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Total Articles: 25
The "Opinion" topic was created to separate out recovery from opinions on posts made in Ex-Mormonism.
Don't Be Deceived - Church Warns Members To Avoid Internet Sites That Deceive Us About Joseph Smith
Thursday, Sep 29, 2005, at 07:27 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
At SM last week, the speaker explicitly warned the congregation to avoid Internet sites which deceive us about Joseph Smith. His warning came as yet another installment of the JS lovefest (praise-a-thon) that has been occuring in our part of Zion.

This is the first time that I had ever heard such a warning from the pulpit.

But, who is deceiving who?

From my experience, it is the "pro" sites, particularly the church's own site, that do the deceiving by omitting important details about JS life, such as his plural marriages, financial schemes, the BoA translation debacle and his marital troubles with Emma, among other things.

The so-called "anti" sites seem to be faithful to the truth, letting people make their own decisions from the history as it stands. To be sure, there are sensationalist anti-types, but, IMO, the truth speaks volumes.

So, I ask again, who is deceiving who?

- -

I agree, it is ridiculous, considering the biggest lies about the man are being peddled by LDS Inc.

Another project of mine, half-done and probably never to be finished, is the draft of a biography of Joseph Smith. In Spanish, sparing no details and without any of the born again junk that normally accompanies "true history" in Spanish. I write in spurts, with my greatest energy coming after the Corporation does something to piss me off.

I really don't care if anyone leaves the church because of it, or if anyone stays. But if they do stay, and they do continue to pay tithing, they ought to at least get a glimpse of some of the life of the founder.

And I get to practice neat words that don't come up in everyday conversation: estupro (sexual relations with minors), desfalco (embezzlement), desviado sexual (sexual deviant).

- -

That's exactly why it is not discussed more from the pulpit. Many people (not just teenagers) would be curious and check it out. Not the overzealous obedience drones, but everyone else.

I think the Brethren's obsession with internet pornography is really more about their fear of anti-Mormon websites (which by definition is anything that is not pro-Mormon.) They are deathly afraid of the non-faith promoting materials that can be found on the Internet, so they hammer on the porn issue and hope the message gets across that anti-Mormon internet stuff is bad, too. I'm sure they consider anti-Mormon websites to be spiritual pornography.
Mormonism's Seemingly Innocent "Choose The RIght" Ring Is Used As A Powerful Object Of Social Symbolism
Wednesday, Aug 4, 2010, at 08:09 AM
Original Author(s): Topper
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
Tonight, as I was watching a science program in a series called 'The Human Spark', this concept dawned on me. They were discussing the use of jewelry, especially beads, in ancient cultures to indicate who was part of the social group. Then I got to thinking how the wearing of a CTR ring isn't just to remind the wearer of a religious moral concept, but actually solidifies the concept that the wearer is part of the in group. It never ceases to amaze me how the Morg covers every base. All clubs give special significance to their particular jewelry, whether it's the Masons, Scouts, Knights of Columbus, etc. Special jewelry can be, not only, an identifier of one member to another, but can be used as a conversation piece to win over new converts.

So here is what I propose. Maybe somewhere out there is a former member who would like to create and market the XMO ring. This would be especially good in regions that have a lot of ExMos. But those of us in outlying areas would probably enjoy having one, too. I know that I'd buy one. It's a morale booster, as well as a possible educational and deconverting tool.
Or Mormon Family And Friends Feel That We Have Rejected Them
Monday, Aug 9, 2010, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): Susieq#1
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
It's my observation that Mormons in our family and friends are often difficult to deal with when we leave the LDS Church because they feel strongly that we have rejected them.

It is often interpreted as a deep personal insult, slap in the face, to see their loved ones and friends leave their church. It is considered a complete rejection of the whole family and friends.

It is that sense of rejection that most often, in my view, produces their defensive behavior and negative attitudes.

It is also a sense of entitlement to treat others as the enemy that deserve the worse possible treatment (sometimes very childish), that results in some of the most angry, nasty, rude, behavior rejecting their own family and loved ones.

Rejection is a powerful emotion. Mothers feel their children have rejected them when they go against what they have been taught. The same for fathers.

When we leave the LDS Church, we don't just leave a church. We very often leave our generational, traditional, cultural, heritage with it's strong familial, societal ties. We, in essence, leave a tribe which is seen as rejection.

When we make a major change in how we see ourselves, and change our identity as a Mormon to a former Mormon, we will be faced with how to deal with our closest family and friends. That is bound to have an impact.

Part of our "recovery" or what I define for myself as: The Exit Process from Mormonism, has a major component that involves a dynamic change in our relationships with Mormon family and friends and our identity as a Mormon.

It's not surprising, therefore, that we discuss, and rant, and talk a lot about how to approach our family and friends and how they treat us after we make it clear that we cannot be believers anymore (for a variety of reasons.)

It's also not surprising that we are faced with dealing with the rejection of family and friends and their inability to accept us on any other level than as a Mormon. Often, it's very confusing. Why are my family and loved ones and friends acting like that? Why are they so angry, hateful, mean, nasty?

They don't know what to do with the information and generally react with strong emotional responses of rejections as a response to our rejection of our previously bond from being a part of the same religion with it's strong cultural, societal component.

Their religious training has, for the most part, left them with no ability to accept someone that leaves their religion. There is very often a strong sense of fear that it's contagious.

Eventually, most of our loved ones, family and friends adjust to our change in beliefs on some level. Sometimes that comes quickly, and sometimes it takes months or years. Some are never capable of accepting us as a former Mormon.

And so, we try to find ways to keep our relationships that are salvageable. Sometimes that means finding a way to accept rejection from our mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, etc., closest friends and loved ones.

What to do? How to get through the process of recreating familial relationships?

I am a proponent of the notion that we will need to teach our Mormon friends and loved ones how to treat us. We will need to learn some new skills.

We will need to learn how to take our personal power back, own it and set healthy boundaries of decency and civility in our homes and our personal relationships. It's my view that it can most often be done with firmness, kindness and humor.

And, so, I keep on, keeping on, creating a New World View for myself that includes a wider acceptance, tolerance, and respect of all human beings.
Mormons And Special Pleading
Monday, Aug 16, 2010, at 09:16 AM
Original Author(s): O2
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
Special pleading is introducing favorable details or excluding unfavorable details because of some "special" circumstance. When dealing with TBMs these "special" circumstances may take the form of:

Claiming that vocabulary is owned by a distinct community with sole rights to assess meaning and application

Example: We are the only ones with the fullness of the gospel so we alone can determine what is meant by the terms "valid temple ceremony", "Urim and Thummim", and "revelation".

Unexplained claims of exemption from principles commonly thought relevant to the subject matter

Example: I'm not relying on faith in small probabilities here. These are prayers to our Heavenly Father bolstered by fasting, not primitive chanting. They are different.

Claims to data that are inherently unverifiable, perhaps because too remote or impossible to define clearly Example: There is no real problem with the lies told in Mormonism [or insert some other faith here]. Like all religions, Mormonism does have some adverse effects, but Mormonism is different. Many have benefited from Mormonism.

Assertion that the opponent lacks the qualifications necessary to comprehend a point of view

Example: I know you think that Mormonism does not always make sense. There are things about Mormonism that you don't have the spiritual insight to understand.

Assertion that literally nobody has the qualifications necessary to comprehend a point of view

Example: I know the idea that the Mormon church is led by inspiration makes no sense to you, but that's only because you're human. Humans cannot understand supernatural phenomena.
Mormonism Is A Middle Class Phenomenon
Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010, at 09:00 AM
Original Author(s): The Man Behind The Curtain
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
Mormoms are mostly middle class. Poor people have an awfully hard time becoming full fledged Mormons. To begin with, poor people have a hard time paying tithing. They need all the money they can get. If they don't pay tithing, they can't go to the temple, and so they can't receive the full blessings of the Church.

There is a stigma if young men don't go on missions. Missions are expensive, and most poor people can't afford them.

Mormonism requires marriage of all its members. Some people are too poor to get married.

Mormons worry a lot because if they fall out of the middle class, they will be unable to afford to be a Mormon.

I used to think that Mormons were better than other Christians because they had to pay tithing. I thought that other Christians would not be saved because they were not sacrificing enough to merit salvation. Now, however, I feel differently. I don't believe in other Christian religions, but I can see how a poor person would feel more at home in them. They don't require tons of money, directly and indirectly, to be a member. Religion is supposed to be for everybody, rich and poor alike. It is supposed to be a refuge from the world, a place where anybody can go, no matter how poor, and be fully accepted.
Another Brick In The Wall: Mormonism Doesn't Harm - Or Benefit - Anyone
Thursday, Aug 26, 2010, at 09:18 AM
Original Author(s): Substrate
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
Recently I've been fascinated in reading a defense of Mormonism that asserts that the LDS church, being a "thing," cannot be said to harm anyone or anything. It is what we choose to do with the church that can cause harm or benefit to ourselves and others. Things of themselves don't do anything, so they can't be "good" or "bad."

Think of a brick. It's just sitting there, not hurting anyone, and then one person picks it up and hits someone over the head with it. Is the brick harmful? Someone else might pick up the same brick and use it to build a bridge that will benefit society. Is the brick good? The brick derives value only from its human use; therefore, logically, it is the human action that is good or bad, not the lump of baked earth.

The writer then suggests that the LDS church is like the brick: value-neutral, it does good or harm only when humans choose to do good or harm with it. Rather than "blaming" the church for the good or bad it does in our lives, we should take responsibility for our choices and "own" them.

But the church isn't a brick. It isn't some object to be picked up and used as we wish. It is a worldview, an ideology. Here I'll use Martin Seliger's definition:

"An ideology is a group of beliefs and disbeliefs (rejections) expressed in value sentences, appeal sentences and explanatory statements. ... [It is] designed to serve on a relatively permanent basis a group of people to justify in reliance on moral norms and a modicum of factual evidence and self-consciously rational coherence the legitimacy of the implementation and technical presecriptions which are to ensure concerted action for the preservation, reform, destruction or reconstruction of a given order. (Ideology and Politics, London: George Allen and Unwig, 1976, pp. 119-20.)"

Unlike the brick, an ideology prescribes in advance its uses, its limitations, the acceptable forms of discourse about it long before anyone "picks it up." Imagine, for example, an ideological system that asserts that a brick can only be used as a weapon to hit who doesn't adhere to the ideology, and that use is always "good." If a child taught such an ideology from birth then hits an outsider with a brick, is the brick bad? Or is it the child? Or the ideology? Just that quickly the notion of a belief system as an inanimate object breaks down, precisely because such a system is already bound up in action and motivation and consequences. A church, then, is at the same time the institution, the people who make up its members, the "things" (property and buildings, for example), and also the motivations, the actions, and the consequences of all of these. It isn't value-neutral because the ideology itself defines and asserts what is good and right and moral. As Louis Althusser puts is, "An ideology always exists in an apparatus, and its practies, or practices. This existence is material."

Ideology does not spring up within a vacuum, and we do not exist outside of ideology. Ideology precedes the individual, as we are born into an existing belief structure, with its attendant apparatus, practices, and morality. Our belief that we see reality, or "things as they really are," affirms our submission to ideology while simultaneously making us believe that we are free from ideology. As Althusser continues, "Those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology: one of the effects of ideology is the practical denial of the ideological character of ideology by ideology." At what age, for example, do children born into Mormonism "pick up the brick" of Mormon ideology? They don't: they were born with it in their hands, figuratively speaking, and they know what to do with it.

But our writer argues that, being autonomous individuals with absolute free will, we choose what to make of the institution of the LDS church, whether to use it for good or for evil. The church as a thing does nothing to benefit or hurt us, only so far as we choose to do beneficial or hurtful things ourselves. This argument, of course, is a familiar one to most Mormons: if we don't benefit from participation in the LDS church, it's our fault. Mindnumbing lessons and meetings depend not on those who organize and present them but on those who attend. We get out of Mormonism what we put into it and have only ourselves to blame if we aren't edified. According to our writer, then, any organization, no matter its ideology, is potentially beneficial, as long as one puts in the effort to gain something from the experience. After all, organizations, religions, belief systems, are merely bricks to be put to use by autonomous individuals either for good or bad. Don't blame the brick, we are told, for the choice of hitting someone.

But, giving our writer the benefit of the doubt, let's try to imagine a value-free ideology or religion, one that we could pick up at will and use for good or evil, entirely by our own choice. What would such a religion look like? First, it would involve a system devoid of moral assertions, as such assertions inherently place the ideology within a value system. Has there ever been such a religion? Some have joked that Unitarian Universalism is the "church of whatever," but its ideology is driven by what it sees as universal human values. Again, as Seliger stated, a system without "value sentences, appeal sentences, and explanatory statements" is not an ideology. Can a highly moralistic and prescriptive religious system such as Mormonism really be considered value-neutral? obviously not.

Moreover, ideology has a purpose, and it masks that purpose behind its morals, assertions, and practices. That purpose is to legitimize social power structures. As Terry Eagleton puts it:

"The process of legitimation would seem to involve at least six different strategies. A dominant power may legitimate itself by promoting beliefs and values congenial to it; naturalizing and universalizing such beliefs so as to render them self-evident and apparently inevitable; denigrating ideas which might challenge it; excluding rival forms of thought, perhaps by some unspoken but systematic logic; and obscuring social reality in ways convenient to itself. Such ‘mystification,’ as it is commonly known, frequently takes the form of masking or suppressing social conflicts, from which arises the conception of ideology as an imaginary resolution of real contradictions. In any actual ideological formation, all six of these strategies are likely to interact in complex ways."

These six strategies certainly apply to religion in general, and to Mormonism in particular.

1. The LDS obviously promotes beliefs and values that support its worldview, such as notions of eternal families and the threat posed by untraditional family structures.

2. The church universalizes those beliefs such that they are self-evident; what LDS church member, for example, would ever argue that the tradtional two-parent family may not be an optimal arrangement?

3. Obviously, the LDS church has for a long time denigrated apostates and challenging ideas, such as, in turn, evolution, feminism, and same-sex marriage.

4. All of us have met Mormons who say that if they didn't believe in the church, they would not be able to believe in another religion because no other religions make sense.

5. The notion of Mormons as a peculiar yet united people obscures social reality; many Wasatch Front Mormons, for example, are stunned to find out just how small and insignificant a religion it really is (after all, it was the building of a Mormon temple that was the "pivot point" around which the Iron Curtain fell).

6. Obviously, conflict is minimized and suppressed in favor of the unity of Zion. Years ago I remember some believing friends expressing shock and disbelief that there could possibly be any arguing or compromise or even dissent among the leadership of the church. One person expressed the belief that the Brethren were of one mind and will, and thus the idea of disagreement was unthinkable.

It is this process, then, that makes up the brick of Mormonism, which is not inanimate at all but infused with meaning, motivation, and action long before anyone ever picks up it (as if they are even aware of picking it up).

Mormonism works for a lot of people. Someone once said that Mormonism was the only corporation they knew of whose principal product was of no value whatsoever to its customers. That is obviously not true, as no one would adhere to a religion that does not benefit them at all, particularly one as demanding as Mormonism. But the benefits some derive do not cancel out the harm that others have experienced.

Duped or not, Mormonism affects the lives of its members and those who associate with them. Maybe my father is right that the trick is to embrace the good without getting stuck in the bad. I haven't figured out how to do that, yet. I think I dropped the brick as a weapon a long time ago. That's a start.
"Every Culture Gets The Art It Deserves"
Monday, Aug 30, 2010, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): Noob
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
I read that quote at, in their "Ask Mark Kostabi" column. Kostabi is an NYC-based abstract painter famous and notorious for alot of things. But one thing is for sure, Kostabi makes you think.

Kostabi is also known for the mantra "never complain." He advises struggling artists to never "play the blame game," even if you're in the right. Maybe because of this, Kostabi has seen alot of success and sells lots of paintings every year.

Now look at the Mormons. They have made an entire culture out of "persecution." O, they were chased out of Missouri! O, their leader was tarred and feathered! O, the pioneers suffered on the plains (as they walked and walked and walked). Even today, the poor, poor Mormons are jabbed at by "angry" anti's or "bitter" ex's who dare to publish their "sacred" temple ceremonies and crazy beliefs. And the other Christians won't even let them into the mainstream Jesus Club!

Well, if every culture gets the art it deserves, the Mormons certainly have the art they deserve. Silly paintings of Joe Smith and temple-worthy pious members in predictable poses with non-offensive backgrounds and non-thought-provoking settings. Bland, brainless art with even more brainless subject matter.

When you play the persecution card and play the victim, you never have to stand by your ideas and take any risks. You basically use the "blame game" as your excuse for failure, before you even really try.

If art is about anything at all, it is about risk. It's about putting your ideas into physical form, and putting them on display for the world to see and either cheer or criticize. The artists goal is to get people to think, to challenge their assumptions about the world we live in.

The Mormon artist's goal is to stop all thought, repeat the same nonsense they've all been taught since birth, and never take any risk at all. Yes, Mormonism, you got the art you deserve.
The California Bishop's Death Raises A Question
Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010, at 07:57 AM
Original Author(s): Odell Campbell
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
First, I am deeply saddened by the killing of the LDS bishop Sunday. He was only 42 years old, a father of six, a husband and I am sure a valuable member of his church and community.

I don't know the details of why he was shot to death but could only surmise an opinion having served in two bishoprics.

As a bishopric member, I was surprised at how often people walked in off the street looking for financial assistance who were not members of the LDS church. It seemed to me that many looking for financial help were regulars at it - going from church to church looking for cash. I suspect that some churches kept some cash on hand for this sort of thing - the LDS church does not.

Also, each bishop in the metro area I live in had a responsibility on a rotating basis of being what was termed "the transient bishop." For a month, all telephone calls from those passing through town calling for assistance would be directed to the so-called "transient bishop." These calls came late at night usually. As a counselor, I was often called by the bishop to go with him to assist.

These situations were very dangerous. We would meet those seeking assistance at hotel rooms or other dark and isolated locations. The bishop would make an assessment of the person was LDS, why they needed help, and their long term needs. Although I agree that the LDS church does not do enough to assist in humanitarian needs and community needs, I do see that many would use the LDS church or any church for free money to support an unhealthy lifestyle. Meeting people on the road late at night seemed dangerous to me.

Having strangers come in off the street and demand money in a closed office space seems dangerous to me too. I can't help but wonder if this person was seeking financial assistance, was denied, and then shot the bishop.

I am not sure of what the LDS church could have done differently. I saw risks lay LDS church leaders took to help and am thankful none of those occasions turned violent.

I do not think the solution is for everyone to start carrying concealed weapons. It seems that the problem is more deep seated then a contest of who can draw their weapon out the quickest.

What could the LDS church reasonably have done differently - it can't and shouldn't have to hire armed security for Sunday worship?
Mormons Like To Be Protected From Normal Socialization
Friday, Sep 3, 2010, at 08:38 AM
Original Author(s): Cheryl
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
I was interested to read "New UT grad's" description of adult college students. She said they talk in what I read to be a child-like tone of voice generally seem uncomfortable being challened in class. I think this is because they're used to giving and expecting unearned respect and obedience in their church culture.

Then in Rambo's thread about her mother putting on a show to inpart faith promotion, posters passed off the interchange as a "joke."

I think these are examples of mormons expecting unearned respect. This idea leads to poor socialization. The only way to mature and learn normal skills of interaction is practice. If mormons expect and receive a pass day in and day out, they don't develop a sense of normal give and take. In other words they're scocially stunted.

I'm continually amazed by this when I read about exmos tip-toeing around TBMs. They're worried about confrontation and about offending. There's an underlying assumption that the only way to work out little differences is to scream, yell, and bully.

Not true. I think it's a good idea to learn to speak up and we can do it in a kindly voice, with tact and sensitivity.

I was recently on vacation and notice how kindly and gracious one flight attendant was when she remined passengers to buckle seatbelts and such. I think many of us could learn to practice these skills with TBMs. We'd be helping them as much as ourselves.


Mom, I love spending time here and enjoy your wonderful bread and milk and canned peaches. (big smile) But really couldn't we just talk at the table instead of reading faith promoting stories from the Ensign?

Oh, hello Bishop Rood. I didn't expect to see you here at my door tonight. As much as I'd like to talk to you about our stamp collections. This is a very bad time since I just put dinner on the table and the kids are hungry. So we'll have to postpone our talk. But do have a good evening.

Oh, hello Sister RP. I guess you didn't see me in line at the store deli. Isn't this a good buy on avocados?

No yelling, no screaming, no problem, and mormons don't get a free pass.
If The Book Of Mormon Is Merely Literary Narrative
Friday, Sep 10, 2010, at 07:53 AM
Original Author(s): Sock Puppet
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
The claims of historicity of the BoM have worn rather thin as science and archaeology have developed. Some alternatively point to its value as literary, not literal. (That's code for: made-up fiction.)

This would make Mormonism akin to the hype in the summer of 1999 about the Blair Witch Project. Its promoters created a faux documentary of the Blair Witch story that aired on cable channels as the movie was released in theaters. They used the Internet and suggested that the film was a real event. On college campuses, flyers were used to promote it as a real event, a real rural legend of Maryland. And the hysteria flourished. Though production costs were under $1m, it raked in $248m worldwide.

However, after learning that the Blair Witch was not a real event, not even had it been a legend, it was only the true dupe that clung to the 'magic' of the Blair Witch Project for a few days or weeks.

If the Church lets go of the historicity claims of the BoM, as the apologists seem to be cracking the door ever so slightly open, then the 'divinity' of Mormonism would be reduced to nothing more than romanticizing about mere mortal events that took place in the 1820s, 1830s and 1840s, and the furtive imagination of its founder, Joseph Smith.

Oh, lots of books contain oodles of wisdom, and to-live-by guidance. So where would the faithful then be as it becomes ever so more obvious that the BoM is a Blair Witch hoax for the modern ages?
Princess Mononoke, Mormonism And Art
Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010, at 02:03 PM
Original Author(s): White Rabbit
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
One of my all-time favorite movies is the Japanese animation Princess Mononoke. I first saw it right after it was released on DVD (gads, over a decade ago) and it was a wonderful and powerful viewing. It wasn't a simple Disney flick and it wasn't afraid to show ambiguity in human relations, nor was everything alright at the end. In short, it is a great example of a work of art that goes across cultures and speaks to that which makes us human. For me, it's inspiring and uplifting for a few reasons. The first is that it is simply a gorgeous film with incredible artwork. The second is that it tells a story where the spirit of humanity works to resolve conflict for a better world.

I watched Princess Mononoke again tonight and I couldn't help but think again of the promise that was made years ago by some GA (I forget who) who said that Mormonism would produce great artists. And how empty that promise has been. The only great people Mormonism seems to produce are businessmen.

But, that aside, I want to focus on the lack of artists (painters, musicians, writers, etc). Or the lack of artists that can produce work that speaks across language and culture and to the core of us as humans. Artists who can inspire us to be better people, who can inspire us to resolve to work to improve the world around us.

There aren't many, by my count, because the culture of Mormonism is so contrary to the necessary essence of what an artist needs. An artist needs to look into all that makes us human, the good and the bad and everything between. Artists know that a good story isn't something that is black and white, it's all the stuff between and how we navigate it. Yet that very view is nearly anathema to what Mormonism teaches us. We were taught that there is a very sharp line between good and evil and that we can be righteous always. The stories that Mormonism produces are those where the good guys either are always righteous or they are redeemed and from then on righteous. The core of the story is to show us how to behave and how to always choose the right and turn to God.

I think it's as I've come to be an agnostic/atheist that I really have started to understand why Mormon inspired works have never clicked with me, and it's because the idea of turning to God is in itself a shallow and meaningless action. It does not go across cultures. It does not speak to others at a core level. Whereas the core of us as humans and a community of humans does reach across cultures. We all understand at a basic level love, community, friendship, grief and many other things. But the idea of worshipping a god in the sky is not universal. It does not inspire.

Artists examine these core human emotions and how they work in us to set us in a wide variety of actions and responses, some good, some not and some neutral. A good Mormon artist believes that she must use her work to bring people to god, but she can't use a universal language because there is none. So her work become for the faithful only.

Back to Princess Mononoke. In it you can watch the actions of the characters and understand them even if you didn't know the language. You would also understand the emotions embedded in the music. You could understand what the characters are going through even when the work was produced in a culture you do not know or understand fully. It's a universal human language that we understand and that we deal with everyday. It's dealing with the grey between what we call good and what we condemn as evil. And it's something Mormonism cannot abide and thus cannot produce artists of world quality that also remain true to the religion's principles.
The Numerous Ancient Sources Of The Bible
Thursday, Sep 16, 2010, at 08:11 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
After discovering the actual fraudulent beginnings for the Book of Mormon I have become very curious about other religions beginnings. The Bible, because of its relationship to Mormonism, particularly intrigues me. The actual orgins are fascinating.

As I have been reading over the last year or so something occurred to me. The Bible is actually a result of the geographic location of the Canaanites at the crossroads of three continents. The Bible originated with the Canaanites who gradually morphed into the Israelites sometime between 400-700 BCE. The stories in the Bible are collections of older myths from the surrounding cultures. Those who originate from that region possess DNA that indicates they intermixed with the many groups of people who traversed the lands they wandered for centuries.

"While the Jews of today are connected historically and religiously to the Jews of ancient Israel, the DNA evidence also indicates that a significant amount of Jewish ancestry can be traced directly back to their Israelite/Middle Eastern ancestors. However, these ancestors represented a heterogeneous mix of Semitic and Mediterranean groups, even at their very beginnings. The Israelite Kingdom arose in the 11th century BCE in an area between modern-day Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Current archaeological evidence indicates that the Israelite kingdom arose out of the earlier, Bronze Age Canaanite culture of that region, and displayed significant continuity with the Canaanites in culture, technology, language and ethnicity (Dever 2003, pp. 153-154).

While the Canaanites were a Western Semitic people indigenous to the area, they appear to have consisted of a diverse ethno-cultural mix from the earliest times. It is from this diverse group that the evolution of the Israelites occurred. Although little is known about these groups, they probably included some of the following populations:
  1. Amorites: Western Semites like the Canaanites. They were probably the pastoral nomadic component of the Canaanite people.
  2. Hittites: A non-Semitic people from Anatolia and Northern Syria.
  3. Hurrians (Horites): A non-Semitic people who inhabited parts of Syria and Mesopotamia. Many kings of the early Canaanite city-states had Hurrian names.
  4. Amalekites: Nomads from southern Transjordan. Even inimical references to this group in the Hebrew Bible "tacitly" acknowledge that the Israelites and Amalekites shared a common ancestry.
  5. Philistines: Referred to in ancient texts as "Sea Peoples." They invaded and settled along the coasts of ancient Canaan. Their culture appears to stem from that of Mycenae.
(Dever 2003, pp. 219-220)."

"As far as we can see on the basis of the archaeological surveys, Judah remained relatively empty of permanent population, quite isolated, and very marginal right up to and past the presumed time of David and Solomon, with no major urban centers and with no pronounced hierarchy of hamlets, villages, and towns." -- p. 132

"There is no trace of written documents or inscriptions, nor of the Temple or palace of Solomon, and buildings once identified with Solomon have been shown to date from other periods. Current evidence refutes the existence of a unified kingdom: "The glorious epic of united monarchy was -- like the stories of the patriarchs and the sagas of the Exodus and conquest -- a brilliant composition that wove together ancient heroic tales and legends into a coherent and persuasive prophecy for the people of Israel in the seventh century BCE" (p. 144).

"...most of the Israelites did not come from outside Canaan - they emerged from within it. There was no mass Exodus from Egypt. There was no violent conquest of Canaan. Most of the people who formed early Israel were local people - the same people whom we see in the highlands throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. The early Israelites were - irony of ironies - themselves originally Canaanites!"-Finkelstein and Silberman

Numerous encounters over several centuries led to the adoption of other cultures myths and intertwining these myths into a loose collection. The occasional traveler probably stayed and the occasional Canaanite probably left with the travelers.

I personally find the actually origins more interesting than the mythical tales. It is actually a reflection of the evolution of most cultures around the world. Isolation is actually VERY rare in the course of human history.
Thou Shalt Get Married!
Friday, Sep 17, 2010, at 08:13 AM
Original Author(s): Troy
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
Since I've been digging in the theoretical depths lately, something really important occurred to me. It isn't that I've never given it any thought, but it has me wondering.

First of all, I assume that human rights cannot conflict with one another. Simply, if I am exercising my human rights, those rights come to an end the moment that doing so comes at a cost to the rights of anyone else. I cannot claim that I have the right to deprive anyone else of their rights. That is where my liberties end. This applies to everyone in society. If I have a legitimate claim to a right, this entails a corresponding duty in everyone else, namely, to protect my legitimate right. Correspondingly, I have a duty to protect the rights of anyone and everyone else. We're all in it together.

Suppose we accept the above premise. Now, what can we say about the Mormon moral imperative to marry? Can a religious organization make a demand like this of its members? I say no. Not if everyone is to have individual human rights that are equal and considered inviolable.

A religious organization has few "rights" of its own. What rights an organization has are typically contractually-based. But these rights are not at all like individual human rights, which are the entitlement of every member in that group, individually. In a society that values justice, no organization can ever claim that its rights as an organization exceed any kind of individual human right. In the type of society we have, based on the US Constitution, individual rights are supreme. This is precisely why we don't vote on whether or not to grant human rights. They are enshrined in the Founding Documents. Again, either everyone has equal individual rights or nobody has rights. To eliminate equality is to eliminate the whole conception of human rights.

The three most familiar, and undoubtably the most important rights are, of course, those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights can be categorically broken down. For example, the right to be free from unnecessary bodily harm is part of the right to life. The right to freedom of religious practice is, of course, one of our liberties. We can analyze these rights separately, but they are deeply intertwined.

Since religious freedoms are one kind of human right, and the freedom to marry or not marry are also individual rights, and since the exercise of ones right to religious practice ends as soon as they compromise the liberties of anyone else, it must be prohibited for one individual to cite religious liberty as justification for the act of making any kind of marital relationship morally imperative. In other words, nobody can have the religious right to demand that anyone else should get married. Our freedom to make or not make our own partnerships is part of our package of liberties, under the conception of universal human rights. In a society like ours, that purports to ensure everyone's individual human rights, a moral imperative to marry is unacceptable.

We can see now how the moral imperative to practice polygamy is inconsistent with our conception of individual rights. And since polygamy is male-dominated in Mormonism, it is even worse because it destroys any semblance of quality between the sexes. Women in these societies are under constant pressure to marry polygamously and we already know how this has resulted in underage marriages.

If we are going to legalize polygamy, then doing so in an effort to ensure religious liberties is the worst reason of all. That is, if by exercising their religious liberties the FLDS want to make polygamy a moral imperative.
"The Absense Of Contradictions Proves The Church Is True"
Friday, Sep 17, 2010, at 08:13 AM
Original Author(s): Dealingwithit
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
I recently read that Joseph Fielding Smith once said that: “If Joseph’s claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect.” This seems to be a fair way to test the church, so I thought that I would give it a try and see if there are any contradictions in Mormon Doctrine that are “easy to detect”. Here is some of what I have found.

DandC 132 teaches that David and Solomon were justified by God in their polygamy. “I, the Lord, justified … David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines.” (DandC 132:1)

The Book of Mormon on the other hand teaches that it was wrong for David and Solomon to practice plural marriage. Lehi told his sons that; “David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” (Jacob 2: 24)

Both “scriptures” are referencing the same actions of the same men (David and Solomon), yet one calls their polygamy an abomination, and the other says they were justified by God. It cannot be both, so which is it?

The church builds temples all over the world so that vicarious ordinances can be performed “for the salvation of the dead who should die without a knowledge of the gospel.” (DandC 128: 5) Before these dead can accept these saving ordinances there are some requirement they must meet. “The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God. And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.” (DandC 138: 58-59)

However, the Book of Mormon teaches against the need for vicarious works for the dead. Moroni wrote: “The power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law (those without a knowledge of the gospel); wherefore, he that is not condemned … cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing. But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.” (Moroni 8:22-23)

Amulek taught that: “This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. … Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life … then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

Ye cannot say when ye are brought to that awful crisis that I will repent, that I will return to my God … for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life.

If ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his … this is the final state of the wicked.” (Alma 34: 32-35)

Again this is a clear contradiction. On one hand Mormonism teaches that those who died without the gospel need to repent and have works performed by and for themselves. On the other it teaches that to do this is to deny the mercies of God and trust in dead works. On a third hand it teaches that it is impossible for the dead to repent after they die and that those who die as sinners are sealed to the devil.

Is that clear enough?

It seems pretty apparent that Mormonism fails President Smith’s proposed test, and does so without much effort.

I came up with some others and made yet another video about these contradictions, and I think that some of you might enjoy it.
The Early Saints Were Incredibly Gullible
Monday, Sep 20, 2010, at 08:07 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
Some evidence the early saints were very gullible:

The witnesses should not have been gullible people that believed in things like 'second sight', divining rods, finding treasure by placing a rock in a hat, etc. That the Three Witnesses were a gullible sort is illustrated by an incident in July, 1837. Joseph had left on a five-week missionary tour to Canada, only to find on his return that all three of the Witnesses had joined a faction opposing him. This faction rallied around a young girl who claimed to be a seeress by virtue of a black stone in which she read the future. David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and Oliver Cowdery all pledged her their loyalty, and Frederick G. Williams, formerly Joseph's First Counselor, became her scribe. The girl seeress would dance herself into a state of exhaustion, fall to the floor, and burst forth with revelations. (See Lucy Smith: Biographical Sketches, pp. 211-213).

Martin Harris was anything but a skeptical witness. He was known by many of his peers as an unstable, gullible and superstitious man. Reports assert that he and the other witnesses never literally saw the gold plates, but only an object said to be the plates, covered with a cloth. Here's some accounts that show the superstitious side of Martin Harris:

Ronald W. Walker, "Martin Harris: Mormonism's Early Convert," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 (Winter 1986): 34-35. "Once while reading scripture, he reportedly mistook a candle's sputtering as a sign that the devil desired him to stop. Another time he excitedly awoke from his sleep believing that a creature as large as a dog had been upon his chest, though a nearby associate could find nothing to confirm his fears. Several hostile and perhaps unreliable accounts told of visionary experiences with Satan and Christ, Harris once reporting that Christ had been poised on a roof beam."

John A. Clark letter, August 31, 1840 in EMD, 2: 271: "No matter where he went, he saw visions and supernatural appearances all around him. He told a gentleman in Palmyra, after one of his excursions to Pennsylvania, while the translation of the Book of Mormon was going on, that on the way he met the Lord Jesus Christ, who walked along by the side of him in the shape of a deer for two or three miles, talking with him as familiarly as one man talks with another." According to two Ohio newspapers, shortly after Harris arrived in Kirtland he began claiming to have "seen Jesus Christ and that he is the handsomest man he ever did see. He has also seen the Devil, whom he described as a very sleek haired fellow with four feet, and a head like that of a Jack-ass." Vogel,EMD 2: 271, note 32.

The Reverend John A. Clark, who knew Harris, said Martin "had always been a firm believer in dreams, and visions and supernatural appearances, such as apparitions and ghosts, and therefore was a fit subject for such men as Smith and his colleagues to operate on." Lorenzo Saunders said Harris was a "great man for seeing spooks." Presbyterian minister Jesse Townsend of Palmyra called Harris a "visionary fanatic."

The accounts of Martin Harris that are never talked about at church should be also be taken into consideration when evaluating just how much stock we should put into the testimony of Harris regarding his testimony of the angel and the gold plates. Harris was gullible enough to believe Smith when told that if he were to look upon the plates, God would strike him dead. Harris was a perfect target for any con man.

The field David [Whitmer] plowed

David plowed a field in less time than it normally took him and jumped to the conclusion that it was a sign from God, a miracle. His father planted the suggestion that "there must be an overruling hand in this" so David immediately concluded that there must be a supernatural explanation to his rapid work - the only other explanation David or his father could think of. This is odd and disturbing on many levels since David plowed the field himself. He based his supernatural explanation on nothing other than the time he spent working in the field vs the time he remembers he did it in the past - and his father suggesting an unworldly explanation. Those familiar with statistics call that superstitious practice, counting the hits and ignoring the misses. Church leaders like to tell this story with an air of objectivity, though none is present.

Of course there are plenty more plausible explanations. He was likely excited about the trip he was going to make, to actually meet the prophet, and so he worked faster than normal. There are many other variables which can't be examined such as the density of his crops that year, how much help his father was to him, when he started, how good of a job he did this year compared to other years, how much time it actually took him to do it in prior years vs how much time he remembered that it took, etc.

Many modern day Mormons are of the same persuasion. There are numerous people in my ward and stake who will believe virtually anything. The constant pressure within Mormonism to believe and defend the unbelievable seems to stunt the development of critical thinking.
More Things That Challenge What I Used To Believe
Monday, Sep 20, 2010, at 08:46 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
When one begins to describe historical developments within the regions of South Syria on the basis of archaeological data, one finds a very different picture of Palestines past than in many books of biblical archaeology. The sketch of ancient Israel that comes from a harmonizing of archaeology with the biblical story is not congruent with the Bibles view. Even if one were to adopt the most conservative of methods urged by scholars today, and try to accept a biblical view of the past wherever this has not been proven false, one faces nearly insurmountable difficulties. Removing the unbelievable and the impossible, correcting what is clearly wrong and tendentious, and reconstructing what remains in a more or less coherent account is hardly adequate and fails to deal with the Bibles unhistorical qualities. Removing miracles or God from the story does not help an historian, it only destroys narratives. One can never arrive at a viable history with such an approach.

For example, consider the question of how the Israelites of the Bible come to occupy Jerusalem. In Joshua 10, Jerusalems king, Adonizedek, the leader of five Amorite kings, was defeated by Joshua and his army in a running battle. Yahweh killed more enemies than Joshua did by throwing huge stones down on them from heaven. The kings were captured hiding in a cave and executed by Joshua. To endorse this story, the author tells us that five of these large stones are laid at the entrance of the cave to this day.

The humour of this closing ought not be missed. The author is very aware of the audiences critical sensibilities. Just as Yahweh is hurling the large stones down from heaven, killing the enemy, the dead are described as having been killed by hailstones. After all, everyone knows even the minimalist that God sends hailstones. And this is where the author traps his listeners! The memorial set up at the cave, five of Yahwehs stones, is an obvious argument for the storys historicity. Such an argument is a common folktale motif, quite like the closure of Hans Christian Andersens story of the princess and the pea with its historicizing details that the pea is still in the museum . . . that is, if someone hasnt stolen it.

Similarly, in allowing Yahwehs stones to be hailstones, the biblical author intentionally subverts his monument to the tales historical authenticity! Such deconstructive humour highlights some of the difficulties that occur when such a story is taken for history by readers of any time. We simply cannot escape the discomfort of this glimpse of the author laughing at us. The laughter wont be resolved if tries to remove the big stones, the melted hailstones or God from the story.

While Joshua 10 tells this tale about the defeat of Jerusalems king, Joshua 18 tells of Jerusalem being given as spoils of war to the tribe of Benjamin. This narrative obviously confirms the assumption of the story of chapter 10 that the city of Jerusalem was one of the cities of Joshuas conquest, part of what one might call Joshuas view of the past.

Judges I, on the other hand, sets its tale of Jerusalems conquest to a time after Joshua had died. Jerusalem is not Amorite in this story, but Canaanite. Even more surprising, it is Jacobs sons, the founders and patriarchs of the tribes themselves, Judah and Simeon, who defeat the Canaanites in Jerusalem, kill the inhabitants and burn the city to the ground. Accordingly, in I Samuel 17: 54, Jerusalem is already part of Israel, when the young David brings Goliaths head there as a trophy!

Yet a third story of Jerusalems conquest is offered to us. It comes in two variations: one in II Samuel 5: 6b, and the other in I Chronicles 11: 49. Both offer aetiologies of Jerusalem as City of David and Fortress of Zion. The capture of Jerusalem in this tale is set during Davids reign as king in Hebron. Jerusalem is neither Amorite nor Canaanite; it is a Jebusite city, as in the story of Judges 19: 1012. Drawing on motifs well-known from 1-bomers sack of Troy, Jerusalems fortifications are presented as so strong that it could not be successfully stormed. What cannot be taken by storm needs to be taken by wit and courage. Joab enters the city by stealth, crawling up the water tunnel whose construction II Kings 20: 20 has described as one of the great deeds of Hezekiah. Ignoring both the storys tradition in epics of war and its anachronism, this most famous of Jerusalem conquest stories has become an essential part of biblical archaeologys view of the past. That three different books of the Bible have at least three different stories about how Israel came to possess Jerusalem is hardly to be wondered at. Jerusalem is a city at the very centre of the tradition, and would naturally attract many such stories.

Thompson, Thomas L., The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel, Basic Books, 1999, P. 44.

“The biblical stories should thus be regarded as a national mythology with no more historical basis than the Homeric saga of Odysseus’s travels of Virgil’s saga of Aeneas’s founding of Rome (36–Searching for the Patriarchs).

We know that through archaeological research that camels were not domesticated as beasts of burden earlier than the late second millennium and were not widely used in that capacity in the ancient Near East until well after 1000 BCE. And an even more telling detail–the camel caravan carrying “gum, balm, and myrrh.” In the Joseph story–reveals an obvious familiarity with the main products of the lucrative Arabian trade that flourished under the supervision of the Assyrian empire in the eighth-seventh centuries BCE (id. 37).

Then there is the issue of the Philistines. We hear of them in connection with Isaac’s encounter with “Abimelech, king of the Philistines,” at the city of Gerar (Genesis 26:1). The Philistines, a group of migrants from the Aegean or eastern Mediterranean, had not established their settlements along the coastal plain of Canaan until sometime after 1200 BCE. Their cities prospered in the eleventh and tenth centuries and continued to dominate the area well into the Assyrian period {quite different than the Biblical account} (id. 37).

All the clues point to a time of composition many centuries after the time in which the Bible reports the lives of the patriarchs took place. These and other anachronisms suggest an intensive period of writing the patriarchal narratives in the eighth or seventh centuries (id. 38).

Putting aside the possibility of divinely inspired miracles, one can hardly accept the idea of a flight of a large group of slaves from Egypt through the heavily guarded border fortifications into the desert and then into Canaan in the time of such a formidable Egyptian presence. Any group escaping Egypt against the will of the pharaoh would have easily been tracked down not only by an Egyptian army chasing it from the delta but also by the Egyptian soldiers in the forts in northern Sinai and in Canaan (id. 61, Did the Exodus Happen).

The conclusion–that the Exodus did not happen at the time and in the manner described in the Bible–seems irrefutable when we examine the evidence at specific sites where the children of Israel were said to have camped for extended periods during their wandering in the desert…. Not even a single shred left by a tiny fleeing band of frightened refugees (id. 63).

Unfortunately for those seeking a historical Exodus, they were unoccupied precisely at the time whey reportedly played a role in the events of the wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness (id. 64).

As with the Exodus story, archaeology has uncovered a dramatic discrepancy between the Bible and the situation within Canaan at the suggested date of the conquest, between 1230 and 1220 BCE (76, A Different Kind of Canaan).

It is highly unlikely that the Egyptian garrisons throughout the country would have remained on the sidelines as a group of refugees (from Egypt) wreaked havoc throughout the province of Canaan (id. 79).

Only recently has the consensus finally abandoned the conquest story (id. 83).

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Free Press, 2001, NY
If I Could Hie To Kolob
Thursday, Sep 23, 2010, at 08:03 AM
Original Author(s): Happycat
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
If I could Hie to Kolob.

If you could Hie To Kolob with a twinkling of an eye.
Then if you hold your stomach, knowing that you've been had with a lie.

If you think of all the years wasted, like an eternity...
To Worship at a silly temple with a baker hat and bee.

Or see the grand beginning, where Joesph conjured this silly lie
Then if you still believe, to Kolob you will hei.

There was never a beginning, and there's no end to the bullshit untruths.
There is only an end to your savings, and and end to your youth...
Weasel Words
Friday, Sep 24, 2010, at 07:19 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
Weasel words are terms that are used to change the view of a concept. I personally think that the vast majority of believers are completely unaware of what they are doing. Believers tend to think that what they espouse is truly different from what they disparage in others' beliefs. In the realm of politics it is more often intentional (e.g. conducting a police action vs waging war) though not always.

Some examples that come to mind:

1. You are evangelizing and pushing your religion on others vs I am sharing the word of god

2. Your religion is based on myth and superstition vs my religion is based on the true word of god.

This actually takes many forms from literal belief in equally as mythical/allegorical tales as any other faith to realizing the mythical nature but still believing that the person's own myths are somehow different. There is no appreciable difference between the beliefs of very primitive peoples eons ago and the beliefs today. Faith-based belief in the unknown and unknowable will always be the same.

3. Your spiritual experiences are incomplete whereas mine are a representation of the fullness of the gospel in my life

This always bothered me. How does one distinguish between all of those nebulous emotional twinges when reading the innumerable interpretations of the Bible, Book of Mormon, etc? What makes my interpretation divine and the rest diluted or maybe even deluded?

4. You are trying to convert others to (pick any combination of the following) increase your income/wield power/lead people away from the truth but I am interested in sharing the restored gospel with every person alive today plus anyone who ever has and ever will live.

So if everyone on the planet thinks and acts just like the followers of my faith the world will be paradise. On the other hand if they think and act like those of other faiths it will be a living hell (or at least less than optimal).

5. Some other organizations/religions engage in highly manipulative behavior and some even engage in brainwashing. My religion looks closely after its members, works diligently to keep our members in the faith, and we conduct frequent worthiness interviews. We also provide many opportunities for study of our doctrine through seminary, institute, daily scripture study, etc.

6. Your religious attire is an interesting cultural artifact (which we respect of course...*cough*) but our religious attire is sacred, reminds us of our relationship with god, and has (magical) priesthood power.

7. Rain dances and other ancient rituals to influence the weather were quaint attempts by those who did not comprehend the nature of the planet. We fast and pray to the creator of the universe to influence the weather. This, of course, makes much more sense and is VERY different from other religions' rituals.

8. Your belief in having the fullness of god's word is misguided. We, on the other hand, do have the full restored word of god and have been saved for these latter days to share that message with the world.

Again, the inability to see that these positions are exactly the same is puzzling. Somehow a select collection of verses from the Bible and a specific, yet highly complex and disjoint, interpretation of the many things in the Bible is the one right interpretation. All other interpretations will not return you to the presence of god. I think about the decades I spent in that same mind set and I despair. I often wonder what else I carry around in my mind every day that is erroneous to one degree or another.

There are numerous other comparisons and even among the ones listed there are many permutations and degrees of tolerance of other positions. The bottom line, though, is that people tend to view the flaws in other people's logical somewhat clearly but are unable to see the exact same problems in his or her own thinking.
This Is How Mormonism Works
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010, at 08:26 AM
Original Author(s): 6 Iron
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
You have the leaders make a claim that they are directed by God. That is it. That is all you need. I'm not sure which is worse, JS that claimed some religious visitations/directions, or the "prophets" after him that don't claim any directions or visitations. They just throw out a blanket statement that they are prophets, seers and revelators, without any proof or claims. Also they add things like, God will never allow them to lead the church astray, follow the prophet.

This causes leadership worship. These 15 old guys are worshipped as equals to prophets from the bible. JS put himself just one small step below Jesus himself. All they have to do is act like they are God's chosen, (talk in monotone voices, run the church, ie take in money and spend money) and bingo, the members idolize them as men of God.

But the bible says to beware of false prophets, and by their fruits you shall know them. So lets look at their fruits. They put on this act of being holy and tight with Jesus, but if you analyse their actions, you see something different.

As with most things mormon, there is SPIN, that is that anything negative or that requires great sacrifice means that it is holy or noble. But is it? When you step out of the box and see how mormonism damages members and controls members, through this antiquated system of "we are inspired, you can't say no" a lot of damage is done.

The first thing you need to realize is that the church cares only about the church, at your expense. You are an exploited servant that pays for the right to service the church. And the best 2 things that the church can do to ensure growth is to have its membership have lots of kids, and then put those kids on missions. Third is to build lots of temples so the members through peer pressure and preaching, they have to pay tithing to attend. They even won't allow you to see your own children get married if you don't pay them.

The power set up is like this, they have all the power, and you have none. You have to submit to their control. You endure probing and shaming interviews. You run to them with you problems, because they claim inspiration for you. You get your patriarchial blessing because they know how your life will turn out. They threaten you with eternal damnation if you leave, or eternal separation from your family. They indoctrinated with things like early morning seminary and missions. They dangle as rewards, leadership callings and "blessings", and eternal polygamy.

They call the shots, you submit and pay. Along the way your self esteem takes a huge hit. You feel guilty and shamed. You get isolated from nonmembers, and personal interests. You reclessly marry another cult member, and raise cult children, and the cycle continues.

Some wake up and smell the coffee (not postum) and leave, but the damage has been done, and recovery can be slow, even very slow for some. Only once you are out can you see clearly the mess that is mormonism. You thought you were getting religion, but you were getting cultism, or enforced religion. They are masters of guilt, shame, and control over you. Constant indoctrination and manipulation and peer pressure, and information control and whitewashing. You then find out that the whole thing is a con orchestrated by JS so he can get lots of teen and married booty.

Ohhh Emmm Geee, we've been had.

Leadership idolization is now anger and ridicule toward the leadership. You see them as abusers, not holy men. They act all righteous, but they are power hungry, control freaks that want to know if teens masturbate. All the quaint widow stories now appear to be an act, when you see the actions of these men that take over your lives, ruin them, make you pay even if you can't afford it, make you pay for you missions, interfere with your schooling, cause you to marry irresponibley, and have so many other irresponsible expectations that keep you cult whipped, that you never feel in control of your own life.

Then they make you clean the church, and that isn't enough, they make you clean the toilets and bathrooms and everything else. They take seniors away from their golden years and grandkids, for self financed missions. They constantly want from you, they take, they use, they coerce, they manipulate, and you are not supposed to say no, because they claim inspiration over you.

How about this. Any inspiration for me will be received by me. I no longer accept mormon leadership claimed inspiration, to run my life, which means that anything any mormon leader has said is insignificant to me. Unless God personally directs me, then I am now my own leader.
Silencing Dissent
Monday, Oct 11, 2010, at 08:31 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
When people protest when they are questioned and attack the questioner it is often an indication that something is amiss. The more strenuous the protest, generally, the larger than lie. The truth does not need to fear questioning.

People question claims daily and it does not mean they are going to persecute or harm the claimant. To plead otherwise is to create a false dichotomy and a slippery slope. It also does not mean that those who question today would have persecuted the saints in the past. In fact, history would indicate otherwise. There were many people who actively questioned Mormonism and even wrote critiques or signed affidavits concerning Mormonism or the lack of character of the leaders. Most of these people were not involved in the mobbings and other persecutions.

The claim is made that questioning is persecution. That is a highly debatable assumption. How do we determine if questioning is persecution? Are people being harmed by the asking of questions? What type of questions are harmful and about what subjects? So if questioning someone's faith is harmful and somehow morally suspect numerous other issues follow. If that is the case then Mormon missionaries and members engaged in spreading the gospel to family and friends are actively persecuting others on a daily basis. How can they justify the special pleading? They have the truth therefore they can question others but the favor cannot be returned?

It is also not uncommon for those defending a fraud to try and turn the tables by claiming that the questioner is actually "protesting to much" by questioning. They try to muddy the waters by making the questioning appear to be the protest. I had a TBM do just that to me on one occasion. He is the type of person who will believe anything. I was questioning a few of his premises and he trotted out the old, "[You] doth protest too much, methinks." What this challenged man failed to realize was that he was still exhibiting the core indicator of culpability. The core indicator is an attempt to silence the questioner. The specific tactic selected is irrelevant in convicting those seeking to deceive. The goal [of quashing discussion] is the telling factor.

The end goal can be summed up thus: If you control the majority of communication channels, you can affect behavior with misrepresentations, even ones that are in opposition with the target audience’s best interest.

This goal was easy after Brigham Young led the early Mormons to the isolation of Utah. As has been stated on this forum numerous times that isolation and ability to control information has been steadily eroding ever since. This leaves the tactics of silencing dissenters, inoculating Mormons against questioning, and manipulating Mormons into not exposing themselves to the truth.

Questioning as persecution is often very effective. It is an appeal to emotion by erroneously associating honest, open, and sincere questioning as a malevolent activity. Questioning almost never precedes the questioner sliding down a slippery slope to anything that could be defined as persecution. It seems to be more likely that questioning those with ulterior motives leads to persecution of the questioner.

The last few people I have observed trotting out the hackneyed canard of, "[You] doth protest too much, methinks" were actually trying to protect a collection of untruths. The example from my personal life was from a TBM who was unwittingly exposing the emblems of his magical and erroneous thinking. As is often the case with those who have been deceived this TBM was sincere. Sadly he was also vigorously defending those who are conning him and defending the lies that have him entrapped. .

"The dishonest doth strive too hard to silence dissent, methinks."
That Accusation Of "Being Offended" Bugs Me So Many Different Ways
Tuesday, Oct 12, 2010, at 07:44 AM
Original Author(s): Ca Girl
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
I've been working in journalism since my teens. You can't be a writer of any sort without having a very thick skin. You have to know when to take correction and when to say "No, this is good - I'm going to fight for it." If you have your feelings hurt easily, you better just give up and go home. Last time someone offended me was several years before I left Mormonism AND I was so impressed they were able to offend me, I couldn't stay mad at them. I've been mad at people, disappointed at them etc. but their behavior didn't offend me and if it had, I wouldn't have turned against GOD because of it. Here's what I want to say to the Mormons on this subject:

First, you expect me to believe you have never been offended in all your years in the church? Oh, you have? But you didn't leave the church over it...why? Because you have a testimony? Exactly. People leave because they have learned something in the doctrine, history or practices of Mormonism that make them realize that it isn't what it claims. Not because they were offended. Everyone who deals with you Mormons are offended sooner or later - you have a reputation for terrible manners.

Second, saying people only leave the church because they are offended is one of the great anti-Mormon statements of all time. Because whether you believe it or not, it can only mean 2 things. Either Mormonism produces a person so emotionally stunted and intellectually weak that they would actually turn against God because they got their feelings hurt. That is a terrible castigation against Mormon doctrine - that it turns out a person like that. Or, worse, that Mormon ideals turn out a person so arrogant, insensitive and obnoxious that more than half the people who join up with them would rather lose their family forever than spend one more minute in the presence of a "good" Mormon. Either way, it's a horrible slam against Mormon philosophy.

Finally, if I told you what I knew about Joseph Smith, his changing stories about the first vision, his 30 plus wives (including teenagers) and his generally narcissistic tendencies, you would be VERY offended and march out of the room, condemning me. H*ll, my cup of COFFEE would cause you to do that. Why do you believe it's OK to be offended when it's YOU but that it shows a lack of character when it's ME?

Thanks for letting me rant because recently I found out that everyone in my former ward is saying I left because I was offended when literally not ONE person has asked me why I am not a church any more. This should offend me in and of itself but mostly I just feel sorry for these Mormons because THEY ARE BEARING FALSE WITNESS. When you tell a story about someone, without even double checking to see if it's true and it's not true, that's what it's called. It's on the Top 10 NO NO list of the God Mormons worship, right up there with MURDER and ADULTERY. I think that is a considerable problem, don't you? You all Mormons better hope I'm right about the church being a fraud because if it's true, you are SCREWED.
How's This For Freedom Of Religion
Monday, Oct 25, 2010, at 07:56 AM
Original Author(s): Troy
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
According to the Indian Constitution, which is an incredible document if anyone is curious, people have the right to convert to the religion of their choice. But they do not have the right to entice others to change their choice of religion for any kind of reward, even if the rewards are hypothetical and in the hereafter. People are free to exercise their religion and discuss it with anyone, but proselytizing is actually seen as invasive to a person's privacy. So if someone tries to force their religion on someone else, the law has a lot of power to step in and prevent them from doing it.

You see, it is possible to learn from ages of senseless religious violence. India can do it, and now it's our turn.

To be quite honest, I'm getting tired of hearing so much about freedom of religion. I've dropped it from the list of rights that we call "human rights" in my own teaching. It is merely one of many possiblilities existing in the more fundamental human right that we call "the right to liberty." That is one that I will still call a "human right." But let's keep our liberties in perspective. That is my ever-present reminder that too much liberty is always possible and always a threat too. It has to be equally balanced for all. That is where the principle of justice comes in. If one liberty supercedes another, our commitment as a "just" society forces us to bring things back into balance.

When I give a lecture about human rights, I explain that what counts as a human right can only be something vital and indispensible to everyone, and therefore universalizable. In short, we can fit our theory of human rights to any human being on earth. That's the whole idea. Good philosophy has a sort of viral quality, so keeping a theory adaptable to diverse situations is what makes a philosopher's work successful. After all, hardly anyone ever got rich or famous doing philosophy while they were still alive. We have to create something that will outlive us.

I guess it's time for me to start a blog or something. I've been working on a whole theory of justice together for years that will take into consideration the threat that religion poses to people's human rights. We already have a lot of discussion about other forms of tyranny like fascism. Why should religion get a pass? To be quite honest, I'm not going to give it a pass. There's nothing special about religion that makes it unquestionable. We routinely question religions with respect to each other, why not question the whole idea of whether religion is any good in the first place!

Ok, I'll tone it down a little, but I'm serious about this. If somebody's religion is causing harm, however indirect, to anyone's human rights, we should not tolerate it for a minute. And if anyone can understand the potential harm that religion poses, it's an exmo.

This is for the child-brides of polygamy and anyone else who has had their rights stripped away in the name of God. And Bapu.
Mormon Apologists And Professional Debate
Monday, Oct 25, 2010, at 07:59 AM
Original Author(s): Troy
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
First of all, the debates we see on TV between politicians are not real. The politicians themselves might think they're real, but those "debates" are not an attempt to get at the truth through dialectic methods. It's more about making your opponent appear nervous and incapable than discovering anything truthful. For that, there are professional academic debates, and I live for these events. I've also picked up some good methods myself. For instance, we had a debate this week in the philosophy club at the U. It was pretty informal, which is fine, but when I see people prepare for a debate by getting out one or more large books, I know I'm watching amateurs. Our guests this week were two professed experts on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. I should have felt sorry for these guys, but I don't. If you wish to debate philosophy, you MUST read the works of more than just one philosopher. Then, you have to be able to expain the arguments from memory. If you have to look it up in a book while you are debating, you are not prepared for the debate. The question of human rights is HUGE in philosophy today. It may be the hottest issue of all. So when these Ayn Rand "experts" came to the debate, that's the first question I asked. To my astonishment, they had to look up the answer in a book! Don't these guys know anything about philosophy? One of them actually had the nerve to tell me that he's read the works of John Rawls. Fine. But if you can't produce the arguments of Rawls from memory, don't bother telling me that you've read his books. In philosophy, if you don't have the arguments in your head already, you don't deserve to have a degree! I don't even know what these guys had for academic credentials except for a bookcase full of Rand's stuff. But to do what I do, I had to study at least 200 philosophers just in my undergraduate work. I read a shelf-full of books just to prepare for my first classes.

I don't want to break any hearts, because I know she has a lot of admirers, but if Ayn Rand is your favorite philosopher, ask yourself how many works of philosophy you've actually read. If she's the only one, don't bother telling me she's your favorite because that implies that you're knowledgable of more than one and can make a comparison. To be totally honest, when it comes to cutting edge political theory, Ayn Rand is not even on the radar screen. But these guys had the nerve to tell us that Rand would be happy to know that she's aggravated so many REAL philosophers. I'm sorry, but being a renegade in philosophy is just like being an ordinary person with a strong opinion. Nobody cares!

Debate can be a long, drawn-out affair that can go on for years in the form of letters. But what I'm talking about is the professional debate that goes on in front of an audience. A few years ago, I went to a debate on the U campus between a Mormon apologist and a Christian minister. Being a huge fanatic of debate, I watched them closely. The Mormon apologist started by arranging at least 15-20 books on the table in front of him. The minister had just one book, of course. Need I mention the title?

I couldn't imagine what the Mormon apologist intended to do with all of the books. Was he just going to look up quotes the whole time? Well, they both did just that. It wasn't a debate like I'm used to seeing. These guys had nothing of their own to defend. They were just quoting other people. But if they don't have the issues committed to memory, how on earth do they get to be respected well enough as experts to actually be invited to an academic debate?

There is no debate in religion. It never amounts to anything more than "my book is better than yours," or "my prophet is better." There is no dialectic process to be observed. There is no information to be gleaned from the process because they are just reciting from books that anyone can read. Some people can actually memorize long tracts of scripture and they can use that in debate, but in the end, it's just the same. A scriptorian is just a person who has memorized someone else's philosophy. A mindless computer can do that, and much better.
The Morg Must Insulate Itself Or Change
Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010, at 07:23 AM
Original Author(s): Madeguy
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
The rapid advancement of technology in the last twenty years has brought with it instant and near-total access to information about nearly everything and everybody. These days, when people need information, they go to the internet, a source that giveth to everyone liberally and upbraideth not. So you should be able to get the lowdown on any company, organization, church or club.

You know where this is going. The church has been able to hide information that reveals the imaginary nature of its founding events for decades, but now, all of this information is published widely on the web. All one has to do is look. For example, Joseph Smith originally made the claim that an angel of light named Nephi appeared to him in a dream. This was published in the Palmyra Freeman in August, 1829, and in a letter of testimony of Parley Pratt in Amherst Ohio in November 1830, more than a year later. This story was later revised to say that Nephi appeared to Joseph Smith in his bedroom while Joseph was wide awake. The new version was published in the 1842 Millennial Star (vol. 3, pg. 53), the 1842 Times and Seasons(vol. 3 pg. 753) and the 1851 edition of the Pearl of Great Price (pg. 41), nine years apart. After Joseph Smith’s death, the story underwent another minor revision: the angel’s name was changed to Moroni. Joseph Smith never claimed that the angel Moroni appeared to him. That is a church claim, which is still taught, and accepted as completely historically accurate by believing Mormons. A statue of the ‘Angel Moroni’ tops every temple the church builds.

The church cannot withstand the onslaught of accurate, historical information being published on the internet. Today, most ten year olds can easily surf the web without much help. The church would love to bring in lots of intelligent, savvy young people. The trouble is, they’re well informed, and not as easy to dupe as they were twenty years ago. Church leaders underestimate today’s computer-savvy youngsters. When they push the same old story on them, they’re often met by a tidal wave of indifference.

So to survive intact, the mo-church will have to build walls around its members to insulate them from the real world. This is no small task. It means ever more persistent warnings about satanic influences in movies, books, magazines and especially the internet. It means an increase in fear-based propaganda to scare members into retreating further into the church. It means increased homophobia and more effort to beat back gays. It means building paranoid little morgbots, afraid to do anything not sanctioned by the church for fear of being overcome by ‘the adversary.’ It means forsaking good science when it casts doubt on the bible or the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

Truth is the church’s biggest enemy, its own history its Achilles heel. Their choice is either change with the times or build bigger, stronger walls to keep the world out
America's Great Uniter? Mormons Are One Of The Most Hated?
Friday, Nov 12, 2010, at 08:21 AM
Original Author(s): Jw The Inquizzinator
Topic: EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18   -Link To MC Article-
By Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune:
"American believers used to fight about theology. Catholics against Protestants. Christians against Jews. Mormons, at times, against everyone else.

Today’s battle lines are more political – evangelical Protestants, for example, join forces with conservative Catholics, Mormons and Orthodox Jews in the fight against same-sex marriage. On the other side are secular nonbelievers, a growing segment of the nation’s young people, who defend individual choices on sexual morality and oppose religious influence in politics.

Mormons – who rank near the top for believing there is truth in other religions and for respecting the faiths of others – nonetheless are among the country’s least-liked faiths, along with Buddhists and Muslims.

“After all of the church’s efforts, public relations and attempts to emphasize Mormon goodness and assimilation, we are still the third most-hated religion in America,” said Jana Riess, co-author of Mormonism for Dummies. “We like everyone but almost no one likes us.”

"...“It is clear from the research that Mormons act like an ethnic group,” Campbell said. “That’s where ‘cocooning’ comes in.”

OK, seriously....religion as the great "UNITER"???? You've got to be kidding....

One true Church indeed...

Let me translate some of the findings for Ms Stack (or Sis Stack).

Mormons are one of the most hated because:

1) the religion "grew up" under the very "in your face" claim that all other religions were false, corrupt, and incorrect. This has not changed.

2) Mormons, until recently, referred to non-members (regardless of religious propensity) as "Gentiles".

3) Mormons deploy a 30,000 person missionary force whose "Oooyee, Gooyee" sell tactics disgust most people. Most folks recognize this entire 'missionary' enterprise for what it indoctrination program for young people.

4) Prop 8

5) Unwillingness to open the financial books...ever.

6) Unwillingness to prosecute and eliminate polygamy--and call it deplorable (both on earth and in the hereafter).

7) Unwillingness to "man up" to the MMM....including the recently church financed piece of fiction entitled "Massacre at Mountain Meadows".

8) Haughtiness and arrogance in general.

9) The attempt to export 1950 American dress standards throughout the world.

10) Unwillingness to admit BoM geography is fiction from a 19th century piece of religious literature...or chloroform if you choose.

11) Conduct of "secret" ceremonies--the most heinous being weddings in which loved ones (including mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters) are precluded from attending the wedding ceremony.

12) Believing in magic underwear.

OK that's enough for now....

Perhaps Miss Peggy doesn't know all this....hmmmmmm.

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If The Book Of Mormon Is Merely Literary Narrative
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The Early Saints Were Incredibly Gullible
More Things That Challenge What I Used To Believe
If I Could Hie To Kolob
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Silencing Dissent
That Accusation Of "Being Offended" Bugs Me So Many Different Ways
How's This For Freedom Of Religion
Mormon Apologists And Professional Debate
The Morg Must Insulate Itself Or Change
America's Great Uniter? Mormons Are One Of The Most Hated?
5,709 Articles In 365 Topics
TopicImage TOPIC INDEX (365 Topics)

  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 1 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 2 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 3 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 4 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 5 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 6 (19)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
  · BRUCE C. HAFEN (4)
  · CALLINGS (11)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 1 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 2 (21)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 3 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 4 (22)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 5 (37)
  · DALLIN H. OAKS (100)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (23)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (8)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DNA (23)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · FARMS (30)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITES (36)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 3 (13)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VIDEOS (30)
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