Happy to have our freedom

Today is the REAL July 4, as opposed to Utah’s Faux Fourth, so HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, America. I will be celebrating my freedom today.

Thank you to ALL the men and women serving our country in the armed forces, past, present, and future. A shout-out to Birdman, who spent more than 20 years defending YOUR right to attend the church of your choice, and even celebrate the Fourth on the third, should you so desire.

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Fighter jets from HAFB do a fly by over the Kaysville Parade.

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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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48 Responses to Happy to have our freedom

  1. Cele says:

    I was driving down Highway 101 yesterday and saw a Utah license plate with a holder from Kaysville. I made me think of you.

    Like

  2. birdman says:

    Actually, with Army Reserve time, it was 24 years…More than half of my life…

    Like

  3. Mark Ryan G. Deiada. says:

    God gives deliverance not people agree? Yes, you should, because no one should say that by his own strength, he can deliver himself from bondage, so we go to church? Of course, to thank him, and ask continuous guidance from him. Why do honor the sabbath day than any extravagant event? because it is a very holy day. Natural man have a hard time to comprehend it.

    Like

  4. birdman says:

    Mark…I’m not sure I understand where you are going with your comment, but let me share from my favorite author…eerrrr wait, that’s second favorite author now…sorry, Natalie…

    ‎”Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.” – Edward Abbey

    Like

  5. Todd says:

    The following first-hand experience of Joseph Smith seems pretty easy to understand.

    I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. (ref)

    Does Edward Abbey refute the existence of God, or merely that some often attribute the (currently) unexplainable to an act of God? I agree with the latter, but would dispute the former.

    Todd

    Like

  6. Todd says:

    whoops… forgot to close the blockquote. sorry!

    Todd

    Like

  7. birdman says:

    Todd,
    The former…Abbey believed in God…a form of a higher being…
    Question for you:
    Which version is that vision from????

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  8. birdman says:

    Oh Todd,
    My heart felt sympathies…I just read your blog…or as much as I could handle before gagging…
    Open your eyes, understand what you are reading and understand that those who believe differently (a majority of the world) know a little something…just cause it isn’t written by a “Mormon Author” doesn’t mean it is not the truth! Blacks and the priesthood was your first blog I read…OMG…I was around when that was happening…was an additional eye opener…they settled out of court, and a revelation occurred…WTF…
    sorry, and now back to our sponser…

    Natalie, thanks honey for sharing your truth with those who think they have THE TRUTH!!

    Like

  9. Todd says:

    birdman,

    You read my blog? All four very short posts? I’m impressed.

    The version of Joseph’s vision I cited above is the official 1842 version. You know the one he wrote specifically to “disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts.”

    You even asking the question is very telling.

    I’m not sure I follow your point about Mormon vs. non-Mormon authors. Where’d that come from?

    I’m glad that you make a distinction between Natalie’s truth and THE truth.

    Kindest Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  10. birdman says:

    Todd,
    Why would you be impressed that I read your blog…short and mundane as it is??
    I do have a degree of higher learning, an IQ several points above average, so why are you impressed that I study both sides of an issue?
    The 1842 version is one of at least three versions penned by Jo himself…how many does it take to get it right? I mean if GOD came down and spoke to me, it would be burnt upon the inside of my eyelids and I wouldn’t need to revamp or reinvent it twice before getting it right, or acceptable.
    How is my knowledge that Jo penned three versions telling? Other than showing that I have a well developed knowledge of the Mormon church and it’s fundamental teachings…next, you are going to tell me that Jo never came up with the polygamy thing, that it wasn’t until Brigham got the saints to Utah that plural marriage became a revelation?
    Mormon vs. Non-Mormon authors? Come on you started to refute my favorite…er second favorite author (sorry honey)…there are many great authors that refute the existance of GOD as you believe him to be…or that practice beliefs that challenge your own…it has long been the practice of the church to shun apostate authors, non-mormon authors and other secular authors as not being guided by the spirit and therefore not worthy of reading by the saints.
    We all have our own Truth…it is a very personal thing…no one has THE TRUTH…although your chosen religion believes theirs to be the only REAL TRUTH…But as you state in your Blog and the 11th Article of Faith…We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
    Coming to this blog and refuting Natalie’s Truth or saying that Abbey shouldn’t worship a Turkey Vulture…well, they just seem at odds with your Article of Faith…but then, so do several versions of a vision that brought about the “ONLY” true church.
    Thanks,
    and keep studying…you may learn something outside of your paradigm yet…something that can be your own truth…not the one regurgitated from your youth…
    Birdman

    Like

  11. Todd says:

    birdman,

    I can see that you’re a man who likes a good pissing contest. In just a few short posts, you’ve managed to inject multiple first vision versions, the priesthood restriction, polygamy and more into the conversation. No wonder Natalie is struck. You regurgitate anti-Mormon smut almost as good as she does!

    I wasn’t actually impressed that you read my blog. I could tell by your snarky retort to my first post that you’re bladder needed some relief, so I really was just mocking you. But, since your IQ is several points above average, I’m sure you picked up on that.

    Thanks for the lesson on the different “versions” of the first vision experience. I had no idea! To be closer to the truth, it’s more like different “tellings” of the same experience. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Joseph wrote multiple drafts of the 1842 version to make sure it was complete and compelling, in addition to being factually correct. I’m sure even someone like you, with your several-points-above-average IQ, doesn’t tell your own stories exactly the same way every time to every audience. But I could be wrong.

    So, go ahead, bring up polygamy. Another very telling (and totally random) injection on your part of an extremely tired anti-Mormon topic. **yawn** I do, however, like the way you state my position for me. It makes you look even more … intelligent.

    There are a great many non-authors who also refute the existence of God “as I believe him to be.” So what?

    For the record, I wasn’t refuting Abbey’s statement, nor saying that he shouldn’t worship a Turkey Vulture. I was merely asking what you thought he meant, and giving my opinion of two plausible perspectives. I’m shocked that someone with an IQ several-points-above-average would think that inconsistent with AoF 11.

    It has long been the practice of the church to shun apostates, period; even though “shunning” is really not a Mormon practice.

    The truth is, I’ve been a member my whole life, and I’ve never been discouraged from reading anything solely on the basis of being written by a non-Mormon author.

    For something to be true, it must conform to reality (by definition). Or, is this a twisted campaign to change the definition of “truth?”

    Respectfully,

    Todd

    Like

  12. birdman says:

    To each their own reality…
    And Todd, I am sure you will shun us and not be back, since we both fit the catagory of apostate.
    Have a great eternal life…

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  13. Todd,

    Do you realize just exactly how arrogant, rude, egotistical and smug you come across in these exchanges? Do you REALLY think you are attracting people to the Mormon Church acting all holier-than-thou and jack-assie?

    Get the fuck real. Be human. Because guess what, you are.

    Like

  14. Todd says:

    Natalie,

    Wow! What an arrogant, rude, egotistical, smug, and profane retort.

    I am the fuck real. It’s you bastards that are living in your own made-up reality bent on disparaging Mormons with your own holier-than-thou and bitchy rantings. I about shit my pants when birdman spouted his several-points-above-average IQ garbage. What an arrogant asshole.

    There, now we’re both arrogant, rude, egotistical, smug AND profane.

    Switching gears now, and I really mean this sincerely, I hope your wedding is a wonderful and memorable (in a good way) event.

    We’ve dished out and received a lot of abuse over the last couple of years, but everyone deserves a soul-mate and I hope you’ve found yours.

    Kindly,
    Todd

    Like

  15. Birdman says:

    Thanks Todd, we are very happy and made for each other.

    Like

  16. carl says:

    Every once in awhile, our asshole friend Todd gets smoked out for who he really is. Birdman – you hit close to home on some very key topics with Mormonism and it upsets Todd.

    You didn’t resort to profanity Birdman, and I know with your military background, it must be tough listening to such a physically and emotionally small man like Todd ranting and calling you names. (Seen his picture on his blog: wide hips, small girlish shoulders)

    The many different versions of JS’ “First Vision” are so highly suspect and clearly documented – it really throws the old Mormon apologetic machinery into high gear.

    Just as Polygamy, Mormon’s treatment of dark skin, Mormon History, Book of Abraham – hell, just about any aspect of Mormonism is tough to examine if one has any brain at all.

    Keep on spouting little man Todd. Mormons need to read your little tirades and figure out whom you are. We already know.

    Carl

    Like

  17. Well said, Carl.

    Todd, I’m so sad for you and your small mind. Please, look deeper. I know it’s in there.

    Like

  18. birdman says:

    Carl,
    Thanks we know the Truth of that particular organized religion…I don’t condone it, but I don’t condemn it either…just wish they would leave us alone.
    I have actually known the wide hipped, girlish shouldered Todd for well over 30 years, although I am certain he doesn’t remember me from back then…lol…I wasn’t outspoken then.
    His rant about us attempting to disparage Mormons is comical and sad…he sounded threatened by my IQ being above average, but the facts as proven by testing don’t lie, and they are quantitative unlike the rhetoric he spouts about the Mormon religion and the profound rightiousness of he belief.
    He seems to forget that he attacked me with his version of the vision in support of his opposition to a quote by one of my favorite (I’m learning Honey) authors.
    I have had to deal with the smoke screen of highly suspect Mormon apologetic machinery…name calling and cursing have about the same effect as hitting a brick wall with your fist…you just break your hand…

    Like

  19. Todd says:

    Mormonism has and will continue to unabashedly withstand scrutiny.

    The more you sad and weak-minded doofuses cling to your tired, old anti-Mormon clichés, the easier it is to dismiss you as irrelevant. So, go ahead, stick out your puny arm and try to stop the Missouri river in it’s decreed course. Out here in the swift-moving current we can’t even feel a disturbance.

    The inspired men and women who have led this great latter-day movement in the past and those who lead it now, flaws and all, have risen and will continue to rise to whatever challenge may come along. The work of God will not be frustrated.

    So I; with my wide hips, small girlish shoulders ** blush **, and several-standard-deviations-above-average IQ; will continue to plod along content with the knowledge that truth will ultimately prevail.

    (And I ain’ talkin’ ’bout that weeshy-wahshy truf that changes ever’ time Natalie gets married either!)

    Smokin’,
    Todd

    Like

  20. birdman says:

    Todd,
    Mormonism has never stood up to scrutiny…who are you kidding?
    Worldwide, there is a declining membership…although THE church maintains continued growth…even those of us that have requested to be removed from the rolls are still counted…
    I’ll bet they even count those “baptized” after death as being on the rolls…
    If you want to attack me, or my knowledge of your church, feel free…if you want to attack my Intelligence Quota, feel free…
    As in any debate, stick to facts…quantitative facts…not intangible belief of one of three versions of a fact…
    Persuade us to see and understand your view…don’t just state: because it is, or because you believe it to be…or even because MY grandparents believed it to be…persuade ME with logic…you know what that is I’m certain with those extra-stardard-deviations…you can be as deviated as you wish, but don’t hand out rhetoric as truth…belief as fact…or knowledge as evidence…
    Your statement of anti-Mormon cliches being used is unfounded…facts are not cliches. No one is trying to hold you or any of your brethren back, march on be a saint…but understand, many of us that come to this blog…well, we ain’t!
    The works of God (in whatever form we choose to worship) are never frustrated, the Mother Earth is never frustrated, we are mere ants crawling upon her surface. Be content with your “knowledge” of your “truth”, but do not condemn us that have a different truth. It’s still a truth and it’s ours!

    Like

  21. Todd says:

    birdman,

    I love your one-sided approach to these little discussions. You ask for quantitative facts, but then provide none yourself. Saying things like “I bet…” isn’t quantitative and doesn’t exude confidence. I bet you just made that stuff up anyway. I also bet the church keeps remarkably accurate membership records, well within a reasonable margin of error for an organic, world-wide (and most assuredly growing) organization.

    Before you refute the use of a word like “cliché”, you really should look it up first. You might be sadder but wiser to find it fits perfectly. (You apparently haven’t looked up the word “truth” either.)

    I understand that many who come to this blog ain’t on the same boat as me. It doesn’t bother me. Our diversity is what makes the conversation interesting and thought-provoking, IMO. Feel free to stay in your warm and safe cocoon, away from the comments on this blog, if you don’t like to read opposing views.

    I’m sorry if you feel condemned or attacked for having different beliefs than me. I’m passionate about the gospel, but am here mostly to amuse and entertain. I certainly get abused by many on this blog, and feel it’s only fair to dish out a little along the way.

    Kindly,
    Todd

    ps – I have very vague memories of you (and everything else) from high school. If I recall, you were a couple of grades ahead of me.

    Like

  22. birdman says:

    Todd, okay, we took your advice…here you go:

    Main Entry: cli·ché
    Variant(s): also cli·che \klē-ˈshā, ˈklē-ˌ, kli-ˈ\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: French, literally, printer’s stereotype, from past participle of clicher to stereotype, of imitative origin
    Date: 1892
    1 : a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it
    2 : a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation
    3 : something (as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace

    — cliché adjective

    To say that any of the facts I stated is a trite phrase or expression is unfounded…ie…Jo did write 3 versions of the vision…atleast 2 must be fiction…
    To say that the facts are a hackneyed theme, characterization or situation is unfounded…ie…a million dollar lawsuit filed by the ACLU over blacks holding the priesthood…settled out of court, and suddenly a fundamental idea is changed by revealation…coincidence? If there is a hackneyed theme, characterization or situation, it is on the part of the LDS church!
    To say that something has become overly familiar or commonplace…ie…The Salamander Letter…why in the world would GBH pay all that money to cover up something that wasn’t true????

    You call my approach one sided…please explain how you come to that conclusion…Because my view (from a vast world experience) is different than yours does not make it one sided…and you will find many times throughout this conversation where I have stated that I don’t agree with your religion or your belief, but I have put my life at risk to ensure your freedom to worship how, where and what you may! This approach is not one sided, it is many faceted…coming from a world perspective, an Eastern Theology perspective and thouroughly studied ex-mormon perspective.
    To say I bet they included those baptized for the dead…yes, merely speculation on my part…the other…NO it’s a fact they still count me, Natalie and many others as members of their religion…like the Eagles song says, you can check out, but you can never leave…they won’t let you…EVER…they just consider you inactive…yeah right, for 36 years…lol
    Warm and safe cocoon??? Hell, boy…I’ve seen combat on three continents…ain’t nothin safe…except those I protect. If I didn’t want to debate the issue, I wouldn’t respond…but when you will not respond rationally and to the subject matter, it isn’t a debate, it is belief bashing…and I for one am not even certain what you belief in…other than what someone told you, you should believe…
    Condemned…no way…your freedom was bought and paid for by my willingness to fight, the blood of my brother and sisters in arms…I don’t feel condemned, I know the price of freedom…I have carried those who paid that ultimate price.
    Attacked??? You attacked a quote by a man that died a decade ago…one of the wisest environmentalist of our generation…that is what I defended and you attacked it with the ideology of a man that wrote three accounts of the most memorable moment in Mormon history and then decided which one best suited his purpose at the time.
    Dish out all you want…understand that we expect to have zealots come here that would defend their religion…that would defend anything said or done by the church, that the church might not perish…religious fanatics have always fascinated me…most of the police actions, military interventions and “wars” that I have been involved in were/are over fanatical religious views. Be it Mormon, Muslim or Christian…your beliefs are pre-occupied with death…the fear of it, and the fear of what lays beyond it…so pre-occupied, that you forget to live for the moment, to smell the flowers and watch the children be children…Do not feel sorry or waste your pity on me, I have found salvation and it is not in the Dogma of any structured religion, it is in my ability to face each day to the fullest and worry only about the consequences of my actions during that day. To love and be loved with wild abandonment. To learn one new thing each day and share it with others that thirst for knowledge…not those that believe all knowledge is found in a set paradigm of religious teachings…teachings that are not consistant one day to the next, one generation to the next…or one vision to the next.

    Birdman

    ps: vague recollection seems to be your forte
    yes a few years older and many miles wiser

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  23. birdman says:

    Oh and Todd…

    Main Entry: truth
    Pronunciation: \ˈtrüth\
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural truths \ˈtrüthz, ˈtrüths\
    Etymology: Middle English trewthe, from Old English trēowth fidelity; akin to Old English trēowe faithful — more at true
    Date: before 12th century
    1 a archaic : fidelity, constancy b : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
    2 a (1) : the state of being the case : fact (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true c : the body of true statements and propositions
    3 a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality b chiefly British : true 2 c : fidelity to an original or to a standard
    4 capitalized Christian Science : god

    — in truth : in accordance with fact : actually

    YOU have YOURS…we enjoy ours…

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  24. carl says:

    Todd bears close resemblance to many other TBMs that I know. They face tremendous pressures dealing with LDS origins and history. As my father-in-law stated before his death (he was very Mormon; bishop, stake president, mission president), “I cannot go against generations of family history, regardless of what the truth may be.”

    I give him a great amount of credit for recognizing that the truth may be very different from that to which he dedicated his life. At the very end, it was sad to witness his struggle with truth. This struggle started very late in his life – the seeds of his discontent sprouted with greater access to information; both scientific as well as publications and disclosures about LDS background facts. By his own admission, his lifetime search for truth centered mainly on information provided to him by his own church. The Internet changed all that ……….. His struggle with the Book of Abraham launched his search for church records in general. It did not turn out well for his faith system.

    Access to information changes our perspectives. It should open our minds and help us deal with our human situation with greater understanding and acceptance of one another.

    There will always be those who claim to know God’s will. These people have always existed. Why is it so hard to simply state the obvious? And that is simply that we don’t truly “know”. Admitting this simple fact would go a very long ways to unite the world. And it would help eliminate religious arrogance, ignorance and bigotry. But – there will always be Todds.

    You don’t really know it Todd, but you are dead wrong. Your LDS church is wrong and dangerous.

    You can’t see that because in order for you to truly “see” this, you believe that you would have to admit that your entire life has been a sham. It hasn’t. There is good with the bad. Run with the good and leave the bad lies behind.

    Carl

    Like

  25. Todd says:

    I can only speak for myself, but I don’t feel any pressure dealing with church origins and history. And, yes, I’ve taken the time to study many opposing views in a very open and pragmatic way.

    My view is that most of the contrary stuff out in cyberspace, such as that found on this site, is propounded in a very disingenuous way by those intent on smearing the church at all costs. I find that profoundly wrong and dangerous.

    Those remarkable (and sometimes colorful) men and women who lived their lives during early church history built an amazingly robust religious system under incredible odds. That system has endured largely unchanged for nearly 200 years, and is not showing any signs of slowing.

    I’m not concerned at all about my life being a sham, because my life and happiness isn’t tied to every precept propounded by church Elders, some of which even I find silly. In very simple terms, my life and happiness is tied directly to my creator, my family, my friends, and my associates in a deeply personal way; and not in the church (or it’s origins or history) as an imperfect organization, run by imperfect humans in an imperfect (and quite often hostile) world.

    I agree with you Carl. Run with the good, leave the bad behind.

    Kindest Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  26. Todd says:

    birdman,

    To say that all of your themes are hackneyed is completely founded; and, to make matters even worse, your logic is critically flawed.

    It doesn’t follow, for example, that the telling of an experience at different times, in different ways, and to different audiences requires that all but one of the tellings be fiction. It’s entirely possible, and even likely, for all of the tellings to be entirely true.

    It doesn’t follow, for example, that two events that happen in close proximity to each other requires one to be caused by the other. Lawsuits are settled out of court all the time. To infer that the ACLU forced the church to change the priesthood policy is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. The article I referenced in my blog post was written in 1973, five years before the priesthood policy was changed; and details discussions and events going back decades before that. You either didn’t read it, like you said you did, or you choose to ignore the facts.

    Your approach is one-sided because you require quantitative data from me while offering no quantitative data yourself, even to support your own arguments. You don’t meet your own standard, and then have the gall to criticize me. I wasn’t even remotely disregarding your vast world experience, multi-cultural perspective, or willingness to defend freedom at home or abroad. Sorry to confuse you.

    I’m glad you admit that you just make stuff up to support your arguments.

    You have done little except inject multiple, completely random and unrelated anti-Mormon clichés into this discussion. For you to criticize me for not sticking to the argument is really rather pathetic.

    I’m not sure you even know what the argument is about. My sense is that you’re just intent on regurgitating as much anti-Mormon smut as you can.

    And if all of that isn’t funny enough, you keep calling my original comment an “attack” on one of your favorite authors. I firmly believe that you have no clear understanding of what an “attack” really is. I can see it now, someone knocks on your door asking for directions, and you immediately whip out your machine gun and start spraying fire at the door, all the while bragging about what a good shot you are.

    You grossly misrepresent Mormonism. It’s entirely about living in the moment, smelling the flowers, enjoying family, and improving one’s quality of life now and forever.

    You can have the last word.

    Kindest Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  27. Todd,

    You said:
    It doesn’t follow, for example, that the telling of an experience at different times, in different ways, and to different audiences requires that all but one of the tellings be fiction. It’s entirely possible, and even likely, for all of the tellings to be entirely true.

    Even when those “tellings” are completely different, cite different personages, and the CHURCH only owns up to ONE of them? Puhleeze. You keep talking in circles.

    You are trying to defend the indefensible. You got downright nasty this last week. Excuse me for not believing the sincerity of your wedding wishes.

    You believe something that cannot and will not EVER be proven. It is something you choose to believe because you “feel it.”

    Just own up to that. It’ll make your life easier.

    Like

  28. birdman says:

    Thank you, Carl. I believe you have summarized and expressed the issue clearly. In order for such TBMs to admit or recognize the abundant faults within the doctrine, requires an admission of implied failure in their lives. Not understanding that any failure in life (short of death) is an opportunity to gain insight and improve one’s self…and share that knowledge.

    There are many concepts within the Mormon religion that are worthy of emulation…they have a premium welfare system. The church meets the needs of its members and even exceeds them…my BIL didn’t make a single mortgage payment for 4 years while attending college, was not forced to work a real job to pay for tuition or to feed and house my sister and their 4 children. Their faith provided all their needs just by attending church regularly. When one of their daughters was found to have a brain tumor, the surgery and hospitilization was funded by the church. They received church assistance in applying for social security disability for their daughter and my sister as her caregiver.
    They can not abide my desertion of the church, can not embrace my view of the church doctrine…they have a vested financial interest in the welfare of the church. To admit fault or even implied wrong doing raises their hackles, understandably.

    The ready and reliable access to information in this technological age challenges the core of their belief, or almost any belief more than a decade old.

    The TBMs are the first to forward photoshopped images supporting their agenda, the last to verify any email or link with snopes.com. The first to be offended when the facts of misrepresentation are shown or documented, and the last to admit failability.
    I understand their paradigm, their need to defend truth or fabrication by those that have been their source of free income. Their loyalty is misguided, but understandable.

    Other TBMs, I just don’t follow…the facts are readily available, but denied. The historical documents from outside of the church are all considered a conspiracy to overthrow the church, the internally squandered documents are adamantly defended, all are considered a challenge to the faith of the righteous and are inspired by Satan to taint the public view of the “one true church.”

    Any challenge is one-sided, because it is not their side…everything spoken or written is a personal affront to the church and themselves, regardless of the fact or documentation.

    We do not know…none of us KNOW…In whatever form you envision God, God’s will is unknown and unfathomable…this admission does go a very long way to toward uniting the world. Denial of this simple truth only creates a wedge between the individual, the church and any that would claim otherwise before the world.

    There is some good in most ideology…but, it is all man-made or interpreted and therefore faulty, biased and unreliable. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath-water, understand there is good and bad in the doctrine, cling to the good and divorce the bad, the unsavory and the bigoted doctrine. Truly investigate and accept the good in other institutions and reject the flawed doctrine in it also.

    As I move forward with my life, accepting and embracing the failability of human love, it is more important than ever to look for both the good and the bad in all situations I am presented with. Choosing and accepting the good while avoiding or shunning the tenets that would create resentment or hard-feelings are paramount to the success of this new marriage and our new joined family.

    We (Natalie and I), do not have the time or energy at this point to deal with the Todds of the world that wear the blinders of self-righteousness, the bombastic attitude of superiority in their faulted perception of TRUTH and the bitterness exuded toward those that will not kneel before them and follow their perception of righteousness.

    Yes, there are those TBMs that have a hard time letting go of their personal history, regardless of what the truth may be. The flaws in the armor of their perception of religious truth must remain hidden, while the erosion of their truth is exponentially widening those flawed seams and exposing the decomposing infrastucture of a dogma based upon the frail nature of humanity protraying itself to be God…or assigned of God.

    The smiles on my face will cover the miles on my soul as we move into the final days of this long awaited union. Many thanks to those who share their heart felt sincerity in our joy…to those not so sincere, well Karma is a bitch!

    Birdman

    Like

  29. Todd says:

    nataliewrites,

    Methinks you’re the one talking extremely foolishly, as usual. Your hollow assertions pale against fact. I think you’re too accustomed to writing your fictional garbage and obvious truths are getting blurred.

    It is categorically false to state that the different “tellings” of the first vision experience are “completely” different. That assertion has zero basis in fact. There are at least nine known major recitals, and the harmony between them is readily apparent. Your refusal to concede ANY similarities says volumes about the depths of your depravity.

    Where is your proof that the church only “owns up to one of them?” Or, is that just another one of your many hollow assertions?

    My nastiness was nothing more that a comical retort to your nastiness. Your criticism is hypocritical and highly comical.

    Nastiness aside, my good wishes for you and birdman are sincere.

    Warmest Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  30. carl says:

    My 12-yr-old daughter came home from an LDS church activity last night and told me that good Mormons would be able to live together as a family forever. She proceeded to ask me why I didn’t want this, or believe in this. At that very moment, my deep feelings of anger against the LDS organization almost surfaced like a volcano.

    I responded by telling her that anyone who ever tells her that she might not get to live with her loved ones forever is evil. This is a child’s worst fear. And to play on this fear is absolutely intolerable. I told her that our creator (whoever he is) certainly loves us and will want us to be happy forever. I also told her that the people scaring her with this stupidity should be disciplined with a good spanking. We had a good laugh together, shared some stories about what some of her little Mormon friends talk about, and then discussed how ridiculous and sad many of these teachings are.

    I told her that good people live good happy lives. I told her that relationships and love will always be more important than ritualistic ceremonies and false beliefs.

    I am fearful for her as she grows up around closed-minded ignorant beliefs. The problem is, I was a very active member of the LDS faith for more than 30 years. I understand the Todds of the world. I also now understand how painfully, insidiously evil organized religion can be.

    Carl

    Like

  31. birdman says:

    Carl,
    I’m sorry someone would treat your daughter (or anyone’s daughter) in that manner…my TBM mother would say not to judge the church because one person said that, unfortunately the reality of the belief system in the Mormon church does teach all children in just that manner, the scare tactics and angst are tools of the church and for that very reason, they are dangerous. I once dated a non-LDS person that was raised in Utah…they went to Sunday School with their friends while in grade school…at the age of eight, they were told that they and their entire family would never go to heaven because they had not been baptized into the true church. At the age of eight, they were so traumatized by the thought of being cast into outer darkness upon their death, and never being able to be with their family, that could no longer stomache the thought of structured religion. The worst part was that they could no longer even be civil when someone said they were Mormon, or brought up any aspect of “the church”.
    Having been raised LDS for the first 14 years of my life until I found my own truth and rebelled, and having watched members of my own family struggle for the past 40+ years with scientific fact outweighing the faith that they had nurtured since birth. I also understand that blind faith, that gilded promise and the inability to see beyond themselves and their belief system. The inablity to comprehend that the world is laughing at them, not with them. Their failure to understand the harm they have caused others in the name of spreading their gospel.
    My greater being is a being of love and compassion…my God would never allow threats to children in his name.

    Like

  32. birdman says:

    Irony…
    I have to admit, I find a lot of irony in reading back through the comments on this blog…
    The blog started as an attempt to celebrate freedom…on the actually 4th of July…with a shout out to me and my brothers and sisters in arms that have defended those rights.

    That one individual would come to the blog with the simple need for entertainment and to amuse himself and condemn us for exercising our freedom to worship how and what we will…that is truly irony…

    I have for the past 30 years defended his right to religious freedom, and freedom of speech…and I will continue to defend that right til my death…all I ever ask is that I be allowed that same freedom…it’s not wrong or incorrect just because you don’t like it or agree with it. It’s not a falsehood, just because you don’t want it to be the truth. And because it disproves your belief, doesn’t make it an anti-mormon cliche…it just makes it a fact that disproves your belief…

    “It doesn’t follow, for example, that the telling of an experience at different times, in different ways, and to different audiences requires that all but one of the tellings be fiction. It’s entirely possible, and even likely, for all of the tellings to be entirely true.”
    I suppose there are many truths…as many truths as it takes to sale what ever it is that will bring you a prophet…or is that profit…

    Like

  33. Good one, Birdman. But I suspect Todd sleeps at night by taking Ambien, and makes it through the day by taking Prozac. How else can you lie to yourself and to OTHERS and try to DEFEND your indefensible beliefs on a public blog?

    Good question.

    Let’s see if it gets answered.

    Like

  34. Todd says:

    birdman,

    I see now that you’re injecting another tired, old anti-Mormon cliche into the discussion, that of profits. Keep going you’re on a roll!

    Where have I condemned you for exercising your freedom?

    Where have I not allowed you religious freedom and freedom of speech?

    Apparently you and nataliewrites both thrive on hollow assertions with no basis in fact.

    Your illustrious career in the armed services doesn’t excuse your obvious lack of respect for facts.

    I noticed in nataliewrites’ next main blog post that she’s now playing the gender card. I’m not surprised. Those who paint themselves into a corner with lies and innuendo often use such tactics to try to silence those of us who defend truth.

    Kindest Regards,
    Todd

    Like

  35. birdman says:

    Todd,
    I know you have no comprehension of how you come across…your rhetoric, bitterness and continued name calling are not winning you points with the readers of Natalie’s blog…if anything, this continued ungrounded and irrational behavior is merely providing another glimpse of the senseless blathering that drove us to seek a TRUTH that we could trust in and identify with. The primary readers here are not interested in your wornout claims without justification, your “testimony” that three statements that conterdict each other can all be true. That any factual account of misrepresentation by the LDS church is merely a cliche use by ANTI-MORMONS…get real these are all attacks upon my religious conviction…the conviction that Mormonism is wrong and dangerous…who really cares what you think or believe? On the world radar, your belief is a insignificant blip…because you would shove it up our nostrils like terrorist on a suicide mission, we must take note of it. But like feather mites on my pigeons, a cleansing bath with the right amount of pesticide (or truth in this case) will make them seek another home.

    I’ll be away on a honeymoon with my lovely bride for the next few days, so won’t get the opportunity to enjoy what I am sure will be your finest irrational retort on how you and your churchwith stand the scrutiny of the world…if we had not found fault in that believe system, the paradox and paradigm that are mormonism…well, this blog site would not exist, and you would not be making such an utter fool of your irrational and small minded self.
    Good day…

    Like

  36. Todd,

    GO TO THE CURRENT BLOG. ANSWER THE QUESTION. It’s simple.

    Do it.

    Natalie

    Like

  37. Todd,

    RESPECT FOR FACTS????

    GO to the current blog. Answer the question. It’s just ONE QUESTION. It’s not that hard to answer. That is, if you HAVE an answer, which I know you don’t. So point fingers. Say I pulled the gender card (I did, because you are using it, and it’s not really the gender card, it’s the PRIESTHOOD CARD, because Birdman doesn’t treat me this way.

    ANSWER THE QUESTION.

    Like

  38. Beth says:

    The LDS church claims more than 1.5 million members in Mexico. Yet according to the 2009 census, the Instituto Nacional de Estadadistica e Informatica (INEGI) only found some 205,229 people who considered themselves Mormon.

    These numbers are consistent with LDS statistics concerning actual attendees in LDS services on Sundays, where only about 150,000 people attend on average each week.

    These numbers and statistics are very similar to other census results in other countries as well. There are significantly higher conversion and retention rates by many other organized religions – most without missionary programs. Yet, when these results are printed in media, the reaction by Mormons is often very irrational.

    Excerpt: .The claim that Mormonism is the fastest-growing faith in the world has been repeated so routinely by sociologists, anthropologists, journalists and proud Latter-day Saints as to be perceived as unassailable fact. The trouble is, it isn’t true…

    But since 1990, other faiths – Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal groups – have grown much faster and in more places around the globe…

    …the Seventh-day Adventist Church reports it has added more than 900,000 adult converts each year since 2000 [compared to the Mormon Church’s conversion of only 241,239] (an average growth of about 5 percent), bringing the total membership to 14.3 million. The Assemblies of God now claims more than 50 million members worldwide, adding 10,000 new members every day.’

    In a quote from In Our View: Don’t kill messenger on LDS statistics
    Even in the enlightened 21st century, when bad news is received, some people’s first impulse is to kill the messenger.
    This week, several articles were published in the Herald about membership trends in the LDS Church. The articles looked at whether high LDS growth rates from the past can feasibly continue.

    One article noted the decline in the number of missionaries and tied it to declines in the number of new converts. Another looked at the problem the church has with retention of new converts, about 20 or 30 percent compared to a more hopeful 80 percent in some other rapidly growing Christian denominations. One of the articles mentioned research findings that suggest that only about 4 million of the 12 million members on the church’s rolls are active in church programs.
    Hundreds of readers were so unhappy to read these findings that they cancelled their subscriptions to the newspaper…

    Todd will probably cancel his subscription to all publications as well – because even the LDS church cannot continue to lie about slow membership growth and very poor retention.

    Beth

    Like

  39. Todd says:

    birdman, nataliewrites;

    Wow! You guys are insane!

    No wonder you want to start a new thread, you’re definitely not faring well in the current one. You’re coming across as desperate, and apparently grasping at anything that can get you out of the corner into which you’ve painted yourself.

    So let me get this straight. You want me to tell you why God gives the priesthood to only men? Where did that come from? Is this another diversionary tactic of yours to avoid the truth, that your assertions are hollow and don’t stand up to the facts?

    Face it, your assertions are indefensible. Trying to change the topic isn’t going to hide that fact.

    Happy Honeymoon,
    Todd

    Like

  40. Carl says:

    Todd –

    Come on buddy! Seriously, your only response to very direct qustions is with more name-calling and baseless “direction-changes”?

    This is why you piss good people off. Stick to the task buddy.

    You can’t answer because there are no answers. Your only response is “it’s God’s will”

    You are looking really pathetic, Todd.

    Just so you know ………

    Carl

    Like

  41. Todd says:

    Beth,

    Contrary to what others may say about me on this blog, I’m not closed-minded about these sorts of things; so canceling my subscription won’t happen.

    I don’t personally believe that counting membership records is a good way to measure growth; because, as the article you cite points out, those numbers are often suspect and don’t always reflect the situation on the ground.

    I know that the church is really good, probably better than most, at measuring true growth; and at finding ways to increase activity and participation at the individual level.

    How would you measure growth? Some have suggested that the number of wards or stakes is a good measure.

    Todd

    Like

  42. Todd: ANSWER THE QUESTION.

    Like

  43. Todd says:

    Carl,

    Your apparent ambivalence towards allowing your 12-yr-old daughter to hang with a “painfully, insidiously evil organized religion” is remarkable. Most fathers try to protect their young, impressionable daughters.

    I trust that once she matures and sees you for the hypocrite that you are, she will find loving respite with the very same faith-filled youth you worry about.

    It’s about faith, not fear.

    Todd

    Like

  44. Kent Winward says:

    Ok everyone — Sorry it took me so long to get here. Hi Todd — long time no see. Birdman asked me to take a look at this thread and assuming it was about the 4th of July and the armed forces, I took my time getting here.

    From this latecomers perspective, you are both arguing past each other and never the twain shall meet.

    So let’s start with the very last comment Todd made: “It’s about faith, not fear.” I disagree. I think both faith and fear have their positive and negative aspects and they certainly aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, faith is often motivated, cultivated and produced by fear. What is going to happen when I die? I am afraid, so I’ll have faith in an eternal life. This isn’t a moral or value judgement, simply a description of how people behave.

    As for Carl’s daughter, teach you children true precepts and then let them govern themselves. This is the best way to protect them.

    Here is the crux of the argument and to take a line from Shakespeare — a pox upon both your houses. Just as the comfort of a kind, loving heavenly being is comforting to the believer, the list of inconsistencies, logical disconnects and “anti-Mormon” cliches are comforting to those who were told this is what they have to believe to achieve immortality.

    Unless you frame your debate, it will continue to be unproductive, each side creating their own echo chamber of reinforcement until the cacophony makes it impossible for anyone to hear what is going on.

    Being the lawyer that I am, I would want to frame the debate in a manner that I can crush my opposition, albeit with a little bit of a fight to make things interesting. Here is where I would propose to take the discussion: How do you reconcile the conflicts? To quote this guy I once read, “By proving contraries, truth is made manifest.” Bonus points if you can tell me who said that. The discussion then moves from cliche to a value, history discussion and an attempt to find common ground.

    For example: Blacks and the priesthood. The Word of God is for all of God’s children. You are punished for our own sins, not Adam’s transgressions (or Cain’s.) Racism is a rampant cultural and historical phenomenon which prompted violent conflict between those who thought racism violated God’s law and those who believed their race was chosen by God to rule over the lesser beings (both sides used religion as the basis for their beliefs — one of those contraries Joe was talking about.). The argument came to a head in the spring of 1820 (bonus points if you know what else happened in the spring of 1820 — hint: there are multiple versions of the story) in the United States with a Missouri Compromise. The Compromise held the Union together for about forty more years until war broke out, but the entire time temperatures were broiling on the race issue in the United States. Northern (upper state New York) abolitionist leaning religions moving south into Missouri and southern Illinois would not be well received. Not surprising that depending on your viewpoint a) false doctrine or b) the human capacity for self-deception led to a ban on blacks holding the priesthood in the Mormon Church. The irony is that at this juncture, both the anti- and the pro- believe that the whole racism thing was a bad idea, they just got there different ways.

    So who is right? How should we define, the capital T, “Truth”? I’m going to come clean right now — I’m in the Joseph Smith camp on this one, at least for how to determine Truth. The reason I’m in the Joseph Smith camp is that he is also in the historical philosophical tradition of the American Enlightenment and the scientific method and he made one of the first attempts to apply that philosophy to religious thought. Joseph Smith also had a strong sense of American individualism — study it out and figure it out for yourself. How he succeeded can be argued, but I love the empirical, scientific approach to religion.

    The scientific method gives us a mechanism for creating hierarchal judgments on different hypothesis — the hypothesis that is the most consistent with all the data is the most correct, the most true hypothesis. Applied to racism, the scientific method quickly shows that it is not a true hypothesis. Another way of saying this is Truth is inclusive. If you draw lines that exclude, you don’t have the Truth.

    Joseph Smith believed this and it shows in his theology. This is the reason for eternal progression and baptism for the dead. He wanted everything included and this is often a comfort point for believers. It leads to Natalie’s Mom feeling certain that birdman is the right man for her because they will end up in the temple and end up included, despite the past. What a comfort that must be, based on her own world view.

    So I am looking at Todd’s hypothesis which says (correct me if I’m wrong) “my view is right because it is more inclusive, God’s plan provides eternal salvation for all mankind, even Natalie and birdman.”

    The conflicting hypothesis is “my view is right because the reality and data coming out of the religion is that the religion does exactly the opposite of include all mankind, it excludes everyone except the elect.”

    So there are the two contraries, how do we manifest Truth. In the spirit of Johnathan Swift, let me make a modest proposal:

    Eat the children to stop the famine (sorry literary joke that I couldn’t resist).

    Seriously, Todd’s hypothesis fails because despite the efforts of the Church at inclusion theologically, the reality is countless people feel excluded and some are even forced to be excluded by a process known as excommunication. Just makes the whole “one heart, one mind” thing seem a little narrow and false.

    The counter hypothesis and its proponents fail because it fails to include Todd and his beliefs. This makes it equally weak and equally vulnerable to attack.

    My proposed counter hypothesis, neither of you are correct. I’ve studied it out. Thought about it. Prayed about it. I came up with the answer that neither of you were true. (Told you I was in the Joseph Smith camp.) You must believe in me because my philosophy includes both of you.

    Like

  45. JulieAnn says:

    Wow. Do you see why I love this man? Excuse me if I regurgitate some of what he said, if only for my own benefit (an echo chamber notwithstanding).

    Kent eloquently explained the inclusion method versus exclusion method. With inclusion, one must include everything in examining something. Parts of the LDS religion that are true and parts that are…well, for lack of a better term, holey. NOT holy. Holey.

    The parts that are holey is where “faith” comes in. But faith is not passive: “faith without works is dead.” Faith is the belief in things which we cannot see or prove, but which we believe are true. How does one “work” this? One must live their life according to this principle by DOING. In doing, the faith is reinforced by the a)community, b) the feelie goods that come from service and c) the belief that you are indeed inclusive because you approach everyone, including the heathen (us).

    Todd is HERE because of faith. There is no argument against it because when you try and introduce something empirical, it’s easily refuted. Why? Because faith is like a putty; it can be spread out to fill any and all gaps. This is the circular argument. There is no contending with putty.

    That said, if there’s no solid ground on which to argue, perhaps the debate can be called moot, and instead, a common ground can be achieved. Why do I want common ground? (Todd, avert your eyes, because I’m going to give away my super-secret now): because Todd is a smart guy. He’s also like many faithful in that the more you wriggle, the tighter he gets. Like that plant-thing in Harry Potter. You need to stop the struggle, let go and allow Todd to say his truth. Then you can say yours. Todd will either hear you or not. But I guarantee he won’t hear a word while your wriggling.

    Mormon’s believe that they are inclusive, but they exclude important holes in their premise; they cover the holes with the putty of faith and then spread the word via missionary work to reinforce what they believe. But this is all just polite talk for “My way or the highway….brother! (or sister!)”

    Non or anti Mormons do the exact same thing. They focus on the inconsistencies and then putty over the holes of the truth they find with the putty of indignation and anger.

    Either way, folks, putty is weak.

    Can’t we focus on the foundation, which is, I presume, a basic need to share what we feel is right and good, and share from a perspective of tolerance and love? Not that I don’t enjoy the skirmishes, but I do dislike the sight of blood.

    In short, Todd, I want you to see me, see me for the happy, peaceful person I am. I wish you knew birdman and Natalie, and saw up-close and personal what good, wonderful and happy people THEY are. I can see that your convictions have led you to a place of peace and that’s a good thing. What I think is going on here is this: many on here feel that you invalidate their peace because it isn’t YOUR peace, or at least your path to peace. I think you do believe there is peace to be found outside of Mormonism. If you can agree to that, we have a start. 🙂

    Like

  46. Rick says:

    Hi all…happy Pioneer Day! I accidently clicked on here, then looked, just to see if anything was happnin.

    Wow!

    First, congrats Natalie and Birdman! As Kent and JulieAnn can attest to (I’m sure…), marriage in our middle years can be very exciting! My wife and I just passed our two year mark and she hasn’t booted me yet (well, unless I ask her too…)

    I mostly stay off the exmo blogs these days…kinda graduated, you could say. Being a mormon emeritus for 10 years changes alotta things. My whole worldview is different than when “religious.” I see mormonism, and most other dogmatic religions as having had a part in our human evolution. Perhaps when we didn’t understand the science of survival and natural selection, religion gave “us” hope and reason to continue, so we could prove ourselves worthy for a better life — next go-round.

    So those who had strong “faith” survived, thrived, and procreated little religious zealots too. With an attitude of “we must suffer/endure today for a better tomorrow,” evolution succeeds.

    But today we do just fine living in the present. We have purpose and hope that living with and taking care of each other brings sustainable joy and happiness. Many of us are content to view death as either the end…or the continuation of a different kind of existence — but unknown.

    I think this is the reason for the decline in religions. Yes, I’m sure many will adapt their dogmas to new knowledge, as they have historically (mormonism included). But we simply don’t NEED them as we once did. New technologies offer better means of communication, social avenues, and education. Service organizations abound without the necessity of “God” (or his mouthpiece) telling the members what they should and shouldn’t do. We understand that we as a human tribe can actually love and care for each other naturally.

    So I’m enjoying my new life without religion — as incongruent as that may seem to some!

    ~Rick

    Like

  47. Rick says:

    oops, left out my “punchline!

    So back to the topic, I am enjoying my freedom today — freedom FROM religion!

    (done now…)

    ~Rick

    Like

  48. Birdman says:

    K and JA thanks for clarification while we were off honeymooning. I always enjoy your perspectives. I really enjoy Kent’s ability to show that all of us are wrong, that there is no truth with a capital T. Thanks JA for pointing out your husbands brilliance once again…must be in the genes.
    The question must go unanswered, at least without a conclusive answer Natalie and I seek…I am sure as pointed out, that Todd feels he has responded to the question…no more wriggling.

    Like

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