Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why Faith Is Necessary to Appreciate the Value of (Book of Mormon) Evidence

LDS defenders sometime grow impatient, even flabbergasted, with critics who refuse to acknowledge the existence of any evidence for the Book of Mormon, in spite of what some of us feel are impressive leads that should at least raise an eyebrow or two. It's a mistake for us to assume that our critics are deliberately being blind or dishonest. We need to remember that faith is required not just to accept Christ, the Restoration, and the divinity of the scriptures, but a touch of faith also required to even begin to recognize the value of evidence.

If one is confident that one already has all the answers, it is impossible to ask the questions that can lead to new and surprising answers. If one is confident that disease is due to bad "humors" or vapors just as Aristotle said, then someone presenting "evidence" that limes prevent or cure scurvy cannot be taken seriously and the "evidence" will never get past the scare-quotes treatment from those who roll their eyes at the preposterous claims of some upstart. This is why it took the elite minds over the Royal Navy of Britain over 200 years and thousands of lost lives of British sailors to finally acknowledge the evidence that scurvy was easily prevented with a better diet. Without the faith to accept that maybe there is more to the story than we already know, without the open-mindedness to entertain a radical new proposal seriously to fairly consider another point of view, then there is simply "no evidence" to be considered, no matter how much a passionate advocate of something else rambles on about his so-called "evidence." This is why Ignaz Semmelweis faced massive opposition and ridicule in spite of solid evidence that some invisible factor could be passed on from corpses to mothers giving birth and give them fatal fevers. That invisible factor, known today as germs, did not fit the rigid mental framework of the elites in charge of peer review for the medical profession, and thus Semmelweis's passionate battle for truth faced decades of passionate opposition. His "evidence" just wasn't there, as far as the elite cared, for the lacked the particle of faith required to imagine that there could be something to the invisible particles Semmelweis claimed were there.

We like to think that those who resisted progress regarding scurvy or germ theory were stupid and petty, but they were actually well educated elites just doing their job -- but with a lack of faith in other possibilities. They were too secure in the received wisdom they already had and could not see more, no matter how painfully obvious it seems today.

We LDS folks get frustrated at the results, but we should be more compassionate. Here on this blog, one of our most vocal critics has resisted every piece of evidence related to Book of Mormon plausibility, including some works from non-LDS scholars and some items that have gone through non-LDS peer review, and still claims that we have nothing, not one scrap, not one non-LDS source in our favor, not one piece of peer-reviewed data. This same critic was once asked what could possibly count as actual evidence in his view, and he responded that it would be nice, for starters, to see evidence of a Mayan glyph that meant "and it came to pass." A link was promptly provided to exactly that--one of the interesting tiny little bits of evidence from the Mesoamerican venue--and instead of saying, "Wow, well, that was at least a little interesting," it was just another dismissal and then moving on to other charges. When the evidence he asked for was provided, it was obviously not relevant. Just didn't count. It's not because he's dishonest or blind or mean. He's intelligent and sometimes quite interesting. But lacking faith that there could be a real Moroni and real golden plates, any "evidence" for such can't possibly be evidence.

I've seen exactly the same in dealing with some critics attacks on the Arabian evidence. Bountiful, for all practical purposes, just isn't there. How could such a place be uninhabited as the Book of Mormon implies? Preposterous. Must not be there, per an ivy-league educated elite with access to much better maps than Joseph Smith ever dreamed of. And yet it is. 

Faith is required to recognize evidence as evidence. It's no use getting exasperated with critics. Be patient and don't waste too much breath.

For some who are open to other possibilities, the evidence can make a difference, and it's for them that we can keep sharing and pointing to new things we learn or discover that might be helpful. But don't expect to win over critics or get any admissions from them by hammering them over the head with Nahom, chiasmus, Margaret Barker's findings, evidences of writing on metal plates, Janus parallelisms, or whatever. That evidence just isn't there without a particle of faith.

As for disease and especially scurvy, our modern, scientific, peer-reviewed society has progressed to the point where we all know citrus fruit prevents scurvy, and where you can also go to jail for printing "helps cure scurvy" on your package of orange juice. The problem is that the elites are still in charge and they have very demanding standards for anyone wishing to claim "evidence" for health food's "curative" effects, so be careful.

49 comments:

C T said...

"They were too secure in the received wisdom they already had and could not see more."

The death knell to further light and knowledge in science and religion, as far as I can tell. "Ask and ye shall receive" seems to often have the corollary, "don't ask and you won't receive."

MuralMama said...

I so greatly appreciate your grace, wisdom, and beyond all- patience, Jeff. I stopped wasting my breath with the disinterested face to face years ago, but every once in a while, on line, yeah... I don't angry, but I do get...tired. The whole "blue in the face" thing gets old- especially with folks whose *only* purpose seems to sew contention and tear others down. God bless you!

Right on, CT.

Christian Adams said...

I remember when I was young, and it was taken for granted that Native Americans came only through the Bering Strait, no exceptions. Nowadays it seems like a free for all, and it's hard to make any certain statement about native origins without also being open to multiple origin theories.

Everything Before Us said...

The whole "blue in the face" thing gets old- especially with folks whose *only* purpose seems to sew contention and tear others down.

But....if you are wrong, then what seems now like an attempt to create contention and tear you down is really an attempt to help you see the truth.

You may not be aware, but Mormons are very very slow to even begin to consider the possibility that they may be wrong. And after they do get to that point, there are numerous tricks they use to very quickly get themselves back away from that point and on more comfortable familiar ground. It is called "retrenching."

I would encourage you to spend one month fully engaged in listening to, reading, and studying the alternative viewpoints with an open mind. This is the same thing you would love for LDS detractors to do, right? So, why don't you set the lead and give it a try yourself?

Here is what will most likely happen:

1. You will feel a darkness come into your life. You will call that feeling the "devil." But ask yourself this question...if what you are reading is truly of the devil, why would he make you feel scared? Wouldn't the devil actually make what you are reading sound good and appealing?

This "dark" feeling is not the devil. It is not the Holy Spirit leaving, either. It is a physiological reaction that occurs when human beings confront facts that chip away at their worldview. It is called cognitive dissonance.

2. When you feel this dark feeling, you will not press onward into more and more facts, but you will back off, pick up a Book of Mormon and begin reading and praying until you are securely wrapped up in your security blanket. You will not be able to finish the month-long experiment. You will sing the hymns a little louder on Sunday and "feel the Spirit" a little more as you bask in the glory of having not fallen prey to the tricks of the Devil and those bad ex-Mormons on the Internet.

3. You will continue to live your relatively outstanding Mormon life. However, you will still never truly know what Joseph Smith was up to when he married a 14-year old girl by convincing her that if she accepted him, her whole family would be exalted. And now, you will have been powerfully innoculated against ever finding out.

Anonymous said...

MuralMama, I thought that in orthodox LDS thought the person "whose only purpose" is "to sew contention and tear others down" has a name: Satan.

Anyway, Jeff, I'm a little surprised---I guess pleasantly surprised---that there's no mention of Satan in this post. You've chosen here to explain the "anti" mindset in secularized terms of the history and philosophy of science rather than in terms of Mormon theology. Your post seems to owe more to Thomas Kuhn than Joseph Smith.

I guess I should be grateful for this. I should be grateful that you've avoided the Satanic rhetoric, that you don't present me and mine as allied with the very personification of evil, as the unwitting dupe of a figure more evil even than Hitler. So thanks for that at least.

However, I will say that the idea that my rejection of LDS apologetics is analogous to the earlier rejection of the germ theory of disease is quite insulting. I don't think you meant it to be, but still.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

Christian Adams writes, Nowadays it seems like a free for all, and it's hard to make any certain statement about native origins without also being open to multiple origin theories.

Set aside the fact that science really has ruled out Joseph Smith's claim about native origins for good. Instead, note the underlying logic of Christian's comment: Science keeps discovering new stuff, and from this I take comfort that science will one day discover the truth of my own particular religious belief.

But of course this is one of those notions that can support anything at all, e.g., Those arrogant secularists keep attacking my belief in the reality of Xenu and the truth of Scientology! But science keeps discovering new stuff, so there!

Works just as well for Hinduism, Voudon, you name it.

It's all so ridiculous, Jeff.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

This might be the most ironic post I've ever read on Jeff's blog. Suddenly he's all in favor of asking "the questions that can lead to new and surprising answers." But for years, he has ignored or rejected the evidence that contradicts his Mesoamerican theory of Book of Mormon geography.

For example, Oliver Cowdery's Letter VII, unequivocally identified the New York Cumorah as the scene of the final battles of the Nephites and Jaredites. Joseph Smith had his scribes copy this letter into his personal history. It was republished in all LDS newspapers, including the Improvement Era (but not the Ensign--so far). Oliver provided the most detailed information, by far, about Moroni's visit to Joseph Smith. Unlike modern LDS scholars, Oliver met Moroni (as well as Moses, Elijah, Elias, and the Lord Himself), saw and handled the plates, visited the depository in the Hill Cumorah, etc.

Only two groups reject Oliver Cowdery as a reliable and credible witness: Anti-Mormons and LDS Mesoamerican advocates.

jeremy said...

@EBU. This Is really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

I have a couple of questions and then some comments.

You point out that Mormons are really really slow to consider they are wrong. Has it been your experience that non-Mormons aren't slow? It has been my experience that you described EVERYONE. If you don't believe me, try getting married. Try raising some teenagers. Try having a discussion with a bad boss. Try going on a random non religious blog and change someone's opinion about something. We all are hard headed.

2. What do you think of Jeff's point that it takes faith to believe evidence? It may help to think about it in another context (non LDS discussion). Do you think that is true?

I have tried your experiment and my experience is very much like you described. I have read some stuff, I got a sick feeling. I went searching for possible other sides to the story - (thanks Jeff for that) and get my security blanket feeling back.

But it happens much less now when I read other non-LDS sources - and I have read a ton. After a while it all sounds the same and somewhat ridiculous - and I'm sure that is a tremendously biased view.

But my concerns for those folks are this.

Consider this verse from James 1:27

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Many of my family members and friends have left the LDS church. I don't know one of those people who have left and then practiced a better religion or done according to James. Most become atheist - which is fine - but that is a completely separate arguemnet and issue. My point is, Mormonism makes people generally try to be better people. No one I know that has left the LDS religion has kept the sabbath holy, has increased or maintained there charitable contributions, has strived to keep themselves spotless from the world in deed or action. Most feel great they get a ten percent raise and an extra day a week to do stuff.

So when you say you are helping people find the truth - what truth are you talking about? That the LDS religion isn't true? What religion do you say they should seek? Or are you trying to get people to realize there isn't a GOD? If that is the case, the Anti-Mormon crowds makes horrible arguments.

Why do anti-Mormons even care about the truth anyway. Being a good and powerful force in this world is extremely hard - it takes constant effort and sacrifice. It's unclear why anyone would argue against a system that tried to get a whole body of people to do just that. I find it strange.



Everything Before Us said...

You point out that Mormons are really really slow to consider they are wrong. Has it been your experience that non-Mormons aren't slow? It has been my experience that you described EVERYONE. If you don't believe me, try getting married. Try raising some teenagers. Try having a discussion with a bad boss. Try going on a random non religious blog and change someone's opinion about something. We all are hard headed.

I’m married, raising teenage girls, with a boss currently who is really making life kind of difficult for many of us here at my place of employment. I get your point. Yes…we are all hard-headed.

What do you think of Jeff's point that it takes faith to believe evidence?

It takes faith to seek after evidence, not to believe it. It takes honesty to believe evidence. That is my take on the view.

I have tried your experiment and my experience is very much like you described. I have read some stuff, I got a sick feeling. I went searching for possible other sides to the story - (thanks Jeff for that) and get my security blanket feeling back.

But it happens much less now when I read other non-LDS sources - and I have read a ton. After a while it all sounds the same and somewhat ridiculous - and I'm sure that is a tremendously biased view.


You conveniently left out the last part: inoculation. The reason why it has become easier for you is because you’ve become inoculated against truth. Thus truth no longer produces the same cognitive dissonance. The Book of Mormon describes this as being led away by flaxen cords.

Many of my family members and friends have left the LDS church. I don't know one of those people who have left and then practiced a better religion or done according to James. Most become atheist…

Which goes to show you just how effective the LDS church is at bringing people to Christ.

Being a good and powerful force in this world is extremely hard - it takes constant effort and sacrifice. It's unclear why anyone would argue against a system that tried to get a whole body of people to do just that. I find it strange.

Don’t find it strange. The first officially Mormon proclamation to the world was that the entire Christian world had corrupt ministers and abominable creeds. As a Mormon, you know all about arguing against systems that try to get a whole body of people to be good and powerful forces in the world.

MuralMama said...

EBU,

Thank you for your assumptions about my background, experiences, what I have been through in my own life, and any trial(s) of my faith with which I have dealt. I can assure you, everything you think is likely wrong. I was raised in Texas, not Utah. It is a very different environment down here, full of experiences that many more insulated Utah Saints probably couldn't fathom.

Best wishes in your own journey to find some light of your own in what can be a very dark world. It is always the argument from non-believers (and I use that term broadly, as it can apply to any one on either side of a discussion/ disagreement), that "you" are essentially "in the Matrix," but "I" have seen the truth, and am out of the Matrix. If you want to be "real" and know the "truth" you must see through my eyes. Until then, well, you're just being duped.

Perhaps, we will not know for a very long time who is actually 'in' and who is actually 'out'of the Matrix. Though I do find the tactics I've observed on this blog, in the bit that I spend on it most...months, I'm really not a regular on any blog, sad. The constant haranguing, the constant push back. It just makes me question the background of those with seemingly so little time for giving positive energy, choosing instead to only push negative energy. Definitely not uplifting, edifying conversations, on the whole, for "believers," and I can't imagine they make you and your buddies feel all warm and fuzzy about life either. It's just...sad.

A book I found particularly enlightening in many aspects was John G. Turner's "Mormon Jesus: A Biography." Something I got out of it, besides the fact that I would have had an extremely difficult time following Brigham Young and several of the church leaders who followed, was that the Catholics have had the better part of 2,000 years to formulate, reform, reconsider, and overcome issues in their faith; the Protestants, not quite so much time, and Latter-day Saints, even less. But-we're on the right path. And I'm very good with that.

D

Anonymous said...

MuralMama,

If you were as disappointed and saddened by what goes on in this blog as you say you are, you wouldn't keep coming back.

I for one am grateful for Jeff for hosting a space where ideas can be exchanged openly. Most posters are adamant about their points of view, and can be sometimes rude or cruel, but they also are a great sounding board to find flaws in your argument or logic. Being willing to learn from others and further your knowledge is an important part of life.

Collin Simonsen said...

Thanks for this post, Jeff. I'm glad you mentioned Margaret Barker. I was blown away by her "Temple Theology" book and it's implications for the Book of Mormon.

Lane Wolfley said...

This just seems so bizarre. If you need faith to believe the evidence, then it can't be evidence. Scientists have faith in the efficacy of the scientific method, but if they don't doubt themselves constantly throughout the process the evidence is not likely to be trustworthy. Confirmation bias is an enemy to critical thinking, but you seem to be urging it's acceptance. I know this seems harmless to you, but consider apologies for Trumpism, Scientology, alt-right, or anti-semitism, etc., following this same formula, and it loses its luster quickly. Healthy doubt is a good thing!

Rob Osborn said...

I find it interesting that my brand of evidence of the BoM is much different than mainstream LDS which gives the angle that I believe, on the one hand, shows that most of the mainstream LDS evidences are wrong, and yet on the other hand, shows critics that they are still wrong also.

That we can have such vastly different viiews on evidence as LDS means that we are accepting the BoM as truth even if our evidences may be entirely wrong. Its the fact we are looking in spite of bad logic that matters.

And I dont really care if I am wrong ir right or you are wrong or right, in the end we shall come to see all the evidence is and was there for the BoM after all is said and done.

Mormography said...

MuralMama - I thought you were against wasting your time on the Internet?

Mormography said...

When I first discovered Mormanity over a decade ago, I was surprised to find many commenters already pointed out his contradictions. Here again thanks to Anonymous said... 12:21 PM, February 15, 2017

What do you call it when people today insist evidence proves Ignaz Smmelweis was wrong, diet does not cause scurvy, that even Galileo’s simple experiment does not prove the genius Artistole was wrong? That is exactly what “LDS folks” are doing. From Mormanity’s statements above, I would have to conclude LDS folks are faithless.

All these statements in Mormanity’s post actually apply to “LDS folks”:

If one is confident that one already has all the answers, it is impossible to ask the questions that can lead to new and surprising answers. Without the faith to accept that maybe there is more to the story than we already know, without the open-mindedness to entertain a radical new proposal seriously to fairly consider another point of view, then there is simply "no evidence" to be considered, no matter how much a passionate advocate of something else rambles on about his so-called "evidence." We like to think that those who resisted progress regarding scurvy or germ theory were stupid and petty, but they were actually well educated elites just doing their job -- but with a lack of faith in other possibilities. They were too secure in the received wisdom they already had and could not see more, no matter how painfully obvious it seems today. Faith is required to recognize evidence as evidence.

jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeremy said...

@EBU
"Which goes to show you just how effective the LDS church is at bringing people to Christ"

That's kinda mean - isn't it? Sheesh. Where in scripture does it say that the truthfulness of the message will be manifest by not having people fall away, or that one will know it's true based on a growing audience?

In fact, the record seems to tell us the exact opposite is true.

Also to your point about inoculated against the truth - you must realize that is a ridiculous comment.

Try reading about a real and confusing science topic of any hotly debated topic and decide what is "true" (for example, is it good to have a strong or weak dollar). Just because you have a strong opinion and you believe evidence and ignore contrary evidence doesn't make you right. Great you believe it. It's good to have conviction for something. Don't be dick if others don't believe what you do. Confirmation bias (a word anti-Mormons LOVE) goes both ways.

Mormography said...

Jeremy -

Mormanity is really good about letting anyone post. FAIR Mormon knows they are in the wrong, because they will delete comments that challenge them. However, Mormanity tends to delete comments that link to undesirable sites (the linking promotes those websites' search ranking) and language.

"that one will know it's true based on a growing audience? In fact, the record seems to tell us the exact opposite is true. "

Talk about inoculated against the truth. The pro-LDS argument used to be its growth rate and how can 10 million people be wrong. But here you are Jeremy, a new generation, that apparently was not taught this argument. You are inoculated against it.

"Confirmation bias (a word anti-Mormons LOVE) goes both ways."

Prove it.

Everything Before Us said...

@EBU
"Which goes to show you just how effective the LDS church is at bringing people to Christ"

That's kinda mean - isn't it? Sheesh. Where in scripture does it say that the truthfulness of the message will be manifest by not having people fall away, or that one will know it's true based on a growing audience?

In fact, the record seems to tell us the exact opposite is true.

Also to your point about inoculated against the truth - you must realize that is a ridiculous comment.

Try reading about a real and confusing science topic of any hotly debated topic and decide what is "true" (for example, is it good to have a strong or weak dollar). Just because you have a strong opinion and you believe evidence and ignore contrary evidence doesn't make you right. Great you believe it. It's good to have conviction for something. Don't be dick if others don't believe what you do. Confirmation bias (a word anti-Mormons LOVE) goes both ways.


70% of Episcopalians were not born into the Episcopal church. They come from other Christian faiths usually. There is tremendous porousness between the walls of the different denominations. When one leaves Catholicism, they go to the Methodist Church. When one leaves Methodism, they might show up at the Lutheran Church. They don't become atheist. Maybe some do, but Christians can part ways with one denomination and still remain Christian, because they. are. Christian.

But Mormons....nope...they almost always, statistically speaking, become atheist. Because they were rarely Christian in the first place. They were Mormon. Those Mormons who WERE Christian can leave and remain Christian, like myself.

Being inoculated against truth is not a ridiculous notion. You know that Joseph Smith promised exaltation to Helen Mar Kimball's family if she, as a 14-year old, married him. That is the truth. You know it. Yet it doesn't bother you.

If you have any sort of moral compass, it should bother you. But it apparently doesn't. Because you've heard it before, over and over again. You've been desensitized to it. Inoculated.

Elder Ballard himself used the world "inoculation" in reference to this approach within the church to make unpleasant facts palatable.

Inoculation Theory isn't an LDS thing...it is an actual thing. It was developed by social psychologist William McGuire in 1961 to explain how to keep current attitudes and beliefs firm in the face of persuasive arguments.

You are being duped, intentionally. Your leaders know precisely what they are doing to make the unpleasant truth okay in your mind. You are being played for a fool.

jeremy said...

@EBU

"Being inoculated against truth is not a ridiculous notion. You know that Joseph Smith promised exaltation to Helen Mar Kimball's family if she, as a 14-year old, married him. That is the truth. You know it. Yet it doesn't bother you."

First of all, how do you know what would bother me and what wouldn't? That seems rather presumptuous. Here is a bit of advice - or a "golden key that will never rust". Try, when making arguments, online- or on person - to not be presumptuous, make assumptions, or defer to fallacious arguments. Be clear, concise, simple, and non-condescending. Try to leave sarcasm out (although I fail on this frequently). When you do this, people will tend to listen more and take your thoughts more seriously. When you are mean, sarcastic, and make leaps and assumptions, it tends to be less effective. Second, to your point, do you think it is possible that there is another possibility our outcome in thinking then what you propose? Is that even possible. The argument you make about me being inoculated against something I now to be 100% true and horrible and could only give two outcomes, is a forced Either - OR. Either you are using this fallacious argument on purpose (which can be a very effective and deceitful argument), or you actually live in an Either - OR world, which is also possible.

Also, another great discussion would be about your point to people leaving the LDS church and becoming atheist. I would love to discuss this, but it really has nothing to do with OP's point - let's leave that be.

Finally, you seem like a very angry and kinda mean. Another piece of advice - I personally think people respond much better to kindness and love and understanding - but that's just me. I may have got that wrong. Lots of people now days are saying the only answer is violence. Maybe they are right. Who knows.

jeremy said...

@Mormagraphy

What are you even talking about? Show me anywhere in scripture that says that one will know the truth by the vast amount of followers?

Mormography said...

@jeremy,

Sounds like you agree with me.

Anonymous said...

EBU,

I'm not sure that it's true that Mormons become atheist because they were never Christian in the first place. I believed in Christ when I believed Mormonism. I think it's the realization that if you were wrong about something you believed was so right, it leads you to question all of your beliefs. You see how history and desire to believe can blur and distort facts. You also begin to doubt the totality of your spiritual confirmations because a portion of them were apparently based in falsehoods.

jeremy said...

@Mormography

"But here you are Jeremy, a new generation, that apparently was not taught this argument. You are inoculated against it."

I was taught that the way is narrow and FEW would find it. I was taught that even though people would hold onto the truth, others would publish letters to church leaders with loaded questions (and later publish their excommunication video on youtube) which would then make others laugh at those still holding on to the truth - so many of those holding onto that truth would "let go" and join those laughing, which would make others let go. I was also learned that Prophet's, like Noah - would speak the truth and NO ONE would listen, but it didn't mean what they spoke wasn't true.

So no, I don't agree with you. Maybe you agree with me?

everything before us said...

First of all, how do you know what would bother me and what wouldn't? That seems rather presumptuous.

Well, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. I assumed you were like most morally mature human beings and would therefore obviously find it rather distasteful to learn that a married adult male would promise a 14-year old girl that her parents would be exalted in Heaven if she were to marry him. I guess I was wrong on that point.

The argument you make about me being inoculated against something I now to be 100% true and horrible and could only give two outcomes, is a forced Either - OR. Either you are using this fallacious argument on purpose (which can be a very effective and deceitful argument), or you actually live in an Either - OR world, which is also possible.

Please add nuance then. What DO you think about the Helen Mar Kimball episode? Is it that we just don't have all the facts yet? But what about the facts that we DO have? We may never get all the facts, so we can't wait. We are dealing with morality here. Right and wrong. We have sufficient facts to come to some conclusion. Be either hot or cold. Don't be lukewarm. Don't say, "We just don't know yet..."

We do know. We have more information about the events surrounding Helen Mar Kimball then we have about the events surrounding the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and there isn't a single faithful Mormon who hasn't come to some conclusion about that.

jeremy said...

@EBU -

First off - this seems a little like we are hijacking a thread that has nothing to do with what we are discussing.

Second, the nuance is that one can be bothered by something and still make different conclusions about the whole program. For example, there are a lot of things in the Bible I find very strange and weird (a daughter sneaking into the Prophets tent while the father is drunk - to sleep with him? weird....) but I still find the beliefs and principles to be wonderful. I want to strive and do better and following the precepts taught. I want to look at the whole, look at things that don't bother me, look at evidences that DO exist, etc.

Regarding Helen Mar Kimball - I am somewhat disturbed by polygamy in general - I think most people in this day and age are - even though we know polygamy is not weird or unfamiliar to much of the earths human history, but we find it appalling with today's societal norms. But more specifically, what I have read about this case doesn't bother me a tremendous amount - mostly because I feel like I have learned that what is truth and what is written day are often not even close to the same. How many times do we need to experience that in our own lives to then apply that to interpreting past experiences. What can reasonably conclude is that Joseph didn't marry Helen, he was sealed to her. He didn't have sex with her either. I don't know about the promising stuff - I wasn't there. I'm not sure it would bother me anyway because what exactly did Joseph gain from being sealed to this girl? It certainly wasn't for a sexual purpose. We also know that "marrying" someone that was 14 is what completely unheard of in this time. We know that she never lived with Joseph, and Joseph died shortly after this sealing, and that she married at age 18 and had 11 kids. None of this bothers me beyond the general uneasy feeling of polygamy.

Everything Before Us said...

Here are some other facts...

Helen, after being married/sealed to Smith, couldn't attend the usual dances and activities for young teenagers (so she herself wrote), because then she might catch the eye of a young man, and that would be disastrous, because Helen was now, secretly, "off the market."

So let's say there was no sex involved. Thus, had Joseph Smith NOT been martyred, Helen would've remained secretly married/sealed, and she would still have been deprived of basic marital intimacy and the chance of becoming a mother (you said there was no sex...).

And "none of this" bothers you?

Frankly, it is worse in my opinion that there may NOT have been any sex. Helen's life would've been utterly ruined if Smith hadn't died. A life wasted duped into a sexless marriage with no chance of motherhood.

It's sick. No matter how you slice it. But...behold your prophet!

jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeremy said...

@EBU

You're like a tar baby...

No, scratch that. You are like Br'er Fox, and your comments are the tar baby.

Anyway, sure - maybe it is bothersome. What's your point? What part of your life do you live that doesn't have something that bothers you? Walmart is a horrible company - but I bet you sometimes buy things from there? Who did you vote for? Did anything bother you from that candidate? Do you eat meat? Doesn't it bother you how cruel animals are treated that are raised for your food?

Plus, your point is very speculative. I have a question for you. When did JS know he was going to be murdered? When did he find this out? Answer those questions and your problem you have with Helen may not seem so bad as you describe.

Mormography said...

@jeremy

Sounds like you agree with me.

Your ridiculing and laughing at those who speak truth is like an alcoholic who can give all the reasons not to be one.

jeremy said...

@Mmgrphy

Ah...I see what you did there.

But let's see...if I'm agreeing with you...and I set forth the analogy..and you agree I'm agreeing with you...then you must agree with me...hence forth...you agree with Lehi's dream! I knew it! Calooo-calay! He knows it true.

My work is done.

Anonymous said...

@jrmy

Who doesn't know JS Sr./Lehi's dream is true.

A lot of work for little, inefficient.

-Mormography

Everything Before Us said...

Anyway, sure - maybe it is bothersome. What's your point?

This is how one can tell that a Latter-day Saint has backed out of a religious discussion. The ol' "What's your point?" defense.

I've seen this happen plenty of times.

You know quite well what my point is.

jeremy said...

@EBU -

I'm not backing out. What would you like to talk about now? We can argue about whatever you want.

We probably should do it somewhere else though - this isn't our wall.

Mormography said...

Jeremy’s post above is very instructive. link People he claims left the Mormon Church and people he self-declares anti-Mormon he describes as inferior human beings.

His comments were meant as a commentary on others, but only comments on himself. His dubious and unprovable assertions of others only provide evidence into his mindset. It is a mindset that views the moniker of Mormon only as a badge of honor of a self-admiration society. Those deemed no longer desirable are removed from the society. Anyways, the whole Calvinism-to-the-extreme attitude is quite the opposite of original Christianity and possibly original Mormonism, besides other contractions such as “Being a good and powerful force in this world is extremely hard” when Jesus clearly said easy is the way.

A non-Mormon who once lived in Salt Lake for several years commented to me regarding this Mormon attitude. She claimed Mormon’s insist they have a lower incarceration rate only because they excommunicate convicted felons. A Mormon once describe to me how he lobbied to stop the Missionaries from bringing converts to his ward that were only problems (impoverished, family dysfunction, addicted). A Mormon missionary once described to me how they desired most those who were already active in another religion and charitable. A friend who is an older, gas-station employee revealed to me he is Mormon. Inquiring which building he attends, he declared he does not attend because he is a smoker. Simply put, Mormonism is not for the sick in need of a physician.

Now Jeremy will dismiss most of my stories above as made up. Leo Winegar will insist on names and addresses. Of the stories they will accept, they will attribute to defective children of God, not to any need for improvement in Mormonism.

I do not attribute any of Jeremy’s Calvinist successes to his religion, but to his stable childhood home environment. I do attribute his pompous attitude to his religion, not his parents.

Mormography said...

The foundational truth claims of Mormonism is that “all were wrong”, “that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me’”, protestant ministers are in the employee Satan, and other churches are great and abominable. Now Jeremy, like Mormanity, you are opening repudiating these truths claims by declaring Mormonism is no better than any other religion. Mormonism takes the good with bad. It possesses transcendental themes such as Joseph Smith Sr.’s dream, while also having David Koresh style founding fathers.

This is obviously the point EBU is making, and if you are not “backing out” as you claim Jeremy, then you are agreeing. Sending you an email to make sure you are not “backing out”.

jeremy said...

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Please, in very concise and simple language, describe

1. How I was pompous and condescending
2. What specific argument EBU is making that I am backing out of?
3. Why you would bother me 3 months later about a discussion I obviously left and forgot about?

jeremy said...

A couple more:

4. Define "Mormonism"
5. What is your goal and purpose in this discussion? What would you like to accomplish?

Mormography said...

Yep, EBU was right “This is how one can tell that a Latter-day Saint has backed out of a religious discussion. The ol' ‘What's your point?’ defense. “

As you know, 1-4 have been clearly answered. Now the whole world can see you deceitfully playing dumb. As for 5, you are going to have to answer that, being you started this discussion. Though I suppose your purpose is a deep seeded psychological need to lie to yourself.

Point is, you openly repudiate the foundational truth claims of Mormonism. Your inability to retort solidifies this fact. Now I understand, you weren’t “backing out”, but rather confessing.

jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeremy said...

Mormography,

If 1-4 have CLEARLY been answered, then CLEARLY and concisely repeat them. Where has it been specifically stated why you are bringing this up 3 months later - for example?

It seems to me that if person A and person B are arguing - and it becomes unclear to person A what is actually being argued and he states "It's not clear we are actually arguing against the same thing. Do you mind stating what it is you are arguing for or against?...then it would seem if person B states..."nope, not going to restate. you already know the argument"...then it is person B backing out.

What foundational truth of Mormonism did I openly repudiate?

As I have said before, these things become 1000x easier, if people speak clearly , concisely, with compassion, and seek to understand.

So, in a single sentence, please state 1. what the foundational truth is that Mormonism claims, and 2. My open repudiation.

I have many inabilities. I don't think it is valuable for you to point them out. Again, I'm not sure what there is to gain from that and what your point is. It isn't backing out to ask what someone's goal or motive is. It helps shape the argument if the two people know what they are arguing for or against. It also helps tremendously if the two sides clearly understand the other persons goals, because often times if that is understood, a reasonable solution can be reached without even needing to argue. If the stated goal, is just to argue...then that helps too.

Because Mormography, you state so many things that are arguable things. For example, you say "Now Jeremy will dismiss most of my stories above as made up." How do you know that? How do you know I'm even part of the LDS faith? For all you know, I could be Catholic or Wiccan.

I really am baffled that when someone asked "I don't understand your point. Please clarify so we can further the discussion" you and others think that is a sign of backing out? What is so wrong with wanting to know a precise point?

It's like none of you have ever witnessed arguments before. How is it in your lives you have never been involved in arguments where people just bring up point after point and eventually no one know what the hell the original argument was and everyone is just now pissed off? "Doesn't anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

Mormography said...

Demanding I copy and paste is a cop-out and a confession you are in the wrong. That is why you will not respond to items you obviously understand. It is incumbent on you to describe what is so unclear, at least in American culture. If you are as educated as you claim that should not be a problem.

Fascinating. You demand others states their goals, but you never state what your goal was when you started this discussion.

Your inability to retort is prove you are atheist that pretends to be LDS.

jeremy said...

I'm not asking for you to cut and paste.

Conflict resolution 101 - you restate what you think I am saying, and then restate you position. Then I say, yes or no. And here is my point....

It's not that hard or complicated. Look...you dragged me back here after many months for some reason. I'm just asking for some simple clarification and information.

Mormography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormography said...

Exactly. If it is so simple, then why don't you do it?

Mormography said...

Everything Jeremy requested has been provided. He admitted that if he was confused all he had to do was restate what he thought was being said. He backed out. Jeremy denies the clearly stated foundational truth claims of Mormonism. Case closed.

jeremy said...

Mormography,

Are you familiar with Nephi?

I have two questions. First - what percentage of Sunday attending LDS members do you think believe the Book of Mormon and would claim the words are true and inspired?

Second - what do you think they would say about this verse?

12 And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.

Mormography said...

Nearly all regularly attending LDS publicly claim, in an abuse of English, that the religion is %100 “true”. Privately they claim most LDS are lying and of course include themselves in the group of “true” believers. One of many cultural nuances.

Like a good a lawyer, you could pull a scripture for just about any position you wish to make. However, fact is, culturally Mormon’s used to be very proud of their missionary success, bragging it is the fulfillment of scripture.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/the-stone-cut-out-of-the-mountain?lang=eng
“The Church has become one large family … And this is only the beginning. This work will continue to grow and prosper and move across the earth. It must do so if Moroni’s promise to Joseph is to be fulfilled.”

Many lapse Mormons have told me the predominate argument CES agents made to them in private meetings is “How can 10 million people be wrong?” I once witness an orthodox Mormon use this exact argument to a fellow Mormon pointing out contradictions in the faith. That contradictions-highlighter responded as you do, pointing out reason and true Mormonism does not teach might (numbers) makes right.

So now we both agree and I have graciously answered your questions, will you finally answer other people’s questions (quit backing out)? Being you are new here, can you explain many of Mormanity’s other contradictions?

1. David Koresh had many “wives”, prophesied, even of his own martyrdom, etc, much like Joseph Smith. Sure, Koresh may have had only a few hundred followers, but as you point out, that does not make him wrong. What is hostile about comparing Joseph Smith to David Koresh? http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2009/12/rejecting-prophets-for-apparently.html?showComment=1273447976184#c188192454754938255

2. Why does Mormanity claim James Strange was just a Joseph Smith imitator and Brigham Young was not? Warren Jeffs followers were fewer in number than Monson’s, but like James Strange, the spirit told Jeff’s followers Jeff’s was the rightful prophet.


3. Evil men would have altered the 116 lost pages to create contradictions regardless if the original story was retranslated, a similar story was translated, a completely new story was translated, or the BoM was abandon entirely. Why does the canon falsely claim translating a similar story thwarts would be conspirators? http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2009/12/rejecting-prophets-for-apparently.html

4. How do you prove the foundational claim of Mormonism that another religion is evil? As you re-enforce, Mormonism claims that other churches are “whores”, great and abominable, “that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me’”, and protestant ministers are in the employ of Satan. A few other religions claim make similar claims. Their followers claim reason and powerful emotions (spirit) tell them they are right. What is Mormonism’s principle of falsifiablity?