Comments about ‘Atheists plan Salt Lake convention’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 27 2013 10:05 p.m. MDT

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JD Jones
Salt Lake City, UT

@SamoanYfanI: "I agree that Atheism is a form of religion. They are here to recruit the 16 percent of Utahns that have no religious affiliation. It's their missionary work."

No, Atheism is not a form of religion. Yes, Atheists can try to persuade people to reject claims of truth in the absence of sufficient evidence, but that's far different than knocking on someone's door and persuading someone that an angel gave Joseph Smith golden plates containing the history of the Americas. It's a far different thing to persuade that the ancient history of the Americas found in the Book of Mormon is a true account despite it contradicting the archeological, genetic and linguistic evidence.

I have no problem with many Mormon people. I consider my co-workers Mormons friends, so I think it's important that people understand that Atheists like me do not have a problem with Mormon people as long as they are kind and considerate people. However, I think it's legitimate and constructive to criticize religious institutions and beliefs.

It's like saying Astronomy is a form of Astrology.

Houston, TX

@Tyler D: Modern revelation confirms that the Spirit of Christ imminates from Him and fills the universe. It speaks to every man's spirit within, in a hushed form that we perceive as a conscience. If accepted, it will lead someone to truth in this life, and to Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ later in the Spirit World.

Of course, we have our freedom to choose to heed its promptings or not, and it will not force itself on us. We may ignore it in this life, and yet listen in the Spirit World. The Lord will give every person every possible chance to be converted to Eternal Life.

During the period when we could have listened and didn't, there is a real loneliness. We hear with our physical ears, but by our spiritual ears all is silence.

John in St. Pete, FL
St. Pete, FL

It amazes me to this day that people are still confused about the definition of "atheism." It is, simply, a lack of belief in god or gods. Athiests don't claim to know that there is no god. We simply see no compelling evidence for that existence and, therefore, lack that belief. I do not mock your RIGHT to believe what you want. But I do think your BELIEFS are harmful to society -- especially in terms of indoctrination and exclusion.

Mormons lack a belief in Vishnu. Does that make them bad people? Athiests lack a belief in your god. Does that make us bad people?

Miss H
San Francisco, CA

'Some of that "fun" will come at the expense of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Muscato said.'

But Mr Muscato did not say that. That's how the article's author, Joseph Walker, chose to interpret Mr. Mucato's remarks, in what I feel is a sadly misguided attempt to create a divisive atmosphere. I'm attending the American Atheist's convention in April, and I'm looking forward to meeting some of the fine people of Salt Lake City. Not only will I not be doing anything at their expense, I'm looking forward to spending my money in the city's great restaurants and at my hotel. We of course welcome anyone who is interested in atheism and related issues of separation of church and state to attend our convention, or just stop by the hotel and meet some atheists. We're fun and we don't bite! See you in April!

Orem, UT

Muscato has always been a hate monger. His billboards are tacky and insulting, his behavior has always been about hurting others not helping. He is an attention seeker and nothing more. I think in the end he will discover he has hurt more than helped his cause.


In the words of Alma: "Prove to me there is no God" Everything around proves there is one so again prove to me there is no God!

cambodia girl
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I guess without God in their lives, the atheists don't have a problem being mean spirited. Maybe there is something to say about believing in God if it makes you kind.

deseret pete
robertson, Wy

If they are for religious freedom maybe they should hold their next convention near the White House.

Morgan Hill, CA

It's funny how those who complain about the predominance of Mormons in Utah have no problem with the influence or predominance of liberals in Hollywood, Gays in San Francisco, Catholics in Hispanic neighborhoods, Jews in New York City, Cajuns in Louisiana, or Lutherans in Wisconsin or Minnesota. The conservative Republican"groupthink" which I have observed among Mormons, incidentally, is not any worse than the liberal groupthink which I encountered previously among Unitarians. If Utah had been settled during the 19th Century by Gays and Lesbian, for example, instead of Mormons, I venture to, say that these atheists and their politically correct friends would be cheering in the aisles and holding it up as an example of minority empowerment.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

I think Joseph Walker's article is a good first step toward putting the ideals of the LDS Church into action. Popular speech does not require any Constitutional protection or special championing. Minority opinions do.

I wonder how folks at YESCO would feel if a billboard company in the South refused to carry the LDS Church's "I Am A Mormon" message because the majority of people there are Evangelicals who do not believe Mormons are legitimate Christians? They would be outraged and they should be ashamed of their actions towards this group.

ogden, UT

@ Red Headed Stranger:
"I do see one big difference though. Your conference to attend costs at least $319 and up to $1500 for celebrity access. Our conferences cost $0. I guess you have to rent a Great and Spacious Building."

True - your conferences are free, but your membership dues cost way more. 10% of my income would be around $900/month for me. My membership dues for being an Atheist is 0% of my income. I'd gladly pay a few hundred bucks to get into the conference and save tens of thousands of dollars over my lifetime.

While we are on the subject of great and spacious buildings, have you ever been to the conference center in SLC? Have you ever been to the multi-billion dollar Gateway mega mall the church built? Have you ever been inside the extravagant mormon temples? Talk about great and spacious buildings!

Miss H
San Francisco, CA

Dear Strider303,

You wrote: "Come, spend money, enjoy the sights, play nice, share, and when it's over, drive safely home. If you have come merely to poke fun, to taunt, or to be obnoxious, perhaps you will understand if some of us do our best to ignore the boorish behavior."

I think you might be interested to learn some information about atheist demographics. We tend to be college-educated, and many hold advanced degrees. Many of us are employed in the sciences, education or tech fields. While we are over-represented in areas that require many years of higher education, we are significantly under-represented in prison populations. Atheists also experience unusually high levels of bigotry - only 45% of Americans say they would vote for a qualified atheist presidential candidate.

I am looking forward to spending money in your fair city, both at my hotel and at some of Salt Lake's great restaurants. (I won't be driving, I'll be flying in from San Francisco.) I can assure you, the likelihood you will experience boorish behavior from any of us is so vanishingly small as to be statistically zero. Thanks for the welcome.

Saratoga Springs, UT

I found this article quite comical.

Muscato said. “They are pushing Mormon values on people. I consider that to be un-American.”

Ironic. What about all the campaigning by people of the Atheist way to remove God from EVERYTHING! Money, Pledge, School, etc. Is that not an Atheist value being pushed on others. Mr. Muscato must be un-American.

Another quote by Mr Muscato. “We’re designing something (for the billboards) — I can’t really say right now what it’s going to be,” Muscato said. “But we’ve done harsh billboards in the past, and we’re not afraid of doing that.”

So if I understand you Mr. Muscato, to attack a faith because they believe in God is alright as long as you are atheist and not a God fearing person. It is alright to push your "harsh" billboard and to push atheist values. But God fearing people would be pushy and un-American if they did the same?

Isn't the idea to attract good people who may be non-believers. What kind of people do you expect to attract with "harsh" billboards?

Miss H
San Francisco, CA

Dear kattawn

You wrote: "My dear Atheist friends, Come and have fun! Bring your skis. Go out to eat. Take the tour of Temple Square and the Beehive House or whatever interests you. We welcome everyone here to the Best State in the Nation and you will love it! Just don't come with an attitude of "we're going to change those stupid Mormons" because you won't."

I don't think any of us atheists would imagine Mormons are stupid, or interested in changing their views. Nor am I interested in changing their views either. However I am looking forward to welcoming formerly religious people to the atheist community. Thank you for your sightseeing suggestions. I've actually visited Temple Square and the Beehive House on a previous trip. I imagine I'll be very busy at our convention, but I do hope to visit a few restaurants. Thank you for the welcome.

Sandy, UT

I would have to agree about the church imposing laws upon the citizens of Utah through their own belief system.

1. Make alcohol harder to obtain. Using this antiquated system of "State Liquor Stores" does not control alcohol any more than a Harmons or a Smiths can. It is an extra burden on the tax payer.

2. People like State Senator Valentine who make comments such as "If you see an alcoholic drink being made you will be tempted to drink. This is why we need the Zion Wall in restaurants." is horribly inaccurate.

3. Raising the smoking age above the federal standard. I understand that smoking is hazardous, but this is not the decision of the state to tell us that we can't smoke at age 21 or 19. I feel if the United States government says the age is 18 we should RESPECT the choices of the citizens to be able to make that decision for themselves. Utah is like a big Michael Bloomberg. No large soda...no alcohol in stores. If you are afraid people can't read "beer" or "hard lemonade" then the state needs to strengthen its reading comprehension initiatives.

John in St. Pete, FL
St. Pete, FL

@sashabill -- Wait. Gays run San Francisco and spread their word going door-to-door? Jews do the same in New York? Catholics in Hispanic neighborhoods? Cajuns (which I'm not sure is a religion) do this in Louisiana? The Lutherans even get to run two states?

Yep. There's your accepting LDS member there, folks.

Sandy, UT

My biggest issue is that Utah prides itself on the ideals of conservative values. When listening to Rod Arquette in the afternoon on KNRS, people call in and talk about how invasive the government is in regards to the personal choices of the citizens. However the state of Utah does that with its alcohol and tobacco laws. Utah is like a big Michael Bloomberg, no large soda; no full strength beer, state liquor stores and sin taxes galore. Perhaps if we allowed the citizens to make their own decisions on the issues of alcohol and tobacco, perhaps people would not associate the state of Utah as a religious oligarchy. Let its citizens decide. People who have no idea what alcohol is or have no experience with it should NOT be making laws pertaining to its use.

Miss H
San Francisco, CA

cambodia girl
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

You wrote: "I guess without God in their lives, the atheists don't have a problem being mean spirited. Maybe there is something to say about believing in God if it makes you kind."

I'm not sure how you got the impression we're mean-spirited, but I can assure you that's not the case. Our conventions are always interesting and fun and we have a great time spending time together. I'd like to welcome you to visit one some day. Best wishes! (And by the way, I think Cambodian food is terrific. We have a restaurant here in San Francisco, and it's very popular.)

Danny Chipman
Lehi, UT

"we see and hear about how the Mormon Church controls things in Utah seems to be a prime example of religious oppression,”


Personally, I take issue with humanists pushing their morality on me. Why can't I just steal, hit, lie, and belch greenhouse gases to my heart's content? Every man for himself! Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die! That's your philosophy, isn't it? (sarcasm off)

Brigham City, UT

To believe in missionary work, is "un-American" according to Mr. Moscato? My meek opinion is religion is more important than politics, and the Bible and modern prophets are more important than the Constitution. Yes, we will obey the law, a higher law. Religious people live longer. If you think you can do without religion in your life, fine. There are many people in the world who need new scripture, community, truth, life, light, hope, commandments and blessings. Nobody could have invented the commandments, they came from above.

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