Atheism is intriguing to me. To claim to know there is no God. The only possible
way I see someone could know this is if they knew the four corners of the
universe, and everything in between. If someone knew this, what would they be?
Layne, why publish a response if you aren't going to refute or challenge any of
Hitchens' allegations? The truthfulness of the LDS Church should make sense in
the "mind" and "heart" (D&C 8:2). Don't write an article
if you aren't going to challenge any of the substance of his argument. Your
article, in my mind, adds more credence to Hitchens' attacks.
My only point... yes, justly criticize Hitchens if he misrepresented you in
print for lack of educating himself thoroughly, but then turn your gaze inward
to Mormon culture and see that members profess to 'know' what absolute
cosmological Truth is, but actually know very little about the cosmos. Yes, okay, you'll say secular knowledge has nothing to do with faith and
'spiritual' confirmation of Truth, and being widely read and educated is not a
prerequisite to receiving revelation from God. Well, that would be an entirely
new discussion about the 'psychology of belief' and epistemology to try and
understand why God has spiritually confirmed to many other non-Mormon religious
persons on the planet that 'their' particular beliefs are True, even though they
conflict with yours'.
I've read a fair amount of Hitchens, including what is referenced here, and, as
an ex-Mormon, non-theist agnostic (since I don't believe you can 'know' that God
exist any more than you can 'know' that he doesn't) - I actually have to agree
that his comments on Mormons do come across as, well, less than deeply and
critically informed. However, the unfortunate flip side of the
Hitchens accusations, is that Mormons are equally uninformed (generally, not
definitively speaking) concerning matters 'not Mormon'. I live
in Alpine, Utah which is an upscale community full of good Mormon folks whom I
like and respect, with a higher education; doctors, lawyers and CEO's, etc.
I've had conversations about science, religion and philosophy with many of them.
With the exception of one person (the LDS author Gerald Lund who lives nearby
and whom I've been talking to for a decade now), I always come away deeply
disappointed, and a little shocked actually, by their lack of knowledge and
narrow education. Continued...
He did the same hatchet job on Buddhism completely lacking in scholarship and
intelligence. He has spent his life as a dilettante with few academic of
philosophical credentials. Drinking a bottle of scotch a day and several packs
of cigarettes a day he destroyed his health.
You knock that strawman down, @eastcoastcoug baby.Let's not pretend
that Stalin and Mao weren't treated as gods by the people in power under those
regimes. You shouldn't be in the dictator business unless you've studied
pope-ism. And czars and popes are, in the atheist view, equally contrived ideas
as the notion of god. It's held by everyone these days that Zeus-ism, for
example, was man made; atheists simply use their faculties of pattern
recognition to their fullness.It may not be said that us atheists
can prove our position absolutely. But you understand where our skepticism
comes in?Also - let's just do away with the idea that we humans
possess an infallibly moral vector towards power. "Power corrupts"
may not be a phrase absolutely true, but stick it on your bottle of humility
pills anyway. We need everyone's help in this endeavor.
Many atheists claim the world's problems would go away without religion.
Really?? I would like to see Hitchen's and other atheist's take on the Penn St.
child abuse crisis since football and charities were the enabling organizations,
not religion. Is there no crime in countries that have low religious
participation?There have certainly been many in religious leadership
who have abused power intentionally. Contrast that with the tens of millions who
were slaughtered at the hands of godless Communism and Fascism in the last
century. Add that to the slaughters of other megalomaniacs ie. Genghis Khan, who
were not religious, over the centuries and the picture broadens to show it is
just men abusing power who have killed, not religion itself. Christ
taught to love and forgive one's enemies, that power comes from service rather
than dominion. For my part, I see that kind of religion (visiting the widows and
the fatherless, etc.) being practiced by LDS leaders, as well as many others of
other faiths. I don't understand the anger of Hitchens and others of
his ilk. Nor do I understand the acerbic posts here by people that have left the
LDS Church. I hope they find peace.
@ Jiggle (I wish you used your real name, instead of a painted face) you raise
many issues of LDS church history and say "you don't hear people talking
about it". I am sorry to say that if you came to our Sunday meetings or mid
week institute classes ( they are free and open to anyone interested) you would
have heard this topics discussed in depth, from youth to adult class. Church
history, teaching of all presidents of the church, Old and New testaments, as
well as studies on the Book of Mormon have always been part of Mormon life. You
have the right to believe as you like but "please!" check your facts
before you speak on other people's believes. It makes your remarks look childish
and poorly researched.
We do not believe the jailer was in on it because he would not have left his
family in the jail to go through what they did. John Taylor suffered four
wounds and should have died. Willard Richards was unharmed and basically saved
the life of John Taylor. If Joseph killed two men as you suggest it is more
likey they were killed by those with them than by Joseph considering the number
of bullets fired from outside and downstairs. Also, he had to really be good to
kill two with just two shots. No matter how you look at it, it was cold,
premeditated murder for the mob to kill Joseph Smith. As John Taylor stated,
"he lived great and he died great in the eyes of God and his
people."He sealed with his own blood his testimony of the
truths that he restored. In twenty years he established the Church of Jesus
Christ on earth again, brought forth the Book of Mormon,sent missionaries to the
four corners of the world, established communities, head of militia and mayor.
As John Taylor said the best blood of the 19th century was spilt in Carthage.
He then fell through the window to the ground below next to the well. He was
shot four more times outside and Hyrum also received four shots while dead on
the floor. As you state there were five that were tried and
acquitted. That is the same mentallity that lived in the south for years in the
killing of blacks. Very few whitemen were ever convicted of murder. From what
you say Joseph Smith got justice and so did the blacks. Same mentality. Did
you know that Governor Ford pledged that Smith and those with him would be
protected by the state. You also failed to state that the charges for inciting
a riot were dropped and once dropped, the treason charges were given to keep
Joseph Smith in Carthage. Did you know that 10 men went with Joseph and Hyrum
to Carthage as they were charged as well? After the inciting riot charge was
dropped all but four were left in Carthage. The jailer left the jail moments
before with him wife and family downstairs leaving the jail door open. Joseph
and the others were in his bedroom because the jailer allowed them to be there.
I am going to ask this question of Jiggle. Have you ever been to Carthage Jail.
Have you actually seen the inside of that same Jail? From you comments
obviously not. I have and yes Joseph had a weapon that was given to him on the
day of the martydom. There were over 200 individuals that stormed the jail.
What you don't know is that the jailer and his family lived in the jail. The
jailers bedroom is on the second floor. You state that Joseph shot and killed
two individuals before being shot himself. What you fail to state is that the
door to the bedroom is to the right and down a small hall from the top of the
stairs. A bullet from outside pierced the lock and the men inside, Joseph
Smith, Hyrum Smith, John Taylor and Willard Richards tried to hold the mob back
from the door. A bullet pierced the door killing Hyrum almost instantly. It was
then that Joseph took his pistol and fired to shots at the opening of the door.
He then ran towards the window where he was shot twice through the door and
twice from below.
Well no. You are incorrect. Hitchens was writing from the direction of a
non-believer. Of a skeptic. You are a believer. Your comments are based on
your faith not on the facts. The mormon texts are one of faith.
Can you prove for a fact that angels visited Joe Smith and if they were in fact
angels gave him gold plates from God? No you cannot. You simply believe it the
way a child believes in Santa Claus. The argument is gold plated by your desire
to want something out of it. About as genuine as any of this post as a counter
to Hitchens's largely logical article.
Although I was not physically there I understand J. Smith had a pistol in jail
with him and shot at his attackers before being killed.While I certainly
don't blame Smith, this is hardly the action of a man going to be meekly
"slaughtered" as the author suggests.Church "history"
is often revisionist it seems.It seems church members, particularly those
raised in the church, have trouble understanding how others would disparage or
question their beliefs. Objectively however.......
And it came to pass...'Nuf said.
ThinksIThink,Being "shunned" in the LDS world is a touchy
subject. LDS will defend themselves by saying there is no such thing as shunning
in Mormonism.But here is what happens. The culture of Mormonism
links love and approval do tightly and directly to "righteousness" and
"obedience" to parents and Church authority, that the message is
subtle but clear: if you are unrighteous or disobedient, you will not be
loved.In the cases of Mormons struggling with same-sex attraction,
or drug addiction, or alcoholism, Mormon families will SAY they "love"
their gay children, but they refuse to "support a sinful lifestyle".
Often this includes kicking the "sinner" out of the house - but always
as an act of "love" (or so they say)!In Mormonism,
"love" is always conditional upon righteousness and obedience.
Combined with the doctrines about ALL being "sinners" (nobody is
perfect), everybody being "the natural man" who is "carnal,
sensual, and devilish", Mormons generally have a profound sense of
worthlessness and inadequacy, coupled with a powerful need to "earn"
affection, love, and acceptance.As you may imagine, this makes for
some very interesting family dynamics that, in many cases, can rightfully be
characterized as "shunning".
@ThinksIThinkYou wont hear people talk about the militia he formed,
or that he destroyed a printing press and burned down the building that it was
in. You won't hear that he shot and killed two men with a gun he had smuggled
into the jail. Destruction of the newspaper provoked a strident call to arms by
Thomas Sharp, editor of the Warsaw Signal. Fearing an uprising, Smith mobilized
the Nauvoo Legion and declared martial law. Carthage responded by mobilizing its
small detachment of the state militia, and Illinois Governor Thomas Ford
appeared, threatening to raise a larger militia unless Smith and the Nauvoo city
council surrendered themselves. Smith initially fled across the Mississippi
River, but shortly returned and surrendered to Ford. Smith and his brother Hyrum
were taken to Carthage to stand trial for inciting a riot. Once the Smiths were
in custody, the charges were increased to treason against Illinois. An armed
group stormed Carthage Jail where Smith and Hyrum were--killing Hyrum instantly.
Smith fired a smuggled pistol--then "sprang to the window" before
being shot several times. Five men were tried for his murder, but all were
acquitted. I don't believe he was a martyr.
I'm not real knowledgeable about Joseph Smith's death, but didn't he and/or
someone with him fire shots. I heard that someone had snuck a gun into the
jail for Joseph Smith and/or the others who were in jail with him. Is that
I can only speak from what I have personally seen. Many LDS members who left
the LDS Church were shunned by their families. I've seen it many times. I
don't know how widespread this is, but with my personal friends who left - they
were all shunned to some extent by their families and friends.This
doesn't mean nobody ever spoke to them (although in some cases that is true).
But they were really put through the wringer. I hope that is something that is
This author is so vehement in his attack on Hitchens' book that he relies on his
own characterizations of what Hitchens writes rather than provide actual quotes
from the book. And Hitchens provides proof that Smith was a fraud - his
conviction for just that in a court in 1826 (p. 161). This is not addressed or
even mentioned by the author here. And Hitchens' main inquiry of this section,
whether the preachers and prophets really believe in what they're selling, or do
they simply "believe in belief," and its purported affects on the
morale and overall health, physical and mental, of their congregations? This is
the more interesting, and as Hitchens points out, open question. He suggests
that Smith, who was happy to "claim supreme authority," get his
followers to "make over their property to him," and "sleep with
every available woman," (p. 166) was of the latter mind; this argument is
strangely not touched in this article. If the author wishes to debate Hitchens
on what he says in his book, he should at least discuss and quote what's written
there. Jack Fulcher
@mArnoldI never claimed that Mormon society was "impeccable."
I'm well aware of the various problems beneath the "Happy Valley"
surface, including high rates of depresssion, high suicide rates of gay
children, etc. I do think the church hierarchy needs to reconsider the
excessive demands it puts on its members.I'm also aware of the
darker incidents in Mormon history. I'd be surprised if there hadn't been any,
since we're all human.But I find Mormon *values* beautiful, and I
see that beauty in the lives of so many "rank and file" Mormons all
around me. I don't think that can be faked.I remember as a college
student here being invited to Sunday dinner by my Mormon girlfriend's family. I
never felt more at home in my life--and they didn't even do anything special.
They just made me feel like I belonged. (And no, they never once tried to
proselytise me.) I could only attribute it to Mormon values in action.
Mr. WilliamsThe Hitchens article is clearly a response to Mr.
Jeffers referring to Mormonism as a cult. Mr. Hitchens does not claim that
Mormonism is a cult in this article. Instead he lists mormon beliefs that he is
uncomfortable with (the weird stuff) and a few items he believes to be wrong
(the sinister stuff). He believes Romney's voluntary membership in this
organization shouldn't be protected from criticism. In the article where did
Mr. Hitchens lie? Please tell me one bishop who doesn't appreciate hefty
donations. Mormons including Joseph Smith practiced polygammy. Mormons today
believe in the principle of polygammy although they don't actively marry more
than one living spouse. Mormons didn't allow blacks to hold the priesthood
before 1978. Where is your outrage coming from? Everything that Hitchens
refers to in the article is fact. He refrains from calling the Mormon church a
cult and insists that Americans excercise their patriotic duty to think freely
and question the beliefs of others. Just because it is special to you means it
is special to him. If you demand reverence from him then you must give it
freely to all. Unfounded outrage...weak article.
"I used to be a fan of Christopher Hitchens, but now I need to speak
up."This is untruthful. You shouldn't lie.
A great defense, Lane. Thank you for taking the trouble to write it.
I would go further than Williams and say that Hitchens has probably never even
begin reading the Book of Mormon. At least I have to say that to think he has
any connection with the truth.
@iron&clayI would encourage you to look up the phrase 'confirmation
bias' and what it can mean. I would also encourage you to research how the
recent claim of matter-faster-than-light has been followed up on by scientists.
It's a bit of a downer for sci-fi fans.@Admiring GentileConsidering what's come out about depression rates among Mormon women, it
would seem that the claim of an impeccable society generated by the LDS is a
rather spurious one. Nor is it, I remind myself, a claim particular to
Mormonism.@christophI can take your comment as more than an ad
hominem, as it also has the quality of being false. Hitchens has perhaps not
gained so much from reprints of his Iraqi reports as much as he has in greater
solidarity from the now-free Kurdish peoples. I've taken us off topic however,
so I'll also admit that my contrary has valid criticisms of its own. May we
digress no longer :)
Religion. Let no criticism go unanswered.
As a regular commentor on Slate, I'm surprised this is so late. This discussion
has been over and done with for, as pointed out, a couple of weeks now. That said, no one likes to hear their beliefs ridiculed, nor the history
of their church reviled. Nevertheless, Hitchens's claims (and resulting
discussion) did pique my interest into some historical questions that ultimately
led to my viewing early Utah history quite differently. It does not shake my
testimony nor change my faith in God, and in this regard, I think Hitchens and
his ilk perform the valuable service of trial by fire. Latter-Day Saints should
not be afraid of scrutiny nor science. The faith embraces truth wherever and
whatever it may be and is not afraid of defending that truth. Was
Hitchens sloppy? Yes, but no more so than anyone else who is just parroting
other's words. He hasn't studied the Book of Mormon. He hasn't attended church
services. He has no firsthand knowledge of the matter. What else can be expected
Excellent article. The bulk of those that make off the cuff comments or
perceived intellectual statements about mormons haven't read or studied a scrap
of LDS doctrine. I challenge anyone who thinks we are a cult or who has been
told we are a cult to spend a day in the life of a member of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter day Saints before making any type of conclusions.At least pick
up the Book of Mormon and draw your own conclusions only after studying it's
pages. Like many, you will find that we are oceans away from anything remotely
resembling a cult.
Thanks Lane for your well balanced and truthful take on this subject.
Thank you for this article. I am guilty of getting upset over the word 'cult'
and it's almost laughable because before I joined I used the same word to
describe The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. I would like to thank you for your
thoughtful and insightful article. I learned something regarding the use of
'cult' with your example of how he died. I never had thought about how he did
not call others to shield him, but turned himself in. How different Bro. Joseph
was than Jim Jones and David K! Clearly, we are not members of a cult. I am
going to use this example in the future when I hear our faith called a 'cult'
and try to follow your example of not getting mad about it. Thank you again.
Mr. Hitchens was bitterly anti-USA for decades over the Vietnam War and then for
money and fame supported the Iraq invasion in 2003; some writers go against
the grain in order to make money.
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.
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.
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.
@LetsBeRationalThis 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
@slimothyI 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.
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.
@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
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 | 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.
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)
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.
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.
I agree with Hitchens. Very well siad Mr. Hitchens!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well said, and without "bashing". We all need to stand up for the
truth, which need not involve contention.