12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
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15-01-2014, 11:46 PM
Long-Assed Overdue Rebuttle Part One
(15-01-2014 09:04 AM)maklelan Wrote:  See my comments here. I point out where this list gets it right and where it is just a rhetorical caricature. It's mostly the latter.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  I've been notified that an "Ask a Mormon" thread is going on here, and that someone is making pronouncements about Latter-day Saints belief and practice. I thought I'd come back here just to provide some clarification.

I can't help but imagine an army of small messenger elves scurrying quickly on their way, intent with delivering the message, "The church is under attack! The church is under attack!" You make it sound like you have some kind of wartime source who warns you when ex-mormon atheists post threads about Mormonism.

Never mind my silliness, welcome to the "Ask a Mormon" thread. I answer questions about Mormonism here, and hopefully you can to. It would be really cool to have an active member here to answer questions. It would allow for a difference of opinion about Mormonism, as well as healthy and fun debate. I hope you feel comfortable.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Absolutely and completely false. No such notion is encouraged by the Church at all. In fact, not associating with non-members puts quite a significant damper on missionary work, one of the three missions of the Church. Latter-day Saints are in no way discouraged from associating with people who believe differently.

Intolerance and rejection within the church is handled in a similar fashion to modern covert racism. There is no open prejudice anymore, but discrimination is occurring nonetheless. This most often takes the form of self righteousness. "I won't be friends with that person anymore, he won't stop swearing around me." You can replace the word "swearing" with anything forbidden by LDS doctrine, and it would still remain accurate. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase "We don't associate with those kinds of people.", I would be a wealthy man.

It is the church's obsession with protecting themselves from outside influences, especially those of "worldly" people, that makes them intolerant. It is always hidden under the guise of preserving one's faith, or virtue, but in the end it's just harmful and bigoted.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  they are taught to avoid situations that pose potential risks to their safety and/or ethical integrity.

You will notice that Maklelan did not list any example of avoiding a situation of danger to his/her "ethical integrity". There are only examples of social acceptable safety situations. This is because in those "ethical" situations, the prejudice is so obvious that it is not advantageous to give any examples. He/she would look like a fool.

This is an excellent example of the two-faced acrobatics required to defend Mormonism on any level. Mormons know that a large portion of their doctrine is controversial, sounds ridiculous, and is even immoral. They are intelligent enough to omit what will harm them, and state only bland official positions that have no street value among the congregation. Once the threat is ended, they can resume their actual policies without the peering eyes of outsiders to criticize. Fortunately the leadership of the church knows this as well, and has provided them with an ample quantity of such statements in order to defend themselves from the already demonized "outsiders" who are "seeking to destroy their testimony".

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Latter-day Saints are encouraged to avoid dangerous and morally compromising relationships

As some people I know have already found out, this mandate includes marriages to non-members or members who have ceased to believe or be active. The church actively counseled a friend of mine to leave her unbelieving husband, and take her three children away from him, because "They would be better off with believing parent's who kept the faith.". If I were to post and cite very similar story I have ever heard or read, there would not be enough time in the day to read them all. The devastation and splitting up of families is deeply cruel and very unnecessary.

It is very important to note that if the church were ever to be accused of counseling in this manner, they would deny it, and by definition there would be absolutely no evidence other than the word of the victim. Counseling of that nature always takes place in privacy, with only the bishop as a witness. So many abuses and lies have taken place as a result of this inability to prove any wrongdoing, that they would make an equally unreadable list.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Latter-day Saint ideology insists upon the inviolable sanctity of the family, within and without the boundaries of the community of faith.

To say that they believe in "the inviolable sanctity of the family" is an understatement. These people are literally obsessed with "the family" so much so that I feel comfortable calling it a fetish.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  To pretend that the Church tries to drive a wedge in between families when one member is baptized stands in stark and flagrant contradiction to the Church's beliefs and standards. That's not to say no local leader or friend has ever tried to do it, but when it happens, rest assured it is a violation of the Church's principles. If leaders are not aware of that then they're not paying any attention at all to their duties.

I would never be so shallow, and disrespectful to so many who's stories I have heard and read, to pretend anything. The reality is that within the church an extraordinary number of people, especially converts, become victims of just such a wedge.

This is very important. It is practically the entirety of my argument about Mormonism. Mormonism keeps different sets of books, one for every type of situation. It uses a candy coated advertising strategy to blind anyone who might give them trouble, including their own members. Maklelan is repeating nearly every one of their public relations statements here, with a few exceptions. No matter how many times you repeat memorized official statements of church doctrine, it doesn't make it true for the members who are forced to play by a different set of rules through a well developed system of guilt, intimidation, and fake consolation.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  That's an overstatement. Leaders encourage members to exercise discernment in picking and choosing their media. The particular impressionability of youth compels many to add more and more warning labels to the internet, music, and movies.

I don't know what else to say other than, this is just plain not factual true. The church relentlessly teaches and encourages a spirit of censorship. If you read what is prejudicially labeled as "Anti-Mormon Literature", everyone's ears are closed to you immediately upon discovering that you read those things. You no longer have a voice or are considered reasonable. You are tainted by that "worldly" information.

There is a twisted, neurotic, and relentless campaign of fear mongering that comes down from anyone in authority. The members are to be "in the world but not of it". The idea that the family, the home, and one's religion in general is under attack, is not only commonplace, but a guaranteed experienced. Using fear as a method of control, the church can control what members listen to, read, watch, and bring into their homes. These outside influences are viewed as the fearful methods of attack, both direct and indirect, used by Satan and Co. to attempt to destroy your family.

Once they control what information you take in, using fear, they finish the job by absolutely bombarding you with church authored and published materials. Magazines, talks, meetings, scripture readings, etc... are absolutely constant. You will not go a single day without receiving some church based material or another.

At the end of the day, there is no spirit of free inquiry. Some information, by definition, is dangerous and unclean. Information is controlled through demonizing anything that does not continue the cause of the church in the mind of the member.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Another silly overstatement. There are 3 hours of meetings on Sunday and maybe three hours of home/visiting teaching a month (visiting a couple families to check on their needs and share a short inspiring message). Other than that, most members have callings that require anywhere from a one-hour lesson every 2-4 weeks during church to weekly responsibilities with youth groups. Members of the bishopric, the elder's quorum presidency, and the relief society presidency will be busier, but that totals nine people in the ward, which are usually 150-300 people.

Let's enter a day in the life of a faithful, obedient, Mormon, who does all of the things he is asked to do by the church. The day begins with a kneeling prayer at the side of the bed. This prayer must follow the scripted framework provided to the member by the church. There will be no free prayer, without method. Next our member must bow her head at breakfast and repeat the same process. Now it is time for morning scripture study. After studying the scriptures alone, our member has to get ready for the day. If she is a student in high school, she must attend seminary, often at early hours of the morning, which forces her to lose valuable sleep. Seminary is one hour of religious and scriptural instruction. Meal prayers continue faithfully for both lunch and dinner. Each evening, depending on the day, she will participate in one of the following church related activities: Mutual Night, Family Home Evening, Scouts (for the boys), Young Women's Group, Faith in God Program, or choirs of one kind or another. Our member will be lucky to have one, maybe two nights a week, without a church related activity. That doesn't really spare them though, since the evening will require "Family Scripture Study" followed by "Family Prayer". I think you are beginning to get the picture.

Notwithstanding all of that, there are three hours of church in a row every Sunday, in formal dress. Practically every member has a calling, as mentioned, which takes up different amounts of time based on the responsibility. As mentioned, jobs such as being a bishop can take up many hours from every single day. It is in no way an overstatement to say that callings often encroach on other areas of life, making school, familial, and financial responsibilities more difficult to manage. Add to that, all the smaller responsibilities that can arise in a single moment, without warning, at any time. You may be called upon to pray, speak, sing, teach, or serve with variable amounts of time to prepare.

It is inescapable to note, that not a single church related activity is a payed occupation. Even the bishop, who is strained beyond normal bounds with the stress of an entire ward of people, is not payed a cent from the 7 Billion dollar church organization.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Oh, it's a conscription? This is still false. The busiest callings in a ward are not callings that require or even really support having the whole family around.

The first and most obvious negative result of church callings is the time it requires, which often takes time and money away from your family. Time spent not working, but instead getting paid nothing to be a clerk for your church, which charges you 10% of your income regardless, is time and money being taken from your family. What is most telling about this is what happens when you stop saying yes to callings. Pretty soon, you learn how important your "excuses for your inactivity" such as family or career. The church demands your activity. It's as simple as that. The church will claim to be not as important as your family, but their actions will say otherwise every time.

As far as "conscription", what I am referring to is what happens when a parent becomes inactive in the church. If you are a parent in the church, and you decide not to be active anymore, your children will literally be whisked away before your very eyes, all the time in order to attend without you. People you used to see when you went to church will literally come out of the woodwork at every opportunity to take your children to every activity they could possibly attend. More often then not, a bond is developed between active members, and the children of an inactive member. This bond can drive a powerful, judgmental wedge, between parent and children by painting the parent as the "poor and lost inactive" and the child as the "knight in shining armor" who will bring them back through "living the gospel'.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  This is the Kimball/McConkie soteriology, but it's the old regime and it's a position I and most contemporary members of the Church reject. One of the first books I read as a Latter-day Saint was Believing Christ, which directly combats your characterization of the Church. I have encouraged all members I've known who have struggled with questions of self-worth (largely because they grew up in authoritarian Kimball/McConkie-oriented families) to read that book. My wife and I are fierce opponents of a lot of the worthiness rhetoric that characterized pre-2000 Latter-day Saint ideology.

Honestly, Kimball was the Prophet. The Prophet. That is a HUGE deal. McConkie was and is considered one of the most brilliant theologians of the church, ever. Look, their aren't political factions within the Mormon church. It isn't possible to disagree with the prophet, and be vindicated. At the very least you may get a last minute, long overdue, concession, couched in the context of "I had a Revelation. It turns out you were right." I don't buy for a moment the whole "Progressive member" thing. Mormons are be definition fundamentalist and dogmatic. If you don't believe the dogma, you are rebelling against God be definition.

Look, disagreeing and thinking for yourself, don't get me wrong, I love it. Go for it. However, I don't understand how you can claim to represent mainstream Mormonism and not agree with the doctrines of Kimball and McConkie. Please explain.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Completely and totally false. There is no regimented or standardized confessional in the LDS Church. Only what are considered serious transgressions are thought to require confession to a bishop. There is no such thing in the Latter-day Saint worldview as a "thought crime," and "impure sexual thoughts" are not considered sinful. Acting upon them, provided they're improper according to the Church's standards, is what is considered sinful, and even then, only those considered more serious require confession.

Even if someone were to avoid confessing minor sings to the bishop, it hardly matters, because during the "Worthiness Interview", a personal interview with the bishop in order to determine one's worthiness, you will be asked a series of questions which include all common sins. You will have to disclose them to be considered worthy for certain ordinances, or temple access.

Maybe you could argue that you don't have to be worthy, or seek out access to the temple, but I don't find that line of thinking compelling. Since the Temple is required as the only means of becoming worthy of the highest kingdom of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom. No honest member fails to seek this out. It is pretty much the whole point.

Sexual thoughts are openly condemned in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. Literally every time you do so, you are considered to be making yourself unclean. Honestly, there is just no real privacy, if you are honest about it. You will be miserable. Acting on it is not the only sin, thinking it is clearly condemned as a sin as well.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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15-01-2014, 11:54 PM
Long-Assed Overdue Rebuttle Part Two
(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  We were encouraged to read and study on our own, and to think for ourselves.

This is vital. I know you were. So was I. It is much more subtle than that.

Take for example Moroni's promise. For those of you who don't know, Moroni's promise is a scripture in the Book of Mormon, that offers a promise of knowledge concerning the truth of the book. Here it is.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

The promise is clear. Ask with faith and honest desire, and you will know if the Book of Mormon, and by extension the church, is true.

Anyone, among the many, who has failed to get any real answer from this promise might, as they have, go to their bishop and ask him why they did not receive the answer. Why didn't god tell them the church was true? In this situation, you will be told one of a few possible things.

1. You have not read or prayed hard enough. Try again.
2. You are not worthy enough before god to have any communication from him right now. Repent first.
3. You have not recognized the answer, even though it has already been given. Try again.
4. Keep trying everything about the church anyway. Give it a chance. For some people, they just need to rely on the testimony of others for a while.

The central idea here is "you are responsible for your own failure to learn the truth, not the church." This is a self cleaning con game, because the church will never be wrong no matter what happens to the member. If they get the answer that it's true, hurray!, and we can all celebrate and move on. If not, it's their fault. Try again. As you can see, this is a loaded system that is designed to make you conform, and disassociate yourself with your own feelings. Most people subconsciously can't deal with the abuse, and collapse into submission. Can you blame them? The church has their self esteem by the balls, like a tiny child is wrapped around her father's finger.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  A ludicrous mischaracterization.

Look, discussion like this are both important and fun for me, and I do my best to make them worthwhile and interesting. I would really appreciate it if you gave me more to work with than this. By all means disagree with me. By all means insult me directly, if it suits your argument. However, please do so with more meat on your argument than just the insult or the statement alone. Add something to back it up.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  "Punished" is a bit of a misrepresentation. Not paying tithing really just means no temple recommend, and whether or not you have that is a private matter that's no publicized by anyone but the individuals themselves. I have multiple friends who openly oppose tithing, and they've never had any kind of disciplinary actions whatsoever taken against them.

The only issue with "punished" as a description, is that it doesn't quite describe the vice grip the church has over their members on this issue. Not having a temple recommend is the most serious issue of all, since it holds the only key to the greatest possible Heaven. As I mentioned before, the Celestial Kingdom is closed to those who have not been "Endowed", which is a secret ceremony that takes place within the temple. You cannot serve the church as a full time missionary, or be married in the temple, without completing your endowment. Once again, lacking a temple recommend will exclude you from marriage within the church, as well as access to Heaven. Oh sure, that's no big deal to a member.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Untrue. While my own position on individual sexuality differs in many ways from the Church's official position,

Once again, explain this. How are you managing this? If the church knew this, I doubt they would appreciate your free thinking attitude. Do you just keep this private?

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  The Church opposes the practice of homosexuality, and is a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage

To me, this is a simple matter of morality. Homosexuals deserve the same status under the law, available to heterosexuals. It's a matter of human right and solidarity, not scripture. This is a secular society and no one ought to be legislating their religious convictions, especially when the homosexuals who are unable to claim their rights as humans, are not even members of most faiths that condemn them.

The fact that the church has spent millions of dollars of it's member derived money retarding human rights, is enough for me to oppose them as being unethical and man made, without even bothering to consider any other part of their faith or organization.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  They insist that merely having those innate sexual desires is nothing of which to be guilty or ashamed.

No doubt we are missing the typical addendum "but if they act on it, it becomes immorality" etc... If you condemn the action in all or the majority of its forms, you condemn the idea.

Am I to understand that this supposed understand of sexual desires as being "innate" and "nothing of which to be guilty or ashamed" by the church, is only to be extended to the innate desires of heterosexuals? In other words, your desires are innate, although untrustworthy, but are downright immoral if they chance to be homosexual. I say this is nonsense and bigotry, and it's no good for anyone.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  The Church has even backed off of their firm stance against masturbation.

The church has never done, nor do I think it will ever, do any such thing. This is a blatant untruth. Masturbation is condemned openly as being immoral and a violation of "The Law of Chastity", and is considered to be as immoral as murder.

"Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?" Alma 39:5

This scripture from the Book of Mormon makes it clear. Sexual sin is just under the seriousness of premeditated murder.

I simply will not read such nonsense without speaking up. The church has not made any change on this matter at all, and to say so without it being so is an insult to those who struggle with it and are shamed by the church. I simply will not hear it, or tolerate it. Honestly, what are you talking about?

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Not totally true. The Church also prohibits leaders from making pronouncements about what is and is not allowed in the bedroom between married couples. Those are decisions left to the couples, and leaders are not allowed to ask questions or make declarations about it.

It is an obvious conclusion in this case that the church had to issue this as official policy because of their leaders who were doing just that. Why prohibit what has never been abused? Mormonism may be neutral now, although I am inclined to doubt that, but they weren't always, and their ideas are still alive in the church today. For example, it was considered common knowledge in my own ward growing up, that oral sex was forbidden. This was considered to be a church policy, not the mere opinion of a few members.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  There is no eternal stigma associated with it.

This is literally never the case. The family members always know, mostly because they usually catch the person viewing pornography in the first place, but also because they are used as a support group for that person. I have seen it over and over again, literally over 40 or 50 times in different wards all over the country, and even the world. Pornography is automatically considered an addiction, without consultation from a mental health expert, by the church. Often they send members who view it to see Mormon Therapists who work for the church directly. Of course their tithing money doesn't apply here, they have to pay up for the service. These are biased mental health people, determined to give therapy only within the Mormon world view.

There is also a stigma given to the user by the family, and anyone else who knows about the issue. The "addict" is now in a nanny state set up by his family and church in tandem. He is considered weaker than the problem, and unable to help himself. He is reduced to the status of a child emotionally, and when it comes to making choices. This is always a humiliating experience, but usually is disguised using the excuse of others "wanting to help". The image I mean to convey is an adult holding a box of cookies high over the head of a child, telling him he cannot handle access to the cookies and needs to be disciplined for abusing them. It is the essence of robbing an adult of their dignity.

(14-01-2014 08:27 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  9. You will be required to give testimony of the principles of the church, before you have tested them or even learned all of them. You will become comfortable with the idea that the church owes you nothing, and will only give you all the doctrine on a provisional basis. Your "worthiness" and hard work earn you the right to actually learn the doctrine you have already been required to embrace. You will sign on a dotted line without being told everything up front.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Well, beyond the impossibility of teaching anyone the fullness of LDS ideology in an order and efficient manner

LOL Apparently it can't be done. Well. What now. Smile

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  no religious tradition attempts to tell proselytes "everything up front."

I take issue with them as well, so this isn't any excuse in my book.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  I'm not going to waste time bringing up Smith's 1826 hearing and explaining all the reasons that the Neely and De Zeng bills show Smith was never actually convicted of anything. There's no point.

And yet, there you go wasting your time. Wink Look, all kidding aside, its a valid argument. You don't have to assume that no one will listen to you. Plenty of people here would want to talk about that.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Meh. More like a "Greatest Hits" history.

It's vaguely satisfying that you concede the omission, but I want more. It is highly suspicious that none of these "greatest hits" include anything that would shed bad light on the church. Public relations is playing a role in how history is taught, and I consider it a subtle form of censorship, especially considering the taboo related to looking up church history from outside sources.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  That's an overstatement, although I have long been an advocate for more open and accessible historical data, and that's been the trend the last couple years. You can now, for instance, access hi-res photos of all the Kirtland Egyptian Papers on a Church website.

Honestly, it has become a recent trend, because of people like me, and apparently you as well, who have been demanding it. Evidence is important, and we should all have a fair look at the information.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  That's not true. You can be ecclesiastically "punished" if you openly and publicly oppose Church leadership regarding the fundamental tenets of Joseph Smith's calling, the inspired nature of the Book of Mormon, and the priesthood authority of contemporary leadership, but even then you've got to be pretty adamant about it.

Look, that isn't any better. Your argument appears to go something like, "Well you have a right to free expression, except for when the church doesn't like what you are saying about them. Then you will be punished for saying what you want to say." Please tell me you don't actually think that.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Nursery starts at 18 months.

Oh good. I was worried that they wouldn't be mature enough to make religious decisions.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  It's a nursery. The whole point is to provide childcare service while the parents are elsewhere.

Although that may be a side benefit for the parents, I still don't consider it to be responsible of them. They should be more concerned that their children are being exposed to doctrine at 18 months. The children read kids books that teach about Mormonism, they sings songs that teach about Mormonism, or at least listen to them, etc... They are just too young to have subliminal messaging like this used on them. It's abuse.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  How dare parents teach their values to their children. Everyone knows toddlers and pre-adolescents make better decisions when they're left alone, right?

Quite honestly, yes. Children are always better off when left unmolested by religions in general. It is fundamentally wrong and immoral you think it's your right to indoctrinate your child in a religion, before he or she has had a chance to view its contents as a thinking adult person, and decide for himself or herself. They will be much less likely to commit immoral acts with god as their excuse.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  I agree that the Church's position on women is outdated and potentially harmful.

It's "outdated" but Jesus isn't? Wink Honestly though, who are you to say what is outdated or not? Isn't the church's position revealed to the prophet from God?

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  This is another area where my family and I are fighting for enlightenment.

Once again, please explain. Why don't you just accept what the Mormons call "God's will".

Also, if you can think for yourself on this subject, what stops you from questioning all the other ones too? Do you?

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Not true. It may have been true in the mid-twentieth century, but these days women are encouraged to get an education and move toward careers. The Church, for instance, has many, many women in positions throughout the different levels of its organization.

No dice. Utah is leading the nation in teen pregnancy and single motherhood. Women are having families first, and careers and education second. This is not a coincidence. Even if it were true that Mormonism didn't encourage this officially, the idea is still pervasive throughout the church, and especially in it's homeland, Utah.

Once again, fail. No woman holds any position within the church involving priesthood authority, which happens to be the grand majority of positions within the church. They aren't equal, no matter how you spin it.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  While many of the family values the Church promotes have the side effect of marginalizing single adults,

This is an understatement, and it has its base in doctrine. Going to the "Celestial Kingdom" is contingent on you having a family, with a heterosexual couple, with children. You must be "sealed" together in the temple. Understandably, not being able to have a family, or not wanting one, is to be an outcast. "Family Values" doesn't even remotely describe it. Heaven requires it. This can get so ridiculous even today, that a twenty five year old woman attending Brigham Young University, the Mormon college in Utah, is considered by her peers to be far too old. It is assumed socially and by default, that she is either unable to be married, or otherwise unable or unwilling to do so. Their attitude towards when it is appropriate, or even intelligent, to have your own family as an adult, is not remotely representative of the rest of the country.

(15-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Well, if you're an atheist you're going to reject the message outright.

I understand why you might think that, but evidence and proof is really important to me. If evidence or proof became available that proved me wrong, I would follow it, however uncomfortable it might make me. Basically, I don't assume that religious people would never listen to me, or agree with me on anything. I hope you wouldn't believe the reverse.

I apologize for the delay. This was a very long and difficult post which I had to balance with my real life responsibilities and bodily needs. Please understand, life is busy.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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16-01-2014, 12:31 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
Wow, nice work revealing makdikliss for the slippery, simpering snake oil salesman he is, DP. Bravo.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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16-01-2014, 12:39 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
[Edited: Placed in wrong post]

...
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16-01-2014, 01:12 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
When are we gonna talk about the supposed golden tablets from Gawd Herself -- potentially absolute proof that she actually exists -- and why no one can look at them?

Could it be, perhaps, that no one gets to see them because they don't fucking exist at all?

Hobo

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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16-01-2014, 01:23 AM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2014 02:47 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 01:12 AM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  When are we gonna talk about the supposed golden tablets from Gawd Herself -- potentially absolute proof that she actually exists -- and why no one can look at them?

Could it be, perhaps, that no one gets to see them because they don't fucking exist at all?

Hobo

No, no, no! You see, the plates are no longer here becuase God saw fit to spirit them back off to Heaven lest anyone else have to rely upon evidence rather than faith! Didn't anyone ever tell you the story of the Babel Fish before?



Babel Fish

[Image: babelfish.jpg]

"The Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix."

It is a universal translator that neatly crosses the language divide between any species. The book points out that the Babel fish could not possibly have developed naturally, and therefore it both proves and disproves the existence of God:

Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could evolve purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:

"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white, and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.


Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys. But this did not stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme for his best selling book, Well That About Wraps It Up for God. Meanwhile the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different cultures and races, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

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16-01-2014, 03:00 AM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2014 03:31 AM by Dark Phoenix.)
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
First I must begin with an apology to everyone here, but most especially to Vosur and Maklelan, for not answering their questions more promptly. It is my desire to apologize for my failing spelling and grammar in some of my posts here, especially those rebutting Meklelan. I learned today that the consumption of Maker's Mark is of no assistance whatsoever in typing out an argument. I won't be trying that again. It is my desire now to clarify all issues regarding myself and this thread.

Before I get to that, I simply must say something regarding the poor conduct, and unfair attitude that has been so in evidence on this thread in particular. If you are saying something about someone else here on the forum, and it is designed only to harm, slander, and frustrate, rather than to promote discussion and argument, please stop immediately. I simply want nothing to do with it. Joking and teasing have their place, but I don't want to be the author of material that causes people to attack one another without real cause and without real consideration. I don't want to hear anyone given a diagnosis of their mental health, or anything else of that kind. If I consider certain belief's to be only possible in the mind of a delusional person, I can claim that with what evidence I may, with the intention of expressing that opinion. To declare it with nothing to back it up is no better than a child screaming out at it's sibling "You're just stupid." and storming out of the room. I believe I have made myself absolutely clear how I feel about all of this.

I will begin my explanation with my background, which has been mentioned as an issue of some importance. I was a member of the LDS church for twenty years, ending my activity in the church in 2013 on New Years Day. I have been "out" as an Atheist to my family, and close friends, for the last year only. I would consider my experience to be recent and well within the realm of acceptable LDS mainstream. I am in no way representative of any splinter group, or otherwise non-LDS related church. I was also raised in the church all of my young life, and I did not much care for it even then.

To those who care, I considered myself a devout believer for most of my time attending the church. I believed in all teachings of the church, as revealed through scripture and prophecy. I followed all requirements to remain active and worthy. It would inaccurate to say that I "never believed".

As far as my exposure to the church, I can describe it as both worldwide, and well representative of mostly Western regions of the world. I have attended LDS services in 30 or so of the United States, as well as in Nigeria, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain, The UK, and France. Obviously my experience is limited mostly to North America and Europe, with a small excursion into Africa.

It may be important to note that I was not always a regular attending member for any extended length of time, especially in Europe, since I traveled from place to place constantly. My attendance was often improvised and irregular, in order to compensate for my busy schedule.

To the charge of not representing the church as a whole, I may very well be guilty. It is a vast organization which I am learning more and more about all the time, especially by way of meeting Mormons who's experience and even doctrines do not coincide with what was taught to me. Either Mormonism is not what it professes to be, as a globally identical truth, or perhaps it is mutating badly. Who can say?

As far as Meklelan, it may very well be that he has a superior perspective due to his position with the church. Simply put, he talks to members the world over as a daily occupation. His experience will by definition be more up to date and cover much more of the church ground than mine will.

To the charge of being theatrical, and producing sweeping statements of condemnation for effect, I plead guilty. Although it is not an excuse, I have such passion for this particular subject, that it seems to have shown rather too much in my writing. It has been pointed out that this thread is not well representative of my usual work, a fair observation. This is not deliberate, so I have no explanation for you.

As to my evidence, or the basis of all of this, all I have is my own experience. Sure, anyone can cite scripture or conference talks, which is necessary sometimes, but I prefer to speak from personal experience. I am willing to concede that personal testimony is shitty evidence at the best of times, but I am willing to make a profound exception in the case of Mormonism. This religion in particular is so isolated, community based, and secretive that once you get in, you are the only means of recording what actually went on within its walls. Your story is all you have, and the people you shared it with.

In my time as a Mormon, and this past year afterwards, I have endured a continuously conflicting number of assertions about a religion that I considered to be universal in its consistency. Mormons everywhere I go are reporting differences in experience, community, and most surprising of all to me, doctrine. Just today, my mind nearly exploded when I read these words.

"Very few of the Latter-day Saints I know believe that any printing of the Book of Mormon is the literal . . . direct word of God."

Meklelan, I don't know how to tell you how shocking this really is to me. You appear to be some mystical specter, "The Ghost of Mormonism Future", who suddenly proclaims progressive enlightenment values, as well as scriptural and divine denouncements, as the heart and soul of Mormonism. Although I agree with you on several important points, it is impossible for me to honestly concede that you represent anything close to the mainstream of the LDS church. You are a "mischaracterization", to use what seems to be a favorite word of yours, of what the lay member believes.

The validity and divinity of The Book of Mormon, which you were clear to denounce as such, is the original proposition which Mormonism was founded upon to begin with. The divine manifestations as well as the endless persecutions all culminated in the translation of the book by Joseph Smith. It was to stand as the only tangible evidence of the truth behind his experience, as well as the validity of his church to be. If it was never meant to be taught as literal truth, why were the testimonies of the three, and also the eight witnesses of the supposed golden plates, written down in the preface of the Book of Mormon, proclaiming to all that they saw the plates with their own eyes, and that they knew they were the source of Joseph's divinely inspired translation?

To this day, (in my experienceWink) when being interviewed by a bishop for a Temple Recommend, I would be asked the following as a matter of routine: "Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and that The Book of Mormon is true?" To answer with your statements, or in simpler terms, no, would find me without a Temple Recommend in short order. There is no breathing room here for ambiguity or personal opinion. It is the official assertion (or dogma if you prefer) that "The Book of Mormon is the word of God" as it is so firmly and clearly stated in "The Articles of Faith" written by Joseph Smith in order to explain the beliefs of his church to the general public. If you do not believe this assertion, you are not a true believer, and cannot maintain your worthiness as a priesthood holder or temple attendee. By extension, you are denied the privileges of heaven, and of seeing your family again after death. (Presuming they qualify for heaven themselves.)

These are what I would call, very serious and sobering matters from the perspective of the mainstream believer. How is it that you so easily, and with intellectual ease, brush them neatly aside? You are a mystery man, Sir. Explain yourself, if you can, and I will try to understand, if I can.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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16-01-2014, 05:27 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(15-01-2014 10:35 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Okay, honest question maklelan. How do modern LDS square the claims of silk clothing and steel weapons in pre-Columbia America (such as found in the Book of Ether) when that seems to be at complete odds with modern archaeology and evidence?

Well, some will insist that we've just not found the evidence yet, and others will insist that those words are just modern lexical approximations of similar yet distinct items from antiquity. Different apologists will approach it differently.

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16-01-2014, 06:21 AM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2014 06:27 AM by Cathym112.)
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(15-01-2014 10:08 PM)maklelan Wrote:  
(15-01-2014 09:31 PM)jaxx Wrote:  So translation: I am arrogant and condescending because I have supposed advanced degrees in religious studies and all you heathen atheists should yield to my "authoritai" and don't bother me with trivial questions. Yet, I shall remain on this forum so the nature of Jesus may shine bright through my self-righteousness and douchebaggery.

No, just don't get uppity if I correct your characterization or understanding of my religion or of religion in general, especially if you spend a lot of time here insulting, mocking, and marginalizing religious people.

(15-01-2014 09:31 PM)jaxx Wrote:  Disengage people.

Fwiw, as a former lds, I have never come across an asshole such as this before or after deconversion. 99% of them are pretty awesome and caring people in my experience. I have remained close friends with many.

When was the last time several posters on this board ganged up on you in a thread to insist that you had a psychological disorder and were mentally handicapped? I'm being perfectly sincere. I'd like an answer to this question. When did it last happen?

You'll have to pardon me, Makle. You see, I have the understanding that while I may be on a forum in a virtual room full of people, I treat each person on an individual basis and therefore do not blame an individual for the actions of that group. People were calling you stupid, gee, I'm sorry about that. Was it me? No? Then I expect an apology for accusing me of butthurt when it was actually yours it was hurting.

Chippy - eat shit. I love evidence, and what evidence and proof I have seen, since I live less than an hour from Palmyra, I took a gander. Just because what Makle is saying is contradictory of the evidence I have researched and I'm disagreeing with him, doesn't mean I'm ignoring the evidence. Don't be retarded. I know you know the difference between ignoring evidence and disagreeing on the authenticity of that evidence.

Now Makle, as it comes to your degrees: zero fucks given. I have advanced degrees too...but I'm not waiving them around as telling people that because of these degrees I cannot waste my time with people admittedly unfamiliar with the subject (which I admitted freely).

Now - you have advanced degrees. Gold star for you. You can follow a curriculum and write some essays. It requires no advanced IQ, and anyone with time and money can accomplish this. You are not superior because you have this piece of worthless paper.

Most people on this forum will attest that my advanced degrees in Economics do not cause me to talk down to anyone. I assume laymen knowledge and find no need to treat them as though they are stupid simply because the area of my academia is not their area of expertise. To do so betrays a superiority complex that is - IMO - a disgusting way to treat another person. What's the matter, Makle? Did mommy not tell you she was proud of you enough?


The woman that cleans my office building (that I own) is my intellectual peer. You are a douchbag if you treat others like unequals simply because of irrelevant factors such as education, social status or wealth. (Or, in your case, skin color).

Now, I disagree with your understanding of jurisprudence during Smith's time, and what would constitute pre-trail vs conviction. If you would like to speak like adults on this, id be happy to. If you want to speak to me like I'm an idiot (which I am not), then I have better ways to spend my time. (And not just empty threats of saying I don't wanna waste my time, then turn around and waste my time by answering the question in an exasperated huff)

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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16-01-2014, 06:40 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 03:00 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  First I must begin with an apology to everyone here, but most especially to Vosur and Maklelan, for not answering their questions more promptly. It is my desire to apologize for my failing spelling and grammar in some of my posts here, especially those rebutting Meklelan. I learned today that the consumption of Maker's Mark is of no assistance whatsoever in typing out an argument. I won't be trying that again. It is my desire now to clarify all issues regarding myself and this thread.

Before I get to that, I simply must say something regarding the poor conduct, and unfair attitude that has been so in evidence on this thread in particular. If you are saying something about someone else here on the forum, and it is designed only to harm, slander, and frustrate, rather than to promote discussion and argument, please stop immediately. I simply want nothing to do with it. Joking and teasing have their place, but I don't want to be the author of material that causes people to attack one another without real cause and without real consideration. I don't want to hear anyone given a diagnosis of their mental health, or anything else of that kind. If I consider certain belief's to be only possible in the mind of a delusional person, I can claim that with what evidence I may, with the intention of expressing that opinion. To declare it with nothing to back it up is no better than a child screaming out at it's sibling "You're just stupid." and storming out of the room. I believe I have made myself absolutely clear how I feel about all of this.

I will begin my explanation with my background, which has been mentioned as an issue of some importance. I was a member of the LDS church for twenty years, ending my activity in the church in 2013 on New Years Day. I have been "out" as an Atheist to my family, and close friends, for the last year only. I would consider my experience to be recent and well within the realm of acceptable LDS mainstream. I am in no way representative of any splinter group, or otherwise non-LDS related church. I was also raised in the church all of my young life, and I did not much care for it even then.

To those who care, I considered myself a devout believer for most of my time attending the church. I believed in all teachings of the church, as revealed through scripture and prophecy. I followed all requirements to remain active and worthy. It would inaccurate to say that I "never believed".

As far as my exposure to the church, I can describe it as both worldwide, and well representative of mostly Western regions of the world. I have attended LDS services in 30 or so of the United States, as well as in Nigeria, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain, The UK, and France. Obviously my experience is limited mostly to North America and Europe, with a small excursion into Africa.

It may be important to note that I was not always a regular attending member for any extended length of time, especially in Europe, since I traveled from place to place constantly. My attendance was often improvised and irregular, in order to compensate for my busy schedule.

To the charge of not representing the church as a whole, I may very well be guilty. It is a vast organization which I am learning more and more about all the time, especially by way of meeting Mormons who's experience and even doctrines do not coincide with what was taught to me. Either Mormonism is not what it professes to be, as a globally identical truth, or perhaps it is mutating badly. Who can say?

As far as Meklelan, it may very well be that he has a superior perspective due to his position with the church. Simply put, he talks to members the world over as a daily occupation. His experience will by definition be more up to date and cover much more of the church ground than mine will.

To the charge of being theatrical, and producing sweeping statements of condemnation for effect, I plead guilty. Although it is not an excuse, I have such passion for this particular subject, that it seems to have shown rather too much in my writing. It has been pointed out that this thread is not well representative of my usual work, a fair observation. This is not deliberate, so I have no explanation for you.

As to my evidence, or the basis of all of this, all I have is my own experience. Sure, anyone can cite scripture or conference talks, which is necessary sometimes, but I prefer to speak from personal experience. I am willing to concede that personal testimony is shitty evidence at the best of times, but I am willing to make a profound exception in the case of Mormonism. This religion in particular is so isolated, community based, and secretive that once you get in, you are the only means of recording what actually went on within its walls. Your story is all you have, and the people you shared it with.

In my time as a Mormon, and this past year afterwards, I have endured a continuously conflicting number of assertions about a religion that I considered to be universal in its consistency. Mormons everywhere I go are reporting differences in experience, community, and most surprising of all to me, doctrine. Just today, my mind nearly exploded when I read these words.

"Very few of the Latter-day Saints I know believe that any printing of the Book of Mormon is the literal . . . direct word of God."

Meklelan, I don't know how to tell you how shocking this really is to me. You appear to be some mystical specter, "The Ghost of Mormonism Future", who suddenly proclaims progressive enlightenment values, as well as scriptural and divine denouncements, as the heart and soul of Mormonism. Although I agree with you on several important points, it is impossible for me to honestly concede that you represent anything close to the mainstream of the LDS church. You are a "mischaracterization", to use what seems to be a favorite word of yours, of what the lay member believes.

The validity and divinity of The Book of Mormon, which you were clear to denounce as such, is the original proposition which Mormonism was founded upon to begin with. The divine manifestations as well as the endless persecutions all culminated in the translation of the book by Joseph Smith. It was to stand as the only tangible evidence of the truth behind his experience, as well as the validity of his church to be. If it was never meant to be taught as literal truth, why were the testimonies of the three, and also the eight witnesses of the supposed golden plates, written down in the preface of the Book of Mormon, proclaiming to all that they saw the plates with their own eyes, and that they knew they were the source of Joseph's divinely inspired translation?

To this day, (in my experienceWink) when being interviewed by a bishop for a Temple Recommend, I would be asked the following as a matter of routine: "Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and that The Book of Mormon is true?" To answer with your statements, or in simpler terms, no, would find me without a Temple Recommend in short order. There is no breathing room here for ambiguity or personal opinion. It is the official assertion (or dogma if you prefer) that "The Book of Mormon is the word of God" as it is so firmly and clearly stated in "The Articles of Faith" written by Joseph Smith in order to explain the beliefs of his church to the general public. If you do not believe this assertion, you are not a true believer, and cannot maintain your worthiness as a priesthood holder or temple attendee. By extension, you are denied the privileges of heaven, and of seeing your family again after death. (Presuming they qualify for heaven themselves.)

These are what I would call, very serious and sobering matters from the perspective of the mainstream believer. How is it that you so easily, and with intellectual ease, brush them neatly aside? You are a mystery man, Sir. Explain yourself, if you can, and I will try to understand, if I can.

Thanks for the response and for the clarifications. I am happy to stand corrected regarding those assumptions about you your post corrects, and I apologize for jumping to the conclusions I did.

A quick comment about the Book of Mormon, though, and my claim about not knowing many Latter-day Saints who believe it is the "literal . . . direct word of God." I do not mean by that "not inspired," or "not God's word." It's part of our Articles of Faith that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that's the phraseology that you encounter in the temple recommend interview. What I refer to is the largely evangelical jargon of inerrancy, which is a doctrine that the LDS Church rejects. The disagreement on how the Book of Mormon was composed may be best represented by highlighting the two distinct translation theories that have currency in the Latter-day Saint communities, namely the tight translation theory and the loose translation theory. The former is the notion that Joseph Smith, via his seerstone, was directly revealed every letter of every word of the Book of Mormon. This is the process described by some of the second-hand accounts of the translation, and it means absolutely nothing was left to his mind. He merely dictated spelled out names, words, and phrases that he saw to his scribe. The loose translation theory holds that he was inspired with conceptualizations, not with actual words. The responsibility to articulate the inspiration was his and his alone, meaning just as Joseph Smith found its way in the translation as did any inspiration. The vast majority of my peers within the LDS Church are advocates of the loose translation theory. That's not to say there are no significant proponents of the tight translation theory (Royal Skousen, particularly, comes to mind). In light of this disagreement, I don't think very many of either side would call the Book of Mormon the unfiltered and pristine, literal and direct words of God himself.

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