Senate Mormonism

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

  1. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'd initially thought that Espaldapalabras saying Adieu indicated that arc was done, but as it's not, I would like to clarify how this will get handled if this continues. The purpose of this thread is not, and will not be, to prove or disprove Mormonism at its core. This also shouldn't become simply bashing Mormonism. There is a distinction between questioning the reasoning for a tenet, and I would even say questioning how doctrine has changed over time, and simply trying to refute Mormonism. Understanding the beliefs of Mormonism does not, necessarily, equate to reaching the same conclusions that Mormonism does.
  2. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Well I don't think it is really possible to prove/disprove the thing. The problem as I see it is that there is much about Mormonism that while is a true tenate or doctrine of the religion, or was, is something that Mormons refuse to discuss or label as simply an attack or refutation of the religion itself simply because it is embarrassing or doesn't make sense. The believer refuses to respond to "attacks" by the "enemies" (critics) of the church. The only doctrines or beliefs they wish to discuss are those they believe are faith promoting. I could certainly phrase anything as a question, but since I have already formed an opinion it would be viewed as an attack.

    I suppose since the purpose is to promote understanding, and KK and I both have a lifetime of understanding the doctrines of the LDS church, there is nothing for us to discuss. But there are more than two of us in this thread, and I just don't know how it is possible to discuss every aspect of the religion from the perspective of an exmormon without it coming off as an attack. Because although as a believer one could never prove the religion, I know that for every post I did here over the past decade it was an attempt to foster understanding in order to leave people with a positive impression.

    There is a huge divide between the believer and the ex-believer, and no amount of civility can bridge the intellectual gap. I'm not intent on continuing the discussion for the time being, I just don't see how one like myself could even engage in a discussion without being told I'm assaulting the idea of the veracity of the religion. And while I am fine abiding by the rules of the thread that create that situation, I think the whole thing says a lot about the special deference religion gets in society that helps perpetuate the beliefs and organization.
  3. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    You might consider how you go about doing it, for one thing. Right now, your posts suggest a lot of anger, and you have directed that anger not just at the Church and its teachings, but at those of us who actually do believe those teachings.

    I can understand the desire to share what you see as the new found truth with others. It's likely similar to the desire that a new convert has to share the Gospel with their friends and families. However, you also need to remember that there are productive ways to go about doing that, and also non-productive ways. Lashing out in anger at someone else's beliefs isn't a productive way to do that.

    Remember, this thread isn't here to convince people to either join or leave the LDS Church. It's not a proselyting tool. It is simply here to help people better understand the LDS doctrines and teachings, as they are taught and practiced by the Church. Comments calling Joseph Smith a charlatan, a fraud, or something similar (as you did earlier) don't do that. Such comments are an attack on the beliefs of the Church, and do nothing to add to constructive dialogue. That is an attempt to tear down someone else's beliefs, and is not appropriate in this thread.

    You need to remember that reasonable people can look at the same facts and come to radically different conclusions. The only way that they can then have a constructive dialogue is if they can respectfully agree to disagree and respect each other's point of view. Where you might point to MormonThink's interpretation of the facts, I could turn around and point to FAIR's response to them. (FAIR is a non-profit organization run by members of the Church to respond to criticisms of the LDS Church. While their staff consists of members of the Church, the organization is not affiliated with the Church.) Both work from the same set of facts, but come to diametrically opposed conclusions.

    You are free to provide your opinions and interpretations, but you need to do so in a way that shows that level of respect for others' beliefs. In this thread, we aren't here to debate the veracity of the Book of Mormon, nor do we need to prove it scripture in order to cite from it*. Similarly, we aren't here to debate whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet. As this thread is meant to explain things from the LDS perspective, those sort of things are taken as axioms for this discussion. If you can't respect that, then this probably isn't the thread for you.

    Kimball Kinnison

    * This is no different than in the old Islam threads, where it was not necessary to prove that the Quran is scripture, nor that Muhammad was a prophet in order to cite either one's teachings. The goal is to understand and explain the relevant teachings in context, not to prove or disprove them.
  4. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    All that is fine and dandy, and I have had a lot of anger (which is a very human and normal reaction) that I have vented here. But I think the rules here just shows what a huge double standard there is for religious topics vs political topics. You would find such rules about any thread regarding a political ideology far too deferential and limiting, and the atheism threads are full of attempts to disprove atheism by the religious. I know, as I did it.

    As long as we can regonize that your beliefs aren't able to stand up to the same level of scrutiny and criticism as everything else here, I'm fine leaving it be until I can come to it with a clearer head.
  5. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I would say things like doctrine that you feel is ignored or not willingly discussed would be completely fair game, as well as if you think there are contradictions between two held beliefs, or things of that nature. Tone can also make a difference as well.
  6. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    And the moderators have rather consistently worked against that. Just because people (including you) have disobeyed the rules in the atheism thread before doesn't mean that it's appropriate to disobey the rules here as well. (You will note that I have quite consistently criticized people who did such things, including you when you did it.)

    Espy, that is rather unfair. Those rules aren't there to prevent scrutiny. In fact, I have often gone out of my way to dig up detailed answers for people on a variety of criticisms that they have made of the Church, including many of the very topics that you have now brought up. I have often and repeatedly invited scrutiny, and have been willing to answer almost any questions that people have honestly asked (excepting only questions specifically about Temple ceremonies). I haven't always had time, and I have refused when it appeared to me that someone was asking in bad faith, but I have always been willing to dig to find sources and evidence backing up whatever I have posted.

    The rules are there because without them, these threads have consistently fallen into an unmanageable state and had to be locked. Even with the rules, there have (at times) been so many people trying to ignore them that we've had to lock some threads (such as the old Islam threads).

    Kimball Kinnison

    EDIT: And with that, I need to disappear, and may not be back for a while. My wife has a baby shower to attend, and the doctor told us this morning that there is a significant chance that we could have a baby this weekend. I have no idea if I will have time for detailed responses for a while.
  7. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008
    I've read through that site before. I think its stated purposes are disingenuous, though perhaps not intentionally. They say the want their fellow Mormons to "know what they know." Problem is, the issues they discuss are not black and white. "What they know" is really just their interpretation. They say they're just presenting the criticisms and the LDS response and letting the reader come to his/her own conclusions, but in most of their sections they include their own conclusions, which generally support the criticisms, not the LDS response. They are certainly entitled to their opinion, but the site isn't as objective as it claims. Though, I will admit that it is more objective and civil than many other sites.
  8. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    I would actually agree that the initial "objective" is a bit disingenuous. I don't think it is possible to really discuss the subject without an opinion. But considering how often the LDS church routinely either lies about or ignores important parts of its history, and then creates a mindset where members feel they cannot even look at views that are critical, if lying for the Lord is acceptable, then so is telling less than the whole truth at the very beginning in order to get past the mental blocks just to have your voice heard.

    What in life is "black and white?" What is "objective?" Can something only be objective if it comes to the same conclusion as you? The idea that all opinions are just different interpretations worth equal consideration doesn't make sense to me. Flat Earthers could just as easily say that it is my interpretation of the facts that the world is round, and isn't "What I know" at all. When it comes to religion, it is never based on the objective truth.

    In my discussions with family members, they understand that it would not matter if the golden plates were in the church history museum and were confirmed by objective analysis to be translated incorrectly, they would still believe. I do not claim that there is any 100% smoking gun that absolutely proves the church is based on a lie. We don't have a handwritten letter from Joseph explaining just how he made it all up. No amount of physical proof would sway some people. Any such thing could just have been a device of Satan planned and created by him. This is why it is nearly worthless to discuss actual issues, because some of us have a worldview based on physical evidence, and some have one based on spiritual (emotional) evidence.

    If you have a worldview that is based on what evidence you find, rather than the way you feel about it, then you quit trying to find complicated means to justify your feelings. Independent observers are able to evaluate competing claims. Honestly the problem is that people who don't believe and don't care to demonstrate why it is false are the vast majority, but there is no reason for them to create websites going into great detail.


    As a side note, I recently watched all of Big Love. First TV show set in a place I live. Overall very well done, very well researched but I too easily catch every mistake. Given my polygamous ancestry, distant relations who are still in it, and study into how exactly the church decided to (sort of) abolish it, it is very interesting. The struggles they have living here were very similar to my own. The temple episode really did not due the experience justice. I would say the biggest character in the endowment session is the temple itself. The beauty of the temple architecture was lacking. But that is what happens when you try to condense a 3 hour experience into 3 minutes. And while I have no interest in going into detail about the temple here, the promises I made were to a god that doesn't exist, and thus have no reason to abide by promises made under false pretenses. I do understand the respect people I care about have for those things, so I will not discuss them with those people.
  9. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Certainly not. I never said that.

    Me either.

    I'm a lawyer, I'm a huge fan of physical evidence. ;) However, what some try to pass off as "physical evidence" is pretty weak sometimes. A lot of what people refer to as the "true history" is based on second hand accounts that they accept as truth. Those accounts might be right, but they might not be. And yes, it goes both ways. Many LDS, not all though, tend to believe the second-hand stuff that supports their beliefs, but dismiss the second-hand stuff that doesn't. Bottom line...gleaning the truth or veracity of LDS doctrine based on old journals and what someone said that someone said is a futile endeavor.

    Not all extend that courtesy. Thank you.

  10. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    You didn't capitalize God!

    Clearly, Mormons are a cult.




    That is what I would say if I were a crazy Fundamentalist.
  11. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    Been there. And not to trivialize the struggles of gays by comparing them to religion, but "It gets better."
  12. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Yeah, same experience. And it does get better. The more you become comfortable with the lack of belief. Stay strong, Espaldapalabras.
  13. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Thanks for the kind words to those of you who sent them. Life is going good, no super drastic changes except now I have a girlfriend. And I do have a great family.

    Considering I just labeled myself "apostate" I'm not sure if the Mormons here will still engage me in a discussion, but I'd like to start of with this interesting discussion on tithing and church finances.


    I wonder how one can reconcile this pretty blatant socialism/communalism with the flat tax tithing. The only justification I can think of is that this is the higher law/United Order. I guess one could say the above was only in regards to voluntary fast offerings, but tithing is voluntary as well. I also find it very interesting how little "abundant giving" there is in Mormon society.

    And I also challenge someone to tell me why the Brethren have the ability to change scripture and doctrine from 10% of interest to income with no explanation or official announcement other than that is what they interpret it as. Are they speaking as men or as prophets? A cynic would look at that and say that since income is a lot more than interest, having more come in is the reason they did it. And since 10% is mandatory, if you don't have enough to feed yourself, can you still consider 10% of your income "little"?
  14. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I find that to be curious, as I see quite a bit of "abundant giving" among the Mormons that I know, and not just giving to the Church. For example, members of my ward are involved in a local organization of Christian churches in the area, and routinely volunteer time, money, and supplies for that organization. (One of the ongoing projects I've helped with is picking up and delivering donated furniture to needy families on a monthly basis.) In other wards I've lived in or visited, I've seen a wide variety of similar projects, and always a large supply of people willing to help out. Your complaint just doesn't match up to the reality I've seen from my own experience.

    It's also important to note that there are very significant differences between socialism/communism and tithing. The biggest of those differences is that in a socialist or communist system, you are compelled to give of your means. Taxation is not voluntary, but compulsory. Tithing, on the other hand, is voluntary as are all other commandments. No one will force you to pay your tithing, nor will the Church come and confiscate your property are garnish your wages to make you a full tithe payer.

    It is a very significant difference to take something voluntary and use it to justify something compulsory. When you cross that line to make something compulsory, you are working to violate the principle of agency, which is the most fundamental principle in the Gospel. The entire plan of salvation, including the Atonement, is centered around our agency. Satan's plan was rejected not just because he wanted the glory, but because it would have stripped us of our agency, and without agency we cannot grow or progress.

    You're right in that tithing is supposed to be the minimum, and we are encouraged to provide of our means (which includes finances, skills, talents, and time) beyond that. That includes such things as volunteer work (such as how my wife used to volunteer in a hospice), donating canned goods to a food bank, participating in service projects, or even such things as buying Girl Scout cookies (mmmmm, Thin Mints...) or popcorn, or candy bars (or any other worthy fundraiser).

    But you should also consider that just because you don't see it happen doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. Just because you see someone walk past a panhandler on the street without giving them anything doesn't mean that they don't turn around and donate food, clothing, or money to a homeless shelter or food bank to help that same person. (In fact, giving money to a panhandler is about the most inefficient way of providing assistance.) You need to be careful not to fall into the trap of assuming that just because other people aren't exceeding the minimum in the way that you think they should, they aren't actually exceeding the minimum. (Do you know how much time your neighbor actually volunteered at a soup kitchen, or donated to a homeless shelter?) It's not your place to sit in judgment over them and declare them wanting.

    After all, weren't you just ranting in this thread about how you expect other people to judge you harshly because of your recent life-altering choices? How do you feel about others being so judgmental of you because of how they perceive those choices? If you feel it is wrong for them to be so judgmental, then what makes it appropriate for you to be so judgmental of others who you perceive to not be living life as they should? (Alternately, if you feel that it is appropriate to judge others and find them wanting, then what basis do you have to complain when others do it to you?)

  15. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Everyone "judges" others. As in evaluates their behavior and bases conclusions on their observations. If those observations are rooted in evidence rather than ideology, then you can make evaluations based on that evidence that are subject to change with new evidence. From where I sit, I see huge needs in the world and my community that are not being met, and while many Mormons are very giving to all sorts of causes, from a perspective within a Mormon dominated society it isn't enough and priorities are seriously misplaced when it comes to the institution.


    You know what would have made it even easier to mean one tenth of your income? Using the word income. I think definition 5 works even better "Any surplus advantage." Why is it that every apologetic response involves very circuitous logic? When from the other perspective it just makes sense that an organization would gradually move to the most wide ranging possible meaning of the word interest?

    I was downtown yesterday, glad to see the 3 billion dollar mall is almost finished. Funny how they can call the interest earned off of tithing money for the 3 years before they spend it not tithing money, it is "investment income." I wonder if members could withhold their tithing for three years in special investment accounts where they wouldn't have to pay tithing on the increase like the church. And why is it that a religious organization spent more on revitalizing downtown Salt Lake than building homes in Haiti? Seems like a religious organization would be more concerned with alleviating human suffering than preventing urban decay.
  16. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    You can say the same about any institution.

    It's because they are *******s.
  17. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I'm sorry, Espy, but considering your overall critical attitude, I have to ask what would satisfy you? Right now, I understand that you are angry at the Church and membership in general, but many of your comments (and the posts that you link to) seem to be actively looking for ways to criticize the Church, just so you can criticize the Church.

    I promise you, taking that approach will not make you any happier. Ultimately, it will only fuel your negativity and anger, rather than reduce or eliminate them.

    If you go looking at anything trying to find fault, then you will eventually find it. That's one of the biggest reasons why we are commended to "judge not, lest ye be judged". Tell me, could your own life stand up to the level of scrutiny that you are trying to apply to your neighbors that you find lacking? Are you "doing enough" on your own like you expect of others?

    If you really mean to not let the Church consume your life, especially after you have chosen to leave it, then why are you so concerned about how the Church handles its finances? Why are you concerned about how others are living their lives, even as you have complained about others concerning themselves with how you choose to live your life?

    Did you read all of my post? Because you missed a rather critical pert when I said:
    I'm sorry the word choice in D&C isn't to your liking, but that doesn't make it inconsistent. The use of the word "interest" to refer to income or increase is well within the understood usage of the time, and the way that D&C 119 and 120 has been interpreted by the Church has been entirely consistent with the same law of tithing given in the Old Testament times. When you put all of that together, whether it would have been better for modern readers to have said "income" rather than "interest" is really quite irrelevant. You're specifically trying to find fault again, rather than trying to actually understand it in context.

    Kimball Kinnison
  18. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Anything constructive to add, wannasee? o_O
  19. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    !) My post was for the benefit of people like you, who apparently don't see what Espy is driving at.

    2) Moderator posts are the least constructive of all.
  20. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    I didn't see anything constructive about what was effectively a "+1 post" that was also name-calling to boot. And if you don't like my moderating, feel free to discuss it via PM mmmkay? [face_coffee]
  21. wannasee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    Yeah...you've already been warned recently that complaints about modding should be done via PM. And insults don't really help. So see you tomorrow. [face_peace]
  22. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Yeah, religion isn't about material facts anyway. Like I know that my ancestors have a record going back thousands of years. (Amazing how even when Indians have a written history, it's dismissed as "not written". What do anthros want? English?) But that doesn't mean that you can't read it philosophically, debate what Mormons believe, and things like that.

    It's a lot better than the fundamentalists who ask "Are Mormons Christian? Are Catholics Christian? Are Methodists Christian?" Um, yeah.
  23. Nerf_Hoarder Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2008


    Sorry, but there's no way you know how much I, or anyone else in my congregation, or anyone in most other congregations, give in terms of time and money. Whether what someone gives is considered "abundant" is entirely subjective and depends on what they have (see the story of the widow's mite).
  24. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    KK, I would gladly leave the Mormon church alone if it left me and the society I live in alone. Funny how this is an oft repeated theme when describing those who leave the church, but Mormons never really suffer through the introspection in their own behavior that causes all the backlash. Obviously if someone is angry with you or your organization, they couldn't have very valid reasons. When church leadership actively seek to control the distribution of legal substances to limit people from taking them because of their personal moral code, that isn't leaving me alone. When I see the tax free donations of myself and 6 generations of my family being given to the church to fuel a corporate empire hidden down a financial black hole, it causes some consternation. When I see the effect the LDS church has on wonderful gay people, I think the only reasonable reaction is anger. If I lived in Afghanistan and just apostatized from Islam and was dealing with the consequences of Islam in that society, I think what we would all consider very valid criticisms of the religious leadership and culture would also be portrayed by the devout as nothing but angry apostates who have turned from God and are trying to bring down religion.

    Yes I do find fault when I go downtown and a three billion dollar shopping complex is staring me in the face, so I come home and complain about it on the internet. I didn't throw rocks or accost people on the street. I even enjoy the view when I'm down there.

    I really have nothing to say on the personal religious beliefs of my loved ones. My primary issue is the problems those beliefs create in the society by people following them. It makes me angry when I sit in a room where hundreds of people tolerate blatant racists and homophobia while they chose the replacement for the racist and homophobic Senator Buttars while starting their meeting with an invocation to deity.

    I don't say that they are stupid for believing, or possessed. They follow in the false traditions of their fathers. And I think there is a huge difference between the personal condemnation of lifestyle choices, I understand that religion can play a great and positive role in the lives of some people. But 10% of income is a lot of money, leaves less room for other charitable giving. If you want to prove to me that 10% is actually a charitable contribution, lets see the financial statements. Oh wait we don't have that, we have highly publicized reports that actually total relatively small percentages of revenue. Yes many Mormons give generously. Perhaps if I didn't hear daily the sad state of the mentally disabled in Utah I would have a different perspective. Perhaps if the largest corporations here were not based on defrauding your friends and family by selling the latest snake oil remedy I could still think Mormons were thrifty and industrious rather than given in to greed and get rich quick schemes. If I saw that church leadership were promoted based off of character rather than business acumen, it might lead me to think this was still a religious organization rather than a corporate one.

    Yes you can say most if not all of these complaints about the members and organization are because while the church may be perfect the people aren't. I say that by their fruits ye shall know them.

    I do recognize that unfortunately there is this divide between members and former members. There is a difference in being angry at injustice, lies, and faulty logic in religions or political parties, and devoting a lifetime of obsessing over them. I still get along with the Mormons in my life, even when their religion steps in to their brains and tries to spread that fear of death to enforce obedience. I just smile and nod.
  25. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    You know, you have a very simple recourse, if you want to get away from any of the Church's influence: move. No one forces you to live in Utah, where the Church has so much influence. With your background, you could find a job in any number of cities around the country.

    What your real problem is isn't religious influence, but democracy. You live in a place where you are now very much in the voting minority, and you don't like the fact that you can't have things your way. I'm sorry, but your only real options are to either live with it, or move away from it, to a place where you can have your way.

    I greatly fear ever seeing a world like what you want. Why? Because you think nothing of the rights or agency of others. You think that you have the right to control how others use their time, property, or resources. If you find someone's opinions offensive, you seem to believe that they should be silenced in the public sphere.

    Tithing is completely voluntary. No one ever forced you to pay one red cent of it, and no one will ever try to force you to pay it ever again. However, once you give up a donation, any donation, you no longer own it, and you have absolutely no say in how it is used. Once you decide to give it up, it's not your money any more. All you can do is accept that and move on.

    Through all of this, you turn a blind eye to your own hypocrisy. Would you ever think about walking up to Donald Trump, Bill Gates, or any other "wealthy" person on the street, pulling a gun, and robbing them to give the money to a homeless shelter? I'm willing to bet no. But you seem to think nothing of demanding that someone else (namely, the government) do exactly that at your behest. To me, I see no moral difference between committing an act yourself, and getting someone else to do it. Hiring a killer is morally equivalent to committing the murder yourself. Directing a thief to steal from someone is the same as committing the theft yourself.

    You complain about the Church not leaving you alone, but it's not actually the Church that is interfering in your life or your desired goals. It's your fellow citizens who agree with the Church who actually vote for the things that you oppose. How is your desire to interfere in how others manage their affairs any different than what you complain about those other voters doing?

    You can't have it both ways. Either it is right to stay out of someone else's business, or not. You can't complain that them interfering in your life is wrong, and then express the desire to interfere in their lives without demonstrating your own hypocrisy, and therefore lack of moral authority.

    What you are upset about here isn't that the Church interferes in other people's lives. It's that it doesn't agree with you on how to interfere in other people'