Senate Mormonism

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

  1. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    My understanding is that they are trying a variety of different approaches to increase the number of media referrals (people who respond to various ads, like the current "I'm a Mormon" campaign) and working with inactive members and part-member families. Essentially, they are trying to get away from "cold contact" methods, because they are by far the least effective ones.

    Yeah, yeah. All Mormons look alike, and all that. Right? :p
  2. Blithe Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2003
    star 4
    I actually found a an old copy of the Book of Mormon the other day in the library. That's when I realized that I knew virtually nothing about Mormonism. On that note, what would be a good source to learn about the basics of Mormonism, in particular the differences from other Christian branches? I'd be interested in understanding the relationship between the Bible and the Book of Mormon as well. Is one source ranked higher than the other in terms of theological and spiritual teaching? That is to say, is one relied on more than the other for basic instruction? Is one considered to be more relevant to modern times?
  3. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    For a basic introduction, I would recommend Mormon America. It's neither polemical nor apologetic.

    If you want to sort of "get inside the movement" I would recommend Richard Bushman's biography of Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling. It's a great synthesis of a personal biography of Smith with analyses of Mormon doctrine and how it was developed. I actually enjoyed this one so much I even bought the author's diary that was published.

    If you want a critical deconstruction of the claims the religion makes, I would recommend Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History or for a more up-to-date perspective, Latayne Scott's The Mormon Mirage.
    Last edited by Condition2SQ, Oct 22, 2012
  4. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    This question was asked a couple pages ago (just before the boards moved). It really depends on exactly what context you are looking for. @Condition2SQ gave some good recommendations, but the downside of his suggestions is that they may not be in your local library, and would cost you money otherwise. There are some free resources available online, if you just want to be able to review the basics.

    If you want to get a broad overview of Church doctrines as they are taught each week, I recommend looking at the book Gospel Principles. It's the lesson manual used for the "new member" classes (for recent converts), and it's fully available online. You can also look at Preach My Gospel (WARNING: PDF file), which is used by missionaries for daily study and covers the lessons that they teach to investigators learning about the Church.

    If you want an overview of Church history (which is often critical in understanding the doctrines), I recommend Church History in the Fulness of Times, which is the student manual for the Institute class on Church history. (Institute is the Church's program offering religion classes to college-aged young adults.)

    If you are looking for a comparison between LDS doctrines and other religions, I don't know of any free, online resources that I can recommend off the top of my head, but one of my favorite books is How Wide the Divide. It consists of two professors of religion, one a Mormon and the other an Evangelical, comparing and contrasting key doctrines. Each chapter has three parts, where each one gets to explain his side and then they discuss the areas where they agree and disagree in the third part.

    As far as the relationship between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, both are used quite heavily in the Church, and which one is favored depends on the topic being discussed. As a starting point, it's important to recognize that the LDS Church accepts four books as canonized scripture: the Bible (King James Version), the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of revelations given to Joseph Smith and his successors (such as Brigham Young) explaining how to organize the Church and clarifying many of the doctrines as they were revealed. The Pearl of Great Price is a collection of a few different documents, including part of Joseph Smith's "Inspired Version" of the Bible (where he was expanding and clarifying parts as he was directed by revelation, particularly regarding the events in Genesis), the book of Abraham (the translation of some papyrus that he received), as well as part of his own account of the restoration of the Church and a short listing of 13 key doctrines, called the Articles of Faith.

    On a functional level, we don't really differentiate between our books of scripture. They are often known collectively as the "Standard Works", and many people (myself included) prefer to have a single volume (called a Quad) that contains all four books. Other people prefer to have two volumes for convenience (the Bible and a "Triple Combination" with the other three books), so it's not as thick of a single book. To us, scripture is scripture, regardless of which book it's located in. As a book of scripture we don't really emphasize one over any other.

    However, in some ways there is a greater emphasis placed on the Book of Mormon. That is largely because it is called "the keystone of our religion". This isn't because it is of greater worth as scripture, but because it also serves as a verification of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. At the end of the Book of Mormon, the last prophet in the book (Moroni) offered a promise that if you read the book and asked God if it were true, then God would reveal the truth to you through the Holy Ghost. If you get such a confirmation (as I have), then you also know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, because a false prophet cannot translate a true book. Similarly, you also know that the LDS Church is God's Church, because if Joseph Smith was a prophet, then the church he founded as a prophet would be God's Church. If any one of those three elements is true, then all three must be true, and the Book of Mormon is the key to gaining a testimony of all three.

    Our canon of scripture is also not closed. Within my own lifetime it has expanded (with the addition of D&C 138 and Official Declaration 2 in the 1981 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants). We fully accept that God still has more to reveal to us, and we look forward to such future revelations.
  5. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    I was actually fortunate enough to come across RSR at my local library, and I'm glad I did. Though I don't at all believe in Mormonism, I found the book absolutely brilliant in its explications of the conflicts that beset the movement as it grew, specifically with regards to tensions with traditional Protestantism and also antebellum attitudes about slavery and abolition.
    Last edited by Condition2SQ, Oct 23, 2012
  6. Blithe Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2003
    star 4
    Thank you for your detailed responses, Condition2SQ and K_K. Also, I apologize for not noticing where this was covered before in the thread.

    I was reading over the Articles of Faith and number 8 says, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly . . ." Does the Church of Latter Day Saints have an official position on any of the many other translations of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament besides the King James? How are they viewed in terms of accuracy and spiritual inspiration? Does any of the Church's official work make use of other Bible translations? Are members discouraged from using other translations for spiritual guidance and instruction?

    Thanks to both of you again.
    Last edited by Blithe, Oct 26, 2012
  7. -polymath- SFF:F/TV Trivia Host

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    Jun 7, 2007
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    The church uses the King James Version as it's canon however in doing so the church doesn't reject the usefulness or insight that can be gleaned from other translations of the biblical text. There are many times when a comparison of a verse in the the KJV and, say, the RSV, brings out great meaningful and clarity. Thus, although the church's official canon accepts the KJV as its canon, the other iterations of the bible are, at times, useful. So, no, I don't think LDS church goers are discouraged from reading other translations of the bible.

    Over the course of his life, Joseph Smith sought to retranslate the bible. The Joseph Smith Translation of the bible is not official canon, though at least one chapter of Joseph's translation has been canonized in the Pearl of Great Price (Moses 1). Other chapters of the Book of Moses revises the biblical story of the Garden of Eden and other associated events, i.e., the creation. This is also true of the Book of Abraham, also in the Pearl of Great Price. Those books are often read and studied in church classes in conjunction with the Old Testament, in an effort to gain a clearer picture of what the biblical text means or was intended to mean. The JST occasionally makes significant changes to the KJV text.
    Last edited by -polymath-, Oct 26, 2012
  8. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    It really is no problem. We've gone over a lot of things several times in this thread. As I've mentioned before, it's the oldest continuously-open thread in The Senate's history. It's now over 10 years old, and never been locked.

    As @-polymath- said, the Church uses the KJV in English, but nothing prohibits members from drawing on other resources. The general principle to remember is that we try to focus on learning things through the Holy Ghost. A good model of this is found in D&C 91.

    While Joseph Smith was working on his "translation" of the Bible (which was really more of a commentary than a translation), he asked whether he should translate the Apocrypha. The answer that he got was that there were many things good and true in there, and many things that were written by man instead of God, but someone who reads it while listening to the Spirit will be able to discern between the two.

    And that's really the big thing to remember about many LDS teachings. We place a strong emphasis on personal revelation as a daily guide. While we have some core doctrines, we also expect each and every person to study the scriptures for themselves and learn through the Spirit. I've been listening to a talk in General Conference and felt impressed to go off on a tangent because of one comment made, and that has often led me to a more powerful understanding that was "what I needed to hear", even when it's almost unrelated to the main topic of the talk.

    It's the same way for many other things. As a result, you will often find a wide variety of views in LDS congregations about a whole host of topics, ranging from the meaning of different symbols or passages, to the fundamental principles of how to apply the Atonement.
  9. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    An interesting development was released today. The Church has released a new edition of the scriptures with updated study guides and other changes. You can read a summary of the changes here.

    There are some changes in the scriptural texts (mostly spelling and punctuation changes), but the biggest changes come in the study aids. Over half of the section headings for the D&C have been revised, and they've added introductions to the two Official Declarations. Many of the changes are derived directly from the ongoing Joseph Smith Papers project.

    They have also made changes to the typeface to more clearly denote what is considered scripture versus what is merely a study aid or reference. Only the actual scriptures are considered to be canon and authoritative. Chapter headings, footnotes, and the like are for additional context but are not considered of equal weight.
  10. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Not to come off as glib, but are there any changes here that really matter? Most of it seems trivial, but will any of this shape interpretations?
  11. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Sorry. I got hauled into a meeting with my boss and quickly posted that without the additional analysis I wanted to include because I wanted to go home. (Never let your boss know that you know how to really use Excel. I just got roped into redoing a lot of statistical reports because the person who created them screwed up several formulas that our clients just discovered were wrong.)

    There are three changes that can be seen as fairly major. All three of them mostly came from the Joseph Smith Papers project which the Church has been involved in. (I highly recommend looking at the JSP project. The Church is trying to place all of the original documents they have from Joseph Smith online to provide full historical context and help people better understand the early Church.)

    First, there are the new section headings for the D&C (and to a certain extent the Pearl of Great Price). While at first glance, they may not seem major, they indicate a clear paradigm shift coming out of a desire to be more historically accurate. Many of the dates for different revelations have been changed or clarified. (For example, Section 22 was changed from April 1830 to April 16, 1830, and Section 49 was moved from March 1831 to May 7, 1831.) A lot of this was done by dropping all references to The History of the Church, by BH Roberts, which was previously considered the authoritative collection on the matter. As they have been collecting all of Joseph Smith's papers for publication, they have found numerous errors and inaccuracies in Roberts' collection.

    At the same time, they have also changed some of the sections to make the source clearer. For example, Section 2's heading was changed from "An extract from the words of the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith the Prophet ..." to "An extract from Joseph Smith’s history relating the words of the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith the Prophet ...". It's a subtle change, but I think it will have big ramifications over time.

    Second, they created an introduction to Official Declaration 1 that gives a historical background (albeit very concise) to the practice of plural marriage. The full introduction states:
    They also removed the statement "“The vote to sustain the foregoing motion was unanimous." referring to the vote on the Manifesto (which became OD1), as they have found historical evidence that it was not unanimous. The new introduction is an amazingly concise statement that clarifies a lot about the context of OD1.

    Third, they created an introduction to Official Declaration 2, which ended the ban on blacks receiving the Priesthood. The full introduction states:
    Again, this is an amazingly concise introduction that does a lot to clarify the context of OD2. One of the biggest elements of it, I think, is the admission that "Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice." Contrast that with how OD1's introduction clearly states that plural marriage was started and ended by revelation. I think that is the closest we are going to see to an admission by the Church that the restriction on blacks holding the Priesthood may not have been instituted by revelation.
  12. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    KK, you failed to mention what I think is the most important change. The heading regarding the Book of Abraham has been changed from "translation" to "inspired translation." Since I have left it has been fascinating to watch the so called church's response to this issue. The old school apologetics of BYU lead by people like Dan Peterson and Lou Midgely at FARMS have basically fallen apart and disowned by the leadership after they tried to go after John Dehlin who with his Mormon Stories podcast with an 80 page ad hominem hit piece against his character. This is because he was presenting all this historical evidence against the historicity of the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham in a way that made him be heard in Mormon circles because he comes across as sincere and struggling with the same issues himself, to the point where I overhear his name when I eat lunch. The apologetics that used to resolve issues like Nibley by putting on this auro of "too smart and complex for you to deal with" without actually addressing the real issues no longer really works in the age of the internet, and so this whole system that was unofficial but funded by the organization through BYU and rich LDS donors is fast on its way out as it can cause more problems with naive members than it solves.

    There is currently a struggle within the organization with this move towards more transparency. A few months ago in conjuction with the Joseph Smith Papers project they released the hi resolution images of the papyrus online, and for a historical symposium were going to show it in the Church History Library downtown SLC. I heard about it online from an exmormon facebook group because it was announced at a BYU class as a one day display. The most important physical scriptural document still in existence, and they display it without any mention in the LDS owned press and PR arms. So I went and took a look, they held all the papyrus in a plastic binder. Instead of opening the page to Facismile 1, they turned it a few pages to the other pages that we apparently not used for the "translation." They literally turned the page to cover up what everyone wanted to see, even when they are trying to be open. So I let a few of the guys standing around talking about it (one obviously just got out from the Temple or the COB) know that they could see hi res images online, and that according to my sources had planned on displaying Facismile 1, but someone high up decided at the last minute not to. I guess for a random member to walk in and see what looks like a 4 year old's drawing of a human head where the head of a jackel should be, and then to walk 5 feet and see the original printer's plate that obviously doesn't match would be too much.

    So I see them moving away from the idea that it was literally translated in any form (despite Joseph being able to translate the BoA being a key rebuttal that he couldn't translate when it came out) and will move to the catalyst theory that while the document itself is proven to be a common Egyptian funeral text, Joseph used it as a catalyst for his inspired revelation. The problem is they can't move too fast on this change because most members have been in complete ignorance of this issue due to correlation. But critics of the church have moved from evangelical attacks that the previous apologetics worked against by pointing out that it wasn't any more silly than those other religioins, but they are scrambling with the atheist/skeptic/secular attacks that work against the logical arguments they have been making.

    In 20 years I don't see anyone credibly arguing that the payprus was translated in any meaning of the word translate we currently have. It isn't a credible argument now, but that fact is slowing changing Mormonism from within.

    Also we could go into Grant Palmer's interview with a general authority and a mission president that do not believe, and what the 70 thinks of the beliefs of the 12, but that is just rumor and speculation at this point.
  13. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I didn't mention the Book of Abraham charges because to me they aren't anything new. I've heard both sides of the argument my entire life. (Incidentally, I had never been taught that it was a literal translation. The "inspired translation" is always what I have been taught in Sunday School, Seminary, Institute, etc.) I know you felt that they were some big revelation to you, but they've never exactly been all that well hidden.

    As for Grant Palmer's "interviews", I've read about them, but he hasn't exactly provided any evidence to back it up, other than his own word. His account is at best a third-hand description of what he claims the leaders of the Church really believe. I give it no more credence than I do the "faith promoting rumors" claiming that some General Authority said something to someone.

    Yes, the Church is in a period of transition as it moves towards greater transparency. However, it never really was all that opaque to begin with. The information was never really hidden. It simply wasn't as easy to access (largely because of technology limitations).
    Last edited by Kimball_Kinnison, Apr 11, 2013
  14. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    KK All I can say to you is I graduated from Seminary, went on a mission, and graduated from BYUI taking all required religion classes and the topic was never discussed. The correlated church manuals do not mention the topic. Last year I had some missionaries ask to teach me, and after I explained I was an RM who doesn't believe anymore I offered to talk to them about it. After I explained the main issues with the BoA the missionary called me a liar and stormed out of my apartment.

    Were the documents there and available in hard to find sources if you went looking for them? Sure. And yes I had heard vague references to them (probably on this very thread) that were part of the vast amount of material I ignored. But for you to act as if the correlation department hadn't engaged in a systematic whitewash of history and the gaslighting of my own life experience is one thing I just can't stand. Yes a large part of the deception is teaching you to self decieve. Just yesterday I threw a true believing mormon into a faith crisis when I raised this issue. Most of my friends left because of the intellectual reasons I've given.

    This trick of handwaving away the important changes is pretty neat. Just like the change from "principle ancestors," generations of church leaders and follower's thoughts are thrown away once evidence disproves those ideas, and what was once considered core doctrine is jetisoned to the status of folk belief.

    You have a very different idea of what the word "hidden" means. When you change Brigham's direct quotes from "wives" to "wife," that is deceptive. Yes the Lion House has always been downtown, but to act as if in the speech of the leaders, the content of the church material, and the information in the official magazines and movies is not deceptive does not pass the smell test. My entire life is evidence against it. Sure your experience in Mormonism was different than mine. My mom cut off contact from my apostate aunt when as a child she told me about Joseph's wives. I'm still waiting for you to tell me why almost every Mormon I speak to doesn't know who Helen Mar Kimball is.

    Perhaps instead of gaslighting my experience, you should teach a Sunday School lesson about the BoA papyrus. And if they are so open, why did they bother to display the payprus with the page not opened to facsimile 1, but instead turned the page, then bother to print out a piece of paper that was not part of the display but simply rested on the glass case "Please note this is not Facsimile 1." They had so many people asking to see fascimile 1 that rather than turn the page of their little book, they had to print out a piece of paper.

    A while ago I wrote on of my BYUI professors who no longer teaches there, who is also pretty active in the bloggernacle, and even he said jokingly that the BYUI Taylor Building (the religion department) should be burned to the ground. I'm telling you that I took a supposedly college level class on the D&C and they never mentioned the payprus. I am sitting next to 20 Mormons right now, how many of them do you think know about it? I can only assume you don't think it is important for them to know. Perhaps if I had been taught about it in a church friendly setting it wouldn't upset me as much as it did when I learned about it from "antis" that I had been taught since I was a child were liars. Yep that pamphlet I was handed when I visited temple squre when I was 10 that showed a drawing of people in temple robes was a lie.

    John Dehlin has gone back to church, I don't know how but he does it. I get that significant change will only happen from the inside, and maybe in your wards you can be more honest and forthright with history. The organization isn't going away, and I would like it to be a more useful entity than simply a real estate developer and PR firm for a small elite cadre that is accountable to no one.
  15. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Like I said, it may have seemed like some big revelation to you, but all I can say is that from my experience, it was never hidden. I've seen it discussed in everything from Sunday School or Institute classes, in a variety of wards I have been in.

    Of course, I've lived almost my entire life outside of Utah (save for 1 year when I was 1-2 years old, before we moved to Hawaii), and I specifically rejected the idea of attending BYU or Ricks College (as BYUI was known at the time), preferring the programs offered at a local school.

    You can't simply take your experience and generalize it to the Church as a whole. Just because you (or those that you associate with) were never aware of these things doesn't mean that it was hidden.
  16. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Kimball, but this is a very odd style of argument you're making. Yes, your experiences are different. But Backwords is the one who had contact with the more official apparatus, and the core institutions more reflective of the leaderships actual preferences. I fail to see how one cannot apply his criticisms to the organization as a whole in a religion with a centralized authority structure. It's a bit like telling someone who works in the Vatican that they don't understand Catholicism. You might at best argue that their experience doesn't represent the organization's best face, but it's not credible to suggest it doesn't reflect the current policy and direction of the present day leadership. That's just factually wrong.

    If he didn't learn at BYU, it's fair to say that represents a preference that this information not be widely dispersed.
  17. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Most of what I learned came from "official" church sources, though. I remember reading about many of the claims in places like the Ensign (the Church's official magazine), as well as from a variety of books published by Deseret Book (a publishing house owned by the Church) that my parents had.

    My wife went to BYU (Provo, not Idaho), served a mission, and graduated from Seminary, and when I've brought up @Espaldapalabras concerns with her (when he first brought them up in this thread), she was surprised that he hadn't heard of most of them before. She had, including in religion classes at BYU.

    Are they emphasized in a lot of the Church curriculum? No, but that's not the same thing as the Church trying to hide them. It requires digging a little bit below the surface, but it's always been right there for anyone to find all along.
  18. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    What's your point in saying so, though? You don't think that, semantically "hidden" is the appropriate adjective? His over-riding point still stands. Most religions are quite open about their source texts, and take all the ridicule that comes along with it. Mormonism is comparatively much more opaque, in a way that protects the tenets of its faith from scrutiny by its adherents. That's worthy of criticism.
  19. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I have to disagree with that characterization. The Church has been extremely open about its source texts. In fact, I've found that many of the criticisms claiming it's trying to hide something wind up pointing to Church publications as the source of what is hidden!

    For example (just a quick one that is accessible online), Espy claimed that the change in the heading to the Book of Abraham is some radical new interpretation or portray of its origins. However, the manual for the Pearl of Great Price Institute class (which covers the Book of Abraham) has this to say about how it was translated:
    That manual was published in 2000, but similar statements can be found in older manuals on the same subject.

    The largest part of what Espy is complaining about is that the Church doesn't focus on the criticisms or the origins of the Book of Abraham (or other topics) in its regular classes. But, there's a good reason for that. If you look at the manuals for those classes (available for free on the Church website), they are designed to focus on the doctrines taught by the Church far more than the history. Even the D&C manual (which covers Church History) gives a far greater emphasis to the doctrines, and talks about the history as needed to provide context to those doctrines.

    However, those manuals are designed to provide only a framework for the lessons. Instructors are expected to draw from a large variety of resources and prepare their lessons following the guidance they gain through personal revelation. Because those instructors are just normal members of the Church like anyone else, you get a lot of variety in how they prepare those lessons. Some do little more than read from the manual. Others will take the topic of the lesson from the manual, but hardly touch it after that. Most wind up somewhere in between. (The "correlation" that he complained about was the process by which the Church standardized the lesson manuals and schedules for the entire Church, so that the same general topics are covered in each ward at roughly the same time. For example, this year the Sunday School is studying the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History. Most wards will be within 1-2 lessons of each other in the manual, with the variation caused by such factors as bad weather, or stake/regional conferences when we don't have Sunday School for the week.)

    In my experience, I've seen Sunday School lessons of all types. Perhaps I've just been fortunate to mostly see instructors who have really dug deeper on a whole lot of subjects, but I honestly doubt it, because of how many different wards I've seen that sort of behavior in. Does the Church emphasize the origin of the Book of Abraham? No. But it doesn't actively try to hide it either. It has made a lot of resources available, and is in the process of releasing a lot more on that and many other subjects regarding early Church history. That simply isn't the behavior of an organization that is trying to make its source material opaque.
    Last edited by Kimball_Kinnison, Apr 11, 2013
  20. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    I doubt we agree even on what "the church" is. Of course it is hard to hide what is in plain sight if you know where to look. But even if you went to FAIR's website today, My perspective is that BYUI is what BYU wishes it could be if it didn't have to worry about maintaining prestige in the non-LDS world. There are forces within the organization that want openness and transparency. B H Roberts and former church historian Lloyd Arrington are two good examples of people that tried to bring honesty and openness to the organization. In the 70s Lloyd Arrington tried to open up these dialogues. But people like Packer and the more conservative elements within the church clamped down on that, and during the 80s and 90s used official channels to try and present an "Our Heritage" progandistic view of things. I am a little bit younger than you, and my parents did know more than I did. The leadership do not talk about

    I did grow up mostly outside of Utah, but in conservative parts of the country. I also tended to live in the solidly middle class wards, rich Mormons in my experience tend to play more by their own rules than the believing masses. Of course there is some variation, but if people are 'losing their testimonies" over this in the numbers I have seen, I think that indicates this is more of a systemic problem than you realize. I would also note that every six months the leaders speak for 10 hours, and I am aware of zero talks on the subject. Of course thanks to feminist activism this was the first year a woman prayed, so I know they have a little catching up to do.

    I hope in the future they take the money from the malls and hunting preserves, and put it to charitable use.

    A common saying is if you go to work for the church, you better have two testimonies because you will lose one. The educated Mormons have a nuance of belief that does not match the story given to potential new converts. We could have the similar conversation about polygamy. I was speaking on Sunday to a girl who was a convert who didn't hear about polygamy until she was a few years into the church. It was never mentioned in any missionary discussion, or any of the new member lessons. The fact is that the organization, like many others, uses information control as a weapon.

    One way to control information is to control the spread and availability of that information. You think it isn't important that these topics be discusssed in Sunday School, or if they are to be done by teachers. Well the correlation process is also there to review all potential lesson materials, and if I had the time or inclination I could pull up the directions to instructors in said manuals that discourage use of outside sources that are not the manual, scriptures, or currently in publication documents that have been vetted by the correlation committee. So you had some rogue instructors that gave you additional information. Good for you. But I know dozens of apostates who would disagree. And considering that according to Elder Jensen that this is the greatest apostacy since Kirtland, and how many people are leaving due to the BoA (see John Dehlin's survey on why people leave), you'd think this would merit a mention in general conference beyond vague references to avoid faith destroying information on the internet.

    Of course they always talked about the translation process of both the BoA and the BoM being "inspired" in that they had god's help. But the idea is that Mormon and Moroni actually had physical gold plates that they wrote down words, and those symbols meant something that could be translated into another language. With the BoA, you have to reject the very definition of "translation" from any current usage of the word to mean something else approximating revelation.

    And once you begin to think critically about the evidences for and against the LDS faith, while the BoA is clearly the most obvious, there is all sorts of physical evidence that stands against the historicity claims of the foundational scripture from nearly every field of human inquiry.

    If it wasn't deceptive, then I wouldn't know so many people that felt deceived.
  21. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    is there a particular reason why this would be expected to be discussed early on though? From the outsider perspective, while it certainly occurred and I don't think that should be ignored, I also don't see why that would be a key thing to teach, not out of deception but just out of prioritization.
  22. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    You know, Espy, we've already gone around one this once before, and it is already clear that we have fundamental differences. I'm not going to convince you to change your position, and I haven't tried. When you announced that you had decided to leave the Church, I didn't say one word in criticism of you for it. If fact, I explicitly said that you had to do what you felt was right.

    However, I wish you would stop trying to tear down my beliefs. I've looked at the same evidence that you have, and I have come to the opposite conclusion than what you did. And yet, you don't seem to want to respect that, even as I have tried to respect your choices.

    If you don't believe in the Church anymore, then why are you pouring so much energy into trying to tear it down? If you don't like its influence, then why do you choose to keep living in a place where it has so much influence?

    Move on. Even if you think the Church was a bad thing for you, I see it as a good thing for me and my family. Your attacks on it aren't going to make you any happier, and they aren't really going to make me any happier either, so why do you bother?
    Last edited by Kimball_Kinnison, Apr 11, 2013
  23. harpua Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 12, 2005
    star 8
    Gotta agree with KK on this. If you're unhappy with the religion and have left it, use your energy to find something else that gives your life meaning instead of wasting so much energy on something that leaves you unhappy and unfulfilled.
    Last edited by harpuah, Apr 11, 2013
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  24. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    This is a discussion board, and I wasted some time at work arguing with you once every 6 to 12 months for the benefit of the onlookers. My time spent on Mormonism is greatly reduced from what it was when I was Mormon. And I don't really feel like I have to explain or justify my life choices to you.
  25. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    You are essentially trolling, though, by the same standard that has been used in this thread for over 10 years. You aren't here as much to discuss LDS doctrines for the purpose of understanding them. You have been actively trying to disprove them and advocate against them. That sort of behavior has never been tolerated in this thread, going all the way back to the earliest days.

    At this point, you're simply repeating yourself, and trying to drag the thread down with it. You already aired pretty much all of these same arguments before, and those same onlookers that you mention can look at the last few pages of this thread just as easily as they can look at this page.

    If you want to discuss, then discuss. Don't try to turn this thread into one attack after another.