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Author Topic: Let's discuss Mormonism.  (Read 13887 times)
IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2012, 02:39:39 pm »
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There is no evidence; none, zip, nada that Native Americans contain 'tell-tale' genetic markers from the Levant or anywhere in the Middle East. I understand that the LDS had a whole industry of pseudo-science dedicated to trying to fight this or provide other explanations but it's a deliberate fudge.

This is exactly why I declared the DNA thing off-limits; it distracts from the point of this thread, and it just makes the one Mormon (i.e. myself) willing to talk to you all about other controversial issues in Mormonism very annoyed, because you are directly insulting my faith. Look, I'll literally discuss any other topic having to do with Mormonism except for those two issues I mentioned in the OP. Will that not satisfy you all?

If you want to discuss something in an ideologically diverse open forum you can't really expect people to adhere to your requests for certain portions of a topic to be off limits - if anything calling out one particular topic as off limits is going to mean people will target that issue because it's saying "this is my weak point in debate".

Also, please keep in mind that atheists such as myself and afleitch have a rather particular kind of view on issues like this. The way our minds work doesn't let us gloss over contradictions so easily. If your religious claims contradict what facts have been observed about reality we don't view it as an insult to point it out, rather we view it as recognizing reality for what it is in our pursuit of truth. That you might feel insulted when we do so is unfortunate and is not our goal, but is just not particularly important to what our goals are. We care about truth, fact, and reality, and honestly we hope others do as well which is why we are inclined to press people on things like this.
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« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2012, 03:01:54 pm »
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There is no evidence; none, zip, nada that Native Americans contain 'tell-tale' genetic markers from the Levant or anywhere in the Middle East. I understand that the LDS had a whole industry of pseudo-science dedicated to trying to fight this or provide other explanations but it's a deliberate fudge.

This is exactly why I declared the DNA thing off-limits; it distracts from the point of this thread, and it just makes the one Mormon (i.e. myself) willing to talk to you all about other controversial issues in Mormonism very annoyed, because you are directly insulting my faith. Look, I'll literally discuss any other topic having to do with Mormonism except for those two issues I mentioned in the OP. Will that not satisfy you all?

If you want to discuss something in an ideologically diverse open forum you can't really expect people to adhere to your requests for certain portions of a topic to be off limits - if anything calling out one particular topic as off limits is going to mean people will target that issue because it's saying "this is my weak point in debate".

Also, please keep in mind that atheists such as myself and afleitch have a rather particular kind of view on issues like this. The way our minds work doesn't let us gloss over contradictions so easily. If your religious claims contradict what facts have been observed about reality we don't view it as an insult to point it out, rather we view it as recognizing reality for what it is in our pursuit of truth. That you might feel insulted when we do so is unfortunate and is not our goal, but is just not particularly important to what our goals are. We care about truth, fact, and reality, and honestly we hope others do as well which is why we are inclined to press people on things like this.

A most articulate post indeed, as to which I fully subscribe. While one of course has a right to make a leap of faith, and I respect that, others not having made such a leap of course are entitled to comment as to where they believe that such leaps do not comport with the empirical evidence. The wisest of those who make such leaps, acknowledge that, and that in the land of leaps the scientific method is inapposite, even while understanding that is apposite to others not in their zone.  Moreover, it is not as if the Godless don't get brickbats from time to time from those of faith, sometimes ascribing their non belief as the "religion" of "secular humanism" derisively. So the slings and arrows are shot both ways in any event. That's life in a public square which holds dear and respects the First Amendment.
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« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2012, 10:43:03 pm »
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And then there's this gem
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Abraham
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« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2012, 11:43:07 pm »
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If God used to be a regular person, how could the world have been created?
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2012, 01:04:40 pm »
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If God used to be a regular person, how could the world have been created?

My understanding of Mormon theology is that God would have been a regular person on a different planet, and being an ideal worthy follower of the deity on that planet ascended to godhood after death and afterwards would have created this world.
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« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2012, 01:14:03 pm »
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I really should have clarified here; my point with this thread was less arguing about theology and more talking about modern issues in the church (like the lingering affects of black men having the priesthood for only 34 years, or the success of Polynesian Mormons, the corporate and political power of the LDS Church, and the way the church plays a numbers game in Latin America).

I'll talk about some parts of LDS theology, but I simply do not see the point in discussing certain other parts of the theology. It'll just turn this thread into an echo chamber of "hey PioneerProgress, what about THIS thing that I think makes your faith look crackpot?"

As I said, we're not getting anywhere in this thread if there's a rehash of those specific things that question the legitimacy of the LDS Church, rather than the legitimacy of it's action.

Plus, I don't see you guys barging in on other threads by forum members of different members, so why go straight for the jugular of Mormonism, metaphorically speaking?

Look, I'll literally discuss any other topic having to do with Mormonism except for those two issues I mentioned in the OP. Will that not satisfy you all?

You ignored my post about the silliness of the magic stones in a hat.

Oh, sorry about that. I'm fully willing to talk about that; Mormon expert Richard Bushman talked about the "stones in a hat" issue in his very informative and neutral book Rough Stone Rolling, after all. From what I understand, it was a pretty common practice in Yankee New England in the 1820s and 30s. Plenty of would-be preachers did similar actions ( many also undertook treasure hunting to prove their credentials), using symbolic and spiritual items to instruct their followers in specific doctrines, as well as "translating" doctrines that they were compiling in scriptures, whether the preachers believed in the doctrines or not.

From all indicators, it seems like Joseph Smith believed his own teachings, so while I'm open to the magic stones being mundane items that were given too much superstitious significance, it seems Smith himself thought they were more than that.

If God used to be a regular person, how could the world have been created?

The LDS Church doesn't go into much detail on this, but there's essentially a murky bit of "time before time" in which God was man, but at some point, he became the all-powerful being he is today. As Jesus had to be as man is to experience our mortal life (and thus be able to bear our sins), thus God must have been as we are at some point, because if not, we would not be able to become like he is.
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« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2012, 02:17:27 pm »
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As I said, we're not getting anywhere in this thread if there's a rehash of those specific things that question the legitimacy of the LDS Church, rather than the legitimacy of it's action.

Well where is it you want to go? I mean I'm a historian so I'm quite keen on discussing the LDS's understanding of the history of Pre-Columbian America and why it's contrary to the historical, archaelogical, biological, genetical, cultural and linguisitic record. I take it that's a no no?
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« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2012, 12:42:37 am »
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As I said, we're not getting anywhere in this thread if there's a rehash of those specific things that question the legitimacy of the LDS Church, rather than the legitimacy of it's action.

Well where is it you want to go? I mean I'm a historian so I'm quite keen on discussing the LDS's understanding of the history of Pre-Columbian America and why it's contrary to the historical, archaelogical, biological, genetical, cultural and linguisitic record. I take it that's a no no?

Correct.

As I said, I will discuss most things relating to the LDS Church; politics, (most of the) history, culture, lifestyle, demographics, (some) theology, odd acendotes and quotes, interesting cultural figures, etc.

I will literally discuss and talk about most anything regarding Mormonism besides the things I expressively pointed out in the OP. And just like I said, those things I have (tried to) declined talking about have bogged down the thread.
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2012, 10:52:11 am »
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It's been said already, so moving on...

I've read a number of Mormon deconversion stories in the last few years. One common thread is that when the person in question talked to their spiritual advisor in the church about reading things written by the opposition they were discouraged from doing so. Do you have any such experiences or if there is any official church policy in regards to this?
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« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2012, 02:21:45 pm »
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It's been said already, so moving on...

I've read a number of Mormon deconversion stories in the last few years. One common thread is that when the person in question talked to their spiritual advisor in the church about reading things written by the opposition they were discouraged from doing so. Do you have any such experiences or if there is any official church policy in regards to this?

First of all, thank you for changing the subject.

I haven't had any experiences in being discouraged from reading/listen to things written by the opposition, but that's mostly because I don't bother to tell my bishop (who is roughly equivalent to a pastor or parish priest), or if I do, we (neither myself or the bishop) don't treat it seriously because the source is usually my ex-Mormon dad, who has a serious chip on his shoulder when it comes to the LDS Church.

Of course, I do treat the more reasonable opposition stuff seriously, just not the "yarrgable the Mormons are doing everything they can to make my life uncomfortable and it's not just me being inexplicably mad at every bit of Mormon culture because I can" type of complaints. I'm exaggerating with that, but those kind of "ex-Mormons showing you the TRUTH and being tormented by these evil Mormons" sources are not really reliable in my opinion.

There's no official list of sources that we're discouraged from checking out, but church members are asked to trust the church over "the world" when it comes to sources. Some Mormons take that to an extreme; they won't read the writings of the Richard Bushman guy I mentioned a few posts ago, even though he's still a Mormon in good fellowship, simply because he's a scholar who doesn't feel the need to airbrush all of Joseph Smith's flaws away (he still whitewashes Smith a bit, but not as much as the official church sources). Again, I highly recommend Bushman's book Rough Stone Rolling, it's a very good and scholarly book on Joseph Smith.

Plus, it's probably the closest to neutral (that is, not taking either the words of Smith or his detractors as absolute truth) you're going to get.
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« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2012, 02:29:53 pm »
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Sorry for the double post, but here's an example of sorts of issues I was hoping to discuss: The LDS Church and politics, for instance. In this specific article, it points out that the Church leadership has a large amount of influence in regards to the voting habit of Utah Mormons; and that the leaders themselves practice what they preach in regards to voting every single election. This kind of discussion could lead to a larger debate on the LDS Church's influence in politics (including, yes, Prop 8 ).

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« Reply #36 on: July 30, 2012, 02:37:16 pm »
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I'm assuming that as opposed to someone like Bushman, someone like for instance Fawn Brodie would be pretty much persona non grata as far as the attitude towards her work?

(I'm not fond of Fawn Brodie. Her work is biased and excessively Freudian. This is unfortunate because I'm going to be writing a psychobiography of sorts of a deceased Japanese writer for my BA thesis or equivalent. But I digress.)
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« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2012, 03:10:08 pm »
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You mention your father is an ex-Mormon - is your mother still in the church? I ask because one deconversion story I read involved a woman whose husband deconverted before she had lost her faith as well, and it was mentioned the other women would gossip behind her back about how her place in heaven was threatened due to this. My current understanding of this is that she would be unable to go to the Celestial kingdom of heaven, and would instead would only get the Terrestrial or Telestial kingdom, ultimately based on where her husband ends up - is this an accurate understanding of the theology?
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« Reply #38 on: July 30, 2012, 06:04:40 pm »
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I'm assuming that as opposed to someone like Bushman, someone like for instance Fawn Brodie would be pretty much persona non grata as far as the attitude towards her work?

(I'm not fond of Fawn Brodie. Her work is biased and excessively Freudian. This is unfortunate because I'm going to be writing a psychobiography of sorts of a deceased Japanese writer for my BA thesis or equivalent. But I digress.)

Yes; the Church doesn't tend to name names, but Fawn Brodie is definitely persona non grata there. As are the God Maker guys (who are ridiculed by the other fierce anti-Mormons, so you know they're full of misinformation).

You mention your father is an ex-Mormon - is your mother still in the church? I ask because one deconversion story I read involved a woman whose husband deconverted before she had lost her faith as well, and it was mentioned the other women would gossip behind her back about how her place in heaven was threatened due to this. My current understanding of this is that she would be unable to go to the Celestial kingdom of heaven, and would instead would only get the Terrestrial or Telestial kingdom, ultimately based on where her husband ends up - is this an accurate understanding of the theology?

My mom's still in the church, yes. More devout than I am, actually (though I'm definitely not inactive or non-believing. I still believe, and strongly believe. I'm just not particular devout about it.) As for the "place in heaven threatened" not my mother in particular, since my dad has not taken his name out of church records, thank goodness. The Celestial Kingdom has more than one "level", however, so no, my mom would not go to the Terrestrial or Telestial Kingdom, unless she was selfish and negative, which she is not, or committed particularly cruel acts, which she has not.

However, if he took his name out of the church records officially, she would not be sealed for all eternity to my dad, and she would "only" get the second best level of the best afterlife possible (keep in mind that all the kingdoms are described as being much, much better than mortal life).
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« Reply #39 on: July 30, 2012, 07:02:47 pm »
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You mention your father is an ex-Mormon - is your mother still in the church? I ask because one deconversion story I read involved a woman whose husband deconverted before she had lost her faith as well, and it was mentioned the other women would gossip behind her back about how her place in heaven was threatened due to this. My current understanding of this is that she would be unable to go to the Celestial kingdom of heaven, and would instead would only get the Terrestrial or Telestial kingdom, ultimately based on where her husband ends up - is this an accurate understanding of the theology?

My mom's still in the church, yes. More devout than I am, actually (though I'm definitely not inactive or non-believing. I still believe, and strongly believe. I'm just not particular devout about it.) As for the "place in heaven threatened" not my mother in particular, since my dad has not taken his name out of church records, thank goodness. The Celestial Kingdom has more than one "level", however, so no, my mom would not go to the Terrestrial or Telestial Kingdom, unless she was selfish and negative, which she is not, or committed particularly cruel acts, which she has not.

However, if he took his name out of the church records officially, she would not be sealed for all eternity to my dad, and she would "only" get the second best level of the best afterlife possible (keep in mind that all the kingdoms are described as being much, much better than mortal life).

Theologically speaking, where does your dad end up given the current state of affairs? I would think it kind of strange that he'd get the reward that's for the true believers when he actually speaks badly of the church just because he's on an earthly church register and hasn't removed himself.
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« Reply #40 on: July 30, 2012, 07:18:35 pm »
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Where exactly do non-Mormons who there's nothing else actually wrong with ostensibly end up, and if it depends on other factors what might those be?
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« Reply #41 on: July 30, 2012, 07:23:30 pm »
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Where exactly do non-Mormons who there's nothing else actually wrong with ostensibly end up, and if it depends on other factors what might those be?

I think the theology is that they are given a second chance to accept Mormonism in the afterlife (hence the "baptism of the dead"), but I'll let him elaborate.

What do you think of ordaining women?
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« Reply #42 on: July 31, 2012, 09:19:04 am »
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Where exactly do non-Mormons who there's nothing else actually wrong with ostensibly end up, and if it depends on other factors what might those be?

The Terrestrial or Telestial kingdom of heaven, with which one depending on what extent they have received the gospel of Christ and how much they have accepted it or rejected. This gets more complicated as you can apparently receive it and accept it after death. At least that's what Wikipedia says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degrees_of_glory
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« Reply #43 on: July 31, 2012, 10:58:33 am »
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So me and Nathan would be higher than you but lower than any Mormons basically?
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2012, 12:24:16 pm »
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So me and Nathan would be higher than you but lower than any Mormons basically?

Possibly, but it gets fuzzy since I could accept the gospel after death. According to the wiki article if my life meets the criterion for being respectable and I am just "blinded by the craftiness of men" I might be given the opportunity to accept the gospel after death and if I did so would get to go to the middle kingdom. If not, there's the possibility I'd also go to Spirit Prison (which is different from Hell, or the Outer Darkness as it's apparently known in Mormon theology) for 1000 years before being let in the Telestial kingdom. Either is quite a bit better than what Christianity would have in store for me, I suppose.


Interesting factoid you'll like - South Park got this wrong in the episode they said that Mormonism is the right religion and everyone other than Mormons went to Hell. Here's the clip - http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/152270/abandon-all-hope

Though in fairness they weren't particularly targeting LDS theology in that one, so they probably just didn't do the research that time.
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« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2012, 12:40:29 pm »
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My questions involve your sharing with us your anecdotal experiences.  In  your experience PioneerProgress, just how up to speed are LDS members on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and the actions of Brigham Young in connection therewith, including inter alia, Young ordering the destruction of the cairn the US army put up in remembrance of the slain (whom the LDS did not even bother to bury)?  How familiar are they with Young's authoritarian regime back then, when nobody was allowed to own property, and some of the controversial practices of the LDS back then, since abandoned, such as blood atonement? What is the reaction of other members, if one member has the courage to speak out on these issues?  And on the ground, how typical is it for LDS members to shun those who refuse to convert after being proselytized, particularly those with children, who are concerned about exposing their kids to gentile children whose parents refuse to join up?
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« Reply #46 on: July 31, 2012, 09:12:10 pm »
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Either is quite a bit better than what Christianity would have in store for me, I suppose.

Actually I believe at worse that you actually will get you what you expect after death. You simply won't be resurrected when God's Kingdom comes down and Heaven and Earth reunite.
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« Reply #47 on: August 01, 2012, 06:32:48 am »
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Either is quite a bit better than what Christianity would have in store for me, I suppose.

Actually I believe at worse that you actually will get you what you expect after death. You simply won't be resurrected when God's Kingdom comes down and Heaven and Earth reunite.

I'm aware that there are Christians who cherry pick the Bible and ignore the stuff said about eternal punishment, but I would say that's still worse than eternal awesomeness. As long as these heavens have some mechanism to stave off endless ennui I think I would prefer any of them to ending.
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« Reply #48 on: August 01, 2012, 09:21:13 pm »
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Eh, I'm pretty sure the most common Christian perception of hell is eternal separation from God, and really the only way for that to be possible on a spiritual level is to be erased from existence as God is omnipresent... I happen to agree with BRTD on this matter, believe it or not.
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« Reply #49 on: August 02, 2012, 01:44:21 am »
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Eh, I'm pretty sure the most common Christian perception of hell is eternal separation from God, and really the only way for that to be possible on a spiritual level is to be erased from existence as God is omnipresent... I happen to agree with BRTD on this matter, believe it or not.

Count me in too, although my understanding of the exact nature of the Four Last Things might be a little different from yours and I'm sure ours are both different from BRTD's.
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