Mormon Media Observer: Mormon Media Observer: Linus Van Pelt and the Tony awards

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  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 23, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    @ Searching: What you have cited contains a large number of suppositions, expressed with conditional words: "if," "would," "appears," and "seem."

    I see this as a kind of circular reasoning: "We don't believe God is this way because we believe God is another way, and if He were the other way, He wouldn't act this way."

    This is how I reason it: "God has acted a certain way toward me under certain circumstances. I believe that He acts the same way under the same circumstances with everyone." Here is a specific example: "I have learned that God loves me, even when I don't deserve it. I believe that God loves everyone the same." I can't say what God would or wouldn't do under any circumstances unless God tells me personally what it is.

    I disagree with the Deists on your website in that I do not believe God intends to force all His praying children to join the Church by giving them an answer to a question they haven't asked.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 22, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    Searching: Then why pray at all if it doesn't mean anything. You are being given a definition and citing something that is clearly a misunderstood method. THe Lord doesn't answer with a vision or a huge manisfestation everytime. He answers in the clear and precise still small voice. This definition in and of itself is unclear and incorrect. Its reasoning is wrong just as it states. We have our free agency and if the Lord came right out and said as this definition states, we would loose that agency. There must be opposition in all things.

    A sister in our ward stated that she had grown up in the church and had never requested to know with a surity that what she believed was true. She decided that one night she would pray for that enlightenment. As she began to pray her mind stated in no uncertain terms, she already knew what she was asking was true. WHY? Because she had learned it line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. Her prayer was answered in this manner. Mine was entirely different, just as Joseph Smith's was different. A trial of your faith is required.

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    June 22, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    Religious Tolerance dot org includes the following in answer to "how can one determine the true_religion":

    Pray to God and ask to be enlightened. The founder of the Mormon movement, Joseph Smith, did precisely this. Mormons believe that God and Jesus Christ appeared to him side by side, and told him that none of the then existing Christian denominations were the true religion. He was instructed to create a new denomination to restore Christianity to its first century CE purity before it fell into heresy.

    This method appears to be unreliable. When people pray to God for enlightenment, most seem to conclude that their own religion and faith group is the true one. If people could access the will of God on this matter, then a vast majority of the world's population -- the folks who pray -- would realize that their faith group was not the true one. They would gradually migrate to the true religion. There would eventually be only one religion and one tradition within that religion left standing. Otherwise, people would be rejecting the will of God. All the other 11,000 religions and their tens of thousands of denominations or traditions would be phased out.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 22, 2011 9:55 a.m.

    @ Searching: Do you mean that you don't believe in God, or that you haven't received a confirmation of the Book of Mormon?

    I didn't say you should pray until you receive a confirmation; I said you should pray until you receive an answer. As Bill's joke suggests, you also must be willing to accept answers in more than one guise.

    You and a number of others mention "millions" who have prayed and received a confirmation that their religion is true. I have heard this idea for many years. When I was in my early adolescence, I believed it and became an atheist. I have long since rejected atheism as an adolescent mindset, and have actually begun to explore these claims that there are millions who have received spiritual confirmations similar to those described by Latter-day Saints. I have interviewed a large number of people from a variety of different religions, and I have found only two people who claim to have received a revelation contrary to my own (they were both ministers whose livlihood depended on it). There is nothing like a representation of "millions." I know a lot of people who have had similar experiences to mine, however.

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    June 22, 2011 8:43 a.m.


    You say "God answers all prayers. The problem is that he doesn't always answers in the way WE expect it to be answered." So Moroni's promise and D&C sections 6 and 9 aren't representative of expected answers? Really, it's pretty plain: God says how he will answer the challenge, but didn't, and hasn't in any other way that I know of.

    But back to Alma. I planted the seed. I watered it and fed it. It hasn't grown. I've planted it again. Nothing. I've really wanted a blossom or even a sprout. How many seeds do you know of that require a quarter of a century of germination time? The experiment has failed. It's time to move on.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 22, 2011 6:50 a.m.

    Continued: In the end the Lord responded. I sent you a man with a truck, a boat and helicopter. In the end the Lord had answered the man's prayer but he was looking for more than a truck, a boat or a helicopter. You decide where you are. I know that the Lord answers all prayers and in some I don't understand why the answer. Also, remembers these words of President David O McKay as he was attending the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple: "I'm only now beginning to understand the ordinances of the Temple." Our testimony and faith grows line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little until it grows to a sure knowledge of all things. You said you did your part, I highly doubt that because I haven't done my part yet, by enduring to the end.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 22, 2011 6:45 a.m.

    TO Searching: God answers all prayers. The problem is that he doesn't always answers in the way WE expect it to be answered. You said you did your part but it is failed. Really, then you are putting it to a test that can neither be answered satisfactorially by you. The Lord knows your heart and if now you feel he failed to answer it then ask yourself the other question. WHY? Where is my HEART?

    Take this innocient joke:

    A man is in a flood plain. He prays to the Lord to save him and his property from the flood. Early on a man comes and says let me help you move your property to higher ground. The man says no, the Lord will provide. Later on another comes by with a boat and offers to take a few belongings and the man to higher ground. Again he denies saying the Lord will provide. Third when the house is about to go under a helicopter comes by to take the man to higher ground again he denies saying the Lord will provide. He drowns, and then at the gates ask why didn't you help.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    June 21, 2011 11:25 p.m.


    I expected an answer to my prayers. I was raised in the gospel, served a mission, and raised a family, all with no answer although I asked sincerely for it (in faith, as required) and it still hasn't come. Understand, I don't know the depth of your confirmation and you don't know the depth of the faith I had when asking. At some point I needed to accept that (in the LDS definition of faith) I didn't have faith because what I put my faith in wasn't true (Alma's seed didn't grow, failed experiment).

    Faith deserves something rational to base it on, something that can be assumed to be true. The Great Pumpkin is one kid's distorted take on Christmas. Kids' belief in Santa Claus a fabrication by adults. The BoM, for me, didn't live up to its promise. I did my part; that I know. Is God too busy to talk to me? I should hope not. Is his non-answer the answer? Reason stares. I don't have enough life left to waste waiting and putting faith into irrationality.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    June 21, 2011 11:01 p.m.


    So, whether my "faith" is "faith" depends on the validity of what I have faith in. It doesn't depend on my sincerity or strength of my belief. I will not know if it is faith until know that my faith wasn't in something that is false. So I need to first prove to myself that what I believe in isn't false. But I can't prove to Linus that the Great Pumpkin will never come, I can only explain to him how irrational his belief is.

    Your discussion of faith presupposes that your faith is valid while Linus' is not; yet looking at you both from the outside there is no difference in your positions.If he were to tell you that he prayed about it and received a strong confirmation that the Great Pumpkin would come, what would your reaction be? Millions of people could honestly say that about the religions they follow, but you don't follow them. Would you say that their faith is valid?

    You can say that I didn't ask in faith, but it is semantics. Others would say that my faith wasn't strong enough, but they are trying to ease their cognitive dissonance.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 21, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    @ Searching: I would like to follow up on the two questions I answered in my previous post. I don't mean them to seem as abrupt and judgemental as they may come across, but I was running out of words.

    I mean to say that if someone has faith in God and has faith that, when asked in the name of Jesus Christ, God will answer prayers, then one may expect an answer to a prayer. If you have faith in God, then you may expect an answer to the question "Is the Book of Mormon true?"

    This is not to suggest that you should expect a particular answer. Though I personally have confidence in the answer I have received, I believe that one must approach the book with the possibility that it may be either true or false (there is not logical middle ground given the book's claims), and God may be trusted to give an answer.

    Moroni's promise clearly states that faith in God and Christ is essential to receive an answer; giving up without an answer suggests lack of faith that God answers prayers.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 21, 2011 7:59 p.m.

    Searching: First, it's ironic that Linus' misguided faith in the Great Pumpkin is being used here. Charles Schultz, an adamant Christian, was trying to illustrate how faith in something like Santa Claus (something untrue) was useless in light of faith in Christ (something true). Linus' belief in the Great Pumpkin is no better than the other children's belief in Santa Claus.

    Next, Webster's definition of faith, as you later remark, is based on common American usage of the word. The dictionary contains a number of definitions of the word faith (including the one you mention and several others that might contradict the common LDS perception). Both Book of Mormon and Biblical writers take the idea that faith is belief in something true, but lacking the evidence of sight--the more common LDS approach. There is no reason in the world that our theology ought to allow Webster's precedence over the scriptures.

    You ask "if I exercise my faith and sincerely follow Moroni's promise, but don't receive an answer, does that mean that it wasn't faith?" The answer is yes.

    You ask "Do I keep trying until I get an answer?" The answer is yes.

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    June 21, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    terra nova,

    Let's put this into practice. Linus hears about the Great Pumpkin from others who claim his existence. He exercises his faith(?) by waiting Halloween night in the pumpkin patch. Nothing happens. Was it proven not to be faith because the Great Pumpkin never showed? Let's say that Nov. 1 he recounts his experience to his believing friends. They tell him that he wasn't sincere enough, or he questioned his faith, and so the Great Pumpkin didn't show. Does he keep trying until the Great Pumpkin does show?

    Now let's apply this to the BoM promise. If I exercise my faith and sincerely follow Moroni's promise, but don't receive an answer, does that mean that it wasn't faith? Do I keep trying until I get an answer? How can I tell that it is any different than Linus' experience with the Great Pumpkin?

    The fullest traditional definition of faith posits that faith is belief in a transcendental concept that cannot be proven empirically through human existence. It may guide one's life, but its truth isn't manifest in mortality. The Great Pumpkin and the Book of Mormon are equals in this matter. Again, very appropriate.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    June 21, 2011 1:45 a.m.

    @Searching: If you read the full account in Alma 32 it says once you know something to be true your faith is dead, for you know it.

    Working further through Alma 32, it says that once you know something your faith is dead only in that thing you actually know... but it continues to be alive and vibrant in the things you do not yet know.

    Action is key. "Faith without works is dead." But there is no need to prove and prove again what you already "know" to be true. All things being equal (altitude, density, etc.), water boils at the same temperature on Monday as it does on Tuesday. There is no need to prove it over and over again. However, you may want to experiment with items added to the water... and expand the room of your knowledge. Thus, faith enters into the mix again.

    Having proved one bit of knowledge does not mean you know everything about everything. It means you know one thing. Faith is critical to gaining more knowledge.

    Thus, Linus in the Pumpkin Patch does not apply. Nor does Webster's partial definition. Neither fully describes faith.

    June 20, 2011 4:01 p.m.

    I'm reminded of the guy who gets punched in the face and is so upset about his injury that he goes around re-enacting the punch to his own face to prove just how horrible the punch was.

    At some point, we cross the line from persecution to self-flagellation.

  • cambodia girl Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    June 20, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    Seriously, I am getting tired of all the articles on this subject. As journalists, how many times do you have to write about it? It reminds me of CNN when some disaster happens and they keep showing the same thing over and over after the fact. Please move on!

  • myjazz Ogden, UT
    June 20, 2011 2:18 p.m.

    never thought we had to defend ourselves against this type of entertainment. Comedians have been making fun of the Church for a long time. Just hold on everything is ok, just remember who restored this Church back to the Earth

  • LStrebel Clovis, CA
    June 20, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    I, for one, watched the Tony Awards but have not seen the Broadway Play. However, I see this as an opportunity for members of the church to dispel falsehoods and teach our true beliefs. Though the message of the play may be sarcastic, how many people will now have questions for the missionaries coming to their door? For me, neighbors and co-workers are already asking me questions. I'm not insulted because it actually opens a conversation. Perhaps some may even pick up the Book of Mormon and read it!

  • sanpaco Sandy, UT
    June 20, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    Once again do we really need to keep talking about this? This would have been long forgotten if every Mormon journalist who hasn't even seen the show didn't feel the need to write their own article about how they feel about it.

  • speed66 Hever City, UT
    June 20, 2011 9:52 a.m.


    Well put.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    June 20, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    @ Redhat
    We got more important things to worry about. Just so you know and understand we aint no wimps this rude and crude production will pass away and be for gotten. To quote the Prophet Joseph Smith
    The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame. But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and dependent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah will say, The work is done.'
    As you can see our Faith is worth fighting for and defending we just will let the Lord do it for us. Thank you very much for wanting help defend us.

  • speed66 Hever City, UT
    June 20, 2011 8:46 a.m.

    I'm sure they would like the protests...would increase awareness and ticket sales - not that there are any shortage of people wanting to see the musical.

    The problem with this "analogy" is that it pre-supposes that the author holds the only truth. To suggest that the BOM or its believers have any better understanding of faith is pure folly.

    The message of the production is not to discredit the beliefs but rather to point out the quirky characteristics of many beliefs and the writers actually encourage their audience to embrace those - and even celebrate them. The fact that there is profanity or "vulgarity" - another word might be humor - has to do with style not substance. The holier-than-thou attacks are fairly petty particularly when levied by people who have not seen the production. No, I haven't seen it yet...but I do have tickets and I can't wait!

    As for forgetting about the musical...well of course they will. But don't expect them to forget the message.

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    June 20, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    Why is it that church members are intent to believe that Alma 32 teaches that faith is a seed? It never says that. Alma suggests a test of a belief by applying faith to it (i.e., plant the seed, water it, dung about it, etc.) to see if it will grow. The qualifier that faith is not faith unless the belief is in something true has always been baffling to me. Faith by definition is "firm belief in something for which there is no proof" (Merriam-Webster). By the BoM definition, the only way that you can know if you have faith in something is to first determine if it is true. But if you already know it's true, why do you need faith. And how do you determine if it is true to begin with? Apply your faith to it, which can't really be faith until you know it's true. That's too twisted for me.

    The Linus metaphor is appropriate. Would Linus, sitting in his pumpkin patch, at any time question that his faith is true? Actually, he does many times, and then punishes himself for his lapse in faith. Very appropriate.

  • Eichendorff Olathe, Kansas
    June 20, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    Neither the leaders nor the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the time or the inclination to protest something as ultimately trivial as a vulgar Broadway musical production. The philosophy of the Church encompasses a much wider view. A century from now, the Church will be much larger, stronger, and more vibrant than it is now, and it will be a force for good like few that have ever existed. The Book of Mormon musical, at the end of the same period, will have been long forgotten. In fact, I suspect no one will much care about it in three months.

    The Church will continue to devote its resources to spreading the Gospel and doing good to people everywhere. Protesting something as absurd as this musical is a complete waste of time.

  • Spikey Layton, UT
    June 20, 2011 8:16 a.m.

    Redhat, our faith is worth defending, of course.

    We're just used to this kind of mumbo jumbo. Life goes on and everybody will forget about the BOM Musical. I already had until I saw this article, LOL.

  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    June 20, 2011 7:21 a.m.

    Linus is too kind to the award winning Book of Mormon musical-by that I mean if I were LDS I would be protesting in front of the theater. The Book of Mormon musical is filled with profanity laden jokes and put downs of Mormonism that are rarely seen outside no holds barred,low-life comedy clubs.
    The LDS church really needs to ramp up its protests-get sympathetic religious leaders from other faiths to standup against the musical and get members to bombard media with protests.

    I would still make a sign and protest outside the theater- so is your religion worth strongly defending it? Then do it!