Traditional Mormon ‘Last Days’ theology similar to Bible Belt beliefs

(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here.) There’s a 2007 clip video of Mitt Romney stumbling over the question, “Do the Mormons believe the Garden of Eden is in Jackson County, Missouri?” Romney was clearly annoyed by the question, alternating between incredulity and telling the interviewer that it was a question better directed to LDS Church leaders. Romney knows the answer is, “yes,” but he didn’t want to say so, fearing that it would make him look odd.

But really, how is believing that the Garden of Eden is in Jackson County, Missouri, any more incredulous than believing Noah stuck every animal in an ark and floated around with a few others while every person in the world drowned. Or even that Jesus Christ was resurrected? We are taught to believe things by faith, to suspend belief and trust a prophet or unseen-to-us deity. In fact, we’re also taught that to demand or need proof of the divine can be considered a liability. In the Book of Mormon, seeing an angel did little for Laman and Lemuel.

When I’m visiting a longtime family of church members, I head for “grandpa’s bookcase.” They contain mostly forgotten books filled with assumptions that we no longer hear and, as important, doctrine that we still may mostly believe but also don’t hear much about. One old book I spent the weekend reading was “Prophecy and Modern Times,” by W. Cleon Skousen. My copy, published by Deseret Book, appears to be from about 1950 but was first published in 1939. The edition I read also contains an approving foreward from LDS Apostle Ezra Taft Benson.

In the book, readers are reminded that not only was the Garden of Eden in North America, but that it was also where Noah built his ark, before it floated to Mesopotamia. Furthermore, places such as Euphrates, Canaan, Ethiopia, “were all names which originally belonged to geographical locations in America,” writes Skousen.

(What’s very interesting about these old books is that they serve as the sources for things I was taught as a young Latter-day Saint in the late 60s and 70s, either in family home evening or church classes. Today, about the only place you hear many of these beliefs is during a ward High Priest lesson that strays a  bit from the manual. I want to stress that I’m not making fun of these bits of doctrine. Indeed, I find them fascinating and my belief in some, by faith, is what makes being a Latter-day Saint so interesting.)

The last days, as described in “Prophecy and Modern Times,” is as dramatic in many parts as fundamentalist evangelicals describe the last days in books such as the “Left Behind” series. The Bible Belt really hasn’t got much on Skousen. The book teaches that the Mormon faithful (and this is a doctrine I’ve been told of countless times) will return to Jackson County, Missouri, which is where the headquarters of the Mormons will be. In fact, Skousen quotes early LDS leader Heber C. Kimball as providing prophecy that “Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage. Persecution comes next and all true Latter-day Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostasize and others will be still not knowing what to do. Darkness will cover the earth … The judgments of God will be poured out on the wicked ...” Skousen’s source for this is The Deseret News of May 23, 1931.

In fact, the book claims that a migration to Jackson County, Missouri, would not occur until much of the earth has already become desolate. “The Constitution will hang by a thread” argument for the last days is also part of the book, but it will be saved by LDS elders, the author adds.

The last-days scenario that Skousen creates contains many elements of evangelical beliefs. At times, one can be forgiven for thinking he has picked up the pop evangelical kitsch series “Left Behind.” He writes, “Lucifer’s church will cast its shadow over most of the earth so that outside of Zion all men, small and great, rich and poor, bond and free, will have the identifying mark of that church in their right hand or in their foreheads. No man will be able to buy and sell among them in that day unless he bears that mark in his body.”

Besides the mark of the beast, Skousen cites wars and pestilences, false prophets performing “miracles,” Satan raining down fire to destroy the faithful, plagues, starvation, thirst for water, stormy seas, Israel threatened, and being defended by two prophets, and America being a land that cannot be accessed by other nations until God allows it. From the book, citing the Doctrine and Covenants 61:15-16 as its source: “In that day the land of America will be cut off from the rest of the earth by violent seas. … No doubt millions would flee to America during these trying times if the Lord did not make it inaccessible to all except the righteous. This will be the most stringent immigration restriction ever imposed upon this land, and it will be enforced by the violent elements of the sea.”

Eventually, in “Prophecy and Modern Times,” remnants of the lost tribes of Israel will brave the elements and start migrating toward Jackson County, Missouri, to regroup. As they approach, colonies of the wicked will try to stop them. As Skousen writes, citing as a source, Doctrine and Covenants 133:28, “The scriptures plainly speak of the Ten Tribes being confronted by ‘enemies’ who will become their ‘prey’ as they march over them on the way to the capital city of New Jerusalem.”

In “Prophecy and Modern Times,” Skousen — as popular then as today’s Deseret Book favorites are today — preaches in a tone and style that seems to have mostly disappeared from LDS theology. It’s pessimistic, predicting most of the Latter-day Saints as falling into apostasy. It sets the LDS Church, as well as early Old Testament history, firmly in the United States, and echoes the “White Horse prophecy” of LDS priesthood holders gathering to save the Constitution. The Last Days, according to the book, are clearly inspired by the Bible’s Revelations’ chapters — and other Mormon scripture — and share many similarities to traditional evangelicalism.

The Mormon Church was established with the intention of preparing for the Second Coming of Christ. A casual reading of 19th Century patriarchal blessings includes many that promise the receiver will see Christ’s return to the Earth. It’s clear that through most of the 20th century this point of view was shared, and often preached by church leaders. I recall my father telling me that while he may not see Christ return, he expected that I would. (Ironically, I feel the same when I look at my children.)

As the church grew internationally, and correlation replaced distinct church departments as the authors of various church manuals, it appears the emphasis on the last days, and the heavily dramatic tones of last days gospel doctrines, were toned down considerably. Skousen is no longer a Mormon author that would be mentioned by current church leaders, although he has gained a renewed fan base, thanks to Mormon Glenn Beck.

How much of “Prophecy and Modern Times” is still considered acceptable church doctrine is a question that interests me. Some of it is unappealing. In one clearly racist part, Skousen writes that the American Indians, once they receive the Gospel, “will no longer be backward, mischievous and unattractive. They will become white like their brethren of Ephraim.”

However, as mentioned, it’s clear that Latter-day Saints do believe that the Garden of Eden is in the U.S., and that there will be a time when Mormons are called to return there. Yet, its emphasis level seems to have dropped considerably. In fact, in what can be construed as a direct warning to those who rely on the Beck/Skousen view of the last days, LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks recently cautioned members from associating with “right-wing groups who mistakenly apply prophecies about the last days to promote efforts to form paramilitary or other organizations.” Oaks suggested that members need to stock up on food, rather than ammo. (Read) I also recall a recent conference talk in which members were told that there is still much to be done on the earth before it ends.

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186 Responses to Traditional Mormon ‘Last Days’ theology similar to Bible Belt beliefs

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  2. Stormin Norman says:

    Maybe next article you write could be about Peter Pan and Neverland! It should be pretty apparant a lot of what use to be taught especially by Brigham and Joseph have been coorelated out of any LDS manuals! The interesting ones are about Joseph’s prophesies about the 2nd coming (in 1890) or the inhabitants of the Moon —– damn scientists would not show pics of them when US went to the moon, to not support Joseph and Brigham!

  3. Zen Wordsmith says:

    [Jackson County, Independence Missouri] is already landscaped
    with (2) two [Temples]. One temple of the body of Saints named the
    Community of Christ Church {RLDS}, this is the Prophets [Joseph
    Smith jr] true, first blood native American kinfolk; and the other
    Kansas City Missouri
    [Temple] is the Utah bodies that is the residual of [Hyrum Smith].
    A governing body of {12} Elders make-up the quorum in Missouri,
    as does a body of {12} Elders make up the quorum @ SLC.
    The [BYU-Maxwell Institute-F.A.R.M.S.] defines this as the {24}
    [Prophets of Isreal].
    The chief corner stone in navigating the [Missouri Synod-7].
    All revolving around “One Grand Head” we call our Prophet’s, Seer’s
    and Revelators. Elder [Thomas S. Monson]. [Zions] Corp of
    the First Presidency.
    We’re not taking Independence Missouri “back by force”. As pro-
    hetic President [Harry S. Truman] once uttered on his hometown of
    [Jackson County]…”THE BUCK STOPS HERE”…

    • Lew Craig says:

      Zen,
      I don’t know where you came up with that stuff. I’ve been in the church for 50 years and have never heard it before. The grammar does not make sense. I think you might have cones some tinkering?

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  5. Dandini says:

    Guess no one here studies ancient geology. . . very common theory and almost with solid geological proof that at one time the land masses of the earth were joined as one great continent. . . then the continental drift occurred. . . “in the days of Peleg” (Genesis 10:25) according to the Bible. . . so there is the possibility that Eden could have been located somewhere in what is now the continent of North America. . . prior to the continental drift. . .

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Looks like you caught wind of something called “Pangaea,” and then your Sunday School teacher bastardized the science (as they often do) to fit Mormon mythology. FYI, Pangæa was a supercontinent (but it didn’t necessarily include “all land”). It formed, through the process of plate tectonics, around 300 million years ago, and began breaking up around 200 million years ago — so its formation/breakup happened 300-200 million years before “Peleg” (or the Easter Bunny, for that matter).

  6. Interesting, but I’m grateful that the LDS prophetic focus is more on helping us and others: 1) Return to Jesus and put our focus on him 2) Search for and rescue the Lord’s “lost sheep (a reminder of a Biblical injunction) and 3) prepare ourselves physically and spiritually (including emotionally) for the often unavoidable adversities in life common to all humankind.

    Bro. Skousen was a great thinker and theologian. Interesting as his writings and personal views of the Restoration may be, I’m guided by the living LDS Apostles and Prophets (found exclusively in Salt Lake City, not Independence, Missouri – much as I respect the leaders of the “Community of Christ”), and our “Standard Works” if scripture (Holy Bible, Book of Mormon – A Second Witness of Jesus Christ, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price).

    Insofar as any statement or writing by any person conforms to modern Apostles and Prophets, harmonizing with accepted cannon of scripture I will accept it. Otherwise it’s just an interesting form of entertainment and nothing more.

    David Honaker (in no way a spokesperson for the church)
    Paradise Valley Stake, Arizona, USA

    (Forgive typos, tapping this out on a tiny cell phone!)

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      No doubt future Mormons will dismiss Tom Monson the way current Mormons dismiss Brigham Young. It’s all one big round of inter-generational apostasy, with each generation repudiating the doctrines of earlier generations. For the record, here are some doctrines of the second Mormon prophet that I’m pretty sure most Mormons (and Tom Monson, in particular) would repudiate today:

      “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:110).

      “We are now going to the Lamanites, to whom we intend to be messengers of instruction… We will show them that in consequence of their transgressions a curse has been inflicted upon them – in the darkness of their skins. We will have intermarriages with them, they marrying our young women, and we taking their young squaws to wife. By these means it is the will of the Lord that the curse of their color shall be removed and they restored to their pristine beauty…” [Brigham Young, quoted in The Abominations of Mormonism Exposed, pp. 58-59]

      “Yes, [polygamy is] one of the relics of Adam, of Enoch, of Noah, of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses, David, Solomon, the Prophets, of Jesus, and his apostles.” [Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 11, p. 328]

      “Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy,” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).

      “Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken — He is our Father, and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50).

      “You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind….Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290).
      “In our first settlement in Missouri, it was said by our enemies that we intended to tamper with the slaves, not that we had any idea of the kind, for such a thing never entered our minds. We knew that the children of Ham were to be the “servant of servants,” and no power under heaven could hinder it, so long as the Lord would permit them to welter under the curse and those were known to be our religious views concerning them.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 172).

      • LMA says:

        So, first of all, these comments have nothing to do with LDS eschatology or even the comment by David Honaker to which these irrelevancies purport to reply. What we can conclude is that Duwayne Anderson comes to this page looking for some hook for the expression of his hatred. This tells us much about Duwayne Anderson. See also, Bennet, R., Science vs. Mormonism: The Dangers of Dogmatism and Sloppy Reading, FARMS Review: Volume – 18, Issue – 2, Pages: 1-43 (reviewing Anderson’s book).http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=18&num=2&id=622

        Second, one of the “quotes” is referenced to something called, “The Abominations of Mormonism Exposed,” which doesn’t sound at all like scholarship.

        Third, it is perfectly true that Pres. Young said some things that we regard as non-canonical. Church leaders have declared that they are NOT infallible. It is possible for any of the Brethren to reach a conclusion which turns out in hindsight or after careful scrutiny not to be worthy of established doctrine. That’s one reason why the Journal of Discourses is not regarded as canonical text.

        I think it was Richard Bushman who once said of former members that “they leave the church but can’t leave it alone.” I don’t care if Anderson wants to sulk in his tent or imagine himself to be smarter and more scientific and generally more of a fantastic guy than his former co-religionists. I just think he should shut up about it.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          It never seems to takes long for Mormon apologists to play the “hatred” card. But exposing lies and deceit isn’t “hatred,” LMA. You can’t cry “persecution” when you tell lies, and then get exposed – nor can you claim “hatred” when someone quotes your “prophets” (living or dead).

          As for your assertion that I didn’t reply to any points made by David, you might want to try reading what David said, and how I replied. If you do, you’ll see that David reiterated the Mormon talking point “I’m guided by the living LDS Apostles and Prophets.” David’s comment is the standard method used by Mormons when dismissing the teachings of past “prophets” like Brigham Young. My assortment of quotations from Young (all accurate) illustrate how Mormons like David (and you) practice a type of intergenerational apostasy; you and David would be considered apostates by Brigham Young. Tom Monson (the current “prophet”) would draw out Young’s thunder, too. And, no doubt, future apologists (little copies of you, 50 years from now) will accuse apologists of “hate” for quoting Tom Monson.

          • SA says:

            Good point. It reminds me of the inter-generational struggle when that guy named Peter told people the law of Moses no longer needed to be followed.

            Everyone knew Peter’s whole “I’m guided by the living LDS Apostles and Prophets” thing was just a bunch of nonsense.

          • LMA says:

            Oh, OK, on account of there’s nothing hateful in what you write here. snicker

      • Zen Wordsmith says:

        Should we gander in taking
        Brother [Brigham Youngs]
        declarations literally, we miss the point.
        Even our first Prophet [Joseph Smith Junior] “pulled a boner” when scribing in the [13 Articles of Faith] that there were {10 Tribes} to be gathered, on this the American
        Continent. The epistle of [James] sub-scribes it in
        an whole new light and function. There are in fact {12-Tribes/Castes}. [KJV 1611 Study Guide]

        The revelation came to light when, in latter times the “lost two tribes” were that of [Ephraim] and his Elder Brother [Manassah]; Son of [Hezikia].
        Both of [Coptic Christian Egyptian] descent, and
        sold into slavery in a territorial Prison.

        Just another “notch” in the on going saga of this
        blogs worth…”As the Family Home Evening Turns”…

  7. Robert Bridgstock says:

    When I was a Mormon bishop, branch president, stake clerk, Young Mens President, Quorum President and Gospel Doctrine Teacher (plus many other callings in the church) I read some of those old–now dusty–books, but my present impression from reading Church history, as it relates to ‘where Zion’ is meant to be established, is that it was meant (according to Smith) to be in a number of different places as the Saints were driven and persecuted, yet it failed to materialize. So many of the stupid things Joseph prophesied have failed. It was always jam tomorrow that never came.
    Then Brigham Young said the world was evil and was ending… that only in Zion (His Salt Lake City) would there be a refuge. This has also failed… and now who thinks that Zion will be in Jackson County… when they do not even own the land they once claimed they would build a temple on? Its all so much smoke and mirrors.

    • LMA says:

      Funny you feel the need to list your many very wonderful important callings that made you such a way cool Mormon until you started reading dusty books or whatever. yawn.

    • Lew Craig says:

      Yes, the prophecies have failed, like the prophecy about the Civil War starting in South Carolina, the saints settling in the Rocky Mountains and the prophecy when the church was organized in 1830 that it would cover North and South America and eventually cover the earth.

      May I humbly point out to you that there are almost 1 million members in Mexico and 800 thousand in Brazil.

      • Erick says:

        The Saint’s settling in the Rocky Mountains isn’t much of a Prophecy, particularly when it’s one you can fullfill. I prophesy in the name of the almighty God that I will eat a bleu cheese bacon burger for lunch!

        Nevertheless, you have figure even if Joseph Smith “prophesied” correctly 10 times, that the impressiveness of this number must be factored against both the sheer number of total prophecies ever made, in combination with the level of interprative fudge room available within each prophecy.

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  9. ScottH says:

    In a priesthood leadership meeting nearly two decades ago I heard Elder Dallin H. Oaks say that, having finished his prepared remarks before the planned break, he was going to make some off-the-cuff remarks that were bound to be misunderstood and get him into trouble.

    He then went on to say something very similar to the link provided about preparedness. As near as I recall he also said, “Some think that the longstanding counsel of the brethren to establish and maintain a one-year supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel means getting a two-year supply of food, clothing, and fuel, along with an eight-year supply of shotgun shells. Brethren, this is not the Lord’s way.” He disparaged the idea of developing a shelter to protect against others that may want to come after your supply, and he talked about how the Lord will accomplish his designs through sharing and love of neighbor.

    Cleon Skousen was indeed an interesting and influential thinker in his day. But his views were not universally shared by church leaders.

    My father related being in a priesthood leadership meeting years earlier when then-apostle Joseph Fielding Smith held a question and answer session. One brother asked his opinion of Cleon Skousen’s works. My father recalled Elder Smith saying, “I know Brother Skousen and I read his books.” In total deadpan he then said, “I also make many notes in the margins of Brother Skousen’s books. When I come upon something I believe to be his personal interpretation, I write ‘B.S.,’ which stands for ‘Brother Skousen.’”

    • Fred says:

      Years ago when I was at the Y, I had a professor who was good friends with Hugh Nibley. The professor told me he was at Nibley’s office one day and saw a pile of books in the trash can. He asked Nibley if he could have them, to which Nibley replied, take them, they’re garbage.

      My professor picked through the books and found they were a complete set of the works of Cleon Skousen. He told me, I just left them in the garbage.

  10. Michael Trujillo says:

    So, you accept the scientific methods which tell us that about the process of continental drift, yet you don’t accept the same scientific methodology which tells us about the evolution of life on earth and the amount of time it’s taken.

    Interesting.

    • Michael Trujillo says:

      Above comment was in response to Dandini.

      • smalger says:

        Nice to see you are still talking about the church, Mike. This is your 2nd mission companion from Fairfax. While continental separation is scientifically supported, it is obvious to anyone looking at a globe, and was first discussed in the OT.
        Science had never been at odds with true faith, because both are based on truth or the pursuit of it. Sciences only flaw is that we are fallible and our ability to understand our environment is limited. That is why it is okay to partially agree with science.

        • Michael Trujillo says:

          Huh? I think you have me confused with someone else. I’ve never had a “2nd mission companion.”

          As for “partially agree(ing) with science”:
          um, we don’t get to pick and choose. Either the same study of Geology that gives rise to the theory of plate tectonics agrees with the theory that the earth is billions of years old, or it doesn’t. And that either gibes with the anthropological evidence that human kind is only a couple of million years old, or it doesn’t. We don’t get to pick and choose one scientific theory about Pangaea to support a theological premise, but deny similar scientific theories that refute theological premises.

          And, by the way, DNA study shows that the human race came out of Africa. Soooooo, I suppose that when Adam and Eve were expelled from Missouri, they were miraculously transported to Africa. Yeah, that’s it.

  11. manaen says:

    These writings are not LDS doctrine. The LDS Church posted the difference on its website in 2007. One paragraph is,

    “Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.”
    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/approaching-mormon-doctrine

    So, the Church says that anything not in the standard works of scripture, official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith is not the Church’s official doctrine. Maybe my opinion will be helpful: something is authoritative when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it is and it is not authoritative if the Church does not say it is.

    This includes:
    * Statements by Church leaders in General Conference
    * Journal of Discourses
    * Articles in Church magazines
    * Papers by BYU professors
    * Heartfelt testimonies about a particular subject by members
    * The blogs collectively known as “The Bloggenacle”
    * Recruiting statements by BYU’s coaches
    * etc.

    • LMA says:

      This is very helpful, and the humor is appreciated too. There was a General Conference talk on this subject in the past few years, and I would love to be reminded of the details (date and speaker) of that talk. I think that the development of doctrine is not unlike how case law develops in the legal system. Ideally you have more than one original source (precedent) to support a common idea, and recency takes precedence over age. To paraphrase Elder McConkie, it is possible for prophets and apostles to speak without the further light and knowledge that can come into the world, leading to a re-examination of doctrine.

      Of course, the Duwayne Andersons of this world don’t even want to TRY to understand this approach, since their only interest in historical statements lies in using them as a club to bash the Church and its members. That’s too bad, really.

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        From the official Internet site that you guys have established as the fountain of official doctrine:

        http://www.lds.org/liahona/1981/06/fourteen-fundamentals-in-following-the-prophet?lang=eng

        Sixth: The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture. Sometimes there are those who argue about words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel but that we are not obliged to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you.” (D&C 21:4.)”

        • LMA says:

          Well, there you go. A talk given by Pres. Benson in 1980, and that’s all you need. No nuance for you. Don’t need to look at anything else. Don’t want any assurance that there is not a doctrine of infallibility, because, you know, that would just interfere with your opportunity to be snide and sarcastic. I totally get it. Just don’t try to deny your hatred because it’s palpable.

          Pres. James E. Faust:
          We make no claim of individual infallibility or perfection as the prophets, seers, and revelators. Yet I humbly state that I have sat in the company of these men and I believe their greatest desire is to know and do the will of our Heavenly Father.

          Elder Robert D. Hales:
          To be an Apostle of the Lord, I am finding, is a process—a process of repentance and humility, to look inward as we’ve been instructed and ask for forgiveness and strength to be what I should be. Unfortunately, I am not a perfect man, and infallibility does not come with the call.

          Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
          “[P]eople write me letters and say, ‘You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?’ All I can say is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

          “We get our truth and light line upon line and precept upon precept (2 Ne. 28:30; Isa. 28:9-10; D&C 98:11-12; 128:21). We have now added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter anymore.”

          • Lasvegasrichard says:

            With that rationale then absolutely nothing in the bible is valid anymore . The face of truth does not change , ever.

          • LMA says:

            Lasvegas, so you keep kosher do you. Polygamy as practiced in the Old Testament is still OK, according to you. The Sabbath is still Saturday, I take it. Nothing about law or doctrine changed after Jesus I guess. Peter wasn’t actually told to preach to the Gentiles, because there could not be any change in how God relates to His children. Ever. Right? That’s your view? Circumcision is still a commandment as you understand it. You think that women’s heads must still be covered in church and they shouldn’t ever speak in church.

            OK. Thanks. Some of us think that God continues to teach His children. Some of us think that new revelation is possible. It is not that truth changes, but the understanding of truth can improve precept upon precept, line upon line. Isa. 28:9-10. God will continue to lead His elect toward righteousness, which can mean throwing off old ways. 2 Cor. 5:17.

          • Duwayne Anderson says:

            Thanks, LMA, for posting those references showing the confusing and contradictory comments by Mormon leaders with regard to Mormon doctrine.

            Few things illustrate the mass of confusion that is the Mormon Church better than such contradictory statements.

            One “prophet” says the “prophet” will never lead the “Saints” astray. Another says he might.

            One “prophet” says to think for yourself, another says when the prophet speaks the thinking is done.

            One “prophet” says plural marriage is required to enter exaltation, another says it’s just a temporary stop gap, to raise more kids.

            One “prophet” says Blacks were cursed, another prophet feigns ignorance about why the church practices racism for most of its history.

            One “prophet” says a foremost doctrine of heaven is that god was once a man. Another “prophet” says he doesn’t even know if the church teaches the doctrine.

            The list goes on and on.
            Mormonism – it’s one mass of confusion.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      It also includes the LDS website, since it includes all those things on your list.

      So, you are citing a source, with regard to official doctrine, that your source admits is an invalid source with regard to official doctrine.

      Mormonism: one mass of confusion.

      • LMA says:

        This is your idea of logic, is it.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          Actually, LMA, it was an illustration of the illogic that you and other generational apostates use.

          You cite a source (the official Internet website) that says that certain things are not official sources of doctrine. But, that source (the official Internet website) contains those things that it says are not official.

          So you’ve setup a logical contradiction; you are citing a source, with regard to official doctrine, that your source admits is an invalid source with regard to official doctrine.

          Mormonism: one mass of confusion.

          • Lew Craig says:

            From what I read of Dwayne, he is one mass of confusions enjoying twisting thing to suit his puposes.

      • Zen Wordsmith says:

        Some say that Mormondom is a mass of con-
        fusion, or what Dr. [Walter Martin] conveyed as
        the Methodology of a “Mormon-Maze”.
        I will go one step-further, to even include the
        [Sunstone Symposia]:
        If theology in the Mormon Church is a MAZE,
        Enjoy being a rat, knowing that your reward is
        Heaven, and a slice of “Provolone” awaits behind
        the intellectual “obstacles” of the follies of mankind.
        Bless Brigham Young University @ Provo.
        Ditto Seminaries and Institutes.

      • Erick says:

        Frankly – this is the strongest indictment in the entire thread. Yes, LMA can grab at quotes that support his view, and DuWayne Anderson can do the same…yet taken all together it is one ugly theological mess.

  12. Lasvegasrichard says:

    If violent seas will insulate the land of Zion (America ), good thing the jet airplane was invented .

  13. LaVerl 09 says:

    Prophecies have always had contingencies (reference the story of Jonah and Ninevah) and so the permutations of the “ifs” are endless (with both good and bad results).
    The bottom line is not the 2nd Coming in the sky, but the 2nd Coming in our heart.
    The Great and Dreadful day of the Lord will be “great” for those who have a deep disciple mentality and it will be “dreadful” for those who aren’t spiritually prepared.
    As Paul so eloquently says, “The things of God are foolishness to those who don’t have the Spirit of God.”

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      LaVerl said ““The things of God are foolishness to those who don’t have the Spirit of God.”

      For more examples of Tautologies in Mormonism, see the following link:

      http://www.postmormon.org/exp_e/index.php/discussions/viewthread/6676/

      One that didn’t make their list: “A prophet is only a prophet when acting as one.”

      • LaVerl 09 says:

        This “tautology” didn’t come from Mormonism, it came from the New Testament Paul. Christianity is known for its oxymorons as well as it’s tautologies. They’re what make unbelievers squirm and believers stumble.
        For example, if god is omnipotent, can he make a rock that is too big for him to lift?

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          Good point, but I think you’ll notice that I didn’t say it came “from” Mormonism, but rather it’s an example of tautology “in” Mormonism. Mormons didn’t invent it, but they certainly appropriate it, and treat it as their own. In fact, Mormons would probably assert spiritual ownership over both the Bible and Paul because their view of the “Great Apostasy” holds that the Catholic Church bastardized the “plain and simple truths” that Smith says were “restored” by god through him. Hence Mormons will appropriate tautologies in the Bible as readily as those uttered by Joseph Smith, [like the gut-buster, when Smith tried to explain the difference between his behavior and the high-and-mighty claims he made with regard to his relationship with god. I’m referring, of course, to his claim that a prophet is not a prophet unless acting as such. I’ve made the point, with Mormons, that my dog is a prophet except when he not acting as a prophet. So is the Frisbee he chases. So am I. So is a rock. It never seems to make any difference, though. The tautological nature of the statement just goes in one ear and out the other. In fact, Mormons seem deeply impressed with the statement; Mormon apologists seem to just love to quote it.]

      • LMA says:

        LaVerl said ““The things of God are foolishness to those who don’t have the Spirit of God.”

        OK, so what. That’s not a tautology. Any more than “Scientific truth is foolishness to those who don’t follow the scientific method” is a tautology.

        One of these days, you might want to read W.V.O. Quine, Two Dogmas of Empiricism. The distinction between synthetic and analytical statements isn’t as sharp as you think it is. But then, you’re not as sharp as you think you are either, so there you go.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          A tautology (since you clearly don’t know) is a rhetorical device in which an idea is repeated using different words to say the same thing.

          Laverl’s scripture is tautological because (as any Mormon will tell you) “the things of god” are revealed by the spirit of god. Thus the statement: “The things of god are foolishness to those who don’t have the spirit of god” is the same as saying “the things of god are foolishness to those who don’t have the things of god.” See the repetition, now?

          The tautology might be a little more obvious if you look at an example that’s a little less emotionally important to you. Try this one: “the things of the Easter Bunny are foolishness to those who don’t have the things of the Easter Bunny.” See it now?

          Finally, I should point out that the formation of a tautology doesn’t invalidate the subject of the tautology; it simply illustrates a poor command of language and logic. But, while crazy wacked-out religious nuts glory in their tautologies, you won’t find many scientists using the tautology that you invented about science. Regarding “scientific truth,” the more apropos statement would be: you can ignore it, but you can’t avoid it. If you doubt that statement, go jump off a cliff while ask Jesus and his angels to save you. Let us know how that works out.

          • LMA says:

            Huh. I thought you were using the word tautology in the logical/mathematical sense. You must not know what that means.

            Even in the rhetorical sense, tautology is equivalent to redundancy, that is, “using different words to say the same thing.” (Quoting your statement.) But tautology is not the same as reasoning from a premise.

            This is where you make your mistake. And you are way too invested in the idea that you’re the smartest guy in the room to admit making a mistake. This is why and how you lost your faith, by the way.

  14. Duwayne Anderson says:

    SA wrote: “… It reminds me of the inter-generational struggle when that guy named Peter told people the law of Moses no longer needed to be followed. Everyone knew Peter’s whole “I’m guided by the living LDS Apostles and Prophets” thing was just a bunch of nonsense.”

    You won’t get much sympathy with that argument from folks who think the Bible has nothing to do with god. Nor will you get much sympathy from logicians. The reason is that one case (the one involving Peter) talks about policy, while the other case (the one involving Brigham Young and Tom Monson) involves things presented as historical facts.

    Young said it’s a historical fact that Blacks were black because they were the cursed descendants of Ham. That’s a statement about history. But Tom Monson says Young was teaching false doctrine.

    And so, the intergenerational apostasy continues.

  15. Doug Gibson says:

    I was surprised to discover that one can still purchase “Prophesy and Modern Times” at Deseret Book’s website: http://deseretbook.com/Prophecy-Modern-Times-W-Cleon-Skousen/i/3463796

    It is a 1980 version, so I wonder if the DB offering has been edited some.

  16. Mike H says:

    I believe in the Brigham Young who believed:
    “In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 14, pg. 116, May 14, 1871)
    “How gladly would we understand every principle pertaining to science and art, and become thoroughly acquainted with every intricate operation of nature, and with all the chemical changes that are constantly going on around us! How delightful this would be, and what a boundless field of truth and power is open for us to explore!” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, pg. 168, January 26, 1862) ]
    Our religion is simply the truth. It is all said in this one expression – it embraces all truth wherever found, in all the works of God and man that are visible and invisible to mortal eye…. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, pg. 251)

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      That’s essentially what all religions claim. None of them brag about being in *conflict* with science; they all try to coopt science. Needless to say, it’s easier to talk the talk, than walk the walk. In spite of all the bravado (like that from Young) Mormonism doctrine is hopelessly inconsistent with science. There was no universal flood. Humans evolved (were not specially created). There was no original breeding pair of humans that are the progenitors of the human species. Humans didn’t originate in Missouri (they evolved in Africa – and we all came from black progenitors). Black skin is neither a curse or the sign of a curse — it’s an evolutionary advantage in some circumstances. The earth has existed in time for more than 6,000 years. There is no single super star that governs all the other stars. Our sun doesn’t get its light from Kolob. A computer made of matter the size of the human brain can’t govern the universe. Quantum uncertainty prevents knowing everything. The ancient Americans didn’t come from points in/near Jerusalem, nor did they have the plants, animals, technologies, languages, etc. described in the Book of Mormon. Etc.

  17. Bob Becker says:

    Re: the Romney story that began the column. Think you ought to at least consider the possibility that Gov. Romney’s discomfort sprang from the fact the he doesn’t really believe it. Some research and polling out recently that substantial numbers of Christians do not actually believe all the doctrines their various faiths decree. (E.g. a majority of American Catholics do not believe the Pope is actually infallible when he speaks on faith or morals and most do not believe the communion wafer is really the actual body of Christ. And those are presumably core beliefs of that faith.). The same goes, outside of fundamentalist biblical literalists for much in the O.T. ( e.g. the reality of the ark, etc.)

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Good point. Pew has a survey on this — they found that “Mormons are … firm believers in the teachings of their church. Asked whether they believe wholeheartedly in all the teachings of the LDS Church or whether they find some of the teachings of the church hard to believe, three-quarters of the Mormons surveyed (77%) say they believe wholeheartedly in all the church’s teachings.”

      3/4 isn’t 1/1, but it’s a pretty high number compared with most religions. Chances are, Willard aligns with the majority of Mormons.

      Here’s the link:

      http://www.pewforum.org/christian/mormon/mormons-in-america-executive-summary.aspx

  18. Fred says:

    I am an active Mormon and believe that Joseph Smith’s statements regarding Eden in North America are part of his effort to impose a sacred landscape on the Americas, symbolic perhaps, but important for our theology.

    It was at one time a common popular belief, going back to the discovery of the New World, that the Garden of Eden might be located in the Americas. Those curious about the subject can read “History of Paradise: The Garden of Eden in Myth and Tradition” (Delumeau, O’Connell). Before the advent of modern archeology, Eden was not–theologically speaking–located in any particular place.

    A few years ago the journal First Things reviewed a book called the “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” (Noll). It turns out the scandal consists of there being no evangelical mind, a truth our friend Duwanye makes abundantly clear.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      I agree with Bob Becker that many members of most churches don’t believe all that their church teaches. After all, there are lots of reasons for remaining a member of a church, besides doctrinal beliefs. This is especially true of Mormonism, where the church’s social structure is especially harsh on apostates.

      So when a person comes along saying “I’m a faithful Mormon and I believe ….” That’s not necessarily a reflection on what the church teaches, or even on what most Mormons believe. If folks want to know what the church teaches, they should go to official sources, including LDS scriptures, conference talks by General Authorities, and church publications. Additionally, one must make the distinction between what Mormonism teaches today, and what it taught 10, 20, 40, 80, or more years in the past. As this discussion shows, generational apostasy is rampant in the LDS Church, and Mormon doctrine isn’t what it used to be; in the future, it will be different still.

      With that, let’s look at Mormon scriptures and the location of the Garden of Eden. We go first to D&C 107:53: “Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of bAdam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.”

      Note that section 107 is pivotal in LDS theology, as it is a key “revelation” on the priesthood. Among other things, it establishes the Mormon concept of two priesthoods( Melchizedek and the Aaronic) as well as much of church structure, including the “First Presidency, the Twelve, and the Seventy.” If one discounts section 107 as Smith’s opinion, one discounts an awful lot of Mormonism.

      Next, we move to section 116: “Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.”

      Notice that, in this “revelation,” Smith claims it was god himself who named “Spring Hill” because that was where Adam dwelt. And, as the section head says, this is the “Spring Hill” in Daviess County, Missouri.

      A true believing Mormon might think that Joseph was just making up this “revelation.” But how is this “revelation” any different from the others? In other words, since Mormonism is predicated on the validity of Smith’s “revelations,” it seems that discounting one is no different than discounting all. [For the record, in case anyone doesn’t know, by now – I *do* discount them all.]

  19. Fred says:

    Duwayne seems to believe Mormonism is a form of mind control, but in fact we are all allowed to think about and interpret the scriptures in accordance with our own experience. I would suspect that even Duwayne is capable of seeing symobolism in the Bible. I’m not sure why he thinks Mormons should not be able to see it in their scriptures. That doesn’t make the Doctrine and Covenants Joseph Smith’s opinion, any more than symbolism in Isaiah makes the Book of Isaiah just one man’s opinion.

    We do believe that Zion will be establish on the American continent. That belief is reflected in our actions and in our sacred geography.

    Back to Cleon Skousen, part of the original article–he was never considered prophetic in the Church, although his writings were quite popular for awhile. I attended BYU when Skousen was still teaching there. I remember attending a church meeting where someone quoted something he had heard in one of Skousen’s classes and the whole group broke out laughing. People are free to publish what they want, but that hardly makes their teachings Church doctrine.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Well, yeah. Now that you mention it, I do think there’s some “mind control” that goes on in the Mormon Church. It begins very early, with little Primary children singing songs like this:

      “follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, don’t go astraaaaayyyy, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, he know the waaaayyyyy!”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcFks_graPQ

      Chanting obedience to the cult leader — wonderful example of “mind control.”

      As for “symbolism” feel free to point out the “symbolism” in “Spring Hill Missouri.” Is that phrase “symbolic” for “there was never a man named Adam and never a woman named Eve and the human species is not the product of two breeding pairs?” Who knows. Perhaps Smith was speaking Hebrew at the time, or “Reformed Egyptian?”

      Fred said: “Back to Cleon Skousen, part of the original article–he was never considered prophetic in the Church…”

      You might want to read what I wrote, Fred. I quoted exclusively from the D&C.

  20. Duwayne Anderson says:

    LMA wrote: “Some of us think that God continues to teach His children. Some of us think that new revelation is possible.”

    The problem isn’t that Mormonism has new revelations — it’s that the new revelations are in direct *conflict* with the old ones.

    Today’s prophets say that yesterday’s prophets taught false doctrine. No doubt, tomorrow’s prophets will say that Tom Monson taught false doctrine.

    This mass of confusion strikes directly at the grandiose chest thumping from Mormons who claim that their church is the only true church and that their prophets speak directly with god. Prophets that speak directly with god should not *contradict* each other. The fact they *do* contradict each other proves they are not “prophets of god” in the first place.

  21. Duwayne Anderson says:

    LMA wrote: “Huh. I thought you were using the word tautology in the logical/mathematical sense.”

    I was.

  22. Duwayne Anderson says:

    LMA wrote: “Well, there you go. A talk given by Pres. Benson in 1980, and that’s all you need. No nuance for you.”

    Would you be kind enough to dissect the “nuance” in this statement from Benson’s talk?

    “The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed—reject them and suffer.” [E. Benson -- Mormon prophet]

    Or this one? “The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture. Sometimes there are those who argue about words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel but that we are not obliged to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you.” (D&C 21:4.)” [E. Benson, Mormon prophet]

    I’m sure we’d all like to see how a generational apostate reads between the lines, LMA. Please dissect the “nuance” of Benson’s talk for us.

    http://www.lds.org/liahona/1981/06/fourteen-fundamentals-in-following-the-prophet?lang=eng&query=fourteen+fundamentals

    • LMA says:

      To find the nuance, you look at seemingly contradictory statements to find how they might be interpreted in harmony with one another. You are unwilling to do that, because you look for the seeming contradiction and are happy to declare the contradiction to exist, even if the statements can be read together.

      So, in this instance, how is that to be done? Buddy, you think you’re so smart. Figure it out for yourself. I promise you it can be done. If you’re not bright enough to figure it out, that’s not my problem.

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        I asked you to dissect the nuance. You didn’t do it. I knew you couldn’t.

        Fact is, Benson’s talk really isn’t nuanced. It’s very blunt, very clear, and very much on the official internet site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

        And it just drives generational apologists like LMA nuts because it shows so clearly how much “follow the prophet” means in the Mormon Church.

  23. Fred says:

    I went back and looked at Duwayne’s postings, which I had at first just skimmed. I see that he is not an evangelical fundamentalist, but a scientific fundamentalist–same thing, no mind.

    He writes exactly like a fundamentalist, positing a form of Mormonism that is something no active Mormon actually believes, and then, though a non-believer himself, condemns as apostate the Mormons who don’t follow his own vision of it.

    Like most fudamentalists, he is fundamentally un-selfaware, forgetting that the absolutist games he plays with religion could also be played with science, the facts of which change with every generation (I’m old enough to remember the tremendous fight that took place over plate tectonics, for instance). Most rational people, however, recognize that the principles of science somehow supercede its misperceptions over the years.

    Religion is hardly different, which is why one can believe the Old Testament is God’s word without feeling the necessity of slitting the throat of some animal on a pile of rocks. In fact the changing nature of the human condition over the centuries is exactly why Mormons argue the need for living prophets, just as, I suppose, even someone like DuWayne, would argue the need for living scientists rather than relying solely on the word of, e.g., Darwin.

    I am reasonably aware of Church history and do not believe, in fact, that the fundamental principles of the Gospel have changed since the time of Joseph Smith, just as they have not changed since the time of the Old and New Testaments. I expect a spasm from DuWayne on this point, but it was the God of the Old Testament who taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    The point DuWayne is that real intellectuals have a sense of nuance, which you plainly lack.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Fred wrote: “I see that he is not an evangelical fundamentalist, but a scientific fundamentalist–same thing, no mind.”

      Fred gives us an example of the ad hominem and scientific illiteracy, all in one nice little apologetic package.

      Fred wrote: “Like most fudamentalists, he is fundamentally un-selfaware, ”

      That’s another nice example of the ad hominem, Fred. [Mormons get a little nuts when their prophets get quoted in public, too much. ]

      Fred wrote: “I am reasonably aware of Church history and do not believe, in fact, that the fundamental principles of the Gospel have changed since the time of Joseph Smith, just as they have not changed since the time of the Old and New Testaments. ”

      Good one Fred. Just ignore all the evidence to the contrary, the scripture verses that I posted, the quotes I posted, the links to the official LDS internet site. Ignore it all, and repeat your naked assertions.

      Real persuasive.

    • LMA says:

      I’m not sure what it takes to be a “real” intellectual, but I agree that Anderson is more of a wannabe for many of the reasons you mention. He certainly makes no effort to be fair. He certainly does not try to understand opponent’s views sympathetically before criticizing them. (He probably doesn’t even understand why or how anyone would do that.) He very frequently comments in response to Doug Gibson columns, and even self-published a book to express his views. It ends up demonstrating his lack of critical thinking skills and intellectual rigor. See, http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=18&num=2&id=622 It seems apparent that his pretensions to intellectualism led him to elevate his own somewhat jejune doctrinal re-examination over his earlier professed faith. Sad, really.

      It doesn’t become annoying until he refuses to shut up about it. Nothing more boring than a guy who thinks he had an insight 20 years ago and won’t stop telling you about it every time you see him.

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        A link to FAIR? Seriously — FAIR and FARMS are both apologetic organizations that are highly subsidized by the Mormon Church. Their *charters* stipulate that they are dedicated to supporting the Mormon Church.

        If folks want a more balanced (and un-censored) set of reviews, they should Google “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and Science.” Click on the Amazon link and read the reviews there.

  24. Fred says:

    DuWayne, your sarcasm makes no point and misses everything I said, which is not surprising. I’m not bothered by your distaste for Mormonism. Many share it.

    What you are is a perfect example of the kind of fundamentalist who sees the world only in black and white, and then demands that everyone agree with him. Most Mormons are well aware of the scriptures you quote, having read and discussed them frequently. We just interpret them differently. A true scientist would not impose his views on his subject, but rather study his subjects to see what makes them what they are. You might conclude “stupidity,” but in fact many Mormons are not stupid. Yet we continue to believe. That seems to bother you a lot.

    You accuse me of ad hominem attacks, but my experience has been that people like yourself who see the world only in absolutes (religious or secular), without any ability to understand the world views of others don’t tend to be particularly bright. Nothing you’ve written suggests you are an exception to the general rule.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Fred said: “What you are is a perfect example of the kind of fundamentalist who sees the world only in black and white…”

      Fred, you’re projecting again. The ultimate “black and white” position is actually the one staked out by the apologists. In your black-and-white world you see the Mormon Church as true, and all other facts, evidences, and observations must be forced into a world view where that’s the case. You can tolerate no shades of grey when it comes to Mormonism’s truthfulness – in your black-and-white mind, the church is true. You will re-interpret history, science, logic, and common sense in such a way as to keep that one inviolate truth sacred in your mind.

      A simple demonstration will prove the point; I’ll ask you a question that I’ve asked many times, of many Mormons. The question is simple: What objective and verifiable evidence, if it existed, would be sufficient for you to conclude that Mormonism is false.

      If you are like every other True, believing Mormon that I’ve met, the answer to that question is “nothing.” The reason that’s the answer is because you really do live in a black-and-white world; a world where Mormonism is true no matter what (and in spite of) all evidence to the world. Yours is the ultimate black-and-white position.

      In contrast, logical/rational thinkers are perfectly willing to describe the verifiable/objective evidence that would be sufficient for them to alter their opinions. I, for example, would happily rejoin the Mormon Church if the Book of Mormon could be shown (logically, objectively, and verifiably, of course) to be true. As a matter of testing its truthfulness, I would require the following:
      1) Scientific confirmation of an authentic ancient-American text that has the same proper names of important people and cities described in the Book of Mormon.
      2) Scientific confirmation that this text was written by an ancient-American civilization that domesticated the same animals described in the Book of Mormon, and cultivated the same plants.

      Logical/rational people always allow for the possibility they are wrong, and they allow for the possibility of changing their opinions. Mormon apologists, however, live in a completely irrational world in which the “church is true,” and no verifiable/objective evidence can or ever will change their minds.

  25. Phillip C. Smith says:

    A vigorous debate. It is good to have the right to express our views. Formulating opinions on issues is part of the way we learn.

    As to the Garden of Eden, when this Garden existed there was no Jackson County, no United States of America, thus the Garden could not have been a part of either of these places.

    Prophets have the right as much as anyone to express their opinions. Brigham Young certainly took that opportunity to do so as have many others. For something said to be accepted as the will of the Lord at a particular time, however, it needs to be reviewed and approved as such by the combined top leadership of the Church.

    It is good to remember that we all will be judged by what we say, including those of us expressing our opinions here. I am reluctant to attack the views of others or to use them in way not intended by the original speaker. This said, I believe, in spite of their weaknesses, that Joseph Smith and all his successors are prophets of God.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      “As to the Garden of Eden, when this Garden existed there was no Jackson County, no United States of America, thus the Garden could not have been a part of either of these places.”

      Hats off to Phillip — you’ve posted, I think, the most absurd argument, yet. Using your “logic” the Pilgrims didn’t land in Massachusetts.

  26. Fred says:

    DuWayne, I suspect that most Mormons would easily admit that religion is not “rational.” We grow up being taught that “faith is the substance [material] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11.1). Religion is a spiritual construct that allows the religious to see and experience things that the non-religious do not even perceive.

    What would it take for you to convince me Mormonism is false? You would need to enter my world and show that my religion is somehow inconsistant within the terms of that world. As an outsider you don’t even know how to participate in that discussion. My own experience of Mormonism after more than 60 years is that it has lived up nicely to its promises. I wouldn’t consider my faith perfect, but it’s not going to be shaken by some pipsqueak squawking on the internet.

    The problem is that most religious people are familiar with the mental world you inhabit, but you are wholly ignorant of theirs. Very few religious people are hostile to science, Mormons least of all. That includes evolution which has long been taught at BYU (in my experience, at least since the early 70s). I spent many years in a university ward filled with scientists, most in the natural sciences, but a couple in physics and mathematics. They didn’t have a problem reconciling the spiritual and intellectual sides of their lives. Science just isn’t the bugbear to religion you think it is.

    Take astronomy. You and I both look at the night sky and see the same thing, including all the associated physics as described by modern astronomers. But in addition to the sights and the mathmatics, I would also see the glory of God’s handiwork.

    In other words, I can see and understand everything you see and understand, but you will never have the same experience of understanding what I know, and you will never succeed in convincing me I’m wrong by arguing a negative.

    What you see as pigheadedness on our part is really the result of your own failings. You have neither the spirit, intellect or understanding to challenge our beliefs. The people who can certainly exist, but you’re not one of them.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Fred wrote: “What would it take for you to convince me Mormonism is false?”

      That’s not the question I asked, Fred. Why did you change it? Did you even read it? The question is:

      “What objective and verifiable evidence, if it existed, would be sufficient for you to conclude that Mormonism is false.”

      You’ve responded exactly the way black-and-white-thinking Mormons always do – by dodging the question all together.

      In your black-and-white world, Mormonism is true, no matter what verifiable and objective evidence might exist. As you so eloquently illustrate, VOE is simply irrelevant to you. In your black-and-white world, you will always (as demonstrated) twist the evidence to support your pre-established conclusion that “the church is true.”

      Thanks for making my point.

    • Lasvegasrichard says:

      Even faith must be based on truth . All the faith in the universe of something that is false can never make it become true .

  27. Duwayne Anderson says:

    Fred wrote: “In other words, I can see and understand everything you see and understand, but you will never have the same experience of understanding what I know, and you will never succeed in convincing me I’m wrong by arguing a negative.”

    Once again, Fred, you have bass akwards.

    I’ve experienced everything you have experienced, and more. I was born to Mormon parents. I graduated from seminary, went on a mission, graduated from BYU, married in the temple, and have held many positions in the church, including Elders Quorum President in two wards. I’ve read all the Mormon Scriptures, cover to cover. I’ve read the Book of Mormon at least 17 times and (when I left the church) had roughly 30% of it committed to memory. I was as deeply connected to Mormonism as any Mormon (including you) ever has been. In fact, when I was a messed up religious wacko Mormon like you, I even saw Jesus — face to face. I’ve seen angels, too, as well as several of my ancestors. I’ve had “spiritual experiences” that you can only dream of. I’ve had spiritual experiences up the wazoo.

    In fact, Fred, I understand your mixed-up wacko world very well. I understand it because I used to be where you are.
    *You* on the other hand, will never know the experiences that *I* have had. You will never understand the experience of overcoming a lifetime of indoctrination in a cult. You will never know what it’s like to put everything you’ve believed in “on the line” in a determined desire to know the truth. You will never learn to put devotion to truth above devotion to cult. You will always be in bondage to the black-and-white world view that you’ve been indoctrinated into; a world view where obedience to cult leaders is the only true righteousness, and verifiable/objective evidence that’s contrary to cult leaders is just a rag to be tossed in the garbage.

    • Fred says:

      I would be the last to question your visionary experiences, but they seem to have done you little good. You are now out of the Church and seem compelled to haunt sites like this tossing out the sort of vapid anti-Mormonism that one is accustomed to see at the end of Salt Lake Trib articles about the Church, or on the various look-at-me-I’m-not-a-Mormon-anymore sites one sees around the web.

      They say that ghosts only haunt out of unhappiness. I would recommend you reconcile yourself to your own choices and leave the rest of us to ours. You’ll find more satisfaction in life, and may even be able to move on.

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        I really don’t care what you think about me as a person — I’m dealing with the logic of your arguments. Specifically, you’ve argued that I don’t know your POV; that I’ve never experienced what you have. That’s just not true. I’ve lived the life of a true believing Mormon, just like you. But you, on the other hand, have not had *my* experiences. You don’t know what it’s like to free your mind from a cult and learn to think for yourself.

        The point being that your arguments are projections and often bass akwards. Just as when you accused me of being a “black-and-white” thinker. In reality, I’m perfectly willing to change my mind, and I’ve clearly described the VOE that would cause me to do that. You, on the other hand, really *are* a “black-and-white” thinker. In your binary world, the “church is true.” That’s it. You cannot conceive of any other world, and you will bend every other fact/observation to fit this “black-and-white” view of things. You still have not even tried to answer that simple question I asked: “What verifiable and objective evidence, if it existed, would be sufficient for you to leave the Mormon Church.”

        See what I mean? You project. The stuff you do, you accuse others of doing. I suspect that when you talk about finding happiness you are doing the same thing – I suspect that, deep down, you resent being led by cult leaders who tell you how to think – and that you’re unhappy about that.

    • LMA says:

      Wow. Elders Quorum President and everything. In two wards no less! Gee, the guy was practically an Apostle.

      And look at him pat himself on the back for his intellectual courage. Boy, no one ever went through anything like he did, I bet. What a hero.

      In my own case, I was raised as an evangelical, and threw off that faith to become an atheist. I did so based on the same sense of materialism (some say “naturalism”) that Anderson now espouses. I converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a mature stage of my life. I only mention that to say that Anderson doesn’t exactly have a patent on spiritual or intellectual development. He does seem to have been strongly influenced by his narcissism, but even that is a pretty quotidian circumstance when you stop to think about it.

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        Typical Mormon apologist. First they say you don’t know anything about the spiritual side of Mormonism. And then, when you provide evidence that you’ve been there, and done that, they accuse you of patting yourself on the back.

        But the hypocrisy isn’t enough — he has to end it (just *has* to end it) with a dose of ad hominem.

        Jesus said “By their fruits you will know them.” The “fruits” of Mormonism include apologists like LMA.

  28. Mike H says:

    Duwayne,
    Let me first say that I have an educational background in physics and engineering and worked for years in those areas. I am an active Mormon and church leader in good standing. I’ve served two missions and continue to teach in the church on a regular basis. I’ve also written an apologetic book on LDS beliefs which was published in 1995 and is still available today. I find Mormon doctrine to be more consistent with science than any other religion I have encountered.
    The LDS Church has few if any official doctrines on scientific areas such as evolution, the age of the earth, the flood, when Adam existed, etc. I will not deny that there are many members in the LDS Church that believe things which, I believe, conflict with science in these areas but I do not.
    I believe there was no universal flood. I think the animal life in Australia demonstrates that. I believe humans evolved and there was no original breeding pair of humans that are the progenitors of the human species (as this site explains: http://www.theistic-evolution.com/transitional.html ). I also believe that humans didn’t originate in Missouri and that they likely evolved in Africa (but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a first man with which God made covenants who lived in what is now Missouri). The Missouri thing is not an official LDS doctrine in my opinion. I believe black skin is neither a curse nor a sign of a curse. I wish I had darker skin myself. Skin cancer is no fun. I also believe the earth has existed in time for much more than 6,000 years, that there is no single super star that governs all the other stars, or that our sun doesn’t get its light from Kolob. I do believe that there is a spiritual light that enlightens our world that emanates from the presence of God and that God knows enough to govern his creations with power infinitely beyond our own. I do believe that some ancient Americans did come from near Jerusalem and that they did have the plants, animals, technologies, languages, etc. described in the Book of Mormon but the animals described may not match animals we know today by the same names (see my book at http://books.google.com/books?id=s3f7ZPtaoN0C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_vpt_buy#v=onepage&q&f=false ). I also know many Mormons who believe as I do. Many are scientists and are members of FAIR. If you don’t believe me, try using the Ask the Apologist feature at: fairlds.org to ask about some of the above. I believe, as I wrote in my book, that the Mormon faith is an intelligent and reasonable faith. The evidence is clear to all who are intellectually honest in their investigation of the truth. When LDS teachings are given a fair hearing and when the witness of the Spirit (Heb. 10:15) is sought in sincerity, the truth will be revealed. Sound and accurate logic is not enough though to enable us to understand these truths. The assistance of the Holy Spirit is essential (1 Cor. 2:11).

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike wrote: “I have an educational background in physics and engineering and worked for years in those areas. I am an active Mormon and church leader in good standing. I’ve served two missions and continue to teach in the church on a regular basis. I’ve also written an apologetic book on LDS beliefs which was published in 1995 and is still available today. I find Mormon doctrine to be more consistent with science than any other religion I have encountered.”

      Well, that (“…. any other religion….) is a loophole that you could drive an RV through :-)

      I’m sure you think you’re a good scientist, Mike. And maybe you are. Perhaps you can compartmentalize the reason/logic side from the nutty Mormon theology side. But in case you don’t, I thought I list a few rather obvious problems:

      If you believe (as the Mormon Church teaches) that there was a universal flood, then you don’t know much about physics.

      http://www.lds.org/ensign/1998/01/the-flood-and-the-tower-of-babel

      And a person who believes in the “Tower of Babel” can’t be a very good archeologist, or linguist.

      If you believe in a star called Kolob that “governs” the sun, you don’t know much about astronomy.

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/3.3?lang=eng#2

      Ditto, if you believe that the sun gets its light from Kolob.

      And if you believe that every human is related to a single breeding pair who live in Missouri just 6,000 years ago, then you don’t know squat about evolution:

      http://www.lds.org/ensign/2002/02/the-origin-of-man?lang=eng

      If you think that a lump of matter the size of a human brain controls the universe, you must have failed your classes in quantum mechanics (and nonlinear mathematics, too):

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/130.22?lang=eng#21

      If you believe that the god of the universe is the phallic Egyptian god, Min, well that’s just plain crazy talk – isn’t it?

      http://vintage.aomin.org/Mintract.html

      If you think the earth is only 6,000 years old, then you don’t know squat about geology or physics (D&C 77:6)

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/77?lang=eng

      If you think the ancient Americans domesticated horses and other old-world animals and plants , and that they smelted steel with which to arm million-man armies, then you are living in a fantasy world, and don’t know much about ancient American archeology.

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/9.19?lang=eng#18

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/9.18?lang=eng#17

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/7.9?lang=eng#8

      If you think the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon are the Native Americans living in North America, then you don’t know beans about DNA or archeology:

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/54.8?lang=eng#7

      The list goes on. I can give more examples, if you want them.

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        I should note that the “you” is supposed to be the “universal you.” Might read better (and less harsh) if “you” were replaced with “a person.”

      • Mike H says:

        Dwayne said: If you believe (as the Mormon Church teaches) that there was a universal flood, then you don’t know much about physics. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1998/01/the-flood-and-the-tower-of-babel
        I know many who disagree with what Donald Perry wrote on the flood. I am one.
        Dwayne said: And a person who believes in the “Tower of Babel” can’t be a very good archeologist, or linguist.
        I don’t believe that the Tower of Babel story was completely historical or that it occurred in the last 6000 years.
        Dwayne said: If you believe in a star called Kolob that “governs” the sun, you don’t know much about astronomy.http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/3.3?lang=eng#2 Ditto, if you believe that the sun gets its light from Kolob.
        Do you believe in the Big Bang Dwayne? Was there a location for that event? Are there stars in that region of the universe? Is there a relationship between those stars and our own sun? Do you believe there is much science does not yet know.
        Dwayne said: And if you believe that every human is related to a single breeding pair who live in Missouri just 6,000 years ago, then you don’t know squat about evolution: http://www.lds.org/ensign/2002/02/the-origin-of-man?lang=eng
        I already said I do not. I do believe that prophets are not infallible though especially when it comes to the origin of man.
        Dwayne said: If you think that a lump of matter the size of a human brain controls the universe, you must have failed your classes in quantum mechanics (and nonlinear mathematics, too): http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/130.22?lang=eng#21
        Have you ever heard of a quantum singularity Dwayne? Do you know all there is to know about physics? If God does, could he control the universe?
        Dwayne said: If you believe that the god of the universe is the phallic Egyptian god, Min, well that’s just plain crazy talk – isn’t it? http://vintage.aomin.org/Mintract.html
        Now you’re just being ignorant.
        Dwayne said: If you think the earth is only 6,000 years old, then you don’t know squat about geology or physics (D&C 77:6) http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/77?lang=eng
        I already said I don’t and I’m familiar with D&C 77:6. I believe that scripture refers to the history of God’s dealings with man.
        Dwayne said: If you think the ancient Americans domesticated horses and other old-world animals and plants , and that they smelted steel with which to arm million-man armies, then you are living in a fantasy world, and don’t know much about ancient American archeology.http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/9.19?lang=eng#18 http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/9.18?lang=eng#17 http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/7.9?lang=eng#8
        I believe you have not studied FAIR’s excellent answers to these criticisms. Steel swords in ancient America were extremely limited and you should know that. I already commented on the animals not being named as we would today. 18th century names differed from today’s names.
        Dwayne said: If you think the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon are the Native Americans living in North America, then you don’t know beans about DNA or archeology:http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/54.8?lang=eng#7
        I believe in a small incursion of Israelites into a populated Western Hemisphere. DNA research cannot disprove that.
        Dwayne said: The list goes on. I can give more examples, if you want them.
        Believe me, I’ve heard them all before. That you never found satisfying answers to the above criticisms just demonstrates you haven’t done your research.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          Mike said: ” I know many who disagree with what Donald Perry wrote on the flood. I am one.”

          But the church does teach what Perry said. And they do print what Perry said. They don’t teach what you believe, or print what you say.

          Mike said: I don’t believe that the Tower of Babel story was completely historical or that it occurred in the last 6000 years.”

          But the Mormon Church does teach it.

          Mike said: Do you believe in the Big Bang Dwayne?

          Well, yeah. It’s the dominant theory for the origin of the universe for a reason (lots of evidence to support it).

          Mike said: “Was there a location for that event?”

          No (really – the answer is no).

          Mike said: “Are there stars in that region of the universe?”

          Who knows? What’s that got to do with the Mormon doctrine that a central star “governs” all the other stars like our sun?

          Mike said: “Is there a relationship between those stars and our own sun?”

          You mean a governing relationship? No. Of course not. For starters, stars created right after the Big Bang burned out long ago. Especially the big ones – those may have lasted only a few hundred million years. Any stars that formed right after the Big Bang, that are still shinning, are eensy weensy tiny ones – the little ones burn their fuel slowly; the big ones burn their fuel fast. If Mormonism is correct, then there’s a Brown Dwarf in the universe, somewhere, that governs all the other stars (like our sun) in the universe. Sorry, Mike. If you believe that, you’re not much of a physicist.

          Mike said: “Do you believe there is much science does not yet know.”

          Sure. You wouldn’t be trying to play the false dichotomy of “science isn’t 100% right, so Mormonism might be true” are you? [Yeah, you probably are – your learned that trick from the nuts at FAIR and FARMS, I’ll bet.] Hint: the reason that argument is fallacious is that there are an infinite number of ways to be wrong, but only one way to be right.

          Mike said “I already said I do not [believe that every human is related to a single breeding pair who live in Missouri just 6,000 years ago, then you don’t know squat about evolution]

          But the Mormon Church does teach that. In fact, they feel so strongly about it that the First Presidency issues a special/official statement affirming that doctrine.

          Mike said: “Have you ever heard of a quantum singularity Dwayne?”

          Sure. It shows up in QED when integrating over histories. But what’s that got to do with the fundamental inconsistency between Quantum Theory and the Mormon doctrine that a physical brain (about 2kg) of physical matter controls the entire universe?

          Mike said: “Do you know all there is to know about physics? If God does, could he control the universe?”

          Of course I don’t know everything. Never said I did. But it’s clear that Mormon doctrines are inconsistent with science. Your questions are just ways that you use to justify that inconsistency – they don’t eliminate the inconsistency, they’re just your way of ignoring the inconsistency. And, of course, any screwball crazy nut could justify their ideas (and many do) exactly the way you have. The fact that your argument could be used to justify belief in the Easter Bunny should be your first clue that it’s not a very useful argument.

          Mike said: “Now you’re just being ignorant.” [With reference to the Pearl of Great Price and its depiction of Min as Jehovah].

          Don’t be silly, Mike. The PoGP really does show Min (he’s the little dude on the throne) and Smith’s caption (“translation”) really does identify Min as the God of the universe. I take it this is another screwball Mormon doctrine you don’t believe in?

          Mike said: “I already said I don’t” [Believe the earth is 6,000 years old]

          But that doctrine *is* in Mormon scripture.

          Mike said: “I believe you have not studied FAIR’s excellent answers to these criticisms”

          FAIR is a joke, Mike. And, yes, I know all about their arguments.

          Mike said: “Steel swords in ancient America were extremely limited and you should know that.”

          No, Mike. The ancient Americans didn’t smelt steel swords, and they certainly didn’t use them to arm million-man armies as described in the Book of Mormon. And if you believe those anachronisms in the Book of Mormon, you’re not a very good scientist.

          Mike said: “I believe in a small incursion of Israelites into a populated Western Hemisphere.”

          But the Mormon Church teaches that the Book of Mormon Lamanites are in distinct areas of the North American Continent – as I proved with a scripture reference where the Mormon God calls them Lamanites. The Book of Mormon also says – very clearly – that there were no people in the Americas when Lehi arrived there. So you can believe what you want, but your beliefs are contrary to LDS scripture.

          Let me point to something that you carefully dodged. The Book of Mormon clearly and unambiguously describes the ancient Americans coming from Jerusalem and bringing “many seeds” that they planted in the Americas. And these seeds, according to the Book of Mormon, grew very well. Later descriptions of crops in the Book of Mormon describe plants that are native to the Old World. Yet Old World crops like those described in the Book of Mormon don’t exist. For the Book of Mormon to be true, none of those seeds could possibly have gotten out and grown wild. None. Now, if you are any good as a scientist you’ll know that the odds of that sort of thing happening is very remote – yet if you believe in the Book of Mormon, then you have to admit that it actually did happen. Note that this argument is independent of whether there were a lot of Nephites or just a few. A similar argument applies to the problem of wild domestic animals escaping. You know, they have an enormous problem with wild pigs in the southern US. All of them came from domestic pigs that got loose and went wild. How did all those animals that the Nephites kept keep from getting out?

          Mike said: “Believe me, I’ve heard them all before. That you never found satisfying answers to the above criticisms just demonstrates you haven’t done your research.”

          No, Mike, it shows that you lack the intellectual capacity, and personal honesty to deal fairly with the evidence. A person cannot be a believing Mormon and a good scientist at the same time. They will either end up denying key Mormon doctrines, or demonstrating ignorance of science. It’s one or the other – you can’t be both at once.

        • Erick says:

          “Dwayne said: And a person who believes in the “Tower of Babel” can’t be a very good archeologist, or linguist.
          I don’t believe that the Tower of Babel story was completely historical or that it occurred in the last 6000 years.”

          Mike that pretty much throws The Book of Mormon out. How do you reconcile?

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “I believe there was no universal flood.”

      You are entitled to your personal theology, Mike. But it’s disingenuous of Mormon apologists to pretend that doctrines they reject are doctrines not universally taught by Mormon leaders. You don’t have to believe in every silly thing that Mormonism teaches (and many Mormons don’t) but the fact that you don’t believe them doesn’t mean the church doesn’t *teach* them.

      General Authorities speak for the church, not you. Here is what the general authorities teach, and the doctrines they print and disseminate to the members:

      “There is a third group of people—those who accept the literal message of the Bible regarding Noah, the ark, and the Deluge. Latter-day Saints belong to this group. In spite of the world’s arguments against the historicity of the Flood, and despite the supposed lack of geologic evidence, we Latter-day Saints believe that Noah was an actual man, a prophet of God, who preached repentance and raised a voice of warning, built an ark, gathered his family and a host of animals onto the ark, and floated safely away as waters covered the entire earth. We are assured that these events actually occurred by the multiple testimonies of God’s prophets. [January 1998 Ensign, The Flood and the Tower of Babel, Donald W. Parry]

      • Mike H says:

        I don’t accept Donald Perry’s words as revelation. Even if you can show me a similar statement by a prophet, I would just say that person was not speaking as God’s mouthpiece on this subject. This is not a spiritual matter that affects my salvation.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          Mike said: “I don’t accept Donald Perry’s words as revelation.”

          But the church does teach it.

          This seems to be a difficult problem for many apologists — they seem to think that Mormon doctrine is defined by what *they* think, when in fact, Mormon doctrine is defined by what the Mormon Church teaches. And the Mormon Church clearly teaches that there was a universal flood.

          Mike said: “Even if you can show me a similar statement by a prophet, I would just say that person was not speaking as God’s mouthpiece on this subject.”

          Thanks for illustrating the mental gyrations involved in your mental compartmentalization.

          Mike said: “This is not a spiritual matter that affects my salvation.”

          How would you know? Are you going to quote those Mormon Prophets that teach ideas you think are false? You have no objective way of knowing what is or isn’t a “matter that affects [you] salvation.” All you know on that subject is what your “prophets” teach. And if they’re teaching what *they* believe are important doctrines (like the universal flood), and those doctrines are false, what makes you so trusting of them when it comes to “matters that affect your salvation?”

  29. Mike H says:

    Dwayne said: But the church does teach it [the flood]. This seems to be a difficult problem for many apologists — they seem to think that Mormon doctrine is defined by what *they* think, when in fact, Mormon doctrine is defined by what the Mormon Church teaches. And the Mormon Church clearly teaches that there was a universal flood.
    You cited Donald W. Parry as a source for LDS doctrine. He is an assistant professor of Hebrew at Brigham Young University and a member of the international team of translators of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
    According to: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1998/01/the-flood-and-the-tower-of-babel#pop_001-98901_000_007
    If you think those credentials qualify Brother Perry to declare doctrine concerning the flood and the Tower of Babel, then you are sadly mistaken. I will listen to Brother Perry on the subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls but I still will still not consider what he says as LDS doctrine.
    When it comes to the events covered in Genesis, I prefer to listen to Latter-day Saint scholars in scientific fields such as geology, anthropology, and astrophysics such as are found at: http://mormonscholarstestify.org/
    By the way, why do you not accept the testimony of these scientists and scholars? I’m sure they know much more about science than you do.
    You and many others are confusing Mormon mythology with official LDS “doctrine.”
    Brigham Young referred to these Genesis accounts as idle tales. See:
    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=40&chapid=165
    They are much like what we tell our children when they ask where they came from.
    I think you’re familiar with the Church’s statement on doctrine at:
    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/approaching-mormon-doctrine
    It states that, “Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.”
    A friend of mine categorized our LDS beliefs as follows:
    Binding Doctrine: This is doctrine that is binding on the Church by virtue of our making covenants and joining the Church. I argue that what is in the body of scripture is accepted by Mormons as “binding” doctrine. Included in this is a more variable component which is the official declarations of the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 as they pertain to moral qualifications and exercise of priesthood authority.
    Common Doctrine [I would call these teachings not doctrine]: These are teachings that are not critical to the covenant process but may be theologically significant, such as deification etc. This is doctrine that is well established and broadly believed, but not required for making of covenants.
    Folk Doctrine: These are teachings that are neither critical to the covenant process or theologically significant and that are not widely accepted by the Church. An example of this would be that Christ was married.
    Personal Doctrine: These are the personal heresies we each believe in that we live by that may or may not be true, but it is not appropriate to state as being a “teaching of the Church.” Such a doctrine would be progression between kingdoms.
    I would add one more to these:
    False Teachings: These are teachings that are neither critical to the covenant process nor theologically significant but may be widely accepted by the Church because the scriptures seem to confirm them but which are in reality not true. These would include many Christian beliefs regarding the creation of the earth, the flood, the Tower of Babel, the age of the earth, the creation of man, the character of God, the plan of salvation, heaven, hell, etc. False teachings are never truly doctrine but may be confused with doctrine and often are. To paraphrase Brigham Young , “Our [doctrine] is simply the truth. It is all said in this one expression – it embraces all truth wherever found, in all the works of God and man that are visible and invisible to mortal eye…. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, pg. 251)
    Mike said: “Even if you can show me a similar statement by a prophet, I would just say that person was not speaking as God’s mouthpiece on this subject.” Dwayne said: Thanks for illustrating the mental gyrations involved in your mental compartmentalization.
    I do not consider it mental gyrations our mental compartmentalization. The prophet Joseph Smith stated that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such (History of the Church, 5:265; Teachings, p. 278). That, I believe is a crucial fact to understand. As I indicated earlier, the Church has stated that, “Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church.” I know you believe this is circular reasoning but it rings true to me.
    Mike said: “This is not a spiritual matter that affects my salvation.”
    Dwayne said: How would you know? Are you going to quote those Mormon Prophets that teach ideas you think are false? You have no objective way of knowing what is or isn’t a “matter that affects [you] salvation.” All you know on that subject is what your “prophets” teach. And if they’re teaching what *they* believe are important doctrines (like the universal flood), and those doctrines are false, what makes you so trusting of them when it comes to “matters that affect your salvation?”
    I believe I will only be held responsible with regard to my salvation for truths which the Holy Spirit witnesses to me are true. If you think any of those problems you see with LDS Church teachings are critical to your own salvation and not just perceived errors in belief, I will try to explain how I understand them to you. If you bring up subjects just because you think they prove our leaders are fallible, I will agree they are imperfect and lacking in knowledge. All men are. That still does not affect the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ which pertain to our salvation. We all learn line upon line, precept upon precept. That process will continue in the eternities. If I believe a false doctrine now that does not affect my salvation, I trust I’ll learn correct doctrine at a future time and be no worse for having been wrong. If you reject God and Jesus Christ because you perceive men teach false doctrine on trial subjects, you will regret that choice in the eternities. Does that make sense? I hope so because I don’t know how to explain it any better.

    • Mike H says:

      That should have been “trivial subjects.”

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “You cited Donald W. Parry as a source for LDS doctrine. He is an assistant professor….”

      I cited an article published in an official Church magazine, used to teach Mormons, and carried on the official LDS Internet site. By any measure, this is a legitimate example of what Mormonism teaches.

      Mike said: “When it comes to the events covered in Genesis, I prefer to listen to Latter-day Saint scholars in scientific fields such as geology, anthropology, and astrophysics …”

      Those guys certainly don’t represent the church on matters of doctrine.

      Mike said: “Brigham Young referred to these Genesis accounts as idle tales”

      This is an example of how Mormon apologists cherry pick. They will complain bitterly about critics who quote articles in a church magazine, but then they’ll off handedly toss out Young’s comments. Are you willing to accept *all* of Young’s comments? I doubt that very much. The word “hypocrisy” comes to mind.

      Mike quoted: “Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. “

      That’s from a source that, in another context, you would insist is not “official.” Again, this is how Mormon apologists cherry pick. You guys use sources that you would *never* accept from a critic.

      And after all that display of hypocrisy, you fail to note the simple fact that Mormon doctrine is what the church teaches. There is no doubt that the Mormon Church (as I showed) teaches a literal flood. You don’t accept it, but that’s the gospel according to Mike, not Mormon doctrine.

      Mike said: “A friend of mine categorized our LDS beliefs as follows:”

      The hypocrisy is getting pretty deep here, Mike. You and your friends can believe whatever you want. But you are not the church, and your beliefs are not the same as the doctrines taught by the church. You have some pretty big stones telling me that an article in a church magazine isn’t valid, and then citing you friend!

      Mike said: “I do not consider it mental gyrations our mental compartmentalization.”

      I’m not surprised. It would be remarkable if you did.

      Mike said: “The prophet Joseph Smith stated that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such (History of the Church, 5:265; Teachings, p. 278). “

      I’d expect a con man to make that sort of excuse for himself. But while Mormon apologists will quote that comment when they’re explaining why they don’t believe Mormon doctrine, faithful Mormons believe that the prophet will never lead the church astray – exactly as it states in the D&C.

      Having said all that, Smith’s comment is tautological; I’m a prophet only when acting as such. So is my dog. So is a rock. Smith’s comment is logical nonsense designed to take the mark off the con.

      Mike said: “I believe I will only be held responsible with regard to my salvation for truths which the Holy Spirit witnesses to me are true.”

      Speaking of the HG, when Donald W. Parry was writing his article for the Mormon Church, where was the HG? You say he’s with you. I’m sure Parry thought the HG was with him. And you guys get conflicting answers. A rational person would take that as a sure sign that the HG is a pretty poor source of information. A religious nut would, of course, not be swayed.

      Mike: “If you think any of those problems you see with LDS Church teachings are critical to your own salvation and not just perceived errors in belief, I will try to explain how I understand them to you.”

      I have two questions:
      1) I’d like you to explain where the HG is, when your prophets teach false doctrines to the church. My mission president used to tell the missionaries they’d lose the spirit if they jerked off. Do you think the prophet is doing that? Pride is cited as something that will deprive a person of the HG. Are your prophets too full of pride? Is that why they lack the “spirit?” Perhaps the HG left your prophets for some other reason?

      2) How do you know that the HG hasn’t left *you?*

  30. Mike H says:

    I guess I can handle 2 questions even though I count 5 question marks. I’ll just answer the serious ones.
    1) Are your prophets too full of pride? Is that why they lack the “spirit?” Perhaps the HG left your prophets for some other reason?
    Are these your idea of serious questions (they would be identified as leading questions in a courtroom)? I suspect you know how I’ll answer them but since I’m retired and have a few minutes to spare, I’ll try. I don’t believe prophets receive revelation on a continuous basis. Elder Oaks confirmed as much in a recent talk he gave. Don’t ask me for the reference because I’m not sure I can find it. I’ll include a few references to similar talks but I suspect you’ll ignore them anyway. A few questions for you: Have you actually read any of the links I’ve provided by the way? Am I wasting my time?
    I believe God expects us to do our best to fulfill our callings even when we lack specific revelation or the inspiration of the spirit (D&C 58:26-29). http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/58.26-29?lang=eng#25
    At times prophets are not inspired. Brigham Young himself provided a superb example of this principle while speaking in Church conference. After giving a fiery speech in the morning session of conference, he returned that afternoon and announced: “This morning you heard what Brigham Young thinks about this subject, and now I would like to tell you what the Lord thinks about it.” Although the Prophet completely reversed himself on the subject, you should not conclude that this demeans or belittles him in any sense. It exalts and ennobles him in the eternal perspective in that he, getting the spirit of inspiration and learning what should have been presented, was willing to humble himself and announce the Lord’s will (Bruce R. McConkie, “Are the General Authorities Human?,” University of Utah address to the Institute of Religion on 28 October 1966, script copy p. 6).
    2) How do you know that the HG hasn’t left *you?*
    Simple answer–I don’t. It’s up to you to get the confirmation of the Spirit. That’s how I know when a prophet is speaking by the Spirit. The same Spirit witnesses to me that it’s true. Have you ever had that confirmation? If not, then you need to ask for it. I suspect you’ll make up an excuse why you won’t ask.
    Here are a few links I promised if you or someone reading this wants to read them:
    http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=568&tid=7
    http://speeches.byu.edu/index.php?act=viewitem&id=570

  31. Ann Romney’s burning bosom totally bought the whole white horse prophecy, Mitt’s and Rove’s bosoms were burning so fiercely it was almost a distraction at those 50000 a plate fund raiders with serial pedophile Ted Nugent.
    Mitt’s entire entire LDS stake was one big burning bosom for the guy.

    Meanwhile, my bosom told me the sane person would win.
    Got to trust those bosoms.

    And why, other than than Somalia and the Congo, there are no libertarian countries.

    • Mike H says:

      Stephen,
      I’m not sure I understand your point. Are you a Christian? You seem to be mocking a burning in the chest. If you are, I would offer a couple thoughts. First, the Holy Ghost does not always manifest itself as a burning sensation near our heart. I will not list the many ways the Spirit may be manifest because frankly, I suspect you’re not receptive anyway. Second, the two disciples on their way to Emmaus described this witness in Luke 24:30-32:

      30 And it came to pass, as [Jesus] sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
      31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
      32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/luke/24?lang=eng

      I’ll leave it at that.

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        As an active Mormon I felt the “holy ghost” many, many times, through lots and lots of “spiritual experiences.” Most ex-Mormons will tell you exactly the same thing. And (like me) they will tell you that (since leaving the LDS Church and recognizing Mormonism as a bunch of horse radish) we still get the same (exactly the same) feelings that we used to call the “holy ghost.”

        The difference is that now I get those feelings when I’m with my kids & grandkids — climbing mountains, kayaking, skiing, cycling, hiking, etc. I no longer get the “holy ghost” when I listen to a bunch of white, middle class, Republican businessmen stand up in General Conference and lie about being “prophets” while preaching superstition to an audience or empty heads.

        What Mormonism has done is nothing less than coopt a common/universal set of human emotions/feeling. These feelings happen to everyone, in all sorts of circumstances — but the Mormon Church hijacks those feeling by telling their members it’s some silly ghost “testifying” that Mormonism is true. In reality, these feelings are just that — ordinary (but intense) emotional responses to something that that we associate with deep desire. Understanding these feelings rationally makes them even more remarkable. Dressing them up in superstition/ignorance and calling them the “holy ghost” is just superstition gone amok.

    • Lasvegasrichard says:

      That’s pretty much the reason why Mitt was so devastated over his election loss . He can’t figure out for the life of him how it is his God lied to him . Looks like this Holy Ghost thing isn’t what it’s cracked up to be .

  32. Duwayne Anderson says:

    Mike said: “I guess I can handle 2 questions even though I count 5 question marks.”

    You are such a literal thinker, Mike :-) Seriously, when you look at my questions, try to think holistically about them; try catching the larger essence of what the questions are about. There’s really only one question; all the others were meant to help clarify the underlying essence.

    Perhaps I can help by clarifying the question with a little background. Every Mormon, at the approximate time of their baptism, is given something they call the “gift of the holy ghost.” This is an official church ordinance in which the church covenants that, if you keep the commandments, the holy ghost will be you “constant companion.” Here’s a link to the official LDS website on the subject.

    http://www.lds.org/new-era/2013/02/how-to-be-guided-by-the-spirit?lang=eng&query=holy+ghost+constant+companion

    At that link you will find the following words: “In recent messages, prophets and apostles have taught us how we can have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion. However, the church cautions: “You cannot lie or cheat or steal or act immorally and have those channels remain free from disruption.”

    Okay. Key points are: Holy ghost. Constant Companion. All truth. Covenant. Lose holy ghost through sin.

    Like all Mormons, LDS prophets go through the ordinance of receiving the holy ghost. And according to the church, the holy ghost will make sure they don’t teach false doctrines – and the only thing that can result in them teaching false doctrine is if the prophet breaks his covenant by sinning .

    By now (hopefully) the nature of my question is becoming a bit clearer. By accusing the prophet of teaching false doctrine, you are actually accusing him of committing a sin (either that, or your god has broken his covenant with regard to the holy ghost — pick your poison).

    So, with that preamble in mind, the question is this:
    Question #1 “what sin(s) do you think the Mormon prophets have all committed, in order for them to all be teaching false doctrine with regard to evolution and other aspects of science?

    When I asked Mike “How do you know that the HG hasn’t left *you?*”

    Mike replied: “Simple answer–I don’t.”

    Then, Mike, how do you know that you are right, and the prophet is wrong?

    In all this discussion I would like to make sure folks understand that Mike is an aberration. Mike is willing to say the prophet is teaching false doctrine, but most Mormons are not. Mike says he believes in evolution, but most (in fact, the great majority) of Mormons don’t. Mike is not your typical Mormon.

    According to a Pew survey: “Mormons are distinctive in their views on the origins of human life. When asked about the theory of evolution, only 22% of Mormons say it is the best explanation for human life, with three-in-four (75%) disagreeing. Only among one other major religious tradition – Jehovah’s Witnesses (90%) – does a higher proportion disagree that evolution is the best explanation for human life.”

    http://www.pewforum.org/Christian/Mormon/A-Portrait-of-Mormons-in-the-US–Social-and-Political-Views.aspx

    There are *reason* that most Mormons reject evolution.

    1) Mormon prophets have consistently taught against evolution
    2) Key Mormon doctrines are inconsistent with evolution, including doctrines such as a literal Adam and Eve, and a literal Garden of Eden

    Folks can find links to those anti-science Mormon teachings in links in my earlier posts.

  33. Mike H says:

    I said, “…I can handle 2 questions even though I count 5 question marks.” I made that observation more to start out with a bit of levity than to be technically critical. If you really only want to ask one questions, fine, but why ask the same question in 5 different ways? I’m a get-to-your-point kinda’ guy so asking questions you really don’t care to have answered seems like a waste of time to me and only encourages some of us to ignore your questions all together as you have mine.
    Dwayne said: …the only thing that can result in them teaching false doctrine is if the prophet breaks his covenant by sinning .
    I disagree with that premise. I think there are many reasons and it appears to me you’re looking at this from a “black or white” perspective. I mention this because it seems to me that most of those Mormons who lose their testimonies are guilty of “black or white” thinking. To back up your assertion you’re citing a magazine intended for our youth to prove your point.
    Since your premise is faulty, your conclusion that I am “accusing him of committing a sin” is also faulty. Your alternative that “your god has broken his covenant with regard to the holy ghost” is equally faulty. Did you read the link to the talk by Elder Oaks I gave in my last post? If not, here it is again: http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=568&tid=7
    I’ll wait while you read it… especial the section on “Revelations Not Received”
    OK… done?
    Did you notice the following?
    Elder Oaks said, “What about those times when we seek revelation and do not receive it?”
    Notice he is using the word “we.” He continues:
    “Even in decisions we think very important, we sometimes receive no answers to our prayers. This does not mean that our prayers have not been heard. It only means that we have prayed about a decision which, for one reason or another, we should make without guidance by revelation. “
    This is the principle I spoke about in my last post in D&C 58:26-29:
    You apparently didn’t look it up so I will quote it this time:
    26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
    27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
    28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
    29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.
    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/58.26-29?lang=eng#25
    Dwayne said: In all this discussion I would like to make sure folks understand that Mike is an aberration. Mike is willing to say the prophet is teaching false doctrine, but most Mormons are not. Mike says he believes in evolution, but most (in fact, the great majority) of Mormons don’t. Mike is not your typical Mormon.
    I agree I’m not your typical Mormon but, I believe there are many many more like myself in the Church. Some refer to us as apologists (or defenders of the faith) and sometimes “intellectuals.” I would also include many of the scholars at: http://mormonscholarstestify.org/ for example, and thousands of scientists, engineers, lawyers, and other LDS professionals who have reasoning minds and have accepted the truths that the sciences have uncovered. By the way, I would disagree that I am “willing to say the prophet is teaching false doctrine.” As I have tried to make clear, I consider “doctrine” in the way you use it here, as a small subset of LDS teachings which are clearly taught in our scripture or official declarations of the 1st Presidency and Quorum of the 12. I have also written an LDS book which was published by two different LDS publishing houses and is still in print after nearly 20 years. If it contains false teachings and doctrine, none of my LDS leaders have ever pointed that out to me.
    Dwayne said: According to a Pew survey: “Mormons are distinctive in their views on the origins of human life. When asked about the theory of evolution, only 22% of Mormons say it is the best explanation for human life, with three-in-four (75%) disagreeing. Only among one other major religious tradition – Jehovah’s Witnesses (90%) – does a higher proportion disagree that evolution is the best explanation for human life.” http://www.pewforum.org/Christian/Mormon/A-Portrait-of-Mormons-in-the-US–Social-and-Political-Views.aspx
    The questions in that survey were poorly worded but the fact that even 22% agreed that “evolution… is the best explanation for human life” is surprising to me. I would have included God as a participant in the creative process using evolution as the means to prepare the earth but that’s just me.
    Dwayne said: There are *reason* that most Mormons reject evolution.
    1) Mormon prophets have consistently taught against evolution
    2) Key Mormon doctrines are inconsistent with evolution, including doctrines such as a literal Adam and Eve, and a literal Garden of Eden
    Folks can find links to those anti-science Mormon teachings in links in my earlier posts.
    Actually, the Church has not official stand on evolution.
    Here’s BYU’s evolution packet that they distribute to students:
    http://mormonevolution.blogspot.com/2005/04/byu-evolution-packet-examined.html
    http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/71136
    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=18&num=1&id=609

    See also:
    http://eyring.hplx.net/Eyring/faq/evolution/trustees1992.html

    http://sciencebysteve.net/how-i-teach-the-ways-of-science-at-the-y/

    As you’ll notice there is no official LDS doctrine on evolution.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “I disagree with that premise.” [That the only thing that can result in them teaching false doctrine is if the prophet breaks his covenant by sinning.]

      You can disagree, Mike. But that is what the church teaches. The “gift of the holy ghost” isn’t given as a part-time thing. The wording is very specific, and it says “constant companion.” Furthermore, the church is very careful to covenant that if a person lives “worthy” the holy ghost will make sure they know the truth.

      You assert that Mormon prophets teach false doctrine. To make that assertion, they must not have the holy ghost. And to not have the holy ghost, they must have committed a sin.

      Mike said: “I think there are many reasons and it appears to me you’re looking at this from a “black or white” perspective.”

      Please, Mike. Try to deal with Mormon doctrine honestly. The church is very specific – if the situation is “black and white” it’s because the church teaches it that way.

      Mike said: “Did you read the link to the talk by Elder Oaks..”

      But, Mike — *you* reject the teachings of the prophets. Why are you cherry picking? How do you know that Oaks was speaking by the holy ghost?

      Mike said: “I agree I’m not your typical Mormon but, I believe there are many many more like myself in the Church.”

      According to national polls, the vast majority is not like you – the vast majority of all Mormons reject evolution because it is inconsistent with Mormon doctrine.

      And this raises a really interesting point. If you are right, and the majority of Mormons are wrong, then the holy ghost is talking with you, but has abandoned 70% of Mormons, including the entire leadership.

      Yet, you admitted that you don’t know if you have the holy ghost, or not.

      Working from the assumption that Mormonism is true, based on simple statistics alone, wouldn’t it be more likely that the majority of Mormons (who happened to oppose evolution) are being led by the holy ghost while intellectual apostates, such as you, are the ones who are without “the spirit?”

      Mike said: “Actually, the Church has not official stand on evolution”

      Actually, they do. See, Mike, the relationship between Mormonism and evolution isn’t dictated by assertion – it’s dictated by whether or not key Mormon doctrines are inconsistent with evolution. The Mormon Church as official statements signed by the First Presidency saying that man is specially created. Folks can read it on the official Internet site of the church. Here’s the link:

      http://www.lds.org/ensign/2002/02/the-origin-of-man?lang=eng

      Evolution, like all scientific theories, is testable and falsifiable. One way to falsify evolution would be the discovery of rabbit fossils in the Cretaceous. Another would be the discovery that humans were intelligently created.

      The Mormon Church also teaches a literal, world-wide flood, and the Book of Mormon says there was no death “before the fall” of Adam and Eve (and Mormon prophets have said it says that). All those teachings of the church are inconsistent with evolution.

      Jesus made a point of this simple concept when he said that not everyone who uses his name is his disciple. Rather – those who do his sayings are his disciples. It’s not the talk, Mike, but the walk.

      So it is with Mormonism and science, and evolution in particular. The church’s stance on science and evolution is found in the relationship between their doctrines/teachings and science. And their doctrines and teachings are resolutely opposed to key scientific facts/theories.

      In short – if Mormonism is true, evolution is false. And if evolution is true, Mormonism is false.

      And evolution is true.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike, here’s a simple question. If a person says they are honest, does that make them honest?

      Similarly, if a person says they are tall, that doesn’t make them tall. If a person says they are fat, that doesn’t make them fat. Suppose a corporation says they are environmentally conscious. Does that mean they respect the environment?

      Get the point? Assertive statements don’t matter — behavior is what counts.

      Your arguments about Mormonism and Evolution are like the arguments that major corporations (well, Mormonism *is* a major corporation) make with regard to public relations statements. Your argument is like saying a particular corporation must love the environment if they say they love the environment – all the while ignoring their oil spills and toxic dump sites. No corporation is going to say “we hate the environment” but that doesn’t mean every corporation is environmentally responsible. It just means they have PR departments.

      So it is with Mormonism. Mormonism has a long history of lying about its doctrines. Joseph Smith denied he was practicing polygamy when he was deeply involved with it. Mr. Hinckley brazenly lied about the church’s doctrine that god was once a man. Mormons and the Mormon Church *hate* bad press. They hate to look stupid, or radical. No doubt you feel the same way. No smart person wants to be associated with a bunch of dim bulbs. Thus, one expects the Church (and the few smart people in it) to make public statements that minimize the radical nature of their doctrines. It’s understandable (though no less repugnant).

      My point with regard to Mormonism and science is that the true relationship is best understood by looking at what the Mormon Church teaches. Your argument is based on cherry picking a few Mormon assertions about neutrality while ignoring/denying the vast volumes of non-neutrality.

  34. Zen Wordsmith says:

    Be it the authenticity of an actual NOAH’S ARK, or the
    Interpretation of LEHI’S dream tree, bearing “White-fruit” for
    meat around a camp-fire bringing a “warm-feeling” to the
    bosom; full of the Holy Ghost…
    The above deotribe has taught:
    …”If we all stood in a circle and exchanged [crosses], we couldn’t
    handle the “vexation to the spirit”, and would gladly welcome our
    own set of problems, back”…
    Or as Mr. [Smith] said to [NEO] in the {Matrix Series}, how does it
    feel to be “free” from indocternation [Mr. {Tom} Anderson]?!

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Can’t make sense of the prelude (what the heck are you talking about with crosses and campfires?).

      In answer to your question, I imagine (to the extent anyone is ever truly free of indoctrination) it feels great. Freeing one’s self from indoctrination (like any worthwhile endeavor) isn’t so much a destination, as a journey.

  35. Mike H says:

    Duwayne said: … That the only thing that can result in [prophets] teaching false doctrine is if the prophet breaks his covenant by sinning.

    Logically, if I can cite even one example where this was not the case, then the above premise is wrong.

    As I indicated before, Brigham Young himself provided a superb example of this while speaking in Church conference. After giving a fiery speech in the morning session of conference, he returned that afternoon and announced: “This morning you heard what Brigham Young thinks about this subject, and now I would like to tell you what the Lord thinks about it.” Although the Prophet completely reversed himself on the subject, you should not conclude that this demeans or belittles him in any sense. It exalts and ennobles him in the eternal perspective in that he, getting the spirit of inspiration and learning what should have been presented, was willing to humble himself and announce the Lord’s will (Bruce R. McConkie, “Are the General Authorities Human?,” University of Utah address to the Institute of Religion on 28 October 1966, script copy p. 6).

    Notice there is no indication that Brigham Young broke any covenants by sinning and then repented between conference sessions. It only indicated he was speaking as a man without inspiration in the morning session and thereafter received inspiration to correct his own teachings delivered while he was not speaking as a prophet. A prophet’s words can only be considered inspired when he is speaking under inspiration of the Spirit and you must have that same Spirit testify to you it is true or you will never know for sure.
    I said: “Did you read the link to the talk by Elder Oaks..”
    Duwayne answered: But, Mike — *you* reject the teachings of the prophets. Why are you cherry picking? How do you know that Oaks was speaking by the holy ghost?
    I do not reject the teachings of the prophets when the Spirit testifies to me they are true. I know that Elder Oaks was speaking by the Holy Ghost because the Spirit has so witnessed. I note you never actually answered my question. Did you read the talk or not?
    Duwayne asked: Working from the assumption that Mormonism is true, based on simple statistics alone, wouldn’t it be more likely that the majority of Mormons (who happened to oppose evolution) are being led by the holy ghost while intellectual apostates, such as you, are the ones who are without “the spirit?”
    I am no intellectual apostate Duwayne and I have felt the prompting of the Spirit on many occasions. I will not lie and say I feel the Spirit all the time because I am convinced no one does. You may be an apostate but I am not. When did you last feel the influence of the Spirit Duwayne? You should know that we all have agency to believe as we are inspired. I am a member in good standing and so are all members who believe evolution is part of God’s creation and those that do not. You can not be excommunicated for wrong beliefs in our Church, only for teaching wrong beliefs when directed by those in authority to stop. To this point, no LDS authority has ever directed me to stop teaching what I am saying to you and to others and have published in my book. Apostates can not make that claim.
    Duwayne said: The Mormon Church as official statements signed by the First Presidency saying that man is specially created. Folks can read it on the official Internet site of the church. Here’s the link…
    And how do you understand the phrase “man is specially created?” This statement tells me only that man was created purposefully by God but not how. I believe he used evolution.
    Joseph Fielding Smith made a very important statement you need to memorize:
    It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.
    You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards of doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works. [The Origin of Man is one such book]
    Every man who writes is responsible, not the Church, for what he writes. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:203-4).
    The following is taken from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and was approved by the President Hinckley:
    The position of the Church on the origin of man was published by the First Presidency in 1909 and stated again by a different First Presidency in 1925: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, declares man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity…. Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes (see Appendix, “Doctrinal Expositions of the First Presidency”).
    The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32-33). In 1931, when there was intense discussion on the issue of organic evolution, the First Presidency of the Church, then consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, addressed all of the General Authorities of the Church on the matter, and concluded, Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church….[First Presidency Minutes, Apr. 7, 1931].
    http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Evolution

    The BYU packet on evolution affirms this position:
    http://eyring.hplx.net/Eyring/faq/evolution/trustees1992.html
    Did you read it?
    Duwayne said: The Mormon Church also teaches a literal, world-wide flood, and the Book of Mormon says there was no death “before the fall” of Adam and Eve (and Mormon prophets have said it says that). All those teachings of the church are inconsistent with evolution.
    Please provide references for these assertions from the LDS scriptures or recent (the last 30 years) statements of the 1st Presidency and 12 Apostles. Otherwise, you are cherry-picking.
    Duwayne said: “The church’s stance on science and evolution are resolutely opposed to key scientific facts/theories.”
    You believe what you chose to believe Duwayne but that is just not true. Just to demonstrate, here are a few more “cherry picked” statements from our LDS prophets and apostles that I accept whole-heartedly and consider inspired truths:
    “We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316.)
    “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth. Let it come from where it may.” (An American Prophets Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, p. 395.)
    “…the most prominent difference in sentiment between the Latter Day Saints and sectarians was, that the latter were all circumscribed by some peculiar creed, which deprived it’s members of the privilege of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter Day Saints have no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time.” (The Journal of Joseph: The Personal Diary of a Modern Prophet, p. 203)
    The study of science is the study of something eternal. If we study chemistry, we study the works of God. If we study chemistry, geology, optics, or any other branch of science, every new truth we come to the understanding of is eternal; it is part of the great system of universal truth. It is truth that exists throughout universal nature; and God is the dispenser of all truth – scientific, religious, and political. Therefore let all classes of citizens and people endeavor to improve their time more than heretofore – to train their minds to that which is best calculated for their good and the good of the society which surrounds them. (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, pg. 157)
    In Henry Eyring’s book, Reflections of a Scientist, he stated that scientists “expect the truth to prevail because it is the truth” (Eyring 1983, p. 1-2). Henry Eyring’s father told Henry that “. . . in this Church you don’t have to believe anything that isn’t true” (p. 1). He admonished his son that he should learn all he could and to know: “. . . what ever is true is a part of the gospel. The Lord is actually running this universe” (p. 1).
    Elder Hugh B. Brown has said:
    “I hope that you will develop the questing spirit. Be unafraid of new ideas for they are the stepping stones of progress. You will of course respect the opinions of others but be unafraid to dissent—if you are informed.
    “Now I have mentioned freedom to express your thoughts, but I caution you that your thoughts and expressions must meet competition in the market place of thought, and in that competition truth will emerge triumphant. Only error needs to fear freedom of expression. Seek truth in all fields, and in that search you will need at least three virtues; courage, zest, and modesty. The ancients put that thought in the form of a prayer. They said, ‘From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from the laziness that is content with half truth, from the arrogance that thinks it has all truth—O God of truth deliver us’.”
    “Ours ought to be a ceaseless quest for truth. That truth must include spiritual and religious truth as well as secular. As we go forward with our lives and our search for truth, let us look for the good, the beautiful, the positive.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1986 Ensign)
    Most recently Elder Nelson said:
    “Whether truth comes from a scientific laboratory or by revelation from God, we seek it!”
    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/ask-the-missionaries-they-can-help-you?lang=eng
    Duwayne, you have obviously made up your mind the LDS Church had taught doctrines contrary to science and that is your choice. I have a spiritual witness that the Church is true and see no problem with the spiritual teachings and doctrines being taught in the Church today. I see conflicts only where past prophets and apostles spoke based on their own wisdom and misunderstanding of scripture. I see the same problems with apostles and prophets in the Bible. I can provide a long list of examples if you like. I detail many of them in my book. There is a joke that id repeated often about the Pope and the LDS Prophet. It goes like this. The Catholic Church teaches that the Pope is infallible and the Catholics do not believe it. The LDS Church teaches that their prophet is fallible and the Mormons don’t believe it. Duwayne, you appear to be one of those members who believed the prophets must be infallible and were shocked to find out they are not. I’m sorry you had an unrealistic opinion of what a prophet should be but the truth is all our leaders are men who have occasional flashes of inspiration and revelation and on other occasions make mistakes. The Lord expects us to make many choices of our own free will so that we may learn by so doing. This life is all about learning to be more like our Heavenly Father. He will give us help as needed to stay on the path to exaltation if we learn to listen to the prompting of the Spirit when they are given but those prompting will not be given indiscriminately especially if they are ignored. May the Lord bless you to feel that Spirit testify to you that this is true. I testify it is and that you will remember this witness when the Lord decides you are ready. I hope the spirit of rebellion will subside in your mind and you will once again listen to the Spirit of all Truth. God bless you.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said that Duwayne said “That the only thing that can result in [prophets] teaching false doctrine is if the prophet breaks his covenant by sinning.”

      That’s paraphrasing, Mike (not an actual quotation) but it pretty much catches the essence.

      Mike said: “Logically, if I can cite even one example where this was not the case, then the above premise is wrong.”

      Mike, you need a lesson in logic.

      First of all, my position (the one you paraphrased) is not a “premise,” it’s a *conclusion.* Since the logical structure of my argument seems still to evade you, I’ll try to summarize it (once again) for you:

      1) Baptized/confirmed Mormons claim to have the “gift of the holy ghost”
      2) The “gift of the holy ghost” is a covenant, in which the holy ghost is promised as a “constant” (not part time) companion as long as one is living “worthy.”
      3) The covenant further promises that the “holy ghost” will reveal what is true, and what is false.

      My *premise* is that Mormonism is true, and that Mormons (and the prophet, in particular) have the gift of the holy ghost – just as they claim.

      Given this *premise* I then observe that Mormon prophets teach falsehoods – namely, they teach the falsehood that evolution is false.

      You *also* agree that Mormon prophets teach false doctrine, because you (like me) agree that evolution is true, and so Mormon prophets are teaching falsehoods when they say that evolution is false.

      Do you really not see the predicament you’re in? Perhaps you should try *reading* my posts before you reply to them?
      Here’s how it goes – it’s a common to prove an idea is false by assuming it (taking it as a premise) and then showing that the premise leads, logically, to a false conclusion – therefore the *premise* is proven false.

      That’s what you have done – you have taken my premise (that Mormon prophets have the holy ghost) and you’ve shown that this premise leads to a false conclusion (Mormon prophets teaching false doctrines). And by doing so, what you have done is show that the premise is false — that Mormon prophets do *not* have the holy ghost. I couldn’t have done a better job of proving that, than you have.

      Thanks!

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “Duwayne, you have obviously made up your mind the LDS Church had taught doctrines contrary to science and that is your choice.”

      Please, Mike — you’re better than that. Don’t degrade yourself by pretending that I’m the one who has “made up” his mind. I’ve given you a specific list of verifiable and objective evidence that, if it existed, would be sufficient for me to come back to the church. I’m evidence driven, and evidence can (and certainly has) cause me to change my mind.

      *You,* on the other hand, have refused to provide any such list of verifiable/objective evidence that would change *your* mind. You really have made up your mind. VOE really is irrelevant to you. In your black-and-white world, the only thing that matters is that the “church is true.” You are incapable of challenging that basic belief. VOE will never change that belief. Your mind really is made up, and you will never let VOE change it.

      It’s not the apostate who can’t change his mind — it’s the true, believing, indoctrinated Mormon.

  36. Decider says:

    Mike:
    I have some questions about “the promptings of the Holy Spirit”.

    Are these “promptings” the final arbiter for determining the veracity of a Prophet’s utterances for members of the Church?

    Will these “promptings” ever be in conflict between members?

    Is it possible that “good and faithful” members might NOT receive “promptings” or DISAGREE with the “promptings” of another “righteous” member such as yourself?

    Is it possible to VERIFY these “promptings” as authentic, and is it possible to confuse and be misled by “promptings” from an “illicit” source?

    Are today’s “promptings” to be held “for time and all eternity”, or do they have a “shelf life” of indeterminant duration?

    When God’s word is subject to CONSTANT reinterpretation, reauthorization, “promptings” and “repromptings”, how is it possible to make a distinction between AUTHENTIC Mormonism and YOUR “make it up as you go along” self-serving counterfeit?

  37. Mike H says:

    Decider,
    You have asked some tough questions which require some background that I’m not sure you have. I’ll try to answer as best I can but please don’t take what I say as our Church’s official position. I’m am speaking as a member of the Church and not as an official spokesman. The best answers you’ll find are at the Church’s official websites at: lds.org (http://www.lds.org/?lang=eng) and mormon.org (http://mormon.org/) if you want to do your own research. I’ll do my best to answer as leaders of our Church have answered and quote them when I can, but just be aware that what I say are my thoughts. Don’t consider my own statements as authoritative except where I quote our LDS Church authorities.

    Let me start by saying that as a Church we believe what Amos stated in Amos 3:7 that, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” That revelation can come to our prophets as they lead the Church but is also available to members as confirmation and for guiding their own families and personal lives.

    Decider asked several questions about “the promptings of the Holy Spirit.” Let me try to answer most of those questions by quoting others. That way, you and Duwayne and anyone else reading this thread will understand I’m not the only Mormon saying these things.

    B.H. Roberts, a Seventy and church historian stated:

    “Constant, never-varying inspiration is not a factor in the administration of the affairs even of the Church; not even good men, no, not though they be prophets or other high officials of the Church, are at all times and in all things inspired of God. It is only occasionally and at need that God comes to their aid.” (Defense of the Faith and the Saints; Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907, 1:525)

    At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revelation_(Latter_Day_Saints) you’ll find the following quotes under the heading “Inspired vs. infallible.” Note: I’ve inserted the footnote sources in brackets and underlined some passages for emphasis.

    The LDS church believes apostolic revelation to be inspired, but not infallible. One leader wrote, “We consider God, and him alone, infallible; therefore his revealed word to us cannot be doubted, though we may be in doubt some times about the knowledge which we obtain from human sources, and occasionally be obliged to admit that something which we had considered to be a fact, was really only a theory.” [Lu Dalton, Woman's Exponent (Salt Lake City: 15 July 1882), p. 31.] Leaders are still considered regular people with “their opinions and prejudices and are left to work out their own problems without inspiration in many instances.” [Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 608] Brigham Young taught “the greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, pp. 162-3, “The Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” Address delivered to seminary and institute teachers, BYU, July 8, 1964)

    Members are taught to rely on the Holy Ghost to judge, ["there may be some things that the First Presidency do; that the Apostles do, that cannot for the moment be explained; yet the spirit, the motives that inspire the action can be understood, because each member of the Church has a right to have that measure of the Spirit of God that they can judge as to those who are acting in their interests or otherwise" Lorenzo Snow, Conference Report (October 1898): 54] and if a revelation is in harmony with the revealed word of God, it should be accepted. [You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards of doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works. Every man who writes is responsible, not the Church, for what he writes. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 3:203–204. ISBN 0-88494-041-1)]

    Dallin H. Oaks [an LDS apostle] explains: “Revelations from God . . . are not constant. We believe in continuing revelation, not continuous revelation. We are often left to work out problems without the dictation or specific direction of the Spirit.”[Dallin H. Oaks, "Teaching and Learning by the Spirit," Ensign (March 1997): 14.] Thus the current prophet can clarify, correct or change any previous teachings.[Ezra Taft Benson, "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet", 1980-02-26.]

    However, once a doctrine has been accepted by the church by common consent, it becomes part of the Standard Works, and then takes precedence over any other revelation.[ And if he says something that contradicts what is found in the standard works (I think that is why we call them "standard"—it is the standard measure of all that men teach), you may know by that same token that it is false; regardless of the position of the man who says it. (Harold B. Lee, "The Place of the Living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator," Address to Seminary and Institute of Religion Faculty, BYU, 8 July 1964)] Members of the LDS church only consider themselves bound by doctrine found in the Standard Works.[ The Church has confined the sources of doctrine by which it is willing to be bound before the world to the things that God has revealed, and which the Church has officially accepted, and those alone. These would include the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price. (Brigham H. Roberts, sermon of 10 July 1921, delivered in Salt Lake Tabernacle, printed in Deseret News (23 July 1921) sec. 4:7)] Also, though it is not considered scripture, Latter-day Saints also believe the United States Constitution to be a divinely inspired document.[ Dallin H. Oaks (Feb. 1992). "The Divinely Inspired Constitution". Ensign. http://lds.org/ensign/1992/02/the-divinely-inspired-constitution?lang=eng. See D&C 101:76–80]

    So, based on the above, let me see if I can answer Decider’s questions a bit more succinctly. Remember, these are my unofficial answers based on my understanding.

    Are these “promptings” the final arbiter for determining the veracity of a Prophet’s utterances for members of the Church?

    No. Declarations of the General Authorities which are accepted by common consent become part of our Standard Works and then take precedence over any other revelation even our personal revelation.

    Will these “promptings” ever be in conflict between members?

    Yes, but we are only responsible to God for our own actions which we know to be in conflict with officially accepted doctrines. We have what we call agency and that agency is respected by God and the Church.

    Is it possible that “good and faithful” members might NOT receive “promptings” or DISAGREE with the “promptings” of another “righteous” member such as yourself? Yes, see previous answer.

    Is it possible to VERIFY these “promptings” as authentic, and is it possible to confuse and be misled by “promptings” from an “illicit” source?

    Yes, for both parts. We can also seek verification from God through prayer and advise from our own leaders when we have doubts about our own “promptings.”

    Are today’s “promptings” to be held “for time and all eternity”, or do they have a “shelf life” of indeterminant duration?

    Sometimes our needs change with time and God will change the direction he gives us based on our own progress and willingness to follow those promptings. So I would say yes. The New Testament contains many revisions to the direction Israel was given in the Old Testament. Christians did not observe all of the Law of Moses and requirements like animal sacrifices and circumcision were modified or abolished and new requirements sometimes took their place. The sacrament of the Lord’s supper was one such modification.

    When God’s word is subject to CONSTANT reinterpretation, reauthorization, “promptings” and “repromptings”, how is it possible to make a distinction between AUTHENTIC Mormonism and YOUR “make it up as you go along” self-serving counterfeit?

    Some have complained that pining down Mormon doctrine is like trying to nail jello to a wall.
    That seems to be a valid criticism to many looking at our doctrines from the outside. All I can say is that the Gift of the Holy Ghost given to members after baptism seems to help us resolve those conflicts in our own lives. The only problem I have now is trying to explain why I feel the way I do to non-Mormons and those that no longer have the Spirit.

    A friend of mine recommended a talk by Pres. Uchtdorf’s who is a counselor to the Prophet and a member of the 1st Presidency to me. I have scanned it and recommend it to you as well:

    https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2013/01/what-is-truth?lang=eng

    Hope this answers your questions.

    • Lasvegasrichard says:

      Wow , that’s sure one heavy duty fudge factor . Where I am we call that hedging your bet . Guaranteed to lose . But my question is this . What does ‘ the Spirit ‘ say to you and every LDS about the Book of Abraham ( canonized standard works ) ? If there was any validity to Its function then the truth should have manifest itself to several million members , and every GA . And then it should be removed and tossed . Do you really believe aside from the truth that the seated figure in Fac. 3 is Abraham ? Try Googling Osiris . Otherwise I have possession of a bridge in Brooklyn ……

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “…but please don’t take what I say as our Church’s official position.”

      That’s funny, Mike. You have been all over this discussion asserting that Mormon prophets teach false doctrine — and now you’re saying that what you say isn’t the church’s “official position!”

      No kidding!?

      Well, we already knew that. For regular Mormons (as opposed to semi-apostate guys like Mike, who deny the teachings of the prophets) the *prophet* is the source of official Mormon doctrine — along with the other “General Authorities.”

      On the subject of evolution, and science in general, we had a nice display of Mormonism’s anti-science bent about a year ago, in General Conference. At that General Conference Russ Nelson (one of the apostles) gave a talk in which he said: “Anyone who studies the workings of the human body has surely “seen God moving in his majesty and power…Yet some people erroneously think that these marvelous physical attributes happened by chance or resulted from a big bang somewhere.” [Russ Nelson , Mormon Apostle, 2012 General Conference]. Here’s the link:

      http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/thanks-be-to-god?lang=eng&query=big+bang+(name%3a“Russell+M.+Nelson”)

      The video of this talk was posted to u-tube, but the Mormon Church quickly moved to force it off the Web. What it showed was a grinning Russ making his illiterate comment, and then the normally subdued Mormon audience erupting in laughter.

      Now (here’s that logic thing, again) if we assume (that’s the premise, Mike) that the holy ghost was filling the Conference Center, then the holy ghost must have been “inspiring” Russ and the Mormon audience in their anti-science mocking. Yet we know that the science Russ and the Mormon audience were mocking is sound – after all, it’s based on *evidence.* So our premise leads to the conclusion that the “source of all knowledge” (the holy ghost) mocks scientific knowledge. But that’s illogical, so we conclude the premise is *false* and that means Mormonism is a fraud.

      In case you doubt the presence of the holy ghost (according to the illiterate Mormon crowd, anyway), Tom Monson set the matter to rest (Tom is the current Mormon “prophet”) . At the end of the conference, in which Russ Nelson mocked science, Tom Monson (the Mormon prophet) said: “May you ponder the truths you have heard, and may they help you to become even better than you were when conference began. My heart is full as we come to the close of this glorious conference. We have been so richly blessed as we have listened to the counsel and testimonies of those who have spoken to us. I think you will agree with me that we have felt the Spirit of the Lord as our hearts have been touched and our testimonies strengthened.
      http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/as-we-close-this-conference?lang=eng&query=felt+spirit+april

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “However, once a doctrine has been accepted by the church by common consent, it becomes part of the Standard Works…”

      The doctrine of “common consent” being the *only* way for doctrine to be “official” has never been approved by “common consent.” Therefore, by your own admission, it’s not “official” — it’s just your opinion.

      Seriously, Mike. You generational apostates try so hard to come up with a definition of “official” church doctrine that makes sense, but there just isn’t any. The only practical (as in practiced) definition is that church doctrine is whatever the heck the prophet says it is.

  38. Mike H says:

    I see that my underlining was automatically deleted when I pasted my response into the comment block so you can ignore that note.

  39. Mike H says:

    A few additional quotes on this subject:

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks,
    “[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but . . . unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to
    the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable” (“Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 13–14).

    It’s also in Preach My Gospel page 101

    What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction. Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of god whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self security trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of god in their salvation and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders did they know for themselves by the revelations of Jesus that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know by the whispering of the spirit of god to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not. This has been my exhortation continually. [Journal of Discourses 9:150]

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike quoted: “What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction. Are you afraid of this?”

      Well, according to the prophet of the church, it can’t happen. “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church)

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/od/1.t1?lang=eng&letter=1

      Since the logic of my argument seems to fail you, Mike, let me make it clear:

      1) First, I assume that the church is true, and that the prophet has the “gift of the holy ghost” (that’s the premise).

      2) Next, I show how the prophets preach contradictory statements (you quoted Oaks, I quoted Woodruff; you quote PR statements saying Mormonism has no stand on evolution, I quote Mormon prophets who say evolution is of the devil, etc.)

      3) Next, we take note of the fact that when two statements are contradictory, at least one of them is false.

      4) If my premise is true, then a prophet speaking false doctrine cannot have the “holy ghost.”

      5) A prophet without the “holy ghost,” who is teaching false doctrine, proves that Mormonism teaches false doctrine.

      In the present case, Oaks is the false prophet, or Wilford Woodruff is the false prophet. But in *either* case, the Mormon Church teaches falsehoods.

  40. Fred E says:

    Duwayne Anderson; I have read some of your posts and they have been very informative, but what I have read here is the opposite of your previous posts.

    When it comes to the practice of plural marriage there was no change in church doctrine.

    The court of last resort approved a law that was past out lawing plural marriage made it the law of the land and long before that was outlawed the saints were informed that if they keep the Law of God they have no reason to violate the law of the land. This can be found in the D&C. Would that not explain the revelation of God to cease the practice to his living prophet of the day. That action is also found in the D&C Official Declaration 1. In the last sentence of that declaration tells why the Lord ended plural marriage. I don’t know about you but that makes good sense to me. Some who have received a higher education may not have good common sense.

    As far as plural marriage or the so called racism by the church you speak of I would rather depend on the testimony of the Holy Ghost that to place my trust in the arm of flesh.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Fred said: “When it comes to the practice of plural marriage there was no change in church doctrine.”

      Actually, there was. But that wasn’t my point so much as the fact that the Mormon Church lies about it’s doctrines. And when it comes to lying about doctrine, there’s no better example that Mormonism and “plural marriage.”

      For example, In May 1844, Joseph Smith preached a sermon in Nauvoo: “[William Law] has gone to Carthage and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery. This spiritual wifeism! Why, a man dares not speak or wink, for fear of being accused of this…. A man asked me whether the commandment was given that a man may have seven wives; and now [William Law] has charged me with adultery….I am innocent of all these charges, and you can bear witness of my innocence, for you know me yourselves… What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers.” – (History of the Church 6:410-411)

      In truth, By May, 1844, Joseph Smith had been sealed (married) to more than 30 women, after secretly telling them he’d been given a “revelation” commanding him to practice “celestial marriage” (polygamy). That revelation is canonized as scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants (section 132). The marriage (“sealing”) ceremonies were performed in secret, with one of Smith’s church colleagues officiating. About one-third of the women had legal husbands still living when they “married” Smith. Most of the women stated later that their relatiionship to the prophet involved sexual intercourse. Since none of these marriages were legal under the civil laws in effect at the time, all these relationships were adulterous. For details, see Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City 1998.

      As for changing the doctrine, that happens in the Mormon Church all the time. You, for example, would be cast out as an apostate had you lived during Brigham Young’s time. Today the Mormon Church teaches that plural marriage is *not* required for exaltation, but in the early church is *was* required. The whole doctrine of plural marriage is one of the best examples of the apostasy of modern Mormonism. Here are a few quotations from early Mormon prophets, proving the point.

      The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy . Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.
      Journal of Discourses, Vol.11, p.268 – p.269, Brigham Young, August 19, 1866

      Apostle Joseph F Smith: [i[ "Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential, to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. There is no blessing promised except upon conditions, and no blessing can be obtained by mankind except by faithful compliance with the conditions, or law, upon which the same is promised. The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the will of God, is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage in part --and is good so far as it goes--and so far as a man abides these conditions of the law, he will receive his reward therefor, and this reward, or blessing, he could not obtain on any other grounds or conditions. But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it. When that principle was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith ... [common background on Joseph Smith, skipped here] … he did not falter, although it was not until an angel of God, with a drawn sword, stood before him; and commanded that he should enter into the practice of that principle, or he should be utterly destroyed, or rejected, that he moved forward to reveal and establish that doctrine.” [/i] Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, p.28 – p.29, Joseph F. Smith, July 7, 1878

  41. Mike H says:

    As far as lying about polygamy goes, I wasn’t there but I believe the terms spiritual wifeism and plural marriage meant very different things to those that were involved. See:

    http://www.fairlds.org/authors/smith-gregory/polygamy-prophets-and-prevarication

    I listened to Valerie Cassler give a presentation on polygamy at a FAIR conference several years back that helped me understand why polygamy was likely required of LDS church leaders by God. It centers on D&C 132 and the fact that polygamy was an Abrahamic test for early church members. It’s at:

    http://www.nothingwavering.org/2012/02/15/34376-fair-examination-9-polygamy-as-an-abrahamic-sacrificedr-valerie-hudson.html

    Here’s Valerie’s own website version. I sent this link to my own girls and my mother:

    http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerPolygamy.html

    For those that have other problems with polygamy, I highly recommend:
    http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2009_Everything_You_Always_Wanted_to_Know_About_Plural_Marriage.html

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “… the terms spiritual wifeism and plural marriage meant very different things …”

      Mike, would you cite the scripture that describes “spiritual wifeism?” [Hint -- there isn't any]

      Seriously, you are just making the situation worse by quoting FARMS/FAIR and continuing the lie about plural marriage.

      By any honest assessment, Smith was performing “marriages” to multiple women and claiming them as “wives.” He was doing this under the auspices of the “revelation” in D&C 132. And while he was doing all this stuff, he was telling people that he had just one wife, and that the damned apostates were the ones telling the lies.

      There’s a couple of really good videos on the intellectual dishonest at FARMS/FAIR — particularly with regard to their semantic arguments. Folks should have a look at them — and then ask this simple question: If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true Church, why do the apologists lie about church history, and church doctrine?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qjsRJvvfIU
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EReUoXIesMI

  42. Duwayne Anderson says:

    Mike said: “I listened to Valerie Cassler give a presentation on polygamy ….”

    For those who don’t know, Valerie is a nobody. Cassler has no ecclesiastical relevance to Mormon Doctrine. None. Nadda. Zip.

    This is an example of how apologists cherry pick — often incestuously, among each other. And, since Mormon apologists tend to be generational apostates, they tend to ignore/deny the teachings of past prophets, seers, and revelators of the church — the men who were the very definition of Mormon Doctrine.

    So while Mike is busy quoting nobody apologists, I’ll just quote some of the men who were sustained as “prophets, seers, and revelators:”

    “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.” [Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 11, p. 269]

    “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, v. 13, p. 195]

    “Yes, [polygamy is] one of the relics of Adam, of Enoch, of Noah, of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses, David, Solomon, the Prophets, of Jesus, and his apostles.” [Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 11, p. 328]

    “Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman Empire… Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a hold sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers.” [Prophet Brigham Young, Deseret News, August 6, 1862]

    “When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him.” [Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 1, p. 50]

  43. Mike H says:

    Duwayne,
    My responses were not intended for you because you are not looking for truth, you are looking for errors. Specifically you’re looking for errors in Brigham Young’s statements that you can say are erroneous. I have already told you several times that Mormons believe prophets are fallible and learn line upon line as we all do. It is obvious today that celestial marriage as described in Doctrine and Covenants 132 is more than just plural marriage. If Brigham Young were living today, he would acknowledge that fact. You have shown by rejecting Valerie Cassler that you do not:

    1. “gather… good and true principles in the world and treasure them up” as Joseph Smith said “true Mormons” would do (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316.).
    2. nor do you “receive truth. Let it come from where it may” (An American Prophets Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, p. 395.)
    3. nor “embrace all truth wherever found, in all the works of God and man that are visible and invisible to mortal eye…” as Brigham Young stated (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, pg. 251)
    4. nor carry on a “ceaseless quest for truth” in areas of “spiritual and religious truth as well as secular” (Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1986 Ensign)
    5. nor do you “look for the good, the beautiful, [and] the positive.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1986 Ensign)

    You still misunderstand the fact that the Lord’s direction to prophets can change with time. It’s not reasonable to think the direction the Lord has given to those in the horse and buggy age would be the same for those that live at a time when we can travel around the world in hours and yet you think it must be. Ours is a “true and living church.” That means its members and leaders can grow and teachings and practices can change as the Lord directs.

    I view those that bring up polygamy as people who are looking to score points in some imaginary contest and usually have an ax to grind. The correct term for the LDS practice is actually “plural marriage.” It was practiced in the 19th century and those who practiced it felt it was “commanded of God” at that time. You have only to read the statements of the wives and families involved to understand that:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_polygamy/Divine_manifestations_to_plural_wives_and_families

    Many today forget that plural marriage was practiced by Old Testament patriarch and leaders. (Gen. 16:3-4, 7-11; 17:15-17; 25:1-2, 6; 29:23-35; 30:1-26; 32:22; Ex. 2:21-22; 21:10-11; Num. 12:1-10; Deut. 17:17; 21:15-17; 25:5; Jud. 8:30; 1 Sam. 1:1-2, 19-20; 2 Sam. 2:2; 5:13; 12:7-12; 1 Kin. 11:1-11; 15:5; 2 Chr. 13:21; 20:7; 24:2-3; Hos. 1:2-3; 3:1, 3).

    The LDS practice of plural marriage was ended in the late 19th century when God said it was no longer required. (Official Declaration #1) The Church today feels that because it was a practice that was abandon over a century ago, it is only of historic interest today and sees no need to discuss it in classes that should be centered on Jesus Christ and his Gospel. I see wisdom in that.

    Spiritual wifeism was a term coined by John C. Bennett, so when Joseph denied he was practicing it, he was denying the spin that Bennett was putting on it. The concept of spiritual wifeism, as John C. Bennett used the term was considered adultery by Joseph Smith. John C. Bennett was a Judas to Joseph Smith (Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, pp. 459-465) Brian Hales, in Joseph Smith’s Polygamy (2013) v. 1:565-66 and 1:184, note 3, explains how this was not Joseph Smith’s terminology and certainly was not describing eternal marriage. By using that term, you are merely perpetuating the same slanderous stance as Bennett. Your own misunderstanding or dishonesty seems obvious here.

    Duwayne, you accuse Mormon apologists of cherry-picking and then you do your own cherry-picking. Don’t you see that is academically dishonest? I hope you see the hypocrisy in your statements and stop judging the beliefs of others by your own skewed understanding.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “You still misunderstand the fact that the Lord’s direction to prophets can change with time.”

      I haven’t spoken about the “lord’s” personal instructions to prophets, like which power tie looks best in General Conference. I’ve spoken about specific information presented as fact.

      Examples include “revelations” to the effect that the earth is 6,000 years old, that the universal flood of Noah was literal, that evolution doesn’t happen, and that the sun gets its light from another star. These are factual statements about the real world we live in, not personal “direction.” And, as factual statements about the real world, these “revelations” can be tested. And when we test them, we find the revelations to be *false.* And on the basis of that observation (and a whole lota other stuff) conclude that the prophet isn’t really speaking with the supreme being of the universe, and the church isn’t really “true.”

      That’s how logic and reason work — conclusions follow the evidence.

      But that’s not how Mormon apologetics works. In Mormon apologetics one begins with the conclusion (“the church is true”) and then manipulates the data (and one’s own cognitive dissonance) to make the data fit the conclusion.

  44. Duwayne Anderson says:

    Mike wrote: “My responses were not intended for you because you are not looking for truth…”

    It’s always the same drill with Mormon apologists. They make grandiose claims and use shoddy logic. And then, when their claims and their reasoning go down in flames, they inevitably start with ad hominem arguments.

    Mike, I asked you what verifiable and objective evidence would be sufficient for you to conclude that Mormonism is a fraud. You ignored the question. A person cannot show greater disdain for “truth” than to hold religiously/ideologically to a POV than, as you have, refuse to even discuss possible evidence which (if it existed) would be enough for you to change your mind.

    Mike wrote: “You still misunderstand the fact that the Lord’s direction to prophets can change with time.”

    Mike, you don’t understand basic logic. If two statements disagree, then one (or both) is wrong. Even children in grade school understand such basic concepts in logic and reason.

    The problem with Mormonism is that Mormon prophets disagree with each other about fundamental logical issues.

    Brigham Young said plural marriage was the law of heaven, and that a man cannot be exalted without it. Tom Monson says it isn’t so. Tom says *monogamy* not plural marriage is the norm.

    Lorenzo Snow and Joseph Smith said it was the first principle of heaven to understand that god was once a man. Gordon Hinckley says he’s not even sure the church teaches such doctrines.

    Brigham Young and all the prophets through the early/mid 20th century said that Blacks had been “not-valiant” in the pre-existence. Tom Monson says those prophets were all wrong.

    Your ability to believe in contradictory prophets simply shows how indoctrinated you (and other Mormons) really are — you literally lack the capacity to change your mind. You re exactly like all those nice little old Catholic ladies I met on my mission, who said they wouldn’t change their religion no matter what, because their minds (like yours) are made up, and they didn’t want to be bothered by facts.

  45. Mike H says:

    It’s always the same drill with critics when they see they have no adequate response to cry fowl calling the apologist’s comment an ad hominem attack. I think if you check the definition of the term closely you’ll see I am not rejecting your argument based on an irrelevant fact about you but only analyzing your current comments and tactics. That is not an ad hominem attack. See http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html

    Duwayne said, “Mike, I asked you what verifiable and objective evidence would be sufficient for you to conclude that Mormonism is a fraud.” After doing a word search I found you had responded on March 18th to a comment I made back on March 15th. I’m sorry I don’t go back and check 3-day-old comments to see if you’ve responded so I never saw your question. As I have shown in the past, I believe as Brigham Young said, “Our religion is simply the truth. It is all said in this one expression – it embraces all truth wherever found, in all the works of God and man that are visible and invisible to mortal eye….” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, pg. 251) Since I agree with Brigham Young on this, there is no verifiable and objective evidence that would be sufficient for me to conclude that Mormonism is a fraud. You can demonstrate that Mormons have not always taught truth but since all of us are fallible, that doesn’t prove fraud. You can prove that past prophets were imperfect but that has been true from Genesis onward. I can’t think of any. In 50 years of study and writing, I have yet to find any evidence that Mormonism is a fraud. Maybe you could suggest some verifiable and objective evidence that would be sufficient for me to conclude that Mormonism is a fraud.
    By the way, I see your worldview as black and white. Do you allow for God and matters of faith in your world Duwayne? Duwayne, you also said you’ve given me a specific list of verifiable and objective evidence that, if it existed, would be sufficient for you to come back to the church. Please give me that list again. I don’t think I saw it.
    Duwayne stated, “A person cannot show greater disdain for “truth” than to hold religiously/ideologically to a POV than, as you have, refuse to even discuss possible evidence which (if it existed) would be enough for you to change your mind.”

    See my previous response.

    Duwayne commented, “Mike wrote: You still misunderstand the fact that the Lord’s direction to prophets can change with time. Mike, you don’t understand basic logic. If two statements disagree, then one (or both) is wrong. Even children in grade school understand such basic concepts in logic and reason.”

    I agree with your logic but principles and teachings are not facts and can change based on people’s needs. Plural marriage is one such teaching. Brigham Young believed that D&C 132 indicated plural marriage was an eternal principle. It was not. When it was halted by a subsequent prophet, it became clear that plural marriage was not an eternal principle. Brigham Young was a prophet but he was fallible and made mistakes. We admit that. Our church teachings have changed and will continue to change based on new revelation to our prophets. Article of Faith #9 states: 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. Ours is a “living church” that can change and grow with additional revealed knowledge from prophets, from science, or from lowly apologist members. I find that to be a wonderful concept.

    Duwayne commented, “The problem with Mormonism is that Mormon prophets disagree with each other about fundamental logical issues. Brigham Young said plural marriage was the law of heaven, and that a man cannot be exalted without it. Tom Monson says it isn’t so. Tom says *monogamy* not plural marriage is the norm. Lorenzo Snow and Joseph Smith said it was the first principle of heaven to understand that god was once a man. Gordon Hinckley says he’s not even sure the church teaches such doctrines. Brigham Young and all the prophets through the early/mid 20th century said that Blacks had been “not-valiant” in the pre-existence. Tom Monson says those prophets were all wrong.”

    Not exactly true but I see your point. To me that’s actually a sign of the true church. The Old Testament Israelite religion looked nothing like Christianity. Have you ever asked yourself why. It’s because they received further revelation and knowledge after Jesus Christ came and it continued while the apostles were alive. See my previous answer.

    Duwayne commented, “Your ability to believe in contradictory prophets simply shows how indoctrinated you (and other Mormons) really are — you literally lack the capacity to change your mind. You re exactly like all those nice little old Catholic ladies I met on my mission, who said they wouldn’t change their religion no matter what, because their minds (like yours) are made up, and they didn’t want to be bothered by facts.”

    Actually, Duyayne, I used to think like you when I was a teenager. I realize now that I used to believe that prophets had to be infallible and the scriptures had to be inerrant for the church to be true. It has only been in the last 30 years, I’ve come to realize that black and white world does not match reality. We expect much more of modern prophets than we should since no prophet, ancient or modern, can live up to that expectation. All men are imperfect and all scripture contains contradictions. Take a look at the contradictions in the Bible illustrated on this website and you’ll see what I mean:
    http://www.project-reason.org/gallery3/image/105/ and
    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:VXUqR4WIMd4J:www.project-reason.org/bibleContra_big.pdf+bibleContra_big&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjD9RrKS2e1Ii85zxsCPD97AGBGJq2ghbHY6u1mlVyO7ZDQEo4tYauRuBXLyJgYg4YScwkq1qOkVO3V_ofAo9QcoT1HKfdf4eGX-56omRqBqWvp5EStljw4Vl-Ju20w5x0HVo95&sig=AHIEtbSUGESv9qH-DtOoxIDNCboKQpv9Ew

    By the way, the following introduction has been added to the Doctrine and Covenants Declaration #1 in the new 2013 edition of our scriptures, giving context and current interpretations on the revelation ending polygamy:
    “The Bible and the Book of Mormon teach that monogamy is God’s standard for marriage unless He declares otherwise (see 2 Samuel 12:7–8 and Jacob 2:27, 30). Following a revelation to Joseph Smith, the practice of plural marriage was instituted among Church members in the early 1840s (see section 132). From the 1860s to the 1880s, the United States government passed laws to make this religious practice illegal. These laws were eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. After receiving revelation, President Wilford Woodruff issued the following Manifesto, which was accepted by the Church as authoritative and binding on October 6, 1890. This led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church.”
    This is substantially what Dr. Valerie Cassler was saying and a disavowal of Brigham Young’s beliefs. That’s an excellent example of the LDS Church agreeing with the apologists and not a prophets who was not speaking as a prophet. He was still a prophet, just not infallible.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “ I realize now that I used to believe that prophets had to be infallible and the scriptures had to be inerrant for the church to be true. It has only been in the last 30 years, I’ve come to realize that black and white world does not match reality.”

      Actually, Mike, you still live in the same black-and-white world.

      That black-and-white world rests on the singular insistence that Mormonism is true. In fact, yours is the *ultimate* black and white world; a world where one idea (the church is true) is so sacred you cannot/will not allow yourself to examine it critically. All other data must be either ignored, denied, or altered in holy submission to the one inviolate black-and-white view that Mormonism is true. Just to illustrate the point, I’m going to ask you that question that you have steadfastly ignored:

      Question: “What verifiable and objective evidence, if it existed, would be sufficient to convince you that Mormonism is false?”

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        Mike said: “The Old Testament Israelite religion looked nothing like Christianity. Have you ever asked yourself why.”

        Because Judaism and Christianity are two different religions, obviously (and, in case you didn’t know, Judaism doesn’t look like Islam or Buddhism, either).

      • Mike H says:

        Duwayne,
        You need to read this article that just came out today:
        http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/12388

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          I’m familiar with Ash. His arguments are really, really muddled. For starters, he willy nilly treats decisions based on incomplete data and game theory as if those are the “spiritual” side of thinking (anyone who plays a rational game of poker or chess knows what bunk that is).

          But that’s the old semantic switch and bait trick that LDS apologists are famous for. Because the sort of “spiritual” thinking performed by Mormons (you and Ash in particular) is when you hold to your “testimony” in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Mormon “spiritual” thinking is the dismissal of evidence in favor of a deep desire that your religion be true. It’s the reason you refuse to describe any verifiable and objective evidence that (if it existed) would cause you to leave the Mormon Church.

          Mormon “spiritual” thinking is also the source of fear that leads you to say you “don’t have time” to look at “anti-Mormon” sources.

      • Mike H says:

        I’ve answered this question. Apparently, you didn’t understand my answer. Read it again. You did not provide your suggestions for verifiable and objective evidence, if it existed, would be sufficient to convince you that Mormonism is false” or your specific list of verifiable and objective evidence that, if it existed, would be sufficient for you to come back to the church. I’ll wait.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          I went back and read through your posts. I didn’t see any examples of verifiable/objective evidence that you said would change your mind about Mormonism, and conclude that it’s false.

          Why not repeat them?

          What I *did* see from you was the old shuffle dance, where you dodged the question and went off on an irrelevant tangent.

          Seriously. If your belief in Mormonism is rational, then you would be able to describe the verifiable and objective evidence that (if it existed) would be sufficient for you to decide that Mormonism is false.

          If your belief in Mormonism is irrational, you will continue to evade that question.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Duwayne said: “If two statements disagree, then one (or both) is wrong. Even children in grade school understand such basic concepts in logic and reason.”

      Mike said: “I agree with your logic but principles and teachings are not facts and can change based on people’s needs.”

      Okay – time for another lesson in logic.

      First: the logical truth of a statement is unrelated to the factual nature of the statement. The statement “All cats are black, I saw a cat, therefore it was black” is logically true, though factually false.

      So your equivocation and sematic argument over “principles and teachings” is just meaningless mumbo jumbo.

      Second: If two statements are logically exclusive, then one of them is false, or both of them are false. But they cannot both be true. So, if prophet A says “plural marriage is required for exaltation” and prophet B says “plural marriage is not required for exaltation” then one (or both) of them is wrong. There’s just no escaping the iron jaws of logic, here, Mike. You can’t wiggle out of the conundrum by appealing to absurd ideas about “principle and teachings” not being “facts.”

      • Mike H says:

        As President of the Twelve Apostles, Ezra Taft Benson warned: “Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.” (Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, 1980)

        Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained further: ”…the most important difference between dead prophets and living ones is that those who are dead are not here to receive and declare the Lord’s latest words to his people. If they were, there would be no differences among the messages of the prophets.” (Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall, 1992)

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          Of course Benson is going to tell you to ignore all the past prophets. That’s what Benson would do if he was contradicting them.

          Right?

          And of course Oaks is going to setup an unanswerable hypothetical — and then answer it. Oaks is a lawyer in a $1,000 suit. That’s exactly what we expect the guy to do.

          Right?

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “After receiving revelation, President Wilford Woodruff issued the following Manifesto, which was accepted by the Church as authoritative and binding on October 6, 1890. This led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church.”This is substantially what Dr. Valerie Cassler was saying and a disavowal of Brigham Young’s beliefs.”

      That’s an explanation of how you compartmentalize the logical inconsistencies in Mormon doctrine – but it doesn’t get rid of the logical inconsistencies.

      By the way, since you and Cassler seem to think the only official doctrine in the church is that which is voted upon, would you tell me when the church voted to sustain the changes in the temple endowment?

      Would you tell me when they voted to sustain voting as the *only* way for doctrine to be “official?”

      [Hint – neither were ever voted upon. The idea that doctrine is only official when it’s voted upon is an apologetic myth.]

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike wrote: “By the way, the following introduction has been added to the Doctrine and Covenants Declaration #1 in the new 2013 edition of our scriptures,..”

      Mike, that addition was never voted upon. You know that, don’t you? In this thread you have asserted that only things that are voted upon become official doctrine. Right? So why are you referencing material that has never been voted upon?

      By the way, none of the changes in the Book of Mormon have ever been voted upon, either. In fact, the General Authorities have not even *announced* most of the changes they have made. As a matter of fact, some church leaders have even tried to cover up/deny some of the changes that have been made.

      So, if you are going to be self consistent, you pretty much have to reject the entire modern-day Book of Mormon, and go back to the original text, which has different doctrines than the current version, and reads like a backwoods hillbilly with a third grade education wrote it; not (as one would expect from first-hand accounts) like it was read from scrolls, penned by the hand of god, in a hat with a magic rock.

      http://mit.irr.org/translation-or-divination

      http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/3913intro.htm

      • Mike H says:

        Sorry, I don’t have time for anti-Mormon websites right now. I’ve answered these questions in my book.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          Well, that’s interesting. Documentation of the changes made in the Book of Mormon is now “anti-Mormon.”

          So, that would make the original text of the Book of Mormon an “anti-Mormon” tract, and Brigham Young an “anti-Mormon” prophet (since he get’s quoted so often by “anti-Mormons).

          Which brings us full circle to my thesis (well, one of them, anyway) that modern Mormon apologists are all generational apostates from the Church Joseph Smith founded.

          • Mike H says:

            I said “anti-Mormon websites.” That’s exactly what IRR and ULTM are. And I’ve answered most of their objection in my book and those I haven’t answered have been answered elsewhere. I have no fear reading what they’ve posted but it’s so repetitive. They never interact with our rebuttals just like you never really interact with my reasoning Duwayne.

        • Lasvegasrichard says:

          Wow is your mind closed . Are you in for a rude awakening on ‘ THAT ‘ day . You will have to exclaim that delusion ruined your mortality .

  46. Duwayne Anderson says:

    Mike said: “I think if you check the definition of the term [ad hominem] closely you’ll see I am not rejecting your argument based on an irrelevant fact..”

    Mike, if *you* would check the definition, you’d see that “ad hominem” means “to the person.” It’s a style of argument in which you stop arguing the facts, and try to divert attention to “the person.” Sometimes it’s done with name calling (though name calling, itself, is not ad hominem — just rude) and sometimes it’s done (as you did) by asserting that your arguments are not being heard simply because the other guy doesn’t “want to know the truth.”

    Mike said: “By the way, the following introduction has been added to the Doctrine and Covenants Declaration …”

    Yet, inevitably, if a critic cites part of an “introduction,” the apologist cries foul and claims that introductions are not “scripture.”

    This is what’s really at the heart of the duplicity and dishonesty of Mormon apologetics (besides the outright lies). You guys cherry pick. On the one hand, you’ll ignore public sermons by Mormon prophets, on the other hand you’ll quote some apologist in a speech she gave to other apologists.

    The root of the problem is that Mormonism is your pet hypothesis. As a pet hypothesis, you give Mormonism special treatment; you suspend rational thought when analyzing Mormonism, in favor of special feelings. You ignore or discount uncomfortable evidences, and emphasize comments that support your POV. In short, you have a “belief diode:” only data that supports your special feelings for Mormonism are allowed – all other data are rejected.

    • Mike H says:

      The derivation of the words ad hominem means little here. My name is Michael. It means “like unto God.” That doesn’t mean it’s a fact. The definition of ad hominem means someone is rejecting an argument based on an irrelevant fact about another person. “You’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny” is an ad hominem attack. See: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        I didn’t talk about the derivation — sheesh. Look it up. The whole basis of the ad hominem argument is to (as you have tried over and over again) change the discussion from the topic at hand, and focus on “the person.” It’s a diversionary tactic used to avoid discussing the issues.

        • Mike H says:

          By the way, let me refresh your memory. You have said the following in your comments:
          • Even children in grade school understand such basic concepts in logic and reason.”
          • … it was an illustration of the illogic that you and other generational apostates use.
          • What could be more prideful than a Mormon’s “testimony” that god has spoken directly to them
          • This is what’s really at the heart of the duplicity and dishonesty of Mormon apologetics
          Do you believe calling me and other apologists apostate and inferring we are illogical, duplicity and dishonesty is not an ad hominem by your definition?

  47. Mike H says:

    Sorry, I will not discuss the temple ordinances outside the temple.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      I didn’t ask you to discuss them, I simply pointed out that they have *changed* and that the changes were never put to a vote.

      Remember — your POV is that doctrine is only official if it’s put to a vote. But there are literally thousands of examples where changes have been made to LDS scriptures, and no vote taken. And there are the examples of the temple ordinances — *the* ordinances that Mormons claim are essential for exaltation — and the church has changed them without a single vote of the membership.

      These examples show how false it is, for you to claim that only those things that are put to a vote become “official” doctrine.

  48. Mike H says:

    Duwayne,
    I believe we need continue this conversation off-line. It seems to me pride is becoming a factor in your comments. My email address is
    mikeh1121@gmail.com
    if you wish to continue. If not, I’m OK with that too.

    Please resist the usual parting shots anti-Mormons always want to make.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      I’d like to keep it public. I think it’s helpful to have open discussions about Mormonism — I see no need to try and limit the discussion.

      I also find it fascinating when Mormons (of all people) accuse others of “pride.”

      What could be more prideful than the Mormon Church’s claim to be the “only true church?”

      What could be more prideful than a Mormon’s “testimony” that god has spoken directly to them, and told them that the vast body of scientific evidence can be blissfully ignored because god has picked them as “later-day Saints” and given them exclusive information that all those evil scientists will never be able to discover?

      What could be more prideful than the Mormon Missionary program — where they send out tens of thousands of kids, barely out of high school, to call the world to “repentance?”

      And on that subject, what could be more prideful than the LDS Church requiring new recruits to “repent,” while the church steadfastly refuses to repent of their racism, sexism, the Mountain Meadows massacre, attacks on Gays, support for wars based on lies, etc.?

      • Mike H says:

        In my view:
        *Mormonism is a creedless religion with limited official doctrine.
        *True Mormons strive to know all truth and will accept it from outside Mormonism. If that’s apostasy, so be it.
        *Mormonism is only as true as it is willing to bring in new truth and put it into harmony with what we know to be true.
        *We are all largely free to individually believe and worship as we will… within the bounds the Lord has revealed.
        *Being part of a “living church” allows us to not be shackled to every misguided concept interpreted to be “LDS doctrine” just because it was taught at some point in our history.
        *I also think the Lord wants us to be a living Church because we don’t have it all figured out yet. Further light and knowledge will come when we’re ready.
        Sorry, I see no progress being made in our discussion online. I feel like I’m repeating myself and I see no real effort on your part to engage the points I’m trying to make. So unless you want to change your mind and write me personally, I’m done here. Please don’t try to goad me into continuing our conversation online. I will view it as just feeding your ego.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          Mike said: “Mormonism is only as true as it is willing to bring in new truth and put it into harmony with what we know to be true.”

          Do you *really* believe that, Mike?

          Are you willing to bring into Mormonism the possible truth that Mormonism is false? Are you willing to entertain the possibility that the Book of Mormons is a 19th century scam, and that god had nothing to do with its creation?

          Or, is that one possible “truth” that is too scary to contemplate?

          If not, then why not answer my simple question: “What verifiable and objective evidence, if it existed, would be enough for you to conclude that Mormonism is false?”

          It’s been my experience (particularly from this discussion with you and other apologists) that you live in a black-and-white world. A world in which you see only one possibility — that the “church is true.” This one possibility is so “sacred” that you’ll manipulate/deny history and science and the church’s own doctrines in order to cling to this one, inviolate doctrine.

          Interestingly, though, you’re black-and-white world is not fundamentally different from the black-and-white world of Islamic fundamentalists, or “dyed in the wool” Catholics. In fact, the world is full of people who have the “sacred,” “black-and-white” world view that their religion is right, and all the others are wrong.

  49. Erick says:

    “2) How do you know that the HG hasn’t left *you?*
    Simple answer–I don’t. It’s up to you to get the confirmation of the Spirit. That’s how I know when a prophet is speaking by the Spirit. The same Spirit witnesses to me that it’s true. Have you ever had that confirmation? If not, then you need to ask for it. I suspect you’ll make up an excuse why you won’t ask.”

    I’ll ask. “May I please have that confirmation”? … … … … … now what?

    In seriousness, I’m alway’s troubled by this. I’m a little reluctant to embrace the back and forth between DuWayne and Fred, earlier in the conversation, about who has more “experience” than the other. The truth is, neither DuWayne or Fred can conclude that either has had “more” (whatever that would be) experience than the other, or than one understands “exactly” where the other is at, in their head. However, I can safely say that I’ve done the whole pray and ask thing more times than I can count, with about as much of the requisite sincerity that I could possibly muster…and zip, zilch, nadda! I’m just not persuaded by the whole, “you probably haven’t even bothered to ask” response. What you want other’s to do is the equivalent of getting on our knees and making wishes, only that we should believe that wishes may be granted for undertaking this excercise. SO! Two responses, yes I have asked (and frankly I’m a little embarrassed to admit that), and you’re right, I wouldn’t bother asking again. As simple as the task is, I would imagine you seriously wouldn’t give in to taking “wishing” very serious, regardless of how simple I can make the task!!

    • Mike H says:

      Erick,
      I believe what you say. We always cite Moroni 10:4-5 as the ultimate way to get answers to spiritual questions but I don’t believe this procedure is the only way to do it. Alma 32 describes a practical method that I think works better for some of us. It has worked for me.
      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/32?lang=eng Read starting at verse 26 through the end.
      In essence it requires you to live revealed principles, like the word of wisdom, and then observe the results. I have found that my faith increases with each principle I tried. As my faith grew, I found I received more spiritual experiences and the truths of the gospel were made more clear to me personally. All I can suggest is you try it.

      • Erick Kuhni says:

        Mike H:

        I believe you are trying to be reasonable, so a question regarding Alma 32. It has all of the trappings of an experiment, except predicting the outcome. For example, I could live the gospel principles, but what specifically should I look for in order to conclude, as Alma says, that the seed was good. In all seriousness Alma 32 is absolutely empty on this point. What is says is that if the seed “swelleth” and “sprouteth” and “begineth to grow”. What does that even mean. Even allegorically?? So if I start to live a gospel principle and then start “believing” in that principle, then it was a “good seed”? So my belief level in a principle is how I am to test the principle? Isn’t that a bit circular?

        Lets take a more practical example, the Word of Wisdom as you suggested. So if I live the WoW, do I monitor my health to test the seed? If so, what about all of the other factors that we know about the determine health?

        What I am politely trying to say is that all of this sounds interesting when kept at the high level, but when we actually try and explore the details it all just kind of falls apart.

        • Mike H says:

          Erick,
          Based on the text, I think the fruit that results from this experiment is primarily faith and hope (verse 26, 34, 41), though knowledge (verse 26, 28, 35) is mentioned throughout, and happiness and eternal life (verse 28, 41, 42) seems to be implied as well.

          • Mike H says:

            A 2004 paper by Ray M. Merrill on Life Expectancy among LDS and Non-LDS in Utah demonstrated that life expectancy estimates indicates that although differential tobacco use explains some of the higher life expectancy in LDS, it only accounts for about 1.5 years of the 7.3 year difference for males and 1.2 years of the 5.8 year difference for females. See:

            http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol10/3/10-3.pdf

            Complete life table estimates were derived using conventional methods and cross-sectional data for white males and females from 1994-1998. Life expectancy was 77.3 for LDS males, 70.0 for non-LDS males, 82.2 for LDS females, and 76.4 for non-LDS females. For those alive at age 80, the remaining years of life expected were 8.2 for LDS males, 6.5 for non-LDS males, 10.3 for LDS females, and 7.1 for non-LDS females. Years of life expected increased more so among non-LDS after we removed deaths associated with tobacco use from the life table.

            A comparison between LDS and non-LDS of the adjusted life expectancy estimates indicates that although differential tobacco use explains some of the higher life expectancy in LDS, it only accounts for about 1.5 years of the 7.3 year difference for males and 1.2 years of the 5.8 year difference for females. Higher life expectancy
            experienced among LDS not explained by tobacco-related deaths may be due to factors associated with religious activity in general, such as better physical health, better social support, and healthier lifestyle behaviors. They also indicate religious activity may also have an independent protective effect against mortality.
            I will add some anecdotal evidence. Both my parents and my wife’s parents are LDS and all four are in their 80s and will probably live into their 90s. None of them make any special effort to stay healthy other than living the word of wisdom.

          • Erick says:

            Mike H:

            Two responses -

            The Fruits: Why should more faith, and more “hope” be desirable? Hope is another one of those abstractions that sounds good on the surface, but suffers on the details. Hope in what? Hope in Christ, perhaps? Why should I have hope in Christ? Frankly if hope were important, I think it would be better to hope in a completely unconditional happy afterlife for everyone without the constraints of degrees, kingdoms, limitations, etc. I think it would be better to hope for these without being forced into a spiritual treasure hunt where I have to sort through religious options and ultimately place a bet (after all, if we are going to play the faith angle, we are conceding that it is in fact a bet!). That doesn’t like the best application of hope in my book. But, Alma doesn’t talk about faith being the ends, but it being the thing of which the seed is made of that ultimately grows into perfect knowledge. That is when the faith particle becomes, as he put’s it, “dormant”. Still, none of this bodes for a quality experiment. If the “experiment” was designed to see if faith would swell, sprout, or grow, then perhaps it’s valid…but if it was intended to validate the religious principles with objective evidence, then the experiment is indeed quite lacking. And of course, Joseph Smith knew this, which is why he bucked the system and created an epistemology founded on Prophets, plates, angels, visitations, and other forms of tangible evidence.

            Your second point, about the WoW. I am already familiar with the the study cited, and isn’t even a good example. The conclusion of the author is that tobacco use only accounts for about 1.5 years of the 7 year differential between Mormons and the general population. He also fails to explore in sufficient detail that these differentials are also observed when taking different subsets of other non-LDS religions and comparing them to the general population. One of the biggest omissions in the study is a complete lack of comparison on the basis of socio economic status. The conclusion even suggests that Church membership and adherence (particularly when members attend weekly, regardless of the denomination) and activity seem to be the highest correlates, not specifically WoW adherence. Anecdotally this is a problem also, because the scriptural promises seem to be directed to individuals, but there is a wide variance in true measures of “health” for people who live the WoW. In other words, Mormons may get an average of 7 more years, but that there are large number of them who cannot run with getting weary, or even walk without fainting!! All of whom live the WoW. Also, while section 89 certainly outlines a relatively good model for healthy eating, it is far from a comprehensive outline for total health and well being. So, we can measure population statistics and show large numbers, but can’t ignore the anecdotes when dealing with God’s promises to the individual…at least, I don’t get the impression that the WoW promises were intended to taken as a generalized promise to the population, with wide population variances being implied.

  50. nickmo says:

    Whats really important is that we live in relative freedom and are able to worship as we feel / or not worship at all. The bottom line is that we all have agency and some feel there are consequences to our actions on earth and some may feel that when we die that is it — adios!
    Personally I feel that our society benefits from a christian, God fearing base because if there truly is no life after we die – no real truth, right or wrong, or even hope, then there is little incentive or desire to think of anyone or anything but yourself and selfish gratification. Why not steal if you know you will not get caught, why not cheat to get ahead, why be faithful to spouse or waste time in the service of others…
    Whether Mormon, Catholic, Jew etc I would not belittle any religion that teaches its members to lead better lives and brings peace and happiness to their souls – even if some of the teaching seem to contradict ( most stories in bible do not make much sense)
    If you are an ex mormon, why bash the church? If there is no God anyway then you are just wasting your time – go outside and pursue life. If you still believe in a God then I think it un-Godlike to spend your time and energy bashing or trying to disprove an others beliefs.
    I like most of my mormon friends and find some of their beliefs peculiar but on a whole they are good people trying to what they feel is right.
    BTW I take mormon Mitt over Obama any day! At least he would try to run our country like a business and at the very least …. govern!

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      nickmo wrote: “Personally I feel that our society benefits from a christian, God fearing base because if there truly is no life after we die – no real truth, right or wrong, or even hope, then there is little incentive or desire to think of anyone or anything but yourself and selfish gratification.”

      As with so many arguments put out by Mormon apologists, nickmo’s comments are exactly bass akwards.

      First of all, the Mormon Church teaches that “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” is required for salvation/exaltation in the “kingdom of god.” So, for Mormons, being an active member is the *ultimate* example of “selfish gratification.” All that obedience, tithing, church attendance — it’s just “stuff” that Mormons do as they invest in their salvation /exaltation.

      One cannot truly do a selfless act unless one has no hope of compensation. But compensation is *the* promise in Mormonism. Mormonism teaches members that when they keep the commandments god is bound to bless them — but when they don’t keep the commandments, they have no promise. There’s no selflessness in doing “good” things when the behavior is motivated by the desire for your own world/kingdom.

      An atheist who volunteers to work for Habitat for Humanity can be selfless. An atheist who supports “Doctors without boarders” can be selfless. An atheist who stops and helps someone change a flat tire can be selfless. But a Mormon who does good things — who are they *really* helping someone else, or are they just helping themselves by “laying up treasure in heaven?”

      • Erick says:

        Selfless behavior is not limited to either religious or non-religious motivations. What the atheist who volunteers for Habitat for Humanity demonstrates is simply that people can and will do good without believing in eternal compensation, but it doesn’t necessarilly follow that the religious person who likewise volunteers is not also motivated by that same intrinsic desire for goodness.

        The fallacy is that religion motivates good behavior. Rather, religion motivates behavior, period. Some of it good, some of it bad, but all of it arbitrary. If an action is performed is wholly motivated by religious incentives, then the intrinsic morality of that act is abritrary and amoral. Religions, such as Mormonism, promote some good behaviors and some bad behaviors. Yes, they teach that families are important, but they also teach that the importance of the family is secondary to loyalty to the Church. A young convert man or woman are taught that they must deprive their parents, many of whom are good and most deserving of the privileges associated with ushering their children into the stages of adulthood, of the right to participate in the wedding. Instead they are treated to wait outside the Temple grounds and wander the visitor center to contemplate the wonders of Mormonism. This is not a good thing, it is quite wrong in fact. When people like Nickmo make statements that Church’s encourage good behavior, he does so with a conveniently selective view of the “fruits” of religion. He discards the bad apples and only counts the good.

        • Duwayne Anderson says:

          Eric wrote: What the atheist who volunteers for Habitat for Humanity demonstrates is simply that people can and will do good without believing in eternal compensation,”

          I totally agree with you, Eric. And that’s why I used those examples.

          Eric wrote: “..but it doesn’t necessarilly follow that the religious person who likewise volunteers is not also motivated by that same intrinsic desire for goodness.”

          I totally agree with you again. It doesn’t *necessarily* follow. But there will always remain that question — particularly if the person holds deep religions beliefs in an earned afterlife. With atheists, there’s no question about their behavior being motivated in order to earn a bigger Celestial reward (though there are many *other* possible selfish reasons that an atheist might do something nice to another person).

          I thought the rest of your comments were also nicely put.

  51. Duwayne Anderson says:

    nickmo wrote: “If you are an ex mormon, why bash the church?”

    “Bash” is a pejorative/emotionally -laden term (implanted through church indoctrination), but I think you basically ask a reasonable question — so I’m going to attempt an answer, below:

    Most Mormon critics that I know were born and raised in the church. They attended seminary, many went on missions, and many were married in the temple.

    The most common complaint these people have is that the Mormon Church lied to them. The church lies to seminary students about church history, apologists lie about the conflicts between Mormonism and science, and “modern-day prophets” lie about the teachings of past Mormon prophets. “Lying for the Lord” is both rampant and encouraged in/by the LDS Church.

    I think most people can understand why ex-Mormons would be angry about being lied to. Nobody likes to be lied to.

    But the problems with the Mormon church run deeper than just lying. As the saying goes — you can leave the Mormon Church, but the Mormon Church won’t leave you alone.

    The church is institutionally organized to ostracize those who stop being active/believing, and *especially* those who stop paying money to the church. There are many ways the church does this. For example, fathers who stop believing in the Mormon Church, and stop paying money to the church, are no longer allowed to participate fully with their sons in the church’s juvenile “priesthood” organizations. All the other kids have their dads’s full participation, but the kid with the “apostate” father doesn’t. So the church drives a wedge between fathers and their sons.

    The church is also organized such that fathers are expected to baptize their children and confirm them. Of course, fathers who don’t pay money to the church (and don’t swear belief in the church) are not allowed to participate — further isolating/ostracizing them.

    The most devilish church behavior, though, comes in the form of policies designed specifically to foster divorce and breakup families when one spouse decides to formally resign from the church. When that happens, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually mandates ecclesiastical divorce, unilaterally cancelling the couple’s temple “sealing” and promising the “faithful” spouse they will be “sealed” to another “worthy” spouse in the afterlife. This is a truly damnable policy of the Mormon Church, and virtually guarantees that a civil divorce will follow, since the spouse who does not resign will see the temple divorce as highly significant. As a result, divorce among part-member families is higher in Mormonism than any other religion except orthodox Jews.

    You’d be angry if an organization tried to break apart your family, wouldn’t you?

    Many of the ex-Mormons that I know once lived in Utah, and several lost their jobs because their Mormon bosses felt that it was what the church wanted. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise, either, because the Mormon Church routinely “bashes” ex-Mormons in General Conference and other venues.

    You’d be angry if you lost your job because you didn’t share your boss’s religious beliefs, wouldn’t you?

    Another way the Mormon Church attacks ex-Mormons and destroys their families is through the “temple recommend” interview. In this interview Mormons are asked if they associate with or sympathize with any apostates. Many Mormons understand this (and rightly so — as this is clearly the church’s intent) to mean they should not associate with ex-Mormon members of their families.

    You’d be angry with a church that ostracized you from your family, wouldn’t you?

    Yet another way the Church attacks ex-Mormons is through church policies that strongly encourage Mormon youth to be civilly married in the temple (Mormons that are not civilly married in the temple must wait a year before they can be “sealed”). Since a person cannot go to the temple without paying money to the church, and affirming loyalty and submission to church leaders, ex-Mormons and non-Mormons (as well as jack Mormons who don’t pay money to the church) are precluded from family weddings. The Mormon Church is the *only* major religion that prohibits participation of non-members in such key familial activities as marriages.

    You’d be angry if you couldn’t attend the wedding of your daughter simply because she’d joined some cult, wouldn’t you?

    Surely, nickmo, you can understand why people would be angry with a church that lied/lies to them, tries to break up their family, fosters divorce, costs them their job, and keeps them from attending family weddings.

    Most people who leave the Mormon Church would just like to walk away. Many would even come to church, every once in a while. But the Mormon Church is vindictive and hateful toward ex-Mormons and won’t leave them alone — so of *course* many ex-Mormons are angry at the church. They have every right to be angry. If an organization did to you what the Mormon Church does to ex-Mormon, you’d be angry too.

    And given all the damage that the Mormon Church inflicts on ex-Mormons, don’t you think it’s only natural that many feel obligated to let others know about the dark side of this organization, and warn them about the hazards of becoming a member?

    A survey was taken, recently, of why people leave the Mormon Church. You can access the survey here:

    http://whymormonsleave.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/WhyTheyLeave_30Jan2012v4.pdf

    • nickmo says:

      Ok I CAN see your point but I also do feel that while you can can control your own behavior / attitude, you have no control over someone else’s and/or an organizations’. It is better for people to move on and shed bitterness and anger and channel that energy to going about your own life. Maybe you feel a duty to warn the world of the wrongs of the mormon church but you have to admit doing so will take a toll on your own peace and happiness. The mormons may not make it easy for someone to leave, but you are also not leaving them alone either. That is called bitterness, anger and revenge which really is not healthy for the soul.
      Just have faith that in the end justice and truth will prevail. Any person or church who preaches false doctrines or misleads people and lures them into sin will be judged. That is why I feel religion is personal and a church or organization should only help people to look within, because ultimately its between you and your maker.

      Still like some of my mormon friends, whether they are misled, selfish or stupid – they are just trying to find a way and lead their own lives. Agency allows for all types of individuals and it is comforting to know we are all imperfect. I try to forgive as I hope one day to be forgiven – even those who perpetrate fraud for gain- you have to feel sorry for their inability to see the whole picture and lead such wasted lives.
      I generally don’t ever post comments but after stumbling on the article while looking up reviews and info on the TV show “The Bible” and reading the critical comments I threw in my 2 cents.

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        nickmo wrote: “Ok I CAN see your point but I also do feel that while you can can control your own behavior / attitude, you have no control over someone else’s and/or an organizations’.”

        And the Mormons *do* have control?

        Okay. Perhaps that explains why the Mormon Church tries to enforce “Satan’s plan” by legislating their vision of “morality” (as in their disgraceful behavior behind the Prop 8 campaign, and their involvement in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment).

        nickmo wrote: “Maybe you feel a duty to warn the world of the wrongs of the mormon church but you have to admit doing so will take a toll on your own peace and happiness.”

        Why would you say something like that? Every ex-Mormon that I’ve met says they’re happier after leaving the Mormon Church. Mormon critics that I know find deep satisfaction in doing their part to expose the Mormon fraud. How do you know that you are not the one who’s unhappy?

        nickmo wrote: “The mormons may not make it easy for someone to leave, but you are also not leaving them alone either.”

        Do you think the Mormons have the right to ensnare new converts and cull them of their tithing using false pretenses and lies? If a non-religious corporation picked the pockets of investors using deceit and misinformation, the corporate officers would be in jail. It’s actually against the law. But in America (for reasons that seem crazy to me) we carve out a criminal exception for fraudsters who scam people using religion. Frankly, it seems really extreme for you to suggest that people who know about the con should just keep their mouths shut.

  52. Duwayne Anderson says:

    Mike wrote: “A 2004 paper by Ray M. Merrill on Life Expectancy among LDS and Non-LDS in Utah demonstrated that life expectancy estimates indicates that although differential tobacco use explains some of the higher life expectancy in LDS, it only accounts for about 1.5 years of the 7.3 year difference for males and 1.2 years of the 5.8 year difference for females. ”

    I did an analysis of Merrill’s paper. Interestingly, the difference between Mormon and non-Mormons is specific to Utah, not the US/Canada as a whole. In other words, it’s not that Mormons are living so much longer, but that non-Mormons in Utah live shorter. Utah, it would seem, is an un-healthy place for non-Mormons.

    http://www.lds-mormon.com/utahunhealthy.shtml

  53. Mike H says:

    Erick,
    Without knowing anything about you, I can’t tell you if more hope and faith will be beneficial to you but that was just one of the fruit I think Alma was talking about. Knowledge (verses 26, 28, 35, etc.) is definitely mentioned a number of times and I assume you are not yet all-knowing or you wouldn’t be asking these questions. Eternal life (verses 40-42) is definitely described as the ultimate reward if one persists in nourishing this allegorical tree which becomes a “tree of life” alluding to Genesis 2:9; Revelation. 2:7; 22:2, 14. Hope in Christ and faith in Christ are definitely required to attain that reward. As to your hope for an unconditionally happy afterlife for everyone, Mormons actually come closer to believing that than most Christians. Those that inhabit each of the 3 kingdoms we know about will be happy. In my view, we all will receive the reward we are hoping to receive but some of us are hoping for much more than others. If you think Hitler, Stalin, and others like them should receive the same reward as you receive, I would say you’re being a bit too generous.
    As to my second point, I am surprised you and Duwayne knew about the Ray M. Merrill Life Expectancy study I cited. I know of very few Mormons who are familiar with that study. I used it only as an example because I didn’t have details on a better study of health and lifespan related to the LDS WoW. A few years back I read that in 2010, Dr. Lester Breslow and Professor James E. Enstrom of U.C.L.A. planned to published a paper about a group of California Mormons whom they had studied for over 25 years. The life expectancy of the Mormon males was 9.8 years greater than that of the general population of white American males; female Mormons lived 5.6 years longer than their general-population counterparts. Unfortunately, I don’t have any details on that study other than what is at these links:
    http://www.fruitsofmormonism.com/2010_02_01_archive.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/health/lester-breslow-who-tied-good-habits-to-longevity-dies-at-97.html?_r=0
    http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/latter-day-saint-social-life-social-research-lds-church-and-its-members/15-health-practices
    The blessings of health and knowledge are definitely promised in verses 18 and 19. Those blessings are without doubt promised to individuals who observe the principles outlined in that revelation but I would think that population studies of those that observe the Word of Wisdom would uncover evidence that those populations either had better health and lived longer or they didn’t.
    As to Mormons earning rewards in heaven based on our good works, this belief is contrary to what the LDS scriptures teach. King Benjamin’s discourse to his people illustrates the futility of trying to earn salvation. He declared:
    …if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another –
    I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another — I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
    And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
    And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
    And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? (Mosiah 2:20-24)
    I won’t deny that some Mormons believe in salvation by good works but knowledgeable Mormons do not. Mormons firmly believe that the first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; faith that he is our Savior and Redeemer and that he died for us. Our fourth Article of Faith begins, “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second Repentance…,” etc. Thus, we believe that faith in Christ is the first step in the conversion process (per Alma 32 and our Article of Faith #4). Without it, no salvation would be possible.

    • Erick says:

      Hi Mike:

      My point about faith and hope is that is arbitrary. Having faith and hope are fine for our present psychology, but it doesn’t necessarilly asnwer the question of whether our faith and hope are well placed. That also my point about hope in Christ. Since hope does nothing to answer the question of what is likely, then why should anyone reconcile them on Christian terms, when any of us can hope in a way that is far more favorable to our unique worldviews? The validation of hope is what matters, and the experiment in Alma 32 is blank on that one.

      The Hitler and Stalin arguments are quite interesting because they play upon our knee-jerk emotions and sensibilities rather than our careful consideration of legal ethics. The question isn’t “what does Hitler deserve” for example. The question is, “how could it ever be fair to issue eternal and infinite rewards for good or bad behaviors performed within finite space”? With that in mind, I am Nazi sympathizer in the least, but why should any of us hope for anything other than just deserts and social system that is designed to provide for maximal happiness. The Christian plan of salvation has all kinds of problems with it in that regard. Foremost of which, what is the hidden threat that held Jesus accountable for our sins. How does anybody pay a debt of suffering for the intrinsic acts of another. What government accepts the pure blood of the innocent to pay the debt of the wicked. It’s insane!

      The study you mention has actually made it’s way around the blog world a few times. I’ve interacted with it there. Yes, studies would uncover that, but as a scientist who has worked with physics and math, you already know that the real problem is going to be identifying variables based on the rather vague and broad promises in section 89. Life expectancy is the perfect example. Should we be measuring longevity or quality. Due to prescription drugs, many terminal patients live miserably longer lives than they otherwise would, as just a simple example.

      • Erick says:

        I usually don’t clarify statements with a follow up, but this one is significant enough that I should be clear. The following statement should read:

        “With that in mind, I am “NO” Nazi sympathizer in the least, but why should any of us hope for anything other than just deserts and social system that is designed to provide for maximal happiness.”

        I don’t have sympathy for Hitler or Stalin, nor do I believe they shouldn’t be punished, but if I had to choose between a system that punished too harshly and infintely, then I would prefer a system that simply grants happiness to all without pre-condition. Still, this misses the greater point that since hope is entirely arbitrary, certainly we could find better things to hope for other than the Mormon Christ salvation model.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: “I would think that population studies of those that observe the Word of Wisdom would uncover evidence that those populations either had better health and lived longer or they didn’t.”

      Numerous studies extol the health benefits of drinking coffee. A recent study of the folks who live on Ikaria — a Greek island with one of the longest life expediencies in the world — suggests that, in addition to wild greens and herbal tea, boiled coffee contributes to their longevity.

      Interesting, then, that the Book of Mormon describes coffee as “bad” for the body.

      Here’s the link:

      http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2013/03/18/Greek-coffee-may-be-key-to-long-life/UPI-56641363664340/

      • Duwayne Anderson says:

        Sorry — was late when I wrote that. Should have been “Word of Wisdom,” obviously, and not “Book of Mormon.”

  54. Duwayne Anderson says:

    Mike wrote: “Dr. Lester Breslow and Professor James E. Enstrom of U.C.L.A. planned to published a paper about a group of California Mormons whom they had studied for over 25 years. The life expectancy of the Mormon males was 9.8 years greater than that of the general population of white American males.”

    Groan. Not *that* study.

    One of the most common statistical blunders practiced by zealots (and Mormon apologists, in particular) is to compare themselves to the mean. The root of this blunder is that being better than average is easy — half the people do it.

    The other problem is that Mormon populations are highly skewed. Breslow (if I remember correctly) used Mormon High Priests in his example — so his “sample” consisted almost entirely of white, middle-class (i.e., good health care plans) men who don’t smoke. It should come as no surprise that this sample would have a longer life expectancy than the average American.

    What Mormons *should* do (but don’t) is to compare their life expectancy with that of groups with similar dietary habits, such as the Seventh Day Adventists. If you do that, you find that SDA live much longer lives, too.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6654568

    In other words, it’s not the Mormon god that’s dishing out “blessings” to all the Mormons, it’s just good dietary practice. And, in case you want to play the “Joseph Smith was inspired” card, just remember that the SDA religion was organized in 1831, just a year after Smith created Mormonism. Furthermore, the advice in the WoW was actually quite fashionable at the time.

    http://www.teachushistory.org/Temperance/forstudents.htm

    There are other factors that Breslow didn’t account for, that also make a big difference. A high percentage of Utah Mormons came from similar locations in Europe and they had a disproportionate representation for a gene that causes increased levels of bilirubin in the blood. I know because I come from Utah Mormons and I have that Gene. It’s a Gene that expresses itself as Gilbert’s syndrome — rates of Gilbert’s syndrome are about twice as high among Utah Mormons as among the general population.

    http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/16/8/912.short

    Bilirubin, as it turns out, is a strong anti-oxidant and high bilirubin levels correlate strongly with extended life expectancy, and low rates of coronary heart disease in particular.

    You know, Mike — it’s just really obnoxious the way Mormons try so very, very hard to show how very, very special they are. It’s rude and it’s self righteous. You guys are not god’s gift to humankind. God doesn’t love you more than other people, and he doesn’t give you special blessings for following the prophet. You’re just regular people. Sure, you have differences, but try to think rationally and scientifically about the reasons for those differences — trying to attribute all your “specialness” to your silly superstition is really annoying.

  55. Mike H says:

    Duwayne said,”… the SDA religion was organized in 1831…”

    Not according to everything I’ve read. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the largest of several Adventist groups which arose from the Millerite movement of the 1840s in upstate New York.

    I’d just like to point out that the revelation in D&C 89 was given early in the year 1833.

    When were the SDA dietary restrictions revealed? According to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh-day_Adventist_Church
    “Since the 1860s when the church began, wholeness and health have been an emphasis of the Adventist church.”

    It appears some want to discredit the Word of Wisdom by any means. I don’t have the time to defend it right now. The advice the Word of Wisdom contains speaks for itself. Scientists are still arguing many of the details today and the long term affects of tobacco weren’t identified until the 20th century. It was inspired.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike wrote: “It appears some want to discredit the Word of Wisdom by any means.”

      The dietary code in the WoW is mostly sound (though seriously incomplete). It’s not the code that I disagree with, but your assertion that this code is from god, and represents some sort of evidence of Joseph Smith’s inspiration.

      The WoW’s primary exclusions are tobacco and alcohol. But there are many, many examples of religious taboos against both tobacco and alcohol. The SDA is just one example. Sikhism (1700s) is another example:

      http://www.sikhs.org/art9.htm

      Likewise with alcohol — there have been many groups that have opposed it, and there were many prohibition groups in the early 1800s:

      http://library.brown.edu/cds/temperance/essay.html

      These were actual prohibition groups that opposed any use of alcohol — as opposed to Smith, who only said to use it “sparingly” and who (along with many early Mormons) drank both beer and wine:

      http://www.faithandreasonforum.com/index.asp?PageID=32&ArticleID=194

      The WoW prohibits the use of coffee and tea — but these are now known to be beneficial.

      Taking score: Three trivial hits, two serious misses, and a whole lot of missing information that science (but not the holy ghost) has thankfully given us.

      Mike wrote: “I don’t have the time to defend it right now.”

      Sure. Wink, wink.

      Mike said: “The advice the Word of Wisdom contains speaks for itself.”

      The advice in the WoW is not the issue, Mike. Calling the WoW “inspired” is just stupid. It doesn’t take “inspiration” to know that smoking makes a person cough. It doesn’t take inspiration to know that alcohol makes a person drunk. Based on clear and immediate physiological responses, many people had concluded — long before Smith — that smoking and alcohol were bad for one’s health.

      Mike said: “Scientists are still arguing many of the details today and the long term affects of tobacco weren’t identified until the 20th century.”

      That’s entirely beside the point.

      By the way, scientists have since discovered that trans fats are bad. So is too much salt, too much sugar, and too much fat. Yet the WoW says nothing about any of that. In typical apologetic fashion, you focus only on the hits, ignoring completely all the misses (a key ingredient in superstition).

      Mike said: “It was inspired.”

      That’s what this really boils down to — you believe in Mormonism and so you’re going to shoe-horn history and evidence into contortions so that you can maintain the illusion that Smith was something other than a con man.

      • Erick says:

        As I recall, there was something of a story about Emma having to clean up the meeting rooms after Joseph Smith met with the “Brethren”, and her raising objections about the mess created by the tobacco chewers. As I recall, this was the catalyst that led to Joseph recieving the WoW. If this is correct then objection existed prior to the alleged revelation.

  56. Mike H says:

    Erick,
    The story is true. Emma complained about the tobacco spit on the floor and asked Joseph to inquire about it. D&C 89 was the result. The heading to that section explains this. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89?lang=eng
    Many of the revelations Joseph Smith received resulted from some catalyst. D&C section 13 came as a result of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery translaing a portion of the Book of Mormon about baptism. Sections 44, 74, 76, 77, 84, 86, 88, 91, 93, 107, 113, and 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants were all revealed in response to Joseph Smith’s appeal for understanding as he struggled with his revision of Bible texts.
    Other sections came when Joseph Smith was asked questions by the early members of the church.
    What I find most fascinating is that, “Many a pretender to the prophetic office has claimed to entertain angels or to have spoken with God, but who other than Joseph Smith introduced his angels to others? Joseph Smith introduced Moroni to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. He was never alone when priesthood or keys were restored…. He and Sydney Rigdon received the revelation on the degrees of glory together. Together they saw legions of angels, along with the Father and the Son (see D&C 76:21-23). Oliver Cowdery was with Joseph Smith when John the Baptist came to restore the Aaronic Priesthood, and when Peter, James, and John came to restore the Melchizedek Priesthood. Oliver was also with Joseph Smith when Christ came to accept the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, and Moses, Elias, and Elijah restored their keys, powers, and authorities.” (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Sons and Daughters of God, pp. 194-195)
    If this was a hoax, then whole families had to be in on it because literally hundreds of people were part of the miraculous event that took place during the restoration of the church. Many left Joseph and the church because they objected to things that happed but none because they believed it was a hoax. I know Duwayne and possibly others will do their best to contradict the above but after nearly 50 years studying Joseph Smith and the church, I am convinced more than ever the restoration was truly of God.

    • Erick says:

      Mike H:

      You are very familiar with the history, so I’ll spare jumping off into too many tangents. While you are free to look at the evidence and conclude that Joseph Smith “shared” these spiritual experiences with others, you must at least be aware of the criticism’s associated with most of these experiences. I’ve got an even more practical criticism of them though, that does not require me to reconstruct history. Simply, why not deliver these angels now! If were to accept your argument that Joseph Smith shared these extraordinary experiences with others, then I would have to assume that the windows of heaven were opened only to be shut again. That does seem like a good explanation, therefore I subscribe to the idea that the early believers were either in on a hoax collectively, OR, many of them embellished their experiences out of wishful thinking. Either way it doesn’t matter…all that does matter is that I’ve never seen these angels.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Smith used a common technique well understood by con men the world over — that of suggestion. This is most easily seen in the Book of Mormon “witnesses” where Smith would tell them something was happening and then convince them to see the whole thing with their “spiritual eyes.”

      http://www.mrm.org/eleven-witnesses

      In the case of the Book of Mormon, Smith told them the plates were there, and he even wrote a “testimony” for them. But although the testimony says they saw the plates with their eyes, the Witnesses recanted that testimony, later admitting that they only saw the plates with their “spiritual eyes.”

      Not surprisingly, the testimonies are all typed and were never actually signed.

      http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/file9

      In spite of Mike’s limited world experience, mass hallucinations are pretty easy to accomplish.

      http://www.dbskeptic.com/2009/08/16/jesus-resurrection-and-mass-hallucinations/

  57. Mike H says:

    The Word of Wisdom wasn’t just about tobacco though. It also covered strong drink (alcoholic drinks), hot drinks (coffee and tea), meats, and grains. I commented that scientists are still arguing these details today. Some say wine and tea are good for you while others are not sure. What is clear is that the benefits of wine can be found in grape juice and the benefits of coffee and tea can also be found in other drinks. That’s why I cited the Ray M. Merrill paper at the first. Tobacco alone can’t be blamed for the longer healthier lives of Mormons and SDAs compared to the rest of the population. There’s more to it. If Mormons obeyed the WoW more closely they would eat less meat. Many Adventists do abstain from all meats. Either way, it is obvious to those that live the WoW that we’re healthier and happier than those that don’t. I consider the WoW inspired even if other do not. The same thing happened in Daniel chapter 1. The way to find out is by trying it and watching the results.

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Until the 20th century the WoW was just a suggestion, and many Mormon Prophets (including Joseph Smith) drank wine and used tea.

      That said, the WoW is completely wrong about tea and coffee being bad. That was the POV of other religious organizations contemporaneous with early Mormonism, but it’s not scientifically justifiable. Tea is very good for the body, and is loaded with anti-oxidants. Boiled coffee is a likely contributor to the long lives of inhabitants of an island in Greece, where they live a lot longer than the average Mormon:

      http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2013/03/18/Greek-coffee-may-be-key-to-long-life/UPI-56641363664340/

    • Duwayne Anderson says:

      Mike said: Tobacco alone can’t be blamed for the longer healthier lives of Mormons and SDAs compared to the rest of the population.

      Strawman, Mike. I didn’t say it could.

      Mike said: “Some say wine and tea are good for you while others are not sure.”

      There’s no scientific evidence that coffee or tea offer any serious health hazards for people in general, although some individuals may be negatively affected (and, you could say the same about peanut butter, milk, and bread). There’s a great deal of evidence that coffee and tea offer distinct health benefits. The fact that other foods offer similar benefits is of no relevance to the decidedly uninspired men who put prohibitions against tea/coffee into the WoW.

      Furthermore, when the WoW was first given as a *suggestion,* Mormons did use tea and coffee — and when they decided to change the revelation from “suggestion” to “commandment” there was a lot of debate about tea.

      “Lorenzo Snow again emphasized the centrality of not eating
      meat, a point rarely emphasized by others, and in 1901, John Henry Smith and Brigham Young, Jr., of the Twelve both thought that the Church ought not interdict beer, or at least not Danish beer. Other apostles, like Anthon H. Lund and Matthias F. Cowley also enjoyed Danish beer and currant wine. Charles W. Penrose occasionally served wine. Emmeline B. Wells, then a member of the presidency and later president of the Relief Society, drank an occasional cup of coffee, and George Albert Smith took brandy for medicinal reasons. Apostle George Teasdale, agreeing with President Woodruff, thought that no one ought to be kept from working in the Sunday School
      because he drank tea and that eating pork was a more serious breach than.” [THE WORD OF WISDOM: FROM PRINCIPLE TO REQUIREMENT THOMAS G. ALEXANDER drinking tea or coffee, 80 I DIALOGUE: A Journal of Mormon Thought.]

      Point being that the WoW wasn’t even something the church leaders agreed upon — and when they decided to make it a commandment, they goofed up by making it against the rules to use coffee and tea.

      Anyone remotely familiar with the circumstances and historical environment in which the WoW came about will be overwhelmingly underwhelmed. The WoW is clearly a product of its day — there’s nothing “inspired” about it, and there’s a lot in the WoW (as Mormons practice it) that’s not medically correct (like, it’s okay to drink sugary soda, but wrong to drink tea).

      And, while Mormons *do* get a health benefit from not using tobacco, and alcohol, they *don’t* get the health benefits of drinking coffee and tea, and they *don’t* live as long as many population groups that do.

      Sorry to bust your bubble, Mike, but Mormons are not god’s chosen people. He doesn’t love you more, or give you special guidance. Your just like the rest of us — no more special, just ordinary people with some pretty wacky superstitions.

  58. Mike H says:

    I highly recommend that those that feel that the leaders of the LDS Church are being deceptive listen to the following podcast of an interview of James McConkieon A Thoughtful Faith:

    http://mormonstories.org/james-mcconkie-family-faith-bruce-mcconkie-and-the-historical-christ/

  59. Duwayne Anderson says:

    Mike said: “I highly recommend …the following podcast.”

    Mike, personal honesty isn’t something one can assert — it has to come from behavior. Sadly, when it comes to lying, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) has a dismal history of lying about its doctrines and history. The following link provides abundant examples:

    http://www.mormonthink.com/lying.htm

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