THE MORMON CURTAIN
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EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 20
The "Opinion" topic was created to separate out recovery from opinions on posts made in Ex-Mormonism.
| ii) The "Standing for something" or Respect for Others Interpretation
On this view, integrity is not defined by which beliefs one must stand up for but by how one stands up for them. ON this interpretation, integrity requires us to be honest open and public about what our beliefs are. Integrity requires us to stand up publicly for our beliefs in addition to acting on them. This shows respect for others in our moral community by not dissembling or hiding where we stand and by fostering the moral debate that is crucial if a community is to make good decisions and if moral change is going to be possible. A society of liars and dissemblers is not one that is going to have good moral or political debates or make good moral or political decisions.
Hinckley dissembled and hid where he stood on national television and then lied to his own people about it.
Integrity=holding true (a) under all circumstances and (b) at all costs to (c) all one?s commitments and principles
a). "All circumstances" would mean one could never change one's mind without losing one's integrity. Certainly this is not what the Socrates of the Apology meant by integrity. Rather, it seems true that there are acceptable reasons for not standing by one's commitments; and there are unacceptable reasons for not standing by them as well. Acceptable reasons have to do with having good reasons for changing one's mind, becoming convinced that one's principles are wrong and need to be changed. It is not a failure of moral integrity to have intellectual integrity. Unacceptable reasons include fear and self-interest.
iii. One can fail to live up to a commitment because one has changed one's mind and adopted a different commitment or moral principle. This is normal moral change (hopefully, growth, not regression) and to condemn this for lack of integrity would require us to keep the moral beliefs we first formed as children throughout our lives.
iv. One can simply fail to live up to a commitment with no excuse or justification. This is a lack of integrity and one should be blamed for it.
Since taking the Prophets chair, Monson has done nothing. Is he living up to his commitment to his people?
| Certain things seem to be largely considered universally wrong. Other things have a lesser wrongness, a subjective wrongness, it seems.
Absolute Moral: Killing children is bad. We regard anyone who does it deliberately as sick and unfit for our society. It is appalling on a pretty deep level.
Subjective Moral: Living together before marriage. All of the arguments about this one involve assumptions that are not expected to be universally accepted, usually an appeal to some theology. This seems to be an intellectual sort of moral judgment rather than an intuitive one.
Absolute Moral: It is good to be kind to people. We feel that this is right by virtue of the pleasure we derive not only by having it done for us, but also by doing it for others.
Subjective Moral: It is good to read the Bible every day. Once again, an intellectual sort of judgment dependent upon one's personal opinions and worldview.
This distinction is known to most people. I mean... as a child, a Mormon may condemn anyone who drinks coffee or alcohol. Adults will find this amusing, because they know better: this little piece of morality is subject to assumptions that people do not have to make in order to still be considered moral. Even if those people are wrong wrong wrong, they are simply misled, not bad.
If you happen to belong to a cult that regards random murder as awesome, very few people are probably going to give you the same benefit of the doubt.
This whole idea occurred to me recently while I read part of a talk by Boyd Packer. He was talking about the sanctity of marriage. Nothing he said was what would be considered an appeal to absolute morality... it was all subjective, all dependent on Mormon theology. No one who didn't belong to the minority he belongs to could be persuaded in the least by his arguments.
I don't know that there is something innate or biological about this "absolute" morality.. I'm sure it's subject to culture as well. However, even if these rules are not technically "absolute," it seems that they are absolute as far as anyone from the society we inhabit is concerned. They certainly seem absolute relative to the "subjective" rules accepted only by this minority or that.
And so we get the following:
Atheist: Homosexuality = Okay, Killing = Not Okay
Mormon: Homosexuality = Not Okay, Killing = Not Okay
Can you think of a group that finds homosexuality okay and killing okay? If there is such a group, they will not be accepted as even roughly moral people by society. They will be locked away or killed.
"Absolute" morals ought to be reflected in law. "Subjective" morals probably shouldn't be in most cases.
Not to say that the prevailing morality is necessarily right, but it certainly is widely-held, and what else do we have?
| Seems contradictory, doesn't it?
The biggest tenet of mormonism is control. Mormons are driven to keep the cult stong and to build the kingdom.
That means they must snare new followers and hold on to the members they have keeping them paying, working, and obeying.
They can't beat or kill people who won't comply, so they use shunning and overt fellowshipping in turns as their two methods of control.
They shun when they think someone needs to be punished for not complying with morg directive.
Then another day, they'll shower that same person with love and attention if there's a chance of bringing them into the fold.
With mormons it's all about control, holding out carrots and brandishing sticks in turn. So they shun, harass, shun, harass, now and forev
| In many tongues, "Mormo" is like a devil.
Accepting brown envelopes [bribes] is a mere part of the trade for the Nigerian journalist.
The Nigerian journalist remains an indictable part of the Nigerian problem begging for an urgent solution. They worship money and would rather prefer to serve on the altar of Mormon. Gone is the old breed that gave birth to eponyms like “Aiyekoto”, “John West” and so on. Now is the era of the greedy and hungry, the glorification of the flotsams and jetsam's of the profession, amply encouraged and sustained by unscrupulous and corrupt Nigerians. It is indeed a field day for corruption.
Religious violence from witchcraft believers?
Did people report the weird ceremonies, inciting violence?
78.--Body Decorations of Melville and Bathurst Islanders during the Performance of Ceremonies 432
79.--A Bark Drawing of a Mormo called Ingwalin. Kakadu Tribe 433
80.--Bark Drawings of two Mormo or Debil-debils. Kakadu Tribe 434
81.--Bark Drawing of a Mormo. Geimbo Tribe 433
Click Here For Original Link Or Thread.
82.--Bark Drawing of a Mormo called Yerobeiri. Kakadu Tribe Between pp. 436-7
83.--Bark Drawing of a Mormo called Warraguk. Kakadu Tribe 436-7
It was discovered very soon after the organization of the Mormon church was announced that the word was of Greek derivation, uopuw or uopuwv meaning bugbear, hobgoblin. In the form of "mormo" it is Anglicized with the same meaning, and is used by Jeremy Collier and Warburton.* The word "Mormon" in zoology is the generic name of certain animals, including the mandril baboon.
The discovery of the Greek origin and meaning of the word was not pleasing to the early Mormon leaders, and they printed in the Times and Seasons a letter over Smith's signature, in which he solemnly declared that "there was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which I, through the grace of God, translated the Book of Mormon,"
Use the word "Mormon" whenever possible.
| Notice how mormons are taught to not take no for an answer and to never give up?
They're not like the classier salespeople who eventually smile and thank someone who decides against the product or service.
When telephone solicitors call and I tell them no, I appreciate it if they hear me and use a graceful exit strategy.
"Sorry to have bothered you" or "Thanks anyway" sounds so much better than, "You're going to be sorry," "You're passing up the best deal of your life."
Here are some ideas for lurking mormon VTers, HTers, missionaries, and bishop-type guy so you don't antagonize nice people who just want to be left alone.
When someone tells you mormons no, don't give a rude retort and you won't look like such sore losers.
"No problem. Have a nice day."
"Sorry I bothered you. Take care. Goodbye."
"Sorry for the inconvenience."
"Next time I'll call ahead."
"Sorry, we didn't mean to trouble you. Enjoy your day."
"Thanks for your time and courtesy. We won't trouble you again."
"I understand what you're saying and will pass on the message. Thank you for your candor."
"Sorry to show up at an inconvenient time. We'll leave so you can get back to your work."
"Glad to have seen you. Next time we'll call first."
"If you don't want contact, I understand and will see that it doesn't happen again."
These kinds of comments are so much more acceptable than threats and mean dogged insistance. Many exmos don't want confrontation when they're departing the church or cutting off contact. But mormons don't seem to have a handle on being civil with those who leave. This attitude makes them look bad and their church suffers for it.
| The utter hypocrisy of BYU astounds me almost beyond words. In the Davies case, eschewing the words of Christ they cast the first public stone and then used the event to gain national notoriety. Notoriety that came though pundits who really have no clue as to the subversive, manipulative, snitch, police state that exists at BYU. The BYU honor code in practice has been exposed by hard irrefutable statistics to be applied unevenly along racial lines.
I understand that Davies intends to continue to play the muse in this charade. In doing so he does himself and his race a discredit. My respect for him is diminished somewhat as he allows himself to continue to be used as a pawn in the pretense.
I defend the deadspin article for what it is. It's methodology was clearly defined and disclosed, the numbers are reported at face value. I found the interviews with former BYU athletes, especially those with front row seats to said events, to be very illuminating and useful in interpreting the cited stats. This is even more the case since it is impossible to know all the variables that have contributed to the numbers. In this case passive observation is really the only research methodology available and so represents the highest and best practice.
Why is it that Mr. Davies or Darron Smith can even "hold the priesthood" today? I will tell you why. A convenient revelation received after the "holy spirit" was prompted to stop being formally racist by the threat of loosing tax exempt status at BYU. Search out all things and hold fast to that which is true. I'm glad the Mormon leadership was finally able to right this wrong. It's just a shame they could not have been honest and admitted it had been a man made mistake all along, brought about by common beliefs and practices at the time the policies were implemented. Instead they blasphemously blamed their former racism on God and pretended that He'd changed his mind.
There were a number of pragmatic reasons. It had become socially unacceptable to continue racist practices. The IRS under the Carter Administration had threated BYU and perhaps even the Church itself for loss of tax status due to racial discrimination, it was a high profile story in news media outlets at the time and also involved a SCOTUS decision regarding tax status and racism at Bob Jones University. Like the Mormons, BJU also changed their racist policies. The temple was just opening in Brasil and they found out a large portion of the population were black and virtually impossible to determine that they might have some mixed blood. The BSA had been under extreme pressure for allowing the LDS to sponsor troops which could not have "colored" patrol leaders. But in the end, I think they were just embarrassed that the Mormon God was one of the last institutional racist on the block.
Old habits die hard.
| This weekend - a Mormon bishop - posted his feelings about Mormonism on his blog. After being up for a short period of time he took it down. He writes:
"Posting a link to my blog with my resignation letter as bishop. My intention in blogging was therapy for me and help others gain strength to think for themselves. Unfortunately, more attention than I expected. Need to protect my family from the 'authority's' reactions so have temporarily made the blog private. Those interested can still email me for a link."
Mormon Apologists logged onto his blog and attacked him. One of the trolls who posted inflammatory comments was Mormon Apologist Michael R. Ash. This is not unlike Daniel Peterson who practices the same kind of trolling.
“From what I have seen through years of reading exit stories is that the main factor which causes a person to leave is indeed “hurt feelings” and feeling “offended”- not offended by someone in the Church, but offended at the thought that they've been conned. And the primary reason that such people feel they were conned is because they never really engaged “study and faith” in their gospel lives.”
Michael R. Ash wrote the book, "Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One's Testimony in Face of Criticism and Doubt" - a direct attack on anyone who would question their Mormon faith.
Ash parrots two sides of the apologetic arena on those who leave the Mormon Church. Offense taken from Mormon members - and offense taken at learning Church history previously unknown to the member.
Mormon leaders have explained over the pulpit at General Conference time and time again that members only leave because they were offended. Over the last several years Mormon Apologists have added to this that those who leave due to learning the “truth” behind Church history are at fault for failing to study and understand the “truth” behind Church history. In other words, the information is directly in front of the member - and it is the fault of the member for not studying it. Amateur apologists retreat to their corners stating members were “Crappy”, or “That doctrine was readily available”.
A friend of mine left the Church after studying the reality of the Book of Abraham. According to Ash and Peterson, this friend bares the fault for the Church's omission of these details. The Church is perfect.
Apologists such as Michael Ash and Daniel Peterson are walking contradictions. On one side they claim that it is the fault of the member for not knowing or studying the “True History” of the Mormon Church. On the other side, they fail to state that the Mormon Church carefully omits the “True History” of the Mormon Church to its members.
Let me show some examples here:
The Church's version: The Mormon Church published magazine, “The Ensign” has an article on Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon while Olivery Cowdery scribes Joseph's words. A full page color picture of Joseph sitting in a chair reading the golden plates is present. Between them is a veil or curtain - and on the other side is Oliver Cowdery writing the words that Joseph speaks.
The reality: Joseph Smith used a small “seer stone” that he placed into the bottom of a hat. He then placed his face into the hat and read words that “appeared” to him there. Oliver then wrote those words down. Joseph Smith never had the plates directly with him when he translated. He used the seer stone in a hat to do so. The Church omits the various ways Joseph translated the Book of Mormon.
The Church's version: The Mormon Church published magazine, “The Ensign” has an article on the marriage of Joseph Smith and Emma Smith. A full page color picture of only Joseph and Emma is presented. The story follows Emma and Joseph presenting a view that Joseph was married and faithful to Emma only.
The reality: Emma wasn't Joseph's only wife. Missing are the 32 other wives of Joseph Smith including his teenage brides - and women who were already married to other men. The Church omits Joseph Smith's plural marriages and provides a singular story.
The Church's version: The Book of Abraham was translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God. It tells the story of Moses.
The reality: Modern day Egyptologists have thoroughly debunked the BOA and shown that it is not what Joseph Smith claimed it to be. Mormon Apologists have retreated to stating that Joseph Smith was able to receive revelation on Moses et al simply by having the manuscript in his possession.
When critics of the Church point out these flaws, Apologists resort to attacking the critic rather than addressing the issue provided by the critic. Apologists then turn around and attack the ignorance of an “offended” member again without addressing the real issue - that the Mormon Church purposefully omits details of the Church History - and do not provide alternative theories, stories or facts. Apologists also attack the critics by quoting an obscure article or magazine published by the Church where polygamy was in fact acknowledge - then laying the blame on the member for not knowing about such article.
The counsel of the Mormon Church is to read the Book of Mormon, Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price - and the Ensign, pay their tithing, obey the leaders and fulfill all of their callings and attendances. The history of the Church, the differing views of the BOA, of polygamy, the Kirtland Bank, the reality behind the Carthage jail - are discouraged as “truths” that are not “useful”. Unless of course you are a Mormon Apologist who will use such material as ammunition against a member who suddenly finds themselves “engaged in study and faith in their gospel lives.”
| Because of my writing, I was thinking about Mary's role within Mormonism.
I had joked earlier about writing a sexual scene between Mary and Mormon's "father god, Elohim" because according to Mormonism that's EXACTLY what happened in order for Jesus to be conceived.
However, the more I thought about it, the more the actual event didn't seem quite 'haha' funny.
Theoretically funny, but not in a way if viewed from the Mormon standpoint if one were to REALLY think about it.
Mary was considered to be a virgin and was most likely younger. According to Mormonism's claims, she was 'overshadowed' by the spirit and then impregnated with Jesus by Elohim.
While Mormonism may claim that god had 'sex' with Mary in order to conceive Jesus, it's not 'sex.'
This is an incestuous relationship with a younger virgin who would have had no concept of a "Father god in flesh and bone."
However disturbing that may seem, it is also a pretty good metaphor for a lot of Mormonism. Joseph Smith and everyone who came after him created a system where younger girls were coerced into "relationships" with the idea that they were carrying out "god's will."
Just like Mary would have been - according to Mormonism.
Looking at it from her standpoint in this fictional circumstance, she would have been coerced to copulate with her "heavenly father" in order to bring about his "will" even though he was an omniscient being.
According to Mormonism, god the father is all powerful; so he chose to copulate with Mary in order to bring about his son.
He chose to have a "spiritual" incestuous relationship with his "spiritual child" in order to bring about the Savior of the World.
Mary sacrificed quite a bit in order to complete "god's will."
| The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints places great emphasis on the need for honesty and truth.
One of its Articles of Faith (canonized statements of its basic beliefs) states:
'We believe in being honest, true...'
To achieve the top status of membership (the holding of a valid pass to enter the Temples) you have to pass a series of worthiness tests, questioned by your local Church leader. One of these questions asks:
'Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow men?
So, honesty and truth seem to be important in the faith. But does the organization practice what it preaches?
Example Number 1.
There can be no doubt that the method for producing the Book of Mormon involved Joseph Smith putting a rock (seer stone if you prefer) in his hat. You could make an argument for the method of using the Urim and Thummim (Rock/crystal based spectacles) initially but only for the pages that were 'lost'.
The Church provides its volunteer teachers with support materials including pictures, that are to be shown during the appropriate lesson.
The picture for the translation of the Book of Mormon shows Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey sat at a table with the golden plates clearly on display in front of them. Joseph is studying them and Oliver is writing.
(Picture available on the LDS website under media support materials)
No rock, no hat, no Urim and Thummim and Oliver can clearly see the plates.
So, is this picture dishonest?
Example Number 2.
The Doctrine and Covenants is canonized LDS scripture which contains 'revelations given to Joseph Smith, The Prophet.
Section 137 was 'given' to Joseph on January 21st 1836 and was recorded in his journal - it is from this journal that section 137 was copied (well almost copied, see below).
Verse 5 of section 137 reads:
'I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother...'
(available to view online at the LDS website under scriptures)
However, the actual journal entry from which this is copied reads:
'I saw Father Adam and Abraham and Michael and my father and my mother...'
(available from the LDS website 'The Joseph Smith Papers' under Journals)
No official (apologists have had a go at speculating and theorising) explanation for the omission of the fact that Joseph saw Michael as well as Adam and Abraham is given.
This is important because Mormons believe (and are instructed in the Temple) that in fact Michael IS Adam.
So either Michael isn't Adam after all, or perhaps Joseph was mistaken in who he saw (both situations would be very embarrassing on the Church's credibility).
So is section 137 of the Doctrine and Covenants dishonest?
Does the Mormon Church 'believe in being honest, true...'?
| "People can leave the church but can't ever leave the church alone"
This phrase is used in TSCC as an attempt to validate itself, and I find it totally ridiculous.
Imagine a woman who was being domestically abused by her significant other. After years of abuse, the woman leaves. Perhaps she gets therapy, talks about and processes her abuse. She might join a group of people with similar experiences. She might raise awareness of the issue. She might be angry at all of the lost years and the effect of the repression...missed educational or career opportunities. The list goes on.
Now imagine her self-centered and insecure abuser hears news of her life and protest.
"See? She still thinks about me...she wants me back. She's telling lies about me, buy she knows she needs me and won't find anyone better than me. She left me but can't leave me alone."
I find it offensive that TSCC uses this phrase to reinforce itself.
After all, persecution doesn't make something true. And TSCC isn't even persecuted much. There aren't armies invading Utah right now right? Thousands of people are killed every day fighting other causes more aggresively.
| I've heard of Pious Fraud, Lying for the Lord and even the Noble Lie, but just now encountered "the happy lie" as discussed by David Silverman, President of "American Atheists".
He writes about the End of the Worldists with great expectations for May 21:
My Take: Doomsdayers show what’s wrong with all religion
(By David Silverman, an atheist since age 6).
"Let nobody doubt that religion hurts people. Good, intelligent, caring people suffer every day and everywhere at the hands of religion, the happy lie."
NG: I agree with this. In fact, I have long concluded that "church hurts". The "happy lie" refers to the promise of eternal life, according to Silverman. He is more locked into his conclusion than I would be in calling it a lie but that's understandable as he's a decided atheist.
"Since rational minds question irrational things, believers constantly have doubts, and therefore fear that they don't have enough faith to pass muster during the eventual Rapture, when the righteous will be saved and the unrighteous will be damned. Fear of hell makes believers desperate to ease those doubts so they can be sure to get into heaven. It’s a recipe for fear-based obedience, which is exactly what religion craves."
NG: I disagree that "believers constantly have doubts". I think that some of his opinions have some merit but he tends to use generalizations that render some of his statements inaccurate. There is not one conglomerate of "Christianity" wherein all people believe all the same ideas. I should know. I've spent enough time looking for it. To many outsiders it would seem there should be one entity that embodies a focus of "truth" and all serious adherents. It just doesn't work that way. I have found that Martin Luther expressed an accurate reality of the expression of Christianity (at least, as I have experienced it) in his summary statement: In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity". If you are accustomed to a highly controlled religious environment ("fundy") this can seem like chaos at first but to me, as long as there is unity in essentials (core Christian doctrine to which mainstream churches adhere) chaos is controlled.
I also believe that once most people have chosen their way within their religion they do not "constantly have doubts". Some who grow up in a home faith may never have a single question about it. Others who choose one and commit or convert to it will likely believe at a certain level from that time forward, at least without revisiting the basics. (This may not be as true of converts to less mainstream faiths; as we know, in Mormonism the attrition rate for new converts is high so obviously there is a lot of rethinking going on).
Some atheists ask in frustration how people cannot see discrepancies, inconsistencies, non-truths in their religion and conclude that they must be stupid or wilfully ignorant or lying, but I disagree. It's my observation and experience that if they are reasonably content in their faith it's simply a matter of having once accepted certain ideas they tend not to re-evaluate them. For instance, as a Christian, even though I studied a lot outside the individual boxes, it never occurred to me to ask if God actually exists. (That didn't happen until I arrived at RfM and only then much later). I think that once you firmly believe such a basic idea within a religion you have no reason to re-evaluate it unless something momentous occurs. Even then, it can be exceptionally difficult to let go of a religious basic that has been very meaningful to you.
"It’s the method used by Camping [May 21 doomsdayer], and by the rest of Christianity, too." (referring to creating fear of hell in people and then offering the supposed solution - my paraphrase).
I understand what he's saying and agree with it in some cases but his statement suffers from being so generalized.
Again, one statement applied to all of Christianity is likely not going to apply 100%.
I think it can be just as difficult for a non-believer to get inside religious belief as it can be for a believer to comprehend an atheist. To both, their own view seems so obvious. Believers look at the world and see God. To them it's so obvious they think nothing more needs to be said. You want evidence? Look at that tree. There's your evidence! To an atheist they can see the same tree but all it means, perhaps, is that a random seed dropped in from somewhere and sprouted. Not a miracle from on high. Just biology.
The Great Divide.
Fortunately, some of us can talk to each other and arrive at some degree of understanding.
I found Mr. Silverman's article to be interesting and thought-provoking. I'm always glad to learn a new term. Now I've got "the happy lie" to investigate.
Along with everything else.
| Yes, I know we beat this topic to death over here, but so does the church. :P
I couldn't sleep and quite frankly I was filled with loud laughter over discovering another young man in my area fess up to being barred from a mission because he can't control his s** ual desires. (the laughter being that I was just gossiping about him and thinking that was likely the reason).
Again a good young man and he'd likely make a fine missionary, but one filled with too much honesty for his own good in a church that culturally is all about the facade.
As I mentioned in another topic, the stake president has decreed that to receive the Melchezidek priesthood a young man must be free from masturbating for at least 6 months and then must continue for a full year to be considered eligible for a full time mission. However, the question of m4stur bation never came up from this same SP in the matter of rebaptism and restoration of blessings of excommunicated members. (I know of two who I've had blunt conversations with)
I got to thinking with all the emphasis on being free of masturbation where were these Bishops and stake presidents getting their instructions from. So I turned to the secret blue book that is only available to stake presidencies and Bishoprics plus GAs. It's basically the sole resource they are to use in government of the church. For those of you who haven't stolen a copy you can look it up on online.
So the handbook is pretty explicit on many matters including several pages on church discipline and worthiness issues. Of course Pornography is to be avoided and good church members should fight against it. Homosexuality is dealt with at length too and having participated in it during your teenage years is one thing that could get you potentially banned from missionary service. There's also a paragraph on being sensitive to overweight potential missionaries.
There's a few paragraphs on fornication and if the prospective missionary was too promiscuous with several partners or one long term partner that would ban him too. (I've already told how in my first apartment as a missionary there were 6 elders living in it and I was the only virgin.)
And yet, no where is masturbation mentioned. It's not found in the index, mentioned anywhere under sexual sins; nor is it found in the instructions for YSA wards that Bishops should routinely lecture the young Elders on it and twist their arms to get confessions every few months.
So where is it that church leaders are getting the push from to squelch and suppress masturbation among the young men?
| When I was young, people had to read the BoM, Talmage's book about The Life of Christ and they had to read the book A Marvelous Work and Wonder, If they got that far and it took quite awhile you knew they were converted. They also had to attend church too. These people joined, stayed with the church and became the strength of the Church,
Back then we had great Sunday School manuals written by Benson on the Teachings of Christ, etc. It was great being a young teenager as you had wonderful new colorful Sunday school manuals every year. It was big thing to wonder what your new Sunday School manual would be like. Same with the Priesthood manual, A new one every year, for the boys and the men. The Relief Society had their own little book mailed out once a month. We had the Improvement Era a monthly church publication with articles by the intellectuals of the church.
You could learn and it was exciting.
Talks at Church had depth and meaning. People quoted articles from what they read and pondered.
Then something happened in around the 80's. The Church stopped publishing manuals as Ballard said "it was too expensive for wards and families to buy these manuals." He said "we will use the scriptures." "Costs for a family would be reduced." He said the brethren and the scholars were going to cut back on their writing of books as it was too costly for families to buy them. This was all about saving money. (I was on the High council when Ballard came and talked to use about this).
They did this for a while and now the Church owned book store is all about Church leaders selling their books and other junk. What happened to saving money? Look at what you can buy at The Church Distribution Center. All the Church has done is eliminate the scholars and made the General Authority books the prime source of book buying.
The Ensign has no depth, no meat like the Era did.
I believe that this has happened for the following reasons:
1) It was taking too long to convert people according to Ballard. The church wanted to look like it was a fast growing Church. Can't have people take a year to read, ponder and question can we? Waste of time according to Ballard. They can do that after they are baptized.
2) They did not want people to have an intellectual appreciation for the gospel nor go through the process of critical thing. Hence, now days, just read a few scriptures from the BoM to know it is true. Ask a prayer and your on you way to eternal life even if you know nothing about it.
3) Back then they had to give up completely coffee, tea, booze and smokes to show their inner commitment. Today inner commitment is not a standard, just numbers of baptism.
4) The Church wants to focus on masses of people who have a lower reading ability and lower critical thinking skills just to get them "converted" (?????) and baptized and the numbers up. They are trying to make the gospel easy.
5) The church is relying on the older members who are converted to pull the church along. They don't give a piece of crap about these members as long as they pay and obey.
6) Just like the US and Canadian Education system, the Church has watered down the Sunday School lessons for kids and adults, that way they not have to deal with issues and conflict with what the manuals say.
7) Everything is done for the Church or Corporation now, not the individual. Try talking to missionaries. There is no depth of discussion.
So yes the intellectuals have gone. So have the skills associated with reading their writings.
| I’ve been reading a lot about cults in the last couple of months. From reading stories of ex-Scientologists to deprogramming techniques to investigating what truly defines a cult. This is part of why I ended up leaving the church. Last night, I watched PBS’ fantastic documentary, "Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple." I had no idea they had footage from the whole thing, right down to the audio of Jim Jones urging people to drink cyanide. |
One of the most profound things said in the film was from an ex-member of People’s Temple. She said, quite simply, “Nobody joins a cult. People join a movement, a religion, a political cause, but nobody joins something they think is going to hurt them.”
The fate of Jonestown is so senseless. The thing that finally brought me to tears wasn’t the footage of the 900 dead people, or hearing about the mothers forced to watch their children foam at the mouth from cyanide poisoning. The day before the suicides (though “massacre” is a more accurate term for what happened there), Congressman Leo Ryan had flown down with some reporters, a camera crew, and his aide, Jackie Speier (now a Congresswoman herself) to investigate People’s Temple. There had been allegations that people were being held hostage--that they weren’t allowed to leave. That night, the whole town had a party for the Congressman. The images are stunning: it looks like the greatest tropical retreat ever. People’s Temple was a truly multicultural organization, which was rare in the 60’s and 70’s. At the party, everyone is singing and dancing, and their differences don’t seem to matter to one another. A beautiful African-American woman sings Earth Wind and Fire’s “That’s the Way of the World” to the gathered people, with a full band. Everyone is so truly happy in these images.
And then, Jackie Speier’s voiceover comes in: “I would have never thought that, within 24 hours, all of those people would be dead.”
People’s Temple is a harrowing story, one that hit me pretty hard. The members of Jonestown gave up their ability to make their own decisions, up to the point that they killed themselves because they believed what their leader taught: that death was the best option, was the only way to be redeemed.
Nobody joins a cult. But as with the famous Milgram experiment, we know that people are capable of horrifying brutality when they are given orders to. We know that people will believe anything they are told. It’s not that it’s human nature to be gullible, but rather than we inherently want to trust those around us. We want to keep ourselves safe. And when we are so invested in a cause, it can be hard to allow ourselves to see the damage we’ve done.
Nobody joins a cult. But I know that I gave up some of my free will in the many years I was involved in Mormonism. Sure, I didn’t go without sleep for six days straight (as one People’s Temple member did), nor was I forced to fundraise until 3 am in bad neighborhoods (as Steve Hassan, an ex-Moonie was.) I did, however, pay thousands of dollars in tithing. I spent inordinate amounts of time dedicated to the church: 3-hour services, meetings before and after church, Visiting Teaching, Home Teaching, Firesides, Young Women’s, General Conferences, Girls Camp, cleaning church buildings, meeting with missionaries, meeting with Bishops, campouts, Family Home Evenings, and far too many more things to name. I gave up my own ability to develop into adulthood to a church who refused to treat me like a grownup until I got married. I gave up my self-esteem to a church who insisted it was my fault that I wasn’t married yet. I followed all the rules, and still the promises weren’t fulfilled.
Nobody joins a cult. But sometimes we become so involved in something that it’s hard to see when it’s no longer working for us. Let’s say you put a dollar into a vending machine, and pick out your favorite item, only to find that the machine won’t give them to you and has instead eaten your dollar. Okay, that’s disappointing, but maybe it’s just a glitch. You put another dollar in, and the machine eats that one too. How many more times would you try? How much money are you going to spend feeding a broken machine? At the end of the day, I finally realized I was done feeding the machine. I was spiritually broke--I had given the church everything it asked of me, and it was still not giving out what it had promised. I hit my quota of how much I was willing to give the church. It was an investment that never paid out. Some people will stand at that vending machine for years, dutifully giving every quarter and every minute to the organization, without getting what they want. I decided I would not be one of those people.
Nobody joins a cult. But we give up our freedom in small ways every day. We submit to the group. We keep our mouths shut when we have controversial opinions. We conform and tone ourselves down to be more acceptable. We jump through the hoops presented to us because we believe it is what we are meant to do. This is our divine calling, therefore we must do it, and we are happy that we do.
After watching the film last night, I turned my grief for the victims of Jonestown into fuel. These people have been dead for 32 years; I can’t do anything for them. But I can promise myself that I will not give my freedom away again. I can learn from their experiences, and help others escape controlling situations. Inner peace must not come at the expense of our free will. Maybe it’s the Mormon in me, but the idea of free agency is a powerful one that still resonates with me. My life is my own, and I refuse to give up my ability to pattern it however I like. I refuse to let the Jim Joneses and the Thomas Monsons of the world tell me that I must follow their blueprint.
I highly recommend the Jonestown documentary to everyone. I wonder if any current Mormons would see the parallels in their own faith, or if they would tune it out like so many other things...
| Non-Mormon Philosophy Professor,John Mark Reynolds, has taken aim at the BOM musical. His argument is (1) the authors "inflict pain and mockery" on a group that is already despised and "go soft on the assumptions of their rich and powerful patrons." (2) the musical targets a group that is "misunderstood" and "discriminated against."
Let's look at Dr. Reynolds' arguments.
(1) Infliction of Mockery and Pain
Before The Book of Mormon was ever a musical it was and is a book. The book describes dark skin as a curse, which God inflicts on people to make them "loathsome." The Book of Mormon scripture clearly lays out a false and derisive story of origins for the American Indian. Would Dr. Reynolds blow his gasket if someone created an equally crude and derisive play about "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," "Mein Kampf" or some other nonsensical racist book--religous or otherwise? The Mormon organization continues to show intolerance towards the other, most recently in its effort to pass Proposition 8 in California.
Which brings us to the second part of Dr. Reynolds' first argument. Yes the patrons and donors of Broadway are rich and influential, and probably have their own issues. But so are Mormons these days. Or do does he not read the news? Mitt Romney is ahead in the GOP presidential nomination polls. Harry Reid leads the Senate. The LDS Church is owner of a $3 billion plus big dig project in Salt Lake City. They are not some little featherweight organization. If they want to play on the big stage in a free society, they'd better be ready for some tough critiques.
Well yes. Largely what people don't understand is the degree to which the LDS top leadership is so dead set on deceiving its own membership and potential converts. The standard line I see in the political press on Mitt Romney and John Huntsman goes something like this:
"Another concern among voters is [candidate's] Mormon faith, which some evangelicals consider a cult."
With such a stunning depth of analysis, it is understandable that most casual observers misunderstand Mormonism. However, as this site documents well, more understanding generally doesn't lead to more sympathy for this organization.
| After clicking the link of the BOM musical hater, I thought this article advertised at the bottom of the page looked interesting. It was. It's about the reunion of a mother with the son she gave up for adoption. Should have been a great heartwarming tale, but oh the mormon twist. Take a gander:
I don't even know what point to begin with. Here's some highlights:
First, the article needs to point out that the child is biracial, because of course that makes a difference in how his family should view him. Despite the fact his bio dad wanted to raise him along with dad's family, dad wasn't good enough.
The Birth: "In the predawn hours of Saturday, June 16, 1984, a baby was born, wrapped in a white blanket and purposely kept from the young woman on the hospital bed. The infant male with bits of black hair was fed a bottle by his grandmother before he received a priesthood blessing at the hands of his grandfather. As the women looked on, the grandfather gently kissed the little one's forehead and handed him to the nurse.Then he was gone."
The article points out that he was purposely kept from her. I'm going to guess he was purprosely kept from her so she wouldn't be tempted to change to her mind. Her parents could not handle the shame of not only an out of wedlock baby, but gasp, a biracial one.
After baby comes the husband: "Brian admits he was tempted to judge her" How nice that the guy she is dating can forgive her and not judge her for something she did BEFORE she even knew him. What a great priesthood leader. He's really compassionate. On meeting his wife's son: "Brian wanted to protect his wife" Of course it's HIS decision if his wife meets the son she gave up for adoption. She has no say because it's all about protecting her, the fragile tender mormon woman.
On meeting her son:"First, Amy googled Bryan and learned all she could about him. Chills ran through her body as she discovered he served an LDS mission and married a beautiful woman in an LDS temple. Among the many things she learned, that was all she needed to know. "It appeared he was an amazing person. I really couldn't wait to meet him," she said"
That was what she needed to know!?! She only agreed to meet him after finding out he served a mission and was married in the temple!?! This of course is the only qualification to being, "an amazing person" and worthy of meeting.
On her and her husband's children: "Amy and Brian had counseled together and prayed about what to do, and telling the kids felt right. The children were astonished but accepting of their mother and excited to meet their half brother. They were told he served a mission and was married" How good of her children to forgive and accept their mother for something that happened to her long before they were even thought of. What an example of mormon family forgiveness! Such a wonderful mormon family!
Adoption is a hard and serious decision and I don't mean to make light of this woman's journey, but has she even read her own judgemental and condescending words?
| But it's not as far behind us as polygamy and it's definitely not as far behind us as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. But the thing to focus on is the overall behindness of it. We prefer not to dwell on things that are behind us. The fence sitter metaphor was really an unfortunate couplet more than anything else. We don't believe there really were fences in heaven. And if there were they are just flecks of history now. So we've got the behindness factor and the flecks factor and nobody in authority in the church wants to touch any racially sensitive issue with a 100 foot pole. We just don't.
My answer therefore is best expressed as a poem.
Let's not dwell
Where things aren't well
It's just a case of
No need for doctrine
To be clear
Like a bell
It's deep and requires much spirituality to understand. So let's talk about my years and years of service to needy widows instead. That's a real crowd pleaser.
| SALT LAKE CITY – Mike Otterson, head of the LDS Church's Public Affairs Department, has a message for those in the media who persist in referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a "cult": "expect to be challenged." (emphasis mine)
Writing in the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog, Otterson asserts that the word continues to crop up in news stories about Mormonism because "it's a neat, shorthand and rather lazy way of putting a whole group into a box."
Mike Otterson contributes to the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog. "Once labeled as a cult," Otterson continues, "there is not much need to explain all of the baggage that comes with it - the implicit ideas of extremism, mind control, authoritarianism and secrecy that play perfectly into the kind of rigid stereotypes beloved of the ignorant and bigoted. Journalists could and should do better than perpetuate this kind of shallowness when referring to the fourth largest church in the United States. Rather than continuing to parrot it, it's time they pushed back against those who choose to use it."
Just because they have secret rituals, which you have to pay money in order to obtain the highest degree of glory...
Just because they give you a new secret name...
Just because they foster an us vs them, persecution complex...
Just because they ask the members to wear special clothing that has magical protective powers...
Just because they believe themselves to be the elite, chosen ones...
Just because they believe that they hold special powers to heal...
Just because they send tens of thousands of missionaries to recruit...
Just because they teach that members should have strict obedience to one man who claims to talk to God, even to the giving of your own life...
Why on EARTH would anyone consider them a cult??
| I have been thinking about the recent epistle which was distributed by the church where members were told not to write to the General Authorities with questions on LDS doctrine and history, that such letters would be returned immediately to their own stake president, who is the correct one to advise them on such matters.
I saw a paradox in the story of PERON, where Evita, the young illegitimate daughter of her father's "second family," is confused when not allowed to approach the earthly remains of her dear father on his burial day, consigned to the last row of the church, not allowed to follow the hearse to the cemetery (I trust I remember the sequence of events, I am getting old, and PERON is, like most of my favorite movies, from the golden age of movies).
Am I only one who felt slapped in the face by the letter out of Salt Lake? I shouldn't really be surprised, such a directive is totally in line with the policies of what basically has become a real estate corporation. We members are at best, second class share holders of the same, with little direct power and absolutely no say as to its ultimate goals. We are not told how contributions are used, even long held beliefs (such as the sacred temple lot in Missouri) are not mentioned any longer and now we are told, "Don't ask."
Evita's poignant song, "Don't cry for me, Argentina," gives a thumbs up to my hypothesis in its words: "I always loved you, I hope you love me." I just don't know anymore, about the fifteen Coats on South Temple. They don't seem very user friendly... where is the love?
| As Warren Jeffs' trial has been winding down, they have been putting out pictures of the inside of the FLDS temple. Inside it is very similar to the LDS temple, except for one thing. A sickening, disgusting bed that Warren used to have sex with a 12 year old girl while his wives were there.
Both the LDS and the FLDS have had inappropriate temple ceremonies.
Recall that it was only six years ago that the LDS church changed their temple ceremonies. No longer did patrons have to be naked, except for a flap. No longer did patrons get touched inappropriately on their naked bodies by temple workers.
I've read many, many accounts of both men and women going through the LDS temple and being touched on their breasts and nipples, and men on their penises during these ceremonies. I have many of them documented on the Mormon Curtain.
As late as 1931 the Salt Lake Temple had full-sized bathtubs for the washing ceremony (see Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony, Appendix F, pp. 175-76, and Mysteries of Godliness, Appendix 2, p. 218). Patrons would be completely naked while this was performed.
I can't help but wonder if the LDS church saw that it had to eliminate these embarrassing and humiliating parts of their ceremonies - because their legal departments said so.
I'm not comparing the disgusting practice that Warren did, but I am comparing the creepy nature of being naked and touched that has occurred in both the LDS and the FLDS temples - as recently as six years ago.
In the media with the FLDS trial, there is only one word that separates Jeffs' church from Monson's church and that is "Fundamentalist". Everything else is the same - temple ceremonies, Book of Mormon, Mormon, garments, priesthood.
I wonder what people would think if someone printed that just six years ago, Mormons were instructed to remove all of their clothing and put on a sheet that had a hole where their heads went through - but was open on both sides - basically they were instructed to be naked. Then, they were touched on their bodies while words were chanted.
Creepy FLDS ceremonies. Creepy LDS ceremonies.
| Joanna Brooks recently did a bug fluff piece in the Washington Post entitled "Five myths about Mormonism".
John Dehlin on FB posted the link to which I responded:
"Obfuscation and parroting "we no longer teach that". Why doesn't she just point everyone to FAIR articles and be done with it."
John replied, "Joanna Brooks is NOTHING like FAIR/FARMS. Not even in the same universe."
And I wrote back,
"I understand that, but her comments are nearly the same. Take her answer on garments for instance. Don't talk about the real reason why they were created and how they have evolved today. A bunch of fluff, sugar coated responses with a disregard to the underlying doctrine and their origins. In other words she's just trying to use the same sales pitch that Mormons are just as normal as everyone else rather than a peculiar people."
I liked SlCabbie's response (one of my favorite RFM posters):
"Most of her rhetoric amounts to some lame "strawman incineration" tactics people just can't seem to get away from...
Are Mormon women second class citizens? Why yes they are.
Her comment on the "Mormons are polygamists" claim ignores the historical reality of Post-Manifesto polygamy, the fact that Fundamentalists still call themselves Mormons, and she presents disparate figures from LDS sources and historians on the percentage of polygamists in 19th Century Utah with the implied innuendo they should be given equal credibility.
Similarly her disavowal of the "Mormons aren't Christians" attack reduces to "My Jewish husband thinks I am."
Okay, I won't engage one way or the other on the "Christian" debate, but I was living in Utah during the ERA days, and Ms. Brooks appears to have overlooked that one as well as the real issues that include the historical accuracy of the BOM not being supported by science, the very real theocracy that operates in Utah--and has become worse in the last 30 or so years--and the adverse effect the LDS Church has on the entire intellectual and social climate of its culture."
Richard G. Scott wrote:
"Satan has unleashed a seductive campaign to undermine the sanctity of womanhood, to deceive the daughters of God and divert them from their divine destiny. He well knows women are the compassionate, self-sacrificing, loving power that binds together the human family. He would focus their interests solely on their physical attributes and rob them of their exalting roles as wives and mothers. He has convinced many of the lie that they are third-class citizens in the kingdom of God."
See? Women ARE second class citizens in Mormonism. Satan wants them to believe that they are third-class. The liar! They're one step up from that!
| If you are the type of person who feels that LDS films are beyond criticism then please read no further, and by all means go see this picture.
For me, this movie was a real disappointment. As my wife said upon leaving the theater, “if the second half of this movie was replaced by Citizen Kane, it still would have sucked”.
This is not a version of Joseph Smith that will challenge any faithful Mormons’ view of Joseph Smith. Despite Richard Bushman being given a credit as “Historical Advisor”, there’s no seer stone, or translation by hat on display here or any other historical elements that would fall outside of the standard picture presented of Joseph in LDS Sunday School classes. Indeed, Joseph is shown translating the golden plates by diligently examining them uncovered directly in front of him, and is also shown receiving direct revelation at a moment’s notice which he then recites word-for-word to others in his presence.
That said, there is one noteworthy nod to non-Sunday-School history when there is a dialogue exchange between Joseph and his father, which is vague, but does contain at least a partial admission of Joseph’s early reputation as a treasure hunter and gold digger.
The first half of the film is mainly a Hollywood love story between Joseph and Emma, as he attempts to court her and win her father’s favor. After they’ve eloped, Joseph attempts again to win at least his acceptance of him as part of the family. Josiah Hale is at first a doubter and has worries about his daughter being married to Joseph, but in Hollywood style Joseph wins over Josiah and is lovingly and compassionately accepted by Josiah into the family. One can almost imagine what Bushman thought of the blatant historical inaccuracies during this part.
Much of the rest of the movie is composed of various characters sitting in chairs discussing things that happened off screen. I wonder why those things were not shown on-screen? Limited budget? Laziness? For example:
1. Joseph sits on a chair and talks about how, after he retrieved the Golden Plates he was chased, attacked and fought off his dark assailants to make it home. It sounds like it would be a very exciting and dramatic part of the film, right? Why aren’t we seeing that instead of Joseph describing this while sitting on a chair?
2. Martin Harris sits on a chair and tells others about how he took the translated manuscript home, and all the intrigue and what transpired between his wife and what other people thought. Why aren’t we seeing this dramatized?
3. The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon sit on some chairs and tell others about their experience praying together, then Martin Harris feeling unworthy and leaving the group, and then the remaining others seeing an angel, etc. Again, this sounds like it could be a powerful scene that’s integral to the plot – why aren’t we seeing it instead of just hearing about it?
Maybe showing an actual fight scene between Joseph and his assailants in the woods wasn’t within the director’s capability. Perhaps the low budget didn’t allow many scenes and settings other than characters sitting on chairs and talking. Having these characters sit on chairs, telling their stories doesn’t create a good movie. The whole point of seeing a dramatization of the Joseph Smith story on the screen instead of hearing about it from a Sunday School manual is to actually see it dramatized.
There is a movie called "The Tree of Life” that should be available on DVD soon. It is a masterpiece about deep human emotions, evoked with sympathy and love. Go see it and it will help you realize how much "Joseph Smith and the Golden Plates'' sucks.
| Being a convert myself, I have mixed feelings.
On one hand, converts receive a ton of positive attention from other members. They are often considered extra faithful for being able to accept the church and all of its restrictions without having grown up in it. I certainly had multiple BICs
tell me that they don't think they would have converted had they not been born in the church, and they seemed to genuinely respect me for having done such. Converts are also often seen as more dedicated and faithful to the church than BIC members who often take the church for granted in their life. Additionally, I think converts provide a special validation to BIC members: if people outside of Mormonism are able and willing to convert, then the church must be true.
At the same time, there is a negative underbelly to being a convert that floats around the LDS community. A lot of times, members assume that you don't know anything about LDS doctrine, even though converts are typically better educated on doctrine than most BIC members. Occasionally I met a patronizing BIC member who felt this way, though these were certainly a minority, and almost exclusively from Mormon royalty families.
A slightly bigger problem is your lack of tribal connection to Mormonism, which does seem to be a big deal to many BIC members. As a convert, you aren't sealed to anyone (at least initially), don't have extended Mormon family in your network, and have no pioneer ancestry which is often highly prized among members. I knew one LDS kid from a deeply entrenched family who definitely preferred dating BIC girls because they were more plugged into LDS culture and seemed to be a better match to his own upbringing.
Lastly, and in my mind is the biggest stigma, is the floating belief that those not born into the covenant were somehow less valiant in the pre-mortal life. Valiant spirits, we are told, were born to Mormon families as a reward for the righteousness. As a corollary, converts must have been something slightly different. We were apparently good enough to be born in a place that had the Mormon gospel present so that we could convert during this life, but at the end of the day there was something intrinsically inferior about us that kept us from being blessed with a birth to Mormon parents.
As far as the church hierarchy is concerned, I think this last item is the biggest deal. BICs are generally chosen for big leadership roles. I think this is partly due to the chosen-one status that BICs are perceived to enjoy, but also having deep Mormon connections in ones family probably lowers the chances of a member going AWOL and leaving the church. When choosing leadership, this is probably a bigger deal to the hierarchy than actual competency.
| In the Ensign this month it states men AND WOMEN saw the golden plates.
Yes, the plates were seen by men, women, two dogs, a stunted pig and a rabid cat...
We don't have precise accounts of what the dogs, pig and cat saw.
Emma also saw Joseph Smith put a goat-turd-sized rock in a hat, stuff his face in the hat and pretend to read "translations" off of the rock in the hat.
The human witlesses mostly saw things with their "spiritual eyes." In other words, they were talked into imagining things. Then they talked about what they imagined as though they were real. This is the charitable understanding. Chances are they were just fibbing most of the time.
Mary Whitmer saw NEPHI with the plates. Nephi had them in a backpack, pulled them out and then magically disappeared with them--like a leprauchan, only minus the magically delicious stars and moons. But we only know about Mary Whitmer's story second hand from her grandson.
I don't recall Emma claiming to see the naked plates. Seems they were always wrapped up.
In any case, Joseph Smith's tall tales (fibs) fall apart at so many levels... (language warning)...it really is a miracle that the leaders of LDS ChurchCo have kept so many people so enthralled for so long in their organized worship of Joe Smith's con-artist fabricated bullshit.
For example, let's just look at some of the inexplicable inconsistencies in the Golden Plates tale.
On the one hand, Joe has to get his hands on the physical golden plates in order to translate the ancient text into English.
But on the other hand, he doesn't really need the physical golden plates because he can just see the entire text through the brown rock he calls a seer stone or, alternatively, through the "Urim and Thummim" crystals that reportedly are mounted on a breastplate.
But then he also sometimes calls the brown rock the "Urim and Thummim" just to confuse things further.
Then there's the problem of keeping the golden plates safe because they're gold and precious and bad guys want to steal them.
But at the same time, it seems that the angel (or at least AN angel) always has them in his own custody, which is why the Three Witnesses (Witlesses) had to wait for an angel to bring the golden plates to them, so that they could do their big witnessing thing.
According to John Whitmer's story about his Grandma Whitmer seeing the golden plates, Nephi (not Moroni) had the plates in a backpack and, after pulling them out and showing them to Grandma W., Nephi quickly stuffed them back in the backpack and immediately vanished. Chronologically, this would probably have been around the same time that Joe was going to great lengths to hide the plates here and there to protect them. Poor Joe going to all that trouble while the angel or angels were borrowing them anytime they pleased and schlepping them all over the place in backpacks.
According to other tall tales told by Joe and Ollie, the golden plates were managed by Moroni. So you've got at least two angels, Nephi and Moroni, who are running around with the golden plates. I wonder if they had angelic check-out cards (like in libraries), so that god could keep track of who had most recently checked out the golden plates.
So while the angels are obviously still managing security for the golden plates, we get strange scenarios where Joe, in one instance, has to run through the woods with these extremely heavy plates to keep them out of the hands of would-be thieves and, in another instance, supposedly has to hide them in a barrel of beans or something like that. So what was that all about? If some bad guys actually stole them, wouldn't it just be easy as pie for Nephi and Moroni to zap the bad guys down and get their precious plates back? Were both Moroni and Nephi on vacation and they couldn't keep the plates in the angelic vault where they usually had them?
Then there were other times where they were supposedly in a box or under a cloth.
The whole thing is such an obvious bullshit story that it is truly painful at times to see adult Mormons going along with it.
I've heard better bullshit stories from drunken ignoramuses in bars. At least the drunken ignoramuses could catch themselves in the middle of saying something that contradicted what they had said just a few minutes earlier.
I mean when I was younger I tried really hard to believe because I love my family and I respect my TBM parents for so many reasons. But by the time I got into my early twenties, after having served a mission, it was just so obvious that it was a bullshit story made up by a low-budget bullshit artist named Joe Smith. I couldn't even try to believe anymore and I couldn't pretend.
It's like trying to believe in Santa Claus to make your parents and friends happy. But it's even worse. In this story, there are real guys in business suits who try to tell you that Santa Claus want you to pay TO THEM 10% of your income. And then it's even worse than worse when you find out that the guy who made up the original bullshit story made up similar bullshit stories so that he could get into the panties of underaged girls and married women.
I love my TBM friends and family members, but for the life of me I just don't see how they continue believing these absurd bullshit stories. But, as Hinckley might say, that's the miracle of it. It could be that this is the miracle that keeps Mormons going back for more. They tell themselves: "I can't believe that I actually believe this shit! There's no reason for believing this shit! It's the craziest shit I ever heard! It's a miracle that I believe this shit. That means it's holy shit and you have to believe holy shit. [cue the melody] And that's why I believe..."
BTW, pardon my French here. I don't usually like to use the bullshit word without deleting a vowel or something. But there really doesn't seem to be an adequate substitute adjective for describing the ridiculous lies made up by Joe Smith and his enablers.
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