Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, November 3, 2007

Spotlight on Mormonism

Lawrence church members address misconceptions arising in 2008 race

Among the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that Joseph Smith was visited by God and Jesus Christ in the 1820s and was inspired to translate the Book of Mormon from gold plates.

Among the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that Joseph Smith was visited by God and Jesus Christ in the 1820s and was inspired to translate the Book of Mormon from gold plates.

November 3, 2007

Advertisement

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, talks to supporters in Daytona Beach, Fla. With a spotlight shining on the church because of Romney's candidacy, members of the local church say they regularly encounter misunderstandings about their faith. TOP: The Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City is one of the most visible icons of the religion.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, talks to supporters in Daytona Beach, Fla. With a spotlight shining on the church because of Romney's candidacy, members of the local church say they regularly encounter misunderstandings about their faith. TOP: The Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City is one of the most visible icons of the religion.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from right, Larry Day, Ric Mitchell, Janet Grant, Diane Karpowitz and Kay Rytting talk Tuesday about the Mormon faith at the church, 3615 W. 10th Street.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from right, Larry Day, Ric Mitchell, Janet Grant, Diane Karpowitz and Kay Rytting talk Tuesday about the Mormon faith at the church, 3615 W. 10th Street.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beliefs

Among the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to local church members and www.lds.org:

¢ Joseph Smith was visited by God and Jesus Christ in the 1820s and was inspired to translate the Book of Mormon from gold plates.

¢ They believe an "apostasy" - a time when people generally went away from God's principles - after the death of Jesus and the apostles. The church was re-established when Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church.

¢ The Book of Mormon is a holy book, alongside the Bible. It tells the story of God dealing with people in the ancient Americas.

¢ The president of the church also is called the prophet. He has 12 apostles. There are no paid ministerial staff in the church, at any level.

¢ Only members can enter the 124 temples. Temple worship is a more sacred level of worship than weekly chapel worship.

¢ Baptism is necessary for salvation. Children must be at least 8 years old before being baptized.

¢ Proxy baptism can occur to help save those who already have died - current members can be baptized for a deceased person. It is then up to that deceased person's soul whether or not to accept the baptism.

¢ Members are asked to give 10 percent of their wages to the international church. Once a month, they are asked to give "fast tithes," which is the equivalent of the money spent on two meals, which help support the local church.

¢ Members aren't supposed to smoke or drink alcohol. They view their body as sacred and also are expected to eat well.

¢ Women and especially men between the ages of 19 and 25 are encouraged to serve two years as missionaries, evangelizing and doing volunteer work. At any one point, there are six missionaries serving in Lawrence.

There's a slight sense of understatement in Janet Grant's voice.

"Sometimes," she says, "we're misunderstood."

Grant is a Mormon. She has belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 24 years, since she was 36.

Even today, with a spotlight shining on the church because of the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, members of the local church say they encounter misunderstandings about their faith on a regular basis.

Just because they're in the spotlight, they say, doesn't mean people are taking the time to learn much about them.

Similarities

On the surface, looking at the national Web site for the Mormon Church or hearing a member talk about core beliefs, Mormons share many beliefs with other Christian denominations.

Ric Mitchell, who directs the church's Institute of Religion that serves Kansas University students, goes through some of those beliefs:

¢ The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate entities.

¢ Jesus is the son of God and lived a perfect life.

¢ Humans are children of God.

Grant wishes people put more focus on those core beliefs.

"It's kind of a shame we are set apart," she says. "There are so many more similarities than differences (with other Christians). Our core beliefs are very much like other Christian faiths. I wish we could draw more together."

Differences

But there certainly are some beliefs that are unique to the church.

Mormons believe the church's founder, Joseph Smith, was visited by God and Jesus Christ in the 1820s and was inspired to translate the Book of Mormon, which was on gold plates. The book remains alongside the Bible as the church's holy texts.

Mitchell says Mormons believe an "apostasy" occurred after the death of Jesus and his apostles, meaning people turned away from God's principles.

"After Christ and the apostles died," Mitchell says, "we believe the keys and authority to act in God's name was lost. With Joseph Smith, when the Father and Son appeared to him, the keys were restored to him again."

Now, the church, which has its headquarters in Salt Lake City, includes nearly 13 million members worldwide. There are four local congregations - called wards - in Lawrence. Three of those meet at 3655 W. 10th St., and the other meets at the institute, 1629 W. 19th St.

There are no paid ministerial staff. Members take turns speaking at Sunday meetings.

They also are encouraged - especially the men - to spend two years doing mission work between the ages of 19 and 25. That usually involves walking door to door, talking about their faith, and doing other volunteer work.

In all, church members estimate there are about 1,000 Mormons in Lawrence. The church says there are about 31,000 in Kansas.

"You'd be surprised as you walk through the grocery store and rub shoulders just how many people are members of the church," church member Kay Rytting says.

'All individuals'

Several church members say they've encountered many misunderstandings through the years.

The first, of course, is the polygamy issue. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has outlawed polygamy since 1890, but certain splinter groups that use the "Mormon" name have perpetuated the practice through the years.

But many other misunderstandings revolve around the church's social prohibitions. Members aren't supposed to drink or smoke, and they're encouraged to eat healthy.

Still, Rytting says, people have asked her if she's supposed to wear makeup.

And Diane Karpowitz, another member, says she's been asked if she's allowed to eat chocolate.

Karpowitz says another misconception is that nonmembers aren't allowed to attend services at local chapels. (They aren't allowed in the 124 Mormon temples.)

"Since only members can go to the temple, some people have heard they can't go to our meetings," Karpowitz says. "That's not true. We want people to know they can come here."

Grant says she's unsure if Romney is her choice for president, though she's enjoyed watching the national attention on her religion. She's sure, though, that Mormons will have many points of view about the election.

"We're all individuals," she says. "We're not encouraged to be the same. We come from all walks of life, and all live the Gospel in our own style."

Comments

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

~~They also are encouraged - especially the men - to spend two years doing mission work between the ages of 19 and 25. That usually involves walking door to door, talking about their faith, and doing other volunteer work.~~

That is an understatement. It is a program started by 4-6 weeks at an intensive "training" center in Provo,Utah. After that, you are given a strict set of rules, study programs and virtually every minute of your life for the next 2 years are scheduled. Members are not encouraged, but practically forced. Otherwise they risk being ostracized by friends and family.

There are a few other little things that people may want to know about, especially with a Mormon running for President.

In the war in heaven, a third of the heavenly host sided with Satan and became "demons". The ones that fought on god's side were eventually born as humans. And those that were fence sitters until a clear winner was in sight were born as blacks.

The "mark of Caine" given in Genesis was the black skin, coarse hair and broad nose.

Blacks were not allowed to hold any office or station of influence within the church until 1978. At that time, they were given the rights to hold the priesthood, enter the temple, and receive ordinances that are required to achieve everlasting salvation. So blacks were forbidden from entering heaven until 1978.

God lives on a planet that looks like it's made of molten glass in orbit around a star named Kolob with multiple "Heavenly Mothers" who produce spirit children that eventually become human.

As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become. Ultimate goal of humans is to become gods themselves.

God, the one of this world, has a God himself from his world.

Jesus in his premortal form was known as Jehovah. God was Elohim.

Adam and the Archangel Micheal are the same person.

There are several different Temple Ceremonies. Baptism by proxy for the dead (names gathered from genealogical records). Washing and Anointing. basically taken from the ceremonies in Leviticus, is also where they are given the "sacred garments" underwear with 4 special marks on them. They are to be worn at all times and not visible when you wear clothing. Then there is the Endowment, taking place immediately after the Washing and Anointing. This is a long drawn out process where you learn the secret handshakes and passwords needed to get past the angels guarding the doorways into heaven. If you know the lines, but aren't worthy then you will be unable to get through anyways. So the passwords and handshakes are a mystery to me. But strangely enough, not the Freemasons.

There is one other ceremony practiced only by the prophet and the 12 apostles that is rarely talked about. This is the ceremony of "Washing of feet". Very little is known about this other than the biblical accounts and many assumptions.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

Joseph Smith, His Brother Hyrum, Brigham Young (second prophet), as well as several of the key founding members of the church were not only Masons, but Masons of the highest degrees. If I remember correctly, Joseph Smith was only 2 ranks away from the highest rank there was.

Each Temple is adorned with a golden statue of an angel blowing a horn. This is not the angel Gabriel as many think. It is the angel Moroni, who was the last prophet in the book of Mormon.

John the Beloved, as well as "3 Nephites" who were basically Native Americans, were granted immortality by Jesus until his return. So John, these 3 Nephites and possibly others are running around in a semi-mortal state.

While the Book of Mormon is claimed to contain "the fullness of the everlasting gospel" it basically just restates many biblical lessons and instructions. Sometimes Word for Word.

The Book of Mormon is not the only extra scripture they carry. The major revelations given to the prophets (mainly Joseph Smith) are written in a book called "Doctrine and Covenants" in 136 sections. The last 2 were written in 1976 to establish Blacks having equality in the church, and something else that I cannot recall right now. There is also the "Pearl of Great Price" which were scrolls found in possession of a traveling sideshow act that found them with some mummies they purchased. These scrolls then fell into the hands of Joseph Smith, who translated them and discovered that they were written by Abraham, father of Isaac.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

Other artifacts unearthed by Joseph Smith in addition to the gold plates were a sword that is mentioned in the first book of the Book of Mormon, seer stones (that are an enigma to the churchgoing people) as well as the "Urim and Thummim" which is mentioned in Leviticus. They were used and were vital in the translation of the plates. Lastly, there was a breastplate of armor. Mounted in the chest was a set of brackets that lifted up to the face. You would set the Urim and Thummim in the brackets like a set of reading glasses to read the plates.

The first book of the Book of Mormon was supposed to be the Book of Lehi. However, according to church history, the translation of that book was stolen. The instructions from God to Joseph Smith is to not re-translate that part of the plates again, as the people who stole the transcript would alter it and then claim that Joseph Smith was just making things up. Instead, he was to continue with the Book of Nephi, which was Lehi's son. The first thing Nehi does is restate everything that was written in the book of Lehi. So it was just like the book of Lehi, but different.

In the front of the Book of Mormon is the signed testimony of 8 witnesses, and another signed testimony of 12. One group got to actually see the gold plates. The other group not only got to see the gold plates, but also got visited by an angel.

The gold plates are gone. Moroni took them back after the translation was finished. The seer stones, the sword, breastplate and the Urim and Thummin are an issue for debate. Supposedly, the Church still have these items somewhere.

The Mormons originally called the area that comprised most of Utah, Idaho, Nevada the state of Deseret (pronounced how it's spelled, including the T) which is an ancient word for honeybee, brought to the Americas roughly 1600 BC. Don't let the fact that bees aren't native to the American Continents throw you off. They were introduced in the 1500's by European Settlers.

Certain stories in the Book of Mormon also include tales of horses. This is amazing, as Horses are European animals. The closest relative in the Americas is a long extinct horse that was roughly 3 feet tall. Yet they were ridden into war. There are also mentioned of Curloms and Cummoms in the Book of Mormon. Nobody has the slightest clue what those are.

The Book of Mormon was translated in the 1830's onward. Yet it was translated into the old archaic tongue the Bible was translated in. The "thous" and "yea veriliy" type stuff was not used in any method other than biblical reading at the time. Yet the book was translated into that form, instead of a more modern English.

fairbear 7 years, 1 month ago

My son recently chose to go on a two year mission for the Mormon church, more correctly known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was not forced to go and he would not be ostracized by me, my wife, my children or extended family, or any of the other members of the church if he did not go.
I've never understood why there are a few who would hope to define for me what I do and what I believe. With posts like "Raging Bear's" it is easy to see why there is misunderstanding about Mormon beliefs. Fair minded individuals will go to LDS.org or Mormon.org if they choose to check out what Mormons believe.

kellers 7 years, 1 month ago

I, a "Mormon", was never taught the doctrine that "Spirit Bodies" are physically conceived by God and one of his multiple wives! My understanding of the Spirit of God has more to do with the things I feel in my heart and the thoughts that come to my mind.
As a Mormon, I am taught to weigh my feelings and thoughts against what I have learned about God (through the teaching of Christ) from the scriptures. Then to follow "in the spirit" of those teachings and act on my feelings and thoughts according to the spirit... you know, the Spirit of God. To me, a spiritual body is a metaphore. If I follow Christ and God, then I become "a child of God" with the same spirit as theirs.
I can't begin to cover the rest of the previous posters issues. I think he/she has taken much that is symbolic too literally as I have tried to illustrate here. So, I will end with the challenge to each one who has endured this long; search it out, like James advised in James 1:5. Why are we here, where did we come from before we were born, and where are we going after this life? Will I be with my family eternally? I found my answers in Mormonism.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

~~I, a "Mormon", was never taught the doctrine that "Spirit Bodies" are physically conceived by God and one of his multiple wives!~~

Wow. Somebody needs to go back and re-learn the missionary discussions. The spirit bodies thing was part of the first lesson, I believe the 5th thing. Although they re-did the missionary lessons a few years ago.

At the age of 19, I was in dire straits. My life was going nowhere, I sought answers. I had the choice of looking for answers with the Lutheran Church or the LDS church in my area. Since Martin Luther never claimed to know the truth, and was not the actual founder of the Lutheran faith, I chose the LDS.

The first thing that will happen is that missionaries will come out to your house roughly 7 different times to teach you certain "discussions" about the church. Each one last roughly an hour to an hour and a half. Each discussion involves a series of commitments that the missionaries will have you commit to. The first one is to read a few parts of the Book of Mormon and pray about it. The next commitment is to be baptized at the end of the discussion. Then the dietary restrictions known as the Word of Wisdom (No alcohol,coffee, tea, tobacco, drugs), as well as tithing. You will then be taught more about the restoration of the gospel, the 3 levels of heaven, and they will skirt around temple ceremonies being required, but will mention it.

During this time, different members of the local congregation will come with them. Eventually calling you, inviting you to different church and non-church activities, visiting you on your own, giving you gifts and so-forth. When they finally get you to the point where you are baptized, they make a big hullabaloo about it. It is only when you are baptized and "confirmed, or given the gift of the Holy Ghost that your name is officially on the church records and you are considered an actual member of the church.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

You will then discover that your new-found friends have been assigned as your "home teacher" who will teach you more discussions and are assigned by the church to come to your home and present a lesson to you. You eventually will be given a similar job to other members of the church. This is a non-stop thing. So it's not just new members. But your new friends are indeed assigned to you.

As time passed, I found I still had many questions. I was told by virtually everyone in the church that given time that those other questions would be answered. My beliefs that did not match up with the church would eventually come around as I learned to accept the "fullness of the gospel". I eventually ascended the ranks of the priesthood, applied for a mission, went to the Temple and served 2 years in Texas. During this time I was forbidden to watch TV, listen to the radio, read anything other than the scriptures and a few study aids, or anything else other than perform missionary duties which were clearly spelled out for us. I did this. I immersed myself in the study aids. I was praying perhaps 25 times a day with all the people we were visiting and so-forth. Yet each day, the gaps grew wider. Things made less sense, gospel seemed to contradict itself. I went to church leaders for guidance. Actually had one tell me to just accept it and stop asking questions. Others told me that faith had to be absolute, and that I must never question my own beliefs. This is contrary to the teachings that led me to the church in the first place.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

To let you know the type of tactics Mormon's pull. Take a look at Fairbear's and Keller's profiles. They were made today and the only post have been to this thread.

Mormons claim that men preach "The teachings of men, mingled with scripture". But the thing about them is that they preach "The Teachings of Joseph Smith, mingled with other stuff that they just made up.".

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 1 month ago

What a load of hocus-pocus crapola. I am continually amazed at how stupid and sheepishly-led humans can be.

Biddy-bah to mormonism and all religion.

kansasmom 7 years, 1 month ago

My sister is a Mormon in another state and I always have so many questions about it. Are Mormons Christians? Christians believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. That's the Holy Trinity. If they do not believe that because it is the foundation of the Christian faith whether you are Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, etc. then they are not Christians. Is this correct? I know she said they are Christians, but how can that be if they do not believe in the Holy Trinity?

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 1 month ago

Many of these comments illustrate how well religion divides people. Are they christians? Are they not?

The only decisive comment to be made is that they are stupid, as are all religious adherents.

krsmith 7 years, 1 month ago

How quick we are to criticize and belittle anyone who views the world differently from our own view! Why must we immediately assume that our view is the only "true" view and that all other views are incorrect or "stupid"? If there is a "truth" out there, how can we be sure if we have such "truth" without giving proper and serious consideration to all viewpoints. We should all work together to discover the "truth" and embrace it where ever it may be found.

To immediately put down individuals and their points of view simply because their views are different from our own is by definition bigotry. Our society would overall be better off if we could learn to embrace people for who they are and the positive qualities they possess rather than push them away and tear them down because of their religious point-of-view.

fetch 7 years, 1 month ago

By using the word Christianity, I am glad Marion leaves my Mohammad out of his analysis. Or I would have to go and jihad his a** something good.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

If you want to know what type of country Mitt Romney would try to turn the USA into. Look at Utah, specifically Salt Lake City. In this city, the Church owns a controlling share in a number of businesses, including the newspaper that was the ONLY newspaper until the last 40 years. Bars close at 11:00pm, no Planned Parenthood or otherwise "unholy" clinics are there, condoms are only dispersed by pharmacist from behind the counter.

Beer may not be more than 3.2% alcohol, compared to 5.8 in the rest of the US. Utah liquor laws are administered by The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Currently, this commission is composed of five appointed members, four of whom are male Mormon lawyers and teetotalers.ll liquor is dispensed by metered plumbing. One ounce per serving. No doubles. A patron cannot be served more than one drink at a time. Before a patron can be served a drink any previous drinks must have been fully consumed. No one under 21 can be present in any establishment that serves alcohol.The Utah Beverage Commission has a monopoly on all hard liquor in the state, through which all purchases must be made. Prices for wine and liquor are fixed with a minimum of 61% mark-up over cost, plus high state taxes. For beer, the mark-up is 75% plus taxes, making the retail cost of some six-packs well over $10. Several cities and counties in Utah are "dry", meaning it is illegal to purchase, possess or consume alcohol within those borders.

Recent legislation is attempting to force bars to stash hard liquor out of site so as to not offend light drinkers. The state tax write-offs for religious contributions is 13% higher than the rest of the US. There are many dance clubs,"bars" and whatnot that will not let you in if you are not a Mormon that has been "endowed" or received their temple blessings and garments. How can they tell? Well, sometimes you can see through the shirts enough. Otherwise they will feel the inside of the sleeves of your shirt for the garments. Of course, there is no alcohol available inside, only things like juice.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

Using the recently expanded laws regarding the government's right of imminent domain, the church has acquired several downtown areas to add to their property. The most recent was a stretch of land between Temple Square and their Assembly building built about 8 years ago.

Cigarettes were banned in Utah in 1921, this was removed in 1923 after a statewide uproar over enforcement campaigns. In 2005, the average price per pack was $7.71 .The only reason it is not similar to states such as New York (Almost $12 per pack) is because they are much cheaper in neighboring states and in Native American Reservations (Those not predominantly Mormon themselves).

Coffee is somewhat more expensive as well, but at this time I cannot find a proper resource for comparison.

Caffeine used to be considered against the Mormon code until the church purchased a significant amount of stock in Coca-Cola in the 60's. So far, it is the only state that I know of that all soda machines that offer a caffeinated beverage must also offer a decaf version as well. Several brands with caffeine in them elsewhere (such as Barqs) contain no caffeine for those shipped to Utah.

Mormons are closet racist, although they tend to hide it well. Utah and Idaho are predominantly Mormon, but very few African Americans are there. They are still considered to be of a lower class than white people. It is strange though that the most rapid growth of the church is in Africa and South America, both homes to "dark skinned" people.

Mormons are encouraged to possess a minimum of 1 year of food, water, medicine, clothing, fuel and the such for their entire family. So when the nukes drop, you know where to raid. Just a warning though, the church is pro-guns.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

While the church claims to not interfere with politics, they do have a substantial influence. Several congressmen, senators and representatives are Mormon. As well as 71%(purportedly) of the Secret Service. Furthermore, in addition to the scriptures, the General Conference held twice each year is considered cannon when any of the 12 or the first presidency (prophet and 2 assistants, making not 12 apostles, but 15) speak on some subject, that that is considered as viable as scripture. So comments as "And let the government know that marriage is between a man and a woman, and a woman, and a woman," will say to anyone on Capitol hill "Outlaw gay unions." I have seen them speak on everything from homosexuality, to masturbation, abortion, contraceptives, to women wearing pants.

Women have a "place" in a household. That is to raise the children and take care of the house. Men have a "place" to have as many children as possible and work for the household income. Women should only work if absolutely necessary.

Resource Links: Official LDS website with online (and indexed) scriptures. Including complete KJV with and without the Joseph Smith retranslations of some parts, the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, the 3 monthly magazines (geared towards the young, the teens and the adults) and several official proclamations. This includes the relatively famous "proclamation to the family".

Scriptures: http://scriptures.lds.org/

Magazines (tinyurl used due to insanely large URL): http://tinyurl.com/2gqood

Proclamation to the world on family (tinyurl used again): http://tinyurl.com/yrydjc

Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 1 month ago

krsmith says: "Our society would overall be better off if we could learn to embrace people for who they are and the positive qualities they possess rather than push them away and tear them down because of their religious point-of-view."

I agree. My family has long been criticized for our faith. We believe that the universe was created 2000 years ago by our god who's name we are not allowed to mention. Our race originated on the planet Zorolac which was destroyed in a supernova. We came to earth 1500 years ago traveling on waves of thought. We know all these things to be true, because my great, great, great uncle Leroy was visited by angels who told him the story in a dream.

I am outraged that anyone would even think of judging anyone for their beliefs.

oldgoof 7 years, 1 month ago

Easy, easy, easy, ragingbear. I think you have broken doteslines record for number of posts and word length. If we all wanted to read War and Peace we would be at the library. Let the rage go.

Dwight_Schrute 7 years, 1 month ago

I will check in with my brother Moses about all of this the next time I am at the beet farm.

lunacydetector 7 years, 1 month ago

the "great apostasy" argument fails for in that order for it to be true, then Christ would've been a liar when he said, "On this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18) .

also, partial apostasies by individual members of the Church does not refer to a complete apostasy of the Church itself.

the entire theme of 2 Timothy is the means of perpetuating the true gospel (2:2, 3:14), a fact that doesn't fit with the "great apostasy."

2 Peter 2:1-2 says that "many" will fall away, not ALL. also, those who bring heresies will suffer "swift" destruction. clearly, this was not an apostasy that would last long.

Reveleatin 13:7 refers to the beast of Revelation (v.5).Verse 8 continues, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world." this clearly refers to a future event, not an apostasy that occurred 2,000 years ago. if this is not the case, who is the beast worshiped by "all that dwell upon the earth?"

plus Christ the founder promised to be with his Church "to the closing of the age (the end of the world)" (Matt.28:20).

Matthew 16:18 Christ told Simon Peter, "On this rock I will build my church." He clearly wouldn't ask us to do something he himself was incapable of doing.

in Matthew 12:29, Christ is the "strong man" who guards his house, the Church (cf. I Tim. 3:15). Satan cannot bind him and plunder the Church.

if there was a "total apostasy of the Church," as Mormons claim, then Christ was not only a liar for promising his permanent presence and protectioin for the Church as he does in Luke 18:27-30, but he would have been worse than foolish for saying things like this.

erod0723 7 years, 1 month ago

Ragingbear, Thanks for all the information. Not knowing a whole lot about mormonism, I am not sure what all you wrote is actually true, but even half of it is true, then the preconceptions people have about Mormonism may be true. I have a couple more questions for you. Can you describe these garments? Are they just normal tshirts and underwear with a special mark or are they made in a special way. Also, why are Mormons encouraged (or required) to wear these garments? This just seems silly and pointless. This religion seems to be taking the free out of free choice. They seem to be be purposely manipulating the followers in order to create their vision of utopian society (IMHO, Utah is completely inanalogous to the rest of the country. From person visits there, it seems like time has been moved back 50 or 60 years culturally). Finally, can country and cities actually prohibit the posession and consumption of alcohol within their borders? It would seem that all they could legally do was prevent the sale of alcohol. Sorry this post got so long, but hopefully you can answer my questions.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

This article omits all the things Mormons would rather not advertise, because it shocks people.

That the god over Earth was once a mortal who, being a very good Mormon, got his own planet. That any Mormon man can also become a god, and with his goddess, rule over their own planet which the eternally pregnant goddess will populate.

That there are "untold trillions" of planets like Earth that are populated by Mormon gods and goddesses.

That the Mormon undergarments protect them from bodily harm.

That in her Mormon wedding a Mormon bride gets her secret Mormon name, which her husband will use to call her from the other side of the veil when she dies, and she can't get into Mormon heaven without it.

That at that same wedding the bishop gets to feel up the bride, under the pretext of blessing her fertile parts.

That once a year the bishop (a church member who gets the assignments temporarily) calls in the Mormons to produce their tax returns, to prove they are tithing enough.

That church founders claimed there were people living on the moon, who were eight feet tall and dressed in Colonial style.

That Mormons are required to put Church above everything - including family, including country. This is why Mitt Romney should not be president.

There's much more.

Much of this isn't revealed to people until after they join the church.

There is a reason why this church is one of the most secretive in the world.

And there's a reason why the church has more monetary assets than the Catholic church, despite being younger and having far fewer members.

I've nothing against Mormon individuals, and I don't care if people choose to believe this, but since our country is about to be affected by it, and since these Mormons came forward, I think they should tell the whole truth instead of cherry-picking facts to make their church seem more mainstream than it is.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

There is an unusually high number of suicides among young Mormon men of high school and college age. The church acknowledges this but does not attempt to explain it. In heavy Mormon country "died at his home" is known to be a euphamism for suicide.

The rates of child neglect and abuse and the divorce rates are unusually high in Utah.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

Look for more articles like this everywhere as Mitt Romney and the Mormon church try to convince America that Mormonism is mainstream, to smooth his way into the White House.

The sudden appearance of a Mormon beefcake calendar is just one example.

p>Mormon.org tells the world what the church allows them to know. It does not tell all the secrets. It is a very secretive church, which I think is part of the appeal.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

fairbear (Anonymous) says: "My son recently chose to go on a two year mission for the Mormon church, more correctly known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was not forced to go and he would not be ostracized ..."

But it does earn all of you points that will be cashed in when you enter the Celestial Kingdom, right? Are you not aiming for the highest level, godhood? Or maybe the next level, where you get to be waited on hand and foot by lesser beings? Or will you be satisfied to be "servant" class which is what happens to the rest of us not baptised in the Mormon church?

SofaKing 7 years, 1 month ago

I know a lifelong Mormon man who was an adulterer and wife beater, was excommunicated, was re-baptized, and was again an adulterer, but never admitted that to church authorities and now he happily attends the Temple (reserved for those only in the highest standing in the church) with his fourth wife. He is a member of the bishopric in a nearby Kansas town. It is The Church of Hypocrisy in my fair opinion. The church's membership records are hugely inflated because the goal of the thousands of missionaries is to baptize, baptize, baptize. Many, many, many of those baptized fall away. But to have your names removed from the rolls requires a request in writing to the higher authorities in Salt Lake City, a letter which must state very specific things (an example of which can be found on the internet). Most people who leave the Mormon church do not bother to have their name removed from the rolls, but the church counts them as members forever. www.exmormon.org allows one to read about another side of Joseph Smith, a man who had many wives, some of whom were young teenagers. www.exmormon.org allows people to learn about some of the other truths about the Mormon church, some of which can be attributed to the reasons why "Mormons are so misunderstood."

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

"I, a "Mormon", was never taught the doctrine that "Spirit Bodies" are physically conceived by God and one of his multiple wives!"

You're not alone. My kid's Mormon friend insisted the church had never, ever endorsed polygamy until my child showed them those lines in Pearl of Great Price.

You probably don't believe your church ever taught that blacks bear the mark of Cain and were excluded from the priesthood, or that the moon is populated by a tall breed of humans, or anything inconvenient - do you?

Funny how the church just makes their own history "disappear" when it embarrasses them.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

erod0723 asks: "Can you describe these garments?"

They are of filmy material and they are embroidered with symbols that are from the Masons. There is a summer version (tank top and shorts) and a winter version (more coverage). I've heard Mormons claim that a person was protected from physical harm by these garments, for example someone was burned everywhere on their body but not where the garments lay. They seem to be allowed to remove these garments at the swimming pool, though I have seen them worn over a bathing suit.

Regarding their confusing prohibitions on beverages: Alcohol was banned fairly recently, and Joseph Smith was supposed to have had the best-stocked liquor cabinet around. The ban on "hot beverages" was originally assumed to refer to caffeine, but after Mormons bought a stake in Coca-Cola it became ok to swill cola and many Mormons drink caffeinated soft drinks in the morning like others drink coffee. Hot chocolate (chocolate contains caffeine) is available at gatherings where coffee/tea might otherwise be. The prohibition seems to be interpreted any old way an individual wants.

When the Mormon church owned Smith grocery store, a western chain, they sold cigarettes, wine and beer, coffee and tea, and soda.

After the tornado hit Salt Lake City a few years ago, a Mormon approached me out of nowhere at a swimming pool to tell me that the tornado had skirted around the temple and aimed straight for a gay bar in downtown SLC. Now I don't even believe there is a gay bar in downtown SLC, but there it is.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

"I shall seek solace..."

I'll bet that vodka will be involved.

coneflower 7 years, 1 month ago

"Mormons are closet racist, although they tend to hide it well. Utah and Idaho are predominantly Mormon, but very few African Americans are there."

I don't have anything against Mormons as individuals and I don't care what they believe, but this is important, and I can regretfully confirm this is true.

When we moved to a Mormon town (60%) the real estate agent bragged that there were no blacks living there. I heard of only one African-American the entire time I lived there. There were plenty of Hispanics who did the farm work and were treated very badly by the local folk and teachers. Other than that, there were only white people.

coneflower 7 years, 1 month ago

"We're all individuals," she says. "We're not encouraged to be the same. We come from all walks of life, and all live the Gospel in our own style."

This is not true, either - at least not where Mormons make up the majority. I never saw a group of people so pressured to behave and think alike and so eager to constantly, publicly prove that they were confirming. There were a few diverse political beliefs - not all Mormons liked Bush or supported invading Iraq, for example - but for the most part they look alike, act alike, talk alike. This was remarked upon by several Mormons I met who arrived from parts of the country not saturated by Mormons; they were positively shocked at how controlled everybody was.

coneflower 7 years, 1 month ago

SofaKing writes: The church's membership records are hugely inflated because the goal of the thousands of missionaries is to baptize, baptize, baptize.

The membership is also inflated also because once you are a Mormon, you stay on the list, even if you have denounced the church and haven't set foot in one for 20 years. The ex-Mormons I knew all claimed they were still on the membership lists even though they did not want to be. If you have not been excommunicated, which would not happen unless you had done something very public to embarrass the church, you are still counted. There is a very high rate of falling away of new converts, in part because the missionaries keep many things a secret until a person has entered into a covenant with the church - the weirder things they won't tell you in a forum like this or on Mormon.org, either. Another reason new members fall away is that the surge of support they feel as other church members are "assigned" to court them, suddenly falls away once they have joined. The membership also grows from the birth rate: four kids is barely respectable in Mormon country, and 12 is not unusual for the previous generation.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

krsmith says: Our society would overall be better off if we could learn to embrace people for who they are and the positive qualities they possess rather than push them away and tear them down because of their religious point-of-view.

Mirror!!!

Preaching that anyone not baptised into your church is condemned to be your servant for eternity is your idea of "embracing?"

camper 7 years, 1 month ago

I had an old friend who was a mormon. One of the most honest and decent folks I've ever come across. Drove across the country with him to attend a wedding. By the time the wedding ended and we went to the grooms house to attend a party I had already drank too much. But my mormon friend who I am going to call Frank was soberly entertaining us drunks by throwing jawbreakers into the air and catching them in his mouth. On one of them he broke his tooth off. We were able to find the tooth and I secured it in a roadmap that was on the dashboard of my car. Unfortunately when we got lost on the way home, I reached for the map, and in the process lost his tooth. Sure, we pulled over, searched the car front and back. I felt bad because we never found it. I tried to tell him that I did not think the dentist would be able to reconnect it anyways. This was the only argument we got into on the whole trip...except the time I told him to drive a little slower. "Frank", if you read this, where are you man? Give me a call. Fifteen years have slipped away. God bless you buddy! I miss those innocent times.

UVAFan 7 years, 1 month ago

I would suggest that anyone who truly wants to learn more about the church, talk with a member of the church. Ask a neighbor or co-worker who is a member of the church about any questions you may have or go to any church worship service or activity to find out more. I think most of you will be pleasantly surprised. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I can only invite you to come and see for yourself. I expect that you will find that our worship is centered on our Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. I hope that you will find time to worship with us someday (you may like what you see and hear).

Thanks for reading.

JLF 7 years, 1 month ago

Ragingbear speaks like an Ex-Mormon. Whether her is or not, I don't know. But he sure sounds like one. His comments, like so many others, are filled with inaccurracies, distortions, misinformation and things taken out of context. It is perfectly OK with us if others disagree with us. We hold no ill will to people who think differently. But what is out of line is when our detractors mischaracterize our theology and positions. If you are going to disagree with us, it only makes sense to know what you are disagreeing with. Find out for sure. Go to http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng to see for yourself. Don't listen to those who make things up, take them out of context or deliberately misinform.

Gabe Hoffman 7 years, 1 month ago

I find all this quite funny! Really, is this religion different then any other?

"This religion seems to be taking the free out of free choice." Is that not the essential goal of every religion? They are all based on fatalism. You don't HAVE to do anything they say. It is your CHOICE to burn in an everlasting hell. So which one sounds better?

As far as religious ceremonies, church duties, and suggested lifestyles, I think a parallel could be drawn between them and the majority of religions. Between missions from other churches, the seemingly cannibalistic drinking of blood and eating of flesh sacrament, and fill in 'whatever odd thing people do for religions sake' and I fail to see what separates them.

However, I do get a giggle that for an undisclosed or poorly constructed reason, that they are so threatening to the strong moral and overall perfect structure known as the great American psyche!

I doubt many here watch South Park, but they had an episode about the future where religion was disproven and no one believed in any diety or faith. So how did this effect everything? They argued about who's science was better. Stupid show, valid point.

We can all argue till we are blue in the face about who is right and who is wrong; yet it remains a personal decision.

Marx had it right. "Religion is the opiate of the masses."

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

To Purple Sage ~ In 1884 when my great grandparents became Mormons in Denmark, and my 2nd great grandparents joined in Wales (missionary Dan Jones baptized 6,000 in 1 year) in 1865, most converts were Lutheran (Denmark) and Church of England or Episcopal (in the U.K.). Not Southern Baptists or Methodists, as they didn't exist at that time. I was traveling in Brazil a few years back. In Sao Paulo (Roman Catholics) alone, the missionaries were baptizing 2,000 people/month. If what you say is true (and I'd be interested in learning the source of your stats), that the majority of Mormon converts today are SB & Methodist, I've never in my life heard this. I live in the Bible Belt & know for a fact that the missionaries here have little success with either. It might be an overstatement to say that in our ward we would still see 2-5 convert baptisms in a year before 2007. I haven't seem much more action in 2007. In fact, I've sometimes wondered why we even have missionaries here until this year when things do seem to be opening up a little more with all the media flurry because a Mormon is running for president.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

Rather than the Book of Mormon, curious readers should check out what a certain blogspot has to say about Marion Sydney Lynn aka Nick Danger aka outingbulkerbiz. Some adult language, you have been warned. http://ikillspammers.blogspot.com/2007/0:

Amy Heeter 7 years, 1 month ago

"This religion seems to be taking the free out of free choice." Is that not the essential goal of every religion? They are all based on fatalism. You don't HAVE to do anything they say. It is your CHOICE to burn in an everlasting hell. So which one sounds better?"

I love it "Fire and damnation" My all time favorite one is from the Disney movie Pollyanna,
" Death comes unexpectedly". Al churches have rules by which there are certain expectations upon the parishioners or else they burn in hell.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

outingbulkerbiz & Nick Danger are going to be following you around for a while. Get comfortable.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 1 month ago

So I'm not clear about how this relates to Mormonism. Can you boys clarify?

purplesage 7 years, 1 month ago

Having lived, for several years, in a dominantly LDS community (as a non-member) I find Raging Bear's comments quite accurate. The primary source of converts to the Mormon way has been Protestants, especially Southern Baptists and United Methodists (logical, since they are the most numerous).

The church has outlawed polygamy since 1890. Yes, and largely for the sake of statehood for Utah. What that acknowledges is that it endorsed and practiced polygamy for years prior to that. And, polygamy is not prohibited in the secret spirit marriage performed in the closed door ceremonies of the Temple.

Mormon eschatology includes a belief in the collapse of the U.S. government and its "rescue" by the Council of Twelve, the ruling body of the Utah variety of the Church. This is an interesting concept, given Governor Romney's bid for the Presidency.

Mormon canon is "open" - hence new revelations, such as that pertaining the spiritual nature of the Black man. The newest revelation is the most accurate. That's what you get when your sacred text is a prisoner of time rather than a communication from eternity.

sunkcost 7 years, 1 month ago

Just a follow-up on a few of the previous comments:

People who are baptized into the Mormon church do stay on the records of the church even if they stop attending. However, if at any time they would like to have their names removed from the church's records, all they need to do is talk with the local bishop and he will work with them to get their names removed.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Anyone in the world may enter L.D.S. temples before dedicated. Furthermore, anyone in the world may also enter after a temple is dedicated. There are a few requirements, however. One must take a series of lessons offered by L.D.S. missionaries, express interest in baptism, then be interviewed. In the interview, a person makes a few very simple commitments such as to attend all meetings & help others when in need. Almost immediately after baptism, a person can enter a temple, to participate in baptisms for their deceased ancestors. 1 year later, they may be interviewed again, this time to have access to other areas in a temple to participate in other ordinances. In this interview, they're asked a few more simple questions such as: Are you a full tithe payer (10% of one's gross increase)?, Do you attend all of your regular church meetings? Do you keep the laws of the land? Are you honest in your business dealings? Maybe 6-8 similar questions. It's really pretty simple. These seem like pretty important questions for a person to answer should they want to enter a temple. Temples are the most beautiful edifices on earth, where a person can be free from all entrapments of the world. Perhaps this is simplifying it, but it seems like I'd need to be a good practicing member of Rotary, Demolay, a real estate company before I could hold an office, sell real estate for that company, etc. Or a police officer before I could arrest a law breaker. Why should a nonmember, or even just a member, & be allowed the highest benefit? Seems logical to me. There's absolutely nothing secret about a temple. Even a 12 year-old child can enter an L.D.S. temple.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

We just returned from our log cabin in the woods a 90-minute drive from our home. 3 days ago, my wife mentioned she'd like our family to stop in a resort community on our way home where we would meet & enjoy dinner with her 3rd cousin John, his wife, & another couple. As we sat down to dinner this evening at the restaurant, John asked if he could offer a prayer over our meal. I prefer not to do this, but we do respect people of other faiths, so I said, "Sure." The 8 of us clasped hands & John offered a blessing on our meal. Shortly, in conversation, we learned that these 2 couples are members of the same Southern Baptist congregation. Then, "out of the blue", John in a very cordial way toward us, said to his friend across the table, "They're Mormons." I tried to imagine myself saying this had we and another Mormon couple invited a Southern Baptist family to dinner. It would not happen. Perhaps we are the very first Mormon family either couple had ever met. I couldn't say. However, I do believe it is very interesting that our church and its members seem to now be enjoying the limelight.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

Joseph Smith made a glossary of terms of the Adamic language. Was supposedly the pure language of heaven, the language Adam spoke in, and in it's purest form could convey the emotion and intention of the speaker, so as to not have people misinterpret such things.

The place in Jackson County Missouri where they believe New Jerusalem will land is called Adam Ohmdi Ahman for this reason.

For those who do not believe me, use google. Look it up for yourself. Just take some stuff with a grain of salt. There are some out there that make up some totally idiotic lies.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Further comment on my last statement. I've voted in national, state & local elections for 41 years. I've never once imagined anyone's religion part of it. I might have voted for Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, George Bush, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton, or George Washington. I grew up in a town in California that was about 85% Roman Catholic. Now I live in region of a different state occupied by perhaps 80% Southern Baptists and Assemblies of God. I don't know what George Washington or Abraham Lincoln were, religion-wise. I knew Nixon was a Quaker, but I have no idea what they believe or practice. In retrospect, I've always been more concerned about their personal behavior, that they (& their family) will represent my country with dignity, and bring respect to the office of president. I'm interested in their positions on issues. I want to be sure they will stand for basic tenets found in the Constitution, and other important basic and sacred documents. Since I am a Mormon and believe in the freedoms and laws set forth by our founding fathers, I expect them to do the same. I would hope for a president who will not simply be swayed by interest groups, but will have a spine and stand on her/his own 2 feet, and protect my nation, family and me at all cost. This is not a popularity contest. Nothing to do with religion.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 1 month ago

Back to copy/pasting lyrics again, outingbulkerbiz? You are hitting all your classic routines tonight.

Rationalanimal 7 years, 1 month ago

Ragingcub, it is apparent from your lengthy disserations on Mormonism you were right up there the leaderhsip. Most likely they tossed you out for some infraction rather than you leaving on your own terms. You have pointed out some humdinger whooper stories the Mormons claim. Here are some others you might find difficult to digest:

Talking snake deceives woman, eats fruit from a tree bearing magical fruit

Seven plagues: water turned to blood, locusts, first born dies unless blood slapped on above door frame etc, etc

Red sea parted by man, people walk through on dry land

Man strikes rock with wood in middle of desert and water appears

Quail suddenly appear to feed hungry people in desert

Strange sweet bread substance appears at doorstep of hungry desert dwellers each morning for years (except the sabbath)

Fire spontaneously started using stack of wood soaked in water

Men tossed in fire furnace and survive

Man spends night in den with wild lion survives

Burning bush that talks

People bitten by snakes, look at wood and survive

Tablets burned with words

Whole earth flooded, rains for over month, man builds ark and gathers two of each species

Entire city taken up to God

Woman turned to salt

Man slays giant with a sling and stone

Man swallowed and lives in the belly of a whale, survives

Man heals sick, lepers, lame, deaf, blind, raises the dead, casts devils out of boy

Man walks on water

Man commands violent sea to be calm, sea follows

Man feeds entire crowd with a couple fishes and bread

Man sees apparition of another man while going to persecute other saints

Believer sees apparition of another man in the process of dying

And the biggest whooper of all, man dies and returns to life three days later, floats away in the sky

Am I missing anything? Thanks for protecting us all from those big whooper Mormon lies Ragingcub.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

In my wallet, you will find a Sam's card, driver's license, library card, debit bank mastercard, employee health care plan group membership card, theme park annual membership card. Each of these imply membership, and for each, I have agreed to abide by certain "rules", just as I must abide by rules in order to post comments here.

In the Garden of Eden, the Christian God gave the couple very precise rules which they needed to abide, or be banished from the Garden. To be recognized as a Christian of a different time, very basic & documented rules were given by the Christian God to Moses, guidelines for the people of that time to follow. In the New Testament, we find more & different rules. Moving away from primitive Christianity, we can examine every religion known to humankind. Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Mormons, Southern Baptists, Baptists, Amish, Greek Orthodox, etc. all have tenets by which members are guided. I happen to live in a part of the world that is inhabited by a relatively large percentage of Amish. These are very respectable and dedicated folks. My sister was visiting us from San Francisco a few years ago. She wanted to visit an Amish neighborhood, so I took her. There I introduced her to Bishop Schwartz at his harness & buggy shop. Down the country road, I introduced her to D&J Amish Store, filled with only Amish product. We were passed by Amish buggies on the highway. Then, Celia saw a group of Amish men threshing in a field with a horsedrawn thresher. She exclaimed that she really wanted to take a photo of them, so I pulled my truck over to the side of the road. From the window, she took a few photos. Suddenly, the men began to wave their arms, shouted, and then they all began to run toward us. I realized that we had somehow erred, so I drove away quickly. Later, an Amish friend explained to me that they believe taking their photo actually robs a part of their internal human spirit. Each religion on the planet is peculiar in its own way. One of our candidates had ancestors in an African country. There is no doubt in my mind that the males practiced polygamy. If true, I can't imagine how that could possibly impact his behavior, posture, or practice as a U.S. president.

I'm enjoying the great fortune, as a Mormon, to share my personal feelings and thoughts with others about my beliefs. I've never, in my 47 years of membership, had this kind of opportunity. One evening last week, I filled an assignment to drive our ward's missionaries to their appointments with investigators. They excitedly told me that the media, positive or negative, is arousing astronomical curiosity among nonmembers. I've done these assignments for years, and I admit that I was extremely surprised at the number of nonmembers who were very excited to see them coming that evening as compared with the past, before all this media attention. It is really awesome!

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

This last Summer, I had an experience of a lifetime. I spoke at an international conference in China representing the university where I'm a professor. I also took my 15 year-old son. We were in China (Guangzhou, Guandong Province, Macau, and Beijing) for 3 weeks, but stopped off in Hong Kong where we spent 2 nights in a small apartment across the street from the Hong Kong (L.D.S.) Temple. We spent 2 days there in the temple. As international patrons, we could only perform 15 baptisms during a morning or afternoon. So, the first morning, we did our 15. Standing in the baptismal font, this awesome Chinese temple worker asked me if I would mind baptizing some Chinese patrons, new members of the Church. Of course, I said yes. These folks had come by bus from 40 hours away in Mainland China. In other words, 80 hours, round-trip!!! Can you imagine? They could only be baptized for 10 persons! An 80-hour bus ride for just 10 baptisms??!! Each baptism takes only about 2 minutes. Is this dedication, or what? I wonder if their behavior is accurately described by everyone making comments to this article. I wonder just what is driving their behavior? China is not at present open to proselyting missionaries. However, when it does open, not even the L.D.S. Church's current 60,000 self-supporting missionaries around the world will be enough to teach the Chinese people interested in learning about the gospel.

jumpin_catfish 7 years, 1 month ago

wow, so ragingbear is voting for hilary i guess

janetgrant 7 years, 1 month ago

Thanks to all who have taken the time to post comments. Very interesting. It's been a particularly rough week, and I needed a good laugh. Thanks! I feel much better now. Special thanks to Camper. Loved the story. Hope Frank calls.

Rationalanimal 7 years, 1 month ago

You live a hollow empty life Marion. Being foul and base is a cover for the daily misery you live in. You scream for even negative attention by being controversial. Trying to upset others is really an attempt to transfer the feeling of self-hatred towards yourself to others. It is a nagging hollow feeling that you can't shake no matter how much alcohol you drink or how much porn you look at. Rail and gnash as much as you may, you're miserable and not even sleep gives you peace. Every day is dark and the only semblence of peace you can acheive is to be vicious. It is transparent to all. Say your best and most nasty retort, it will not vitiate the truth of your constant state of misery.

Ragingbear 7 years, 1 month ago

Embrace Pastafarianism. Our heaven has a stripper factory and a beer volcano.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

SofaKing writes: church's membership records hugely inflated because goal of 1000s of missionaries is to baptize, baptize, baptize. CHRIST'S GOAL . . . BAPTIZE, BAPTIZE, BAPTIZE. Membership inflated because once a Mormon, you stay on list, even if you denounced church & NOT set foot in 1 for 20 years. Ex-Mormons I knew all claimed still on membership lists even though didn't want to be. THEY HAVEN'T DRAFTED SHORT NOTE TO THEIR BISHOP THAT THEY WANT NAME REMOVED. If you haven't been excommunicated, which would not happen unless you 'd done something very public to embarrass church, you're still counted. MEMBERS CAN SAY ANYTHING, EVEN IF EMBARRASSES CHURCH. IS WHEN PERSON PUBLICLY CHALLENGES TEACHINGS/PRACTICES THEY MAY BE DISFELLOWSHIPPED/EXCOMMUNICATED. KEY WORDS = "MAY BE". DEPENDS ON INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES. WHEN PERSON EXCOMMUNICATED FOR THIS REASON, ALWAYS CASE THEY DON'T WANT MEMBERSHIP ANYWAY. OTHER REASONS FOR EXCOMMUNICATION, MOST COMMONLY SPOUSE HAS EXPOSED THEM FOR SERIOUS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR/PARTICIPATING IN SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OUTSIDE MARRIAGE. GUILTY PARTY EXCOMM. OFTEN OCCURS BECAUSE OF LATTER, PARTICULARLY IF COUPLE SEALED AT TEMPLE, EACH SPOUSE HAVING MADE PERSONAL COVENANT TO GOD NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN ADULTERY. BISHOP/STAKE PRESIDENT MUST RECEIVE PERSONAL LETTER FROM INNOCENT SPOUSE. MORMON CHURCH=MARRIAGE & FAMILY SACRED. IF ADULT VIOLATES SUCH A COMMITMENT, IN/OUTSIDE CHURCH, MARRIAGE OFTEN ENDS IN DIVORCE. IF CHILDREN, + DAMAGE OFTEN ACCRUES OVER LIFETIME.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Part 2 of previous comment ~

Very high rate of falling away of new converts, in part because missionaries keep many things secret until person enterS into a covenant w/church - the weirder things they won't tell you in a forum like this or on Mormon.org, either. Another reason new members fall away is that the surge of support they feel as other church members are "assigned" to court them, suddenly falls away once they've joined. CHURCH ENCOURAGES INVESTIGATORS/MEMBERS TO LEARN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ABT ANYTHING IN LIFE, & PARTICULARLY ABT ALL RELIGIONS, ESPECIALLY THEIR OWN ~ DOCTRINE, PRACTICE & HISTORY. IF 19 YEAR-OLD MISSIONARY SOMEHOW MESSED UP NOT TELLING EVERYTHING TO AN INVESTIGATOR, CLEARLY THEIR MISTAKE & IGNORANCE FOR NOT ASKING. SOME INVESTIGATORS MAKE MISTAKE OF FALLING IN LOVE W/MISSIONARY INSTEAD OF GOSPEL. WHEN MISSIONARY TRANSFERRED, ERROR SUDDENLY CREATES UNEXPECTED VOID. WHEN A PERSON JOINS ANY ORGANIZATION, BURDEN RESTS W/NEW MEMBER. LIKEN IT TO MOVING TO SMALL TOWN U.S.A. GOOD LUCK GETTING INSTANTLY INTEGRATED, EVEN W/WHEELBARROWS OF MONEY IN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. Membership also grows from birth rate: 4 kids=barely respectable in Mormon country, 12 not unusual for previous generation. MY WARD = YOUNG-MIDDLE-AGED COUPLES. MOTHERS WORK OUTSIDE HOMES, CHILDREN TO DAY CARE CENTERS, LIKE MOST PEOPLE ACROSS U.S. MODE SIZE L.D.S. FAMILY IS COUPLE + 2-3 CHILDREN, LARGER THAN NORM. COMMENTER HAS PRIVATE MORMON STATS SOURCE FOR STATS UNAVAILABLE TO MEMBERS. PREVIOUS GENERATION, WHILE WERE A FEW FAMILIES/WARD W/8-12 CHILDREN, 4-5=NORM.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

max1

Does anyone know, for a fact, that this was an official L.D.S. Church act? As an academician, I would appreciate the precise names of the witnesses to Brigham Young ordering the heinous crime committed by members of the L.D.S. Church on that day. That is what a court of law would require. Other crimes have been committed by different Mormons, by Roman Catholics, by Southern Baptists, and probably by members of all faiths. But, where are the facts that they committed their crimes by edict of the leaders of their faiths? Anyone can say or write anything, but wherein does credibility lie? We're all ready to read your statement, documented.

Marcy McGuffie 7 years, 1 month ago

Rationalanimal -

Think what you want about Marion, but is it really necessary to post such a vile, personal attack on a guy I'm assuming you've never met? That's childish to say the least. You sit there hiding with your anonymous name calling others names. Grow up - or at least have the balls to put your own name out there. Or, would that be too "rational?" I'm just saying...

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 1 month ago

Oh how I so enjoy the parsing and categorizing and dividing done by the religious.

Mormons are a sect, not a religion. As if there is a difference. Well, the religious mind specializes in discrimination and atavistic division. I am a xtian; mormons are not. Mine is a religion; theirs is a sect.

News flash: you are all foolish and misguided.

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

It is nice to see that we live in a community that is so willing to go out on a limb to continue to persecute a discrete and insular minority that has been historically discriminated against.

If I wanted to deceive people in distrusting a group I previously belonged to and now am at odds with, or belong to a group that is currently at with another group; I would use fear tactics by spreading half-truths, lies, and making their beliefs seem peculiar (even though most groups distinguish themselves by their separate beliefs which likely seem odd to outsiders).

When people in defense of this minority group suggest talking to someone, attending the group, or getting your information from a reliable source; I would say that these sources are tainted, or even if you get some information there is a lot of secret information they won't tell you. This secrecy tactic would of course could be denied but not disproved until people would actually have to gain a great deal of knowledge or even be affiliated with this group to get the truth, which most people would be reluctant to do.

This would lead those who already don't know a lot about this group, which would be most since it is a minority of the population and historically discriminated against, to continue their previous misconception or ignorance and trust me that I really am on their side trying to enlighten them and have no ulterior motive.

If a member of this group tried to gain political power that I felt was a threat to me or my group, I would claim that this member would change the laws of the nation to align the beliefs or teachings of their group. (Example: Mitt Romney would make the country into Utah, even though he was governor of Massachusetts, which last time I checked isn't like Utah) Even if they could give me examples of this member's past where this did not occur, I would claim that the member did not have enough time to complete his group's mandated task of forced observance to this group's practices or beliefs.

If these tactics don't work let me know and we will adjust the tactics to suit the situation.

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

"currently at with another group"

Meant to say "currently at odds with this group"

The people responsible for this mistake have been canned

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

Let's play a game, the "What am I game"

What am I? I enjoy persecuting minority groups to make me feel relatively better about myself, who I am, and/or my beliefs, or lack thereof. Those groups: Jews, Muslims, Mormons, African-Americans, Hispanics, and homosexuals, etc: Answer: A Bigot

What am I ? I enjoy persecuting a minority group to make me feel relatively better about myself, who I am, and/or my beliefs, or lack thereof. That group: Mormons Answer: A Bigot

What am I? I believe one of the previous statements and have a bumper sticker that says "Kansas as bigoted as you think." Answer: A Hypocrite

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

Here is the definition of sect according to dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sect

  1. a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.
  2. a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.
  3. (in the sociology of religion) a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches.
  4. any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

So, in other words, you could legally attest that a fictitious Susan Johnson (your author never knew) murdered fictitious Matt Feldman (your author never knew) last week because you read that someone else said so. Riiiiiiight . . . . Now you're telling everyone in the world you're sure it did happen. Sounds like the "biddy" neighbor of the Cleaver (Beaver) family on t.v. when I was a kid, when I stopped watching t.v. Or maybe the magazines at your grocery store check-out stand? No way you'd ever get out of grad school on this kind of evidence, son.

In our town, in 1906, 3 negro men were thrown into the calaboose for allegedly raping a white girl. Shortly, a mob rushed the jail, took the 3 men to the Town Square, after hitting one of them on the head with a hammer. Over 4,000 men & boys excitedly looked on while the 3 were lynched & then their bodies dropped into a bonfire below. The sheriff then declared, "Okay boys, you've had your fun now. Go on home." The next day, some 85% of the negro popluation left this town. Others stayed behind, hidden by sympathetic white folks. The town just wasn't that big at the time, and nearly 100% Southern Baptist. How could anyone possibly know, or care, if local leaders of the Southern Baptist Church, not centrally-organized as is the Mormon Church, had suggested this crime? We must remember why the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in Atlanta, Georgia . . . pro-slavery, so there was just a litttttle bit of anti-negro sentiment in this part of the nation at the time. Was this event brought to our attention by the media and folks like you when Bush, well-known Southern Baptist, was a candidate for president?

Well, I guess we could get into the crusades, or the Holy Roman Empire (which no one even thought about when JFK was a candidate), but this lynching is still on the minds of our local population. So, just thought I'd mention it. Had Bush, Jack Kennedy, or present candidate in question been alive and part of these activities at the moment, then we ought to have seriously questioned the character of these candidates.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

cool ~ No Mormon but a complete idiot would even consider that they are part of a group that calls itself "Christians" in the sense of that tradition today. To take that a step further, I've met many Southern Baptists here in the Bible Belt who claim to be the ONLY Christians on the planet. Never mind Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, or any other branch of the Holy Roman Empire from which they all stemmed. Mormons only know their faith is Christ-centered. No intelligent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would imagine being the slightest part of any of these groups that either "apostatized" from the Roman Catholic Church, or began afresh with their interpretation of the Primitive Church. In that very real sense, no Mormon is a "Christian".

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Among our members, we've so many stellar role models of positive accomplishment, it would be impossible to believe all the garbage these negative comments describe us with. Just to name a few: Olympic gymnist Peter Vidmar, U.S. Treasurer Ivy Baker Priest, U.S. Treasurer David Kennedy, African-American singer Gladys Knight, several current U.S. senators in California & many across the nation, several NASA astronauts, countless professional model athletes including Steve Young & Dale Murphy, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (Mormon Apostle simultaneously) Ezra Taft Benson, South Korean Secretary of Education Kim, countless federal judges, etc. When we lived in Upstate NY, the CEO & also director of research of Eastman-Kodak were members. American Express, the largest travel industry company in the world moved one of its major divisions to Provo, Utah to take advantage of return missionaries speaking foreign languages. While most universities across the nation have dropped most foreign language programs, BYU-Provo's David M. Kennedy School trains in some 70 languages. As the "global society & economy" expands, who is getting the hog's share of international employment? The required GPA for entrance to BYU-Provo is now 3.5. The top accounting corporation, Deloit & Touche, hires most of its accountants (my son, a return missionary from Spain, one of them) from the Marriott School (recently named as the top business college in the nation by the Wall Street Journal) at BYU-Provo. As my 15 year-old (2 merit badges away from being an Eagle Scout) son would say, "Duh!" Where do BYU grads, if they do, continue to grad school? Texas A&M is a common route, but many continue to Harvard, Yale, etc. I have another BYU-Provo grad in physiology who received offers from 3 of the 30 schools where he applied of $25,000 year stipend + a tuition scholarship. An Eagle Scout & return missionary from Ecuador. Think about it . . . no debt coming out of medical school! Let's see now? Total idiots who believe in magic plates, live angels, a freak 15 year-old kid who actually saw Jesus Christ? Riiiiiiight! Get a grip! These are the results of practicing "really weird" Mormonism. I'm personally very excited to keep all this dialogue going so we can continue to present the facts and results of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's awesome! Hey, chalk me up for 2 more postings!

I wondered how we would EVER meet President Hinkley's challenge of doubling convert baptisms, but the picture is beginning to clear!

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

Max: Are you suggesting that a person is not a bigot if they enjoy persecuting minority groups (including Jews and/or Muslims, Mormons, African-Americans, Hispanics, homosexuals) to make themselves feel relatively better about themselves, who they are and/or their beliefs, or lack thereof?

You said:"[What? - no mention of minorities?]"

Did you read the definition of bigot?

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/bigot "Etymology: French, hypocrite, bigot" "especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance"

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 1 month ago

Seeing some of these hateful comments makes me realize that the bumper sticker is right when it says "Kansas: As bigoted as you think."

I once thought Lawrencians were more tolerant than others. I was wrong.

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

Cool:

I never said Mormonism was not a sect. But it seems you are really using the word "sect" as a rhetorically pejorative term, to persecute and put down Mormons, and mislead others. This is your right, but I think that you and everyone else should be made aware of this.

If you are using def #2, then who regards Mormons as deviating from the generally accepted religious tradition? Is it just you and a small group, or is it everyone? And what is the generally accepted religious tradition? In what region? Are Jews a sect in every country except Israel? Is Protestantism the only generally accepted religious tradition in the U.S., if so what about Islam, or Catholics, are they sects? By definition #1, #3, #4, and even #2 Christianity could be categorized as a sect especailly in non-christian nations.

Why does it matter if we label Christianity or Mormonism as a sect? It matters because it is being used to oppress, stigmatize, and verbally attack a minority group, which most people are opposed to.

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

Cool:

If you are not trying to use "sect" pejoratively then why not just call it a denomination. Or simply state, "Yes they believe Jesus is the Christ and savior of the world; yes they believe Jesus is the Son of God, but in my definition of Christianity, they must also believe in the trinity." This would be more accurate and less misleading

A non-emotionally charged or persecuting method would be to discuss that different religions believe in different things and highlight those difference. Rather than attempting to call them non-Christians which is viewed with a negative connotation, and disputed. The reason most people say Mormon's aren't Christian is to put them down, and persecute them. It appears you would rather use emotionally charged rhetoric, then talk about real differences. The reason this type of rhetoric is used against Mormons is because of fear. This fear tactic is often used by opponents against minority groups people my be unfamiliar with, in order to dissuade would-be followers of that group, and make you feel better about your own beliefs, or lack thereof.

micpowell 7 years, 1 month ago

I am a Mormon person, and this is a typical set of attacks on my faith based upon falsehoods. We (Mormons) believe in salvation through Jesus Christ and His suffering, and the need for salvation is based on errors caused by 1) not doing unto others as we would have done unto us, and 2) not being willing to be obedient to God and His effort to promote that same goal from His eternal perspective. The Mormon church is a divine restoration of Jesus Christ's organization through Joseph Smith in 1830 to fulfill the above-mentioned goals. Any truth-seeking person who judges the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) church based on this criteria will truly understand the Church.

micpowell 7 years, 1 month ago

(I was referring to the comments, not the article)

not_dolph 7 years, 1 month ago

cool - 20 ragingbear - 11 blackwalnut - 7 coming into the game late, stevef_i - 12

tune in later to find out who wins!

JLF 7 years, 1 month ago

kansasmom You ask a good question. Our understanding of the nature of God, Christ and the Holy Ghost is different. The traditional Christian view was established 3oo years after Christ and the Apostles. It is a pure human construct. The particiapnts in the several conferences that were held never claimed to be under direct Heavenly mandate nor did they claim to be prophets or apostles. In fact the Nicean Creed, which established the traditional nature of God, was a result of the Roman emporer Constantine's efforts to bring stability to his crumbing empire. It was an effort to consolidate disperate forces in the empire in an attempt to hold on to power by incorporating multiple views, including pagan, into one philosophy that he could lay claim to and thus shore up his power. God had nothing to do with it. The LDS view was first discussed as a revealed view. That is, Joseph Smith said God the Father, and his son Jesus Christ actually appeared to him in person and re-established Christ's original church and theology after it had been taken from the earth after the last apostle died. This radical and provocative view of the nature of God and Christ's religion is what started the row we see today. It directly attacked the legitimacy of traditional Christianity and many traditional Christian views. It is analagous to Christianity displacing Judaism 2000 years ago. But it is also in keeping with the way God spoke to His rebelious children throughout history. In each of those dispensations he used a prophet who, like Joseph Smith, was reviled, cursed and ultimately sealed his testimonty with his life.

Unlike traditional Chrtistian denominations, LDS theology does not rely on another person interpreting scripture and then mandating adhereants follow that teaching. Mormon theology and practice says to become familiar with the material and then ask God if it is true. If the person is serious and makes an honest effort to know and is teachable, the Holy Spirit will make it known. After such a manifestation then one can have confidence that there is a living prophet on the earth and that he is in fact God's representative just as in the Old Testiment days. Thereafter, every member is asked to continue this same practice of putting the words of the prophet to the test by prayer and fasting to get a testimonty of its truthfulness directly from God. So you can see kansasmom, Mormons are a lot different from traditional Christians in many ways. But the foundation of our religion is based 100% on our belief that Jesus is the Christ and the only way human beings can be re-united with Heavenly Father.

erod0723 7 years, 1 month ago

I must say that I am pretty impressed by the amount of Mormon trollers that came out for this article. If you look solely at the facts, of course you wouldn't believe the load of rubbish that Mormons and many other religious put out. Are the Mormons dangerous to the rest of America? Not really, but they are severely limiting freedoms in Utah. Personally, I could not believe in a religion with magic plates and magic underwear, but then again I'm pragmatic and realistic.

james bush 7 years, 1 month ago

Where does all the erudite commentary oringinate for this article? The KU school of religious studies?

Rationalanimal 7 years, 1 month ago

as noted above JLF just signed onto the website apparently for this article. must have 'heard the call' to respond from Mr. Smith ? or was it god directly ?


For all your high-minded intellectual liberal diversity, you expose your arrogance and hatred towards others holding sincere belief. Apparently high-minded diversity only applies to others who believe the same as you.

Dwight_Schrute 7 years, 1 month ago

Alfred E. Neumann for President in 2008!

Mike Ford 7 years, 1 month ago

Please explain to me why the Mountain Meadow Massacre is Gentile propoganda? The U.S Government in 1857 saw the Mormon Church as a separatist movement and threatened to send troops to Deseret. Brigham Young worked behind the scenes to get the Paiutes and other tribes to go along with defending Deseret against the U.S. . Innocent 49ers were massacred and the Mormans blamed the Paiutes. I bring this up to young missionaries whom I loathe and they either say propoganda or they don't know. What about the Bear River Massacre?

janetgrant 7 years, 1 month ago

To kansasmom Your question about the Holy Trinity and Mormonism is a good one. I have been thinking about it most of the afternoon. Whenever I have questions or need clarification, I go to the Scriptures. Read John Chapters 16 and 17 in the New Testament. I hope this will help answer your question. Jesus teaches in these chapters about His relationship with His Heavenly Father. We believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost(Spirit) are three separate individual, but one in purpose. Christ also teaches his followers that "they may be one" also (John 16:11). I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Redeemer. I look to Him for forgiveness of my sins when I repent and covenant with Him that I will try to do better. Is this the same Jesus that you worship? I don't know. If you don't fancy being Mormon, that's ok. One of the greatest gifts that Heavenly Father gives to each and every one of His Children is free agency, i.e., the right to choose the kind of life we want to live. Be Catholic, Methodist, Buddist, Muslim, Jewish or Southern Baptist, just be the best you can be and stop the bickering. The world will be a better place for it.

To Cool--The only way back to Heavenly Father is through His Son, Jesus Christ, not Mormonism. You are absolutely right about one thing, though. If Joseph Smith could experience it, so can six billion other people---if they ask with a sincere heart and real intent (John 14:26)

To not_dolph--Thank you for keeping score. You made me laugh. Do you think, perhaps, that I could get an honorable mention OR MAYBE--Miss Congeniality????LOL

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

A Mormon Boy Scout leader was allowed to molest boys at camp for many years while it was allowed and covered up by church, the Scouts, and the courts. This could happen because it was a town of about 50,000 that was over 50% Mormon, in eastern Idaho, which demographically is just an extension of Utah (Salt Lake City is 3 hours away). He molested at least 24 boys with the full knowledge of the Scout leadership and the church - some of them while reading to them from Mormon scriptures. The good Mormon got only a 5 months sentence for molesting 24 boys.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/expose/episode215/watch4.html

MidwestMormon 7 years, 1 month ago

With all the space Ragingbear and others have taken here hating the Mormon church I'm a little surprised that they left out some of the more popular attacks.

The arguments they have skipped aren't any more bankrupt than the ones they have presented. I suppose lot of the bashers simply develop favored areas of attack, in which they specialize, as they might with any hobby.

Some of the standard responses to the worn out criticism presented here can be found at www.ldsfair.org and at www.farmsresearch.com.

As for the silly suggestion that Mitt Romney would try to reshape the country in Utah's image, I would refer readers to his performance as governor of Massachusetts. For example:

BOSTON, November 26, 2003 With the stroke of his pen today, Governor Mitt Romney brought the Puritan state into the 21st Century, striking down the ban on Sunday alcohol sales, one of the last vestiges of the Prohibition era, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

"Here in Massachusetts -- the Mother of all Blue Laws -- the Sunday sales prohibition is finally history," said Distilled Spirits Council Peter Cressy President, whose organization lobbied aggressively in support of the change. "Consumers and retailers will no longer be bound by Blue Laws of a bygone era, while the state will gain new revenue."

When Romney's opponents go after him, they typically accuse him of being too pragmatic. He has taken by far the most conservative positions among the leading candidates. But, opponents still try to say he lacks sufficient commitment to stand up against public pressure when it comes to supporting conservative causes.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ continued

Since the church buys everything in large volume, I'm sure they get the very best price possible. My father was a material control manager, including purchasing, so I know all about that. Many foreign countries do not allow cash to escape their borders. I remember when my father was in a bishopric in California & new German typewriters showed up in the clerks' offices. I'm guessing the Church in Germany made a deal with a member who manufactured typewriters so the Church could convert $ contributions to typewriters for the entire Church, at least in the U.S. I haven't seen that kind of thing happen since that time (mid-`70s), but it still might. Couldn't say.

Over the years, as a member of 3 different bishoprics, high councilor, any number of other "callings", as a finance clerk, I've never imagined any member to be concerned about where contributions go, or on what they are spent. I've never once heard anyone question, though the Mormon Church teaches its members to absolutely question/learn/study everything they can about their church & all others. Not once! I personally believe my church to be absolutely solvent, yet I have no idea (& don't care) how much $ it hauls in each year. If anything, all I care about is what I see . . . that funds are spent where they absolutely should be . . . on needs. Mormons only focus on Jesus Christ, and helping other people, & on constantly lifting the entire population of the Church's members anywhere on the planet, and on helping nonmembers (with no expectation of return) who are in serious trouble with catastrophe. Just last week, I organized a group of about 20 people to assist a family in moving all of their household effects. We had a great time doing it together. That's absolutely what the Church is all about.

We don't even give a scrap of thought to salaries. Everyone on the local level has 1+ volunteer calling(s). They make their income independently. Our stake president is a doctor of psychology, director of his department for a local hospital. One of his counselors is a vet, the other an interior decorator for a national contractor for hotel companies across the nation. My bishop manages a surgical facility. One of his counselors is an elementary school principal, the other a principal in a nationwide architectural firm. No Mormon, unless a salaried professional for the Church, would dream of making an income from their ministerial duties. I'm a member of a high priest group in our ward. (To be continued)

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

My opinion is that Mitt Romney is possibly hoping to become president, but his true goal is probably much loftier. He likely considers spending millions of his own bucks more of a media contribution to the Church. After all, who in their right mind would want to be a conservative president, badgered to death by the media, and liberal special interest groups? President Gordon B. Hinckley challenged all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to double convert baptisms. Romney, in his own way, seems to have taken Hinckley seriously. Maybe the numbers won't double, but the media across the entire nation seems determined to keep the Church in the limelight, and will probably continue to do so for the next 12 months. I've been a member of the Church since 1955 (age 10), when membership was around 1M. Even now, with 13M, I've NEVER seen even 10% of the media attention that we're all witnessing now. It's spectacular!! We can also attribute an enormous amount of free publicity to these media "Comment" posting opportunities. Like this string, the bigoted anti-L.D.S. comments are so extremely negative and bizarre, it causes any intelligent reader to be even more curious. Most people in the U.S. have come into contact with at least a few members of the Church during their lifetime, and so they must wonder at how we could possibly believe or have membership in such a "corrupt" organization. When I lived in California, our ward was 12 city blocks X 12 city blocks. It was such a small geographic area, I could walk to home teach my families each month. With a much higher density of members in a state with about 1/5 of the nation's population, it's no wonder our missionaries have such astronomical success there. (To be continued in next posting)

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Our group leader is an accountant for a local jewelry store. One of his counselors is a security guard, the other an employee at a Walmart gas station.

Believe me, it's all quite a comforting feeling, belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church could never sustain its entire membership, but it does a pretty fair job helping people as needed.

Each family is counseled to do their best to try to maintain a year's supply of domestic essentials . . . toilet paper, food, water, etc. to take care of ourselves should we encounter any serious times of need (unexpected unemployment, natural disaster, etc.). We're also counseled to maintain a 72-hour kit (in a backpack for each family member) should there actually be some kind of disaster (home fire, S. California fire, Katrina, etc.). Our bishop will sometimes hold a meeting for all adult members to emphasize the need for these things. I can't imagine all members doing this, but many of us try. We had a major ice storm last year that shut our whole town down. We had one of those little hand-crank flashlights/radios, some candles, a bunch of firewood to feed our woodstove, plenty of food & a cheap 1-burner propane stove to heat canned stew. When we heard abt the storm coming, I filled the vehicles with gas. That's all we had to do, except go around & help other people in need, including non-Mormon neighbors.

It's pretty cool to belong to an organization that so completely has most bases covered, financially/domestically/spiritually. Something exciting is always happening. No one is ever even thinking about personal security.

Each unit is supposed to have a "called" employment specialist, also each stake. These folks often present seminars to members in need, and maintain a list of job openings gathered through other members. If I hear of a job opening at the University, I report it to our specialist. Through Mormon.org, available to anyone that has the internet, a global listing of employment opportunities is posted. People don't have to me members to access it. Contacts found there aren't necessariily members either.

The whole point of the Church, in this regard, is to lift human civilization. It's awesome!

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Here's a pretty interesting article that focuses on a major theme that contributes to the Mormon Church's solvency and, more particularly, to members' solvency and security: http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=f6b9f17aa4206110VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=f5f411154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD

A perfect example is the paternal family from which I extended. My paternal grandfather, born 1880, was a foolish fortune hunter & small-time gambler (poker). He would never allow his children to exceed 8th grade in school. Said they were needed at home to work the farm. He owned 2 beautiful farms free & clear that came to him by inheritance from my grandmother's parents. However, he spent most of his adult life traveling with other men throughout Idaho, Oregon and Canada in search of gold and leaving my grandmother behind to tend their children. Though baptized when a child, my family told me he never set foot in a Mormon Church (across the street from his farmhouse) until the day of his funeral. Rolled his own cigarettes, told a lot of jokes, kept the alcohol flowing. When the Great Depression came, he sold the farms and moved closer to the city and bought another farm. When he lost his job, he lost that farm. They were forced into a terrible neighborhood in the city, into renting a small apartment. He couldn't/wouldn't find a job, so he continued to gamble with money Grandma earned on graveyard shift plucking chickens in a factory. She outlived him by about 38 years, in poverty. None of their kids went on missions, one died of sclerosis at age 38. Almost all smoked. Many divorces, one married 4 times. Mostly losers.

To be continued ~

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ continued

Their oldest child escaped before all this happened, but the others were forced out. He lied about my dad's age, getting Dad into the Navy at age 16. At age 51, he was influenced by my nonmember mother and a good friend to return to the Church. At the time, he was bringing home about $450/mo. so we had very little. Because of the influence of the Church's teachings, his age and being surrounded by successful people, though he had no college education my father experienced the development of a successful career after that.

I left home at age 17, fulfilled a building construction mission for the Church until age 19. Though my parents knew nothing about a university, members influenced me to seek education which I did. I'm not well off, but I make $70-80,000/year at age 62. My adult children have all done their best to continue to work hard, to put themselves through college, some with scholarships. 3 have served missions & learned conversational foreign languages. Today, they are highly-successful people for these times, one a CPA, another will finish medical school. They have carefully & diligently followed the counsel admonished in the article above. Perhaps this story is much like many non-L.D.S. folks, but they had principles revealed by God to follow, and have dug out from something different than my grandfather's gold mines.

Yahoo News reported this morning that we may be cruising for another recession. Tough times may be ahead. Even if people don't join the Mormon Church, it would be well to learn the principles taught therein in preparation.

So, Powershopper, no coffers in the Mormon Church to fill like Scrooge McDuck. I've never heard of any.

badger 7 years, 1 month ago

When I was in high school, I started doing youth group activities with a friend's church. They were friendly, and welcoming, and kind, nice people all around. I was pretty messed up from my parents' divorce, and didn't have a lot of positive adult attention at that point in my life. Both youth group ministers took an active interest in me, talking to me about what I wanted to do with my life, how I could contribute to the world in a positive way, what I'd learned about relationships from watching my parents, that sort of thing. They gave me a bible and a book of Mormon, and told me that I could ask them any questions I had.

At one point they asked if I'd be interested in joining the church fully. I said no, my family'd freak out if I became a Mormon. They said no problem, they understood, and they hoped I'd keep coming to youth group stuff. I did for a couple more years till I graduated, and they never pressured me or even asked me again. Another student said something once, and the youth group leader reprimanded him, saying that I was welcome in whatever capacity I felt comfortable, and that he should spend more time focusing on the depth of his own spiritual commitment than on other peoples'.

It was because of experiences like this that when I did ultimately leave the Christian church completely, I can say without reservation that it was because I didn't believe in the teachings, not that I was working on an emotional response to the culture. I have a hard time reconciling some of the hateful things I'm reading here with the kind and welcoming people who helped me through a very difficult time in my life without taking spiritual advantage of me. They could very easily have put subtle pressure on me to indoctrinate me, pushed me gently to rebel against my family's dislike of Mormonism, or made my attendance at youth group functions, which was very important to me as I was new to the school and had almost no friends outside the group, contingent on membership. Instead, they helped me as much as they could, and when I was ready to move on they let me go without judgment or admonition.

Will Mitt Romney make a good President? I don't know, but if he doesn't I don't necesarily think it will be his faith that is the problem. People made a lot of the same arguments about Kennedy, that he was so beholden to the Pope that he wouldn't be able to govern, but we just like we shouldn't require outward professions of deep Christianity to consider someone moral, we also shouldn't reject someone simply on the basis of not liking his faith.

gr 7 years, 1 month ago

"I have a hard time reconciling some of the hateful things I'm reading here"

Yeah, some think being friendly, inviting people to activities, and showing an interest in people is un-Christian.

thomgreen 7 years, 1 month ago

Satirical: "It is nice to see that we live in a community that is so willing to go out on a limb to continue to persecute a discrete and insular minority....."

"The church reports a worldwide membership of 13 million[1][2] with approximately 6.7 million residing outside the United States. According to these statistics it is the fourth largest religious body in the United States."

Hardly a minority, when you're the fourth largest religious body in the U.S.

erod0723 (Anonymous) says:

"I must say that I am pretty impressed by the amount of Mormon trollers that came out for this article. If you look solely at the facts, of course you wouldn't believe the load of rubbish that Mormons and many other religious put out. Are the Mormons dangerous to the rest of America? Not really, but they are severely limiting freedoms in Utah. Personally, I could not believe in a religion with magic plates and magic underwear, but then again I'm pragmatic and realistic."

"Spiritual" wives are viewed by the government as single mothers, since they are not legally married. Thus they are afforded all the governmental help (welfare, etc...) a single mother should be. Is this not somewhat of a danger to our economy?

A good book to read is "Under The Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer. It provides some very informative history on Joseph Smith and the multiple fragments of the Church (LDS, RLDS, and FLDS).

janetgrant 7 years, 1 month ago

To Powershopper We are encouraged to tithe 10% of our gross income. This is not mandatory. As I said in an earlier posting, nothing is mandatory in the Church. We all are given the gift of agency to choose for ourselves. Tithing is not exclusively Mormon. The principal is taught in the Old Testament in Malachi 3:8-10. I pay a full tithe, not because someone says I should, but because it is a very good way to show my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all the blessings He has given me. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also has funds set up for helping the less fortunate of the Church and sometimes others not of our faith. Although we also have a Humanitarian Aid Fund which funds emergency aid all over the world. With regard to who receives the aid, our Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, said we should not ask their religion or ethnicity. We should only ask it they suffer. We sent massive amounts of aid to Peru after the earthquake and to Indonesia after the tsunami. We still have people in the Banda Aceh region constructing new homes for the displaced residents. Before Hurricane Katrina had even hit the coast at New Orleans, we had 14 semi trucks loaded with relief supplies rolling out of Salt Lake City toward New Orleans. Just a very few of the examples of aid that we provide. We also have a temple building fund and a missionary fund. Several years ago, the Church established a Perpetual Education Fund for impoverished students who have no means of gaining a higher education. The money is provided to the student to pay for all educational expenses. Then when they graduate and get good jobs they repay the money to the fund so that others can have the same opportunities to gain a hgher education. It has been such a blessing to many in Mexico, South America and Africa. I contribute to each of these funds every month along with my tithing funds..It is a joy to me to be able to help my fellow beings who are so deserving but do not have the resources to reach their full potential Thanks for asking. To Badger-- Thanks for sharing. So glad someone was there when you needed a helping hand. We are still here if you ever need us.

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 1 month ago

mormonism is at best a peculiar christian sect

That means nothing. Even the mainstream christian religions are peculiar. Papal infallibility? Drinking Jesus' blood and eating his flesh? Unbaptized babies go to "limbo"? Speaking in tongues? Yeah, that's real normal.

blackwalnut 7 years, 1 month ago

It appears this thread is nothing but a vehicle for Mormon church members to spam about their church. They aren't even people who contribute to these forums about any other issues.

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree BlackWalnut, in fact I will put you solely in charge of deciding who can post, when and what they can post-about, and the minimum number of posts required in order to reach a critical mass to discuss certain topics. Now that this law is in place we can reduce the annoying people who insist on defending minority groups that have been historically discriminated against. Now we can stop the spread of poison from those who defend homosexuals, African-Americans, and people who eat with chopsticks.

Cool: You still have not answered any of the questions in my previous post. You now call Mormons Christians, but still call them a "sect' and now call them "peculiar". It is obvious to everyone the reason you are resorting to name calling is to persecute Mormons. Who decides what is a sect? Are you the sole authority? Why do you call one church a sect and not another? B/c you think everyone else does? If some people agree on something they MUST be correct. Or is it because you view them as odd, so you feel it is OK to use a term with negative connotations to describe anything that is different to you? Are you so afraid of things that are different? I am sure you have a legitimate quest to enlighten others and have absolutely no ulterior motives in making other faiths appear unusual.

TomGreen: Yes, Mormons (6.3 million members in the U.S.) are a minority of the population in America. Just like Hispanics, even though they comprise the second largest racial group are a minority. And African-American, are a minority even though they comprise the third largest racial group.

What is so humorous is that those who are staunchly opposed Mormons are just making open-minded individuals wonder why they are so persecuted, which invites actual discussion.

badger 7 years, 1 month ago

blackwalnut:

I'm not a Mormon church member. I'm not even a Christian. I just wanted to balance some of the venom I see here with a positive experience with the church. I know many Mormons in Lawrence and other parts of the country, and they're all very nice, genuine, compassionate people. They've been a lot more accepting of my faith than a lot of Baptists and Methodists I've encountered, that's for sure - and a lot more open to the fact that I have faith than most atheists I've encountered. I figure that if the Mormons I know are going to be tolerant and supportive of my faith-based decisions, then it only makes sense for me to be tolerant and supportive of theirs. They certainly preach some unorthodox things, but I don't see that they're hurting anyone by believing as they do. This is, of course, excluding sects like the FLDS, who are not recognized by the Mormon church precisely because they do embrace harmful teachings.

thomgreen, do you have some statistics on exactly how many of these spiritual wives are currently living on welfare? Because if they're provably receiving support, then their welfare benefits will be adjusted, and if they've named the child's father on the birth certificate, then the state can go after him for child support and adjust their benefits. And if they've not named the father and aren't receiving any form of support, then they're no different from a Catholic or Presbyterian or Buddhist woman supporting her children on welfare.

davea0511 7 years, 1 month ago

Wow - these comments seem to reveal far more about the commenters than the article itself:

Raginbear, Blackwalnut, Coneflower, Marion, Cool - 5 Ardent anti-mormons who apparently have serious axes to grind and paint a picture that if true would make Utah the criminal capital of the world (incidentally, it has some of the lowest crime statistics in the world).

erod0723 - An anti-mormon who first poses as one who's clueless, asking leading questions for his anti-mormon freinds, who later joins in the foray.

RationalAnimal - Gives a great list showing the audacity of most Christian beliefs which these anti-Mormons espouse (like the Flood, and Garden of Eden), which beliefs are shared by Mormons as well.

Camper and Badger - Non-Mormons who are brave enough to admit that some of the best people they knew were Mormons. (People like this really torque-off Anti-Mormons).

Stevef_i - A mormon who somehow thinks Mitt is running for the church's sake.

Satirical - A mormon who's amused by the anti-Mormons and their creative wrestling of the english language and self-invented definitions to forward their anti-Mormon agenda.

Marion - A bizarre anti-religionist who apparently hates all religion unless it's a religion who's aim is to destroy the Mormon church.

I don't know why people seek out antimormons like these to answer their questions, as if they'll get more objective answers from those who obviously have an ax to grind. Kind of like finding about Isreal by asking Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Personally, I stick with what Christ said about the matter of wolves in sheep's clothing: not everyone who crieth "Lord, Lord" shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of the Father. I call this the divine litmus test, as it was Christ who proposed it. In this test I think Mormons as a whole fair quite well, statistically speaking.

That said, it doesn't matter anymore what the Mormon church teaches than, as was mentioned by another commenter, what the Catholic church teaches about transubstantiation. Mitt's track record proves that he is not running for Mormon-in-Chief. Similar to Harry Reid, he has NOT towed the Mormon party line in his political career. The diversity of political positions between Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch, and Mitt Romney prove the degree of independence of political though within the Mormon church and that the Church means it when it says it does not define political thought for it's constituents.

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

Dave, while your assessments of certain individuals may not be 100% accurate, I enjoy your summaries. It takes real intellectual might to read all this and summarize it the way you have.

erod0723 7 years, 1 month ago

davea, I wouldn't consider myself to be anti-mormon. I don't believe in organized religion as a whole, because I think the possibility for coerced thinking and suspension of science in favor of fancy notions to be rather absurd. I'm scientifically minded and I simply cannot find reason or rhyme in religion.

badger 7 years, 1 month ago

erod:

I, too, am scientifically minded. Perhaps it will help you to consider that there isn't supposed to be reason in religion. It exists to meet human society's need for things that exist outside of a logical and reasoned structure.

It's a generally accepted notion that things like hope provide a positive social benefit. However, there's not a lot of space for hope in a purely scientific or reason-based paradigm. Religion and faith exist outside of that paradigm and serve a necessary social need, though not a necessary individual need. They provide a space in which the irrational notions like hope or magic can coexist in the same reality as pragmatism and science without invalidating one another. There is a social value to the idea that things dreamed beyond reason can have worth, merit, and a reality of their own. But pure science reduces them to random neural firings and subconscious responses.

While a perfectly healthy individual can develop based only in science or only in faith, a healthy society needs both elements in tandem to be a balanced culture. Just because religious or faith-based structures have no value to you, that doesn't mean they have no value at all. By the same token, just because religious structures are important elements of society, I have no expectation that embracing them yourself would provide you any inherent benefit.

In other words, those who insist that religion is the only path to understanding the universe are just as misguided as those who insist science is, because both paths offer something relevant, depending on what the individual's needs and perspectives are.

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

Yeah erod0723, you definitely aren't anti-Mormon. I am sure when the discussion is about homosexuals you remark on all the Homo trollers that came out, in referring to people who defend their views. (erod - "Mormon trollers").

I also think the best way to convince people that their views are wrong is to mock, persecute, mis-categorize and make fun of their personal beliefs. (erod - "Personally, I could not believe in a religion with magic plates and magic underwear") I am sure you use this same tone when talking to Jews and Muslims.

I also agree that it is absurd to believe in anything that cannot be scientifically prove with 100% certainty, which is why I don't believe in love.

davea0511 7 years, 1 month ago

I might add, that I've offered the same opinions for discussions like this involving Jews, JWs, and a number of other grossly misrepresented religions. I'm all for objective criticism of any religion, but all too often I've seen a number of techniques used by those who wish to grind a personal ax who use innuendo, fringe doctrines, gross generalizations, personal interpretations, etc. Just earlier I blasted some Islam fundamentalist who said all Jews were pedophiles because the Talmud excuses pedophilia. Of course, closer evaluation of his claims proved to use these same techniques to support his bogus premise. I called his bluff and proved it with objective analysis of those Talmud verses, but it did no good. A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.

The techniques these anti-Mormons are doing here are no different.

Satirical 7 years, 1 month ago

Kudos to you Dave. Their tactics are pretty over used and obvious, but some people don' t recognize them, which is why I think it is good expose them for who and what they really are.

davea0511 7 years, 1 month ago

erod0723 -

You can't be anti-religion and not be anti-Mormon. Mormonism is a religion (despite whatever his bucket wants to call it). The Southern Baptist Convention even recently voted to allow it to be called a "new religion" instead of a "cult".

I find no fault in you disbelieving any kind of religion, but I find it quite another thing to crucify one's beliefs simply because you don't share them. Whether one is a Theist, Deist, or Atheist, it's all religion so far as I'm concerned. Can any of these be proved by science? No. Not even atheism (one would have to omniscient to prove the non-existence of anything - and omniscience is a god-like power).

People have frameworks of beliefs which help them understand and work with the world around them. That's religion. Newton thought everything was linear and governed by Newtonian laws. That was a religion. Those laws in fact were proven to be false but the provided a functional framework that worked as tools to help them make great scientific advancements. Just because his framework was faulty didn't mean it was worthless - it provided a very valid purpose. So it is will many religions be they based in temporal or spiritual evidences. They are constructs to explain the world. Some of the tenets of a religion may be true, or may be false, but if they provide a similarly valid purpose then they are not worthless.

And perhaps somewhere, somehow, it is also quite likely that many if not all the tenets of a religion or through a serious of religions just might turn out to be as valid as Newtonian and perhaps even Einsteinian physics. Now what's so unreasonable or absurd is that?

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Just got home from the office, & such a long day it was, to find that some of you must not even be employed for a living. Else where do you find this leisure time to keep the fire burning? Just had a graze, didn't read word-for-word, dinner's abt ready, so will make a few comments.

Powershopper ~ If we look at cost-benefit, it's dirt cheap. 10% of your gross is expected if you want to be a "card-carrier". No one looks at your income stmt, so it's all on one's own conscience. Then we're not required, but asked to give the est. cost of 2 meals per family member as we fast (go without eating) for 24 hours, which I have a hard time with because of low blood sugar. I do give what they ask for. On a donation slip, there are several other categories such as perpetual education, humanitarian aid, temple, ward missionary fund, church missionary fund, maybe something else I can't remember, and other. I feel pretty well-qualified to speak about these things as I served as a volunteer ward finance clerk for 4 years, & enjoy discussing the facts, although there are no secrets in the Church. If any member wanted to know how funds are spent on programs, we have an open book policy. However, when funds are spent to help individuals or families in need, these expenditures are strictly confidential. I've never donated funds to the miscellaneous categories as I've always felt that I've given the share I can afford. Once a year, we voluntarily participate in a private meeting between family & bishop called "tithing settlement" where each family member simply declares to bishop whether they are a "full", "part", or "exempt" tithing payer. It's no on else's business, although the clerk enters all the data. Every part of the process is considered strictly confidential, all password protected. Since everything is done by computers, the finance clerk produces a summary statement for bishop & member to review. A document is signed. A final report is produced by the clerk about 2 weeks later for income tax purposes. (To be continued)

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ continued

Where do these monies go? That's the most interesting thing to me. As clerk, & previously 3 times a bishopric member I've participated in the process hundreds of times. In the privacy of the clerk's office, the sealed envelopes are opened, money counted, amounts verified by 2 persons. The clerk then keypunches the amounts per category into a global computer system. When finished, one of the 3 persons telephones church headquarters in Salt Lake to report the summary. Finally, 2 of the persons go together in the same vehicle to the bank to make the deposit. No funds are ever stored at the church building (we call a chapel). No funds are EVER kept local. No one could ever withdraw funds from a bank account. ALL funds go to Salt Lake. Really peculiar, huh? Saves anyone even the remote possibility of theft.

We live in a ward of mostly younger families, some who are university students, or people just starting careers. We do have a few middle-aged & mature adult couples who probably contribute more than most. I remember one couple in their late 50s or 60s in whose envelope we'd always find 5-8 checks. For awhile, I wondered, but assumed they had some type of trust funds. The wife was an elementary school teacher, the husband at home with a disability. I would say, on the average, the total deposit would be in the $6,000 range. Surely if we lived in a wealthier part of the country, it could be far greater. In another part of the country, in the 1970s, I saw an architect contribute $14,000 in one check which caught my attention. Who could possibly imagine what someone like Bill Marriott must give.

Each ward (unit) of the church in the U.S. receives approximately the same dollar amount for its annual budget for activities. I believe ours is approximately $15,000. Most of the money goes for programs for teenagers. The balance could be for adult activities, small children (we call the organization the Primary), our women's organization (Relief Society), or adult priesthood quorums (the lowest of the low :) that perhaps get a budget of $75/year to spend on refreshments for a couple of socials). (To be continued)

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ continued

So, now you must be wondering how we pay for all other expenses. For most churches, the building/facility is likely the major expense, besides salaries. I doubt that any local member cares in the least, but I believe some of our general authorities not independently wealthy, receive some kind of salary to live on. If we examine the resumes of most, we would learn very quickly that most have had highly-successful careers, & are well enough off. It is widely-known that President Hinckley was given a private jet to fly about the globe as needed. Most general authorities do an enormous amount of travel, though all of our conferences have been conducted by satellite for years. When they visit at a stake conference, they often stay in the homes of members of the host stake presidency. We don't see the leaders of our church throwing money around. The church offices are filled with many professional staff (architects, building maintenance gurus, probably accountants, public relations people, etc. who are paid salaries.

Let's examine the building thing. The Church has a number of approved architectural plans from which local authorities can choose. Construction bids are open to any local contractors. Once completed, a church is paid-for in full prior to dedication & use by local members. So, there's never any debtservice, or mortgage interest to locals. The nation is divided into regions, each of which has a salaried director of building maintenance and salaried people who work for this specially-trained person, driving a pick-up truck in a route to solve major maintenance problems (HVAC, refinishing gym floors, replacing stage drapes, roofing, carpet, etc.). No local unit pays for any of these expenses. Every part of such a facility should be kept looking like new. You must understand also that any building can house up to 3-4 different geographical congregations. Once a unit reaches something like 600 members in population, a stake presidency will draw new boundaries & split one unit into 2 or sometimes do some different combining between units to come up with maybe 3 new units. Mormons may miss sitting in meetings with long-time friends, but there's also a bit of excitement to see the church grow in a town. So, with 3-4 different bishops operating in the same building, there are also 3-4 different sets of bishops & clerks offices. (To be continued)

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ continued

They are used as classrooms until a time of expansion. Each unit is simply on a different schedule, so the buildings are typically occupied all day on Sundays. Bishops annually rotate being agents for maintenance, among other tasks. The agent bishop will hire a local member to be custodian of the chapel, salaried by Salt Lake. Perhaps 3-4 families in the different wards are asked to assist with light cleaning (foyer door windows, mopping bathrooms, checking the sanctuary for any litter, emptying waste into a parking lot dumpster, mopping entryways, vacuuming hallways) each Saturday morning which takes about an hour. It can be a lot of fun for a family, saves money, and gives us pride in our beautiful facilities. Other than the chapel being a special facility dedicated to God, Mormons really place very little emphasis on buildings as perhaps other "sects" may. We have no concern for building expenses. If a building needs a new roof, an addition, remodeling, all of that is taken care of by Salt Lake.

The other major issue is salaries for local church leaders. There are none! We view this perhaps differently than other denominations. Personally, I would be absolutely offended if I thought any local authority were being paid with funds that should be spent to help people in need! In fact, I could challenge their membership if I discovered them taking even one penny. Something to do with "robbing God" in the Bible. I served as a stake high councilor for 5 years, and was offered mileage for my visits to different units sometimes 2-1/2 hours drive one-way, but I guess I always felt that I accepted that "calling", & whatever went with it.

All lesson manuals are provided to all members at no cost to members. My children participate in more activities than I want or expect. The boys have been Scouts, & the Church pays for all their annual dues. Sometimes they have garage sales, but often the Church outright buys equipment for them. They are expected to pay for summer camp, but sometimes the Church will pay for needy kids. (To be continued)

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ continued

The big kick is that, as finance clerk, I couldn't tell you how often I wrote checks for needy families' groceries, rent, utilities, phone bills, car payments, insurance, continuing education tuition. The bishop makes all decisions as to the recipients, & the checkbook is "open" from Salt Lake. No max on how many checks I wrote each Sunday, & it could sometimes exceed the average $6,000 in donations. These funds come from the amount generated by members fasting for those 24 hours/month.

We have between 50-60,000 full-time missionaries throughout the world at all times now. They are either young men and women, or retired couples. The larger % are financially self-supporting. Our son who went to Ecuador worked 2-3 part-time jobs for several teen years until he had abt $14,000 in the bank. We have NEVER tried to influence our children to go on missions. It has been of their own choice. When he was just abt to go, a wealthy member stepped forward to pay for his whole mission! We put the $14,000 into a CD for him until he returned. All young people go on proselyting missions. Retired couples may served proselyting or humanitarian service (ESL, farming, family history/genealogy, etc.) missions, depending on the call they receive. If a young person is from a needy family, the Church will always step in & pay for an entire mission, which today costs abt $400/month on the average.

I once heard that Bill Marriott offered to pay for the entire construction of the Washington, D.C. Temple in the `70s. It was at that time that the Church created the "Temple" category on the donation slip. The Church does not allow any individual to pay for any whole facility, but insists that the costs be shared. All of that is confidential, and for good political reason.

The Humanitarian Aid funds go for major relief projects such as Katrina, recent fires in S. California, irrigation projects in Africa, earthquake victims in Latin America, etc., to members & nonmembers alike. (To be continued)

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ continued

Perpetual Education goes mostly to young people in developing nations to assist them with digging themselves out of poverty. Ordinarily, they are asked to replenish the funds they absorbed once they are in a good position to do so.

The general tithing fund is said to pay for: 1) temple construction, genealogy & family history, 2) mission needs, 3) education, probably the manuals, but also for teenage seminaries (usually the kids meet at about 6 a.m. for an hour each weekday to study scriptures, history), university/college institutes (college-level religious study & social activities, probably similar to the Baptist Student Union associated with the campus where I'm employed), & building & subsidizing church-owned universities, 4) the church welfare system (canneries, farms, storage houses, again to assist the needy. I'm certain a good portion of the tithing funds must go into major high-yield investments such as communications, valued beef & fruit farms, etc. to keep the cash flow building.

I kind of laugh to myself, however, when I hear that the Church is a very wealthy organization as some bigots use against the Church. I couldn't count the number of times I've volunteered at tomato, salmon, beef, apricot, etc. canneries to can food or hoe beets, etc. in large crews of members to help hungry people around the planet. And, it's so much fun to be doing it all with friends. These people somehow want everyone to imagine that someone is getting all this money for themselves. No one that I know of is, & I've been a member for more than 40 years. I've been involved living in several towns from N. to S. California, Texas, Utah, Washington, Missouri, Alaska, New York. My thoughts are, "Sorry folks, it's all about work!" And, it's just waiting here for you, if you decide to join.

I consider myself to be semi-intelligent. I could never imagine belonging to any organization from which I even imagined anyone skimming profits off to themselves, especially a church. It's not any minister's church, but God's church. The funds are to be wisely managed and spent for His purposes only. (To be continued)

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ continued

Without any doubt, if I ever needed assistance, right there it would be at my feet. Our 20 year-old daughter was killed in a tragic car wreck last year. Had mostly L.D.S. friends supplemented the insurance and savings she had not paid for everything, our bishop would have been right at our beckoning to assist financially as needed. I'm sure many churches provide the same, but I'm guaranteed that it's there when I need it. I'm thankful that we have a living Prophet and Apostles to guide the Church's fiscal policies. It's a great feeling to be associated with success!

Well, Powershopper, that was a little more than you bargained for, but you got the answer you deserved. I sincerely appreciate the polite way you asked the question, & I thoroughly enjoy answering good questions.

Logging out for the evening . . .

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

Powershopper ~ more on finance

No local unit even pays the utilities bill for a church/chapel. No bills are paid for anything on facilities. Such a contrast to other churches that sometimes even split congregations over facility disputes between board members. I teach a university class at a local "Christian" church facility, have for 20 years. It's the 3rd largest in its "sect" in our town. Several years ago, devastatingly, its congregation's board had such a dispute. It nearly crippled that church, financially. Currently, they have a new board, & in the last 3 months all the facility policies have changed. They fired 3 low-cost ("Indian", maybe $20,000/yr. people) staff members & now have no more "Indians" but instead 2 chiefs (looks like $60-70,000/yr.) who walk around the building telling contractors what to do.

One day, I eavesdropped on part of a seminar being taught by a consultant to several ministers at this church. He was working a PowerPoint presentation on how to beef tithing up from 2%/year. Mormons concern themselves with none of these matters. No one would dream of talking abt beefing up tithing. No local unit would see themselves as benefiting from it because the tithing funds don't stay local.

Missionaries dine at members' homes pretty much every day. Few have cars unless they are working in very rural units with large geographical areas. Most ride bikes or walk. Missionaries attend periodic conferences held by mission presidents. We sometimes see a fleet of new compact cars in the parking lot of our stake center, so we know what's happening. While the missionaries are inside the building for training, regional church mechanics are conducting maintenance on their vehicles. The church probably keeps these vehicles for 2-3 years, & then replaces them with new.

JLF 7 years, 1 month ago

COOL makes a good point when he said " the only way to reach the heavenly father ? not quite. IF, Mr. Smith can have a vision so can six billion other people ! let's get real "

  1. COOL says: "the only way to reach the heavenly father ?" Unstated in this comment is that only Mormons can go to heaven. That is not true. A fundamental tenent of LDS theology is that every human being born on this earth will have an equal and honest opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and be able to accept or reject it. While on the other side of the veil (meaning after death) missionaries are appointed to go these people and preach the gospel. They can have the saving ordinances of the Gospel, such as baptism, performed for them vicariously here on earth. That is what Mormons do in temples. God loves all his children. To say that only those who accepted Christ while on earth could be saved is not the mark of a loving God. He has made provisions for all his children.

  2. Cool also says: "IF, Mr. Smith can have a vision so can six billion other people". You are exactly right. Every human being can have the truth of the gospel confirmed to him or her directly from God. While face-to-face encounters are very rare, the manifestation of the Holy Ghost happens thousands of times every day. I can assure you that to those who receive that assurance, it is just as real.

Thanks for the input COOL

JLF 7 years, 1 month ago

Such things as bitterness, resentment, and hostility come from dalliances on the dark side of life. They may come from direct experience or from being taught a way to view things not understood. However, honest disagreement is usually presented by our friends who disagree with us with requests for such things as sources or more information. Conclusions are stated without defaming us or our point of view. LDS people are used to answering honest questions. But we are also used to being rebuffed and verbally abused by those who do not understand and wish only to pontificate or profane. It goes with the territory. But our testimony remains the same. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the the living God. He is our Saviour and the only way by which all mankind can return to God. Joseph Smith did, as a young boy, in fact, see God and Christ and re-established Christ's original church. That every human being will have an equal and honest opportunity to hear the Gospel and decide for him or herself whether to accept or reject it. That God speaks to his children today through the mouth a prophet just has he did in old testament times. That Christ has again called apostles just as He did during His earthly ministry. That the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and proves the truthfulness of the bible. That everyone who desires to find out if this work is as we claim, or is a big lie, can find out for him or herself without the need to have someone tell them one way or another.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

See what I mean guys? Check this out . . . http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/national/2007/11/01/qa-elder-m-russell-ballard-on-the-mormon-way.html All this anti-Mormon & Evangelical Christian stuff has REALLY caused the media to pick up on our Church. I could never imagine an apostle of the Church getting such awesome coverage in a national mag like this had it not been for all the flurry. This particular apostle is a great grandson of Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, both murdered by a mob that stormed the Carthage, Illinois jail in 1844. All we as a church can do is say "thank-you". Keep it up! It's awesome!!!!

JLF 7 years, 1 month ago

Cool Again, thanks. You have touched on an element not discussed here or many other pieces I have read recently outside of LDS theological circles. Mormon belief is that Christ's authentic religion existed on the earth from the bigining. It did not begin with His advent. It, the priesthood, was given to Adam directly by God. In fact, Adam was the first prophet. We also believe Jesus is Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament. So if God's eternal religion existed on the earth from the beginning then it only makes sense that some of the things we believe today found their way into other religious traditions. God's eternal religion didn't change, men corrupted it. Just as Christs' church apostatized after the death of the apostles, It must be that others who made contact with religious traditions around the world took aspects of the gospel abroad as well. Without the authentic priesthood they too morphed into a tradition shaped by the machinations of men and the politics of their day just as did historical Christianity in the west.

Allow me to editorialize a bit here. Historical Christianity has divided into about 1200 different denominations. There are something in the order of 25 different versions of the bible. Each denomination believes they are right in their peculiar version just as each publisher of the various bible versions believe theirs is correct. Yet each is different in that they agree with their fellows on some things but disagree on others. Essentially, the machinations of men have entered into the worship of God changing what went before in order to appeal to a new constituency. So we can see the principle at work. It is as old as the world itself. Keep up the comments Cool. You are a terrific resource.

Ceallach 7 years, 1 month ago

Wow, so many posts, so little time. I've been sick and only just decided to see what had been going on for the last 1.5 weeks!

Pardon me if this book has been mentioned, I couldn't make it through every word of the thread . . . a very well documented book of Mormon Church history is, "One Nation Under Gods," by Richard Arbanas. Reliable sources are cited including newspaper articles, journals and court records from the period. I am about half way through the book and find it hard to put down.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

It would be more important to spend your time reading the Book of Mormon. It may save your life.

JLF 7 years, 1 month ago

Ceallach Yep. These can be very interesting subjects depending on how they are presented. Most of the "tell-all" books usually do so without providing proper framework and they often take things out of context. Without a proper foundation it can seem surreal. None of it however is secret. That is why we suggest everyone read the Book of Mormon first. But if it as we claim, the revealed word of God, you can't understand it or appreciate what you are reading without the help of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise it can all sound too far out. But once one has read the B of M and sincerely seeks God's assistance in understanding it, you will find that what God has revealed is an endless library of information. And there is even more that has not been revealed. The key is to read the B of M first though.

JLF 7 years, 1 month ago

Friends I wish we had a time and place where we could all sit down and learn about all the things God will tell us if we just ask. He is our father. We know Him and He knows us intimately. And like every good father He wants us to be like Him. He wants to tell us everything He knows and everything He has done. He wants to open the windows of Heaven and shower us with knowledge. He wants to re-introduce us to his other children who have gone before us. But, we came here knowing that we would have to learn first things first. To tell us more now than we can accept makes us accountable for that knowledge but not yet ready for the responsibility that goes with it. We are accountable for what we know. The more we are given the more is expected from us. So, learning all the things in these books can be a curse or a blessing. It is more than just amusement. You are entering into an area where you are accountable for what you do with His knowledge. If you treat it lightly you may never get a chance to learn more or even understand and appreciate what you already have. Do you remember the parable in the bible of the men with the talents? Before you go any further in the book mentioned above read the B of M so you can understand what you are reading there. This is a milk before meat thing. I promise you that after reading the B of M you have an entirely different take on these other books. They are not what they seem at first blush.

stevef_i 7 years, 1 month ago

JLF ~ Thanks for your last 2 messages. It seems we must have just exhausted them. I feel it of utmost importance to provide some sound education on misconception. There might just be someone out there who is listening. These folks are giving us some pretty unusual opportunities.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.