The Same God? Twelve Beliefs the Mormon Church Might Not Want You to Know About

Ancient Semites Voyaging to AmericaThis decade has been called, “The Mormon Moment,” the time that America’s largest home-grown religion finally comes into its own as a part of the Christian tapestry. Even some LDS quirks seem to be turning into positives.  Shifting sexual mores have made Mormon polygamy and sacred undergarments a matter more of slightly kinky fascination rather Puritan disgust.  And after expressing big disapproval over Big Love, Church leaders  shifted strategies and met the hit musical, the “The Book of Mormon,” with bemused acceptance, praising it “for really nailing the Mormon sweetness, niceness, and sense of do-gooderness,” and filling theater programs with their own advertisements.   

In an effort to reassure Evangelical voters, presidential candidate Mitt Romney inserted the phrase “the same god” into his domestic policy debate against Barack Obama, and Billy Graham’s website showed solidarity by removing Mormonism from a list of “cults.” Since then, Mormon missionaries have been quoted as saying, “Even Billy Graham says we are Christians.” Over the course of 2012, the LDS Church promoted “I’m a Mormon,” a multi-million dollar marketing campaign seeking to portray Mormonism as mainstream.  And on December 10, 2013, the Mormon church renounced and denounced a part of its racist past.

But do  Mormons and Evangelicals worship the same god? How mainstream are their beliefs?

Dr. Tony Nugent, retired professor of religious studies, has compiled a list of twelve teachings that Mormons tend to downplay. Dr. Nugent calls each of these beliefs “questionable.” A quick read suggest they also are far from mainstream.

1. The American Continent Was Originally Settled by Ancient Near Easterners.

The story of the Book of Mormon (BoM) is that the American continent was originally settled by people from the ancient Near East who came across the ocean in boats between 5000 and 2500 years ago. This includes four groups: the Jaredites, who came from Mesopotamia after the fall of the Tower of Babel (3rd Millennium BC), and three groups of Israelites who came in the 6th Century B.C.—Lehites from the tribe of Manasseh, Ishmaelites from the tribe of Ephraim, and Mulekites from the tribe of Judah. Contrary to this view, archaeological, historical, and genetic evidence indicates that the American continent was originally settled by Mongoloid people who came over the Bering land bridge during the last Ice Age and who are the ancestors of today’s Native American people.

2. Native Americans Are Descendants of Ancient Israelites.

Much of the BoM story focuses on two groups of Israelites in the New World, the Nephites and the Lamanites, descended from two of the sons of Lehi of the tribe of Manasseh. These groups fought continually, but when Christ came from heaven after his ascension to visit them in AD 34, they all believed in him and stopped fighting. However, in the 3rd and 4th Centuries AD, when the Lamanites stopped believing in Christ, these peaceful relations ended. Their renewed hostilities culminated in a great religious war in AD 385 at the hill Cumorah in upstate New York, in which the Lamanites were victorious and 230,000 Nephites were killed. The few surviving Nephites soon died, and the surviving Lamanites became the “American Indians.”

Among the problems with this scenario are that there is no evidence that any Native American groups are Semitic, but rather that they are Mongoloid; there are no surviving traces in their cultures of ancient Israelite customs, language, or religion; and there are no traces of their supposedly former Christian practices and beliefs.

Then from where would Joseph Smith have gotten this story? The mistaken idea that the American Indians descend from the lost tribes of Israel was, in fact, a very popular idea in the United States in the early 19th Century. The closest parallel to Joseph Smith’s version of the idea is found in Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews, published in 1823, just four years before Joseph started working on the BoM. The many specific parallels between these two works have often been noted. How might Smith have known about this work? From Oliver Cowdery, one of Smith’s scribes in the translation of the BoM and whose family attended the church in Vermont where Ethan Smith was pastor at the time he was writing his book. In her 1945 work, No Man Knows My History, Fawn Brodie writes, “Thus where the View of the Hebrews was just bad scholarship, the BoM was highly original and imaginative fiction.” (Brodie, p. 48)

3. Dark Skin is a Sign of God’s Curse, White Skin a Sign of God’s Blessing.

In the BoM dark skin is a sign of God’s curse, while white skin is a sign of his blessing. When the Lamanites displease God, “because of their iniquity….the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them” (2 Nephi 5:21). Later, when the Lamanites become Christians, “their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites” (3 Nephi 2:15). Other racist passages in the scripture have simply been changed by Mormon authorities—e.g., 2 Nephi 30:6, which originally referred to conversion to Christianity bringing about a “white and delightsome people,” now reads, as of 1981, “a pure and delightsome people.” As for black people, Joseph Smith taught that they are cursed as “sons of Cain.” Brigham Young, the successor of Joseph Smith, stated: “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10). Since blacks were a stigmatized race in Mormonism, black men were denied ordination to the priesthood in the LDS Church. While the LDS Church, under pressure, finally granted black men the priesthood in 1978, the racism in their Scriptures remains as offensive as ever. Note:  The doctrine that black skin is a punishment was renounced by the Church hierarchy in December 2013.

4.  The BoM is Based on a Historically Accurate and Believable Ancient Work.

Mormon authorities teach that the BoM is a translation from ancient records written in a “Reformed Egyptian” script on metal plates between the years 2500 BC and AD 421. Among the many reasons for doubting this claim are the following:

  • Many different animals, plants, & manufactured goods are reported in the BoM story as being present in the New World during this time period. There is apparently no credible evidence that any of the following were present in the New World during this time period: cows, horses, oxen, asses, goats, sheep, pigs, honeybees, elephants, barley, wheat, silk, iron & brass metallurgy, steel, metal coins, swords, chariots, wheels,  compasses, and metal plates inscribed with writing.
  • Many passages in the BoM repeat Old and New Testament biblical passages word-for-word. But how would Nephi, for instance, who lived in the 6th Century BC, know passages in Old Testament books such as Malachi, written after his time, and in the New Testament, written 600-700 years later?
  • Analogously, why would distinctively Christian practices and beliefs, including the establishment of a “Church of Christ,” the practice of baptism, and belief that those not baptized are damned to be tortured in hell for eternity, be found in ancient records said to have been written before the beginning of the Christian Era?
  • In the second verse of the BoM Nephi says, “Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.”(1 Nephi 1:2). Later in the work Moroni says that his record is “in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian” (Mormon 9:32). These are problematic statements. First of all, the term “Jew” refers to the people of the tribe of Judah and those from the other tribes who joined with them, starting with the period of the Babylonian exile (which is after Lehi’s family has left Jerusalem). In addition, there is no biblical or other evidence that Israelites of the 6th Century BC spoke Egyptian or wrote using any of the forms of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

5. Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon from Gold Plates.

The Mormon story is that the Nephite military commander and prophet Moroni buried a history of his people, written on “gold plates,” in the hill Cumorah in AD 421. 1400 years later, on the night of September 22-23, 1823, Moroni, now having become an angel, visits 17-year-old Joseph Smith in his bedroom and tells him where the plates are buried. It happens to be just 3 miles south of where Smith lives. He goes there and sees the plates in a stone box, but as soon as he tries to take them the angel forbids him. He returns to the same spot on the same night of the year for the next two years, without success. Then, by looking into his seer-stone or “peep stone,” a chocolate-colored, egg-shaped stone which he had found when digging a well in 1822 and used to find lost and buried treasure, Smith learns that to be successful he must marry Emma Hale and take her with him to Cumorah. So on Sept. 22, 1827, he and Emma conduct a “black magic” ritual: at midnight, dressed entirely in black, they drive a black carriage drawn by a black horse to the hill. Joseph unearths the box and takes the plates, along with some magical eyeglasses made out of stones (called “interpreters” and “the Urim and Thummim”) with which to decipher the “reformed Egyptian” language in which the texts on the plates are written. According to Smith, the plates were “six inches wide and eight inches long and not quite as thick as common tin;” they were “filled with engravings in Egyptian characters and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book with three rings running through the whole;” and the stack of metal pages stood about six inches high.

Smith’s main translation process involved putting the interpreters (or his “peep-stone”) in a hat, putting his face in the hat (he didn’t need to view the plates themselves), and dictating to a scribe. After 116-initial pages of translation were lost by Smith’s scribe Martin Harris, Moroni supposedly took away the interpreters, and Smith was forced to rely on his old and trusty peep-stone. Smith’s translation was completed at the end of June 1829, and the BoM was first published by E.B. Grandin in Palmyra, NY, in March 1830. Where can we see these marvelous gold plates? We can’t, because Smith gave them back to Moroni.

6. There Are Testimonies to the “Gold Plates” from 11 Credible Witnesses.

But, say Mormon texts, there were 11 “witnesses” to the gold plates! These witness statements are printed at the beginning of each copy of the BoM. Three witnesses declare that an angel of God showed them the engravings upon the plates, while the eight others claim that that Joseph Smith showed them the plates with their engravings, which they also handled. Regarding the first three witnesses, Martin Harris said he had “never claimed to have seen the plates with his natural eyes,” but only with “spiritual eyes.” Oliver Cowdery was a relative of Smith’s, served as his scribe in translating the BoM, and was accustomed to having otherworldly visions. He told Smith that he had seen the gold plates in a “vision” even before the two of them had met. The third, David Whitmer, later said that the angel he saw “had no appearance or shape,” that he merely had the “impression” of an angel.

A few years after the BoM was published these three witnesses were excommunicated and harshly denounced and insulted by Smith.  He described Whitmer as “an ass to bray out cursings instead of blessings.”  He denounced Cowdery as “too mean to mention” and the leader of a gang of “scoundrels of the deepest degree.”  He said Martin Harris was “so far beneath contempt that to notice him  would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make.”

Regarding the other eight witnesses, one of them was Joseph Smith’s father, two of them were his brothers, and the other five were close relations of David Whitmer. All the Whitmer family witnesses were later excommunicated, although David eventually rejoined the church.

7. Ancient Prophecies in Mormon Scriptures Foretell the Coming of Joseph Smith.

Joseph Smith, Jr. couldn’t resist the temptation of injecting a self-serving prophecy of himself into the BoM. In the section of the book supposedly written in about 600 BC an Israelite by the name of Nephi reports that the biblical patriarch Joseph uttered this prophecy: “A seer shall the Lord my God raise up,” and “his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father” (2 Nephi 3:6,15). Here we have a prophecy like a riddle, the answer to which is, of course, Joseph Smith, Jr. and Sr. Not satisfied to have this prophecy of himself and his father only in the BoM, Smith goes further by adding nearly-identical verses to the text of the Bible. In the last chapter of Genesis in Smith’s  Inspired Version of The Holy Scriptures, the Lord says to Joseph just before he dies in Egypt: “That seer will I bless…..and his name shall be called Joseph; and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you.” This and the many other “prophecies” in Mormon scripture are cases of what is known in biblical scholarship as a  vaticinium ex eventu, a “prophecy after the fact.” And it is one where the ulterior motive of the perpetrator of the hoax could not be more evident.

8. Joseph Smith Restored What Catholics Removed from the Bible. 

What is the basis for this and the many other Mormon additions to the Bible? As explained in 1 Nephi, these are needed because the “Great and Abominable Church, which is most abominable above all other churches,” traditionally understood in Mormonism as the Roman Catholic Church, has “taken away” from the Bible “many plain and precious things.” But in fact this couldn’t have been the work of the Catholics, because there’s no sign of these omissions in the Hebrew Bible, written several hundred years before there were any Christians or churches! It must have been the nefarious Jews who did it, which would explain why so many of the passages Joseph Smith identifies as having been removed from the Bible and which he restores are its Old Testament (< Hebrew Bible) references to Jesus Christ. Take parts of the 6th chapter of Genesis in the Inspired Version: God says to Adam, “Turn unto me….and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ” (Genesis 6:53). And then “Adam cried unto the Lord, and was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water; and thus he was baptized” (Genesis 6:67).

9.  The LDS Church’s Theological Doctrines Are Not Significantly Different from Those of Mainstream Christian Denominations.

In the last few decades LDS authorities have made a major effort to downplay its distinctive teachings (and practices) in order to present as a “mainstream” Christian denomination. These distinctive doctrines include the following: (The last two were taught by Joseph Smith but are not official doctrines of the LDS church.)

  • God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three separate divine beings (Mormonism is anti-Trinitarian).
  • In his pre-mortal existence Jesus Christ, the literal Son of God the Father, was the LORD (= Jehovah/Yahweh) of the Old Testament
  • Humans have pre-mortal existences as spirit-children of God the Father and a Heavenly Mother.
  • Humans can become angels, and angels can become humans, e. g., Adam used to be St. Michael (refer to Temple Endowment ceremony), Noah used to be St. Gabriel, and the Nephite man Moroni became the angel Moroni.
  • Matter has always existed, so the Creation was not ex nihilo.
  • There is no “hell” in the traditional Christian sense but rather a spirit prison where wicked spirits are cleansed in preparation for their resurrection.
  • A deceased person who was never baptized can get to the Celestial Kingdom as a result of a proxy baptism in a Mormon temple.
  • The highest level of the Celestial Kingdom is reserved for couples who have been “sealed” in a Mormon temple for a life of “eternal marriage.”
  • God the Father used to be a human living on the earth (Joseph Smith, “King Follett Discourse,” 1844)
  • Humans can become Gods (be exalted) in the future and dwell in the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom. (Joseph Smith, “King Follett Discourse,” 1844)

1o. “If ye abide not that covenant [plurality of wives] then are ye damned.”

Since the 19th Century the LDS church has denied that polygamy is a part of its core doctrines, and many Mormons deny that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. However, the doctrine of “plural marriage,” referring in this case to a man having more than one wife (polygyny), was revealed to Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, IL, on July 12, 1843, and was enshrined in 1876 as Section 132 of Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), one of the LDS Church’s scriptures. At the same time Section 101 in the early edition of the D&C, specifying the rule of monogamy, was removed. In this new “revelation,” God declares plurality of wives as essential for attainment of godhood (article 20), that those who reject it are damned (article 4), and that if Emma Smith rejects Joseph’s other marriages he will destroy her (article 54). This revelation was kept secret from the general church membership until Brigham Young made it known in 1852.

The principle of plural marriage in Mormonism has its roots in 1832, when Joseph Smith told his innermost circle that “he had inquired of the Lord concerning the principle of plurality of wives, and he received for an answer…that it is a true principle, but the time had not yet come for it to be practiced.” At about that time, when Joseph and Emma had become boarders at the home of John and Elsa Johnson in Hiram, Ohio, people in the neighborhood suspected that Joseph was having a sexual relationship with their daughter, 15-year old Marinda Nancy Johnson. According to a statement by Marinda’s brother Luke Johnson, on March 24, 1832 “a mob of forty or fifty…entered his room in the middle of the night….he was then seized by as many as could get hold of him, and taken about forty rods from the house…they tore off the few night clothes that he had on, for the purpose of emasculating him, and had Dr. Dennison there to perform the operation; but he refused to operate. The mob…poured tar over him, and then stuck feathers in it and left him.” Early the following year 16-year-old Fanny Alger moved into the Smith house as a domestic servant, and in February or March Joseph took her as his plural wife. He kept this secret from Emma, but in 1835 she caught them in flagrante delicto and ejected Fanny from the house. This incident led to a severe rift between Smith and his collaborator Oliver Cowdery, who referred to it as “a dirty, nasty, filthy affair.”

These conflicts apparently did little to alter Smith’s course of action. “Joseph continued to take plural wives throughout the 1830’s in Ohio and Missouri, and he married with even greater frequency in Nauvoo in the early 1840’s.” In his lifetime Smith “married at least thirty-three women, and probably as many as forty-eight.” (Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven, pp. 5, 119-121)

Mormons who are taught that Joseph was a “devoted husband” (see the LDS Church’s website) should be reminded that Emma Smith never accepted the principle or the practice of plural marriage. After Joseph’s death she did not join the Mormons moving west to Utah, led by the polygamist Brigham Young. Instead she stayed behind and joined the anti-polygamist Reorganized LDS Church (known today as the Community of Christ). While the practice of polygamy has been forbidden in the LDS Church since the “1890 Manifesto,” it is still enshrined in the revealed Scriptures as necessary for obtaining “godhood.”

11. Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Abraham from Egyptian Papyri.

In July of 1835 a man by the name of Michael Chandler brought some Egyptian mummies and papyri which had been excavated near the ancient city of Thebes to Kirtland, OH, and sold them to Joseph Smith. Although Smith had no knowledge of the ancient Egyptian language or writing, he nevertheless “translated” some of these papyri, and in 1842 published the results along with three “facsimiles” (with interpretations) as the Book of Abraham. In 1880, thirty-six years after Smith’s death, this work was incorporated as Part 2 of the LDS Church’s scripture known as The Pearl of Great Price. In Smith’s “translation” the patriarch Abraham tells a story of traveling from Chaldea to Egypt, where a priest lays him on an altar to sacrifice him, but he is miraculously saved by an angel of God; he gives a discourse about the universe, time, and stars, including the star/planet Kolob, which is closest to the throne of God; and he provides a polytheistic paraphrase of the first two chapters of Genesis which substitutes the word “Gods” for the biblical “God” and “Lord God.”

Many prominent 19th and 20th Century Egyptologists have examined the Joseph Smith papyri, including the one from the Egyptian “Book of Breathings” which is thought to be the specific papyrus which Smith translated as the main text of the Book of Abraham. All the papyri are inscribed with hieratic funerary texts, and the “Book of Breathings” is dated to the 1st Century BC or AD, 2000 years after Abraham supposedly lived. It is the unanimous opinion of the many Egyptologists who have examined the papyri that the text of Smith’s Book of Abraham, together with his related interpretations of the papyrus “facsimiles,” bear no resemblance whatsoever to the papyri texts. The Book of Abraham  is, in the words of these renowned Egyptologists, an “impudent fraud” (A. H. Sayce, Oxford Univ.), “absurd” (W. M. Flinders Petrie, London Univ.), a work by an “absolutely ignorant” person (James H. Breasted, Univ. of Chicago), a work whose “explanations [of the facsimiles] are completely wrong” (Richard A. Parker, Brown Univ.), a “pure fabrication” (Arthur C. Mace, Metropolitan Museum of Art), a “work of pure imagination” (S. A. B. Mercer, Western Theological Seminary).

12. Joseph Smith Was a Highly Ethical, Honest, Truth-Seeking, Law-Abiding Person.

Although Joseph Smith was clearly very charismatic, there is considerable evidence that the official Mormon view of his pure moral character is a fiction. When Smith became famous as the “Mormon Prophet,” people who knew him from his early years were aghast, and they express their feelings in the following signed affidavits:

Mrs. S. F. Anderick: “Jo was pompous, pretentious…claimed he could tell where lost or hidden things and treasures were buried. He deceived many farmers.”

Isaac Butts: “I have frequently seen Jo drunk. He had a forked witch-hazel rod, later a peep-stone with which he claimed he could locate buried money or hidden things.”

W. R. Hine: “I heard a man say who was a neighbor to the Mormon Smith family, that they were thieves, indolent, the lowest, meanest family he ever saw or heard of.”

Joseph Rogers: “Farmers said he as a terror to the neighborhood and that he would either have to go to State prison, be hung, or leave the county, or he would be killed. Jo contrived in every way to obtain money without work. The farmers claimed that not a week passed without Jo stole something. I knew at least one hundred farmers in the towns of Phelps, Manchester, and Palmyra, N.Y., who would make out that Jo Smith the Mormon prophet was a a liar, intemperate and a base imposter…He could read the character of men readily and could tell who he could dupe.”

Mrs. Sylvia Walker: “They [the Smith family] were the lowest family I ever knew. They worked very little and had the reputation of stealing everything they could lay their hands on….When Jo told his neighbors about finding gold plates no one believed him nor paid any attention to it, he had humbugged them so much.”

On August 1, 1831, Joseph Smith received a revelation which became Section 58 of Doctrine and Covenants. Verse 21 of that section states: “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land” (D&C 58:21). This revelation is at odds with his own life history.  Beginning at least as early as 1826, when he was 25 years old, until his death, Smith was continuously in trouble with legal authorities. In his lifetime Smith had to defend himself in forty-eight criminal cases and had a total of over 200 suits brought against him. His troubles with the law caused the parents of his first wife, Emma Hale, to disown their daughter. Many of Smith’s trials are attributed by Mormons to religious persecution. However, his legal troubles predate his religious proclamations. Smith’s first known trial, on March 20, 1826, in East Bainbridge, NY, he was arrested, jailed, charged, and convicted of being “a disorderly person and an imposter” and “falsely pretending to discover lost goods.”

__________________

The questionable beliefs and teachings outlined above, as well as others not discussed, have created problems for Mormons, their leaders, and the LDS Church from the religion’s beginnings until today. The Church does not allow members to openly and independently investigate or question its core beliefs or historical claims, or to challenge its leadership or core values. It does not allow  hard-to-swallow doctrines to be discussed with potential converts before they have digested simpler ones (called “milk before meat”), nor for these doctrines to be publicly disseminated. When members do these things, and do not leave the Church voluntarily, they are “disfellowshipped” or excommunicated.  Witness the famous modern-day 1993 case of the “September Six.”

“Lying for the Lord” is the term some ex-Mormons use for the Mormon practice of not telling the whole truth or dissimulating when necessary to further the image and interests of the Church. In the 19th Century, when the clash between Mormons and mainstream Christians was more overt, deception was more overt as well.  Examples often cited are the denials by LDS leaders and members when they were charged with condoning and practicing polygamy (“plural marriage”). Since polygamy became illegal throughout the United States in the mid-19thCentury, church leaders such as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Heber Kimball, as well as members who practiced polygamy were breaking the law, so that secrecy and denial were considered necessary to protect the church.  At times deception assumed the status of a religious duty.  This stance led to perjury by LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith and others during the Reed Smoot Congressional Hearings of 1904-7.

The historical necessity of self-protective deception creates a conundrum in that the Mormon religion strongly values honesty both in private life and in its public image.  Yet the issue of deception in Mormonism runs deeper than a matter of “situational ethics.” Consider the following statements by Mormon leaders:

Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth president of the LDS Church (1970-72): “If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188).

Orson Pratt, elder and member of the original Quorum of the LDS Church: “The Book of Mormon…must be either true or false. If true, it is one of the most important messages ever sent from God to man…If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions” (Introduction, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, 1850).

Should Mormonism be founded in an elaborate hoax, as much evidence suggests, then deception is not just an occasional practice, but the foundation structure upon which the entire edifice of the Mormon religion has been erected. Mormons of good faith are then inescapably caught between the demands of doctrine and their core moral values of honesty and integrity.

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More about Mormonism:
Mormon Church:  Dark Skin a Sign of God’s Curse No Longer
Does Mitt Romney Think He’s a Jew?
Are Mormon Underwear Magic Between the Sheets?

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and freelance writer, and the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light.  Dr. Tony Nugent is a symbologist and retired professor of religious studies.

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About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt and Deas and Other Imaginings. Founder - www.WisdomCommons.org.
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95 Responses to The Same God? Twelve Beliefs the Mormon Church Might Not Want You to Know About

  1. Mark Mywerd says:

    Dang, I really don’t want to say this because it’s totally, totally uncharitable, but hey – Mormonism is a screwball religion. Wait! Wait! That doesn’t mean all Mormons are screwballs, I suspect most of them simply do not reflect too much on the details of their church’s beliefs and Mormonism is either tied up with family history or maybe a job thing, or maybe a benefits thing, or maybe all three.

    However, if a Mormon believer has achieved a college degree then I would expect him/her to become an ex-Mormon fairly quickly – at least mentally, if not then there’s definitely something lacking in their education. Waaaay lacking.

    As for electing a college-educated, BELIEVING Mormon for U.S. President? You have got to be kidding!! There is something (a lot actually) that is very un-intelligent about Mormonism, and being the Presidency of this country demands a clear head and very intelligent thinking – betcha $10,000!

    I hope I’ve not offended too many folks, however if you’ve truly been offended (as in: you got a severe nosebleed from reading this) AND would like to send me $10, then it’s possible I might apologize profusely, I doubt it, but it’s possible. And NO I’m not on FaceBook.

    • Kenneth Turner says:

      Of course you left unsaid that they’re ALL screwball.

    • Booya says:

      Mental compartmentalization. They are crazy beliefs they say they believe but if you really committed 100% to them, you’d be mad. So it’s really just a code they have, a sort of unspoken agreement: You say you believe this thing and I’ll say I believe it and we’ll know we’re from the same tribe. It’s rather sick.

    • The truth is that Mormons actually get more faithful and active in the Church with higher degrees of education. We believe that God has commanded and encouraged us to pursue higher education which is why you will find so many Mormons in all sectors of life.

      Of course, when believes are taken out of context and caricaturized it can make a belief sound silly, but the foundation of my belief is in Jesus Christ and his Gospel. All of the teachings of the Church are ultimately his and consistent with his instructions and commandments. What really sets us apart is the, completely scriptural, belief in continuing revelation and a living Prophet. As there were apostles in Christs time, so there are Apostles in our time. Thanks to continuing inspiration both personal and institutional I am able to follow the spirit of God in all things and stay on the right path.

      • Cean Houston says:

        With that said can you explain to me what the book of Mormon means by “If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10). I’ll wait

      • In ancient Israel, God had certain rules about priesthood and mixing such as the rule that one from the house of Levi could not marry outside of that house or lose his priesthood. (This is recorded in the Old Testament when speaking about the priests returning from Babylon that were cut off from the priesthood lineage). God’s rules are based on purity and on keeping his people righteous. However, when the priesthood was extended to all males that restriction was eliminated. Likewise, with any restriction on inter-racial marriage. In our day, because the priesthood is available to all worthy males, God encourages us to marry any worthy individual (of the opposite sex). He extends the priesthood according to his own design and pattern.

        As far as the threat of death goes, there is no evidence that Brigham Young or anyone else actually attempted to kill individuals that married outside of the race, so I tend to view such rhetoric as hyperbolic and a symbol of the spiritual death that would come from being cut off from the lineage of the priesthood…. B. Young Probably could have chosen his words more carefully, but that was his style and his rhetoric does not make him any less of a prophet.

        Also, that quote is not in the Book of Mormon….

    • crunch says:

      Electing a college-educated, believing in any form of supernatural being person for any position in public service should be illegal! CASE CLOSED!

    • qalger says:

      Wrong on all accounts. We have all the same knowledge and resources at our disposal. I am not being tricked into being a Mormon.

      We both simply believe that we read, comprehend and understand things better than the other person. Simple as that.

      Anything anyone believes can be thwarted to look screwy.

      • I might counter that not all beliefs are created equal. Some are better substantiated and more accountable than others. For some, our best explanations for why they exist and replicate have more to do with psychology than history.

  2. Perry Bulwer says:

    Here is a 12 minute video interview with Richard Dawkins March 25th on MSNBC. He discusses the following questions:

    Does a politician’s private religious beliefs effect public policy? If a citizen has the right to question their lawmaker’s political opinions, should they also be able to question their outlook on religion?

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/up-with-chris-hayes/46848311#46848311

    I didn’t watch the presidential debate but Stephen Colbert’s mocking of Mitt’s creepy half-smile reminded me of the Mormon fundamentalist slogan, “keep sweet”. It’s what abused girls and women are told to do by their male masters. Apparently, Romney refused to go on The View because he was afraid to confront “sharp-tongued” women who are free to speak their minds and challenge male authority. I think the patriarchal, sexist attitudes of Mormons, the kind of attitude that tells children to keep sweet no matter how much they are abused and denied their rights, played some part in the Elizabeth Smart case. I think the indoctrination she received in the mainstream Mormon church, especially absolute obedience to authority, made her easy prey for the Mormon fundamentalist who kidnapped and assaulted her, using the same religious dogma to enslave her.

    • Thanks, Perry. Good information! I agree–the “keep sweet” mantra is creepy.

      • Perry Bulwer says:

        Another thought just occurred to me regarding the power that “obey your elders” has over people raised in certain cultures. A Korean-American speed skater recently admitted to tampering with an opponents skates. In his apology he mentioned the difficulty of disobeying an elder:

        “He asked me in English … ‘mess up the blades,’” Cho said of his coach’s instructions. “Later he made the same request in Korean, he made it twice. He was not only coming to me as my coach but as a Korean elder. In the Korean culture, that’s very difficult to deny. I said I’d do it.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/us-speedskater-cho-truly-sorry-for-tampering-with-canadians-skates/article4591261/

        In the Smart case, in my opinion, it was also culture that made it difficult for her to disobey a person who she could have easily seen as her elder, quoting the same scriptures her parents and church leaders did.

        Of all the beliefs you list in this article, I think the last one, Lying for the Lord is Morally Acceptable, is the most dangerous. I practiced a similar doctrine for many years in the Children of God/Family International cult, which they called Deceivers Yet True, based on specific scriptures. see: http://www.exfamily.org/cgi-bin/gf.pl?fmt=dyn&t=articles&m=1&s=&r=art/exmem/family_policy_on_lying.shtml

        Here’s an excerpt:

        As you will see in this detailed article, The Family has gone to great lengths to define what is a “lie,” when it is permissible to lie, and the justification for lying. Consider these claims in Berg’s writing, Deceivers, Yet True!, letter number 1248, paragraphs 4 & 5:

        “The Lord & His Prophets frequently used deceit & sometimes outright lies, believe it or not, to accomplish God’s purpose. The law is the standard, but there are always exceptions to the rules, particularly if God’s the One Who makes the exceptions! God Himself is going to lie to them & deceive them because they refused the truth … God lied to them & deceived them & deluded them & damned them! What better proof can you have than that?—God sometimes uses lies!”

        The title of Berg’s letter, Deceivers, Yet True! captures The Family’s thinking on lying. In fact, the words “deceivers, yet true,” are often quoted among Family members as a catch phrase meaning “condoned lying.” This expression is taken from the King James Version of the Bible, 2Corinthians 6:8, where the Apostle Paul says:

        “By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true.”
        Not bothering to read the entire passage in context to understand the meaning of these last five words, Berg quoted them as authorization to deceive to “accomplish God’s purpose.”

        Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 6:8 in a different translation, the New International Version:

        “Through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as imposters.”

        To honest readers, the meaning is clear. Paul was saying that he was genuine and had integrity, despite the fact that some regarded him as not genuine. Berg, however, insisted that this verse gave The Family free license to use deception as long as hey remained true in their hearts. …

      • It seems like when you have a hierarchical patriarchal closed system, similar characteristics emerge. A self-protective culture and rules get baked into sacred texts, and authorities use them to advance the mission even at the expense of individual members.

      • Scott says:

        “keep sweet” been LDS for along time and never herd that.

      • Perry Bulwer says:

        Scott, if you look at my original comment at the top of this thread you will see that I wrote:
        “…the Mormon fundamentalist slogan, “keep sweet”.” http://flds101.blogspot.ca/2008/05/flds-101-keep-sweet.html

        So, if you were LDS and not FLDS then that’s probably why you wouldn’t have heard the term. “Keep Sweet” is also the title of a book by a survivor of Mormon fundamentalism. http://www.childbrides.org/Book_Keep_Sweet.html

        Also, I just learned that the fundamentalist Twelve Tribes also use that term “keep sweet”. They are well known for corporal punishment of children and recently the German authorities raided a commune and removed dozens of children. An American member of that group defending their practices mentioned that term when speaking to a reporter. See:

        http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.ca/2011/05/twelve-tribes-continue-to-reject-cult.html?showComment=1378746103886#c8580195888450241978

    • Donna M. says:

      As a former 3rd gen Mormon I could never understand why Mitt’s religion wasn’t held up to scrutiny during the elections. If you’re not attending church three or four times a week, perhaps you don’t know that a core belief that is constantly chattered in the past decade is that:
      1: The Last Days are upon us.
      2: These Last Days will commence when the Middle East is in flaming ruins.
      3: The flaming ruins will be brought about by the nation that birthed the One True Religion of God (Mormonism).
      4: Once the Middle East has been completely annihilated by the U.S., Jesus will return to earth and take all the Mormons home to the planet Kolob. For a thousand years Mormons will work on the earth to baptize its entire population, deceased and all, and those who accept baptism will return to Kolob to live with Jesus and the Mormons. And of course, all their plural wives because apparently more women fall for Mormonism than do men.

      To me, this was a tremendously dangerous man to be talking of putting in the White House. Every Mormon knows that each day Mitt opens his day on the phone with the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, in prayer and instruction! That instruction comes and is firmly and promptly obeyed, throughout each and every day.

      The true President of the United States this day could have been the man who authored and funded the Prop 8 fight in California – from several states away.

  3. mriana says:

    I don’t think the idea of being black equates a curse is strictly Mormon. My grandfather believed that black skin was the mark of Cain and he was Church of God.

    • Alan Seeger says:

      Similar beliefs were pretty prevalent in the “old days.” I think that sort of racist teaching was one way of justifying the practice of: a) keeping blacks as slaves, and later b) considering them as second class people.

    • Mr. T says:

      You are more correct than you know. In the days where the Mormon church is accused of espousing slavery virtually every other church did the same. Your Grandfather’s church and my Grandfather’s Lutheran church as well.

  4. Reblogged this on Woosh. and commented:
    I personally don’t know any Mormons, though according to google there is a strong LDS Church in the Philippines. This article has proven once again that there are simply some things about organized religion that I will never understand.

    The comments are also worth reading and are as informative as the article itself.

  5. Bat crap crazy by bat crap crazy for the bat rap crazy from the land of the utterly bat crap crazy ! Humanity is grossly over rated.

  6. Robert Solano says:

    this is the 21st century and we still worry about people’s religion?

  7. Elena Patton says:

    Very informative article. Thanks, Tony

  8. Gintaras says:

    Makes more sense America’s foreign policy.

  9. Gordo says:

    I’m a bit alarmed at one glaring inaccuracy in this and wonder what it implies for the thoroughness of the authors’ research. Fawn Brodie’s ground-breaking biography of Joseph Smith is entitled “No Man KNows My History”, not “No Man Knows My Name”. If such an easily checkable detail as that is missed what else are the authors missing or mistaken about?

  10. irascibleexaminator says:

    Perry,
    I have a few problems with your ‘cultural’ conclusion on both genetics and behavioural psychological factual grounds.
    Research has shown that ‘culture’ (conditioning/ environment ) constitutes varying amounts of the personality estimated between 25- 60%. The remaining is attributed to genetics i.e. a propensity. Again this varies from individual to individual.
    I’d also point out that Korean culture is also Bigger on honesty etc.
    In essence I think the skater’s actions were probably motivated by several separate factors that were largely unique to him . Therefore I have issues with the broad brush stroke painting of the act as simply a manifestation of Korean Culture. I think your conclusion is way too simplistic (stereotyping) and potentially betrays your cultural input (bias).
    On an anthropological level. It is nonsense to discuss a culture in term of it’s attributes without some reference to the the context…
    Culture in my mind it is in fact a manifestation ( human response over time to solving real environmental issues) what it isn’t is a set of fixed attributes in isolation to it’s context.
    i.e. In one of Australian aboriginal cultures (yes there were many) there were strict taboos to marrying into one’s own totem ( often an animal) simply put it was a way of stopping inbreeding.
    In PNG certain tribes has particular Taboo’s of hunting in certain parts of the jungle at a certain time of the year. To enforce it they believed that malicious spirits abounded there at that time.The reality was this part and time coincided with the breeding season. In one clan the tribes made major decisions by the whole tribe even women yet their role was by some feminist models sexist in that men had duties and women had duties… every person knew and accepted their place in the tribe and drew their identity (place in the universe) from both hierarchy in our sense was a mystery to them. Primitive culture ? because they were shamanistic? We could learn some from them.
    Was their life utopian …no it was short and brutal by our standards. The point I’m making is that it isn’t that simple and never is. Such stereotyping is the plinth on which prejudices are cobbled together.
    PS I am not a professional and claim no special expertise. I do claim to have spent my formative childhood living among a couple of the PNG tribes (due to my parent’s jobs) and contact with many more. I was fluent in 2 of the 800+ languages, now a days not so much.

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  16. i’ll admit, i didn’t take the time to read the whole post. but i did read each of the main twelve points. as a returned missionary for the lds church, none of the points you brought up are things the church wants to hide at all, with the exception of #3 (which is just straight up false, the church doesn’t believe dark skin is a sign of God’s curse. maybe random weirdo members do, but there are random weirdos in every religion that believe racist crap, but the point is that nowhere in church doctrine is this taught officially).

    i literally gave up gum and snowboarding and dating and the internet for 18 months knocking on stranger’s doors begging anyone who would listen to take time out of their lives trying to SHARE everything you just claimed we are trying to hide. i have sacrificed too much in the name of sharing everything you just claimed we are hiding to not leave a comment letting you know that you are ill-informed. as a writer, i can’t think of any worse crime to commit. as as fellow writer, i’m even going so far as to ask you to revert this post to a draft until you’ve researched enough to share accurate info. if you are only posting to collect views and comments then i fully expect this comment to be deleted and ignored.

    • Ohrwurm says:

      “i literally gave up gum and snowboarding and dating and the internet for 18 months knocking on stranger’s doors begging anyone who would listen to take time out of their lives trying to SHARE everything you just claimed we are trying to hide.”

      That’s why people don’t like you guys. That’s rude and impolite to pretend to knock on a stranger’s door and that they have to give you their time for nothing. It is different from culture to culture but where I live the least you’d get is the door slammed on your face for such conduct… which takes me to the next thing:

      “i have sacrificed too much”
      If it was your choice, it’s basically your problem. If anyone demanded it from you against your will then they’re the problem. If you have a problem with being a mormon and the things the mormon church demands from you then you should reconsider your affiliation with them. IT IS THAT EASY.

    • noname says:

      I have heard the dark skin thing taught. It wasn’t specifically discussed but it is definitely in the doctrine.

  17. also, as a self-described book of mormon scholar and life-long devout latter-day saint, i’d love to help you learn more accurate facts about correct church beliefs and official/unofficial doctrines. feel free to reach out: case.kelli@gmail.com

    also, lds.org and mormon.org are good places to receive accurate information. happy blogging!

  18. Leanne Peterson says:

    I remember watching a news story on television, the facts of which I was personally familiar with, since it occurred in my neighborhood. I was amazed at how such a simple, straightforward story could be so twisted. I assume it was misrepresented for the purpose of increasing the interest of the viewers. The same thing has happened here. If you want to learn about what Mormon’s believe, ask a Mormon! This article was obviously written to shock, rather than reveal truth.

  19. Jen says:

    I’m an ex-Mormon and I find this post to be blatant yellow journalism. Do Mormons have some weird beliefs? Yep. Do other Christians have some weird beliefs? Yep. All religions sound crazy when you’re not fully educated in them. This article was SO clearly written with an anti-Mormon bias, to the point that I was going, “Blatantly false, sensationalism, blatantly false, etc.” As I said, I left the church, but for the life of me, I can’t understand people who claim to know everything about members of the LDS church and claim that they are all crazy and evil, or naive followers who have been duped by an evil brainwashing cult. The LDS church is a very wholesome religion; I don’t believe it, but many VERY intelligent people that I love and respect do. So let’s tone down the ignorance and hatred, please :)

    • Perry Bulwer says:

      “All religions sound crazy when you’re not fully educated in them.”

      According to the words ascribed to the mythical Jesus, whom Mormons apparently believe in, you have to become as a little child to enter the ‘kingdom’of god’. No education necessary, just simple unquestioning faith. All the rest is just religious artifice used by immoral men (mostly) to control others. And all of it sounds crazy, no matter how shallow or deep my understanding of a particular religion’s dogma is.

      I have a very deep understanding of Christianity, as a former believer, and a very shallow understanding of Hinduism, yet both seem utterly crazy to me.

      • Mriana says:

        One has to become like a child in almost any Xian religious belief. As Spong said, “The Church doesn’t want people to grow up, because you can’t control grown ups.” in his video interview concerning Hell. I too am a former believer and I know all too well about this “Heavenly Father” who is “Father to the fatherless” etc etc.

        However, as you said, it really doesn’t take much education, just brainwashing, esp from birth, because brainwashing before the age of 7 is best, just so you can control them for a lifetime and keep them in the fold. Of course, this method isn’t foolproof, obviously.

      • Becoming a child does not mean having simple unquestioning faith. Becoming a child involves increasingly becoming more like the savior. It means having a faith that is tempered with experience and that continually looks forward and upward. Being child like to me means being optimistic about the future and hopeful. It also involves recognizing my relationship with God which is a father-son relationship. It also involves what the savior described as being “wise like serpents and harmless as doves…” Continual learning as well as disciplined discipleship is the hallmark of a true disciple of Christ.

        I like how the Book of Mormon explains it

        “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19)

      • Perry Bulwer says:

        There is no reply button to respond to symphonyofdissent, so I’ve submitted it under my previous comment in this thread..

        You contradict yourself, sod, when you write that “becoming a child … means having a faith that is tempered with experience”. Children have very little or no experience, so they must rely on the adults around them to teach them the reality of life, how to think critically, and how to separate fact from fiction. The dogma attributed to some guy named Jesus that one must become as a child to enter heaven, can only be understood as a requirement not to question or doubt the dogma, just accept it the same way a child accepts that Santa is real. You can twist the interpretation with your cognitive dissonance, but that doesn’t change that biblical imperative.

        The Book of Mormon just makes up things or copies things, just like the Bible. There is a similar scripture in the Bible to the one you quote, which says that the carnal mind is at enmity with God (KJV). Knowledge, learning, questioning, doubting are all bad things according to the Bible. How many children raised in the Mormon faith are allowed to really doubt and question everything they are taught by their parents, teachers and elders? I suspect that most, as in many other denominations, dare not question the dogma, which is how all religions perpetuate themselves.

  20. Mr. T says:

    As a Mormon, I cannot speak for early leaders whose comments were wrong.
    But as an honest person I will recognize
    something completely proven. I am disappointed that while the church does so many good things that are never mentioned that we seem to be dishonest about the past. Scared too death of it actually. If you are going to possess to be the true Church then you MUST BE TOTALLY HONEST. I do not believe our Lord ever covered up anything, even when it costs him followers. That , quite frankly is what troubles me so much. Jesus never had to be forced to tell the truth. Even if (and it did) killed Him. To the learned, highly educated leaders of our church
    this member of no standing counsels
    Just tell the truth, the WHOLE truth and
    nothing but the truth. There is no such thing as lying for The Lord. This I do know in the name of Jesus Christ.

  21. JRSG says:

    Everything said in this article can be said of all of the Christian religions and non Christian religions. This article was written by an Evangelical. That should be a red flag right there. Evangelical’s are scared of everything they do not understand. They live in a “black and white” way of thinking world/bubble. The universe scares them because they do not undrstand it. I truly do not know how EV’s function in a world that is NOT black and white. Not everything has answers. There are many shades of grey in the world.
    Donna M said: “Every Mormon knows that each day Mitt opens his day on the phone with the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, in prayer and instruction! That instruction comes and is firmly and promptly obeyed, throughout each and every day.” TOTAL #$^$%#$^&#%^& BS. That is like saying the Pope controlled the White House when Pres. Kennedy was in office. As a former Mormon you sound like you have a huge axe to grind. Every time a new U.S. President is elected the President of the LDS church meets with the new U.S. President, several times during that U.S.President’s time in the White House. As do other Preachers/Pastors/Leaders of other religious denominations. So I guess Pres. Obama calls up all these religious leaders every morning to have prayer and then decides who to follow for the day! HAH!!!

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  23. NEIL CAMERON / 6443 says:

    MORMONS, AND I HAVE MET MANY, ARE ALMOST ALWAYS SINCERE, INTELLIGENT PEOPLE. THEY APPEAR TO HAVE GOOD FAMILY VALUES AND LOTS AND LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. I HAVE ATTENDED THEIR CHURCHES ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS, READ THEIR BOOKS, ETC. WELL-MEANING MORMONS HAVE ASSURED ME THAT THE ONLY REASON THAT I HAVE NOT YET BECOME A MORMON IS BECAUSE I HAVE NOT STUDIED THEIR BELIEFS SUFFICIENTLY. I HAVE NEVER, HOWEVER, HAD EVEN THE LEAST ILLUSION THAT THERE IS ANY TRUTH AT ALL TO BE FOUND WITHIN MORMONISM. THE MORE I STUDY THEIR RELIGION THE MORE I HAVE TO WONDER HOW ANY EVEN SEMI-RATIONAL PERSON CAN BELIEVE SUCH UTTER NONSENSE! JOSEPH SMITH, THE FOUNDING PROPHET OF MORMONISM, A TOTAL SCOUNDREL AND MORALLY BASE INDIVIDUAL, HAS BEEN WHITEWASHED BY MORMONS INTO SOME KIND OF GOD MAN NEARLY IF NOT EQUAL IN SIGNIFICANCE AND HOLINESS TO JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. MORMONS, FROM MY FIRSTHAND OBSERVATION, ALL BUT WORSHIP THIS REPROBATE.

    A STRIKING FEATURE OF MORMON CHURCH SERVICES IS HOW FREQUENTLY THE MEMBERS SAY SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT THAT “I KNOW THAT JOSEPH SMITH WAS A TRUE PROPHET OF GOD AND THAT THIS IS THE ONLY TRUE CHURCH.” THE IMPRESSION LEFT ON ME IS THAT IF THEY WILL JUST KEEP SAYING THIS OFTEN ENOUGH THAT THEY WILL FINALLY BE ABLE TO CONVINCE THEMSELVES AND OTHERS THAT THEY REALLY DO BELIEVE THE THOROUGHLY UNBIBLICAL DOCTRINES OF THEIR CHURCH. I HAVE NEVER NOTICED SUCH A PSYCHOLOGICAL SORE POINT IN OTHER CHURCHES. MORMONS IN THEIR CHURCH SERVICES REFER RATHER MORE FREQUENTLY TO THE BOOK OF MORMON, DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS, AND THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE THAN THEY DO TO THE BIBLE. MORMON CHURCH SERVICES TO ME ARE VERY UNINSPIRED AFFAIRS. THEY DO NOT HAVE A PROFESSIONAL MINISTRY AND I HAVE YET TO HEAR ANYTHING IN A MORMON CHURCH SERVICE THAT STRIKES ME AS SPIRITUALLY UPLIFTING. ADMITTEDLY, MOST OF THE SERMONS IN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ARE PRETTY DULL ALSO, BUT OCCASIONALLY ONE DOES HEAR A REALLY OUTSTANDING SERMON THAT TOUCHES BOTH THE HEART AND MIND WITH POWER.

    WHILE THERE ARE BOUND TO BE PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH THE POINTS RAISED BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG, FROM MY EXPERIENCE AND IN MY JUDGMENT, HE STANDS ON VERY SOLID GROUND IN ALL THAT HE HAS SAID. I DO NOT DETECT ANY ANTI-MORMON BIAS AT ALL. THOUGH I HOPE THAT MY COMMENTS DO NOT OFFEND MORMONS, I AM NOT AT ALL CONCERNED IF THEY DO. FOR THOSE WHO FEEL PERSONALLY ATTACKED OR INSULTED BY WHAT I HAVE SAID, TRUTH AND CANDOR OFTEN CUT A LITTLE TOO CLOSE TO THE BONE FOR OUR PERSONAL COMFORT.

    NEIL CAMERON / 6443

  24. Ken says:

    I am a professor of 33 years and a devout Mormon. I am astonished at the lack of truth on this web site… the lack of current scientific knowledge is most concerning, the apparent lack of willingness on the part of the webmaster to include information that refutes the sincere or pathological claims of some contributors is propagandistic. As a neuropsychologist, I’m very interested in the basis for this mental motivation.

    To address a few points: The Early Americas were, at the time of Joseph Smith, thought to have been verdant, unpopulated areas with no understanding among historians and anthropologists as to the number and variety of populations that had arrived in South America. Joseph was criticized for saying that “many people” had come to the continent. It was beyond the understanding of the science of the time. Now that has changed. We now know that many “peoples” have inhabited the land. Many have come and gone and many have mixed with the people of this “new country.” Joseph was criticized for including them in the beginning, and now he is criticized that they existed at all given modern day understanding of science. He said there were many people long before science believed this to be the case. Now it is understood. Argue what you want… he saw it long before the science of the day and it has come to pass.

    One writer of this this sites mentions the “scoundrel” of Joseph Smith. I call him out as a liar!!! He attempts to appear “objective” but in reality he want to rip the doctrine apart. In truth, I am the same in reverse. That is way I recognize his methods. I am for the for Mormons, he is against. so how does one know? Are we both mentally ill? Maybe. But he is not willing to admit the possibility and thus the objectivity of science is gone. This web site should not host the ravings of the mentally ill. That does not advance the discussion.

    “Every day Mitt opens his phone with the prophet.” Now that is mentally ill…. and that’s coming from a trained neuropsychologist. That contributor needs help. Go get it. That is the kind of prejudice and bigotry that has driven the uneducated masses of Islam to radical terrorism. Take a Prozac.

    The so called Mormon apologizing for the past…. what a transparent crock. If you were LDS you should get a spine. If now, which is the case in researching the cookies, you are a liar and a hypocrite.

    And for all the contributors criticizing the Book of Mormon, the psychological basis of your criticism is transparent. Normally a therapist would try to make the patient feel better before suggesting change but in this case, the basis for the comments is justification of beliefs that are unstable within your own minds and rip on others to sure up your own shaky and unstable beliefs.

    There are forces in the Universe that are less understood and once you break from your culture and upbringing and allow and objective review and understanding of all the options, once you allow you “learned hatred” to not be the strongest forces in your life, you may discover the truth,…. “and the truth shall set you free.”

    It will be interesting to see if the webmaster even allows you to see this.

    kf

    • Perry Bulwer says:

      For a professor and neuropsychologist you sure have poor grammar and communication skills, as well as poor critical thinking and reasoning skills. You have not made even one convincing argument with that religious rant.

      As for truth, you are speaking of religious ‘truth’, not facts and reality. As Bob Dylan sings: “All the ‘truth’ in the world adds up to one big lie.”

      • emily says:

        Why so rude Perry?

      • Perry Bulwer says:

        Emily, I merely responded in kind. Did you read Ken’s comments? It is filled with rudeness towards other commenters here, calling them liars, unstable, mentally ill. Since you only pointed out my rudeness, and ignored Ken’s rudeness, I can only assume you too are a Mormon apologist that dismisses the harm its dogma causes.

        My rudeness was far less mean-spirited than Ken’s. I merely pointed out the oddity of a professor with poor writing and thinking skills unable to make a rational convincing argument and confined my comment to him, whereas Ken’s rudeness was directed generally at commenters who disagree with him, stereotyping them as mentally ill, which I think is far far ruder than my comment to him.

  25. KT says:

    Ken says:
    September 10, 2013 at 9:05 am

    “To address a few points: The Early Americas were, at the time of Joseph Smith, thought to have been verdant, unpopulated areas with no understanding among historians and anthropologists as to the number and variety of populations that had arrived in South America. Joseph was criticized for saying that “many people” had come to the continent. It was beyond the understanding of the science of the time. Now that has changed. We now know that many “peoples” have inhabited the land. Many have come and gone and many have mixed with the people of this “new country.” Joseph was criticized for including them in the beginning, and now he is criticized that they existed at all given modern day understanding of science. He said there were many people long before science believed this to be the case. Now it is understood. Argue what you want… he saw it long before the science of the day and it has come to pass.”

    If you are actually a professor, I fear for your students. Greatly.

  26. john says:

    While much of this is accurate information, it is not true that “[polygamy] is still enshrined in the revealed Scriptures as necessary for obtaining godhood.” And LDS and FLDS are two very different things, and doctrines, practices, and especially the people in the two groups should not be lumped together because they are two very different things.

    • Ohrwurm says:

      “And LDS and FLDS are two very different things”

      Well, I only see they are only a F away from each other. I’d bet they have more in common than differences but that’s me: I’m always looking more on the side of big similarities than other people who are always discriminating on the little differences.

  27. RichMan says:

    This article is well over 50% false. I’m bookmarking this page and someday will address all the BS in this article, line by line. Nevertheless it will probably be futile because of the hardness of the prejudice out there.

    Most of you bigoted people are evil and ugly and the only thing stopping me from terminating y’all is that Jesus said I was to love y’all.

    YOU OWE JESUS BIG!

    So, instead, I love each and every one of you. And, because Jesus asked
    me to, I strive to “love (my) enemies, bless them that curse (me), do good to them that hate, and pray for them who despitefully use and persecute” [yep, check your KJV Bible].

    It’s a beautiful thing, you should try it.

    • Perry Bulwer says:

      So, you admit to having homicidal tendencies towards people who don’t accept your beliefs and the only thing stopping you is your reliance on cherry-picking scriptures that confirm your bias?

      That pretty much sums up fundamentalists, whose beliefs are particularly dangerous to women and children. And complaining you are being ‘persecuted’ because of what other people say or believe is hilarious, especially since Jesus promised his followers would be persecuted. Come on, admit it, you enjoy being ‘persecuted’ because it ‘proves’ you are a follower. You should wear it like a badge of honour instead of expressing your desire to “terminate”, i.e., murder unbelievers.

    • James Smith says:

      You’re in deep denial; all of this is true, especially the archeology/anthropology and Joseph Smith being a crook. Also, Christianity is not being persecuted even a microscopic bit in Europe or the Americas.

  28. aussieguy44 says:

    The issue that drove me out of Mormonism was the Book of Abraham. The papyri that Smith used to produce the book were found in 1967 in a Museum in New York.They were translated by Egyptologists and found to have nothing to do with Abraham and were Egyption funerary documents.

  29. Ellanna Shiller (exmo) says:

    Sorry, I didn’t get any farther than “it[']s racist past…” when I reallized [proof]reading the entire essay would have me climbing the walls…

  30. Ellanna Shiller (exmo) says:

    “Among the problems with this scenario are…,” IS, IS, IS!!! I give up!

    • Whew, you’re wrong on this one. “Are” is followed by a series of three items. But I am actually grateful when people point out typos and other errors. I simply don’t see them all no matter how many times I re-read an article.

  31. Jake DeVergeze says:

    Ok. I am not a mormon. But, I stumbled onto this as a result of other research.

    I am angry with the scientific comunity for propagating that Native Americans are the Decendants of Mongols. First, the Mongol People did not exist in the East European area at the time of the Ice Bridge. This is a known anthropological fact. The mongolid people were in central to west Europe at that time. Next, the techonology in the Americas suggests that The people more likely migrated over from the far east of Europe. (See arrow heads, and battle axes) all this technology predates to east europe, and was never used by the mongoloid people. Next, during the age of Kahn, there was a heavy slave influx of Jewish people into the Mongol population. This was known when the genetic studies were made, and a lot of data was tossed. In my opinion, the conclusions are completely invalid. And, even today, you can find a large amount of Jewish markers in Mongol decendants. Hence, if you are trying to say that this is proof against the Mormonism, you are blowing smoke up someones ass trying to prove a point.

    The truth is, that there were multipule migrations to the americas. There is proof positive that early in the Xin dynasty Xin (now common chineese) had several boats that may have left large settlements in the americas. Remains have been found to confirm this. There is proof positive that there were decendants that crossed the atlantic bridge. This is easily seen in the common technologies. The people that inhabited the north russian area at the time of the pacific bridge were most likely pre-siberinic white, and not likely did not contribute much. But, the Eskimo people do have a strong coorilation to Mongolid people… Including the Jewish genitic markers. And, valid research shows that they did not migrate into the northlands until much later. Native Americans in the east have been shown to have later European markers as well (this data also was tossed from the all Native Americans are Mongols postulate), and this is evident as it is known that Vikings many have had several settlements in North America.

    My big problem is that people are trying to come up with a simple migration plan for mankind. But, the truth is, man did not migrate in simple paths. Mormonism may have a shred of truth to it’s beliefs. Maybe some Jewish boat did sail across… (somewhat unlikely) But, don’t believe the rabble listed above.

    Note: I am an Engineer with a second Degree in Anthropology.

  32. Jake DeVergeze says:

    Ooops I meant to say Migrated over from Far west Europe. (In my rage, I mis-typed…)

  33. James Smith says:

    Ahh, Jake, science has shown that the native Americans are descended from Asians, who in turn are descended from Africans, as are Europeans, Arabs, etc. The only European blood in them is post-contact and they all came from the far east of Russia, China, Mongolia, etc. http://www.boston.com/whitecoatnotes/2012/07/11/native-americans-migrated-the-new-world-three-waves-harvard-led-dna-analysis-shows/uQRQdkkqMmzSW3LaArh0tM/story.html

  34. James Smith says:

    Hey Christians, your religion is as completely fake as all the others, sorry.

  35. Chris says:

    Disgustingly inaccurate. I understand you not believing in the principals taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but to claim any status that you know better than any “MORMON” is as pompous as you claim Joseph Smith to be.
    For those of you who actually want to know what the Mormons believe, stop a smissionary on street or invite them in for
    30 minutes when they knock on your door. Or ask a friend or neighbor. Don’t rely on somebody to tell you what we believe. http://www.mormon.org

    • Hi Chris –
      I hear you and some others saying that this article is inaccurate. But consider this response from another active Mormon: “as a returned missionary for the lds church, none of the points you brought up are things the church wants to hide at all, with the exception of #3 (which is just straight up false, the church doesn’t believe dark skin is a sign of God’s curse. maybe random weirdo members do, but there are random weirdos in every religion that believe racist crap, but the point is that nowhere in church doctrine is this taught officially).”
      It is ironic that the one issue with which she had exception is one that the Church itself has formally acknowledged and clearly renounced this month.

      • Chris says:

        You will always find someone to support your claim, either way. I am a returned missionary too. (and you didn’t reference the other 85,000 missionaries each year) Best learning experience of my life. Worth more th an my M.A.edu. Can’t wait to go again, to share the gospel if Jesus Christ, and his love for us. Don’t think I’ll be wasting my time spreading 1/4 truths about religions i don’t know about.

      • Tommy says:

        You do not have any room to speak on the legitimacy of a religion being a catholic. You people are way more twisted than the Mormons. The millions of people your faith has murdered just because they didn’t agree with you is deplorable at best. Absolutely disgusting. Not to mention the molestations that happen, on what seems like a daily basis, by your priests (or whatever you call them). Religion is the biggest hoax mankind has ever come up with. I can’t believe people still believe in this crap after they are able to read a book and develop some common sense.

      • Hi Tommy –
        I’m a non-theist and have never been Catholic. Were you trying to reply to another commenter?

  36. Chris says:

    Why do so many people worry about other religions, when they should be spending time building their own faith? How about spending time telling me about your belief and why I should believe like you do instead of telling me how wrong other people are!
    The Bible you profess to believe in never explains that you should try to tear other people down, but to preach His Word. You have a funny way of doing this. Thank you for being an expert in what you don’t believe in, did this article make you feel better?

  37. Pingback: The Resolutions I’m Not Breaking | The Blog I'm Not Writing

  38. Joey Rams says:

    well..this is very very super very good what I have read……first of all thank you…SO MUCH….I was raised Pentecostal….evangelical….or you can call it protestant…..eighteen years ago..I met then my girlfriend….now my wife…..eight years on and off…ten years married……I didn’t have any problem on her beliefs…though i thought with the time I will bring her to become or to learn about the real gospel…..but that was not the case……I ‘ve been on that church for the last ten years…..now am on the process of divorcing…..she wants me to leave the house…am being a bad example to our two kids….one 15. the other one 3…and she is stuck on her believe that that’s the true church…..but as I read in your site…and is true…they don’t want you to to know their history……I know the bible….and is just not the same doctrine that the bible explains…then that way they want you to believe……as I read….my soul…my heart…it just felt the happiest moments of my life…..but my question is…….but why the have the nerves to lie to the innocent people…when the scriptures says…that the blood of the innocents will claim justice against you on the final day……well I’ve again…THANK YOU….you have fill my thirst on knowing on the disgraced do called..the church of Jesus Christ….what a shame…

  39. theglem4 says:

    There are so many things wrong in this and this isn’t really about things that are kept hidden by the Church. And African-Americans didn’t get the priesthood for awhile because, just like every religion, the members aren’t perfect; they were some racists. Also, at least everyone was together, unlike every other church who had one congregation for Caucasians and a different one for every other race. That is much more racist.

  40. Anton says:

    I am roman-catholic priest and teologist at the local university.
    We do not agree on many things with the LDS church but since I am teaching the religion for over 30 years now I can clearly say that things stated in your article above are 10 % true.
    I will not speak about their book but since I know many of them and have been investigated their doctrines for many years, things stated above are not correct or just written to sound very subjective and negative. Lets be fair to eachother, nobody’s perfect. My church has done so much evil through centuries but I am not responsible for that. Let’s focus on what we do now.
    People are not perfect but throwing stones on someone like this is just pathetic.

    • Hmm. Some Mormons and former Mormons have said otherwise, and the article was drafted by someone who was also a religion professor at a Jesuit university for years. Which parts do you disagree with?

    • Adam says:

      I agree with him. P.S. look up Acts 5: 39, 40 and then post something about Mormons.

  41. Tommy says:

    I have only lived in Utah for 6 months, but in that short time I have come to realize that Mormons are some of the most psychotic, twisted people on earth. An absolute hoax of a “religion.” This place and this religion are absolutely sickening. To be fair, I think all organized religion is B.S. and serves very little else than controlling people and making money, but Mormons are on par with Arabs. Absolute, undeniable psychos. And the fact we almost had a Mormon president is scary considering what these freaks believe. Every single aspect of life in Utah is controlled and run by these nut jobs, the last thing we need is the entire country controlled by one.

    • David Johnstone says:

      Relax people. There’s no need to criticize any religion or anyone. We’re all human and have whatever beliefs each of us has.
      I, for the sake of my life here on Earth, as I believe everyone should recognize, is that it’s obvious that everyone has their own beliefs, values and practices. Number one to survive in this life is to respect one another and to accept that everyone is unique. We are here to be good to one another and make the world a better place. Can we all just get along? It’s really not that difficult.
      I was raised Mormon. I stopped attending church in my early teens. Why? Peer pressure, reading and listening to different opinions from people. For me, I believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The Bible? There are many interpretations, as with all books. Religious or not. All I can say to remember The Golden Rule… “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I would add, if one does not believe as another does, move on until you find one that does. Don’t end up like the girl from the song from The Guess Who, “Undone.”

  42. Adam says:

    Just want to say if you really believe this bull crap look at lds.org. Most other sites about mormons are actually led by anti-mormons who use false resources and also use ex-mormons who have no idea about what is going on in the church as sources as well. Finally #2 is wrong. The hill Cumorah wasn’t in New York. If there was at least half a million people living and trading from coast to coast it would be somewhere from Panama to the beginning of Mexico. This is also a considerable fact since there was no mention of any winter back then. Also stone buildings have been found in Guatamala in the jungles there and many more remain to be uncovered. So if you really think Mormonism is bull research these facts and try and prove me wrong which you won’t.

  43. Adam says:

    One last thing for bible lovers out there Acts 5: 39, 40. Please look it up.

  44. Tony says:

    Freedom of…. Cancer would be nice. Freedom of…. Disease, maybe one day. Freedom of….. Religion, It’s our right as Americans to be free of that! Get it!

  45. I was wondering if an extensive citation list is available? There are in-text citations, throughout the article; However, some things are left un-cited. I would like to do some deeper research on points touched on in this article, and a complete citation list would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  46. Pingback: Religion - What Say You? - Page 112 - Playa del Carmen, Mexico forum

  47. Tom Jones says:

    I do not understand the arguments here. Not at all. I am not a huge person of faith and tend to be more scientific (requiring proof before I place my faith in something).

    All religions have historical discrepancies chiefly due to them being formed hundreds or even thousands of years ago, some even before mankind could write (passed along via oral tradition).

    This is not the case with Mormonism.

    To me it is very, very clear that Mormonism was founded by a scoundrel. Unlike all the other religions in the world, Mormonism is fairly new and came into existence during a time when people actually could read and write (No Oral tradition here…we have documents), which means we live in a time when we can actually corroborate the evidence using factual documents. What is great for discerning minds is we actually have documented, first hand, eye-witness accounts converted to sworn written statements ( from his neighbors, his first wife, early church members, court cases…etc.).

    This recent, easily attainable documentation of a founder of any religion is unprecedented. We are so fortunate. Imagine if this scoundrel lived a thousand years ago. There would be tales of him walking on water and raising people from the dead.

    Any third grader can read the actual history of Joseph Smith and know that he was a snake oil salesman, a sooth Sayer, a con artist, a drunk and a womanizer. He was a thief, had no honor and roamed the country side looking for people to use.

    He lived a very good life feeding his base desires by devising a completely fabricated religion. In the end he found a way through life without having to work and he lived like a king with the women of his church worshiping him. When he died, the greatest gig in the whole world was kept alive by the Elders of the church who also were men of the same type. What you really had here was a group of pedophiles that got together and devised a system of control to feed their debased desire for 12 year old girls (Polygamy) and carve out an easy life for themselves.

    All religions must evolve to survive and prosper. Mormonism is no exception. As the church grew the doctrines changed and morphed into something more palatable for everyone.

    You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear. This is the case with Mormonism. Make no mistake, no matter how many revisions to the founding documents are made, you just can’t wash the filth out of the magic underwear. The filthy debased usury of hard working people and their 12 year old daughters continues to this day, deep in the basement of this foul religion.

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