Senate Mormonism

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darkside_Spirit, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    The Catholic Church has a very specific definition of who is a Christian and who is not. Mormons such as Kimball_Kinnison and Oneness Pentecostals such as Jabba-wocky do not match it.

    However, I think that in terms of friendly, reasonable discussion, we should call anyone who claims to be a Christian a Christian. If I were a sociologist I'd consider Unitarian Universalism, Mormonism, and Eastern Orthodoxy all to be variants of the Christian religion.

    In general, obnoxiously telling someone they aren't X when they openly profess to be X is bad for dialogue and just plain rude.
  2. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    This has been in the news lately with Rick Perry trying to come back by associating with some evangelicals that have attacked Mormonism as a cult and unchristian.

    We need to remember that although the LDS church has tried to brand themselves as "The Mormons," they aren't the only Mormons. Just watch the LDS PR have fits whenever the term is used to describe other breakoff sects. But Warren Jeffs has just as much right to call himself a Mormon as Thomas Monson. When the LDS church tried to own the brand, I think they lost the moral authority to complain about other groups seeking to retain influence by controlling the labels. The reason it matters is not because it causes some great confusion like calling a pig a donkey, but because when people start calling the FLDS Mormons, even though they are just as much followers of Joseph Smith as the LDS church or the Community of Christ, it causes PR problems for the larger organization and could potentially cost them members. When Mormons are able to lay claim to "Christianity" it helps them win converts. Each group has powerful incentives to maintain their brand, and not let challengers use it. It is all marketing.
  3. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Well, to be fair, I think it's also worth noting that Mormon isn't a self-imposed label either, though. Granted, I also think that the cult and unchristian attacks are ridiculous.

    Btw, Espaldapalabras, not sure how the "out of LDS" thing is working for you, but you may want to check out the most recent issue of Free Inquiry. You can order just the most recent issue, which is focused on Mormonism, and also includes some ex-Mormon opinions. Might help.
  4. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Things are working out great, last year was the best year of my life.

    And a year of casual study of Mormonism with my new perspective has really been quite the educational experience. I still have very strong opinions on the subject, but I think I am well past the "angry" phase, especially against current members. One thing that is very clear to me is that Mormonism is currently going through a crisis, yet the leadership seem to have their heads stuck in the sand for the most part. The historical issues that for so long the church tried to hide and ignore just aren't going away thank to the internet.

    I'm currently reading a "The Book of Mammon." It basically is an insider's view on the corporate bureaucracy of the church, which really took hold after 1890 and culminated in the rise of the Correlation department that censors and controls information. Having been a devout Mormon my entire life, having gone through 4 years of seminary in high school, serving a 2 year mission, and graduating from a church university meant that through all that there was actually never much of an honest accounting of the true history of the church. Eventually you start confronting things online, and find that what you once thought were anti-Mormon lies are backed up by evidence. This is prompting something of a flood to the doors by otherwise stalwart young adults 18-30. Not everyone follows the path I did, some like KK manage to hold onto belief and develop a less correlated understanding of their faith. Others like a cousin continue to go and participate out of a sense of culture/history/personality even though they no longer are the literal believer the Church would like its members to be.

    I do think some understand the need for a more honest accounting of the history. Before I think they thought that mentioning Mountain Meadows or going into any sort of detail about Joseph Smith's polygamy or even mentioning it wouldn't be faith promoting so it should be whitewashed. With the book Rough Stone Rolling and the until recent head of the Church History department's moves to releasing JS's papers and admitting at least some sort of responsibility for Mountain Meadows, I hope in the future they can learn to be more honest. Because the corporation is so used to lying by omission, that when the truth comes out it can hit you like a ton of bricks.

    There are so many things that disprove the truth claims of the LDS church, really the question they are faced with is what path they want to chose. There are already two other forks of the Mormon tree that have provided a guide. One is that of the RLDS, who were those that didn't follow Brigham west and were lead by Joseph's son and was who his wife stuck with. They maintained that Joseph never practiced polygamy based off Emma Smith's statements, but eventually they were forced to face the clear facts that he did. They realized that the historicity of the Book of Mormon was a dog that just won't hunt, and lost a good amount of members as they transitioned to a more traditional Christian denomination called the Community of Christ. This is the path of openness and honesty. The other path is that forged by the FLDS sect of Warren Jeffs towards fundamentalism. Each time the mainstream church makes a move one way, they lose members on the other. The fundamentalist path means an ever smaller group, but they become more and more devout. For most of the 20th century the prospects of global growth provided plenty of incentive to stay away and moderate extremists. You can't be out lynching illegals if you are trying to baptize all of Mexico. Now that the internet has halted the growth spurt so that now more people are leaving than joining, the tone has shifted somewhat. Expectations need lowering as it is clear that becoming a 250 million next global religion just isn't going to happen.

    Grant Palmer is a former church education employee who has some very insightful things to say about this. Right now the leadershi
  5. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Personally, I don't see how you can have missed a lot of this, considering your background. I have a similar background (except I did Institute rather than a Church school), and none of that stuff was ever hidden from me. Many of the specific things that you complained about are things I remember hearing directly from official Church sources! Others came from books published by Deseret Book, which is owned by the Church. If they were actively trying to censor that information, why would they have published it?

    I think a lot of your problem is that you are holding the wrong expectations. The Correlation department isn't there to give a comprehensive historical detailing of Church History. It's purpose is to provide materials for Church units to use in teaching lessons in a consistent manner across the Church. It's responsibility lies primarily with the Sunday School, Priesthood, and auxiliaries' curriculum. But you have to remember the purpose of the weekly lessons in those organizations isn't to provide an in-depth historical study of the Church, but to focus on the doctrinal teachings, primarily as they apply to us today. A lot of what you are complaining about doesn't relate to how we apply those doctrinal teachings.

    For example, I remember when the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young manual first came out before my mission, and several critics complained that it didn't mention anything about Brigham Young's plural wives. People complained that the Church was trying to hide that fact from the members. But think about it for a moment. What was the purpose of that manual? It was a collection of Brigham Young's teaching by topic. As a result, only two of the chapters are even tangentially related to the number of wives he had. (The closest would be Chapter 23, on "Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage", and you could possibly argue Chapter 41 on "Temple Ordinances", but that one would be a stretch.) Ultimately, that information was not necessary to the purpose of the manual, which is a perfectly reasonable basis to not include it.

    I remember Institute classes that did go more in depth on those sort of topics. (For example, plural marriage is addressed in the Church History Institute class manual, among other places.) I remember discussions of it occasionally in Sunday School (when discussing Official Declaration 1). If the Church were trying to hide all of that from members, it did a bad job of it.

    I don't think it's fair to insist that the Church bring up historical matters lik
  6. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    What you fail to realize is that the entire correlation process isn't to divide the lessons based on the topics Brigham Young actually taught, but to first decide what bullet point topics to cover, and then pull quotes out of context to support the modern interpretation of that bullet point, rather than learn what Brigham actually had to say, and what he meant by priesthood rather than what modern Mormons mean by it. It is simply impossible to understand Brigham Young's teachings without polygamy.

    This bloggernacle post really goes into great detail about correlation and its effects.

    I don't mean to make it into a giant conspiracy. But let's look at a correlated Manual's own definition of Dishonesty:

    Source

    Certainly there are plenty of honest people within the church, even some general authorities. But that doesn't change the fact that CES and the Correlation Department on a regular basis only tell part of the truth and are silent on important facts. And I think it just isn't true that they focus on "doctrine, not history." They retell faith promoting stories incessantly. We hear plenty about Emma, Haun's Mill, Pioneers, ect. When Hickley says that Polygamy isn't doctrinal, how is that being honest?

    And I'm not sure how far you want to carry comparisions to the great and abominable church.



  7. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    No matter what lessons they set up, they would have had to choose what to focus on and what not to. I've read many of those quotes "in context", and I don't see how they distorted many of them in any extreme way.

    The fact is that the Church hasn't been suppressing, censoring, or hiding any of that information. In many cases, the sources that some of the Church's critics use are from actual Church publications, and not just past publications. For example, Deseret Book publishes the Discourses of Brigham Young, from which most of the quotes in the manual were taken. If they were trying to hide anything in there, why would their own publishing house continue to publish that book? Why would they constantly cite that book, and point people to it to get greater context? They even gave specific page numbers for each quote!

    I just don't see how anyone can reasonable claim that the Church is trying to suppress any information, when they have provided (and are still providing) most of the source material that forms the basis of the claims that they are trying to hide things. No, they don't focus on what you seem to what them to, but that's because they have a specific mission to carry out, and that doesn't match what your goals would be.

    Kimball Kinnison

    EDIT:
    Because there is a difference between doctrine and practice.

    The practice of polygamy itself was never considered a necessary act for salvation. That is evident by the fact that only a small percentage of the Church was ever involved in a polygamous relationship (the estimates I've seen ranged from 2-8%). The doctrine itself is that of celestial marriage, of being sealed for time and all eternity. That doctrine has not changed. Only the practice of allowing a man to be sealed to two or more living spouses at the same time was ended.

    In the eternal sense, polygamy is still very much allowed and practiced. For example, if my wife were to die tomorrow, I could be sealed for time and all eternity to another woman, should I remarry again. From the eternal standpoint, I would have multiple wives sealed to me just like Brigham Young did. The only difference would be that both wives weren't living and sealed to me at the same time.

    The focus in Sunday School has always been doctrine, not history. That's why they call the class "Gospel Doctrine", after all. Yes, you get some historical stories like Haun's Mill or the Pioneers, but that doesn't mean that those faith promoting stories are the focus of the class. Often, they are to provide some historical context to the focus of the discussion or to illustrate a point made in the discussion.
  8. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Yes, there is a difference between an outright lie, and leading people to believe things that aren't true. You should be aware as anyone that the Church isn't entirely a monolithic organization. Like any human made organization, there are a lot of hands that can work at cross purposes.

    But when I say they aren't honest about their history, that isn't the same thing as suggesting a massive coverup. They ignored the advice of B.H. Roberts, and tried to present only stories that were seen as "faith promoting" meant for their internal audience. You work in government, what is it when an agency dumps millions of pages of material in a request for information? You can call that open government if you want, but we all know what the true intent of that type of action is.

    Your defense of propaganda is interesting, "well we all have motives you are just mad because they are different than yours." My goal, would be something approaching honesty. There is clear intentional deception within "Our Heritage" and the Joseph Smith film shown in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The Pro-LDS blog I linked to goes into some great history of Correlation and the way it works.

    And what I'm telling you, is that the COB's way of pursing its goals is actually going to blow up in their faces, and well it already is.

    Peep Stones, Book of Abraham mistranslation, Kinderhook Plates, Book of Mormon geography, archeology, DNA analysis, anachronisims, importation of KJV translation errors, polyandry, polygamy, Racism from LDS leaders, failed prophecies, these are all issues you can't just keep ignoring if you want to continue into the 21st century. Sooner or later all those that would love to be blissfully unaware will have to confront these things, and either they adapt their faith to be a little more nuanced, or they leave.

    Why you dispute the notion that hey, they don't tell the whole story in Sunday School, is just a little odd to me. How many times have you heard the Marsh Milk Cow story? Do you have any idea how many exmormons I've spoken to that feel the same way I do about the shock of learning the real history? Intellectual honesty doesn't start with you making obscure sources available in a basement or buried within massive volumns that you are told only to read after you have read the scriptures and every mind dumbing self referential session of conference in history. Every time you offer an excuse for why they are allowed to "shade the truth" and mingle truth with the doctrines of men, let's go back to the definition I provided.

    And then we can go into why Mormons feel so justified in Lying for the Lord ever since Joseph Smith said he could see but one wife.
  9. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    I'm always amazed when I read stories from upset ex-members of this faith or that faith.

    They're upset and angry because they were hoodwinked.

    No, you were lazy. You didn't arrive at your own conclusions. You bought hook, line, and sinker everything you were told.

    Why do you think it's called a "flock"? Sheep.

    One day you decided to use logic and reason.

    Congratulations.

    Move on man.
  10. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    You really have no idea what you are talking about. If you haven't experienced the power of a religious mindset and you aren't a psychologist, what you have to say on the subject is as valid as me stating that veterans with PTSD need to shut up and get back to work because they signed up for it and I know what it is like to have a broken arm.

    You think you have some great insight that those of us who were believers don't also blame ourselves? Of course the self blame is part of the issue. But you need to watch this. If the process of deconversion was just a light switch of logic and reason, then the world would be a lot simpler place.

    You would do well to have compassion for experiences that aren't your own, and keep your ill-founded beliefs of people's thought processes and culture to yourself as they are as ignorant as any religious person.

    If it was me just being hookwinked by others, that would almost be easier to handle. But while yes from the day I was born I was taught to think one way, and given a single story, it just isn't true that I bought into everything. This 10 year old thread I've been a part of tells that story if you'd bother to read it. The fascinating thing about belief in religion is how even when you have questions, doubts, issues, you ignore them. I was pretty aware of the fact that known new world archeology had essentially disproved most of the historical claims of the Book of Mormon by the time I was 17. Laziness doesn't explain why I spent 2 years doing the hard work of converting others. Just this afternoon I was considering the intellectually lazy position I was in, when any plausible, if not probable, rational would allow me to hold onto the faith. But my position wasn't totally devoid of all logic and reason. You have no idea what it is like to experience the mental/physical response my brain and body had to a trite and propaganda filled church production, and more than I can pretend to understand the experience of a schizophrenic. I doubt you would make such comments at people with mental illnesses. And so religion is a form of mass mental illness. We are not creatures of pure logic and reason, nor were we ever meant to be.

    People move on at their own rate. But if you had suffered years of abuse, or went through a divorce, those dramatic life changes can take time to adjust. I used to affiliate with the Republican Party. Now I disagree with them on everything. But since Republicans are part of the society I live in, I can't just ignore them, and continue to think about them and talk to them. When it comes to religion, and Mormonism specifically, I have a variety of motives for discussing the topic. The very first of which is that it is still fascinating to me intellectually. I love challenging bad ideas of all sorts, and can get just as riled up against an Ayn Rand libertarian as I can a Mormon. It isn't that I have some grand vendetta, I'd like to help people like I was because people helped me, and altruism and empathy is a powerful force in most humans.
  11. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I read through all 9 parts of that blog. Honestly, I think it's missing several key points, particularly that as the Church has grown, there is a real need for consistency in the instruction given. You can't leave the development of teaching materials up to each individual ward or stake and expect to have anything approaching consistency.

    When you start establishing a curriculum, you invariably pick certain items and leave out others, because you only have so much time to cover so much material. For example, most wards only have 48 weeks in the year to get through the Gospel Doctrine course of study (52 weeks minus General Conference and Stake Conference). Considering most wards only give 45 minutes to an hour for Sunday School (depending on how much Sacrament Meeting runs over), that means that you have a total of 36-48 hours in a year to cover an entire curriculum.

    This year, the focus in on the Book of Mormon. There are 239 chapters in the Book of Mormon, which means that you have to cover approximately 5 chapters per week, or a chapter every 9-12 minutes of class time. There's only so much that you can fit into that sort of time frame, and so you have to prioritize. Considering the class is "Gospel Doctrine", the focus is on the doctrines of the Gospel, not on more esoteric history.

    Most of those items have nothing to do with the doctrines held and taught by the Church.

    Again, most of those items have never been hidden by the Church. Many of them, I learned about through official publications. None of them have actually been hidden. Your complaint seems to be that the Church doesn't advertise them to everyone, and that's just ridiculous. You are essentially complaining that the Church isn't advertising its largest criticism, because it chooses to focus on what it actually teaches and believes.

    I'm sorry that you feel that you were lied to, or that things were hidden from you, but these things were never hidden. Just because you weren't exposed to them doesn't mean that the Church has tried to hide or ignore them. Most of them have been directly addressed by the Church through a variety of mediums. You might not agree with how they have been addressed, and that is your right, but it's not accurate to claim that those issues have been ignored.

    Face it, you have shifted to be a critic of the Church now. All critics wish that those they criticize would spend more time focusing on their criticisms. But just because they haven't addressed that to your satisfaction doesn't mean they haven't addressed it.

    Moreover, you have come to focus completely on criticisms, but you completely neglect any support for the Church. That'[s a very unbalanced view. As I've said before, my threshold regarding the Church isn't just for someone to raise questions, but they also have to provide better explanations than what I currently have for what I have already found to be true. You've raised a lot of questions, most of which I can answer and some I can't, but you haven't really offered anything to explain those things that the Church has right.

    F
  12. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Regarding correlation, if the overriding objective is that all Mormons are taught exactly the same thing in every Sunday School class in the entire world every week, then yes this method they've chosen is the way to do that. Your ward was virtually indistiguishable from my home ward. But brand consistency seems to be an odd overriding objective for a religion. Just compare that to how Catholics spread, and their allowance of diversity has made Mexican Catholicism its own cultural force. The net effect is that I think it tends to create a stagnent box everyone must fit within, because sometimes when people go outside that box, things can go wrong fast.

    Here in the heart of Zion, the corporation that has taken over means that you can see the lack of cultural vibrancy. You can see in the architecture, where prior to the correlation movement you get interesting and diverse buildings from people expressing themselves. Now you get buildings as recognizable as a McDonalds, and about as interchangable. Yes they are paragons of effeciency and cost control. And on Temple Square it is the difference between the Temple and the Church Office Builing. But the same goes with LDS art.

    I will fully admit to being a critic. When one knows and is involved as much as you or I, it is impossible to have a neutral opinion on the subject. I believe I try to stay open to new evidence. In my study of criticisms and dissenting voices, there are so many questions that I put aside as not important or not necessary to salvation, ect that I now have good explanations to.

    When it comes to NHM, my personal belief is that it is a chance naming that Joseph took from Biblical names (Naham (1 Chron. 4:19), Nehum (Ne. 7:7) and Nahum (Na. 1:1)). But if you believe that it is so unlikely that such a thing could happen by chance, that this is evidence of some sort, then you should also apply that same logic to the Spaulding-Ridgon theory and now provide me an explanation for the similarities in place names of 19th Century upstate New York and the Book of Mormon.

    If you are going to use NHM as an evidence for the Book of Mormon, then when things match up between other contemporary sources Joseph Smith had available and the Book of Mormon, you can't just write them off as a coincidence. Accepting one apologetic argument only disproves another.
  13. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    It's no wonder you fell away from the Church. Everyone knows the first sign of apostasy is when you criticize church art. :p (For the record, I usually start my criticism with the horrendous LDS-themed noise that some people call music, especially the EFY albums.)

    At the same time, that sort of lack of central control is a large part of how the Great Apostasy came about. You need look no farther then the New Testament to see how as the Church spread out and was almost exclusively under local control, the Apostles spent a lot of time having to correct the local congregations on various points of doctrine. It was a constant struggle, and caused its own host of problems.

    I still say that you give overwhelming weight to criticisms without giving the supporting evidence much of a fair trial. There are numerous things that are in the Book of Mormon that were thought erroneous about either Hebrew and culture culture or native American peoples in 1830 that have since been proven to be accurate. One or two such items might be a coincidence, but when you start piling coincidences upon coincidences, it gains a lot more credence.

  14. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5

    That is exactly how I would describe my experience with evidences against the truth claims of the church.

    I'd like to make a comprehensive list of all the evidences for and against, along with the improbabilities of each.

    For everything that may have been thought inaccurate but was proven not, as we've learned more there are many things that we've confirmed the BoM got wrong. Not only in including plants and animals that didn't exist in the New World, but by leaving out important things that did. Now that we can read the Mayan language, there is no doubt the ruins Joseph thought were Nephite had nothing to do with that. Apparently we can be given the pit stop in Arabia as proof, but we can't even know which continent Zarahemla was on.

    There isn't a silver bullet that disproves the historicity of the book, there is a machine gun, and here you are presenting your evidence for the second shooter. I'm happy to look at it, but if it seems like I don't pay much attention to it, it is because to any impartial observer it seems like a silly argument I'm sure.

    Most of the things you've mentioned are just the natural result of LDS scholars looking high and low for evidences. If someone were to invest the man hours I'm sure we could find more incredible coincidences between Lord of the Rings and Uzbekistan. So after years of searching they were able to find someone named Alma. The KJV of the Bible is full of Chiasmus, and Joseph or whatever other combination of 19th century authors were rather good at quoting and imitating the style. But just because we don't have the drafts of the BoM and maybe can't explain 25% of where things came from, and from all the various place names and people listed, it would actually be unlikely if in all of your searching you wouldn't be able to find anything that randomly matched up.

    What do you think would have been the reaction if the Egyptian Papyrus had anything close to the Book of Abraham once we translated it? When it comes to evidence against the truth claims, if you are able to find the 1% chance it could be true, you will take it as an out. That is far different than pointing to something that independently may have a low probability of occurying as proof. Just look at the way conspiracy theories are "proven." They will pick out one thing that just couldn't have happened any other way, or some strange coincidence. We've both argued here enough against truthers to know how that works. Obviously in that mountain of evidence, there will be things that defy explanation they are so random. But that doesn't change the big picture obvious truths everyone else is able to see. When disproven on one claim, be it the missle theory or Stela 5, they quickly move onto another piece of evidence that you need to refute. If at any point you throw your hands up and try to point out the obvious, you can be accused on not properly following the evidence.

    If you are happy in the church I really don't care if you stay in it. For your own mental health it is probably better to stay, leaving is a hard journey and I don't think it is for everyone. But in the end if we are going off physical evidence, it is simply so overwhelmingly one sided it isn't worth talking about. Read Guns, Germs, and Steel. That provides all sorts of reasons why things couldn't possibly have happened the way the BoM says they did. So in order to maintain faith, you have to interpret it differently. You have to ignore Joseph's statements that the Mayans were Nephite ruins or the various statements he made regarding BoM geography, to think they were exageratting quite a bit and it was a much smaller group than portrayed. That is why the church generally stays far away from these sorts of conversations. Physical evidence isn't their means of finding truth, so no matter how much you stack up against them, it won't change anyone's minds. And if apologists can get little things to throw o
  15. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    If you don't really care whether I stay in the Church or not, why do you keep coming back to this thread to describe your criticisms of the Church? Considering a lot of this thread over the last year has consisted of posts from one of the two of us, it really does come off as though you are trying to convince me to leave, and that's not going to happen with the sort of evidence or techniques that you have tried. As I have said many times before, you need to not only point out the flaws in the Church, but you need to give me a convincing explanation for where it got things right without the resources to know such things beforehand.

    But then, you also seem to be making the mistake of thinking that my belief in the Church is only a matter of physical evidences for the Book of Mormon. It's not, nor has it ever been. The various physical evidence forms part of the support, but certainly is not the entirety of it. It's not even close to a majority. (If I had to put a number to it, I'd place it probably around 10%.) The core of my testimony is from both experiences that have shown me how it makes my life better, and personal revelation (in roughly equal parts). For me to abandon all of that would require something far more powerful that can provide all of that plus whatever it might be lacking.

    Quite frankly, you haven't offered anything close to that.

    Kimball Kinnison
  16. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    I was much more active in this thread when I was an active member. I do have an interest in truth and sharing what I've learned. For people like my parents, I understand that leaving would actually probably do more harm than good for their own personal happiness given how much of their lives they have devoted to it, and the life purpose it gives them.

    I don't pretend to offer any replacement for everything the church can provide. The Truman Show is one of the most spiritual movies for me. You are asking what I can provide in the outside world that is better than the false one you're in. My answer is nothing and everything except the truth. There are poor starving children, amazing people and there are billionaires and drug lords and everything in between.

    My goal isn't to get you out of the Truman Show, but make sure everyone within it knows there is a door out, and there is something beyond it. To make sure you raise your children with that knowledge so they don't have to go through the same painful journey I went through. So yes I would like to see changes within the church to be more honest and increase understanding for why people like myself leave. And it was such a huge thing that I think it is healthy for me to engage intellectually with you on these issues because I don't want to hear just people who agree with me. There frankly aren't a lot of places you can go where you can get any sort of reasonable response from a believing Mormon, and I would love to be proven wrong. It was unfair for me to release my anger at you when I first left, but that was the hardest experience of my life.

    And of course we both know we have an audience of people we've discussed many issues with, and I suppose that our discussions have been interesting to them even though they aren't qualified to really speak to these issues.

    I guess even though I think it is a man made organization that I think society as a whole would be better off if it went away, there are plenty of people within it that it provides value to, and I would like to see it change to become a more positive force. There is a lot of ideas within the Book of Mormon that I find still important. I would love to see Mormons reject the corporatist/free market mindset that has taken over and return to the ideals if not the practices of the United Order and the socialist paradise they think Jesus created here in America. I would love to see them take responsibility for becoming stewards of the earth, rather than assuming we don't need to worry about the environment because the Second Coming is tomorrow. I really enjoy the following podcasts because of the way they want to make those positive changes for the church:


    http://mormonstories.org/

    http://mormonexpression.com/
  17. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Quite honestly, I've started to grow tired of it, for several reasons.

    First of all, because it still feels like you are mostly doing this because you want me to agree with your choice in order to validate it. I'm sorry, but that's not going to happen. I respect your choice, but I don't agree with it, and based on the attempts you've made so far, I don't see you making any sort of argument that will change that. I'd rather that we just not keep running around in circles over and over.

    Second, I don't think it's all that healthy for you. I can understand a lot of what you are going through and the emotional roller coaster it is, largely because I went through something similar in terms of my divorce. Based on that experience, I don't think it's healthy for you to keep focusing on the Church so much, even if you do it without anger. There comes a point where in order to finish your emotional healing you have to move onward and stop looking backward, and your posts have mostly seemed to be looking backward. Ultimately, that's not good for you. (That's part of why I suggested to you that you might want to pursue employment opportunities outside of Utah, at least for a while. I know how hard it would have been for me if I'd had to constantly have my ex-wife in my life while I was trying to move on with things.)

    Finally, I'm not sure that I'm going to have the time for it. My posting here has already been greatly reduced due to Darth Real Life. I have two rather large projects coming up at work over the next month, that will take a lot of my time. I have a son who is about to turn one, and who just started walking (meaning we'll never be able to catch him again). I recently decided that it was time for me to start looking for a new job (considering our contract ends this year, and there really aren't any options for advancement even if it is renewed, not to mention I recently discovered that I'm qualified for some positions that would pay $20-40k more). I also have an aunt in a nursing home whose condo needs to be cleaned out (as she can never go back there again), and as one of only two relatives in the area, a lot of that will fall to me. I'm going to have a limited amount of time and energy to spend on things, and I honestly don't think that going back and forth with you on something where neither of us is going to change our minds is the best way to spend it.

    I'm glad that you have found something that makes you happy, but I have already examined what you have to offer, and know that it isn't for me. I wish you the best, but I have no desire nor inclination to follow in your footsteps.

    Kimball Kinnison
  18. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    That's fine, I hope the best for you.

    As far as my personal mental health, it isn't something I usually dwell on. I go to various ex-mormon type groups on occasion to meet new people or see friends, and frankly the older ones tell to annoy me. I don't really like talking about the subject the way they do, and it seems like it is a lot harder for them to move on. I also get really annoyed when people blame every abusive family and every wrong ever committed against them on the institution. For some I know it can exacerbate a problem or create it, but others it can provide a great support. My parents took the good they could to hold our family together, and I'm grateful for that. The younger exmo crowd generally is just out to have a good time. The alternative paper did a story on some friends. It was actually strange to meet some people newly leaving at lunch, and me and my friends commented about how it brought us back to about a year ago because since then the release of anger and frustration wasn't something we talked about, and we didn't really care. If people ask me about my exit story now, it bothers me if I have to go on for more than a sentence. Going to Mexico for a few weeks was very therapeutic as far as getting away from Utah. But I've looked at moving and things just haven't turned out there so I've moved closer to downtown where really once you get in the right crowds the church is sort of a non issue, and it is just a diverse place. I still like being a moral support for those in transition, but even then my friends call me out for only being interested in activities where there is the possibility of girls. Anyways that's where I'm at with that in case you are interested.

    My hope would be that 16 years from now you've better prepared your son to handle the information that caused me to leave when he runs into info from an outside source, and that if he does follow my path that you handle it better than my parents. So hopefully this conversation has helped increase understanding. I think every Mormon should make the examination and make an informed choice, and until now I didn't quite understand what John Delihn was trying to do. I doubt I am the first or the last person you know who has left, and I do like warning others against making the same mistakes I did in how I did it. In the moment it is hard to understand just how difficult it is on those you love who still believe. But I think it gets easier with experience, time and understanding.

    I generally don't have the time for this place much anymore either.
  19. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I'm always amazed when I read stories from upset ex-members of this faith or that faith.

    They're upset and angry because they were hoodwinked.

    No, you were lazy. You didn't arrive at your own conclusions. You bought hook, line, and sinker everything you were told.

    Why do you think it's called a "flock"? Sheep.

    One day you decided to use logic and reason.

    Congratulations.

    Move on man.



    This is indeed a deep misunderstanding and a failure of empathy -- surely of compassion, but pointedly, empathy.

    The thing is that if you run into someone that is a sheep, you have to appreciate the fact that most of them were RAISED to be sheep, either consciously or unconsciously. I've come to learn in recent years that you or I Shaner, are incredibly lucky. We, I would presume, were raised to ask questions. To try to figure things out. To be our own people. In some cases and to some looking at it from their own experiences, our families might have seemed less 'loving' -- and in my case I suppose my folks could have given me a little more direction -- but they themselves don't understand that much of the 'love' they experience is actually a subtle form of control.

    This is not a slight against Mormonism or any religion, because I'm not talking about religion specifically at this point (I have something else actually in mind which I will not get into directly). In fact Eps and KK and others should count themselves lucky that, if they ARE part of an organization that endorses a 'sheep' like mentality (and I make no claim as to one or the other since I know nothing of the Mormon Church), at least it attempts to instill honesty and respect. Power and control are used at times to have people that are "sheep" indulge in much less savory behavior.

    I have seen what is "good" turned on its head and used to compel people to lie. To cheat. To denigrate. Even though many times the people in question hated what they were doing and themselves for doing it -- yet they did it nonetheless.

    And they did all these things because they had been conditioned for a very long time to do these things, and it's a very rough thing to break even in what would otherwise be a good person. It's not about logic and reason, it's about suppressed emotions and what's tough versus what's easy. When a truth is horrifying enough, a given person will not want to see it no matter how obvious: because if they see it then that will mean drastic action will have to be taken if they're going to be able to continue seeing themselves as decent people. It's much easier to deny and carry on, and sometimes easier is no less than NOT totally upending your life with no idea where you go from here.
  20. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    I should point out that Diamond makes his own mistake. He special pleads Clovis-first. (Never mind that Clovis in the museums looks like Frazetta man, so there's an emotional investment in Clovis. It also touches on a lot of the same tropes as Exodus.) It's irrelevant to the point here, but just one criticism I have of Diamond.

    What is relevant, though, is that smallpox is ancient, going back at least to ancient Egypt. If the Nephites or whoever crossed the oceans to Mexico, Indians wouldn't have a problem with smallpox in the 15th/16th century. We don't have that much of an issue with infectious disease today, compared to in 1492. Natural selection, yo.

    Also, this talk of "we didn't know Mayan then", the main reason white sources didn't know Mayan is because, well, they were too busy with their theories of the Mayans being extinct and of lost white races *waves at Joseph Smith* to bother to learn Mayan. It's like the Mad About You episode where Paul Reiser's character can't get money out of the bank because the bank says he's dead, and because it's a joint account, Helen Hunt's character can't either because she's dead too.
  21. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Thanks for your response. I actually do count myself lucky to be raised in Mormonism. I think all religious organizations to some degree have thought controls that promote sheep or groupthink mentalities, but as an American religion it does have a strong dose of individual search for truth and inquiry, as well as a very good dose of scepticism and critial thought towards other belief systems. Which is why for the most part those who break themselves intellectually tend to become freethinkers. For all my complaints, I think Mormonism stands up very well against most other faith systems. The fact it was developed after the Enlightenment is a double edged sword. It gives it strength to respond to more modern arguments and issues in other faiths, but also leaves a more damning historical footprint that more ancient religions just don't have.

    Of course part of the challenge that will come later is how do I raise children. It is something I think a lot of my exmormon friends who are married with kids struggle with. For sure losing the never ending praise from my parents was the hardest part, and it is impossible to fully seperate family from faith when one has so involved itself with the other for generations. That is by and large why the most at risk group is unattached young adults. But if I don't have a final objective for what my kids should be, it certainly makes parenting a more challenging experience. I don't want my 16 year olds having sex and drinking, but if it wasn't for the control systems in place I would have liked to at that age. Of course I don't want them waiting till they are 27 either.
  22. Nagai Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2010
    star 3
    Could somebody recomend me a good book about mormonism?
  23. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    In what context?

    One good overall starting point can be the Book of Mormon. If you want to better understand the doctrines taught by the LDS Church, I would recommend that you look at the book Gospel Principles, which is often used in classes for new members to help them better understand doctrines. Both books are available online (at the links I gave).

    If you are looking for a more historical perspective, there are a variety of books you can look at.

    It really depends on what you are looking for.

    Kimball Kinnison
  24. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Sorry, sort of forgot I posted in here:

    Thanks for your response. I actually do count myself lucky to be raised in Mormonism. I think all religious organizations to some degree have thought controls that promote sheep or groupthink mentalities, but as an American religion it does have a strong dose of individual search for truth and inquiry, as well as a very good dose of scepticism and critial thought towards other belief systems. Which is why for the most part those who break themselves intellectually tend to become freethinkers. For all my complaints, I think Mormonism stands up very well against most other faith systems. The fact it was developed after the Enlightenment is a double edged sword. It gives it strength to respond to more modern arguments and issues in other faiths, but also leaves a more damning historical footprint that more ancient religions just don't have.

    Well from my POV, most faith systems stand up equally well and equally not so well. I see them as all equally wrong more or less. Mostly on a factual basis, though sometimes on an ethical basis.

    There are smaller religions and "sheeplike" systems that are usually far more objectionable in what they call on their followers to do or think. I agree far more on the surface with the starting premises of Objectivism, for instance (there is one reality and we are all living it: there is one "truth" to what is going on) but from there the entire thing becomes way more abominable than most Christian schools of thought ("Greed is good"? Really? I mean... really? As Chris Hitchens once pointed out, some natural human impulses could do without reinforcement).

    I'm in no way going to get religious anytime soon. I just see it as factually wrong in a lot of ways, and ethically wrong on many of the well-known issues (gay rights, abortion, you know the drill). But it's a fool who says we should abolish Christianity and just not expect anything to fill the void. It's great for me the Atheist to say Mormonism is like Chlorine poison because there's this and that wrong with it... but would I rather Communist thought be dominant? Would I rather Robespierre's Cult of the Supreme Being? Would I rather Ayn Rand Objectivism or 70s quasi-spiritualism? You look at some of these schools of thought and ethics and philosophy and Mormonism or Catholicism or whatever... it ain't lookin' half bad anymore, with or without the 'God' factor.

    If a Mormon is more likely to help me out of a ditch where I'm lying there bleeding to death and afterwards talk to me about a deity that isn't there and things that aren't true, but the Objectivist is going to stand there and let me die while telling me things that seem more logically plausible -- well geez man, who CARES if the Mormon is right or not about God? He helped me out of the friggin' ditch! That Mormon religion isn't any more true than phlogiston but at a human level at some point that sort of ceases to matter.

    If I knew an Atheist that was a nice person but drank as much as Chris Hitchens did, and a Mormon essentially of the same disposition of other Mormons I've met, and said ok: one of you take care of my 8-year old for the evening and there's two rules -- no drinking and no discussing religion -- as right as I might think Hitchens to be, it could very easily be the Mormon I'd trust to respect my wishes more.


    Of course part of the challenge that will come later is how do I raise children. It is something I think a lot of my exmormon friends who are married with kids struggle with. For sure losing the never ending praise from my parents was the hardest part, and it is impossible to fully seperate family from faith when one has so involved itself with the other for generations. That is by and large why the most at risk group is unattached young adults. But if I don't have a final objective for what my kids should be, it certainly makes parenting a more challenging experience. I don't want my 16 year olds having sex and drinking, but if it wasn't for the control systems in place I would have liked to at that age. Of c
  25. Nagai Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2010
    star 3
    History and doctrines.