About

This is a site dedicated to free discussion of LDS history and current events. On occasion other topics may be discussed as appropriate. Though primarily for LDS members it is open to anyone that is interested in having an honest, open and most of all respectful dialog.

Responses

  1. I am not looking for an ugly confrontation, but I must admit I am surprised at how my comments apparently killed an entire thread: only one person answered my sharper questions and my reply lingers. There are still some things I would like to know, especially with a Mormon in the hunt for the White House. Hence, I will edit my comments – with others’ comments inserted:

    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. I realize these are sharp words, but I would like an answer.
    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 JC (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 JS (?).

    Really, did Smith take prepubescent girls for himself?

    By: Howard Visiting on June 25th, 2007
    at 3:43 am

    >One, I know, was an Elect Lady…

    I’m not sure what this means. There is no such title in Mormonism.

    >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. 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.

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

    At the time no one understood Egyptian.

    >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 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.
    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. 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.

    By: Jay on June 27th, 2007
    at 6:33 pm

    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

    By: ElderJoseph on June 27th, 2007
    at 10:31 pm

    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]

    By: Howard Visiting on June 30th, 2007
    at 5:52 pm

    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 seem, 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.

    By: Howard Visiting on June 30th, 2007
    at 6:00 pm

    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?

    By: Howard Visiting on June 30th, 2007
    at 6:03 pm

    >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 know about family pressures, but stories of lapsed believers in other religions 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?

    By: Howard Visiting on June 30th, 2007
    at 6:06 pm

    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. I appreciate your measured tone.

    Howard

  2. Thanks for the input on my blog about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young’s narcissim, particularly your points of calling Mr. Smith a convict, which he was not and putting blood atonement to him. I apologize. I stand corrected on several points and appreciate your feedback. Do you have any suggestions by the way for a more official history of the LDS church in America? I seem to remember a book called Mormon America but I can’t remember the authors. Curious, I am about the fact that you didn’t seem to have any critical response about my claim that there is scant archaelogical evidence to demonstrate that there was at one point a civilization of Christians in the Americas. That is one of my biggest questions of the Mormon faith, in that there there seems to be little to no compelling evidence of such a thing. Thanks, though.

  3. Thanks for your kind reply. I only responded to things I thought needed clarification or another point of view. As far as archeology not supporting the Book of Mormon, I agree with you. There is very little evidence showing existence of Book of Mormon civilizations. It is one of the things I struggle to understand also.

    There are of course explanations for this. The most plausible one is that the Book of Mormon people only populated a limited area of the Americas (Though there are problems with this theory). There is a debate among LDS intellectuals (a small minority) that the BOM may be an inspired work of fiction and not an actual history of the Native American people. I don’t yet subscribe to that point of view, but I am considering it.

  4. Jay I need to ask you for something (book related – literally in regards to a book). Check my “about me” and email me…Thanks in advance.

  5. i want to ask a question that i am required answers like peter answer and question , if u have

  6. You are free to ask any question you want, as long as it is respectfully done. I look forward to hearing it.

  7. I’m trying to figure out how to put a pic on here. If I didn’t succeed can you tell me how?!? thanks 🙂

  8. To be honest I have always had tendencies towards being with women. I lived much of my life as a Mormon trying to deny that part of myself, or convince God to change me, eventually I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was always very into church, I was president of all my classes, everybody expected me to grow up and become relief society president and marry a bishop. Finally at 17 I stopped attending and finally allowed myself to be who I was. I was never abused, I have absolutely wonderful parents who have been amazingly supportive and loving my whole life, I have absolutely nothing at all to blame for my being gay, that’s just how I am. I can remember having crushes on girls as far back as I can remember. I even remember asking one to marry me in preschool… lol. I think it became pretty clear the first time I kissed a boy when I was 14 because all my friends were doing it, he was a great, cute guy and everything but after he kissed me it just felt wrong and I ended up getting physically ill… lol… so yeah, that’s when it first actually occurred to me that there might be something different. As far as the Bible goes, I believe that a lot of scripture that supposedly is about homosexuality is looked at in a very skewed way and I think a lot of Bible readers tend to pick and choose what parts of the Bible they follow based on what is convenient and easy.

  9. You recently commented on one of my posts where I published a chart and asked a question. I have tried to answer it at
    http://juicyfruit.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/how-many-mormons-and-others-are-there/

  10. i would love to find a religion that would open there doors to me can you send the missions to my door to tell me the teachings of your church so i can decide if that is the religion for me to join my address is

    22 medalion cir
    hillsdale michigan
    49242

  11. Steve if you go to the below address you can enter your information and missionaries would be happy to visit with you.

    http://mormon.org/mormonorg/offerfulfillment

  12. sooooooo, this is a PRO LDS site? Just curious.. I’m LDS, convert from Jewish at age 12, a journalist and married to a wonderful Utah’n physician who I adore….I read some stuff on here that I think treads on dangerous ground. i.e. if your leaders are telling you to “drop” a subject or issue, maybe it’s best to follow their/your bishops advice? I’ve never known a happy, positive outcome from not listening to good, sound advice from a loving Bp or Stake President. I’ve lived all over the country as a journalist before marriage and during marriage with my husband’s various practices.

    I am always leery of sites that claim to have a “safe harbour” but are willing to concentrate on perceived negative aspects of the Church. i.e. why should every change (bar codes) be viewed as earth shattering, faith questioning situations? We are a very dynamic, living Church. Hence revelation, changes, new revelations etc. etc. As a 12 year old I was blessed to understand this and as a convert I was very excited at the prospect of having a real Prophet of God! It is such a blessing in this day and age of shifting “to and fro” with every “wind of doctrine” and change to have real, sound guidance from our beloved Leaders of the Church. Now before someone jumps in with “hey, this sounds like when the leaders speak the thinking is done” I consider myself fairly intelligent, and I have never been forced or coerced, even mildly, in the Church to believe or swallow anything that I haven’t searched out and prayed about for myself to gain a testimony of.

    This months Ensign sums up what’s in my heart and why I felt like posting on your site. Focusing on Christ, not Church History and which ethnic backgrounds are treated fairly (hey I’m anything but a WASP female being Jewish, Greek and Italian), is the key to peace and happiness in the Church. When I was a young reporter, I remember reading a lot of Hugh N. and trying to find what I thought was the “meat” of the Gospel… as I’ve gotten older (ok, i’m not that old, over 30:) I’ve realized that what’s important are the basics: Prayer, Scripture Study, Temple, Church attendance, Forgiving those who can really be banannaheads in our lives and moving on from pain and hurt and loving, serving and uplifting others. That’s my 2 shekels. Love, Kittywaymo

    • Kitty,

      Questioning the history of the church isn’t dangerous it is essential as only you are responsible for your decisions. If you want to rely on your church leaders than listen to what one said.

      Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues.” – Gordon B. Hinckley

      The problem is I have read many TBM posters talking about how dangerous it is, and I have to laugh as nothing is more important than making sure you aren’t hoodwinked. Many TBM’s haven’t taken the time to do their own research. They don’t know of the Journal of Discourses or that JS committed polyandry. Then lets not forget the current leaders. TSM still continues his stories of Thomas Marsh – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZWY3r5EV3Y.

      So before counseling someone else to just listen to their leaders study its history. It would be the same as someone selling you a product, or insurance. Do your homework don’t be hoodwinked. And trust me this is coming from someone who spent 39 years believing before I did mine. The funny thing is I am happier than I have ever been when many said my apostasy would ruin my life.

  13. Kittywaymo,
    Thanks for your kind but reproving words:) It is not my attempt to make a “pro”-LDS site. It is also not my purpose to make an “anti”-LDS site. This site is my own personal struggle with LDS history. There were many things done in our past that cause me to question how I believed. It’s been difficult to work through the questions because of the stigma place on those that would openly talk about subjects such as polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, Pearl of Great Price, Kinderhook plates, seer stones, I could go on but you probably understand what I’m saying. There is no place to discuss these things openly without judgment from other LDS members. Many in the Church are aware only on a superficial level about these subjects and are quick to take offense when an honest discussion is attempted. So I started this blog to have open discussions without fear of judgment. A place where conversations won’t turn to arguments, but instead attempt to understand what happened and why.

    I realize that the LDS Church has a lot to offer its converts. I have benefited from a lifetime as a member of the Church. I should probably change this page because my feelings have changed somewhat since writing it. I no longer feel like my testimony is eroding. It is definitely not as strong as it was when I started this journey, but I think it has stabilized. I have a more realistic view of the Church and its history now. I even understand why some things happened the way they did. I am still trying to come to peace with some things, but I’m willing to have patience.

    You made reference to the experience in my ward on blacks and the priesthood. I don’t believe that our leaders are always correct (I don’t think most member believe this either). In the case of what happened in my ward, I believe they were wrong. It is simply a difference of opinion. I went through the proper steps (talking to my Bishop and then the Stake President) to try and correct the problem. Unfortunately, they both dismissed my concerns and told me to essentially “drop it”. That is what I did. Since my last posting about the incident I have not talked about it again (though I would be willing to if someone brings it up). It would be sad if, as members, we had to go against what we know to be right simply because our leaders told us to.

    I understand that what I talk about on Mormons talk is not always faith promoting. Since this is not necessarily my aim, I feel no conflict in openly discussing things that concern me. I enjoy conversations with a wide variety of people (pro and anti LDS). It has been interesting for me to get to know how those outside our Church view us. While some are hostile (don’t enjoy those conversations as much) many are sincere in their desire to spread Christ’s gospel and I respect that.

    It is important to note that I do not censure comments unless there is foul language. I say this because some have left comments that I disagree with, but I don’t always have time to express that on every thread. If I feel that someone else has responded in a way I would, I usually don’t reply (no need to be redundant). I take full responsibility for all my posts and I stand behind them. That does not mean that I’m not willing to say I’m wrong. They are simply an expression of my personal viewpoint or an attempt to spur conversation. My posts are not always harmonious with what LDS members in general think.

    I sincerely thank you for leaving your comment. I love to hear from faithful LDS members. They tend to remind me (as you have) of just how much I continue to appreciate the LDS Church. They also bring up many points that sometimes I’ve neglected and I am grateful for that. I’m glad that you are happy and at peace with the Church. I do not wish to take any of that away from you. And, as you can see from the post before yours, I do not intend to be an obstacle to others wanting to investigate the Church. I believe in the axiom “truth will always prevail”. Discussing difficult topics about our beliefs is uncomfortable for most LDS members, but I believe it is necessary and being open and honest will not, in the long run, hurt the Church.

  14. When I read sites like this I can’t help but wonder where does it end. When you get done questioning your LDS beliefs, what is next Christianity as a whole (believe me there are plenty of unanswered questions there). Let me share a little secret with you. There is always going to be holes. That is the testing part, the part that truely defines where we stand. I can only imagine Jesus’s Apostles following him and at times wondering is this real. In the end Judus betrayed Christ and Peter denounced him. Sometimes we have to peel our head away from the tree to realize there is a forest out there (in other words, there will always be something to get caught up in). When you start questing the church’s doctrine you turn into a peeze despenser, as you take out a piece of candy another one will replace it. We make it so difficult sometimes, and what it boils down to in every case is three simple questions:
    1. Is there a god.
    2. What is his purpose for me (plan)
    3. How do I follow it, and live it.

    In the end where do you stand.

    1. The inactive mormon. This is the mormon who chooses not come to church. Maybe they were offended, or for some reason do not feel worthy to come to church.

    2. The Social Mormon. These are the mormons who go to all of their meetings, do their callings, and more or less what is required of them.

    3. The Questioning Mormon. These are the members are the read something in a book(s), or on the internet which has caused them some concern. Perhaps it is something one of the Prophets has said, or a doctrinal question. It is that “Something they just can’t let go of”.
    4. The Intellectual Mormon. These are the members who want to prove everything. They are also the ones who think they know more than the church athorities.
    5. The Spiritually Enlightened Mormon. We all know someone like this and we all wish we were more like them. They have sense of peace about them (one would think they know something the rest of the world doesn’t) that you can see and feel. At time all of us go in to this stage but are only there for a brief moment. This is where we need to be.

    If we had all of the answers, we never would have chosen to come here in the first place.

  15. I sympathize with what you are saying and I know that it can be “annoying” to listen to what seem like trivial or trite conversations. Especially, when the conversation revolves around your deeply held beliefs. Your pez dispenser analogy has some merit, but I don’t think the best thing to do with our problems is to ignore them. If you have come to peace with the controversies of LDS past history and teachings, I applaud you for it. There are many out there struggling with it right now and many more will come after them. The best thing do is think about how we can help them to deal with it and find peace. Becoming a “spiritually enlightened Mormon” doesn’t just happen, it takes most people years. Despite popular belief it is not a bad thing to question our leaders or our teachings. Our leaders are not above making mistakes (even major ones) and their teachings are not always infallible. That is probably the hardest thing for many members to understand and it takes a while before someone can really wrap their brain around it because we have been taught (rightfully so) such respect for them.

    I don’t completely agree with your categories.

    1. The inactive mormon. This is the mormon who chooses not come to church. Maybe they were offended, or for some reason do not feel worthy to come to church.

    Not all inactive members are not coming because of offense or worthiness issues. Some just plain don’t care about church and do not feel any animosity toward the LDS faith or any unworthiness. Some just can’t come to peace with the many inconsistencies of our history and simply have come to the conclusion that it’s all made up. Whether it is because of their own failings or not, they just can’t accept the oft repeated Sunday school answers.

    2. The Social Mormon. These are the mormons who go to all of their meetings, do their callings, and more or less what is required of them.

    I think most members fall into this category.

    3. The Questioning Mormon. These are the members are the read something in a book(s), or on the internet which has caused them some concern. Perhaps it is something one of the Prophets has said, or a doctrinal question. It is that “Something they just can’t let go of”.

    Not all questioning Mormons are as simplistic as you present it here and many intellectual Mormons would probably lump themselves in as questioning members also. “Something in a book(s), or Internet site” may spark their questioning, but members in this category are not trying to discredit the Church and not apt to believe things that aren’t true. They just want to understand our history and how the Church can be true despite its historical inconsistencies. They realize that there are broader questions that can be asked of Christianity as a whole, but they are concerned with understanding their own faith. This struggle is not at all bad. In fact, President Hinckley (and past prophets) have encouraged questioning and investigation. The very foundation of the LDS faith is built on a spirit of questioning and seeking answers. We are commanded to study it out in our minds first and then ask the Lord. This requires a lot more work than most members want to do. Most are content to accept everything that the prophet and other leaders say (in conference or on Larry King) as if from God. I personally believe this is a mistake.

    4. The Intellectual Mormon. These are the members who want to prove everything. They are also the ones who think they know more than the church athorities.

    I don’t believe that all intellectuals think they know more than Church authorities, but in certain areas it is entirely possible that they do. These are people that believe God gave us brains for a reason. For example, they might believe in evolution because the physical evidence doesn’t support a creationist belief. They also might believe that Nephites and Lamanites were an extremely small group of people because the evidence supports that conclusion. So they would not believe that the majority of Native Americans are true Lamanites as stated by most past prophets. This is not bad, it is good because it draws us closer to the truth by reading the “signs” God left for us. Our past leaders may have been wrong because they were relied on their own interpretation of God’s words and not God’s.

    If we had all of the answers, we never would have chosen to come here in the first place.

    True we’re here to learn. This requires us to use our minds as well as the Spirit to search for truth. Sometimes we allow what we incorrectly interpret as the Spirit to affect our sense of reason. Faith has its place. You must have faith to believe that Christ rose from the tomb. You must have faith to believe there is a God. However, as an LDS members, God does not require us to believe 1+1=3. The reasoning process may be different for each individual but God wants us to have peace of mind and spirit. If you already have peace about our faiths many shortcomings you’re one step ahead of many others who have not yet made that transition. That’s good:)

  16. Jay-

    Please don’t get me wrong, I agree with you that it is essential that we use our mind along with the spirit. I guess where I would differ with you is that when we go so far that we tip the scale and lean towards the natural intellectual man as our source of wisdom. One thing is certain (If you don’t believe me look through the pages of history) man and his wisdom will fail.

    So this leads me to my next point, is the Church and leaders perfect. The answer is no, they are subject to the same imperfections as the rest of us. But here is the beautiful thing about our church, that differs from all others, the power of direct revelation from God. Our church has made mistakes in the past, and has learned and grown from the experience, just as we do when we fall. But when under revelation from a loving all perfect God, there should be no mistake about our direction.

    Believe me when I say I understand there are a lot of questions about our churches past. There are several things that may cause you to scratch your head. But when questioning, make sure you are absolute about the facts, so many things have been tweaked and distorted over time, it is easy to read something that happened over 150 years ago than claim that there is absolute truth in it. The fact is, so many things that happened in the past we wiil never know, I don’t think the general athorities will ever know. Many of the things the Prophets have said, have been their personal opinion, based on the culture and latest school of thought. But again, it is crucial that we don’t mix opinion with revelation. So when Brigham Young was asked if he thought there were people living on the moon, and answered yes he thought there was, we need to ask opinion or revelation.

    As to your response to my different categories. I do agree with most of what you said. These were just generalized observations, and many of us may fall into various categories. But it is not a one size fits all.

    I probably came across very callous with my first response, and if I did I apolagize, it was not my intent.

    With that being said, here is what I would recommend to anyone who is questioning their faith. These are things that have worked for me.

    1. First I would suspend your disbeilf-You can always go back to your original belief system. But just for time, suspend any questions you have
    about your faith. During this time focus on the Gospel, read your scriptures more than you have ever read them, If your able go to the Temple on a regular basis, fast and pray be very specific on your questions.

    2. Do more than is required of you. If you do your home teaching just once a month, do more. Don’t just go to your church meetings, get involved and study. I guess what I’m trying to say is just don’t give 100% give 110%.

    A great website, that I read on a regular basis is FAIR http://www.fairlds.org. When it comes to church docterine, I have found they authors to be very intelligent and well informed.

    I hope I was able to clarify a few of my thoughts.

  17. Dan

    Do you realize that if you followed your steps 1 and 2 that it would work to strengthen a belief in anything regardless of truth? If I apply those principles to ANY belief the chances are I would come to believe that thing with even greater fervor than before whether it is Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Atheism or that the Holocaust never happened, pretty much any thing you choose but that still does not make it so. I believe truth is important, we can’t know all things but that doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on the things that we can know. I will quote what Carl Sagan had to say about seeking and finding truth

    “How can we recognize truth? It is, of course difficult. But there are a few simple rules. The truth ought to be logically consistent. It should not contradict itself; that is, there are some logical criteria. It ought to be consistent with what else we know. That is an additional way in which miracles run into trouble. We know a great many things- a tiny fraction, to be sure, of the universe, a pitiful tiny fraction. But nevertheless some things we know with quite high reliability. So where we are asking about the truth, we ought to be sure that it’s not inconsistent with what else we know. We should pay attention to how badly we want to believe a given contention. The more badly we want to believe it, the more skeptical we have to be. It involves a kind of courageous self discipline. Nobody says it’s easy. I think those three principles at least will winnow out a fair amount of chaff. It doesn’t guarantee that what remains will be true, but at least it will significantly diminish the field of discourse. “
    Carl Sagan, Varieties of scientific experience, pages 229-230

  18. Dan

    You Said

    ” But here is the beautiful thing about our church, that differs from all others, the power of direct revelation from God. Our church has made mistakes in the past, and has learned and grown from the experience, just as we do when we fall”

    1 The Jehovahs Witnesses also claim direct revelation from God .They claim they are Jehovahs ‘Spirit Directed’ Organisation and that all other churches are from Satan .So your claim is nothing unique.

    Have you ever studied with JW’s ? I have and its so plausible that its dangerous if you have little knowledge .I was nearly taken in by them as a youth and I used to think and speak just like TBM Mormons do.

    2 If your church gets direct revelation from God , how come there are so many mistakes .Is it God who isn’t clear and speaking in riddles or is it the fault of the prophets and Apostles misinterpreting what God has supposedly instructed ?

    3 I just wonder what exactly are the mistakes your church has made ? I’ve been told countless times that The Church Is Perfect .

    4 I don’t actually believe your church has learned from its mistakes.It is still as arrogant and deceptive as ever .

    I haven’t seen one person get baptised with a correct and more accurate version of Historical events . Although I have seen many baptisms based on High Pressure , Emotional Blackmail ,and Preying on the Vulnerable by Highly Pressured , Guilt driven Missionaries who seem to think that ‘Love’ for your neighbour means baptising anyone at any cost. But I don’t blame them , they are just victims themselves of an organisation that works very similar to JW’s.

  19. Despite the similarities to the JWs the concept of individual revelation directly from God is a unique concept.

    I think many of the mistakes are the result of misinterpretation. Why God allows that to happen I don’t know. Especially, when it affects so many people negatively (e.g. The priesthood ban).

    Personally, I think there were several mistakes (e.g. lying for the Lord, the way polygamy was practiced, the priesthood ban) I think we HAVE learned from them, just look at the LDS faith now. No polygamy (in this life), Blacks have the priesthood and I don’t know of any lying for the Lord incidents of late.

    While you can be frustrated (as I am) that most members, let alone converts, don’t know our history very well, the same can be said about almost every other Christian Church. I’m not saying it’s right, but normal would be an appropriate word.

  20. While I am not a Mormon, I have been welcoming these fine young Mormon missionairies into my home since November 2007 because I firmly believe that to know and understand ones neighbor in love and charity is quite possibly the great road to everlasting Peace. We are all children of One Eternal God and while we may disagree doctrinally, we can still listen to our neighbors differing perspective in kindness and Love. The only cure for Love is More Love. So I listen carefully and then with intelligence and reason try to understand without being critical or destructive. We are all One Family. God Loves us All. Christian, non-Christian, even Atheists. So we have different belief eystems. So what. What really matters is that we tear down the harmful separating barriers that seem always to keep us apart and move about in this world in Love. “This is the first and great commandment, thou shall love the lord they God with all thy heart and with all thy mind; and the second is like unto it, thou shall Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

  21. Bob,
    I admire your openness to differing opinions about God. I have also allowed other Christians into my home and attended other services. I agree with your statement, “What really matters is that we tear down the harmful separating barriers that seem always to keep us apart and move about in this world in Love.” I wish more Christians (and others) had the same desire to love as you have expressed. Thanks for leaving your thoughtful comment.

  22. Bob

    Those missionaries have only one purpose and thats to ‘convert’ you to the LDS church .They are not there to chat and entertain you.

    They may ‘invite’ you to church ? So they can add a tick on their figures for ‘No Of Investigators In Church’ …… even though you are not really Investigating the LDS church they will class you as one .

    The mission is not about Ecumenism but about statistics , figures , Houses Knocked , homes got into , books of mormon placed, baptisms etc etc.

    They will praise you ,shake yopur hand , pat your back ,love bomb you , appease you , even appear to agree with you while all the time thinking your religion is false and that only through their priesthood authority are you able to have a relationship with God.

    If they don’t make progress with you or you don’t attend the LDS church they will drop you .

    I don’t blame them personally , they are good kids on the whole ,but naive and easily led by church authority figures and manipulated whilst on the mission.

  23. Bob,

    I think you have a great attitude. However, I do not personally think it is a good idea to talk to the missionaries if you are truly not intersted in converting….that is their main objective (they don’t want to listen to your perspective, only change the way you think).

    I do agree that we should treat all religions with kindness and respect and listen to their point of view, however meeting with the missionaries is not a very good idea if you have no plans of converting.


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