Comments about ‘Mormon Media Observer: A response to Christopher Hitchens after his latest attack on Mormonism’

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Published: Monday, Nov. 14 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

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J-TX
Allen, TX

Well said, and without "bashing". We all need to stand up for the truth, which need not involve contention.

yarrlydarb
Ogden, UT

One more comment that could have been made in this article is that whenever writers or spokespersons such as Hitchens make their outlandish and shallow comments about the Church, they create more interest and more people actually begin to investigate it and even choose to be baptized.

We cringe when we read the things uniformed people write and say, just like that pastor in Texas when he was trying to drum up support for Rick Perry.

But in the end, it backfires, and so badly did it backfire in Perry's case that he almost immediately fell to the status of also-rans among presidential candidates, while the pastor actually incited many comments contrary to his outlandish rhetoric from notable people who are not members of the Church who wrote in defense of it and its members.

m.g. scott
LAYTON, UT

A very good article and I too have liked and admired Mr. Hitchens and much of his political insight. I think his vitriolic anti-religion tirades are the product of some deep seeded feelings from past experiences. What they are, who knows. In any case, it is obvious that religion and reason don't mix in Mr. Hitchens world. His testimony that there is no god and religion is just a myth, is just as strong as the testimony of Joseph Smith, or any latter day prophet, that indeed Jesus Christ lives, and He leads a Church. The powerful testimonies of Apostles and Prophets come from men of great character and honesty. Not men who get rich from the church. Many people, as the author stated, have sacrificed career and money for church service. I'll take my chances with people who have that kind of testimony rather than the "prove a negative" testimony of Mr. Hitchens.

abejones
SCOTT DEPOT, WV

Not all well placed intellectuals are athiests NOR anti-mormon. The Dean of Humanities at Yale, author of many books, called Joseph Smith a genius. Now, I believe I know what he means. It may bother "all is by revelation" people. They should remind themselves of "the glory of God is intelligence" The Dean of Harvard's School of Religious Studies described LDS temples as entirely Biblical and Devout.Except for individuals whose theologic positions cause them to view Mormonism as a rival and a threat, attacks against it are usually from people attcking religion and the nature of religion itself.My visiting missionaries once told me of a man who kept asking them "where are the golden plates?" I told them to tell him they were in the same place as the Ten Commandments tablets. They reported that he paused, actually blushed, then said all religions were nutty. Mark Twain said as much when using the phrase" in the broad daylight of the 19th century" i.e. you can't get away with religion in this day and age.

Virgil
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Thank you for a well thought out and reasonable response, without vitriol or ad hominem attacks. It is amazing how much headway you can make with religious or anti-religious extremists by just simply smiling and calmly brining up the flaws in their argument.

Grandmatk
Cedar Hills, UT

Thank you for your post, the prejudice of Hitchens's statements need to be addressed and you did it with greater care, kindness and wisdom then was exemplified by him. I do hope more people will see your response.

johnnylingo62
Gray, TN

We are taught not to be "contentious" when people bash our religion, but this does not mean we don't point out incorrect information in other's arguments. This was a well thought out article to set the record straight on Hitchen's false claims.
Opinion is not as easily defensible, but it is important, as Paul did, to aright incorrect statements concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ and his church. In the end, only a personal testimony of the positive nature of the gospel can overcome disbelief and soften others to conduct their own search for happiness.

mightymite
DRAPER, UT

I agree with Hitchens. Very well siad Mr. Hitchens!

slimothy
NEW YORK, NY

It's not easy for an atheist (like myself) to avoid taking a militant tone in the US these days considering the assault on public life being mounted by the forces of religion ("intelligent design" etc...). I think it's worth the effort to do so though. I would reject any notion that there is a god, Jesus was his son (if he ever existed), or that Joseph Smith was anything but an opportunist. I would also say just as strongly that I've never met a Mormon that I didn't like almost instantly, and love Salt Lake City! That has to count for something. At the end of the day the vast majority of us are thoroughly decent people regardless of the road that we took to get there.

mArnold
Lincoln, NE

It's interesting to me that the writer of this rebuttal has taken a firm, resolute tone. To the extent that he is interested in critical thought, he may wish to google "witnesses to mormon plates" and read what comes up (I'll not anger the mods by placing a link here). His response to this will be rather routine and not nearly as interesting as the psychology behind an earnest, unabated apologist.

So, please, don't fully read the arguments against your position. You'll spoil it. We Americans are rather lucky to have such a minority as the Mormons. Consider other parts of the world who house sects that are louder and more flammable, and rely on stories that can't be refuted by newspaper archives, prehistoric as they are.

I have a suspicion that the writer is merely joshing us, having ignored the posh tone of Hitchens, and included some innocent errors of his own. Maybe he's actually a good guy to have a beer with - or a club soda anyways.

donn
layton, UT

Re: BalancedFulfilledLife, JS has directed its restoration to the earth through the prophet J S. Through an unbroken chain of priesthood authority since its restoration.
According to Joseph Smith. it is false to believe that God literally dwells in the believers heart. JS wrote the idea that the Father and Son dwell in mans heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false (D&C 130:3).

I in them and you in meso that they may be brought to complete unity(John 17:23).
if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9) . And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness Romans( 8:10)
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: ..( Galatians 2:20)

J-TX
Allen, TX

slimothy | 3:11 p.m. Nov. 14, 2011
NEW YORK, NY

I think you did a very good job of not taking a militant tone. As a devout LDS, I assure you that I have good Atheist friends, very good Agnostic friends, and friends of many different religions. I like them all. We joke good-naturedly about each others' positions while we watch our kids play in the band, or as we play basketball, or whatever.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

The best comment I ever heard of Rushdie was from Dan Peterson. He admitted to buying Rushdie's book because of death threats against him, and then pointed out that Rushdie's book was just downright horrible on multiple levels.

Some provocations are just not worth doing. This is more so because they are often done in poor and meaningless ways.

slimothy
NEW YORK, NY

@J-TX - Yes, that's my point exactly. My best friend in the world is devoutly religious and we go back and forth about it all the time. But we love each other like brothers. I've always felt that if we could somehow swap belief (or lack thereof) systems we'd end up being the exact same people.

Btw, this has got to be the most good-natured discussion board on the entire internet. lol It's such a treat to encounter actual civility and thoughtfulness.

Weber State Graduate
Clearfield, UT

There are very legitimate issues that the church can be challenged on and too many members are overly sensitive about anything that may even remotely resemble a critique. However, I cringe at the vitriolic tone some critics take...it certainly draws attention away from legitimate concerns and make a critic like Hitchen's appear to be an angry, thoughtless recalcitrant.

LetsBeRational
Spanish Fork, UT

@slimothy
I totally agree about the civility of this discussion. Thanks to all who have responded. I get so tired of people bashing each other on discussion boards. It appears that those who have commented thus far know why they agree or disagree with the authors or another commenters opinion, and therefore they have stated their case with logic. I suspect, that too often people don't know why they agree or disagree, so so they resort to name calling.

slimothy
NEW YORK, NY

@LetsBeRational

This is one of my favorite quotations, and agrees with the point you were making...

"If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are sub-consciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do." - Bertrand Russell

Meg Stout
ANNANDALE, VA

Mr. Hitchens, by this report, appears to be intellectually lazy. But he could have delved deeper and still come away with a principled argument that Mormons are weird.

I'm in Japan at the moment. An American at breakfast was rolling their eyes about how weird the Japanese are, to eat fish and miso soup for breakfast.

We Mormons are other than most Christian religions, than other religions. We believe in a prophet who translated God's word in a way no other religious (or non-religious) tradition has in their portfolio of "normal."

Then there was Joseph's reluctant and tortured history with polygamy. I find it instructive that Joseph only appears to have acted on the 1831 revelation to institute polygamy after his dying father "blessed" him in 1841 that Joseph would not die until he had accomplished "all that had been ordained." We all know he taught polygamy. But Emma Smith and lack of any DNA offspring indicate Joseph, himself, never partook, ceremonial marriages notwithstanding.

Either of these is at least as weird as sardines for breakfast, to those who are not, themselves, Mormon.

I embrace the weird label. Let it be for factual reasons in civil debate.

iron&clay
RIVERTON, UT

Joseph Smiths publications stand the test of time and science.
Recently, science has accepted the theory that there is matter that can travel faster than the speed of light. I was indoctrinated from science classes that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Science has a long way to go before it can catch up to the light (intelligence) revealed to an uneducated 14 year old farm boy from up-state New York.

Admiring Gentile
Salt Lake City, UT

I don't have a "testimony" regarding the truth of Mormonism and I doubt I ever will. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying the Mormon energy which permeates the state I've chosen to live in: kindness, civility, compassion, high standards of behavior, respect for, and welcoming of, people who believe differently.

It's a shame that Mr. Hitchens, in his one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to religions, hasn't gone deeper into what Mormonism gives to its adherents, and what, in turn, its adherents give to the world.

The danger of being a media figure, as Mr. Hitchens is, is that you can easily fall into thinking in sound bites. "Mormon" makes a very good sound bite these days. But that doesn't come close to understanding what makes Mormonism so valuable to so many people.

It's like taking a bite of a dish at a buffet, making a quick judgment, then moving on to the next dish. That's a great way to not get much nourishment at all. Despite his girth, Mr. Hitchens doesn't look to me like someone who's particularly well-fed.

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