A spectrum of Mormons and other feedback [an error occurred while processing this directive]

3/3 - 4/2/98 Messages

The most recent messages can be found here.

received 4/2/98
The latest items in feedback, do not warm my heart as a fellow "Mormon." Rather, they make me shiver to see how close minded people can be. If they can find some falsehood then let them expose it - realizing however that things are not false just because they disagree with current church teachings. Doctrine has changed over time and will continue to change (open Cannon and continual Revelation). Polygamy was wrong, then right, then wrong again within a period of 75 years. Truth can be hard to prove. There are times that one has to rely ultimately on "faith" but you should be able to count these times on one's fingers.

To turn off your brain and trust everything on faith is the antithesis of "Mormonism" as defined by Brigham Young. Consider Geometry. There are millions of "facts" about angles and lines, etc. but all can be proved from the five Euclidean Axioms. These five and only these five have to be accepted on faith alone. The first 4 are "obvious". The 5th however was not (re: parallel lines ). Many tried to prove or disprove it. Eventually it was discovered that the Parallel Line Axiom "defines" a flat surface - its negation "defines" curved surfaces. It is true and false.

Too many Mormon's cling to a belief and over extend it. "Joseph Smith was a prophet of God." Well and good, he was. But then this is extended to a concept of infallibility. Joseph Smith never claimed to be perfect and in fact argued the opposite. But Mormons are afraid to acknowledge that Joseph Smith wasn't a very good business man or administrator. He put the church into heavy debt and had many failed businesses. Does this make him less of a prophet, No. Moses was a poor administrator till his father-in-law suggested that he delegate responsibility. Moses killed a man, he lost his temper and broke the first tablets to the 10 commandments. But still Moses is considered by many to be the greatest of prophets.

We see the argument by extension with The Book of Abraham. If the Book of Mormon was translated with the help of God then surely all other works were also. People can not accept that one is true but not the other. Consider - the Book of Mormon was translated BEFORE Joseph Smith had any knowledge of foreign languages using the Urim and Thumin and knowledge from God. The Books for Moses and Abraham were TRANSLATED by Joseph Smith after he had studied Hebrew and leaned heavily upon his own understanding. Did God help him or did God allow Joseph Smith to err in his vanity of newfound language skills? Did we really need three versions of Genesis 1 and 2?

The church holds to the truth that prophets CAN NOT lead the church astray. If they should try the Lord would cause their death. (B. Young states such in his discourses). An interesting question was raised in Gospel Doctrine - did Joseph Smith die because he was starting to stray from the true path? After all he was puffing up with worldly pride - Leader of the Church, leader of Nauvoo, Lt. General of his own little army and plans to run for US President. Had he lost sight of the spiritual side of things?

received 4/1/98
I've downloaded and read, from this site, approximately 70 pages of text, so I think I can fairly make some conclusions about your page. I'll just make one: Your thoughts are very similar to my own. This seems strange to me, since I once believed it impossible for myself to come to and hold to "free and honest intellectual inquiry" as you well-phrase it. I think you'll find it interesting how I came to think similarly to you.

I've had and have an inordinate amount of anxiety. This anxiety was especially acute in my early adolescent years. Back then my response was to learn more about and more zealously live my religion. I read the scriptures and tried to live them, and my life (especially in school) became a mental Hell. An example of this continual Hell: I saw a girl in jeans. I thought something (perhaps only vaguely) what the scriptures coined lustful. I was a sinner. I prayed and asked for forgiveness, once, twice, on and on because every time I started to pray for forgiveness the Other Voice said "Damn you, God," or "I'm lying," or conjured some worse lustful thought. Then one night I lay tortured (as was common) by the Other Voice that kept, from the corner of my mind, contradicting everything I believed. I made a decision. God wanted me to know the truth, not doubting. Since He wanted me to know the truth, he would surely enlighten my mind to the truth. So I faced my doubts. "I hate you, God," the Other said. I said "Do I?" "Yes." "Why?" "You do." "If you don't have a reason, shut up." If the Other did have a reason, clearly God would want me to consider it and find out for myself if it were true. If my life runs parallel to the history of earth, then started the Reformation, followed by the Age of Enlightenment, and Rene Descartes had been born.

I considered everything equally and came to a conclusion of whether or not it was true, using the best method of reasoning I knew for the time being. I was happy and the torment ended. Facing my doubts, I considered for some time that my religion was not true and looked through a different perspective (so as not to be "missing the forest for the trees"). Then, fairly, I decided to go back to reason why my religion was true. I could not, because to do so I had to ask God "in faith believing", and because if religion existed so did Deductive reasoning. I realized then that to believe in religion was to impose on myself serious mental handicaps and I would once again have to deny (rather than fairly consider) doubts, which meant a return to Hell. If "wickedness never was happiness" then (reasonably, I think) a return to religion meant a return to wickedness.

The moral of this story: The inability to doubt is a serious handicap.

received 3/31/98
I saw your website, and knew immediatly that you have apostasized some time in the past.

Have I? Or has your church? Joseph Smith said, "We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons." I try and practice "true" Mormonism. It appears that it is your brand of Mormonism that has apostatized "some time in the past".

It's not enough for you to change what you were is it?

Changing what I was by continuing to grow and learn is plenty for me.

You have to destroy what you were and hope that the guilt goes away with it.

Guilt? For what--thinking?

I dont expect you to take this to heart and change your ways. Its obvious that what you have become is permanent (for eternity). But remember this.. Your savior will bring what you have done before the judgement seat, and your pain will be so strong that we will all weep for our brother. Im sorry that you feel the way you do, and if it be the lords will then maybe you might realize your iniquity and come into the light once again. "...Everyone that doeth evil, Hateth the light..." -John 3:20 My heart aches for you and will pray for you always.

And here is a quote (without any threats of damnation) for you... "I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." -- Henry David Thoreau in "Walden"

received 3/30/98
I am a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I joined after much study of other religions, ect. and I must say how offensive, synical, and hateful this site is.

For instance?

If you want people to believe or follow you or your religion, than I suggest that you become more of a delightful person.

I have no need for believers or followers and hold to no organized religion. Does a search for truth through open and honest inquiry make one 'undelightful' in your eyes?

Religion should have nothing to do with hate or critisism.

Where have I professed religion or fostered hate? Shouldn't anyone's claim of 'truth' be open to criticism? What could truth possibly have to fear from it?

The LDS Church believes in practising ones faith without bashing others.

As do I. In addition to practicing, I also include (and encourage) examining.

Just a little advise. After all, hate does not constitute religion in any way. Besides, before you state your opinion, please study up a little more. I know that you have read the books, ect., but some of your statements seem to come from ignorance.

For instance?

received 3/26/98
I stumbled onto your page about the 2-step process of internet Christian apologetics. I can't tell you how many times I have seen this sort of thing happen. The only thing you need to make it perfect is to include step 3: Change the subject. "Maybe I can't prove that God exists, but you can't prove he *doesn't*!" (Of course, I never actually try to prove that God doesn't exist - I only show how their arguments for the existence of God are fallacious, and at least one of the Christians I know will join me in doing so because he, too, hates fallacious arguments.)

Incidentally, I have seen a Muslim do the 2-step as well. Specifically, he tried to prove the existence of Allah by proving the existence of the soul. His argument (which I have, curiously, seen virtually word-for-word from other Muslims) was that the instant after a person dies, his body is exactly the same as it was an instant before he died. Ergo, the only change is the imperceptible departure of the soul. When I began to talk about the cellular changes which accompany death, he told me that all those things accompanied death but were not the cause of it, and that Allah could strike someone dead with a puff of breeze if he wished (again, I have seen this argument from faith, particularly the part about the breeze, virtually word-for-word from other Muslims.) When I told him that a declaration of faith didn't leave us much to talk about, he told me that I couldn't disprove the existence of God.

Incidentally, how many times have you heard the following argument:
1. Atheists believe that we are mere matter.
2. Something as wonderful as morality cannot arise from mere matter/mere matter cannot have consciousness without a soul, and morality is meaningless without consciousness.
3. Ergo, "atheistic morality" is self-contradictory.

I've heard it, or things very similar regarding how atheists can't be moral, at least a dozen times.

What I love about that argument is that not only does it make the boneheaded mistake of saying, "Your beliefs contradict mine - they must be *self* contradictory!" but also it confuses two issues, to wit:
1. Can atheistic people be moral in any kind of universe? and
2. Can any people be moral in an atheistic universe?

BTW, I have an atheistic morality FAQ.

received 3/26/98
hey, for some reason i started exploring the atheism websites on the internet and noticed a very distinct pattern. the number one reason, it seems to me, that people become atheists is because of their repulsion of organized religion, but to be more precise, CHRISTIANITY. i have seen many many many pages argueing against the bible and so forth..just wondering, what is an atheists attitude towards Islam?

Every atheist probably has a bit different take on the subject, but for starters see this site and "Why I Am Not a Muslim".

if you have an educated argument against it, i would like to hear it.

My arguments against Islam aren't much more educated than my arguments against any other non-Christian theism. The only book I've personally read on the subject is "Muhammad : A Biography of the Prophet". This book is very favorable towards Islam but still points the finger at it being a religion created by man rather than by any deity.

yes i am Muslim, and NO i am not attacking you as you are not attacking me. i am just curious and like "honest inquiry" as much as the next guy. thanks!

Why do you believe in Islam and God?

received 3/17/98
Below is a portion of an Editorial from the Salt Lake Tribune that I thought you might be interested in:

"...The Utah State Board of Education has revoked a new requirement that all ninth-grade students take Earth science beginning next fall... The science requirement was eliminated so students can take more elective classes, including the arts, keyboarding, foreign language and, of course, LDS seminary..."

Ugh. Thanks for ruining my day. ;) Luckily for my kids, their primary education isn't going to be coming from a public school, and it certainly won't be coming from Utah schools. (I'm not planning on home schooling, but I do think my wife and I can provide a better educational environment at home than the kids will get in school for the 6 or 7 hours of the day that they are there. As Mark Twain said, "I have never let schooling interfere with my education.")

received 3/13/98 (regarding the recommended reading from this message)
Elder McConkie states, "There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, "You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?" And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line..."

This is so disgusting, they are all so full of it. We should all hang on their every word as God's PA system, until they change their mind, and then WE should REPENT for believing them in the first place.

McConkie goes on to say, "Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don't matter any more. It doesn't make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year (1978). It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them."

How can God be so stupid, to string the brethren out this way? Why aren't they mad at him making them into such fools--changing things this way?

Obviously it takes a load of faith and a complete lack of critical thinking skills to believe McConkie's rationale. However, I wish, for the sake of the Mormon believers, that the leaders changed and improved policies--negating previous, bogus 'doctrines'--so that the church could be a better institution for its members.

received 3/12/98
Having studied with Daniel Peterson in Arabic, I'm amazed at the divergence of our paths. It's kind of interesting that several of my co-students who were part of BYU's first intensive Arabic language program to the Middle East have become less active participants in the church. I think all of us took Arabic from Dan. It would be interesting for him to find out that while he's turned into the "self-proclaimed" defender of the church, that many of his students are no longer true believing mormons.

I'm not sure if "interesting" is the word he would use. ;)

received 3/11/98
I just got through checking out your "
What's New" and thought you might be interested in the following link concerning "Mormon racism in perspective".

This is a talk given by Bruce R. McConkie in 1978 not long after the "revelation". Read the paragraph beginning with "We have read". These are some of my favorite words to use while trying to convince people that it is just a matter of time before women and gays will obtain full "blessings". I see several parallels between the black/priesthood issue and the current gay issue, both the pre-1978 black teachings and current gay teachings have little or no scriptural basis, just men speaking with a "limited understanding". I would guess at sometime in the future the Mormon people will again be asked to repent of believing the words of past prophets concerning the gay issue.

received 3/5/98 (regarding this message)
I was a member of the Mormon church for 32 years, and read the Book of Mormon many times. I so wanted the church to be true, but I can honestly say that I never received any manifestation that the Book of Mormon is the "word of God". The one time I did receive what I thought was a "revelation", I was 22 years old, and had just given birth to twins boys.

My other children were one and two years old. My quandary was "should I have more". I had been praying for many months about this. Late one night, I was nursing my baby boys, when all of the sudden I heard other babies crying. In my demented and exhausted state, I took this as my answer - I was to have more children. Sure enough, by the time I was 28 years old, I had given birth to babies #5 & 6.

I am now convinced that we hear what we want to hear. I thought I "felt the spirit" in testimony meeting many times. When I went to Les Miserables last year though, I felt that exact same "spirit". Does that mean I have a testimony of Les Mis? I have concluded that our bodies have reactions to certain feel good events, thus producing endorphins. Many people will mistake this for "feeling the spirit", when in fact it is nothing more than a physical reaction to the moment.

Well said. I couldn't agree more. Hopefully others will read your message and use it as a first step to begin thinking critically and thus avoid the pitfalls that muddled and wishful thinking can cause.

received 3/3/98
Your website looks like a bit of fresh air to me.

I am secular as far as religion is concerned.

Every time that I see Orrin Hatch on television talking about President Clinton v. Ken Starr, and he talks about the "serious" crime of "obstruction of justice," I get very angry.

Several years ago, I read The Mormon Murders, and it was one of the most frightening books I have ever read.

One facet of the book grabs me when I hear Hatch's comments because Hinckley was involved in egregious activities that were blatant obstructions of justice. Only "Utah Justice" allowed him to escape unscathed.

The book was well documented and forceful. Hatch was mentioned several times because he appointed some of the "prosecutors" that put aside their duties as U. S. citizens and let Mormon Rule dictate their actions.

I have considering sending E-Mail to Hatch, but I know it would be a waste of time He has no ethics and is a world-class hypocrite. I cringe when I hear a reporter refer to him as "powerful."

Do you have any suggestions of what I might do to make people aware of the first class ---hole?

I'll post this for you. That's a start. ;)

What Hatch has done isn't much different than what all politicians do. That is the nature of the political beast. It pays to be two-faced when you are a politician. The more interests a politician can have and support, the more 'powerful' they can become. When they are also a religious zealot, matters are only made worse. This is one of the biggest problems with a democracy, but no one has devised a better system yet.

For older messages click here. [an error occurred while processing this directive]