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tonight on PBS "The Mormons"
Posted: 30 April 2007 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I don't know if it will be a white-washed version, but it's worth a look.  Tonight on PBS

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Posted: 30 April 2007 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I’m watching this as I write this and as a historical lesson am glad I am.  The history of the Mormons is as whacked as any other religious group’s, and compares to the Judaism, early Christianty, and Islam in how it started by a prophet whose followers were persecuted and fled.  I should be taking notes because I can’t keep track of the the questions, comparisons, and general b.s. associated with the religion.

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Posted: 01 May 2007 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I didn’t get to watch it yet, hope its better than PBS’ whitewash of Islamic history in “Empire of Faith”

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Posted: 01 May 2007 03:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“Skipshot”]I’m watching this as I write this and as a historical lesson am glad I am.  The history of the Mormons is as whacked as any other religious group’s, and compares to the Judaism, early Christianty, and Islam in how it started by a prophet whose followers were persecuted and fled.  I should be taking notes because I can’t keep track of the the questions, comparisons, and general b.s. associated with the religion.

Not that I am the end all be all authority on Mormonism, but I am very interested in what kinds of questions this presentation generated for you.  I care deeply about the responses and reactions public exposure to Mormonism causes.  I did not get to watch this but from what I heard, it had a slant to it.  Par for the historical course.

Nogs

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Posted: 01 May 2007 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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I’ve mentioned before that my wife is Mormon (LDS if you like).  She and I watched the program.  I thought that the information presented was done in a fair manner.  My wife was not thrilled about some of the history she did not know about, Joseph’s many (and ultra young) wives (because it’s not well known in Mormonism that Joseph was even polygamist), the Mountain Meadows Mass, etc.  She was quite taken back by all the bankruptcy and failed business ventures Joseph have, as well as the money digging and pep-stone in a hat.  She had herd it from me before, but that was it.  I think the cog dis set in.  She seemed pissed, but laughed about it today with her Mormon family members.

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Posted: 01 May 2007 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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good for your wife!  She needs to have seeds like this help her become more grounded in reality.. now, to go against my better judgement, I shall quote a pertinant book of mormon scripture for her:

From the book of Alma 32: 28
  28 Now, we will compare the [PBS broadcast] unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the [broadcast], behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

Hey, we can only hope—eh?

Noggin

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Posted: 01 May 2007 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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I was simply amazed by the ridiculousness of Joseph Smith.  Almost all religious stories are ridiculous, but this is recently ridiculous.  We’ve got very good history as to how ridiculous it is. 

Some of my favorite craziness:

He got Golden tablets written in hieroglyphics?  Only he could translate them with his special decoder rock, that he also used to find gold?  And instead of keeping the tablets for evidence, he returned them to the woods???

God revealed to him that the Garden of Eden was in…...  Missouri????  Really, are you sure it’s Missouri?  Because I know of much nicer places on earth than Missouri.

How can any normal person take this crap seriously?  I understand if you are born into it, but how can you be converted?!?  He’s clearly full of crap and his story just plain sucks!

That he actually got people to believe him would be hilarious if he didn’t drag so many people to their deaths.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 02:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“Montevideo”]My wife was not thrilled about some of the history she did not know about, Joseph’s many (and ultra young) wives (because it’s not well known in Mormonism that Joseph was even polygamist).

This seems a little unusual to me, since I recall having heard about his polygamy for many years. Are Mormons kept that insulated from the murmurings that go on, out in the world?


I watched the final program tonight on my laptop (with the help of my nifty new $70 WinTV broadcast TV thingie, that only requires a USB port), and the one thing that stood out was the (albeit heartwrenching) wishful thinking that got expressed. Not to mention the elitist stance. Did you note how they expressed regret that their church has become more mainstream now, less feared than it was a hundred years ago? They took pains to mention that it seemed to sort of make them less “special”, since they believe they perform very important and “unique” duties for God.


I mean, wtf??? Isn’t the whole idea of Mormonism to convert EVERYONE? But apparently they’re a little disappointed that so many people have been brought onboard.


And then there was the wishful thinking. . . it was just dripping off them. I admit to understanding the appeal. . . they want to reunite with their loved ones again, they want their marriage to last ‘forever’, so these vows they take, and the mantras they chant, make them believe they’re reciting these vows for an eternity. I don’t blame them for longing—we all want ‘forever’, in some sense—but I do blame anyone teaching them that wishful thinking amounts to reality.

I also got the willies over the woman who said that the husband spoke of finding “them” a new wife, not just a wife for him.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 02:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I don’t know much about the LDS religion. Christopher Hitchens’ new book has a section on Joseph Smith (http://www.slate.com/id/2165033/) that reminds me of L. Ron Hubbard.

When the Equal Rights deadline expired in 1982,  the states that rejected it were all in the Old South or the West, except for Illinois. I read that these Western states were dominated by the Mormons. Would this be true for Nevada and Arizona as well as Utah? Are the LDS doctrines as extreme as the fundamentalist doctrines, particularly toward women?

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Posted: 02 May 2007 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“Teddy”]
He got Golden tablets written in hieroglyphics?

ahem… it’s called reformed egyptian. Reformed egyptian has never been found anywhere on the planet.

  Only he could translate them with his special decoder rock,

they call it a seerstone

that he also used to find gold?

buried ancient treasures all throughout the hills and dales of upstate New York, yep.  Never found even one treasure but was convicted of “glass looking” (using a seer stone to divine hidden objects) by a certain Judge Neeley in 1826, precisely 18 months before he claimed to have found the golden plates of Nephi and his people’s historical account of the americas… incredibly just a mile or so from his home.  Judge Neeley is reported to have given Smith “leg bail” which sort of meant he was banned from ever going into that province because of his less than scrupulous character.

  And instead of keeping the tablets for evidence, he returned them to the woods???

no you see, he claimed that if anyone but him looked at the plates of gold, the angel would kill them.  Until later on he changed that and had eleven cronie witnesses sign an affidavit that he had written stating that they had seen the plates via an angel:

Testimony of the 3 witnesses:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Oliver Cowdery
David Whitmer
Martin Harris

Testimony of the 8 witnesses separate accounting:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
Christian Whitmer
Jacob Whitmer
Peter Whitmer, Jun
John Whitmer
Hiram Page
Joseph Smith, Sen
Hyrum Smith
Samuel H. Smith

God revealed to him that the Garden of Eden was in…...  Missouri????  Really, are you sure it’s Missouri?  Because I know of much nicer places on earth than Missouri.

Yes, and Smith discovered oddly organized piles of rocks while exploring the locality one day and informed all in his company that these rocks were sacred altars wherein Adam and Eve offered burnt offerings/sacrifices to god.  Smith claimed to know how to speak the Adamic language and received a revelation that revealed the location of the altars was called in Adam’a day Adam Ondi Ahman  We used to speak the Adamic language in the temples until they banned that in 1990.  about ten of us would circle the temple altars with our hands raised high above our heads, dressed in the robes of the holy preisthood of god and proclaim loudly in unison

Pay Lay Ale!  Pay Lay Ale!  Pay Lay Ale!

which, in the Adamic tongue means

Oh God, Hear the words of my mouth!

Not kidding.  Since they took that and many more of the most disturbing oddities out of the temple ceremony, my still active wife never had to do that.  She did not got to the temple until after 1990.  So she is very much insulated from the more wacky parts.  Mormonism has changed a lot the last two decades to a more kinder gentler user friendly Mormonism.

How can any normal person take this crap seriously?

Friend, it is easier than you can imagine.  I am responsible for bringing over 30 people into Mormonism myself when I used to go out recruiting on a full time basis.  Right around 250,000 people convert to Mormonism each year alone!  They claim to be one of the fastest growing religions on the planet.

I understand if you are born into it, but how can you be converted?!?

I did a thread on it over on Dawkins just last week.  I explained much of the conversion process, shall I retrieve it?

http://www.richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13294&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=40

I am all over that thread but the explanation I am referring to can be found on page 3 about half way down.

He’s clearly full of crap and his story just plain sucks!

Well, of course.  But if it was so easy to see, why are people joining it.  The missionaries explain only the milk doctrines and rarely get into the meat doctrines (old time polygamy, kolob, you too can be a god, etc).  But over all, the LDS faith “works” for people.  One of the main reasons for the changes in 1990 to the more bizarre temple ceremony was because new converts were going through and leaving the church more and more because they just could not stomach that This was god’s revealed church. 

Mia writes:

Montevideo wrote:
My wife was not thrilled about some of the history she did not know about, Joseph’s many (and ultra young) wives (because it’s not well known in Mormonism that Joseph was even polygamist).

This seems a little unusual to me, since I recall having heard about his polygamy for many years. Are Mormons kept that insulated from the murmurings that go on, out in the world?

You did?  I knew about Brigham Young but only found out that Smith had 24 wives documented by Salt Lake City (and some of them married to other men at the same time) until after I got home from serving a full time 2 year mission.  That hurt.  I felt lied to.  Two or three of Smith’s brides were 15 and 16 year old girls.  Trouble is, no one can find any children born to any of Smith’s wives so people in the church declare that Smith married them in principle only and never consumated.  I don’t buy that because Smith taught Brigham Young what polygamy was all about and Young had a brood of children from his wives.  So either Young apostasized from what Smith intended, or Smith was in free fall sexual bliss all the while but was sterile.  Trojan wasn’t a household name back then.  My personal hypothesis on the No Smith Children From Polygamy is that he became sterile via the multiple beatings he suffered at the hands of angry mobs who tarred and feathered him, beating him senseless on at least three documented occasions.  A swift kick to the groin or two is extremely capable of making a man sterile.  I meant to study the birth records of his first wife, Emma, to see if, post 1830, he had any children with her which would indicate my theory is flawed (not sterile) but never got around to that.

Did you note how they expressed regret that their church has become more mainstream now, less feared than it was a hundred years ago? They took pains to mention that it seemed to sort of make them less “special”, since they believe they perform very important and “unique” duties for God.

That sounds really wierd, Mia.  There has been a huge push from the current prophet Hinckley to become chameleonesque… no more bible bashing sessions to prove “we” are the True Church, it is imperative that “we” go out and do service projects in the community side by side with the other churches… we too are christians just like you… can’t we all just get along? type mentality.

I mean, wtf??? Isn’t the whole idea of Mormonism to convert EVERYONE? But apparently they’re a little disappointed that so many people have been brought onboard.

Oh that is the agenda, sure, and a force of 60,000 young men and women serving missions on their own dime 24/7 assures that Mormons are actively pursuing their agenda to convert every last soul.  Mormon doctrine states that one day

every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that [the Mormon Jesus] is their lord and savior

And then there was the wishful thinking. . . it was just dripping off them. I admit to understanding the appeal. . . they want to reunite with their loved ones again, they want their marriage to last ‘forever’, so these vows they take, and the mantras they chant, make them believe they’re reciting these vows for an eternity. I don’t blame them for longing—we all want ‘forever’, in some sense—but I do blame anyone teaching them that wishful thinking amounts to reality.

It’s wishful thinking to us, but absolute iron clad reality to them.  Mia, here is what we need to do.  click here:

http://lds.org/conference/sessions/display/0,5239,49-1-690,00.html

indulge me.  click on any of the speeches and listen for 10 minutes to the oozing conviction emanating.  Realize that every single word these men say are considered as sacred pearls used to guide one’s life choices.  These words are nothing less than holy scripture to the faithful Mormon. 

If you have not listened to how sure they are about their message and exclusivity claim, it is something you should place on your list of things to do before you die wink  I am talking about the inflections of voice tone, the seriousness of the delivery, the repetetive “I know X is true” and “I testify that X is true” statements in every speech, the shaky wavering emotion laden crying as the spirit washes over them.  Rare will you see pulpit pounding.  It’s all touchy feely emoting in Mormonism and if you have not experienced, you really cannot understand how the conversion and reindoctrination mechanism works 100%.

I also got the willies over the woman who said that the husband spoke of finding “them” a new wife, not just a wife for him.

yes, community property.  It’s revulsing and repulsive.  When I was still faithful, and I began to delve into polygamy by reading first hand diary accounts of the women… I frequently recoiled in horror at the neglect, abuse, and overall 2nd citizen classification.  In the end, I concluded:

This form of marriage is in no way shape or form any resemblence to “holy”

Teddy Posted: Tue May 01, 2007 9:35 pm   Post subject: 

————————————————————————————————————————

I was simply amazed by the ridiculousness of Joseph Smith. Almost all religious stories are ridiculous, but this is recently ridiculous. We’ve got very good history as to how ridiculous it is.

We do have that.  But, see, the church employs “professionals” called apologists who are paid to explain how some certain historicity is really not all that wacky and enemies of the church are just trying to destroy.  The arguments go on and on.  Sometimes taking so many twists and turns that the average Mormon not versed in apologetics or critical thinking finally gives up trying to decipher it all.  These apologists are genius status, extremeley intelligent chaps and after a few paragraphs of explanation, the average guys is left to conclude

hey, if this complete genius world wide published PHD thinks there is no problem with the lack of semetic DNA anywhere in south america.. then I’ll just trust him and go with the flow.. I can’t understand what he is writing here anyhow… and it is prophesied that Satan will decieve many in the last days prior to Jesus’ 2nd coming so of course this is just falling right in line with all that… and besides, the church works for me and teaches me to be a good person, husband, father etc… blah blah.

Gotta run

Nogs

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Posted: 02 May 2007 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Noggin…..  I’m more enthralled (and horrified) the more I learn from both the PBS show and your personal insight.  Trust me, most Americans know hardly anything about Mormonism.  Hopefully this PBS special opens some eyes.  I’ll check out your posts on the Dawkins forum about the conversion process.

Here are some more things I’d love to get your take on:

-Mormon’s violent and nomadic history. I had never heard of the Mormon massacre of the Arkansas settlers. I had no idea that the Mormons fought against militias in Missouri and Illinois. It seems everywhere that Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young took their church, they became ostracized and unwanted, leading to violent conflict.  Do Mormon’s embrace this or deny it?

-Do you think Joseph Smith knew he was conning people with his “revelations” or was he completely delusional? Or possibly it started as a con, and then he began to believe his own lies?  I guess I mistakenly expected a higher level of skepticism from this era of Americans.

-Polygamy -  Ironically the Church now says that the polygamists are isolated extremists. The whole religion began as an extremist sect that could only function when completely isolated from society!

And whats with the secondary “revelation” that said polygamy was no longer required??  Do Mormons seriously believe in prophets after Smith?

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Posted: 02 May 2007 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“Mia”]Did you note how they expressed regret that their church has become more mainstream now, less feared than it was a hundred years ago? They took pains to mention that it seemed to sort of make them less “special”, since they believe they perform very important and “unique” duties for God.


I mean, wtf??? Isn’t the whole idea of Mormonism to convert EVERYONE? But apparently they’re a little disappointed that so many people have been brought onboard.

This is a problem with any kind of elitist thinking. Consider this, have you ever liked a band, a book, or a TV show that no one else was hip to? Perhaps you saw them as something special, a unique treasure that only you could understand.

And then they hit the mainstream.

Suddenly they don’t seem so special to you. Sure, you still like them, but they are no longer special. It just becomes another band, book, TV show.

Now, put this in the context of a religion. You’ve spent your whole life hearing how special you are, and how special your ancestors were for being the first to believe this message.

Then come the poseurs.

Got to be hard to see yourself as special when everyone around you is special, too.

You can see this in the Bible, where the Jews seem to spew vitriol on the Samaritans. The Samaritans were seen as Jewish imitators, a people trying to draw the Jewish air of uniqueness upon themselves. No wonder it was said that “nothing good came out of Samaria.”

Or Think of Hertz. They spent so long being number 2, that they became number 1. How do you convince people that you still try harder when you’ve already won?

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Posted: 03 May 2007 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“Teddy”]Noggin…..  I’m more enthralled (and horrified) the more I learn from both the PBS show and your personal insight.

I hope I am not inciting riots with my commentary wink 

Mormons are normal people who believe abnormal things that are considered by most humans, extreme or fringe and even a disconnect with reality.  We all know Religion is a powerful opiate that way.

Here are some more things I’d love to get your take on:

-Mormon’s violent and nomadic history. I had never heard of the Mormon massacre of the Arkansas settlers. I had no idea that the Mormons fought against militias in Missouri and Illinois. It seems everywhere that Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young took their church, they became ostracized and unwanted, leading to violent conflict.  Do Mormon’s embrace this or deny it?

The Mountain Meadows Massecre is an awful blight on Mormonism.  The faithful completely deny (surprise!) Brigham Young’s involvement with the blood bath.  I still shake my head that Mr. Lee took the fall and was executed like that.

Did you know that Joseph Smith had his own militia?  It was reported to have been a 2 to 3000 man militia that practiced drilling and marching all through the towns that the Mormons would move into.  Fawn Brodie writes a pretty fair accounting of all of this in her book, No Man Knows My History. 

It was a different time back then as we no longer see militias as mainstream.  I know there are Idaho militias but what I am saying is that religious/ political militias no longer surface the way that Smith organized his in 1840.

Imagine you and your neighbors peacefully living in your Missouri town for decades.  Life is good, there are some problems but nothing that you can’t overcome.  Then, over the course of a year your little town of 2000 people is doubled in size practically overnight.  Who the hell are these mormons?  Where did they come from?

Then the worm turns when the local elections reveal Mormon candidates and what’s this… block voting…  the Mormons all vote the same.  With Mormon majority vote, this translates into Mormon mayors, officials, sherriffs, etc.  Which then translates into all sorts of LDS supported policy.  In due time, the town changes notably and this does not sit well with the Non Mormons.  Particularily when the head Mormon, Mr. Smith publicly orates about his impending theocracy and intent to convert America and then the entire world to Mormonism.  I mean, what would you do if that was your town?

The original citizens become enraged and a few towns gather together and kick them out.  They burn their homes, their crops, pillage their wives and make life a living hell for the Mormons.  Kind of sad, but you would think that Smith would get the idea the first time it happened to his flock.  But sadly, no.  This happened three times that I can recall the way I remember the history.  When they got kicked out of one province, they descended upon the next and repeated the scenario only to get kicked out again.  Finally, they moved west to Salt Lake to escape the persecutions alltogether… after Smith was shot dead by a rushing mob of angry citizens who discovered that Smith was married to several women at once and encouraging his upper echelpn cadre of supporters to do the same.  All they could see in Smith’s eutopia was sheer and utter unchecked madness that would subsume everything around them if someone did not put a stop to it.  So they went to cut the head of the snake off… at a jail named Carthage in Illinois.

Strong evidence suggests that Smith had himself crowned king of the entire earth a few months prior to his death.  That too was exposed for all to read in the newspaper, The Nauvoo Expositor.  Mormons hotly debate whether or not Smith was crowned king of the earth, I sit on the sidelines on that… but you know, I would not put it past the man.

Speaking of persecution.  That is exactly how it is portrayed in the Mormon history books.  I grew up with stories about how the Missouri mobs were so cruel and unjust and Satan stirred up their hearts and filled them with rage for no apparant reason… but that the Mormons were the true church on earth and Satan wanted to destroy it before it had a chance to take root and flourish.  I grew up thinking,

Don’t mess with Illinois or Missouri… those are filled with very mean and hateful people who kill you if you are religious.

Had Brigham Young not gone west, I am certain that Mormonism would not have flourished. It would have died on the vine. 

-Do you think Joseph Smith knew he was conning people with his “revelations” or was he completely delusional? Or possibly it started as a con, and then he began to believe his own lies?  I guess I mistakenly expected a higher level of skepticism from this era of Americans.

That takes a volume or small library to adequately answer.  Mormon history books are filled with Joseph Smith’s unbounding charisma and kindness, his generosity and good nature towards others.  It is reported that he also had a significant temper but those under great stress and pressure can be expected to be a tad touchy.  Was he delusional?  I quickly answer yes.  Only because I don’t believe a god exists and therefore Smith either told one whopper after another or he was a psychotic.

There is as much reason to believe Smith as there is to believe Reverend Sung Yung Moon who claims he is Jesus Christ today.

I personally side with the evidence that shows Smith, Sidney Rigdon as dual con artists concocting the Book of Mormon with a willful intent to decieve the masses.  It was an incredible con, though.  His wife believed it as did his parents and siblings (all except his younger brother William who apostatized from Smith’s church).

-Polygamy -  Ironically the Church now says that the polygamists are isolated extremists. The whole religion began as an extremist sect that could only function when completely isolated from society!

Do not be fooled.  The LDS church still believes that polygamy is the highest and holiest form of marriage.  here is the cannonized version of that revealed in 1844 to Smith allegedly from the mouth of Jesus Christ:

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132

I’d pick it apart for you but have run short on time.  There was an 1890 ban on polygamy, which Jesus said would never be taken from the earth btw, on account of mounting politcal pressure from US government against Utah Statehood.  No statehood, no railway or other federal support.  Mormonism caved to those pressures and issued the confusing 1890 manifesto.

And from that, we now have die hard splinter Mormon groups who claim that because they never quit polygamy, they are the true church…. Jesus said polygamy would never be taken from the earth!  Obviously, according to them, the Salt Lake mainstream church of today is steeped in grievous apostasy.

And whats with the secondary “revelation” that said polygamy was no longer required??  Do Mormons seriously believe in prophets after Smith?

see above.

Noggin

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Posted: 03 May 2007 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Thanks for the clear explanations, Noggin.  And thanks to everyone else for good questions.

My observation on the Mormons is that they, like the Jews, Christians, and Muslims, have a self-fulfilling prophecy that they will somehow piss off the local majority so that the locals will become violent and throw them out, but this violence and rejection is proof that their religion is correct and that Satan has infected the hearts of those who don’t believe.  Sort of like, “I’m on the side of good, and anyone not with me is on the side of evil.”  Black and white.

In the PBS program I was impressed with the enlightening lesson that in New York state in Joseph Smith’s time there were many self-proclaimed prophets roaming the countryside with the latest version of God and Jesus, but Smith was the only one who bothered to write and publish his version of the prophecy, thus establishing legitimacy through the written word, which, apparently in those days, was all the convincing many people needed.

And, Celsus, comparing religion to elitist fads is convincing.  Everyone wants to be special and does not want to share their specialness for fear of diluting it and thus losing value.  Yogi Berra put it well, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”  When you come to that realization you either found a new religion or come to the painful conclusion that maybe you aren’t as special as you originally thought.

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Posted: 03 May 2007 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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I just watched part two.

A good point from the program:  Mormonism demands a deeper life commitment than any other Christian sect.  You are required to tithe 10% of your income and give away 2 years of your young adult life.  This requires Mormons to take their faith very seriously.  It’s not just a weekend religion.

Case in point: Mormons are proxy-baptizing the worlds dead as we speak.  They have ceremonies where a live Mormon will undergo baptism for multiple dead people.  They have over a billion names of dead people stored in their archives under a mountain and they have proxy-baptized over 100 million dead people already!  That is just spooky.  But you don’t go to all that trouble if you’re not serious.  They have the most detailed genealogy records in the world.  Their mountain fortress looks like something NORAD built.

The good:

They showed massive amounts of Mormons traveling to Louisiana to assist Hurricane victims.  It was good to see.  It didn’t seem like the charity was meant as a recruitment/conversion effort.

The sad: 

There was a husband whose 42 year old wife died giving birth to their 8th child.  Despite her age and medical issues, they tried to get pregnant because they felt God wanted them to have one last child.  The widower spoke with certainty about being with his wife in heaven.  I don’t always see this level of certainty from other Christians.  It’s sad she sacrificed the only life we get in the false belief that she was doing Gods will.  Listening to the husband say that there are days when he regrets having the 8th child was really sad.  One of his sons was away on his mission when the mother died and didn’t return home.

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Posted: 03 May 2007 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“Noggin”]

Not that I am the end all be all authority on Mormonism, but I am very interested in what kinds of questions this presentation generated for you.  I care deeply about the responses and reactions public exposure to Mormonism causes.  I did not get to watch this but from what I heard, it had a slant to it.  Par for the historical course.

Nogs

Full program is available online:

http://www.pbs.org/mormons/

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