I'm sorry, but people keep saying the leadership does not address hard ball
issues. Why? If you have a problem with the leadership then you need to examine
your heart and ask yourself why you have a problem with the church's leadership.
Is the church true? If it is; then go from there. You can receive answers to
these questions if you search. Just like J. Smith search out his answer. Find
out for yourself why the church does or does not do this or that anymore. James
c1 v5. Study, pray and visit the churches website. The answers are there for
those who really want to know the answers. Heavenly Father ALWAYS (not yelling,
emphasis) answers a sincere heart.
How do we know he is only addressing soft ball issues? Have you read the book?
This article only gave a few examples.
Amen, MC. I too am tired of members addressing these issues and putting their
opinions in their answers rather than the doctrine. Hoping he will address
these issues well and thus, hammering away at the misconceptions.
One of the reasons we don't hear the leadership of the church talk about the
"hard questions" is because they don't matter. The reason they focus
on the "soft questions" as they are identified in some of the
comments, is because the Leadership is trying to help each of us refocus on what
is truly important. Those principles that will help us grow closer to the Savior
and become more like him: 1- Keeping and living the commandments 2- Love God
with all your Heart 3- Love thy neibhor as yourself 4- Repent of our sins 5-
Forgive others of their tresspasses, etc. Once we as children of our Heavenly
Father learn to live those doctrinal principles consitantly and properly, then
we might be ready to learn and except why those other doctrines were changed. He
that have ears to hear, let him hear.
@LValfre: your question isn't genuine but all you need to do to get your answer
is call your local missionaries and/or go to your local LDS church.Anyone there can help you get the answers you seek.Millions have
found out the same as Kevin. I have and Kevin is correct.However, we
know the path back to God is straight and narrow and few be there that find
it.It's all up to you pal.
Kevin,How did you come to know and believe these things? That's my
question. If it's 'just because' then I'll keep my mouth shut so I don't get
denied this comment.
wow.. this thread has been busy. I find it amazing that people in general try
to understand, justify, or prove wrong etc events from the past using modern day
thinking. That effort will just cause more confusion. None of us were there and
we can't understand the mind and will of those who shaped the past. We can hash
and rehash the why's of the past. That to me is a waste of time. In this church members only need to know and believe a few basic points of
doctrine to gain a testimony.1. God the Father is the father of all spirit
children and has a body of flesh and bones.2. His resurrected son Jesus
Christ is the Saviour of the world.3. JS saw God the Father and Jesus
Christ.4. The BOM is the word of God translated by JS through the power of
God.5. The LDS church is the kingdom of God on Earth today.Argue as you may about this point or that point of history, but it makes no
difference. I know what my testimony is about. Do you?
Michael De Groote wrote:"...if your goal is to understand a
religion, to really understand what makes its people tick, you will learn MORE
from talking with them and reading what they teach each other than you will from
critics outside the faith community."Do all Catholics
"believe" the official Creeds of Catholicism?When Joseph
Smith was trying to "understand" Methodism, Prebyterianism, or any of
the other religions extant in his day, did he follow your approach?Was Joseph evaluating the beliefs of common believers when he said (and
attributed it to a heavenly being):"...they were all wrong;
...all their creeds were an abomination in [God's] sight; that those professors
were all corrupt; that: 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts
are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form
of godliness, but they deny the power thereof'" (Joseph Smith History,
1:19)?I think it is reasonable to suppose, if Joseph Smith had taken
your approach, there would not have been any need for a "Restoration"
tyndale1,As I understand it, there is no requirement for anyone to
accept or to posit any theories about the origins of the Book of Mormon in order
to get an answer from the Holy Ghost. Moroni's challenge mentions nothing about
theorizing about the origins of the BOM as a prerequisite for receiving an
answer.As for my wife, I do not investigate the LDS Church in order
to please her. She fell in love with me as an atheist, and she continues to love
me as an atheist. She would be pleased to go to the temple and be sealed to me,
but she loves me at least in part for my refusal to compromise on the pursuit of
truth.Unlike many I see in the Church, I will not pretend to
spiritual manifestations in order to please her or anyone else, or to appear
righteous.What am I expecting to happen before I embrace the BOM?
Simply a fulfilment of the promises given by Moroni.I find the
"teachings" of the BOM rather pedestrian and unremarkable as compared
to the teachings of religions too many to name here. The BOM is unimpressive as
literature or inspiration.
re:KJKYes, when we were taught "Six Consequences" in Church, it
didn't pass the "smell" test. We did our own original research and
came to the same conclusions Thurston did. It was only after we conducted our
own research we became aware of Thurston's excellent rebuttal.
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matt: 7:20 " " If
any man shall do His will he shall know of the doctrine. Whether it be of God or
whether I speak of myself. John 7:17" To KNOW is simple. Do HIS will. Not
Brahmabull This is why the church has so many questions among the
membership. The leaders often contradict themselves. One prophet says one thing,
another one says another. That makes me question the validity of the revelations
that are given. Some things are obviously not clear among the leadership, so how
are members supposed to get them clear? KJK Bingo! This is
why the prophets have stated that only official source for Church doctrine is
the scriptures and that everything else is opinion. They have also stated that
if their own words contradict scripture, that we are to reject their words and
obey scripture. Sharrona, Whether Satan is the brother of Jesus or
was created by him (per historic Christianity) makes no real difference.
Counter-cult efforts arent aimed at converting LDS because active LDS know what
we REALLY teach. Those efforts are designed to discourage non-LDS from
seriously considering adopting Mormonism. Truthseeker Lawrence
Research was the opinion polling company that was heavily involved in
Proposition 8...Lawrence is credited with writing the missive, Six Consequences
If Prop 8 Fails. " KJKLDS Lawyer/BYU professor Morris
Thurston wrote an excellent rebuttal to that propaganda piece.
Michael DeGroote:I completely agree with, most outside observors do
not trouble themselves too much with the truth claims of religions in which they
have no connection. Still that is not all the situation of this book, or frankly
even the agenda of Deseret News. Religious propagandist's, such as those who
write books to clear up "Mormon misconceptions" (should be
"Misconceptions about Mormonism") do so in an effort to defend the
essential truth claims that lay the foundation for Mormon faith. Even if not an
aggressive attempt, at the root of this motivation is a desire to recruit and
retain members. This being the case, all of the historical baggage is and always
will be germane to the discussion. Yet, this is exactly the kind of stuff we can
expect left out from the Mormon propagandists. Propaganda places loyalty to the
cause over objective discussion, therefore in a general sense Mormon's are no
better of a source than informed critics. If the matter is what do
Mormons believe, without trying to defend the truth claims, then the context is
faulty anyway. How can one lay person speak for the belief of some few million
people??? It is a defense.
Now if you know anything about recent events in California, youll recognize that
Garys business, Lawrence Research was the opinion polling company that was
heavily involved in Proposition 8. Gary was also the state LDS grassroots
director for the Protect Marriage coalition. Brother Lawrence, who has served as
a bishop has spent over 35 years studying opinions and behaviors of the American
public.Lawrence is credited with writing the missive, "Six
Consequences If Prop 8 Fails."
@Stephen Bennett "Mormons characteristically accept that Christ was not
uncreated Spirit, therefore, in effect that He was limited to being only a
creature-craftsman, merely able to manipulate material, impotent as the living
Word of God to call something into existence, and was not Eternal as God from
infinite, everlasting past."Interesting how you put your faith
in a book, whose earliest origins that later became what we know today as the
New Testament, can only be dated back to third century A.D. Who is to say that
a group of men in the third century didnt just make it all up. That sort of
puts the New Testament on the same playing ground as the Book of Mormon as to
the question of authenticity.
To thoroughly experience the infinite world through finite means is impossible.
Likewise, things that are spiritual are understood only through spiritual means
or revelation from God. Man's finite wisdom wanes in comparison to
God's infinite knowledge of the eternities."
Brahmabull and I have had some lively discussions pertaining to what he
believes. The problem is that I believe a prophet to be a man suceptible to the
same temptations as I am. They make mistakes just as we do. They are not
perfect and at times they offend. President Hinckley is said to have said
somethings. I still in all can't find the transcript of it. Does that make him
any less a prophet of God? No. Just as some of the mistakes Joseph Smith did or
Brigham Young makes them even less a prophet. Moses made many mistakes and was
chastisized for them. So what. Polygamy was directed by God and then was
removed by God. He will not allow anything to stop or hinder his work. Elder
Anderson stated that many people get hungup on things that really have no
bearing on the eternal perspective. The problem is they get so worried about
certain things that it destroys the ability to feel and hear the Holy Ghost.
Blacks got the priesthood. Why was it withheld? Why don't you ask the
individual who kept it from them, our Heavenly Father. I have and I have my
Stephen:Greetings to the great land of Canada. I would have to agree with
Michael here. I think you did a superb job of summing up some of the great
misconceptions about Mormonism, which is a fitting way to conclude these
comments. I hope your continued curiosity will sway you into obtaining a copy of
Gary's book when it arrives up there. Truth, even if it is about a religion you
believe to be false, can be beneficial. May God be with.
I don't think most people want to learn about a church to see if it is true or
false. My guess is that most people they just want to know what the people in a
church believe. The best source of that is going to be the people who
believe.If you want to know what person believes, ask that
person.If you want to know what other people think about another
person's belief, ask those people.For example, above you can read
Commenter Stephen Bennett's explanation of what Mormons believe about Jesus.
What do you learn? You learn what Stephen thinks Mormons believe about Jesus.
However, my guess is if a person asked a Mormon what they thought about Jesus
they would get a completely different answer.
One absolutely foundational distinction between Mormonism and Christianity is
the ontology of Deity - Who God Is.Mormons characteristically accept
that Christ was not uncreated Spirit, therefore, in effect that He was limited
to being only a creature-craftsman, merely able to manipulate material, impotent
as the living Word of God to call something into existence, and was not Eternal
as God from infinite, everlasting past.Mormons typically believe
that God was a man who was actually required to earn the qualification for being
God.Mormons for decades believed that Adam was God.The
Mormon Jesus according to Mormon scripture does not as Savior forgive all
sins.If a church, any church, does not get right Who The One True
God Is how can that church be the one true church?Paul in 2 Cor. 11
warns vigorously against false apostles, another Jesus, another gospel, another
spirit & the leaving off of the purity, the simplicity and the power of
devotion to Christ.
KatieFrankie said, What was unfamiliar, now I understand. A camel becomes a
gnat. You strain your water so you won't accidentally swallow a gnat, but you
swallow a camel!(Mt 23:24 NLT)Those who guide this people mislead them,
and those who are guided are led astray.(Is 9:16)From LDS
revelation, we learn that Jehovah is the English form of the actual name by
which the Lord Jesus was known ANCIETLY (D&C 110:3 ,Jehovah appears to JS),
Abra 2:8 ,My is name is Jehovah) 788 Mormon Doctrine. S/B YHWH, JS was unaware
of the poor KJV and didnt know the Personal name of God(LORD)YHWH.
Misconceptions will always be perpetuated by those who believe only in the Bible
as the inerrant word of God and who think that anything outside the Bible
teachings, especially additional scripture or revelations if not only false but
satanic. There is no room for discourse with these types of Christians. They are
more prone to accept any and all accusations against the Church. Anything that
we may say or propose about the church will not be accepted as truth, but for
them it is perceived as our effort to distort our message to become more
palatable to other Christians. Its not another persons judgement whether I am a
Christian or not, it is between me and God and His Son Jesus Christ. To this I
am assured, I am a Christian. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has done
for me and others. I know from personal revelation that He lives. The Holy
Spirit has borne that witness to me. No other Christian, atheist, Muslim,
Buddhist, ex-Mormon for Christ or Jew can dissuade me from what the Holy Ghost
revealed to me. in the sacred name of Jesus Christ- Amen
Being a convert from a hierarchical, orthodox religion to Mormonism against the
wishes of many in my family, here is my take on these conversations:For me, learning about the doctrine and practices of the Church was a lot like
opening my new math book on the first day of class. At first, the problems are
recognizable and within my grasp - I feel hopeful, confident even. And then I
invariably flip to the back of the book. Cue panic. I do NOT know this type of
math. In fact, I NEVER will! I close the text, feeling dismal and confused.
And yet, as the teacher takes our class through the textbook in the course of
the year, I learn line upon line, precept upon precept until I arrive at last to
the same pages I thought I would never understand, and I can master the problems
that once seemed so daunting. Without the preparation of the previous chapters,
I would not have been ready for the advanced work, and yet through my study and
faith, I can now conceptualize and perform the mathematics that I once balked
at.What was unfamiliar, now I understand. A camel becomes a gnat.
MCCat"The 2008 election definitely taught me that as a minority
religion, Mormons can expect to receive more support and respect from Democrats
and progressives, than the GOP and conservatives."The latest
studies show that there is more hostility to Mormons from Democrats than
Republicans -- even from evanglical Republicans. There is, on the liberal side,
a fair amount of contempt for *any* traditional religion. The only exception
for "minority" religions is for religions associated with
melanin-enhanced people, which is why liberals will give condescending slack to
Muslims, despite that their sexual morality is quite a bit sterner than the
morality that, when declared by Mormons or conservative Christians, liberals
will go completely ape about. Gay marriage will be the defining
factor. Liberals have a deep need to divide the world over "civil
rights" issues. Get on the wrong side of an issue they have characterized
as such, and they'll hate you. It's all they have.The irony is that
we may be too Christian for the Democrats, but not "Christian" enough
for the Republicans.
To me the telling point of Mr DeGroote's question of from whom do you learn is
the number of Mormons that no longer believe in the church. I was a member for
forty years. I educated myself out of the church.
Vanka:I am sure your wife appreciates your attempts to come unto
Christ and to be united with her in her faith. That is commendable. You would be
a good man to try so hard to please her and for enduring together all these
years, and also for making the Book of Mormon such a lifelong pursuit. If you have truly read the Book of Mormon 10 times without ever once feeling
that it was special, that it led you to God, I would ask what you are expecting
to have happen before you embrace it? Certainly the multitudinous counter
theories for it's creation do not jive with you, or you would not have
repeatedly reread this inspirational book. Where are you on this? Which theory
makes the most sense currently to you? Several of us would love to help you
along if you can give us more to go on.For me, the teachings of the
LDS transcend all challengers, and they resonate with my eternal soul. LDS
teachings are absolutely elevating and scriptural. I am happiest when I live
these teachings. Simply breathtaking. Good will prevail, my friend. Good will
Michael DeGroote:You are correct that if I want to know what
"...makes its people tick", then the best course is dialogue with that
person. In this case the subject under scrutiny is the person. However, most of
these comments are not about Mormon people, but rather the truth claims of the
Church. The Church tries very hard to press the fact that it is the restored
Christian Church, and the only institution on earth with the key's and authority
to administer the necessary ordinances of salvation. In order to participate in
these ordinances one must be approved by the various Priesthood gatekeepers
within the Mormon Church. This is the very fact being argued, though it is often
approached from many different angles. In that context, your logic breaks down.
The Church and its members are naturally going to favor a version of Mormon
history that substantiates their claims to authority. They, like any other would
be self-proclaimed leader, can not be trusted simply on their say so. Critics
are invaluable in this light (as a journalist I would think you understand
this), to challenge the inconsistencies in doctrine and dogma from those who
"I still maintain, that if your goal is to understand a religion, to really
understand what makes its people tick, you will learn MORE from talking with
them and reading what they teach each other than you will from critics outside
the faith community."My perspective, and I believe the
perspective of most ex-mormons, is that I have been been and in many ways
continue to be part of the faith community you mention. I lived as a fully
invested member of the LDS church for over 30 years. Though I'm no longer
invested in the beliefs, I continue to be a part of that community because it
has been such a large part of my life and because the majority of my family and
friends remain believers. The community is larger than the reach of the local,
believing congregation. Attempts to label critics as outside the
community or to minimize their viewpoints based on who they are is a strategic
move. It is the art of politics. Also, if not watched carefully, the practice of
othering people in this way can lead some to feel justified in committing acts
of cruelty - worst case scenario of course.
Jack Pack Lambert: The LDS agree with the Creedal Christians that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. Christians believe the birth of Jesus was
a unique miracle by the Holy Spirit/Ghost same Greek word. This is how the
birth of Jesus the Messiah came about, His mother Mary was pledged to be
married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant
through the Holy Spirit. (Mt 1:18 NIV). The birth of the Savior was as
natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural
action. He partook of flesh and blood was begotten of His Father, as we are of
our fathers. (JoD 8:115). Also seem Mormon Doctrine p 742(Jesus) Conceived and
Born in the normal natural course of events. Protevangelium, And I will
put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and HER
seed(sperma,4690); it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his
heel" (Genesis 3:15). But when the time had fully come, God sent his
Son, Born of a Woman, born under law(Joseph)(Galatians 4:4 NIV)
RE: Alpine Blaine's comment that the Obama re-election machine will go after
Romney, including attacking mormons. In the 2008 election, the only
anti-Mormon comments I recall, came from other Republicans--Mike Huckabee in
particular, but there were others, such as the comments by the one minister who
said a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan--b/c of Romney's Mormon religion. I
don't recall anti-Mormon comments from either Hillary or Obama, or any other
Democrat candidate. Conservative pundits, such as George Will, commented on the
GOP's anti-Mormon stance. Pres. Obama has praised people from both
parties and from many religions. As such, I doubt we'll hear anti-Mormon
comments from him or his campaign. What the independent PACs/SuperPACs do--he
has no influence over as by law, he's prohibited from coordinating in any way
with them.The 2008 election definitely taught me that as a minority
religion, Mormons can expect to receive more support and respect from Democrats
and progressives, than the GOP and conservatives.
And then there are those of us who have been, and are currently, sincerely
seeking the "truth" and who have not found it in the LDS Church after
20+ years. We have learned about the LDS religion from the source, and by living
it, and have found it not measuring up to it grandiose claims.
Are you aware that the Prophet and his councellors were not just gong about
their daily duties by ignoring the blacks/priesthood issue and hope that it
would go away. Dodging the attacks of the press and public who saw it as
discrimination?. No...they had spent months in fervent prayer and fasting
(no, not fasting for months straight.) they had recognized the need to open up
the opportunity for all worthy males to recieve the Priesthood universally and
were pleading with the Lord for His permission to allow this priveledge.
Finally, using whatever advanced wisdom He has, the Lord said "it is
time" and allowed Pres. Kimball to move ahead with the new policy. The rest
of the apostles and other general authorities were overjoyed, as were most
members of the church. I suppose there were probably some who still had a racial
issue to overcome.
Of all the helpful comments, I really like Joe5's comment back near the bottom
of page 2 of these comments. To understand Mormonism you may need to first
understand what he outlined there. The Savior chastened the
Pharisees for straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. In other words, there
are things we can become overly concerned with that just don't matter: like who
can hold the priesthood and when, which prophets with multiple wives were
blessed for it, where the Garden of Eden was or what was the relationship of
Jesus to Satan. We need to be more concerned with following the commandments He
gives, caring for the poor and needy, and loving and lifting one another.
Mormons seem to excel in these areas. Find out why.You realize, of
course, that prophets can petition God for reprieves, or for blessings, and can
prevail upon Him to allow them. Read your Bible. It is full of this stuff, as is
it's companion volume, The Book of Mormon.Abraham, Jacob, David,
John, Nephi; each petitioned God for change. Why not today???The
endless name calling, proscribing assumed motives and quoting out of context do
no one any good.
@ ex missionary | 11:33 p.m. You are, of course, correct. There are
people like that.If I understand Lawrence correctly, the point he is
making is that the negative reviews are already out there -- and for many of the
issues, he thinks those "reviews" have little to do with what Mormons
really believe.I still maintain, that if your goal is to understand
a religion, to really understand what makes its people tick, you will learn MORE
from talking with them and reading what they teach each other than you will from
critics outside the faith community.
...and there are those who learn about a religion, or anything else for that
matter, by reading both the positive and negative reviews.
TheProudDuck 6:59 p.m.asks me: "Michael, do you evaluate the Republican
political platform solely from Republican press releases? Or Democratic ideology
strictly from Democratic press releases?"No. But if
I want to know what a Republican believes -- what motivates her and and why she
is republican and what that means to her, I doubt I would ask Michael Moore. Proud Duck also asks: "Is all opposition, criticism, or skeptical
scrutiny 'hate'?"No.I guess it all depends upon
your goal. Most critical things said about other religions are not said to build
up, but to destroy. Interreligious dialogue expert Charles Randall Paul told me
once that the best way to avoid "false witness" is to allow people to
speak for themselves.Full-on double rainbow 8:29 p.m. mentions
"the truth about a religion?" I think it is healthy to try to
understand what people believe. That generates love. It does not necessarily
generate an understanding of what is ultimate truth.
I feel sorry for anyone who takes anything Bill Maher says seriously.
Interesting comment Michael De Groote. Isn't there anyone out there that just
wants to know the truth about a relgion? (Thats such a funny word...truth).
Isn't there some objective 3rd party that can break things down for any honest
seeker of truth? No, everyone has biases, and everyone wants to be represented
"farily". I just wish knowing truth was as easy as getting a warm
feeling, or knowing something is false as easy as getting a stupor of thought.
joe5, I think the main issue with the "Jesus and Lucifer are
brothers" question is that those who have popularized this argument say
"the Mormons believe in a different Jesus, they believe in a Jesus who is
the brother of Satan". These people are claiming we do not believe in the
Jesus of the New Testament.As I have said before Lucifer lost his
divine sonship for rebellion and is not worthy to be called Jesus' brother. The difference in LDS and Nicene-Christianity thought is a question of
the nature and origin of Satan, not that of Jesus. The LDS agree with the
Credal Christians that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (although some
protestants at least in the past have questioned the Virgin Birth) and died for
men on the cross at calvary. The difference comes as to whether Satan was
created by God as an evil entity, or whether he became evil of his own
choice.There are real issues here, but the "Mormons believe
Jesus and Lucifer are brothers" implies things and is meant to argue things
that are false.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the only orginzation that
had policies in the past related to racial issues that are toubling to the
modern observer. The fact of the matter is that part of the reason
for the Church having its policy on blacks and the priesthood is very closely
tied up with the Church's policy on a lay priesthood. Many people
from Marvin Perkins to Darius Gray have sought to cope with these issues in deep
and contemplative ways. Most of the people who bring up this issue have never
watched "Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons". However as Dallin H. Oaks and other Church leaders have pointed out, the
bigger issues is that almost no Americans can identify what the central message
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is. The fact that people can
not quickly and succiently identify that our Church proclaims itself as a
resotration of New Testament Christianity shows that people who get bogged down
in details are moving the focus away from the weightier matters of the law.
To begin with talking of the issue of blacks and the priesthood as
"membership rights" is totally the wrong way to go about it. Holding
the priesthood is not an issue of "rights".Secondly, why
the passage of the civil rights act is the defining momemt is hard to say.
Another way to look at it is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints was ordaining black men to the priesthood in South Africa over a decade
before the end of apartheid.I do not know why the Lord allowed to
priesthood restriction to be in place. Considering how much racism was
expressed by some church members that I delt with on my mission to Las Vegas
from 2000-2002 I might hazard a guess, but it would be merely a guess.I have heard a lot better explanations on the issue of polygamy, but I still
think admitting not knowing the full answer is the best course. However the fact that the real goal of the anti-plygamy legislation was to
force men to abandon their families and not live up to the covenants they had
made might help people understand the intensity.
Michael, do you evaluate the Republican political platform solely from
Republican press releases? Or Democratic ideology strictly from Democratic
press releases?Are there alternative sources of information besides
(1) true believers and (2) "haters"? Is all opposition, criticism, or
skeptical scrutiny "hate"? (Democrats seem to think so, but that's
another story.)The litigation system, for all its faults, tends to
do a great job of making sure *all* the facts of a question are presented.
Because each side has an incentive to be diligent in stating all the relevant
facts that support its position, and to call into focus the weaknesses of the
other side.Any person who tries to make sure only his side of the
story gets told, is an enemy of the truth. That goes for a certain haughty
French-looking gold-digging Senator who just urged the press not to report on
what the opposition has to say, because of course everybody knows they can't
possibly have anything worth listening to.
There are those who want to learn about a religion from those who believe in
that religion. And there are those who want to learn about a
religion from the people who hate that religion.
@MapleDon: "I agree with others who've commented here that Lawrence's book
seems to be addressing "soft-ball" issues only." I
don't think that is a fair criticism. You have to take into consideration his
intended audience. People who know nothing about the church, or who have been
misinformed about the Church's beliefs, and who have no interest in becoming
Mormons, are looking for basic information and quick answers. They aren't
necessarily interested the "hard questions" that might bother a
lifetime member.To you they are "soft-ball" issues because of
your familiarity, but to the uninformed it is important and interesting
@hairypatches "Interesting that members rather than church leaders take the
lead on addressing difficult issues in the church with few exceptions."There is good reason for this. When a general authority speaks members
tend to take what he says as doctrine, and the GA's don't want to be guilty of
spreading false doctrine or giving off opinions about things that may not be
correct. Some of these "difficult issues" don't have answers at all.
If you believe or even claim that polygamy or the priesthood ban started and
ended by revelation from God, unless God also revealed his reasons for it, then
we don't know the reasons and any attempt at an explanation is merely
speculation and opinion. Regular members can get away with spouting opinions
and speculations, but the leaders can't.
Regarding the use of "parallels" as evidence for the Book of Mormon,
it first needs to be shown that such parallels would be unlikely to exist in the
absence of a connection. Statistically, it would be a remarkable thing indeed,
if there were never any remarkable coincidences.Just off the top of
my head, fr' instance, it occurred to me that there's a remarkable similarity
between the Hawaiian word "kahuna" (priest, or holy man) and the
Hebrew word "kohan", meaning priest. "Aha!" an
apologist might say. "Clear evidence of Hagoth's voyage!" Except
there's pretty much no other relation between Hawaiian and Hebrew. This is
almost certainly nothing more than a remarkable coincidence.It's
very easy to use different levels of generality or detail for each of the
supposedly parallel things you're comparing, in order to make a parallel seem
more or less exact. The search for parallels may well prove a
serviceable apologetic technique, but until the statistical foundation is laid,
it's amateurish thumbsucking for people who already have their minds made up.
Seekers of truth should insist on more diligence and rigor.
In regards to polygamy and blacks receiving the priesthood, what matters now is
what is true for us now. That means that polygamy is not practiced, and all men
are able to recieve the priesthood. The past has been corrected, and we should
live in the present. I think misconceptions arise when members of the LDS faith,
and non-members, assign infallibilty to a prophet. A prophet speaks for the
living church, at that time, except for the rare cases when a doctrine is
cannonized (such as polygamy and priesthood for all). That is not to say that
all of a prophet's teachings should be disregarded after they die (quite the
contrary!), but sometimes we must recognize that teachings from a former prophet
need to be added upon, or taken away from. This is not because God is a changing
God, but He reveals things line upon line and precept upon precept. Also,
sometimes prophets are only speculating and not speaking prophetically, and it's
necessary that we recongnize this and not take everything they say as prophetic
truth. As for me, I will put my faith in God, and not man, and go to Him for
I would like to read this book. Since when did the church shun all books about
the church? We are told to not cast ourselves as representatives of the church
but we are certainly 'allowed' to discuss church beliefs. Somehow I have gotten
the impression that the posters are taking the content of the upcoming book a
bit more doctrinal that it purports to be. Some non members truly need to
be informed we don't have horns. We are not required to wear long black dresses
or those flat black hats. We are not all republicans. The list goes on and on.
As an LDS woman I am interested in what he has come across that people think we
believe. It might help me to understand some of the nonLDS's confusion. All in all sounds like a very interesting book. I bet it is even humorous at
"Do you really think that God had any hand in making the decision to end
polygamy? That would mean that God decided to change his mind to give in to the
will and laws of men. I also don't think God would "change his mind"
regarding the forbiddance of black men to hold the priesthood, just because of
the civil rights movement.I really don't think God works that way,
no matter how these church authorities try to spin it as such. I believe that
God is bigger than that."@Jazz Bass Man 11:17am Wellsville
Ut:D&C 56:3-4 ...Behold, I the Lord, command; and he that will
not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the
commandment is broken. Wherefore, I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth
me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the
Lord.Does that clarify things for you? Probably not, but it does for
@charles - I only get 4 posts here, like everybody else, so I have to be
selective in what I say. By the way you shouldn't be saying that I don't know
the basics, I am well read and know most of the bible and Bom inside and out. I
don't believe the book of mormon is what it is claimed to be - therefore I am
limited in what I actaully take from reading it. You may judge me and say I am a
bad mormon for not "KNOWING" it is true like everybody else says they
do. That is fine, but I am being honest with myself when I say it. I would like
to study the adam god theory more, the blood atonement, etc. Even though those
doctrines have now changed I am interested in things like that. I have several
books on them, and it is frustrating to not be able to talk about them in an
open forum in church. Hard issues are: Changing history, polygamy, changing
doctrine, mountain meadows, Book of Mormon origins, first vision accounts that
don't match up, restoration of the priesthood not discussed until 5 years
later... Witnesses leaving the church...etc
Utter nonsense: you are right, of course, God is not subject to court rulings.
But His Church and people are.LValfre: re:your 2:01 post. When you
say most of the history is disproven, I assume you are referring to the Book of
Mormon and not LDS church history. If that is the case, I beg to differ.
First, I'm dubious that you are truly familiar with both the BofM or the
archeological evidence. I suspect you are simply regurgitating what you've
heard. There are many parallel evidences in the BofM that also appear in the
archeological evidence that it is impossible for JSmith to have known. The
following is a short list of a much longer list I've compiled: 1)flying serpent
motif; 2)holy mountains topped by temples; 3)world tree/tree of life; 4)beasts
of burden (not unlike horses); 5)highways; 6)prophet kings; 7)bee keeping; 8)a
true writing system (Maya); 9)complex economic, political, social ties between
small, independent political units. There is much more, but I'm almost out of
space.PS. I'm still awaiting your response to my query regarding the
Levites and priesthood.
@Bull: you sidestepped every single question posed except if you are LDS. What
are the "hard" issues?I go through the Gospel Principles
manual and see many fascinating lessons and topics in the 47 that are supplied.
What's missing in your point of view?What should we all be talking
about in 2nd and 3rd hour?So who do you consider prophets? What do
you consider the guidance and council given in King Benjamin's address? What
about the doctrines taught to Nephi, Sam, Laman, Lemual by Lehi?Quite honestly, it sounds like you are getting bogged down in the mysteries of
the doctrine when you don't fully understand the basics. There are a few in our
HP quorum who are like you and like to preach false doctrines in quorum as they
study the mysteries.When asked to substantiate their claims through
scripture or words of the prophets, they shut up really quick.In
school were you moved to higher math if you couldn't do the lower math? Wouldn't
make sense, right? Maybe when we as a church master the basics we
might get to the "harder" issues as you desire. Until then Gospel
Principles it is!
LValfre | 8:32 a.m. Aug. 11, 2011 CHICAGO, ILFor some insight
on blacks and the priesthood, you may want to read "David O. McKay and the
Rise of Modern Mormonism". If you are not willing to read it,
then don't ask the question.
Joe5:Indeed we do. The argument that "Mormons don't believe
Prophets are perfect" is a tired way of trying to shut down the inquiry.
What does it mean to have a "perfect" Prophet anyway? No, I am content
that the Prophet should be able to have good days and bad days. I would expect
them to possess a human dose of sinfulness. I would not expect them to recieve
revelations that contradict themselves. I would not expect them to institute
policies of such a gross nature as the Priesthood ban, or Polygamy, and then
allow the whole matter to be chalked up to expected human error. While Prophets
may not be perfect, they are alleged to be endowed with the revelations of God.
If those are not perfect, then the imperfect men who claim such powers are not
what they testify they are. Indeed the revelations should be quite near perfect
if they come from God. Otherwise, of what value is a Prophet or his counsel?
"Why must you come to grips with our history? It's a fascinating study but
it neither proves nor disproves Mormonism."Joe, my friend ....
most of the history has been disproven. Horses were never here in the Americas.
The swords, shields, and weapons from the wars here have never been found.
Gold plates, only 150+ years old, never found. Native americans are from Asia,
not lost Jews. Joe, my friend ... most of the history has been disproven. What
PROOF do you have for it? A 'burning bossom'? Try takign a shot of Whiskey,
you'll have that same feeling.
Independent Woman: The story of Isaac and Abraham is a wonderfully manipulative
tale that was reused quite often in the early LDS church. The common explanation
as to why God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son was to test Abraham. But
God already knew, correct? Tell me, do you give contradictory commands to your
children to test them? I should hope not.Joseph Smith used this to
his advantage to explain away erratic behavior, especially regarding polygamy.
The result was a membership that second-guessed themselves and their beliefs in
deference, and blind obedience, to fallible prophet (see Independent's post on
the second page of comments). It continues to be used to bring members into line
when they start questioning and reasoning for themselves ("after the trial
of your faith").
@ charles - Yes I am a member of the church. I have been in gospel doctrine
class - they teach the same thing over and over every few years. Those type of
things get old after having heard them so many times. Same thing with conference
- same generalized talks, even recirculated talks after a few years. I don't
think the presidents of the church are prophets in the same sense that you do.
You must give prophecies to be a prophet. They give guidance, council,
suggestions, some good talks, but prophets?? Does god speak to them as he
supposedly did to Joseph Smith?? No, he doesn't. Many members think that they
"talk to god" It is a myth that is unsubstantiated in the church like
the three nephites stories (most of which have no basis of fact), cain, and
other stories that are embellished over time. I think talks should be doctrinal
ones - like in the time of Brigham Young where they were actual sermons. You
walways hear "milk then meat", but it is opposite, the early church
talked about the deep doctrine and the modern church gives only basic talks.
Sounds like it went "meat then milk."
@Charles,How do you know Woodruff and Kimball were prophets? I
can't imagine how someone could prove that anybody was a prophet or hears from
god. And why them over you or I hearing from the big man (or woman) up stairs?
Last post due to DN limit.TheRabbit: Are you responsible for every
action of your children, grandchildren, etc? Then why blame the LDS church for
the actions of their children, grandchildren, etc.Jazzbassman: Did
God change his mind about Ninevah after the accepted Jonah's teachings?
Actually, I agree that he doesn't but he makes accommodations for the agency of
man and sometimes it gives that perception.speed66: Christ was not
mainstream or popular either. Good company.Mormoncowboy: You and I
perceive prophets differently. Mormons do not believe prophets are perfect. Only
one man (Christ) was perfect. Biblical and BoM prophets were imperfect (too many
examples to cite). Why should we demand it of today's prophets?Brahmabull: Mormons are free to learn directly through own spiritual powers.
Prophets are an aid, much like scriptures, to help us find our way.Sharrona: The Bible is not a sufficient guide by itself. Neither is the BoM.
Neither is President Monson. Yet we believe in all of them.MapleDon:
Why must you come to grips with our history? It's a fascinating study but it
neither proves nor disproves Mormonism.I guess I'm out of
opportunities to comment. Thanks for the discussion.
Let me just say to you who insist that God doesn't change His mind, you could
certainly take the "sacrifice" of Isaac by his father Abraham as
changing His mind. I'm not saying that He did because He certainly had the whole
thing planned out before it happened, but you could also say that about polygamy
and universal priesthood. Can any of you actually read God's mind? Must be
As an active member this is in answer to RAND's comments. As far as the black
people being granted membership I thought it was a wonderful revelation. I
remember the day it occurred. I think if an active member has a true and genuine
testimony any decision by the First Presidency will be welcomed and supported
without animosity or question. There are many lukewarm members in our Church and
unfortunately those who are not members believe what they say. Many struggle to
accept our beliefs because they do not have understanding and knowledge. If
there are issues that cause concern we need to pray about it and there will be
understanding, peace of mind. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is
perfect - it's just the members that aren't.
While I respect the fact yes it's true, prospective converts need to know some
answers to some ofthese questions, we need to remember something. Don't ever let
science, and also the fact that you need answers NOW, stop you from believing.
This gospel is bigger than us people. Sometimes we lack faith, so we seek to be
experts, when really we will find the answers in heaven.
@MapleDon: If you've done all this research and have all this information why
are you waiting for someone else to write a book? Why do you write one
yourself?@Brahmabull: Are you LDS? Also, could you make a list of
what you consider the "hard issues"?What answers are you
looking for regarding your concerns that you don't have? What will satisfy
you?If you are LDS, why do you think the church is teaching from
Gospel Principles the past 2 years? I believe it's because so many don't know
the basics of the gospel let alone whatever one calls the "hard
issues" or mysteries of the gospel.What does knowing the
intricacies of the decisions regarding polygamy and blacks and the priesthood
have on whether I obey the commandments, am a good person, father and husband,
fulfill my calling etc?Will not knowing the intricacies keep me from
the Celestial Kingdom?There are too many who worry about irrelevant
issues and completely miss the mark. Jacob 4:14. I know that
Woodruff and Kimball were prophets and did as the Lord commanded them. That's
good enough for me.
OK, myth or fact - A socialist, however defined, cannot be a member in good
standing in the LDS Church, or, a socialist cannot be welcome in the LDS Church,
or a Democrat cannot be welcome in the LDS Church. Pick your question and
Regarding the whole Jesus & Satan are brothers thing, I don't think the
problem to most Christians is that being a brother of Satan would reflect poorly
on Jesus. The reason they say this is that they lead it back in the direction of
"Christ existed forever and ever and was not created." Most of these
people believe in the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy
Ghost. So they bring it up because they see Jesus as one of the roles of God and
to say Satan is his brother is confusing and weird to their thought process.
Independent, Joe5, & Idahocoug: Good, well thought out responses. They are
helpful to me. Independent, I've read many of your posts in other places and
truly appreciate your perspective.Jazz Bass Man: excellent moniker.
Please see my 11:40 post regarding priesthood and Joe5's post regarding
doctrine, principle, etc. Does God change his mind? No. But if
the government had confiscated all church properties, would the work of the
church have been able to continue? It certainly would have thrown a big wrench
in the works. What other options were there other than giving up the practice?
We believe in being subject to the laws of the land: 1)fight a war for
independence from the US?; 2)migrate all those Mormons (who were now well
established for 50 years in Utah and other colonies) to Canada or Mexico?;
3)continue civil disobedience?
As noted in some of the comments above, it's pretty clear that some members of
the Church prefer not to come to grips with our Church's history and it's
doctrinal history. Rather, they disregard it and instead say we should just be
focused on doing good. That's fine. However, ignorance is never bliss. Even @Independent recognizes there are some problems with the Church's past
with regards to polygamy and blacks holding the priesthood, otherwise why bring
them up? And his response of "who cares?" or Church leaders'
unwillingness to discuss them is the reason why the attacks will continue.Don't we still believe that a person's past mistakes still need to be
resolved, or have we now arrived at the point where the past doesn't matter?The Mountain Meadows Massacre is an example of a past mistake that for
decades Church leaders refused to discuss. However, once Pres Hinckley did
address it and Brother Turley from the Church's Historical Department wrote
about it--acknowledging that mistakes were made, we were able to finally get
past it. And it isn't brought up anymore.There's a lesson here.
For those confused about why the LDS Church stopped the practice of polygamy, I
urge you to actually read the Official Declaration #1 from the Doctrine and
Covenants. It points out very clearly that the prophet at that time, considering
the law had changed and it was now illegal to practice plural marriage, asked
what is the best option concerning the future of plural marriage for the members
of the church.Wilford Woodruff goes on to explain how he was shown
that continuing the practice of plural marriage would have brought great
condemnation and destruction to the church, and he was told to discontinue the
practice. It explains things in common sense. Read it!
Central Texan: The Jesus/Satan brothers routine is used by anti-Mormons to raise
the eyebrows of non-LDS Christians and play on their ignorance of the LDS
Church's doctrinal understanding. Milton R. Hunter The appointment
of Jesus o be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of
God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning this spirit-brother of
Jesus(Gospel through the ages). The devil is a spirit son of God..(Mormon
doctrine p. 192)Mormons don't believe the Bible. Orson Hyde, The
Bible is not a sufficient guide; it is only the history of the people who live
1800 years ago(JoD 2:75). Joseph Smith, Ignorant translator, careless
transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many
errors.(teachings of the prophet JS).#8, We believe the Bible to be
the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. If this a true statement;
like snow is white, there are many modern translation available today. #13 We
believe in being honest
Joe5 - Then you go directly what Hinckley said when he said polygamy is
"not doctrinal" This is why the church has so many questions among the
membership. The leaders often contradict themselves. One prophet says one thing,
another one says another. That makes me question the validity of the revelations
that are given. Some things are obviously not clear among the leadership, so how
are members supposed to get them clear?
Joe5:It looks like you have figured it out just as you say...in your
mind. You have rationalized a dichotomy that makes Prophets unaccountable for
the claim that they are...well...Prophets/Seers. Even so, I encourage you to
take it to the next step and figure out how it really works outside of your
mind's desire to rationalize. Unfortunately, so many would like to
speak for the Church, yet I find it instructive that as per the Priesthood, the
Prophet is the only person on earth who make speak the will of the Lord
regarding his Church...and yet the Prophet has been astonishingly silent. I'm
doubtful that Mormon belief exists as a construct outside of the vast majority
of Mormons percieve it.
Rand & LValfre: re:priesthood. In ancient Israel, only male Levites were
permitted to hold the priesthood. Do we deduce from this that God is sexist and
a respecter of persons? Or do we assume that Moses was racist, wanting to
reserve this privileged status to his own tribe?Provide me adequate
answers to these questions, then perhaps we can discuss in greater depth your
concerns regarding the Mormon church & priesthood.
Believing in Jesus isn't enough to make you a Christian. Bill Maher's point:
Islam believes in Jesus they believe Muhammad was more important. One Sunday in
a Mormon church and you discover that Joseph Smith is talked about more than
Jesus. Even if that weren't the case, Christianity requires a belief in one god
and doesn't allow for the idea that we can all be gods. The truth is
going to be hard to deal with. Mormons make claims of protection - some pretty
spectacular stories about their garments - the genesis of the joke; Polygamy in
heaven...that's a tough story to sell. The only "true church" makes
most uncomfortable. Men have the priesthood and women don't...not popular. The
history with slavery and even with blacks and the priesthood. Secret Temple
rituals. Prophets and revelation.The challenge with mainstreaming
the LDS faith is that it is not mainstream. Apologists will have to pick their
battles carefully so not to fuel more debate. You aren't going to change many
minds - Keller makes a living creating controversy. Listen to his program and
you'll probably conclude that neither he nor his followers are going to won
Culturally and spiritually, many peoples and religions in past ages as well as
today practice(d) polygamy. It is active in many regions of the world today (not
just FLDS). One must be careful in applying one's colloquial understanding of
what is acceptable to others with different cultural/spiritual beliefs. Granted,
there are abuses aplenty. But Orson Pratt wrote eloquently on the virtues as
well. Perhaps, that is why "The Seer" is now out of print. No
worries.The misrepresentation of religious practices is not limited
to Mormonism. In fact, most peoples of faith have at one time or another been
greatly mistreated by those not of their faith - because of their comparative
"strangeness." The film industry has created some hilariously wrong
caricatures grotesquely inaccurate of the tenets of many faiths. I am sure that
Atheists, Catholics, Buddhists, Hindu, and Jews have been thus insulted many
times.So, what do we take away? (If we profess to follow Christ) We
love our neighbors as ourselves. Correct misperceptions with dignity and
compassion. And, as most church leaders do, ignore the ridiculous as not worthy
of a response. We'll all be more "expert" on these big questions in
I think there are some crazy misconceptions that can and should be resolved.I also think that as a pecular people, we will only become more pecular
as societal moors continue to shift WAY towards permissiveness and expression
regardless of consequence.In a way, being called "weird"
probably means we're doing what we're suppose to be doing and NOT doing what
we're NOT suppose to do.
To metamoracoug, Do you really think that God had any hand in making the
decision to end polygamy? That would mean that God decided to change his mind
to give in to the will and laws of men. I also don't think God would
"change his mind" regarding the forbiddance of black men to hold the
priesthood, just because of the civil rights movement.I really don't
think God works that way, no matter how these church authorities try to spin it
as such. I believe that God is bigger than that.
"In a survey, Lawrence found that only 3 out of 10 people say Mormons are
only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have nothing
to do with polygamous groups."It is disingenuous to state the
Mainstream Mormon church and its members have nothing to do with polygamy. They
are the ones who started it. Many of the current Mormons have ancestors who
practiced polygamy. The offshoots of the main church many times branched off
BECAUSE of the change in the acceptance of polygamy. It is kind of
like saying that a match that started a forest fire isn't responsible for the
fire 10 miles away. The fact is these groups wouldn't exist if the Mormon church
had not believed in polygamy in the first place.
joe5's comment is very clear in showing the confusion among
"Christian" churches...so many are charismatic, enthralled with their
ministers who set themselves up as the last word on everything, that they assume
Mormon's must do as they do, worship their leaders, while they leave unanswered
the "hardball" questions concerning he whom we Mormons truly worship,
Jesus Christ. Evangelists and ministers practice
"priestcraft" and have no understanding of priesthood, the power and
authority to act in the name of Jesus Christ. As Paul of old said, "he whom
ye ignorantly worship, declare I unto you," even Jesus Christ. Leaders of
so called "Christian" churches do not truly acknowedge or know him,
and speak out of jealously for power, prestige, money.
Is Keller's claim that Joseph Smith was a "murderer" based on Joseph's
getting a few shots off at the mob at Carthage Jail? ("Lamb to the
slaughter," yes, but a particularly well-armed lamb.) If so, I
suggest he consult a law book on the subject of self-defense and defense of
"The problem with most non-Mormons is they can't distinguish between the
doctrine and the practice."That's true, and I think it is
understandable.A lot of times when I speak about doctrine with
people who aren't members of the church, I get questions like, "Why do they
make you..." or "Do you have to..." and "Why do you
believe..."And what I usually say is that "They"
don't "make" us do anything. Everybody has their agency. Also, we
don't "have" to do anything, really. It's just a matter of how much
you want the gospel to work in your life. For example, if you want to go to the
temple and be sealed to your family, you have to pay tithing and obey the word
of wisdom. And if you want your home to be a pleasant place to live where you
can feel the spirit, you'll probably want to read the scriptures, pray and have
FHE as a family on a regular basis. There is also a lot of diversity of opinion
within the Church as to what certain doctrines mean, and I think that is okay.
Regarding comments the book seemingly deals with "softball"
issues...If you read the comments here, like the commenters from
Texas and North Carolina who explain how little correct understanding of the LDS
Church there is in many places, and if you realize that this basic incorrect
information is being spread by pastors of other faith in a deliberate attempt to
poison their parishioners against the LDS Church, then you shouldn't wonder why
it would be necessary to produce a book that even handles the easy stuff. The
misconceptions addressed in the book come from the author's actual experience,
Hi again,We need to follow the prophet and formal program of the
Chuch, otherwise there will be continued confusion in the public about what
Mormon's believe. Lay members should not hold themselves out as speaking on
behalf of the Church, just refer to what is distributed by the Church.
So there is still opposition in all things. Bring it on.I was a missionary
in SoCal when the "GOD MAKERS" film was shown...it got me in a lot of
doors and was very good for the growth of the church.So I say...nring it
on. You are only fulfilling propesy.
To clarify, the Jesus/Satan Brothers comment is not a misunderstood doctrinal
issue for members of the LDS Church, who recognize that as spirit children of
our Father in Heaven not only are Jesus and Satan (aka Lucifer, son of the
morning fallen from heaven [Isaiah 14:12]) brothers, but that WE are similarly
brothers and sisters as children of God. It's just that Satan rebelled against
God to the point where he and his followers were eventually cast out.The Jesus/Satan brothers routine is used by anti-Mormons to raise the eyebrows
of non-LDS Christians and play on their ignorance of the LDS Church's doctrinal
I personally think it's a waste of time when fellow Mormons try to argue for
acceptance with other Christian faiths to counted as Christian. So they
Evangelicals and Baptists don't believe we're Christian, who cares? Do these
other denominations own the term "Christian"? Is there some patent or
copyright on Christianity and the definition of it that they own and we don't
know about? Of course not! So when somebody comes up to me and says "You
guys aren't Christian!" My response is usually, "You believe what you
wanna believe but do not try to explain my religion to me! If we believe we are
Christian then that is our business and our personal belief. You don't own the
word "Christian" so don't try to dictate your definition of it on
me." My belief in Mormon Christianity is that if I was not Mormon, I would
not a Christian at all.
@Alpine BlueYou won't have to wait that long. It will start in the
Brahmabull: I think we need to come to an understanding of what constitutes
doctrine.In my mind, the church is comprised of five primary
elements: doctrine, principles, ordinances, commandments, and practices.Doctrines include things like Godhead and plan of salvation. They don't
change.Principles include things like faith, obedience, sacrifice,
etc. The principle doesn't change but the practice of the principle can
change.Ordinances include baptism, sacrament, temple, etc and we
know that they can change. Christ himself instituted the sacrament to replace
animal sacrifice.Commandments include tithing, word of wisdom, etc
and can also change. Our health laws are much different than those in the Old
Testament.Practices include home teaching, FHE, and are the
implementation of most of the things above. They change, sometimes
frequently.I submit that plural marriage fits into all five
categories. As a doctrine and principle, I believe it is unchanged. As an
ordinance, a commandment, and a practice, it has changed significantly.Sacrifice is another example. The doctrine and priciple are unchanged but the
practice has included animal sacrifice, tithing, and consecration.The problem with most non-Mormons is they can't distinguish between the
doctrine and the practice.
I'm not LDS but I have a lot of friends who are ministers of various faiths
including the Mormon faith. I think a lot of the "Mormons are not
Christians" talk goes back to the increase of Mormon missionary activity of
fifty years ago. There is an unwritten rule among evangelicals that you don't
raid each others congregations. Mormons obviously don't follow that rule and do
try to make converts from the "already churched." I think you will
find that a lot of this talk is backlash and it is organized and will most
Well said, Idaho Coug...well said.
It's only been a couple of days since my epiphany if you can call it that. Or at
least since deciding it is high time I follow what I have been prompted to do
for a long time now. But it feels good and I invite all on here to join:What we DO is far, far, more important that what we BELIEVE.I am almost embarrased to recognize how much time and energy I have spent
thinking, talking and wondering about things like the Church's spiritual
practice of polygamy or whether or not the Book of Mormon is an actual history.
I appreciate all I have learned frequenting this board but it is time to just
become a person of love, charity, and service.Members of the LDS
Church do at ton of good just like members of other faiths and individuals of no
religious persuasion. In the end, that is what matters!If your
beliefs or lack of belief help you do more good then that is fantastic. I just
think we all need to be careful that our time is spent in ACTION. Show your
faith through deeds not arguing over doctrine and beliefs.
For decades the media in the USA has ignored the LDS church------for a long time
media has ignored all religion-----only focusing on the sensational. Media
does not like religion. Hollywood does not like religion. Universities in
the USA do not like religion. And yet most people in our country believe in
the Bible and prayer. This is war; a subtle war. The Church as been
patient for decades and now many are surprised that "all of a sudden"
there is talk of religion in the media. Back in the 70's, 80's and 90's, the
church could have said, "Pay more attention to us!!!!" Leaders were
patient and humble. Today it is very amusing that the media, universities and
Hollywood all are forced to deal with truth and reality.
Was Joseph Smith an adulterer, a treasure hunter, a free speech violator, etc.?
Even if he was, does that preclude God from giving him a specific mission to
accomplish? I don't worship Joseph Smith, so I really could care less about how
imperfect he was, and it seems to me he paid for it with his life anyway.Am I supposed to deny and forget every good and/or miraculous thing I
have ever experienced as a Mormon because Joseph Smith said there were people on
the moon? Do you think Moses, or Peter, James and John had an accurate
understanding of all things scientific? Do we care?I'm a Mormon,
because I believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, that he is the
Savior, and that the LDS Church has the proper authority to administer the
ordinances required to follow the Savior's plan to reach our full potential and
happiness in the eternities. I'm a Mormon, because it gives me the opportunity
to put my money where my mouth is and put my faith in Jesus Christ into action
through service to others. I don't care where the Nephites lived, and I'm out of
Polygamy was revealed (supposedly) through Joseph Smith as a doctrine. It was
practiced, and then Wilford Woodruff ended it. The belief in the doctrine was
still there, but not the practice. Then you have president Hinckley stating that
polygamy is "not doctrinal" and all of the sudden we don't believe in
that doctrine anymore. If the church leadership didn't dodge all of the hard
issues and keep changing doctrine it would eliminate alot of misunderstandings.
My guess is that will never happen. Leadership doesn't talk about hard issues
anymore, they don't even discuss deep doctrine from the pulpit as they did in
Can anyone tell me why societal pressure isn't a good reason for God to change
doctrine? After all, didn't God give Israel a lesser law under Moses because of
societal pressure? Certainly societal pressure is not always enough of a reason
for changing church practices, but why wouldn't it be a legitimate
consideration? I don't care of polygamy and withholding the priesthood from
blacks were mistakes or true doctrine that we are no longer required to follow.
What matters is that the leadership of the church, with proper priesthood
authority, has discontinued those practices. I really don't see what people are
so hung up about. Besides, it's not like we sit around in church and talk about
these things, as if they have some kind of significant impact on the here and
now. We sit around and talk about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how to serve
one another in practical, meaningful ways. I really don't care about obscure
comments from past prophets if those obscure comments have nothing to do with
what the leadership of the church is counseling us to do now.
Misconceptions of the LDS are rampant. Even this comment-string already includes
many, and it is still morning, so Gary's book should be a hit. For some reason
we can't be apathetic here. We have to take sides, and that fuels interest, and
interest fuels growth. Is the name of Joseph Smith, Jr., still
thought of sufficient importance today to attract the attention of our most
popular sects and political leaders? How could an obscure boy whose
circumstances in life made him of little consequence in the world, cause such
polarization? Why have so many taken to excite a bitter persecution against him
and the religion he was instrumental in re-establishing? Why does this religion
thrive after all the trash talk? Why are faithful LDS so happy, so exemplary of
their savior Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in purity? Despite the efforts of detractors, this has become a very popular and
rapidly growing faith. There is something going on here that transcends man.
While we slept last night, 700 additional individuals entered the waters of
baptism into this faith. At least that many join daily. Why?Mormon
dot org may have the answers you seek.
I believe that the church teaches that both Christ and Satan were among God's
spiritual children, therefore by default they are spiritual brothers. Christ is
our elder brother and again by default Satan is our spiritual brother as well.
And we "ain't heard nothing yet!"Just wait until the Obama
Re-Election machine with it's "Kill Romney" mantra gets revved up.Better zip up our protective armor because it is going to get very ugly.
I agree with others who've commented here that Lawrence's book seems to be
addressing "soft-ball" issues only. And it's these same
"soft-ball" issues that Church leaders and the Church's Public Affairs
Department like to use when discussing differences between us and other
Christian denominations.However, (like many members of the Church)
I've done a bit of research into Church history and have studied other religions
since I was young. And, like others in the Church, I'm willing to acknowledge
and discuss some of the "hard-ball" issues used by other Christians as
concerns with our religion. It's those "hard-ball" issues
and problems with our history that ought to be addressed. I look forward to such
a book (but don't anticipate one anytime soon because many of those issues can
only be dealt with by our saying mistakes were made).Further,
Lawrence's comparing our differences with the FLDS to those of American and
Southern Baptists was poorly pondered, especially when he followed this by
claiming the FLDS can't call themselves "Mormons." Both American and
Southern Baptists refer to themselves as "Baptists." And
didn't Pres. Packer recently remind us all that we're not "Mormons"
@Rand: God is known through human testimony and personal manifestations. No
logic or science brings this familiarity with God. If you still
seek a logical explanation for the LDS brief history with polygamy or the longer
history of polygamy in general, God has explained his decisions to allow
polygamy at times and not allow it at times in the scriptures. A good one is in
Jacob 2:27-30. The word "otherwise" in verse 30 is very important and
means that God can allow or disallow polygamy as He sees fit. His reason given
for allowing it at times is given in verse 30: to "raise up seed unto
As my dear wife keeps reminding me everytime I whine about some media
misconception or outright slander by some commenter or ex-member against the
church: "sticks and stones..." and her favorite: "...no
unhallowed hand.."And bless her heart, she is (as always)
dead-on correct. I have no doubt that the kingdom of God will continue (in
spite of all its imperfect members, a handful of very vocal former members,
ministers of other antagonistic faiths irritated at the dilution of their
membership/donor bases by LDS missionaries,and other assorted warts) to
roll forth boldly and nobly to fill the entire earth. It is
obivious that although the church organization is perfect-the people of the
church are not quite there...yet.
I don't understand the concern about whether Jesus and Lucifer were brothers. So
were Cain and Abel but it is not a negative reflection of Abel.Some
evangelical says in a hush voice and a gasp: "The Mormons believe that
Jesus is the brother of Satan." And all those who oppose Mormonism lean
back and gasp loudly and say: "Oh, My!!" Even members of the church
shifting their eyes when the topic comes up.My response so far has
been: "So what? Is that a bad thing? Does it somehow reflect poorly on
Christ? Is he somehow less worthy because of a spiritual relationship to
Satan?"Nobody has yet been able to explain why I should even
care about this. Is someone willing to give it a shot?
Interesting that members rather than church leaders take the lead on addressing
difficult issues in the church with few exceptions. If you want to
find really eloquent and detailed answers regarding blacks and the priesthood
for instance, you need look no further than LDS members of African descent like
Darius Grey or Marvin Perkins. Keith Hamilton's or Marcus Martins' books for
instance. They did not have to be commanded in all things but took the
initiative to do it themselves. It's the same thing with LDS apologetics.
Members got tired or being beat up on issues they knew were not correct so they
developed an apologetics network of like minded members. If you want to know
about polygamy issues read up on Max Anderson or Brian Hales. Max's wife from
Colorado City AZ would not marry him until she was convinced that the Priesthood
was with the church which led to Max digging into the issue of fundamentalism.
Brian C, Hales had a sister that converted to Fundamentalism and has researched
and written extensively.Bottom line. The brethren will rarely take
on the big issues. Need to know? Do it yourself. Sounds like this
what this author did.
I was taught in Sunday School that Jesus and Satan were brothers, so at least in
small-town Utah, there were misconception even within the faith.
Does it cover the book of abraham?
At a theological seminary where he was invited to speak, Cecil Samuelson asked
the professors of religion three questions:Do you accept the
Biblical account of Christ's birth?Do you accept the Biblical account of
his ministry (including miracles)?Do you accept the Biblical account of
his resurrection?The Christian professors struggled with these
questions. Virgin Birth? Miracles? Inseparable union of body and spirit? As they
hashed out these events, they were viewed as allegorical, fantasy, rhetorical,
illustrative, etc. Virtually every interpretation except as an accurate
historical accounting of the life and ministry of Christ.Samuelson
was able to state that Mormons accept the Biblical accounts without reservation
and follow up with the question: In light of the fact that we accept the
Biblical account of Christ's life and ministry while you question it, who do you
think is more worthy to be called a Christian?His question was met
with silence. Most non-LDS Christians pick and choose what parts of the Biblical
account they can accept "without reservation" and ignore the rest. I
find it extremely ironic that they consider Mormons to be non-Christian.As a whole, Mormons are the most Christian group on earth.
"About 45 percent of people polled thought all believers in the Book of
Mormon are called Mormons..."I'm a lifelong member of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and you can count me in that group.
Mormons claim they are Christian because they believe in Christ.
That's fair enough. Likewise, any group that believes in The Book of Mormon
should be allowed to call themselves Mormon.
So long as nuts like Brian David Mitchell and Warren Jeffs get the National and
InterNational Spotlights as claiming to be Mormon Prophets....Mormons will continue to suffer with public perception.
In a survey, Lawrence found that only 3 out of 10 people say Mormons are only
members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have nothing to
do with polygamous groups. About 45 percent of people polled thought all
believers in the Book of Mormon are called Mormons, while 25 percent had no
opinion.Thats not a misconception; its true. Mormonism covers all
the churches that claim to descend from Joseph Smith. Its no different from all
the churches claiming to be Christian.Its ironic the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to argue they be included in the
definition of Christian, but insist on a monopoly of the term Mormon.
@Thinkman: Just a minor correction for you. Christ and Satan did not "come
up with plans". Heavenly Father presented His plan. Christ decided to do
the Father's will and Satan rebelled against it. It was never Christ's plan nor
do I think Satan really planned anything. I think he was more interested in
being a dictator and destroying agency.
Truth and Light:I don't understand your argument. You're saying that
it's not ok for members of the church to write books defending their religion?
Are blogs ok? What about newspaper/magazine articles? Pamphlets? Not sure why
you would be against this.That's like saying that James E. Talmage
shouldn't have written "Jesus the Christ", because he made money off
of it. Strange.
I hope his book is accurate in portraying Church doctrine and practice. I'm
getting tired of less-active, barely active, or former Church members publicly
giving their answers to what we believe and thereby showing that they don't
understand what we believe themselves. In so doing they perpetuate wrong
impressions or start new ones circulating.
I agree with Rand,If the book has real answers for things such as
the Curse of Cain taking so long to be overcome, I'll read it. Otherwise, the
church has never given me a real answer for that. Just seems too convenient for
them to change it after much societal pressure, BYU picketed games, and of
course starting missions in Brazil and Africa.
Rand: re:polygamy. Turning away from polygamy was not just an issue
re:statehood. The national government instituted a law saying that any group
that practiced polygamy could have all its property confiscated by the federal
government -- churches, schools, temples, farms, etc. (Yes, this is in
violation of the Constitution's First Amendment that Congress shall respecting
the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof)
Although the law did not specify Mormons, it was most certainly aimed at
Mormons. After extensively and unsuccessfully attempting to establish through
the court system that the law was unconstitutional, God and Pres. Woodruff
decided that ending polygamy was the wiser course of action.
Rand | 6:23 a.m. If you wont answers to the issue of blacks then ask a black why
they joined the church at a time when they were not allowed.I grow
up in this church, but did not come to fully understand and except it until I
was a young adult.During my 21 years of Army service, I asked
questions on how others believed so I could understand other faiths. Also so
that if I had a soldier in need of help I could help them based on their faith
and not mine. It my studies I found this church "The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints" make the most since.As for the
Temple Garments, well it is a reminder of the covenants we made in the Temple;
the protection is this reminder and as such well help in avoiding temptation.
Don't mean we won't make mistakes but it helps as a constant reminder. This
protection is referred to. To wear the garments is one's own choose you don't
have to wear it. It is up to you and as such, it reminds you of you covenants.
Evangelist preachers although they do not speak about it often see their
religion as a business, and a source of income. If for example in an area
dominated by McDonald's restaurants and a new business such as Carl's Jr comes
in to town, they would threaten the income of McDonald's. And if you talk to the
owners and managers of McDonald's they will tell you all types of bad things
about Carl's Jr. Even though Carl's Jr might be a very good concept, people
would need to try it and find out themselves and develop an objective opinion.
One cannot rely purely on the words from the McDonald's owners and managers.
There is so much anti-Mormon rhetoric out there it's astonishing. The general
public has been "educated" with these falsehoods by the orthodox
creedal Christians in our society for 170 years. The only way to combat these
falsehoods is to do exactly what Lawrence is doing....talk about our faith. Bone
up on the basics and tell the truth of our faith and the churches doctrine. I
don't think it's was a coincidence that for the past year and a half we've been
using the Gospel Principles manual in preisthood and Relief Society. The only
people who should define what we believe is us and you can't correct a falsehood
if you don't know the churches basic tennents.Prepare yourselves and stand
So, we believe it is ok to profit from doing what should more appropriately be
done by the prophet? Why not just follow the Church's program for dealing with
public relations? Seems to be a better approach than writing and marketing a
book that appeals to the flavor of the day. Here's an idea, start a company
that sells religious books through multi-level marketing.
I look forward to the release of this book. I live in the south and have
experienced personally the bible knowledge of many who live here, and have found
that the bulk of their understanding comes from the pulpit, television and
radio. An example is every year the largest Baptist Church in the area has what
they call Cult Week. The Mormons have traditionally been assigned Thursday.
Because of Mormonism's belief regarding the apostasy, Christianity isn't really
Christianity, but Mormonism.Christians believe they will be in union
with God in heaven and with all their loved ones who likewise chose God.
I agree that the LDS Church has been working very hard to present a modern,
mainstream appearance that emphasizes doctrine palatable to more of us, but
ignoring the difficult doctrinal changes. I have still never heard anything
remotely logical for why polygamy was fiercely mandated, then shunned once
statehood was desired. Or why African Americans were denied full membership
rights until 14 years after the Civil Rights Act. Frankly, I think this makes
current members uncomfortable and I don't think it is talked about much at all.
The LDS Church wants converts, but prospective members are going to want an
explanation for these things at some point.
I will be doing follow-up stories on some of the polling data Lawrence has
collected relating to a few of the topics he covers in his new book.
I am so glad that this book is coming out! I live in Texas. Some people call
it the belt buckle of the Bible Belt. There are so many misconceptions about
Mormons here, it is unbelievable. I have wished for so long that there was a
public way to get the truth out to these people who have been fed a bunch of
bologna about us. I wish that there was some kind of pageant here like they
have in Mesa, Arizona or in Nauvoo to tell people what we really believe. The
people here live in the dark ages when it comes to Mormons. The members are
expected to live in such a way that others will know who we really are, but it
really seems that they refuse to see. I yearn for the day when the South will
wake up out of their Mormon ignorance and have that "Aha" moment.
Texas is the polar opposite of Utah - with Mormons being the misunderstood
minority. Even the Dallas Temple, which I love, is hidden from view where it
cannot attract attention.
It seems that this book address' the "soft ball" Mormon
misconceptions. Do Mormons have horns? Nope. That's an easy one. Do Mormons
believe in the Bible? Yep. (As far as it is translated correctly). Do Mormons
practice polygamy? No. (But they do believe that it is practiced in heaven). It certainly is a good thing to clear up misconceptions and things that
are flat out wrong. I also believe that people should be aware of some of the
more difficult Mormon issues. I assume that no one but apologists are tackling
those issues. Why would you want to bring up difficult issues when satisfiable
answers are lacking/conflicting/not addressed by church leaders? Yep, its best
to stick to the "soft ball" issues.
As listed in the article here are things said about Mormons:Mormons
do believe in Christ as the son of God and that he was resurrected and atoned
for the sins of all.Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of
GodIn the premortal realm both Christ and Satan came up with plans
on how to govern the spirits of the during their mortal lives on earth.Mormons believe the special underwear they are commanded to wear at all times
to be like a protective armor if not against physical harm but for sure against
spiritual harm. I used to wear them thinking this and was told that the
underwear was like my armor going into battle every day.Current LDS
church teachings are that polygamy isn't to be practiced because of a revelation
that Wilford Woodruff received that coincided with the State of Utah trying to
gain Statehood. However, men can have multiple wives in the hereafter.have
multiple wives in the hereafter.