12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
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16-01-2014, 07:02 AM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2014 07:07 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 05:27 AM)maklelan Wrote:  
(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.


Okay then. Consider


As for the first defense, I think that is terribly weak. It's one thing to lose some steel swords, but how does one lose a whole steel industry? Where are the iron and coal mines? Where are the steel refineries and mills? Where are all of the missing artifacts made of steel that should survive; such as their claimed chains, ploughs, bows (1 Nephi 16:18 'And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.), swords, chariot parts, and anything else that would benefit being made of steel assuming they had the industry to do so thousands of years ago? There are things we should expect to find if they had the capability to work steel, and they are nowhere to be found; this is a very strong argument from silence.


If they weren't made of steel, then what were they made out of? What is it, and where can it be found? We have words for iron, copper, gold, silver, nickle, and alloys such as bronze and steel; did they have access to a hitherto unknown metallurgy and alloys that we simply don't have a word for? If so, where is the evidence for that? There have been no examples of any of the described currency or coinage ever found. The book makes plain sense with a straight reading of what the words say in English, why now only after the finding of modern archeology, must the book now be finessed and finagled to make the evidence fit? Did Smith not have the proper word to describe what was there? Why wasn't he made privy to the proper terms, as presumably determined by divine inspiration, so that his translation complimented rather than disagreed with latter archeological findings?


In short, I find either path nowhere near as compelling as the simplest answer of all, the one the makes the least amount of assumptions and simultaneously solves every question satisfactorily; that the whole story is a work of fraud.

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16-01-2014, 07:15 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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.

When you first engaged me on this thread you asked about Joseph Smith's putative conviction. I immediately and explicitly pointed out that he, in fact, was never convicted of anything. In you reply, you seemed to sidestep my rather direct comment and said the following:

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  OK. so my take away here is that the LDS believes he was wrongly convicted, or that somehow history is wrong?

This doesn't even address my correction of history, rather it either completely misunderstands a rather simple statement, or it ignores it and patronizingly brings up a couple alternative ways that Latter-day Saints might attempt to get around what you have now rhetorically insisted is inviolable historical fact, as if when I say "he was never convicted of anything," what I really mean is, "I don't know history. Please help me figure out my position." You're talking down to me. You're not being as belligerent as some of the other posters here, but this is no less a flippant and condescending dismissal of my position. If it was not your intention to attempt to correct what you understood to be inferior historical knowledge, let me know and I'll be happy to apologize, but given your next comments, I don't think I'm far off the mark:

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  Since I live in NY, I have personally gone to Wayne County and looked up the records. Whether or not you minimize what he has done, or if you believe that the charges were bogus, the fact of the matter is that he was, in fact, convicted of fraud by a trial of his peers.

Again, rather than address my quite explicit declaration of fact, you provide two more possible claims that might better suit me in my ignorance: the charges were bogus, or the whole thing is really not that important. These are now four different alternative responses (in bold above) to the problem of the ostensible conviction you have attributed to me without a single acknowledgement of my clear and explicit response---the response I supported with historical evidence and that you have never bothered to go back and engage (you're more committed now to just tearing down my person). I consider that flippant and disrespectful dismissal of me and my profession to be incredibly condescending and rude, and I don't believe my responses have been at all out of line.

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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.

And yet, you've not bothered to comment at all on the actual evidence, and have instead given yourself wholly to just attacking my character.

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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).

You admitted freely right before patronizingly trying to help me find some alternative solution to the problem you obviously thought I was unable to wrap my head around. Can you see the disconnect between saying, "Now, I don't know much about this," and then coming back and saying, "Maybe you should try some other explanation, because I happen to live in New York and have traveled to do the research myself, and I'm afraid you're wrong"?

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  Now - you have advanced degrees. Gold star for you.

I didn't bring that up to brag, I just brought it up to illustrate the irony of people here talking down to me about religion and its critical study. It's really not something I'm interested in belaboring, unless you intend to try to make something out of it.

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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.

If you were on an economics discussion board and a bunch of people with no training whatsoever where talking down to you about economics and insisting you have a psychological disorder and a mental handicap because of your position on economics, you wouldn't ever take the opportunity to point out that you actually have more training than they do?

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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?

More online psychoanalysis. This is really the cream of the internet atheist crop, isn't it?

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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).

I'll thank you not to project racism onto me for rhetorical effect just because of your ignorant assumptions about my faith community's worldview. I do absolutely no such thing, but if someone attempts to talk down to me or treat my perspective dismissively or flippantly in the context of a putatively intellectual discussion about religion---my profession---yes, I will point out my superior training. You would too in a similar situation, and given that you're willing to call someone a racist in direct contradiction to all the available evidence just to score a rhetorical point or two, you're obviously lying if you insist otherwise.

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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.

By all means, address the evidence.

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  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.

I hope you can understand that your patronizing attempt to help me find an alternative response to the 1826 trial was just as condescending and insulting.

(16-01-2014 06:21 AM)Cathym112 Wrote:  (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)

I look forward to your discussion of the evidence, then.

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16-01-2014, 07:19 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 07:02 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Okay then. Consider


As for the first defense, I think that is terribly weak.

(16-01-2014 07:02 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  In short, I find either path nowhere near as compelling as the simplest answer of all, the one the makes the least amount of assumptions and simultaneously solves every question satisfactorily; that the whole story is a work of fraud.

Well, that's one rhetorical leap beyond the evidence, and it actually raises a bunch of addition questions about the three and eight witnesses, Smith's own conviction about his experience, and a number of other things. The evidence best supports the conclusion that the text was the work of a 19th century mind, but to go from that directly to "fraud" is a false inference.

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16-01-2014, 07:33 AM (This post was last modified: 16-01-2014 07:44 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 07:19 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Well, that's one rhetorical leap beyond the evidence, and it actually raises a bunch of addition questions about the three and eight witnesses, Smith's own conviction about his experience, and a number of other things. The evidence best supports the conclusion that the text was the work of a 19th century mind, but to go from that directly to "fraud" is a false inference.


Well, is it the book a work of divine inspiration? If it was, the Book of Mormon wouldn't contain any of the historical anachronisms that it does.

"The evidence best supports the conclusion that the text was the work of a 19th century mind,"

Well, that's neatly evasive. Guess what? Even if it's not a deliberate work of fraud and even if Smith was entirely convinced of his story, that in no way lends it any amount of truthfulness or evidentiary support. It would still mark the book as a work of fiction, regardless of Smith's motives. Smith could believe he was right, he could have all of the conviction in the world; but without evidence you cannot move his book into the realm of non-fiction.


Fraud or not, why should I or anyone else lend any credence (and 10% of my net income) to a Church built upon the fictitious story of a 19th century man claiming to divine inspiration and entirely unable to substantiate it? Consider


Also, don't think I didn't notice how you failed to address the rest of my post. You know, the parts about historical anachronisms and evidence. Drinking Beverage

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16-01-2014, 08:44 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

No, actually over the time I've been here I have gotten emails and Facebook messages from a couple different people who are on this board (all atheists) who just wanted to say hi and strike up the occasional conversation. Sometimes someone will point out during one of my hiatuses that a discussion is going on of which I might want to be aware. I don't believe I've ever interacted with an active Latter-day Saint participant or reader of this board outside of this board itself.

The assumption of secret LDS machinations going on behind the scene is the result in many iterations of an overactive imagination that can come from adopting some of the more silly conspiracy theories about Mormonism. Not that that's the case here, but the assumption is quite common in ex-Mormon and fundamentalist Christian communities, and most acutely where those two communities overlap. Not that I'm trying to psychoanalyze you, but there's a great deal of NRM scholarship on "leave-takers" and what influences their memories and perspectives about the communities they left, particularly when they move into an opposing ideological community or worldview.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Never mind my silliness, welcome to the "Ask a Mormon" thread.

Thank you.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

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.

That phrase can be appropriate and inappropriate. Latter-day Saints won't refuse to associate with people just for taking part in any given prohibited activity, but there are certainly activities that any rational adult would agree are acceptable for parents to insist their children avoid. I don't want my daughters hanging out with the kinds of kids I hung out with in high school, and not because they weren't Mormons and didn't hold the priesthood, but because I broke the law regularly and experimented with a bunch of different drugs as a direct result of their influence. It impeded my emotional and intellectual growth as a young adult. When my daughters are in high school, I will tell them we don't associate with those kinds of people, and if anyone wants to scoff at that or call it prejudice, I will be happy to show them where they can stick it. It is not prejudice to refuse to allow association with specific people so as not to compromise the health and safety of me or my children. It is prejudice when it's a question of whether or not they watch R-rated movies, or go out to eat on Sundays, and that kind of exclusion is remarkably few and far between.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

I don't know many people who refuse association with others purely in the interest of preserving their faith. Certainly there are Latter-day Saints who break off relationships with friends and families because they are being subjected to verbal and emotional abuse, but to blame that on them is an egregious, egregious misrepresentation of the situation. I know someone who used to love hanging out with his brother but had to limit their relationship because any time (absolutely any time) they went out to a restaurant, bar, or social event, the brother would try to force him to drink beer, and would yell at him and insult him in public when he politely refused (and my friend made a point of doing it as politely as humanly possible). Once the brother became drunk and physically attacked him. It broke my friend's heart to do it, but he told his brother that he could not be accompanying him to any social gatherings in the future if he continued to act like that, which effectively ended their relationship. The brother then insisted my friend's faith ruined their relationship, and that my friend cared more about his religion than about his family. I have spoken with other relatives and friends of my friend's brother, and they firmly believe the brother's account. Now there are multiple people outside of the Church going around Arizona telling a story based on personal experience about how Mormons ruin and split up families and prohibit association with people who believe differently. Tell me, do you think that's fair to my friend? Do you think that's an accurate representation of the events? Do you think this kind of situation is all that rare?

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  You will notice that Maklelan did not list any example of avoiding a situation of danger to his/her "ethical integrity".

Hey, I didn't see you provide many examples to back up your claims either. If you really want me to provide a couple examples from personal experience, I'm happy to.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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".

A rather systematized representation of a global faith community that has overlooked quite a bit regarding communal memory and the psychology of religion. Absolutely all religious communities change and evolve as the sacred past is renegotiated with the exigencies of the present. The presupposition that this is a calculated and systematic evasion of social responsibility or consequences is a rather naive misunderstanding.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

No, that's not true. The Church encourages people to marry within the faith because it reduces the potential for serious disagreement, but there is no prohibition or institutional mandate whatsoever.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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."

And that is a direct and flagrant violation of the Church's standards and leadership policies. They are explicitly told not to do that.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

And exaggerated. It can certainly happen, but the Church has repeatedly enforced and reinforced the priority of the family over differences in personal beliefs.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

So we're bad, and if we deny it, we are only proving we're bad.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

And yet, we tear them apart at a whim just to prevent believers being yoked with unbelievers?

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

I am well aware of examples of just such wedges. I am equally aware of examples of the kind I shared above that get circulated in the critical community is examples of those wedges. I try not to be so unilateral in my assessment of blame, and I also don't presume to attribute the private inability of people to be understanding and selfless to institutional control.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

On the other hand, as I and numerous other members will attest, those "candy coated advertising strategies" are exactly how we honestly and sincerely experience membership in the Church. Sure, bad things happen, and bad people are in the Church, but we can acknowledge that without throwing our hands up and assuming those are fundamental to the Church's identity, and it doesn't at all mean that the "candy coated" experiences are a facade.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

I acknowledge that you may have experienced that, but I have friends on every inch of the spectrum from belligerent anti-Mormon to belligerent doubting Mormon to benevolent doubting Mormon to unquestioning True Blue Mormon, and the negativity of the reaction of the general membership to doubting and questioning is more a function of the nature and sincerity of the original expression of doubt and concern than of an institutional and unilateral rejection and ostracizing.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Well, when you describe our worldview as a "twisted, neurotic, and relentless campaign of fear mongering," I guess we are out of line to feel attacked, huh?

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Aside from the encouragement to read the scriptures daily, what other "church based material" are we receiving every single day?

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

I acknowledge that the spirit of free inquiry has long been mitigated by some leadership, but that's changed quite a bit in recent years, and your characterization fits more with early-twentieth century Latter-day Saint worldviews than anything contemporaneous.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

The regiment you describe is a caricature, but basically what you're saying is that members are encouraged to pray daily and before meals, and to read the scriptures daily.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Family home evening is generally a Monday activity, and it's usually a prayer, a hymn, a short spiritual thought, and then some kind of family activity, like a game or going out for desert. Not really the 1984-like dystopia you conceptualized. Mutual is where the Young Women's group and the scouts meet together, and that's also the context for the "faith in God" program (basically religion woven into scouts). In other words, you've split the activities of one night into three separate nights. Youth are rarely involved in choirs unless they're particularly musically inclined and volunteer for it. It's certainly not expected, but even then, choir practice takes place the half hour before or after the actual church meeting on Sunday, so that's not a separate day. So you've got Sunday, Monday night, and for youth, Wednesday night. That's not even half the days of the week.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Family scripture study is not really a requirement, but we get the picture that Latter-day Saints pray around five times a day for about a minute each and then read their scriptures for up to 30 minutes every day. Hardly the crushing shackles of responsibility that you asserted earlier.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

No, actually I mentioned that even bishops don't have responsibilities every single day. Sundays are particularly full, and usually Tuesday nights are set aside for interviews and things like that, but other than that their nights are free unless they elect to go attend mutual or schedule some visits with members in their community.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

And the Church repeatedly affirms that family must take priority over callings. If the callings are a detriment to the quality of family life, they should be released.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Yes, you may be asked to participate in your community. It's not all that horrifying.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Oh, you'd have even bigger concerns if bishops did receive a salary.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

That's a point of view that I acknowledge can be quite common, and I also fight against it. Local leaders and local members need to believe the Church when it says the family is most important.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Literally? With a whisk? If you're not going to attend with them or drop them off, then usually they'll arrange for someone else to take them (provided they cannot drive, in which case there are no whisks, it's just them attending on their own accord). The Church cannot and does not step in and control your child's activities for you.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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'.

I see members reaffirm the priority of the parent/child relationship and authority structure in situations like that (including insisting a child stay with family or show more respect for family when they are the ones to downplay the relationship with the parent) far more often than I ever see members try to leverage the Church against the parent; and on the few occasions I've seen that, others have stepped in to immediately correct that behavior. I take this kind of thing very seriously, as do many others, and while it can be a temptation for some members, it is by no means widespread or at all condoned.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Honestly, Kimball was the Prophet. The Prophet. That is a HUGE deal.

Was a huge deal. The authority of the living president unilaterally supersedes that of a past one.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  McConkie was and is considered one of the most brilliant theologians of the church, ever.

Was much more than is.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Look, their aren't political factions within the Mormon church.

Oh, there absolutely are. You're obviously not aware of many of the disagreements that have arisen between apostles and presidents of the Church.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It isn't possible to disagree with the prophet, and be vindicated.

Absolutely untrue. Do you know the history of how difficult it was for McConkie to actually get Mormon Doctrine published precisely because the presidency of the Church thought it was almost entirely wrong?

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

As I said, this is the fundamentalist Mormon perspective that gets adopted by critics of the Church because it's usually the perspective out of which they came (the most brittle perspective), and it is the handiest for being critical of the Church. It's also the least thoughtful and the least Christlike, and increasingly the least common.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Kimball and McConkie are dead and gone.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Absolutely untrue. The Handbook of Instructions is quite clear regarding what can and cannot be asked, and if you read it in the past, you might be surprised how much it's changed. The questions are broad and generic now.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

Actually there are plenty of members who do not seek it out.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

The old proverb that relates to sexual impulses and thoughts is "One can not prevent the birds from flying over one's head, but one can keep them from building a nest in one's hair." In other words, the thoughts and impulses are perfectly natural, but it's what we do with them that determines our cleanliness.

(15-01-2014 11:46 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  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.

This is the perspective of someone who doesn't really believe in the atonement, which is actually the whole point of the Church.

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16-01-2014, 08:50 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 07:33 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Well, is it the book a work of divine inspiration? If it was, the Book of Mormon wouldn't contain any of the historical anachronisms that it does.

So whence comes this fundamental assumption that divine inspiration unilateral precludes ahistorical narrative? This sounds like a fundamentalist Christian talking, not someone who questions everything.

(16-01-2014 07:33 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Well, that's neatly evasive.

No, it's neatly accurate.

(16-01-2014 07:33 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Guess what? Even if it's not a deliberate work of fraud and even if Smith was entirely convinced of his story, that in no way lends it any amount of truthfulness or evidentiary support.

You're still assuming I'm trying to defend the historicity of the Book of Mormon, which I'm not. Just take me at my word and stop trying to anticipate my responses. My point is that fraud does not follow necessarily from the conclusion that it is the sole work of a 19th century author. Full stop.

(16-01-2014 07:33 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  It would still mark the book as a work of fiction, regardless of Smith's motives.

And that's exactly my point. What the evidence leads to is a work of fiction. "Fraud" is an assumption. I'm beginning to think you aren't paying close attention to what I'm writing.

(16-01-2014 07:33 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Smith could believe he was right, he could have all of the conviction in the world; but without evidence you cannot move his book into the realm of non-fiction.

And what leads you to believe that's what I'm trying to do?

(16-01-2014 07:33 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Fraud or not, why should I or anyone else lend any credence (and 10% of my net income) to a Church built upon the fictitious story of a 19th century man claiming to divine inspiration and entirely unable to substantiate it? Consider

That's for each person to decide.

(16-01-2014 07:33 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Also, don't think I didn't notice how you failed to address the rest of my post. You know, the parts about historical anachronisms and evidence. Drinking Beverage

Again you seem to think I am trying to defend the Book of Mormon. This little coffee drinking emoticon is so ridiculous because every time one of you posts it in an attempt to condescend and talk down to me, it is unilaterally a function of misunderstanding and naivety. I have asked you and everyone else here to just take me at my word, and yet you continue to attribute to me motivations that have nothing at all to do with me. Please stop.

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16-01-2014, 09:03 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 08:50 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Again you seem to think I am trying to defend the Book of Mormon. This little coffee drinking emoticon is so ridiculous because every time one of you posts it in an attempt to condescend and talk down to me, it is unilaterally a function of misunderstanding and naivety. I have asked you and everyone else here to just take me at my word, and yet you continue to attribute to me motivations that have nothing at all to do with me. Please stop.

Careful, boss. Your persecution complex is showing.
(ps: that's a joke)

It is a gift indeed, to so assuredly know what others are thinking when they type an innocuous little emoticon.

Perhaps instead of assuming full knowledge of others' motives, you might hold off on judging?

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16-01-2014, 09:09 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 09:03 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Careful, boss. Your persecution complex is showing.
(ps: that's a joke)

Don't worry, it's too complex for anyone here to untangle Hobo

(16-01-2014 09:03 AM)cjlr Wrote:  It is a gift indeed, to so assuredly know what others are thinking when they type an innocuous little emoticon.

I have also considered the actual words that accompany it, usually dismissive and presumptuous implications of thoughtlessness or ignorance on my part that turn out to just be naivety on their part.

(16-01-2014 09:03 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Perhaps instead of assuming full knowledge of others' motives, you might hold off on judging?

I try to avoid judging people who are not actively judging me, and I think you'll find that the posts to which I refer are chock full of judgment and assumption.

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16-01-2014, 09:26 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 06:40 AM)maklelan Wrote:  
(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.

However, the skeptical position is that there was no translation at all. No seerstone, no gold tablets, because there is no evidence and no compelling testimony.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-01-2014, 09:29 AM
RE: 12 Reasons You Should Reject Mormonism
(16-01-2014 07:19 AM)maklelan Wrote:  
(16-01-2014 07:02 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Okay then. Consider


As for the first defense, I think that is terribly weak.

(16-01-2014 07:02 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  In short, I find either path nowhere near as compelling as the simplest answer of all, the one the makes the least amount of assumptions and simultaneously solves every question satisfactorily; that the whole story is a work of fraud.

Well, that's one rhetorical leap beyond the evidence, and it actually raises a bunch of addition questions about the three and eight witnesses, Smith's own conviction about his experience, and a number of other things. The evidence best supports the conclusion that the text was the work of a 19th century mind, but to go from that directly to "fraud" is a false inference.

No, fraud is the most likely answer. The second most likely answer is delusion.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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