and eventually the truth comes out.

    But I can’t blame my pioneer ancestors for believing his stories. He was a master of pushing the right emotional buttons, just like mine were when I wanted it to be true.

    And i also can’t point my finger only at the Mormons. This kind of history is the norm, not the exception. Everybody wants to believe in a feel-good story.

    And Joseph knew that.

    Like

  66. K*tty says:

    Todd asks to please explain again how Joseph duped three grown men into believing they saw an actual angel and heard the voice of God? Or better yet, how he duped eight grown men into believing they physically saw and handled the plates?

    First Todd, you make it sound like Smith was 14 years old when he wrote the BoM and convinced these “grown men.” Smith was not a boy of 14 when he wrote the BoM nor were these men, much different in age from Smith. Martin Harris has been quoted in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes. He and some of the 8, said that there was always a cloth over the plates. They admit they lifted them, even though they should have been heavier if actually made of gold, but they never gazed upon the plates like we would assume a witness would. The three witnesses were told that they would see the plates if they had faith. (Kind of like the double bind of the BoM) So these men saw the plates with their spiritual eyes. Hummm

    As to your question why grown men would fall for this stuff? Can I just say, Hitler, Jim Jones, cults of the world and religions and ideology too numerous to count.

    Like

  67. JulieAnn says:

    Hey Rick, glad you could join the party! And yes, we are definitely friends…:0)

    I think it’s interesting that this discussion has become one of fact-finding in regards to Mormonism. We started with Prop 8, remember.

    Rick, these two phrases really resonated for me:

    “When you look at the issue completely outside the box of religion, there is no logical reason to keep them from having the same rights as we have.”

    This is nailing it on the head. Take religion out, and what you find is….huh, love and acceptance. How ’bout that?

    and

    “Think about it…if I came to you and said Iam the reincarnated Jesus, and it must be true because you can’t prove otherwise?”

    What I have observed with many mormons and with myself as a mormon, is that the paradigm of ‘truth’ is this: accept it all, then seek evidence to support what you believe. That sets you up to find only what you want to find, doesn’t it?

    I’ve said it before, but what if science worked that way? We would all still believe that we had a flat world and everything revolved around us because scientists would not be seeking the truth, they would be seeking justification for what they already believe to be true.

    Nicely done, Rick.

    I’m proud to be your friend and I know K feels the same.

    JulieAnn

    Like

  68. JulieAnn says:

    But they have funeral potatoes Rick! Don’t forget the potatoooooeeessssss!!!!

    Yeah, the thing is, nothing is all good or all bad. That black and white thinking is what gets a lot of people stuck. We live in a world of every shade of gray and yet people choose to see in black and white.

    “It is the One and Only True Church. All others are false.”

    “Right and Wrong”

    “This is evil, this is good.”

    “God and Devil”.

    That’s why I’m having so much fun with these “In the Beginning” posts–not only do I get to make up outrageous stuff about god and mankind and the bible, I also get to reframe satan (Billy) into a character that is both sympathetic and antagonistic….I get to create a character that is *gasp* very “human”.

    Wait till I get to Jesus’s ministry later this week….:0)

    JulieAnn

    Like

  69. Todd says:

    Rick,

    So your “smoking gun” is the same regurgitated fabrications and slander that have colored the Mormon landscape since Bro. Joseph’s stroll out of the grove in 1820?

    That said, your rejection of Mormonism (and, I presume, organized religion in general) based on your own analysis and experience is your own prerogative. Afterall, there are many competing forces out there, each vying for our allegiance. That’s just a part of our common human condition. Just like you don’t fault your ancestors for their belief, I don’t fault you for your (lack of) belief.

    I am curious though. Is your rejection based on primarily doctrinal issues, or primarily cultural and behavioral issues?

    My own experience is that what some Mormons say and do, is often contradictory with doctrine. I find this to varying degrees within my own world inside the church, and it usually correlates well with a member’s understanding of the doctrine; but other competing forces certainly come into play, such as a member’s willingness to behave according to their understanding, like the lung surgeon who smokes.

    The term “Utah Mormon” is a well-known stereotype that is associated with those who participate culturally, but who don’t really practice LDS doctrine. They’re members because they were born LDS, etc; but they don’t actively practice the doctrine or do so without conviction and only at the surface. That is not to say that all those born LDS in Utah are “Utah Mormons” but you get the point.

    I wasn’t a seminary president, but I graduated from seminary. I served an “honorable” mission, was married in the temple, have four children all “born in the covenant”, hold a current temple recommend, serve in a position of responsibility, etc. And, yet, these behavioral attributes, while somewhat indicative of “living the doctrine” and giving the outward appearance of being a believer, don’t really tell the story about what’s occurring on the inside, which admittedly has it’s ups and downs.

    For me; the deep, substantive evidence so overwhelmingly supports the LDS version of the foundational stories (despite the sanitization for Sunday School) that I find it extremely amusing when you and others try to raise doubt with your superficial, transparently anti-mormon innuendo and accusations.

    So, we can agree to disagree.

    I’ll go out on a limb and agree with JulieAnn’s last post. It’s not all black and white; right and wrong; true and false; evil and good. But, lines will have to be drawn, sides will have to be taken.

    Save some potatoes for me!

    Happiest Holidays!
    Todd

    Like

  70. Todd says:

    K*tty,

    I didn’t mean to infer that Joseph was just a kid trying to convince “grown” men about anthing. What I tried to infer is that the Book of Mormon witnesses weren’t impressionable children. They were respected adults in good standing in their communities, despite what the critics would say to discredit them.

    Your inference that Martin Harris was “quoted in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes” belies the truth that he and the others, on multiple occasions, often in their own handwriting, reaffirmed the reality of what they witnessed. Furthermore, each had ample opportunity and ample motivation to declare otherwise, and yet they still stood resolute.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to believe it. But the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the LDS position on this matter.

    Best Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  71. Rick says:

    Todd,

    Perhaps their is a reason the accusations are “regurgitated.” Sometimes truth requires repetition before it is eventually studied objectively. And of course it is only “slanderous” if it is not true. You get the point.

    For most of my life, I was probably very much like you in my perceptions of the accusations you call “anti-Mormon.” Even using the term “anti-mormon” instantly victimizes the church (the common attitude I find). I consider the historical research done by many challenging Joe’s claims”pro-truth.” Of course the conclusions are debatable, but when I allowed myself to be open to the evidence, without “wanting” one side to be true, the results became clear to me.

    Yes, there are emotions on both sides. Mormons need it to be true since they are dedicating so much of their lives and resources to an institution that claims to be God’s only prescribed way to live.

    Former mormons and some non-mormons affected by certain church policies that are exclusive and divisive have emotional reactions based on their feelings of being deceived. I’m sure you can relate to both, and hopefully understand the emotion from our perspective, as I try to understand yours.

    I’d like to respond to your question: “I am curious though. Is your rejection based on primarily doctrinal issues, or primarily cultural and behavioral issues?”

    The answer is both. As I said in my story, it was “cultural issues” that triggered my research. Many in the church call this “being offended.” I was “offended” that the culture allowed some serious abuse that I was exposed to, and it was enough to instigate research on how that could be allowed by “God.”

    I know, I know…”the church is perfect but the members are not.”

    That saying keeps the church safe, doesn’t it? So rather than making any conclusions on admittedly imperfect human behaviors, I took to studying the foundations of those behaviors.

    The rest is history. And I will say I’ve not met a single person that has approached the subject with a true open mind that has not concluded that Joseph’s claims are false. Yes, there are some very bright scholars at BYU I’ve had many discussions with…and I find they have a very vested interest in finding excuses that will keep them (and their jobs) safe. Those without survival necessities (physical and emotional) leave (or stay for family reasons).

    But I’m always open to new evidence. I try to keep up with new “finds” by FARMS, etc., but nothing has been compelling. I’d be interested in anything that you find “substantive” that supports the claims. Be aware that I’m not interested in “feelings,” or “spiritual witness.” I find it highly unlikely that God would send out so many contradictory messages (or allow them) as a means of testing his beloved children. So we’re limited to the physical…

    And maybe you’re not interested in that…and that’s okay. If you have found a lifestyle/belief system that works for you, gives you purpose and hope to live another day without confusion or dissonance, I suggest you stick with it. I may be a bit less “proselytizing” than other lapsed mormons, but I’ve found that by far the majority of people on this planet are attached to a religious paradigm that I find highly unlikely to be true (as they define it to be) or historically accurate. I think that as long as your beliefs give you happiness, and they don’t motivate you to attempt to take away my rights to do the same, we can co-exist peacefully…and I really can wish you the best!

    The potatoes are ion the oven for Christmas day (and I’m fine with “Christmas,” since my belief is that the historical Jesus’ message is that of love and respect for all….)

    ~Rick

    Like

  72. Rick says:

    I know many that hang their hat on the witness’s testimonies. Tell me Todd, if you had other religions stories have the identical sort of “undenied testimonies,” would that make them true too?

    Like

  73. JulieAnn says:

    Ehem. Rick…yeah. You’re awesome.

    And Todd? Lines WILL have to be drawn and sides taken:

    I will not–repeat NOT abide cubed potatoes. They absolutely HAVE to be shredded, or no dice. Capisca? If we can just meet there, we’ll be okay…

    JA

    Like

  74. Todd says:

    Rick,

    Witnesses and testimonies don’t MAKE something true, they’re just a very strong part of the overwhelming evidence for the LDS version of events. So strong, in fact, that it holds our hats quite well.

    And let me introduce myself, so you’ll have met at least a single person that has approached the subject with a true open mind and has not concluded that Joseph’s claims are false.

    I’m sure the decision to leave the church was a difficult for you, and one that you didn’t take lightly. Excuse my curiosity, but when you finally concluded that you should resign, what happened with your wife and kids? Did they resign with you?

    Warmest Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  75. MarZ says:

    I wanted to hear more on the book of abraham.

    Like

  76. Rick says:

    Todd,

    First, as I inferred on the other thread, the witnesses’ testimonies may be a bit compelling, but when we step back and see the bigger picture, it’s not very unique. You didn’t answer my question earlier regarding if other “God fearing” religions have a similar pattern wrt testimonies of their followers claiming divine guidance…even to the extent that THEY are God’s chosen people. And what if these folks are the same ones that “testified” about Joseph’s plates?

    You may have already heard this, but many of the people you are hanging your hat on that testified about Joe’s platesalso testified about similar experiences with other non-Mormon “prophets.” They also never denied those testimonies either.

    You see, the folks back then were a bit wacko. They were continuously bouncing from one magical, mysterious mythical story and “prophet” to another…whatever suited their fancy for the day. Today, I think our system would question the credibility of the witnesses. Don’tcha think?

    The record is clear…they left the church and joined others. They also never denied testimonies about visions other men had that claimed they were called of God to restore the one truth. Apparently they didn’t consider it a conflict to “testify” about multiple “prophets” (prophets that had contradictory messages). Do you really believe that type of person would be chosen by God, and his most important prophet to walk the earth (just shy of Jesus himself) to testify of his one and only truth?

    I know…make it difficult to swallow so we have to accept it by faith, right?

    Bottom line? I can’t accept that a loving God would set up a system to trick and confuse us logical people to make the most important decision of our life — to accept and comply with his one and only plan to get to the highest degree of heaven.

    God can’t be that deceitful.

    My family? I’d like to leave that part out of the discussion — to protect those not participating here. I’ll say that we are all doing very well today, and happier than we have ever been.

    Regards,

    ~Rick

    Like

  77. Rick says:

    MarZ,

    I don’t know how familiar you are about this issue. To start, you can get acquainted with the issue by reading Charles Larson, “By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri.”

    A link to read is: http://www.irr.org/mit/bhoh-br.html

    Enjoy!

    Like

  78. Todd says:

    Rick,

    I like your vague style. It adds to the sense of, shh…, conspiracy which ex-mormons and anti-mormons like to portray.

    You may have already heard this, but many of the people you are hanging your hat on that testified about Joe’s platesalso testified about similar experiences with other non-Mormon “prophets.” They also never denied those testimonies either.

    Gee… Specifically who and what are you talking about?

    You see, the folks back then were a bit wacko. They were continuously bouncing from one magical, mysterious mythical story and “prophet” to another…whatever suited their fancy for the day. Today, I think our system would question the credibility of the witnesses. Don’tcha think?

    Don’tcha think?

    So the people back then were… different than they are today, huh? A little wacko?

    For sure, things were different back then, but people are people. Evolution takes more than just a few generations to work it’s magic.

    The record is clear…they left the church and joined others.

    … which strongly supports the LDS position that they had a MOTIVE to set the record straight.

    They also never denied testimonies about visions other men had that claimed they were called of God to restore the one truth.

    Very vague… Who never denied what other visions from “other men?”

    And my favorite of all:

    God can’t be that deceitful.

    Behold, I stand at the door and knock…

    Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  79. JulieAnn says:

    The religious climate in the 1800’s was at a different, although no more fevered pitch, than it is today, Todd. ALl kinds of preachers in all parts of AMerica were seeing visions and hearing voices, mass revelations and visions were taking place. It was sort of a religious revival here in the good ol’ U.S. No, I’m not going to give you examples. Why don’t you go find it out for yourself?

    Kind of like in the 1700’s when women were burned at the stake for being too smart. That kind of thing would be crazy today….OH except if your one of the September Seven. Gee, that was rather recent, wasn’t it? I guess now if you’re too intellectual, you just get excommunicated.

    “People are people”? Talk about vague. Please….what does that even mean? Why don’t you stop being so lazy and find out for YOURSELF who he’s talking about–you know, like the scriptures tell you to do: ‘The glory of God is knowledge.’ Or is it possible that you want him to describe all of it to you on here because you have no real desire to know about whom he speaks? You have no desire to hear any other sides, accounts and, dare I say it? Truths.

    Maybe Rick can give you resources to read instead of citing every example, every one of whcih I’m sure he can back up with material that isn’t found on FARMS, in the Ensign or the triple combination.

    See, when seeking truth, most people don’t seek for the truth they want to believe; they seek truth without an attachment to an outcome, so it’s unbiased. So tell me, I’ve read your books, so has Kent , so has Rick. What books have you read that challenge the claims of the Church?

    Like

  80. JulieAnn says:

    “Behold I stand at the door and knock”??….please. You closed the door a long time ago, put your hands over your ears and started singing “la la la la la”. SO arrogant to quote that scripture to someone who has probably done more reading on the LDS religion than you will ever do.

    Tell me, in all of these comments you have made…..have you ever once written the words “I don’t know”?

    Didn’t think so.

    Like

  81. Rick says:

    Todd,

    Gotta say, with your classic ad hominum “disgruntled ex-mormon with a bias against the truth” sort of labeling, this discussion won’t go very far — and I’m quite certain you might be the one not really looking for the truth. Seems you might be the only one defending a religion here.

    Gotta also say, I’m surprised that it seems strange to you that the credibility of the witnesses is in question. If you really had searched for the truth with an open mind, you would have known of which I was referring. In case you haven’t read the books discussing them (and if you’re interested) , a good starting point is:

    http://www.irr.org/MIT/bom-wit-pt1.html

    My experience with mormon apologists is that you may not “trust” the authors of the books that challenge mormon claims, and choose to avoid reading them. Believe me, there are many brilliant scholars that challenge the church that are, or were, firm believers at one time…and the primary reason they have left is due to their unfortunate findings that Joseph’s claims are false.

    I would compare one’s refusal to give heed to their work to one’s refusal to believe Paul Dunn’s testimony of the church. There is always a reason to question one’s credibility, so you should look at the work based on the merits of the research, not what you might see as a character flaw or axe to grind.

    Anyway, I wish you the best in your quest for truth. Like I said earlier, I sincerely think you may be best served to focus on the paradigm that has worked for you, if you are truly happy. I’m a bit different than manyof my mormon emeritus friends — I think life can be much worse than living the mormon lifestyle.

    So, if the shoe fits….

    Regards,

    ~Rick

    Like

  82. Todd says:

    Hey JulieAnn!

    I don’t know!

    There I once typed the words. Feel better?

    Backatcha!

    Todd

    Like

  83. JulieAnn says:

    Todd, you always have SUCH a way of softening my heart (kind of like the ‘Hobie Ghost’ only more real) he he he

    I appreciate the sentiment and do indeed feel MUCH better.

    Now, as to your previous pharmaceutical query the answer is, quiite simply:

    nope.

    Backatcha twice and Happy Saturnalia!

    :0)

    Like

  84. Todd says:

    Rick,

    I’m sure you’re a really nice guy, and I have nothing against you personally. Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and it’s witnesses, and many things Mormon have been studied and debated for, what, 188 years now? We believers owe you, the unbelievers and critics, a great debt of gratitude. Without you, we wouldn’t know near as much as we do about all things Mormon.

    Of course, I’m familiar with the material to which you referred. I was making a point about your vagueness, and your classic ex-mormon methods in your own ad hominem arguments in relation to the Book of Mormon witnesses and people in general in the 1820’s and 30’s. It seems your time with the folks over at the Exmormon Foundation has been profitable. You must have quite a following. JulieAnn is certainly enamored by you.

    My experience with many Mormon critics is that you can’t trust them to provide an unbiased and complete rendering of historical events or circumstances. Many prematurely jump to the conclusion that Joseph’s claims are false based on biased interpretations of incomplete and often intentionally ignored data. They’ll point to the 5% and say, “See! Case closed!”, when the 95% establishes a MUCH closer approximation to truth.

    (Take note JulieAnn, I’m giving you a little gray here…)

    I would suggest that one’s refusal to give heed to the 95% is clear evidence of an axe to grind, and not looking at the work based on the merits of the research. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a character flaw, however.

    I wish you and your family the happiest of Christmases.

    Todd

    Like

  85. Todd says:

    JulieAnn,

    I have a whole new level of admiration for Kent!

    Keep it UP!

    Todd

    Like

  86. JulieAnn says:

    Todd….

    ‘Enamored’ is not the correct word. I admire Rick. See, I feel I am a VERY good judge of character.

    Now KENT….I’m definitely enamored of him. For obvious reasons. 😉

    I think when studying human behavior, one can’t discount the motivations behind said behavior.

    So let’s take a look at motivators (and we’re not going to involve silly non-entities like the boogeyman or devil).

    What, pray tell, would be Rick’s motivation or my motivation or Natalie’s or Kent’s motivations for finding reasons to debunk The Church. (Remember, NO silly make-up beings….)

    To prove we were right to leave? To justify our actions? We don’t need to prove that. Our lives, our success and happiness we’ve found outside of Mormondom speaks for itself. A Life well lived and all of that. I don’t need anyone’s approval, I am living proof of that. If someone proved it to be true for me, I’d simply go back to church. I would lose nothing. Other than my hot lingerie collection, but I digress…

    What would you lose? What would your motivations be for defending your faith? Well, if it proved to be false, would you….

    lose your family?
    lose your marriage?
    lose your identity?
    Your community?
    Your eternal soul?
    Your sexy underwear ? (you know I had to throw that in there)

    That’s quite a bit of stuff on the line for you, Todd.

    So what if? What if it isn’t true? Is it possible that those losses are huge motivators for you to defend, wear blinders and submit?

    Because you can’t possibly tell me you’d give all of that up to know “the truth”.

    Or would you?

    Like

  87. Todd says:

    For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

    Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

    Like

  88. JulieAnn says:

    Todd, stop with the ‘enlargement’ ads, will you? They are getting so overblown.

    Thanks….

    😉

    Oh and nice scripture thingy. My soul has never been for sale which is why I could never pay tithing in good conscience.

    But then we’d have to argue what a ‘soul’ is, too. Is it something eternal or something generated by our frontotemporal lobe?

    Tell you what, if you pay for the lobotomy, I’ll come back to the church. But here’s the deal going in: no nursery duty–ever.

    cheers! (I stole your farewell, but it’s so darn cute and snarky, all at once!)

    Like

  89. Todd says:

    Does anybody ever actually buy the “enlargement” products from these ads? I get about 50 emails per day on that and other related garbage.

    Maybe I should take the hint! 😉

    Deal! I’ll pay for the lobotomy and no nursery duty…ever!

    Todd

    Like

  90. Rick says:

    Todd,

    Good job! You’ve written my post for me…just change the labels and we’re there. Where you wrote “biased ex-mormons,” switch that for “biased mormon defenders” and we can save some bandwidth.

    LIke I said earlier, in the end we find evidence to support our lifestyle. You mormon defenders have done that well enough to satisfy the comfortable members. You will continue to grow your culture from within, and continue to lose us members that have some experiences that trigger objective research for the truth. You’ll continue to baptize those from thirld world countries, and lose those from the educated. But that fits the whole interpretation of “the meek shall inherit…,” right?

    Don’t worry (I’m sure you won’t), you are safe. You have workable answers for every challenge — like the one above, don’t “profit,” you’ll lose your soul. And of course, don’t get too smart, youll lose your ability to see the “real, simple truths….”

    But it’s really okay. Your culture doesn’t overtly abuse their young or women today (there is definitely a degree of emotional abuse, but that’s another discussion); others do. When I chose to study and leave, I wasn’t threatened for doing so (sans my eternal damnation); others do. The church does much good in the world, and today that is admirable – and needed. Again, there are many worse ways to live, and I find most mormons to be reasonably happy.

    Frankly, the LDS church that is alive and well today is a far cry from the one Joe set up, thanks to “modern revelation.” This inherit process will allow the church to continue its evolution towards a more loving, respectful organization that will benefit all. IMO, that will include gays in the distant future.

    But, I could be wrong.

    Happy holidays to all!

    ~Rick

    Like

  91. JulieAnn says:

    Tell me….What is it with that smell? You know the smell that every nursery in every ward house has? And the smell in the RS and other rooms too. It’s that weird…..metallic Cheerios smell.

    Tell me the truth: you guys spray those rooms with that smell so if you’re mormon, it’s instantly recognizable, don’t you?

    Like New Car Scent.

    It’s a cool smell (except the nursery). Oh and Kent tells me I’m not allowed to get a lobotomy; he said it would be a breach of contract to excise one of the sexiest parts of me. Go figure. And I thought it was my smile.

    Like

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