Posted by: Jay | June 8, 2007

Should missionaries be more prepared?

When I think about missionaries I think about my own experience being called to serve in a foreign country (I went to Ecuador!). It took dedication, faith, an adventuresome spirit and preparation? The very first time I read the Book of Mormon through start to finish was three days before I entered the MTC in Orem, UT (I’d been reading it my whole life, just not all the way through). I thought that the Laminites were anyone with black skin (I was taught this was not the case in the MTC, a very humbling experience), didn’t know that Joseph Smith had polygamous wives and knew virtually nothing about other religions and their theology. I didn’t even know how to speak Spanish, even though I was going to a Spanish speaking country (That made it even more exciting).

My reasons for going were: I thought it must be true, I had a desire to serve God, I wanted to give back to the church I grew up in, it was expected of me by the LDS culture (my parents didn’t pressure me), and it was exciting to think I could go somewhere else in the world for two years. Not once did I think about if I was prepared with the knowledge I needed to answer peoples’ questions.

When I talk to missionaries in my ward, I find that they are much like I was. Occasionally there is one that is knowledgeable about the church history or other faiths, but that is rare. Most of that learning comes while you are on your mission and afterward. So what should missionaries know before leaving for 18 -24 months to serve God? Is spiritual knowledge enough? Would missionaries be more successful if they were trained to assist those that are kept from the LDS Church because of misconceptions about LDS doctrine?

FYI, I loved my mission. It truly was the best two years of my life. It made me see the world in a totally new way. I appreciated family and country more. I grew enormously from the experience spiritually, physically, and mentally. I don’t regret going. Yes, I continue to learn, but my mission was a time of “accelerated”, real world learning.

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Responses

  1. It might be nice if they knew more, but we seem to have pretty effective and workable system now anyway. It really is a rite of passage, the “on the job” experience is going to be the most effective way of learning for the majority of missionaries. Many wouldn’t be interested in a theology class, but when they get in a “bash” with some one, will then go and do some research. Of course to my experience sometimes I didn’t like were the research seemed to be taking me, and mostly put of deep digging until after my mission (partly do to a lack of resources in the field).

  2. Jay – The Sisters who taught me were awesome. They didn’t have all the answers… but they held their own and were very impressive to me. Their spirits and love for the Gospel glowed out of them.

    And in the end remember who does the converting. The Holy Ghost. I LOVE missionaries! For a long time I had the Sisters over every Saturday and those sweet ladies put up with some pretty sorry cooking at times. LOL But I loved each and every one of them. I wish I could feed the Elders, but as a single woman (who wouldn’t be if Polygamy was still allowed! Sorry, just had to throw that in) I’m not allowed to.

    One day when I am married, if that happens in this life, I will feed the Elders as often as possible. Actually, I hope some day I am married to a Mission President or someone like that because nothing would make me happier than spend my time between the Temple and Missionaries.

    You young missionaries so totally rock there are no words I can express to let you know how much you all mean to me. It doesn’t surprise me a bit that the Lord calls the young men and women to be His teachers and missionaries on this earth.

    And just to let you know, the main Sister who taught me also flew up from BYU to Medford, OR to escort me through the Temple. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it.

    I guess tonight I’m just so filled with gratitude to be a part of this Church. I spent the day at the Temple and my heart is full. And I got to see a Sister get her Endowment in preparation to go on her mission. What a wonderful day. And a HUGE prayer of mine got answered after my third session…

    Missionaries rock… don’t ever forget that!

  3. From my own experience I know that these controversial things do not come up that often on missions. I can count on one hand how many times someone brought up any of them. However, those few times when it did come up we (my companion and I) came out with egg on our face because we didn’t even know what they were talking about. I think it would be helpful to train missionaries what to do in such cases. I also think we could have helped correct some false impressions put in their minds by anti-LDS.

  4. Well, the Sisters were aware of most of that, although I remember one subject they didn’t know about and said they would do some research and get back to me, and they did.

    I’m sorry that happened to you. I can only say that most wouldn’t believe answers coming from missionaries anyway. Once they have that false notion in their minds, they simply won’t listen.

    But you’re right in that some could be better prepared apparently. I’m not sure what the answer would be to that. Maybe the exposure at a young age and prior to a mission would interfere more than help… I just don’t know.

    Here is a good talk on what kind of critisism is helpful and what kind isn’t. Heh… I need more practice on the helpful kind… lol

    http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=883267700817b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

  5. Well South America they don’t come up that often, but in southern America, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

  6. jayleen

    face the fact that you might never be married .Someone has to be a (ministering angel)servant of the maried , why not you ?

    Face the fact , your patriarchal blessing is wrong , they all say the same thing . follow the church , pay tithe , you were a valiant spirit , someone will marry you in the temple etc .Its the same nonsense as Horrorscopes .
    Its all designed to keep you in the cult . This church is obsessed with that and in finding and hounding new converts .

    Remember in Polygamy , Brigham Young didn’t concieve with some , he picked the ones he wanted ####### .. He had a big choice in the end..

    How old are you , if polygamy was back you ‘d be maried to a 70 year old with a beard ! lol

    you are living in cuckoo land .

  7. That promise isn’t from my Patriarchal blessing.

    Buzz… thanks for playing though.

    And clearly you are a pervert yourself, so please cease commenting to me. If I live in cuckoo land, I prefer it to living around men like you.

  8. I have a question specifically for BR – I am hoping you will give me an honest answer to this. Because I am very perplexed. You obviously don’t believe in anything the LDS Church teaches… so why are you still a member? I am truly curious about your answer. It makes no sense to me and I am really wanting to know why.

  9. I think the missionaries should have correct facts concerning polygamy, particularly if they are serving in the US. It’s THE one question they can count on. They should know how and why it started. Offering up the faith promoting legends that they’ve heard second hand destroys all of their credibility when anyone does a simple google search. I can’t imagine it helps missionaries own testimony when their investigators have to correct them about something to do with the church.

  10. Google Search? Hahaha… Oh my, most intelligent people realize you can’t believe something just because it’s written on the internet. I have yet to read an Anti view that couldn’t be shot down in flames.

    And how many times have I had to correct you on both what Mormons believe AND what EVANGELICALS believe!!

    You’ve thrown BRAND new teachings out there that even in my 20 years in those churches I never heard. Like the ‘metaphorical children of God’ load. In all the churches I’ve never heard of ANY that don’t believe we’re at the very least adopted children… but *most* of course without the capability of becoming like our supposed parent.

    Although the first Evangelical church I attended DID teach we become gods, and actually that church taught the principal somewhat like the LDS Church does. They said being adopted children, through Christ, we would indeed become like Him in the resurrection, and being joint heirs we would be equal to Christ.

    I can see why you like to focus on your perceived flaws with Mormonism… it’s to deflect all the massive flaws of your own beliefs.

    By the way, do you believe in the *Rapture*? If so, do you believe in pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib?

    Tell Jay about your *metaphorical child* teaching… which is totally askew from any of the Evangelical teachings I ever heard. And again, YES I did attend Evangelical churches whether you want to accept that or not. Your churches are NOT in agreement as to their teachings, not even in the basics a lot of times. And if there is that much disagreement, then there must be a whole lot of error. If there is that much error, how do you arrive at which teaching to accept? And with that much error, doesn’t it stand to reason that NONE of the teaching can be accepted?

    Why did Paul make sure everyone got baptized and have hands laid on them for the gift of the Holy Ghost? Why is that no longer required?

    Is the Bible the *perfect* thing that 1 Cor 13 teaches… that when it comes the partial will be done away which includes tongues and knowledge?

    If the Bible isn’t the *perfect* thing, do you believe in speaking in tongues? If so, in what manner do you do that?

    I’ll be awaiting your thorough answers…

  11. Hey Joy,

    I’d love to answer your question. But I’m a little dense after a long trip away. Can you help me understand what you are asking? I Cor 13, says that only love will endure. It also says that prophecies, tongues and knowledge will pass away when perfection comes (in my understanding, a reference to heaven).

    I personally do not have the gift of tongues. But on one occasion, while in the Philippines I do believe I was given the gift of translation while talking to a non believer about Jesus.

    My post about being a child of God, can be found here: http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2007/02/14/children-of-god/ I’m sorry if it or my beliefs offend you.

    I hear your complaint that classical Christian sects disagree on a great many things. I don’t refute that. I think there has been great sin in the way we have elevated some issues and even greater sin in how we have treated those that disagree with us on non-essentials. (Tribulationalism being one of them) I wrote about this issue here:http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2007/01/10/doctrine-twisting-in-the-wind/

    to answer your question, I’m a non-committed post-tribulationalist. I go between pre-millenialism and amillenialism on just about a daily basis. If I can’t decide for myself, I’m certainly not going to make a big issue of it for someone else.

  12. Your teaching doesn’t offend me, it’s just yet ‘another’ teaching among a zillion I heard. What offends me is how you love to tear down the LDS Church and teach twisted versions of it’s teachings.

    That said, I know that you think we are being led astray by Satan and you wish to *save* us…

    We need saving, but you can’t accomplish that… only the Atonement of Christ can.

    And again, with so much false doctrine being taught in the Evangelical world, I don’t see any reason to buy into any of it. That’s the point I’m trying to get you to see. You still claim the differences are in non-essentials… but you miss the point that it is false doctrine which makes the whole unacceptable. And especially since I see far more Scriptures about the basics of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ being two individual personages and the Holy Spirit as being a separate being as well united in one Godhead.

    Paul always clarifies in his salutations that they are different. John records the prayer of Christ which shows without question that being ‘one’ is not of body.

    IF the TRINITY were true, if it IS of body or substance, then we would not only be gods (children who share a divine nature, but who are not God Himself like the LDS Church teaches)… but we would be GOD Himself!! ‘one with Him’… which would make your doctrine the God-Maker one… not ours!!

    God is not threatened by His children sharing His divine nature. We are joint heirs with Christ, and can only share in His glory and be heirs if we are indeed LIKE HIM… I just don’t see how you can see it any other way.

    I’ve been both places, and you are the one who is currently misguided and being led astray.

  13. Ah, I see now. Your point is, that there is disagreement about doctrinal issues in the Protestant churches. Because there is disagreement, that means *someone* must be wrong. Since, someone is wrong, that means it’s difficult to trust anyone.

    I don’t think you’re really being consistent. The LDS church is now willing to say that even prophets have been wrong about some doctrinal issues. If a prophet can’t always be trusted, then it should be quite clear that the tune plays just as well on a different fiddle.

    I think we need to be mature enough to recognize that some issues are not explained fully enough in scripture for us to be sure about *everything*. With the amount of information we have on some topics it is possible for two different view points to possibly be right, until we get more information that shows which one IS right.

    I’ve heard of LDS being excommunicated for believing in Heavenly Mother. I’ve heard of LDS being excommunicated for NOT believing in Heavenly Mother. I don’t think the LDS church is false because it doesn’t have a full picture about Heavenly Mother. I think it’s false because it contradicts things the Bible is quite clear about.

  14. I agree with Dando that missionaries should be better versed in these subjects. Not only for their investigator’s sakes but also for themselves. Although I can see Jayleen’s point that an authoritative statement by missionaries may come off as an excuse and be dismissed by investigators as not credible.

    Nonetheless, I personally remember a family on my mission that was progressing in the discussions toward baptism before their priest told them Joseph Smith had 33 wives. My companion and I were completely taken off guard. I remember the wife’s hurt eyes as she asked us if it was true. It would have been much better if I could have said something, but I didn’t even know about it myself. We never went back. I ask how did that help spread the message of the LDS Church? How did that plant any seed? Instead whenever the LDS Church is brought up to these people by friends they will relate the story about how to naïve young men couldn’t answer their questions which must mean that it is true.

  15. Dando – This same question could be asked in Old Testament times. The facts are that throughout the history of the Church and I mean dating all the way back to Adam, God used Prophets. Even in the Book of Acts we see this and that is after Jesus’ death. There is a pattern and and therefore I follow His living Prophet even though he is fallible to a point. That has always been the way and will always be the way.

    Otherwise I’m left to who has the best *argument* or who can more craftily put the Scriptures together to make a cogent argument.

    But the bottom line for me is as it has always been… the witness of the Holy Ghost. Period. Just like the Bible says. And since that experience I no longer have any trouble understanding Doctrine or teachings. It’s all quite easy to understand. I do gain further light and knowledge the more I study, but it always adds to what is already there.

    Paul said over and over and over that the testimony comes from the Holy Ghost… and he always taught about the ordinances being necessary. He may not have included all the details all the time because he was speaking to believers, who already knew those things. But the basics he reiterated time and time again… Repentence, Baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    And here you go again… tellings myths and fairy tales as fact. No one was ever excommunicated for believing in Heavenly Mother. Nor would they be excommunicated for not believing in her. That isn’t a question that is even brought up in any Temple recommend question or prior to baptism or any time. You’re simply full of doggy dung as usual. I’d like to see you make it through at least one post without attempting to smear the LDS faith with your lies. And you wonder why you are so offensive to me.

  16. Jay – It’s disappointing that you never went back. The point in conversion should always rely on the answer that is received in prayer. While I understand the woman’s anquish… I used to feel that every time I read about Abraham and Moses, et. al. but it is a fact that people simply have to deal with.

    You either reject the whole based on the fact that Abraham and Isaac etc did this, or accept that God did not disapprove. A person’s testimony shouldn’t rest on this one issue.

  17. And Dando – YOU think the LDS Church teaches things that *contradict* what the Bible says and *I* say you’re wrong. I have found NOTHING in LDS teaching that isn’t backed up in Scripture and MORE so than anything I ever got taught in the other churches.

    And you didn’t deal my example on how belief in the Trinity makes you God Himself… deal with that please…

  18. One more thing…

    Article of Faith #9 says: We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    So you say that we don’t have further light and knowledge of some points of doctrine and yet reject it when He gives it. Interesting.

    Sorry, I keep thinking of more stuff. lol

  19. Jayleen,
    I can see where Dando is getting the Heavenly Mother thing from. Helen Whitley interviewed a LDS sister that was excommunicated for teaching about a Heavenly Mother in the PBS special “The Mormons”. I’m not sure about the details. To say she was excommunicated because she believed in a Heavenly Mother I think would be too simplistic, but I can see where someone might get that idea. I don’t know the other example Dando gives of someone excommunicated for not believing in a Heavenly Mother. I would be surprized if you can be excomunicated just for believing or not in a Heavenly Mother.

  20. Jay – You can’t… so there was something else going on that we are not privy to. When people are excommunicated they are often angry and quite frankly I would take what they say with a grain of salt. Most would never admit what they were actually excommunicated for. They are excommunicated because they are unrepentent for whatever they did to begin with.

    The Church does not spend its time looking for people to excommunicate for no reason or even little reason. They do that for BIG reasons and those hearings are sealed from what I can gather so no one outside of it would ever know what was really said or going on in them.

  21. Also note the following correction sent to Newsweek after they printed an article on the LDS Church and made a comment about Father having a wife…

    “The Mother” is not a term that is used among Church members, in Church meetings, classes or lesson manuals. While the official Proclamation on the Family affirms that each human being is a beloved son or daughter of heavenly parents, there are no teachings about a Heavenly Mother in Latter-day Saint scripture.

    Clarifications to Religion Writers and Editors Regarding Newsweek Report, Sep 7, 2001

  22. Jayleen,

    I haven’t looked at this post until now and just saw your question. Here is my reply:

    You are correct. I do not think the LDS church is what it claims. I do however, think that many of the basic teachings are good. I wish that the church would stop claiming to be the only true church because this makes no sense. God would not create a church that is only around for 3-400 years (depending on the second coming) and only exposing .001% of his children to it. I don’t care how many spiritual feelings people have in the church, this fact makes no sense to me.

    You see, the church has no place for people like me. People that would like to benefit from what the church has to offer without byeing into all the stuff that isn’t true. For this reason, I must remain a DAMU (disaffected Mormon Underground).

    I have a TBM wife, 2 kids and a foster child that are all TBM as well. If I want to stay married to my wife and be a part of my children’s life, I must remain in the church and play the game.

    This is very sad. A church that claims to be centered on the family is actually set up and designed to tear families apart if one member doesn’t believe. That person is called “Anti”, apostate, sinner, lost soul, perdition and anything else you can think of. And why? Simply because they no longer believe. Not because they have in fact sinned, they just can no longer believe ALL the things that make no sense.

    So this is why I remain in the church, because I don’t want to lose my family. I have to live a lie or be outcast. In my mind it is easier to lie than to lose my family.

    My feelings on this topic run much deeper than I can express here. Unless you have gone thru what I am going thru, you have no idea what it is like, and you have no idea why some exmos are so bitter and angry with the church. The answer is likely that they have lost their family.

    TBM Members of the LDS church will choose the church over family every time, even if the outcast has done nothing but stop believing.

    You are much to quick to judge. Simply because I didn’t answer this question earlier, you jump to many conclusions without checking to see if I have even commented on this post.

    The fact is you know nothing about me. You know nothing about my character, about what motivates me. I hesitate to say that might even like me in real life, but I doubt it. Though I don’t know for sure, your comments here make you out to be an elitist who would not socialize with anyone that didn’t have their calling and election made sure.

    That is just as much of a tragedy as what I am going thru.

  23. Jay,

    Perhaps your parents didn’t pressure you because they never felt they needed to. I wonder if they would have applied pressure (and to what degree) if you had chosen not to go on a mission.

  24. Here is where I got the excommunicated for belief or No belief in heavenly Mother. I admit I am taking their word for it and have ZERO corroborating evidence. You can email these people to get more information. Unfortunately because the church will not release excommunication hearing records even at the request of those who are excommunicated we can’t know if they are telling the whole truth.

    http://tinyurl.com/2zmrkp
    http://tinyurl.com/25ah2e

    Joy, I’m sorry I didn’t answer your question about the Trinity. You had asked me about speaking in tongues and I asked for a clarification of your question, then you jumped to the Trinity. So I incorrectly assumed that my answers weren’t all that important to you, just the fact that you could throw a question at me.

    If you’d still like an answer about speaking in tongues Id be happy to answer it. As far as your question about the Trinity, I’m a little lost at what you are getting at there too.

    From what I can tell (and please correct my understanding of your question) you posit that belief in the Trinity means a belief that God has ONE body and three persons share that body. Trinitarians actually believe that God doesn’t have a body at all. We believe that there are 3 persons who share the same essense.

    I also agree that when Jesus prays that we would be “one” he is speaking of unity. But when the book of Exodus says that the Lord is “one” it is speaking of a singularity (despite the plural form of the word “is”). This has much more to do with the actual Greek and Hebrew words than my doctrinal beliefs.

    I know that you’re dealing with a lot of pain and typing doesn’t help, so if you need time to write out your question, I’m more than happy to wait. You can post it on your blog or email me privately and I’ll be happy to give you a full answer.

    So you say that we don’t have further light and knowledge of some points of doctrine and yet reject it when He gives it. Interesting. I’m actually more than happy to accept further light on doctrinal issues but before I accept something I’m interested to know if it’s a valid source.

  25. Jay,

    She was not excommunicated for believing in a heavenly mother. You can believe whatever you want.

    She was excommunicated for publishing about heavenly mother after being asked not to by the church who had advance reading of her work.

    Regardless, it was her thoughts about heavenly mother that led to her excommunication.

    I can only summize that the LDS church doesn’t want to talk about heavenly mother, because they don’t know which one to address.

  26. Or maybe because they don’t want Heavenly Mother’s name to become the latest swear word. Why always assume the worst in the Church?

    And from my experience in the Church, I have NEVER heard of anyone counseled to leave their husbands/wives because they no longer believe. To the contrary I hear it taught to continue to love them and pray for them and stay married.

    I don’t know what TBM stands for so I can’t comment on that part.

    While I can understand your distress where your family is concerned… I also know how I would feel if I had a husband who no longer believed. My heart would fail me. I would only hope I could withstand that and stay with him and support him as my husband regardless. But I confess I would probably cry myself to sleep every night.

    I’m also sorry that I come across as an eletist… but when I read what you say I can see SO much error and anger and contention in it. I’m sorry you’ve come to believe what you do, what you’re not right. Logic isn’t always spiritual. The world has always been full of people who reject truth. That’s not God’s fault.

    When Jesus came He only reached a handful of people in comparrison to the population at large. That’s just a weird argument in my opinion.

    Think of Lehi’s Dream and the large and spacious building.

    But thank you for answering my question. I did come to look for an answer several times and you had commented on this and other posts and not replied… so I think it’s unfair of you to hurl the ‘judging’ epithat at me. But that’s just my opinion as well.

    I hope you gain a testimony. For what it’s worth I’ve read a lot of your posts and you seem to think you’ve led a perfect life and somehow deserve a testimony for that reason. From what I’ve read of your comments, you don’t see the need for a Savior, so I can’t understand why you would expect a testimony. I don’t say this to be mean, just an observation. I haven’t noticed a humble bone in your body. Everything is always someone else’s fault and you’re almost always negative.

    Before you can gain a testimony of anything about the Savior you have to realize you need one. That you’re not perfect regardless of how *perfect* you think you’ve lived your life. Pride… and the Gospel don’t mix.

    So while I seem eletist to you, even though I always admit to being a flawed human being in need of the Atonement… you come across more arrogant that I can imagine in thinking you don’t need a Savior or that you have a better plan! It’s all in the eye of the beholder, eh?

  27. It is obvious to me that this medium is no place to make judgements about a persons level of arrogance and percieved pride. You can only type knowing in your mind what you mean, but you can’t guarantee that readers will have the same understanding.

    Jayleen,

    You have not pointed out any errors regarding my comments. You may disagree, but you have not refuted anything. I could say that I have refuted everything you have posted as well, but in the end we just disagree on most things.

    You seem to confuse passion with anger alot here as well. Some of my posts have been passionate like the ones regarding polygamy, because I am passionate about false doctrines like that one, even though I haven’t been able to properly get my point across.

    And again, if I disagree with something that is considered “anti” I don’t hesitate to state that either. I think that proves that my agenda is not anti, but discussing topics interjecting my opinion.

    Don’t take things so personal when someone disagrees with you or the church. This blog is here to discuss all angles and opinions, not just for a bunch of people to sit around and agree.

    I don’t think you see just how great this blog is and can be. You have everything from TBM (True Believing Mormons) to DAMUs, to investigators, to non-LDS. What a great variety of opinions. I learn things from everyone that participates in this blog.

    Contrary to what you seem to believe, I don’t think there is anyone here that posts untrue things intentionally. All posts I have read here seem to be from well intentioned people posting what they believe to be true. It is up to us to discuss these things and figure out what is true and what is false. And, I’m sorry to say, that not everything you, me or anyone else is 100% true or false.

    Let’s explore and learn together with an open mind to what is being discussed, not a closed, defensive mind.

  28. Jaylene,

    Regarding me be so arrogent as to not think I need a savior, when did I ever say that?

    Jay,

    I think that would be an excellent topic for another post, because if we do need a savior, why is that?

  29. Oh and Jaylene,

    There is no heavenly mother if you believe LDS teachings. Heavenly father has endless wives. There isn’t just one. I wasn’t joking when I made that comment.

    Do you think that there is only 1 heavenly father sealed to only 1 heavenly mother who together have created all earthly spirits and the third that followed Satan?

    If so, you don’t believe the teachings of the LDS church.

  30. Dando –

    Depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is? LOL Where have I heard that before? Your interpretation is bunk. But since you bring up Exodus, how about the verses that talk about Moses seeing the Lord’s backside (Ex 33:23)? Or the elders of Israel seeing God and the paved work of saphire UNDER HIS FEET? And SAW God and did eat and drink… How do you see essence? (Ex 24:10, 11) Or Moses speaking to the Lord ‘face to face as with a friend’ (Ex 33:11) It doesn’t say ‘face to essence’ I could go on and on…

    And Trinitarians aren’t in agreement as to whether it is ‘Body’, ‘Essence’, or ‘Substance’… or a combo. I know this too because… da da da DA… I attended those churches and all the teaching were different… Part of why I got so disgusted with the teachings and took Greek to try to translate for myself and came to know that even scholars don’t all agree and that many words have many meanings, etc… and that everyone seems to have their own personal interpretation and translates it to fit.

    So, whatever, my argument still holds. You belong to an E-vel cult who think you will actually BE GOD HIMSELF… absorbed into the ‘essence’…

    Reminds me of that Star Trek episode “Return of the Archons”… ‘You shall be absorbed’ lol

    And you are correct about the typing and my arm is seriously hurting. So I really need to just drop all this for now. It’s been *such* fun… 😉

  31. BR – I couldn’t care less if there is one Heavenly Mother or many… doesn’t effect me or my testimony at all.

  32. One last thing. It doesn’t surprise me that you have not heard of members being advised to leave their spouses when the other apostasizes, but I assure you it is very common. I will add that it depends on which spouse apostasizes. If it is the husband, then the wife is often advised to divorce him if the chance of him returning is considered futile. If it is the wife that apostasizes, this is not the case.

    You see, it is the man that calls the wife thru the veil after the resurrection, not the other way around…according to LDS teachings. This fact makes a big difference on how men and women are treated differently within the church.

  33. It is obvious that you could care less about anything that is in disagreement with you.

    I can only assume that you come to this blog to do the exact thing you accuse others of doing.

    To argue.

  34. Nope, to correct all the garbage posted by Antis and DAMUs.. 😉

    And I don’t accuse them of coming here just to argue, but to try to prey on LDS persons who may have temporarily weak testimonies. And to spread Anti docrine because misery truly does seem to love company.

    Maybe in your Ward… but in the Wards I’ve attended there are gobs of women married to non-members and apostates… and they have all been counselled to remain with the unbeliever unless the unbeliever WISHES to depart. I’m told faithful women will be given to a righteous, faithful man if the one she is married to apostates or remains an unbeliever. The only exceptions to that are women who CHOOSE to marry non-believers or apostates when they know better. And that is not ‘official’ but just what I’ve been told and seen.

    Does your wife know you feel as you do?

  35. I should not say *all*… I should say all the ones I’ve talked to or who have spoken about it in Relief Society.

  36. BR – Your purpose here and at Mormanity seems to be to tear down people’s testimonies and recruit more apostates… Do you expect to do that without opposition?

  37. Neither my nor your opinions are garbage. I really wish you would not take that posture and simply have a discussion.

    And I truly hope you don’t take my reply to your question and use that against me with comments like “misery truly does love company”. It makes me not want to answer addtional questions, like does my wife know how I feel…can you understand that?

    My purpose here, as it was on Mormanity (I haven’t posted there since last year. – If there is someone posting as Bishop Rick it is not me) is to add a differing view to a lopsided discussion.

    That was much more the case on Mormanity than here. There seems to be a good balance of opinions here, where the overwhelming number of posters on Mormanity just agree with Jeff.

    One similarity though, is that like here, when someone voices a differing opinion, they are attacked mercilessly, stirring up anger.

    I always try to say IMO or …it seems… unless I know something for a fact. In my view, knowing something for a fact means you have tangible proof that you can show someone. Not that burning in the busom that so many use as proof.

    I get a burning feeling in the busom watching Anne of Green Gables. It means nothing. The Spirit isn’t testifying to me of the truthfulness of Avonlea. That is just my inner spirit expressing pleasure with an outcome.

    Oh and regarding what you hear in your wards vs what I hear in mine, you have to keep in mind that you are in the northwest (I think) and I am right in the heart of Happy Valley UT…Yes there is a difference.

    And lastly, yes, my wife knows how I feel.

  38. Attacked? Have you read the things said to me here simply because of my views and my testimony? Do you pay any attention at all to the way the Church and its members are attacked on a regular basis from the mainstream religious people? And then to have people like you attack from within? Spare me.

    And apparently you have ignored the things YOU have said to me. But I’m just supposed to play nice and respect you, while you have NO respect for me or my faith or God Himself. Get real. And gosh, I can’t imagine why at Mormanity most people agree with Jeff and find Anti comments a bit disgusting. hmmm… go figure.

    No, I’m not in the Northwest anymore. I’m in San Diego. I did live in Northern California for a few years and that is where I converted to the LDS Church.

    I’m sorry you have not found peace or joy in the Church. It is available and many have found it. But don’t expect to make too many friends among the LDS when you have nothing good to say about them or their faith and take every opportunity to make them sound like deluded idiots. It’s my opinion you really need a reality check.

    And of course I don’t present things as my opinion when they are Church Doctrine. I only express my opinions as such. Truth is truth whether or not you wish to accept it.

    And one last time, my testimony does not come from a ‘feeling’ or a ‘burning in the bosom’… although many do and that IS what the Scriptures teach. And most can tell the difference between a feeling they get from listening to rapturous music or watching a good movie and the Holy Ghost.

    But my testimony is not based on that alone.

  39. Rick,
    I don’t think my parents would have pressured me. They pressured me on very little in my life (sometimes I wish they would have put a little fear into me:). I wish they had pressured me a little more academically and in sports, for example. I was very active in sports as a young child and was actually pretty good, but my Dad never supported me. I stopped doing it when I got into high school (I regret that now). I actually had a coach yell at my Dad because he dropped me off for a Saturday game and came back an hour after it had ended!

    I know that my parents would have been slightly disappointed if I didn’t go on a mission, but I think they would have gotten over it pretty fast. Out of four children that were of mission age only two of us went. Life goes on. In my family it wasn’t the end of the world if you didn’t go.

    Also, I understand what it is like living in a highly dense Mormon population. I went to school at Ricks and BYU. While I had many positive experiences in UT and ID, I also came away knowing that I would never want to live in UT. There are too many hard-line members. People are so immersed in the Mormon culture that it is hard to escape the legends and rumors that flow like water through the Church there. I prefer to live in an area with many different views. It is much more satisfying to talk with someone that doesn’t agree with you 100% of the time because you actually learn new things. I disliked the fact that there were so many people exactly like me (i.e. RM, speak Spanish, attended a church school, had brown hair, blue eyes, etc.). I felt like I had nothing to offer. Outside UT I have much more to offer in terms of service and I get to meet a wide variety of people. It’s like breathing fresh air!

    I understand that you have to live there and I’m not trying to make you feel bad or insult anyone. I’m just rambling about why it wouldn’t be my first choice. I know many people that think UT is the best place on earth. And as far as scenery and outdoor activities go I can concur, but when it comes to the rest of living I say, no thanks. With that said, anything is possible, but I can always hope my life’s path won’t include living in UT. I’d much rather just visit:)

  40. Nor should it be.

  41. Jayleen,

    You need to look inside yourself. You take “attacks” on doctrine and policy as if they are attacks on you personally. Then you respond with personal attacks against the commentor, filled with unprompted name calling.

    Only then are the comments turned back against you.

    I have come to the conclusion that you are incapable of having a discussion without defensive posturing and name calling when statements are made that you disagree with.

    No amount of reasoning works with you.
    You need to take a lesson from Jeff and Jay…and Dando for that matter, to learn how to have a disagreement without always flying off the deep end.

    I could use a little of that myself to be honest.

  42. Nor should what be?

  43. When I posted that comment, your post ended with, “In my family it wasn’t the end of the world if you didn’t go.”

    So my “nor should it be.” comment was referring to that.

    Then you tricked me by adding to the post. 🙂

  44. Abracadabra! LOL!

  45. When the post begins with my name it IS directed at me. lol

    And maybe you need to reread the threads… For instance this one started out with me praising the missionaries and just giving Jay some kudos and sharing a bit… then EJ directed a very perverted post toward me. It contained vulgar language that had to be cencorsed and called me a cuckoo.

    I don’t care… mind you. Because I CAN hold my own… but why is it you didn’t come down on EJ? Why is it that only when *I* defend myself or the Gospel that you reprimand me? When someone speaks and acts like a pervert, I’ll call them on it. Clearly EJ is responding to polygamy from the workings of his own mind.

    And Dando and I have a bit of a history. He started a blog for the sole purpose of tearing down the LDS faith and made it *sound* like he was just seeking *understanding*. He started out a liar and a pretender. Why should anything he says be trusted? I know what his real beliefs were and where he stood by reading his posts at other sites. So it was clear his intentions were a lie.

    As to the rest of what you say… a little more projection of the psych 101 going on here in your mind.

    There is always room for improvement in my own behavior and I’ve never denied that. Your problem is that you can dish it out but are then surprised when it is thrown back atcha. You write as if you’re the perrenial innocent victim of God, the Church and everyone else. Nothing is ever your fault and you are never wrong.

    By your own admission you’ve never received a *testimony* and yet think you can judge everyone else’s as being fake, as if we’re children who can’t tell the difference between watching a movie and the Holy Ghost. Speak for yourself. You can’t possibly speak for any of us. When you do that I reserve the right to call you arrogant. Unless Jay tells me not to. It’s his house and if I get out of line, he can tell me and I’ll listen to him. 😉

  46. Jay – While I understand what you are saying about Utah and everyone speaking the same thing seems kinda boring… Isn’t that what Paul was saying it is supposed to be like where Doctrine is concerned?

    There are many Scriptures that speak of the power and miracles that come about when we are united in purpose and thought. The Book of Acts speaks a lot about this.

    Isn’t that also the purpose of the Church and why they teach the same lessons worldwide each Sabbath? So that we are all on the same page and learning the same things that we may work toward being *one* in unity and purpose as Jesus is *one* with the Father?

    You do mention legends and rumors though… That doesn’t sound good on the surface, but since I don’t know what you’re talking about I’ll have to reserve comment on that.

  47. Jayleen,

    You do come off kind of harsh at times. I have almost stepped into your conversations a couple of times, but you are good at walking on the imaginary line I have set for this blog. I don’t mind a little “passionate” discussion.

    When necessary I have stepped in. I think EJ was very gracious when I reprimanded him for going too far (IMO). He apologized to you and to me. Others such as brahnamin have never come back because I stepped in to the conversation by editing a remark (I regret that brahnamin hasn’t commented since). I don’t allow vulgarity or obscenities. I usually edit those things out and leave the main message in tact. I’m grateful that this has only been required a handful of times.

    I’m glad you feel that you can hold your own. I intentionally try not to butt in to every back and forth argument because I think a person’s words speak for themselves. I think most people that come to this blog know you have a more orthodox belief of Mormonism. EJ is obviously a critic of the LDS Church. Other people that come here are usually somewhere in between the two of you. I am glad that you and EJ have continued to comment despite what others say about your posts (I’m glad everyone comments). All I can say is keep having thick skin because when you hold an orthodox LDS view there will be plenty of people that challenge it, as you already know.

    I would prefer everyone to keep a tone of respect when speaking with each other. If it comes to it just agree to disagree and end the conversation. I think the most valuable thing about this blog is that you can at least understand why someone believes the way they do. How they interpret things to justify their faith and how we can all learn from what we each know. I appreciate your input. You as well as others have brought out points that I hadn’t thought of before. Thank you.

    As for rumors and legends, I’m particularly speaking of stories about the 3 Nephites or if the 3rd wise man was Samuel the Laminite, encounters with Cain, etc. Rumors include excuses that people give to justify LDS teachings that don’t make sense to them (e.g. Polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, etc.). They do this to justify it in their own minds. I do it too although now I am more careful to catch myself (old habits are hard to break). These things are particularly prominent in UT LDS culture. Outside of UT they are not as common. UT is a unique place and has a distinct “LDS” culture all its own, separate from the rest of the LDS Church. I think this has to do with more diverse thought outside of the safe confines of the “Mormon” state. Saying that blacks didn’t get the priesthood because they weren’t valiant in the pre-existence is easy to say when members that don’t challenge you surround you. It may be false doctrine, but everyone just accepts the satus quo and says nothing.

    All of this is affecting future missionaries. They go out into the mission field with these rumors and legends that they soon find are not acceptable explanations for LDS theology. Suddenly they find that the excuses they heard growing up do not stand up to criticism and their testimonies can be weakened. I think it is a disservice to young people in the LDS Church to not be informed about the controversial aspects of our history. I think there should be some change to rectify it, but that is not my calling. I can only voice dissatisfaction with how I personally view the situation.

  48. Thank you for your kind words and your gentle rebuke did not go unoticed. I will attempt to do better. 😉

    I found early on that many people teach false doctrines within the LDS community. I learned in Relief Society and in all conversations that when people tell me something that sounds off or odd I ask them for where I can find the *official* teaching for that and if it is just myth they usually act a bit put out or disgusted and shut up. I always ask nicely and express how much I love to learn new aspects of the Church but always want to be careful not to spread or believe myths.

    So you’re right, it is good I have a thick skin. I have never much cared for the accolades of men or even about being *right*… I care about truth. And I desire truth above all things.

    Just an FYI – I saw a clip on YouTube where the Prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley, said he did not know why the blacks were denied the Priesthood. So while anyone can surmise or suppose all they want, the Church doesn’t have an *official* teaching on that.

    I liken it the Jew/Gentile thing during and shortly after Jesus’ day. The word went first to the Jews, and then later was opened to the Gentiles. I don’t see that as bigotry even though the Jews had previously made a lot of bigoted sounding comments. The comments were wrong, but the teaching wasn’t.

    So I don’t see why just because people are black and were denied for a while the Priesthood necessarily points to bigotry regardless if any previous Church leaders made bigoted sounding comments. Again, those comments were wrong, but that doesn’t mean the teaching was. It simply is what it is. Why assume the worst?

    At one point in time the Gospel was only for the Jews… Jesus had a purpose in that. It changed, He had a purpose in that too and it was in His timing. I believe that to be the case with the blacks and the Priesthood. It is the Lord’s timing.

    I guess what bothers me is when grievances with the Church are aired publically instead of with the Church itself. It only provides ammo to those who seek to harm the Church to voice those grievances on the internet. And in my mind shows a great deal of disrespect.

    I would liken it to a wife or husband who airs family grievances before the world or to their friends (especially before they speak to their family member to get their side to it and get the situation resolved) and then can’t figure out why their friends form a dislike or even a loathing toward their family member.

    I always wonder if we were alive in Abraham’s day whether there would have been classes of some sort to hash through all the things people found disturbing at that time… a biggy could have been that he offered up his son as a sacrifice. Yes, God intervened, but he was going to go through with it… and it was OF GOD. Imagine what could have been said or what people must have thought! Or when he tried to give his wife away… I can only imagine the rumors and stories told at the time.

    Same with Moses and holding up the serpent (OF God) and many other things, like how he murdered a man (Not OF God). People murmured all the time. They wandered for forty years because of that. What did it get them? A whole generation had to die off before they could go into the Promised land.

    I guess the more I read here and the more I ponder it… this just really sounds a lot like the murmuring done by all the generations about what they don’t like. But God always has us focus on the good… the pure… the lovely… the things of good report. When you focus on those things, your testimony cannot fail. When you focus on the negative, it almost certainly will fail.

    It’s just my own observations…

    Like I said, just my opinion.

  49. You know, in my *real* life I really do speak with a very soft voice and am rarely annoyed, but I can see without knowing that how my comments can be taken in way I don’t mean them. I probably take other’s comments wrong too. In fact I know I sometimes do.

    Although my comments to EJ were annoyed and not with a soft voice. I’ve been like that with BR and Dando too.

    But my words above to you Jay were all with a soft voice and I mean no disrespect. 🙂

  50. Jaylene,

    By the time I got around to even reading this post, the editing, reprimand, and apology had already taken place. It was a dead issue at that point.

    And you must have missed my comment on the Polygamy post where I disagreed with EJ.

    How many times do I have to dispell your accusations before you stop being so defensive and accusatory?

  51. BR – I have no clue what you’re talking about.

  52. Jaylene,

    Here is what I responded to:

    “And maybe you need to reread the threads… For instance this one started out with me praising the missionaries and just giving Jay some kudos and sharing a bit… then EJ directed a very perverted post toward me. It contained vulgar language that had to be cencorsed and called me a cuckoo.

    I don’t care… mind you. Because I CAN hold my own… but why is it you didn’t come down on EJ?”

  53. Jayleen, I have never taken offense at the comments you have directed toward me. I understand what you are saying as I used to feel the same way in many respects.

  54. Regarding the example of Blacks not getting the priesthood on our time, but Jesus’s time, that rationalization doesn’t sit well with me, or likely any black person that is aware of the history there.

    I can’t believe that through the history of the earth, that anyone of African descent would be denied the priesthood except for the last 19 years.

    That is extreme by anyone’s timetable and I cannot accept that as doctrine.

  55. OK This Post is about missionaries ( usually only 19-22 yrs old approx )

    Should they be more equipped ?

    Well yes , but if they knew all the problems at the start , who would go out on the mission field .

    How will they explain

    1 Head In A Hat translation for the B of M while the church shows deceiving pictures about it.

    2 Blacks being insulted and hated by early Prophets and Apostles for being less Valiant in pre earth life ..

    3 Joseph Smiths marrying young teens and threatening them with eternal damnation if they don’t comply .

    4 all the problems with the book Of Mormon , Archeologically , Historically , Linguistically , docrtrinally ie teaches one God and not 3 Gods or multiple Gods and teaches hell )

    5 Gordon Hinckley lying on TV and in the Media .

    6 Church lying about Polygamy until Brigham young era .

    7 Brigham Young marrying teens as young as 15 when he was in his 60’s and conceiving with them ..

    8 Joseph Smith having a gun in jail and shooting his way out if he could have..killing two men .. and certainly not a Lamb To The Slaughter.

    9 Brigham Young teaching that Adam is God , Mary was physically intercoursed to concieve Jesus , monogomy is from the cesspits of Europe and the cause of prostitution and more etc.

    10 That the Church is a fraud ! lol

    11 Lots more than these 10 but I could go on for ever .

    Who would go out to teach with this on their conscience and who would get a testimony knowing all this ?

    Thats why they don’t tell anyone the truth and instead whitewash the history with a false version .

  56. I will respond to each of this in order with respect to when I went on my mission:

    1. Never heard about it
    2. I had heard this and bought the reasoning
    3. Never heard about it
    4. Never heard about it
    5. Had not happened yet
    6. I believed what I was told – that BY started polygamy even though the revelation was from JS
    7. Never heard about this
    8. Knew that JS had a gun. Didn’t see a problem with this
    9a. Heard about the Adam/God thing but treated it as an anomoly
    9b. Heard this for the first time in the mission field as it was written in Jesus The Christ. Floored me. Shook me up for a long time.
    9c. Never heard of this

    Bottom line:
    The few things that I knew about obviously didn’t bother me, as I accepted the explanations.

    All of these things together – with truthful explanations could definitely have influenced whether I went.

  57. Mormanity has a great post on this subject:

    http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2006/05/if-only-10-of-these-charges-are-true.html

    EJ – Your vulgar mouth matches your vulgar thoughts. I know the difference between having a pure mind and an impure one… and yours is clearly impure or you wouldn’t jump to the conclusions you do. And you are just plain mean spirited.

    In any case, I’ve pondered this and realized this is no different than Dando’s site where something Anti-Mormon or *supposedly* bad is posted, a Believing Mormon defends and corrects… and then gets piled on by Antis, Apostates and men with vulgar, filthy thoughts and mouths. And then they post the same crap that’s already been delt with once. And I never see them post any credible links. But no matter.

    I have better ways to spend my time in uplifting LDS activities and Scriptures and BYU TV! And lots of Temple attendence. Yay me!

    Hope you all find what you’re looking for. Since I already have found it and that’s not going to change, I’ll go live it and have peace and joy in my life. It’s just too dark here.

    Peace people… 😉

  58. Jayleen talks about anti’s …this is anti where my faith is concerned as well, being a non denominational Christian. Could you blame me for being slightly offended like you are when people attack your beliefs?

    “We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense….Myself and hundreds of the Elders around me have seen its pomp, parade, and glory; and what is it? It is a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol; it is as corrupt as hell; and the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.”( Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, page 167 – 1858)

  59. Jayleen

    you said

    “EJ – Your vulgar mouth matches your vulgar thoughts. I know the difference between having a pure mind and an impure one… and yours is clearly impure or you wouldn’t jump to the conclusions you do. And you are just plain mean spirited. ”

    The words I wrote were actually from your own prophets and apostles . They are the ones who better match the vulgar description .

    quote The LDS Apostles

    “This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans,…”
    – Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195

    In other words if you have lots of wives who are faithfull to you ,you can securely have lots of sex with each of them and not need to go to prostitutes …..

    and also from the Prophet Of God himself

    “Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a SOURCE OF PROSTITUTION and WHOREDOM throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious.”
    – Prophet Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128

    Monogomy is the cause of prostitution according to the ‘spirit Inspired ‘ Leaders ! That says it all !

  60. EJ,
    I think a lot of your points are base on bias rather than fact. Let’s stick to facts. If you have an acusation to make please back it up. The more outrageous the accusation the need for some proof. Perhaps the primary scource where you got the idea from like you’ve done for a few of your comments.

  61. I’m grateful for Jay , The Host of this site for challenging me on you tube and inviting me to his blog , knowing how ‘heated’ I get …… he knows I’m against Mormonism but not against sincere believers …. ( because I think they are duped )

    I attend church and my opposition is fairly well suspected but I don’t bring it up in church for reasons of respect unless I’m insulted like I was once by someone telling me that I’m not sincere otherwise I’d have had some kind of Holy Spirit moment …. ie The Moroni Promise .

    There is an easy solution to all these Mormon Difficulties of the past and present …..

    Consider the thought that It might all be a Fraud after all . Humans are always doing this kind of thing to others . Con men prey on the needs of people and those of a good heart and disposition .

    Weigh up the strange polygamy of Joseph Smith , his failed bank , The strife Emma went through to the point of denying polygamy until her death to her family …His lying about Polygamy all his life to the public .. it shows him capable of being a serial liar … The strange head in a hat aftertelling us al it was an Urim and Thummim …The Carthage incident ( Nauvoo press destruction)where he had a gun and did not put faith in God to protect him like Daniel was protected in the Den Of Lions and more

    If I’d seen God I’d fear NOTHING from man . Jesus said don’t be afraid of those who can kill the body , fear him who can kill both body and soul.

    Weigh up Brigham Youngs absurd teachings throughout his life …. and some of the ones after him ..

    And ask yourself was Jesus of The New Testament really in charge of all this ?

    When you realise its all a Fraud , you’ll get all the answers to the problems at once and you won’t have to struggle with anything Mormonism anymore 🙂

  62. Jay ,

    I quoted your own church prophets and apostles !

    They were Arrogant men with hate for anything not Mormonism .

  63. The same kind of hate, as you call it, can be found in any church, sect, or cult. I don’t really see why Mormon leaders are any more guilty than the rest of Christianity. And although you make some good points much of what you shared is skewed by your strong bias against the LDS Church. Sorry that’s just how I see it.

  64. Jay

    Mormon leaders are claiming that they have Jesus Christ personally in charge of things and led by Revelation ( The Heavens being opened ).

    And as you correctly state yourself they are in fact NO DIFFERENT from the sects they are condemning ….

    They have proved themselves to be just another bunch of fools , and they brought alot of miseryto the women with their polygamy which they compulsively lied about until 1852….

    When did Jesus Christ lie about any teachings of his in public ?

  65. Elder Joseph- Did you come up with the quotes & conclusions from a complete reading of the Journal of Discourses? Or are you quoting from another source quoting the JofD? I noticed you only quoted the parts that make the speaker appear like the devil himself- anti everything that is good.

    Perhaps a complete reading of the sermons/articles which contain a fragment of which you quote, might give a clearer picture of the argument and intents of the authors.

    For instance, Brigham Young points out that even Martin Luther had at one point supported the idea of polygamy. Luther, a great Reformer who is revered in the eyes of millions of his followers, supported the idea of polygamy. Who would’ve thunk? Another instance is Orson Pratt giving a history of polygamy/monogamy and where polygamy stopped being a way of life and where monogamy came into being. He comes up with some interesting statistics about unmarried females here in the US in 1860.

    Of course these commentaries from early leaders are to continue to shed light on the practice of polygamy.

    I wonder why people continue to paint a skewed view of these individuals. They continue to make harsh and berating judgements of these individuals based on limited and unresearched argument. The tactics used are unprofessional and only show a lack of intelligent research.

  66. Austin

    Yes I checked the quotes .I have the complete journal of discourses available online and every one I checked was accurate ..

    I don’t care if Luther advocated Polygamy either .

    People paint the correct view of these LDS leaders .They were absurd dangerous men .

    Read J.O.D yourself . The church says these are mens opinions and that they were products of their time , that shows how much rubbish they contain yet they were speaking with the spirit at the time ,and yet the church quotes from them in the student manuals when it suits them….

  67. I googled my way to this very page after viewing the first half of the Frontline presentation on Mormonism. After two hours, I heard more about about political struggle and sexual domination than anything else. In this, Mormon history doesn’t differ very much from the history of Christianity, as I am only lately coming to understand. But with Christianity, at least, I can state the basic tenets of the faith. Not yet with Mormonism. This is either a fault of the TV show or of Mormonism.

    I have two friends who counsel ex-Mormons. (They do not recruit. The counsel those who are emotionally torn by the realities of leaving the religion.) One, I know, was an Elect Lady (is that high up enough for her to know what she is talking about?) and came to believe that JS was, in his interpretation of The Book of Mormon, a simple fraud. She also says the church believes in “lying for Christ” and that poverty is deserved. This makes me fear Mitt Romney.

    In any case, I did not realize until tonight that he used a magic stone to interpret a language he did not himself know or (it seems) ever bothered to learn. Not that other religions don’t have their absurd claims, but JS’s interpretation and revelations seem to be unusually self-serving. Was he prohibited from allowing anyone else to “check” his interpretation — like someone who understood Egyptian! When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, the sponsors in Alexandria brought in 72 Jewish scholars from all regions to interpret the very long Hebraic text, and it was accepted as authoritative because all of them interpreted the book in the same way. That shows a kind of courage that JS either didn’t have, didn’t want to have, or was forbidden to have. (It is also a little silly, like checking the same article in two copies of the same edition of a newspaper to see if what was written in the first copy is true.) In any case, too much seems to rest on the unchecked assertions of a single man with one distinguished follower who, it would seem, had to be bullied and browbeaten by JS into accepting polygamy as a revelation and then went on to better his teacher by having over 50 wives.

    I have heard tales of great suffering, awful family break-ups, and worse. Why doesn’t Mormonism simply allow its lapsed believers to walk away quietly? Families are a source of pressure in any religion, but why particularly in Mormonism?

    Frankly, I believe, contrary to Mormon claims, that most Americans know very little about the dark side of Mormonism. Yes, they know Mormons practice(d) polygamy, but they don’t know, what I have been told, that JS’s activities went well beyond taking many wives, many already wives of other men. He took as wives young teens who, at that time were biologically comparable to the 9-year-olds of today. If he did that today, he’d be on a permanent watchlist — after he got out of jail — so parents like me could warn my child to keep her distance from him. There is a name for people like that.

    Is this true or not true? And would it matter to you if were true?

    By the way, the crackdown on polygamy, when it came, was not issued as a commandment of any kind; it was a recommendation made under political pressure, the same political considerations that Mitt Romney would be relying upon if anyone had enough nerve to ask him a question on the subject. He would do a little shuffle and walk off. That appears to be what today’s Mormons have collectively done. The alternative would be to state that JS’s revelation was in fact wrong. Is that what they say?

    I find it incomprehensible that you can be called upon to go out and prostelytize for a religion without knowing its history and being equipped with some answers. The very fact that these things are not spoken of to young missionaries, to those who most need to know, gives me the impression that Mormons are not very proud of this aspect of their religious history, which leaves me still waiting for its current appeal and the reason for its superiority to other religious belief systems.

    As for me, simple nonbelief is much easier to defend. No war was ever started in the name of atheism. Nor have we nonbelievers ever massacred or tortured believers in the name of atheism. We didn’t have to. We left that to a rival cult of believers who also knew the one true way.

    No, it is not very comforting not to believe, especially when the subject of an afterlife arises. But that discomfort hardly justifies conforming my life to a cult of personality, whether that personality is Jesus Christ (who appears to have said a few worthwhile things, though nothing I didn’t learn as a Jew of the nonpracticing variety), Jim Jones (nut), or Joseph Smith (?).

    Really, did Smith take prepubescent girls for himself?

  68. <strong>One, I know, was an Elect Lady…</strong>
    I’m not sure what this means. There is no such title in Mormonism.
    <strong>She also says the church believes in “lying for Christ” and that poverty is deserved. This makes me fear Mitt Romney.</strong>
    This is the problem with listening to disaffected members of the LDS Church. They obviously left because they were dissatisfied with the LDS faith. Therefore to look toward them for some sort of unbiased assessment of the Church would be wrong. I’m not sure what she meant by “lying for Christ” and that poverty is deserved. I have never heard the latter statement preached in an LDS setting.
    <strong>Was he prohibited from allowing anyone else to “check” his interpretation — like someone who understood Egyptian!</strong>
    At the time no one understood Egyptian.
    <strong>Why doesn’t Mormonism simply allow its lapsed believers to walk away quietly? Families are a source of pressure in any religion, but why particularly in Mormonism?</strong>
    Just like any religion LDS leaders do not want anyone to walk away from Christ. It is out of concern for their eternal welfare. Anyone can walk away at any time, but they can expect visits from the local ward members from time to time unless they remove their name from LDS Church records. This is the only thing that lets the local Bishop know they don’t want to be bothered. After the name is removed the visits stop.
    <strong>He took as wives young teens who, at that time were biologically comparable to the 9-year-olds of today.</strong>
    I don’t quite know how to respond to this one. Yes, Joseph married some teenagers, one as young as 14 (I’m not sure on what grounds that is equal to a 9 year old of today). While certainly not the “norm”, there were many marriages in the 19th century outside of the LDS religion that involved teenagers. I’d say after they think about it in context most LDS don’t really have too much of a problem with his marriages to teenagers.
    <strong>The alternative would be to state that JS’s revelation was in fact wrong. Is that what they say?</strong>
    The LDS Church has never said that Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy was wrong. Wilford Woodruff, the fourth LDS prophet, discontinued the practice, but it was never condemned as evil. There is nothing in LDS theology that prohibits polygamy being practiced again by the LDS religion if it is commanded by God.
    <strong>The very fact that these things are not spoken of to young missionaries, to those who most need to know, gives me the impression that Mormons are not very proud of this aspect of their religious history, which leaves me still waiting for its current appeal and the reason for its superiority to other religious belief systems. </strong>
    I would prefer that missionaries at least have a basic knowledge of polygamy, as practiced by the LDS Church, as well as many other controversial topics. My only thought as to why this is not done is because it has not been a major stumbling block for missionaries. On my mission I only came up against this issue and other hard issues a handful of times.
    The LDS Church appeal comes from the claim of a restoration of Christ’s Church with Him directing it. If this claim is true then of course they have a right to any superiority claims.
    <strong>As for me, simple nonbelief is much easier to defend. No war was ever started in the name of atheism. Nor have we nonbelievers ever massacred or tortured believers in the name of atheism.</strong>
    One of the myths about atheism is that it is like being a political independent. The little acknowledged fact is that atheism is a belief system just like any other religion. Those that label themselves as such believe there is no God. I have nothing against atheism, if that is what a person wants to believe. However, I think it is well known that atheism is not an innocent bystander. Many have been people have been oppressed under the banner of atheism.
    I seriously hope that you look for more views of LDS history especially where polygamy is concerned. From you comments I can deduce that you have visited many sites that are purposely critical of the LDS Church. While I don’t think you should disregard their comments, I do believe you should give defenders of the LDS faith a chance to explain Joseph Smith’s marriages and doctrine. One good site where you can ask questions is fairlds.org. I recognize its pro-LDS stance, but the articles are well written and informed.

  69. Jay

    I think the concept of “poverty is deserved” in Mormon theology comes from the belief of Degrees Of Valiancy in the pre existence .

    Apostle Mark Peterson gave a talk about this where he said that our valiancy in the pre existence determined our circumstances for birth .

    ie The most valiant are born into White Mormon Families .
    The less valiant are born into Poverty , black skin etc meaning Africa and he also took a snide remark at Idolatorous Hindoos !

    This is LDS belief .My missionaries taught me about blacks being less valiant and that God is a white man ..Joseph Smith saw him and he was white .

    I find FAIRS and FARMS to be very mind bending and credibilty straining ….I’ve looked about the BookOf Mormon Animals problem and they say that Goats in the Book Of Mormon could mean deers ?
    and that Horses could mean Tapirs ? It seems that any word can mean anything else except what it was meant to mean …

    So if I your friend tells you she went horse riding , she could have meant tapir riding 🙂

    I don’t what they will say about supposed Nephite Chariots , but if I’m thinking on their lines they’ll probably say it could mean riding piggy back on each others backs ! lol

  70. No such thing as an elect lady? Why then can the following be so easily found?

    “An elect lady is a female member of the Church who has already received, or who through obedience is qualified to receive, the fulness of gospel blessings. This includes temple endowments, celestial marriage, and the fulness of the sealing power. She is one who has been elected or chosen by faithfulness as a daughter of God in this life, an heir of God, a member of his household. Her position is comparable to that of the elders who magnify their callings in the priesthood and thereby receive all that the Father hath.”[12]

  71. She also says the church believes in “lying for Christ” and that poverty is deserved. This makes me fear Mitt Romney.

    This is the problem with listening to disaffected members of the LDS Church. They obviously left because they were dissatisfied with the LDS faith. Therefore to look toward them for some sort of unbiased assessment of the Church would be wrong.

    –Might not the same be said about looking to devout believers for an “unbiases assessment.”

    I’m not sure what she meant by “lying for Christ” and that poverty is deserved. I have never heard the latter statement preached in an LDS setting.

    — You never heard of “elect lady” either. And many of those who are sent out as missionaries seem to repeat the same words – “I have never heard…”
    — When you say that you have never heard the “latter statement,” does that mean you HAVE heard the former? It would, to hear your unschooled missionaries, that the church is, in fact, lying to its recruiters – or at least not equipping them with the whole truth.

  72. Was he prohibited from allowing anyone else to “check” his interpretation — like someone who understood Egyptian!

    At the time no one understood Egyptian.

    — Huh? No one in the whole wide world?

  73. strong>Why doesn’t Mormonism simply allow its lapsed believers to walk away quietly? Families are a source of pressure in any religion, but why particularly in Mormonism?
    Just like any religion LDS leaders do not want anyone to walk away from Christ. It is out of concern for their eternal welfare. Anyone can walk away at any time, but they can expect visits from the local ward members from time to time unless they remove their name from LDS Church records. This is the only thing that lets the local Bishop know they don’t want to be bothered. After the name is removed the visits stop.

    – I hear horror stories that do not compare in the slightest with the horrors of leaving this particular church. Are only the messy resignations reaching me? I have never heard of counselors of lapsed Catholics or Jews. Are you sure Mormonism doesn’t put an extra weight on the shoulders of the disaffected?

  74. As for me, simple nonbelief is much easier to defend. No war was ever started in the name of atheism. Nor have we nonbelievers ever massacred or tortured believers in the name of atheism.

    One of the myths about atheism is that it is like being a political independent. The little acknowledged fact is that atheism is a belief system just like any other religion.

    – No, I disagree entirely. If there were no theists, there would be no atheists. My “belief system,” such as it is, is informed by rational thinking — the type of thinking that makes science possible and is usually enough to explain everday realities. I would like a God to make things better. But kids want Santa Claus to be real, too.

    Those that label themselves as such believe there is no God. I have nothing against atheism, if that is what a person wants to believe. However, I think it is well known that atheism is not an innocent bystander. Many have been people have been oppressed under the banner of atheism.

    – If you are thinking of Hitler and Stalin, Hitler invoked Christ’s name, but his was not a religious movement (except that it involved killing millions of Jews, which can be considered a religion but is more properly viewed as a people, as I, an atheist, consider myself a Jew). In any case, to say that Nazism or Communism are religious movements is just plain misleading. These belief systems preached primarily about racial purity (Nazism) and socioeconomic standing (Communism).

    I seriously hope that you look for more views of LDS history especially where polygamy is concerned. From you comments I can deduce that you have visited many sites that are purposely critical of the LDS Church.

    – You would be wrong. And what does “purposely critical” mean? That they know they are “lying against God” and are just troublemakers? As far as I can tell, they are no less sincere than you.

    While I don’t think you should disregard their comments, I do believe you should give defenders of the LDS faith a chance to explain Joseph Smith’s marriages and doctrine. One good site where you can ask questions is fairlds.org. I recognize its pro-LDS stance, but the articles are well written and informed.

    – Fine. But you haven’t addressed such issues as whether JS took child brides. Do you deny it happened?

    – I appreciate your measured tone, by the way.

    Howard

  75. EJ,
    I the idea that black were some how less valiant in the pre-existence never was Mormon doctrine. Some Mormons have and do hold this view to excuse the fact that blacks did not get the priesthood until 1978. The truth is that we don’t know why that happened (Although I believe it was just plain prejudice that got it started and fear of change that kept it going.) So despite the pronouncement to the contrary it is not LDS belief although some LDS members choose to believe it.
    I grant you that FAIR and FARMS have some theories that force you to take alternative views of the issues. I don’t always agree with their arguments defending the LDS faith. However, the majority of the articles are well written and do make several very good points that critiques of the LDS Church choose to ignore. As a whole the articles are logical and well supported with references. If you truly want to hear how believing Mormons defend their faith, they are the source to go to. I’m not saying they are the only source just one that should be utilized when researching controversial issues with Mormonism. The article you state is one out of many. Keep reading there are papers that talk about chariots.

    Howard,
    What is your source for the elect lady quote? If there is such a title it is very seldom used.

    Might not the same be said about looking to devout believers for an “unbiased assessment.
    True! This is why I always encourage people to study Mormonism from several sources that are pro-LDS as well as anti-LDS. The most important thing is to look at the sources of their material. Many people like to blast the LDS Church with false and misleading statements taken from critics of the LDS faith. Just having a foot note is not sufficient. You must read the source, know when it was written, who wrote it, why they wrote it, etc. This gets very labor intensive which is why not too many people do it. Nonetheless, it is the only way to know for yourself, what is actually true. This method hold true for any academic study. If you do anything less you are just taking someone else’s opinion and making it your own.

    You never heard of “elect lady” either. And many of those who are sent out as missionaries seem to repeat the same words
    I assure you if this was commonly used in the LDS Church I would have heard it. I have grown up in the Mormon Church and I am now 33 years old. I have attended all of my Church meetings rarely missing a week. So for me not to have heard this phrase means it is not a common title within the Church.
    Huh? No one in the whole wide world [understood Egyptian]?
    You got it!
    Are only the messy resignations reaching me? I have never heard of counselors of lapsed Catholics or Jews. Are you sure Mormonism doesn’t put an extra weight on the shoulders of the disaffected?
    I personally know many people that no longer attend the Mormon Church. I have friends that I grew up with in the LDS faith that for one reason or another simply stopped going. No counselor, no reprimand, no issues. I have a sister and a brother that both stopped going many years ago and don’t have any problems. They are not hounded by the LDS Church or made to feel like they are “going to hell”. I would suggest that you are only hearing the messy resignations. Especially if you have not heard any stories of people that just stopped going and have no issues. My guess is that those that have issues talk with people about their frustrations and those that don’t simply move on with their lives. It’s as simple as that.

    As for me, simple nonbelief is much easier to defend.
    Yes, faith is a hard thing to defend because by definition there can be no satisfactory proof. Having belief in no God is easier to defend because it doesn’t require faith in a higher being that can not been seen or talked to by the general population.

    If there were no theists, there would be no atheists.
    I don’t think this scenario would ever occur. Even Neanderthals believed in an afterlife! It appears to be an innate consequence of being human. Whether that is because God exists or not is up for debate, but I think blaming theist for the existence of atheism is a stretch.

    And what does “purposely critical” mean?
    By purposely critical I mean that some organizations purposely leave out information with the intent of moving people away from the LDS Church. Since you have not visited many ant-LDS sites and do not have a firm grasp of LDS doctrine I do not expect that you would be able to see the distortions (this is not meant as an insult). I always on this site allowed many points of view. Some that I even strongly disagree with. This is something you will not find on anti-Mormon sites. They block any comments made by those that answer their criticisms. It is my opinion that those sites lack any credibility because if you can’t defend your critic it must not be that strong in the first place.

    Fine. But you haven’t addressed such issues as whether JS took child brides. Do you deny it happened?
    There have been discussions about this on other posts. No I do not and neither should any member deny that Joseph Smith took several brides that were in their teens (most were older than that) one as young as 14. I don’t really see a need to deny it. Though polygamy is controversial it is certainly not unbiblical. As a Jew you know that many Old Testament prophets practiced it. The age is not so much of an issue with me. Some people are offended by it, I am not.

    I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you, but I as I said in my last post I am extremely busy and this post takes a lot of time to maintain. Don’t be offended that no one is responding to your posts. It is mostly because people have stopped coming to my blog because I don’t have time to carry on discussions. I do like your questions and if you give me enough time I will answer all of them.

    If you want the perspective of someone that grew up an active Mormon and knows about controversial issues, Mormon lore, doctrine, etc., but chooses to remain and believe then I’m your man. If not there many other blogs/sites that give other points of view. I have found that some are credible in their scholarship of Mormon history and some are not. I do enjoy hearing different points of view though (that is one of the reasons I started this blog). You are the first Atheist/Jew that has commented hear. I welcome your perspective on the post that I already have written.


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