So … I Went to Mormon Church.

There's a basketball court in there. No joke.

I figured what with a Mormon on his way to the White House and all, it might be an interesting and hopefully insightful experience to visit a worship service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So I did what I usually do when I have a Mormon-y question, and asked Justin to take me.

So last Sunday we set out for an LDS sacrament meeting. That’s apparently what it’s called – not worship service. No big, just vernacular so far.

Mormons are nice, y’all. I know we’re not supposed to lump groups of people together and label them, but I’ve never come across a not-nice Mormon. Like most religions, there’s a good mix of young, old, white, black (and everything in between), tall, short, fat, thin, smart and not so smart … but they’re all freaking nice.

Oh, and they have a lot of kids, too. You have heard about the five Romney boys and the 18 Romney grandkids, right? It’s a stereotype for a reason, people.

Since Mormons are so nice, I met several people before the service meeting even started. A lot of college and grad students at the Cambridge ward (I think that’s the word for congregation?) in Massachusetts.

Before I forget, I’ll add a side note: While we walking to church, we passed a Starbucks and decided we were hungry. Neither of us had coffee. Justin had apple cider or something because Mormons don’t drink coffee, and I had my usual chai tea latte – no wait – I had a skinny salted caramel mocha. Never mind. I was going to say I was well on my way to the full Mormon experience of no coffee, but no. Move along, nothing to see here …

Photographic Evidence

Back to the church part – I met lots of nice people. The sanctuary (meeting room?) had pews a lot like ours. There was a big indoor basketball court in the middle of the building. Justin told me every ward (stake? Which one is the building and which one is the congregation?) has one.

The meeting was called to order, there was a prayer, and we sang a song out of the hymnal. I was pleased to discover it was just as abysmal as some of the ones in our Psalter. Loooong and in a key no one but Justin and a couple others could hit. Dude can sing. I mouthed the words. Everyone there silently thanked me without knowing it.

Then there was communion. I had asked ahead on the procedure for that, because at my church, you have to get permission from the elders before service if you’re not a member. In the United Reformed Church, you may only take communion if you’re a member of a gospel-preaching church and under the spiritual care of church leadership. Some churches leave this up to the individual’s conscience, but our particular congregation asks you to talk to someone first.

Anyway, Justin had said it was fine, but I felt weird about it because it’s such a sacred thing at our church, so I passed. But I’ll tell you about it anyway, because if you’ve read this far, you’re probably as fascinated by the LDS church as I am and are dying to know more.

First- the kids take communion. Justin says it doesn’t mean anything until they’re eight and baptized. All Mormons get baptized at eight in the way that babies are baptized in Calvinism and Baptists when they make a profession of faith. I got to go to a Mormon baptism once when one of Thing 1’s friends invited us to attend hers, and it was super cool. Maybe I’ll tell you about it some time.

Second- they passed it around and everyone sat in their seats and partook immediately rather than waiting and doing it together as a congregation.

Third- most, if not all reformed churches I’ve been to offer grape juice as an alternative to the wine. I figured that would be the case. Nope! It was water. Jesus turned the water to wine and the Mormons turned it back again. Go figure.

After communion, there were three “talks” that definitely weren’t sermons. And two of them were given by WOMEN. Soooooo weird for me to see women up at the podium, addressing the congregation at a Sunday worship service sacrament meeting. That does not happen in the URC. Not even a little bit.

Now let’s discuss these talks, mmmkay? They were really great. Super motivational, well thought out, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Totally not sermons. “When do you do exegesis??” I whispered to Justin.

“Exe-what-us?”

“Exegesis! When the pastor takes a section of scripture and interprets it…”

Totally forgot that Mormons don’t have pastors in the way that evangelicals think of pastors. We only stayed for the first hour, and apparently Sunday School is where scripture study comes in, so I may have to go back sometime just to see what it’s like.

The other thing about the talks: I felt kinda like I was at a motivational conference. I wanted to clap for the speakers when they were finished, and I half expected them to take a bow. Like I said, they were definitely not sermons in the sense that I think of them.

Overall, I’m glad I went. Justin likes to tease me that he’ll make a Mormon out of me yet. That’s usually right before I punch him in the neck and tell him I’d get kicked out so fast it would be the shortest-lived Mormon membership in LDS history. I don’t know if y’all know this, but I really enjoy wine. Plus that whole continuing revelation thing that I don’t believe in.

I might will never be a Mormon. But they’re not scary. They don’t worship weird things, they don’t judge others (as a group, at least … I can’t account for every individual church member), and they are welcoming and friendly. They’re family oriented, but don’t disallow divorce. They honor mothers that stay home with the kids and the ones that work outside the home with equal regard.

They’re good people, y’all.

I gotta say one more thing before I leave this subject alone for the moment: MORMONISM IS NOT A CULT. I’d encourage anyone considering not voting for Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith to go check out an LDS service meeting.

And try not to be as ginormous a dork as me telling everyone, “This is my first time!”

Oh, and if you ever want to check out a reformed church to see what my typical Sunday morning consists of, drop me a line and I’ll find you one in your area. We serve wine for communion. Just saying.

Comments

  1. Hey, Jenny!

    I just wanted to contribute one of those rare positive comments to this out-of-control conversation. Your generous, respectful, logical way of dealing with your questions about the LDS church is a model of true Christianity…and humanity, for that matter. Thank you so much for being thoughtful and kind in your approach.

    Your friend though a stranger,
    Mikayla

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I’m a Mormon and it’s sometimes hard when people judge you for your religion without actually trying to learn about it. I’m very thankful that you took a chance on us and sincerely tried to learn more before casting judgement. I fully support you ion your beliefs and encourage all faithful Americans to stick together to work for a more Christlike society and a better future. Thank you!

    Mindy

  3. Hi! :D Thanks for such a great post! I’m a Latter Day Saint (Mormon) and love this post! :) I LOVE being a member of this church! I don’ t know what I would do without it!!! I hope you do go back and check it out some more; you may surprise yourself and end up LOVING it too! :D Where ever you go and what ever you do though, I wish you the best of everything. But seriously… there is SO MUCH to love about this church! (I honestly can’t imagine life without it. I LOVE IT!!!) And besides, you are already SO NICE that you would seriously fit right in! ;) LOL :) …just saying!

    I hope you have an awesome life!
    Corine :D

  4. Doreen Smith says:

    Thanks Jenny for having an openmind and for sharing!

  5. Oh Fred,
    Don’t you have better things to do than argue with every word everyone says and pick it apart. By the sound of it you never misspeak and you definitely don’t say anything that doesn’t have a full bibliography behind it. The term Christianity was defined by a bunch of men years upon years ago, MEN MEN MEN. Men who had faults, men who were not perfect. Yes they were great leaders but they were merely men. If the Lord Jesus Christ came down and told me Mormons were in a cult I would believe him, but until that day until the Lord defines what churches are Christian and which aren’t I am not likely to believe any common persons description. Christianity should be defined by your heart not your words. Many Christians are not Christians because of their actions and many who would not associate themselves as Christians may be most Christian of all because they worry less about how they can tear someone down and more about how they can build others up. One reason many say Mormons aren’t Christians is because they say that Mormons believe that good works are necessary in order to return to heaven, well duh. If I’m in a college class and my professor asks if I know he material and I say yes, he isn’t going to just turn around and give me an “A” he is likely to test me because that is a true testament of how much I understand what is being taught. I think most of you can draw the parallels from my example and compare them to why good works are necessary in proving our knowledge and devotion to God and Jesus Christ. If you can’t don’t even bother responding because you probably never will get what I am saying. I am a Mormon, I am 18 years old and I do believe I am a Christian and have a personal relationship with God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I feel it, I know it, I love it, and most importantly I live it. I will continue to live it until I return to HIM, no matter how those who disagree try to tear me down. I know that everyone is a son or daughter of God and I will do my best to always treat them that way, even if they choose not to treat me with the same regard. Now I am going to stop wasting my time on the internet arguing about what I believe and go out and try to live it, I suggest most of you do the same

    Sincerely,
    A MORMON college student

    • Thank you for your post…You put my feelings into words! This is well written…Thanks, Susan

    • Jessica, I had thought that I was pretty much done here but I can see from your post that I was wrong. What I found particularly interesting is that since others had been doing such a good job of addressing the issues that make Mormonism a Theological or Doctrinal Cult of Christianity I had limited my posts to the sociological issues – that is the use of Mind Control techniques and tactics – that lands the LdS Church in the “Mind Control Cult” category.

      However, in your post to me you fixated exclusively on theological and doctrinal issues none of which I remember raising at all!
      (that is, of course, when you weren’t engaging in ad-hominems, personal attacks, and insults)

      However, I thought that you made some interesting points which I would like to address because they present a wonderful opportunity to address and clarify some important issues.

      YOU WROTE
      “Christianity should be defined by your heart not your words.”

      MY RESPONSE
      Well I’m not sure what your point is here but it sounds like you’re saying that feelings trump “words” is that correct?

      If so I would ask you to consider the following from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible:

      “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
      – Jeremiah 17:9

      “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
      – Proverbs 28:26

      And the the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible makes it quite clear that words are vital to salvation:

      Romans 10:9&10
      “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

      And the LdS Church has certainly built up a vast collection of word in it’s 182-year history has it not?

      So clearly words are important.

      YOU WROTE
      Don’t you have better things to do than argue with every word everyone says and pick it apart. By the sound of it you never misspeak and you definitely don’t say anything that doesn’t have a full bibliography behind it.

      MY RESPONSE
      Well I will point out to you as I did with Amy that this is a not only a personal attack and an insult but an ad-hominem argument. I have done nothing here but adhered to the rules of scholarship, logic, and rhetoric (things I would think “a MORMON College Student” would not only understand but appreciate and respect).

      In other words, I have focused on evidence alone and provided support for the evidence that I present. Please do the same going forward as this is what constitutes civil discourse. Thank you.

      YOU WROTE
      The term Christianity was defined by a bunch of men years upon years ago, MEN MEN MEN. Men who had faults, men who were not perfect. Yes they were great leaders but they were merely men.

      MY RESPONSE
      Actually, the term “Christian” was defined by the critics of the early Church and was used as a derogatory:

      “The Greek word ‘Christianos’ — meaning “follower of Christ”— comes from ‘Christos’ — meaning “anointed one”[5]—with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or even belonging to, as in slave ownership.[6]

      All three original New Testament verses’ usages reflect a derisive element in the term Christian to refer to followers of Christ who did not acknowledge the emperor of Rome.[9] The town Antioch, which is said to have given them the name Christian, had a reputation for coming up with such nicknames.[10] However Peter’s apparent endorsement of the term led to its being preferred over “Nazarenes” and the term Christianoi from 1 Peter becomes the standard term in the Early Church Fathers from Ignatius and Polycarp onwards.[11]”
      (Wikipedia article Etymology of “Christian”)

      And I would point out that the LdS Church was ALSO defined, formed and lead by MEN MEN MEN – men who had faults and men who were not perfect. And, ironically, the term “Mormon” was ALSO defined by the critics of Early Mormonism as a derogatory and has been adopted by the LdS Church as an identifying term in the same way that “Christian” was by the Early Christian.

      However, I’m not still not quite sure what your point is . . . could you clarify? Your arguments seemed quite vague on this point to me.

      YOU WROTE
      If the Lord Jesus Christ came down and told me Mormons were in a cult I would believe him, but until that day until the Lord defines what churches are Christian and which aren’t I am not likely to believe any common persons description.

      MY RESPONSE
      Actually the Lord Jesus Christ, His Prophets and His Apostles HAVE defined what constitutes a Christian Church versus a Christian [aka "Theological" or "Doctrinal"] Cult in the pages of the Bible. And as others here have noted well based on the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, those prophets and those Apostles, the LdS Church is a Theological or Doctrinal Cult of Christianity. Again, my primary focus here has been on what BEHAVIORS constitute a group SOCIOLOGICALLY as a Mind Control Cult and as noted the LdS Church meets the criteria: The LdS Church is a Mind Control Cult. I’m sorry that seems to upset you but them’s the facts!

      YOU WROTE
      Many Christians are not Christians because of their actions and many who would not associate themselves as Christians may be most Christian of all because they worry less about how they can tear someone down and more about how they can build others up.

      MY RESPONSE
      Can assume that you’re referring to “unChristian” behavior like . . .

      “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly CONTEND for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
      – Jude 1:3

      “…we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God WITH MUCH CONTENTION.

      For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

      But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
      – I Thessalonians 2:2-4

      or . . .

      “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
      – Galatians 4:16

      Tell you what Jessica, let’s flip that spotlight around and consider what Mormon Leaders have said about historic, mainstream Christians and Christianity:

      Specifically, because I am not a Mormon your leaders have said:

      - My religion was hatched in hell.
      - My Christianity is perverted and apostate.
      - My Church is the Church of the Devil.
      - My Church is wrong.
      - My Church is the anti-Christ.
      - My Church is evil and is the Whore of Babylon.
      - My Church is leading me to hell.
      - My Church will be hewn down and cast into the fire of no return.
      - My Heavenly Father is imaginary and invented.
      - My Jesus is mythical.
      - My Trinity is a monster.
      - My creeds are an abomination.
      - My justification is pernicious.
      - My grace is a fallacious doctrine originated by Satan.
      - My pastor is corrupt.
      - My pastor is presumptuous and blasphemous for performing marriages and offering communion.
      - My Bible is untrustworthy.
      - I am a fool for believing in the Bible alone.
      - I am a child of the devil.My baptism is invalid.
      - I am unforgiven.I am damned.I know nothing of God.
      - My hope of salvation is influenced by the devil.
      - I have no right to preach the gospel.
      - And I am not a true Christian?

      Now what was it you were saying about criticism of another person’s religion being un-Christ-like?

      YOU WROTE
      One reason many say Mormons aren’t Christians is because they say that Mormons believe that good works are necessary in order to return to heaven, well duh.

      MY RESPONSE
      Well that Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible DOES say . . .

      “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
      – Ephesian 2:8&9

      “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began…”
      – 2 Timothy 1:9

      “…the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
      – Titus 3:4-7

      “But we have sinned; we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…”
      – Isaiah 64:6

      And finally . . .

      “… the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
      – Romans 6:23

      YOU WROTE
      If I’m in a college class and my professor asks if I know he material and I say yes, he isn’t going to just turn around and give me an “A” he is likely to test me because that is a true testament of how much I understand what is being taught. I think most of you can draw the parallels from my example and compare them to why good works are necessary in proving our knowledge and devotion to God and Jesus Christ. If you can’t don’t even bother responding because you probably never will get what I am saying.

      MY RESPONSE
      Jessica, it doesn’t matter what I say. In fact, it doesn’t matter what you or anyone else says: What matters is what God says and He’s spoken through the prophets and apostles in the Bible (again these are all from the JST) which says:

      “…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…”

      “…by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works…”

      “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace…”

      “…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us… being justified by his grace…”

      And I can keep going – there are a LOT more passages that state explicitly that we are saved by GRACE through FAITH in Christ’s atonement on the cross.

      This isn’t to say that works are important but they are an EVIDENCE that we have been saved, regenerated, and are being sanctified by Christ’s finished work they are not for salvation – that debt has been paid in full – rather they are an expression of gratitude and an evidence that

      So to “mirror” your analogy back using the Biblical model:

      If I’m in a college class and my professor asks if I know he material and I say yes, he isn’t going to just turn around and give me an “A” he is likely to test me because that is a true testament of how much I understand what is being taught. The problem with this test is that if miss even ONE question you fail (“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10, JST). So the professor fails you. You exclaim, “Wait a minute! What about all my good works – don’t they count?” the professor replies, “Your righteousness is to me like filthy rags!”

      Suddenly Jesus steps in and says, “Wait a minute! Let me take the test for her.” He takes the test and aces it, 100% perfect. And handing to the professor He says, “Please give me her F, and give her my A – it’s my gift to Jessica so she can dwell in My presence eternally!”

      THAT is what the Bible teaches Jessica, not type of works based system of earning salvation.

      YOU WROTE
      I think most of you can draw the parallels from my example and compare them to why good works are necessary in proving our knowledge and devotion to God and Jesus Christ. If you can’t don’t even bother responding because you probably never will get what I am saying.

      MY RESPONSE
      Thanks for the insult and conscending attitude. Jessica perhaps you should google my name and see exactly who you’re dealing with. Trust me, I understand LdS soteriology quite well. Yes, I “get it” however upon evaluation I also know that LdS soteriology is completely unBiblical.

      YOU WROTE
      I am a Mormon, I am 18 years old and I do believe I am a Christian and have a personal relationship with God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I feel it, I know it, I love it, and most importantly I live it. I will continue to live it until I return to HIM, no matter how those who disagree try to tear me down. I know that everyone is a son or daughter of God and I will do my best to always treat them that way, even if they choose not to treat me with the same regard.

      MY RESPONSE
      Well thank you for that testimony. Could you tell me how that’s any different than what this Muslim women was feeling when she wrote:

      “For me, I believe that Muhammad was a prophet because of the Qur’an–because I read it, and in my own estimation after reading it, reflecting on it, and praying about it, I found in myself an unwavering belief that the Qur’an is without a doubt revealed by the Lord of the Worlds, by the Almighty God.”
      (see http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?s=c37f3f001ea2276b7b74b15a8cf740c6&p=4462691&postcount=3 )

      Sound familiar? Just substitute “Joseph Smith” where it says, “Muhammad” and “Book of Mormon” where it says “Qur’an” and you have the archetypical Mormon Testimony which simply mirrors the “stock” Muslim Testimony know as the Shahada: 

      “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Mohammed is the servant and Messenger of Allah.”
      (the “Shahada”)

      And how is that any different than the Christian (me, to be exact) who wrote:

      “I would like to bear my testimony . . .
      I have diligently sought God regarding whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true or not. To that end, I have studied the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon and I have prayed consistently for over 30-years. I have taken the “Moroni 10 Challenge” and I have felt an intense “burning in my bosom” many, many, many times in my life — in fact, I carry it with me every day of my life.

      … and my testimony is this:
      I am utterly convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a non-Christian cult, that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, as is Thomas S. Monson. Further, I am utterly convinced that the Book of Mormon is an uninspired, man created work of 19th Century fiction.

      Here I stand before God and before men – I can do no other.

      In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen.”

      So Jessica, whose “witness of the spirit” wins since the heart and feelings therein are what REALLY matters in the end?

      Thank you.

      • And supporting evidence for the section that outlines what Mormon Leaders have said about historic, mainstream Christians and Christianity can be found here:
        http://www.evidenceministries.org/2012/03/mormonism%E2%80%99s-hypocritical-attack/

        • David Warner says:

          Fred, your conclusions are wrong. However, I am too busy supporting my large family and visiting the sick and the afflicted to set you straight. May God bless you. http://www.mormon.org

          • Thank you for the “lovely” self-righteous back handed insult and ad-hominem David. Quite NOT in the spirit of how LdS President Gordon B. Hinckley instructed the LdS Church to approach these situations:

            “[There] should never be any cause for self-righteousness, for arrogance, for denigration of others for looking down upon others.”
            (President Hinckley, LDS General Conference, April 2005, Ensign May 2005, 102)

            “Let us as Latter-day Saints reach out to others not of our faith. Let us never act in a spirit of arrogance or with a holier-than-thou attitude. Rather, may we show love and respect and helpfulness toward them. We are greatly misunderstood, and I fear that much of it is of our own making. We can be more tolerant, more neighborly, more friendly, more of an example than we have been in the past. Let us teach our children to treat others with friendship, respect, love, and admiration. That will yield a far better result than will an attitude of egotism and arrogance.”
            (President Hinckley, LDS General Conference, April 2000, Ensign, May 2000, 87)

            “As we recognize our place and our goal, we cannot become arrogant. We cannot become self-righteous. We cannot become smug or egotistical. We must reach out to all mankind.”
            (President Hinckley, LDS General Conference, October 2001)

            “As I have said before, we must not be clannish. We must never adopt a holier-than-thou attitude. We must not be self-righteous. We must be magnanimous, and open, and friendly. We can keep our faith. We can practice our religion. We can cherish our method of worship without being offensive to others. I take this occasion to plead for a spirit of tolerance and neighborliness, of friendship and love toward those of other faiths.”
            (President Hinckley, Pioneer Day Commemoration, July 2001)

            Now how about depersonalizing your arguments and helping me see the error of my ways through logic, reason, and the presentation of countering evidence?

            In other words, how about arguing “to the evidence” rather than “to the man”?

            That would be civil, respectful, and loving – very much in the spirit of President Hinckley’s directives to good and worthy Latter-day Saints.

            Thank you.

            • LOL at everyone hating on the Mormons. Chill dude, get a life.

              • Dsagreement isn’t hatred.

                And BTW Chanelle, I have a life – a rich one and I don’t hate Mormons – which you know if you’d bothered to read my posts.

                Now that’s settled would you care to post some actual meaningful content with substance that adds something of value to the conversation – or are you smug and satisfied just putting up mindless, meaningless, worthless snark and insults?

                • Marilyn Howard says:

                  This certainly doesn’t sound like Christians having a conversation to me. This last comment seemed odd because to me it sounded like it was full of what you were accusing Chanelle of. Maybe I’ve read it wrong or perceived something that was not there.

                  I would like to state that I did read all of your post above and much of what you have posted below. I am expecting a response that won’t be favorable since I am not in agreement with you on the points you have made. I did as you suggested, I Googled your name. I am curious as to why you choose to try to find any kind of fault of “Mormons”. I didn’t find any results, in my search of your name, that showed you addressing any other religion. Just an interesting question that came up as I read much of what you have posted, not just here.

                  • Marilyn, when someone’s first, last and only post is a personal attack and an insult (as Chanelle’s was) what grounds is there for “Christians having a conversation”? And, yes, I found it quite interesting that you fixated on my response to said ad-hominems and completely ignored Channelle’s behavior. Perhaps if you want to “wood shed” someone you should start with her.

                    And, once again, what we have here in your post is an ad-hominem abusive because you directed your entire post at me without addressing any of the evidence, logic, or reason that I’ve presented – and I’m not playing that game Marilyn, sorry.

                    NOW if you would like to address those things (evidence, logic, reason) rather than me, my motives, my character, my ANYTHING we can continue. If not, I’m not interested.

                    Finally, as I have stated several times now I’m hardly a mystery. If you really that interested in me may I suggest that you actually READ some of those google hits (like this one for example: http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/07/11/falsely-accused-my-life-as-an-anti/ ) rather than just gathering enough subjective analysis to mount a fallacious ad-hominem abusive in an attempt to distract FROM the evidence and arguments that have been presented here.

                    I’m not at issue here – the question of whether the LdS Church is or isn’t a Mind Control and/or Christian Theological/Doctrinal Cult is. Stick to that via compelling evidence and arguments and we can continue.

                    Thanks.

                    • Marilyn Howard says:

                      I am sorry, Fred if you “heard” that as a personal attack. I am simply confused at the accusatory verbiage that is in everything I have read (yes, I READ many of the google hits, which included the one you listed) because I don’t hear the sweet tones that I would hear if Christ were speaking, trying to show that the LDS Church is or isn’t a Mind Control and/or a Christian Theological/Doctrinal Cult. I did notice that, as I thought would happen, you attacked me instead of answering any of my curiosity regarding your “mission” of finding fault and/or putting the LDS Church into that category you keep mentioning.

                      No, I am not playing a game. I am so sorry that you feel that way….

      • Fred, thank you for taking so much time out to respond to Jessica. I wish it would help her see the light, but it won’t. I highly doubt she’ll even read your response. That’s what mormons are taught to do. Anything that criticizes any part of the church is automatically anti-mormon and of the devil, no matter if it has all the logic in the world, and woe be the one who reads it. I used to think the way Jessica does, but then I met my boyfriend, and he was able to show me how wrong and cult-like that thinking is. You sound very similar to him! I’m going to save your response and show him…hopefully it will give him hope that there are others out there like him who are willing to use logic and reason when it comes to religion. Hope you have a wonderful day!

        • Thank you Alison, you’re most kind. And I do hope that Jessica and the other Mormons will read my (admittedly) long winded post.

          For if they don’t they’ll simply be proving that the “Thought Control” section of the BITE Model applies to them as much as, I’ve previously noted, the Information Control section does:

          * Thought Control
          o Need to internalize the group’s doctrine as “Truth”
          o Use of “loaded” language (for example, “thought terminating clichés”). Words are the tools we use to think with. These “special” words constrict rather than expand understanding, and can even stop thoughts altogether. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous “buzz words.”
          o Only “good” and “proper” thoughts are encouraged.
          o Use of hypnotic techniques to induce altered mental states
          o Manipulation of memories and implantation of false memories
          o Use of thought stopping techniques, which shut down “reality testing” by stopping “negative” thoughts and allowing only “good” thoughts
          o Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate.
          o No alternative belief systems viewed as leg
          (source http://www.freedomofmind.com/Info/BITE/bitemodel.php ; retreived date of post)

          • whoa dog- time to get up from the computer and go out and do something good for somebody. Be prayerful and humble, don’t let your vast learning become a prideful stumbling block- seek for the spirit of the Lord. It’s the only way to know the most important spiritual truths.

            • Whoa dog-time to stop dimissing and ignoring legitimate criticism and concerns about the LdS Church and the vast body of evidence that supports the claim that it’s a Mind Control Cult and start thinking and feeling for yourself rather than simply blindly believing and regurgitating what you’re told by your leaders.

              Time to stop being so busy with Church related activities that you don’t have time to reflect, question, and think.

              And time to stop attacking and attempting to character assassinate critics when they challenge your thinking. Time to stop assuming that they’re full of pride and lacking the “the most important spiritual truths” simply because they care enough to confront.

              Time to stop doing start thinking and make sure that your ladder is leaning against the right wall.

              • Fred, our Church leaders always say that there are good people in other churches, that there is truth in other churches, and that we are ALL children of our Heavenly Father. The truth is that there was an Apostasy of the early church which is prophesied in the Bible. This necessitated a restoration of the original teachings, doctrines and ordinances that Christ brought to the world. You would do well to read “The Inevitable Apostasy” by Tad Callister. Please do so with a humble heart, and you will learn much.

                • Phyllis, I must challenge your assertions based on the historical record. The First Vision was pretty clear wasn’t it?

                  “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)–and which I should join.

                  I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

                  He again forbade me to join with any of them”
                  ( http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,104-1-3-4,00.html ; retreived date of post)

                  Further, the section of the pre-1990 Temple Endowment that mocks Christian Pastors was even MORE explicit on this topic wasn’t it?
                  (not directly cited out of respect for our Mormon friends)

                  In addition, we can also consider passages like this from LdS Scripture:

                  “And the angel of God said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”
                  - Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10-11

                  Finally, there’s what Mormon Leaders have said about other churches throughout history:

                  “After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon”
                  - Apostle George Q. Cannon said, Gospel Truth, p.324

                  “When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness.”
                  - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:73

                  “With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world.”
                  - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:199

                  “The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God”
                  - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:171

                  “Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth.”
                  - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:176

                  “Christians—those poor, miserable priests brother Brigham was speaking about—some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth, and at the same time preaching righteousness to the children of men. The poor devils, they could not get up here and preach an oral discourse, to save themselves from hell; they are preaching their fathers’ sermons —preaching sermons that were written a hundred years before they were born. …You may get a Methodist priest to pour water on you, or sprinkle it on you, and baptize you face foremost, or lay you down the other way, and whatever mode you please, and you will be damned with your priest.”
                  - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 5:89

                  “…the Book of Mormon remains secure, unchanged and unchangeable, …But with the Bible it was not and is not so….it was once in the sole and exclusive care and custody of an abominable organization (Christianity), founded by the devil himself, likened prophetically unto a great whore, whose great aim and purpose was to destroy the souls of men in the name of religion. In these hands it ceased to be the book it once was.”
                  - Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, The Joseph Smith Translation, pp. 12, 13

                  Yeah . . . kinda hard to pull “…there are good people in other churches, that there is truth in other churches…” from that isn’t it?

                  Finally, Phyllis no great apostasy is prophesied in the Bible – you are in error and so is Ted Callister. Rather Christ was quite clear when He said:

                  “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
                  (Matthew 18:19, Joseph Smith Translation)

                  Yes, the Historic Christian Church has undergone periods of corruption and reform. but, candidly, so has the Lds Church so I would advise you against throwing stones at other people’s glass houses when you have one of your own behind you.

              • Hi Fred,

                Please just give it up and stop bashing. Your statement that the LDS church is a mind control cult is without merit. I converted from the Anglican view of Christianity to become a Latter-Day Saint based on personal experience and revelation, not because some missionaries pulled mind tricks whilst struggling to answer some of my deeper questions. Your statement denies the fact that many people like me made a logical and well throught out decision to join closed out with a personal experience ‘revelation’. You simply can’t get around this point. Further, i’ve never experience any mind manipulation whilst being LDS – yet i do see this on TV with some evangelical groups having group hysteria moments – whipped up in a frenzy (this i think could be argued is stronger evidence of the cult statement).

                As for where my ladder is leaning, i went to Church as a child and grew up in the Christian church in the UK, went to a church school, and later decided to become LDS. Why? Because despite my ardent desire to believe, there were so doctrinal problems in ‘mainstream’ christianity as to constantly cause major problems in even remotely contemplating it – put simply, the story never stacks up – and yes Mormonism does.

                That left me open minded, willing to listen and evaluate the views of others, but consider them seriously and place them under scrutiny. Mormonism makes sense because the concepts are holistic, it strengthed my relationship with God and Christ, but most of all i gained a personal witness that moved beyond the debate, beyond the anti mormon literature. You’ll note that i’m not on a website attacking your church, merely posting in defence of what i believe is the truth.

                God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are not one singular being, morphing and existing as some unexplainable entity. God is my literal father. Jesus is my literal brother. I know who these people are, and they know me. The Bible makes this totally clear – the legacy of Christianity mixed with Paganism obscures these plain truths – feel free to e-mail me, i’d be happy to debate you on this point and i promise you won’t find any base character attacks or appeal to false authority with me.

                • Dee, first I want to thank you for your more even toned, devoid of ad-hominem post – it was refreshing.

                  Never-the-less, your assertion, “Your statement that the LDS church is a mind control cult is without merit.” is itself without merit as I explained in this post: http://www.jennyerikson.com/2012/09/21/so-i-went-to-mormon-church/comment-page-1/#comment-255265

                  • YOU WROTE
                    I converted from the Anglican view of Christianity to become a Latter-Day Saint based on personal experience and revelation, not because some missionaries pulled mind tricks whilst struggling to answer some of my deeper questions.

                    MY RESPONSE
                    With all due respect Dee your statement lacks credibility given the type of “milk before meat” techniques that LdS Missionaries use. Did they, for example, explain to you that Mormonism departs from the most basic tenet of the Bible – Monotheism – and teaches and practices Henotheism (a multitude of gods with one god pre-eminent and superior to all others) which is a form of polythesim during the Missionary Lessons? Did they walk you through the Temple Endowment with you and explain the various doctrines that are taught there? Did they walk you through D&C 132 and fully disclose Mormonism’s history of polygamy/polyandry/bigamy? Did they explain to you how “Celestial Polygamy” works today (a widowed or divorced man can remarry in the temple and have more than one wive in heaven)?

                    If not, regardless the rationale or justification, they engaged in the Mind Control practice known as “Information Control” – which the “I” in the BITE Model:

                    * Information Control
                    o Use of deception
                    o Access to non cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
                    o Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
                    o Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
                    o Spying on other members is encouraged
                    o Unethical use of confession

                    YOU WROTE
                    Your statement denies the fact that many people like me made a logical and well throught out decision to join closed out with a personal experience ‘revelation’. You simply can’t get around this point.

                    MY RESPONSE
                    Actually Dee, Mind Control does work if the subject isn’t convinced that their decision was “logical and well thought out”. Please see this article from Luna Flesher: http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/09/05/mind-control-101-the-basics/

                    • YOU WROTE
                      I converted from the Anglican view of Christianity to become a Latter-Day Saint based on personal experience and revelation, not because some missionaries pulled mind tricks whilst struggling to answer some of my deeper questions.

                      MY RESPONSE
                      With all due respect Dee your statement lacks credibility given the type of “milk before meat” techniques that LdS Missionaries use. Did they, for example, explain to you that Mormonism departs from the most basic tenet of the Bible – Monotheism – and teaches and practices Henotheism (a multitude of gods with one god pre-eminent and superior to all others) which is a form of polythesim during the Missionary Lessons? Did they walk you through the Temple Endowment with you and explain the various doctrines that are taught there? Did they walk you through D&C 132 and fully disclose Mormonism’s history of polygamy/polyandry/bigamy? Did they explain to you how “Celestial Polygamy” works today (a widowed or divorced man can remarry in the temple and have more than one wive in heaven)?

                      If not, regardless the rationale or justification, they engaged in the Mind Control practice known as “Information Control” – which the “I” in the BITE Model:

                      * Information Control
                      o Use of deception
                      o Access to non cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
                      o Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
                      o Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
                      o Spying on other members is encouraged
                      o Unethical use of confession

                      And as much as I would LOVE to deconstruct the “personal experience and revelation” claims of your post I will refrain for the sake of brevity.

                      YOU WROTE
                      Your statement denies the fact that many people like me made a logical and well throught out decision to join closed out with a personal experience ‘revelation’. You simply can’t get around this point.

                      MY RESPONSE
                      Actually Dee, Mind Control does work if the subject isn’t convinced that their decision was “logical and well thought out”. Please see this article from Luna Flesher: http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/09/05/mind-control-101-the-basics/

  6. What I have noted is FRED HAS TOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS!

    • Your response is fallacious because you did NOT present any counter evidence, reasoning, logic, or other legitimate arguments – you simply launched into an “ad-hominem abusive” attack on me.

      From the Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary:
      ad hominem
      1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
      2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

      To quote from the Wikipedia article on Ad-hominem tactics:
      “An ad hominem, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”), is an attempt to persuade which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.[1] The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy.[2] …

      Ad hominem abusive
      Ad hominem abusive usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to invalidate their argument, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”
      ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem )

      Again, for emphasis:
      “The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy.”

      “This [Ad-hominem Abusive] tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”

      Now Amy, you will note that I have refrained in engaging in ad-hominem abusives with those I disagree with here. I would appreciate the same courtesy and respect from those who disagree with me. Please address the evidence not that person presenting the evidence – that latter is generally irrelevant and focusing exclusively on the former is what defines and maintains civil discussion.

      Thank you.

      • you’re both absolutely PSYCHO!!!

        • I see. So I defend myself and my arguments when confronted with personal attacks, insults, and character assassinated by name I’m “Psycho”? And all this from Mormons simply because I present evidence about their religion that they don’t like?

          As I have said several times now Leeny, I thought I was done days ago – and then the Mormon ad-homineming, personal attacks, insults began.

          And I’m psycho for simply attempting to engage in civil discussion and debate? I’m psycho for presenting evidence and logical arguments and receiving yet more insults and attempts at character assassination in return? Hmmm . . .

          Perhaps you’re engaging in psychological projection my friend – candidlty, I don’t think it’s I who’s psycho.

  7. LeNore Merritt says:

    Thank you for your honest and fair post. I am LDS (Latter Day Saint) and i really enjoyed reading about your experience. It was candid and open minded. I agree with a former comment, your approach and post are truly Christian. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Cheri Jones says:

    I, too would like to thank you for your honest post. I remember the first time I went to a “Mormon” church, except it was a Sunday School meeting. I learned a lot, and, too, was shocked that even the children took the sacrament. This was a LONG time ago when Sunday School was in the morning on Sunday, and Sacrament meeting was in the evening. I was a little disappointed in the water as well, but then when you realize that it is symbolic, it really doesn’t matter what the liquid is.

    I applaud your willingness to go find our for yourself what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is all about. And yes, the LDS church probably does hold women in higher esteem and regard than most churches. Just because men hold the priesthood and preside over the family does not mean his wife is less than him. It just means, he has the responsibility on his shoulders. I like it that way.

    I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t joined the church. It truly has been the greatest blessing in my life. I’m so thankful to Heavenly Father for leading me to the truth. I love and appreciate my Savior, Jesus Christ and try to live worthily to be with Him again when my life here is completed. May the Lord bless you for your willingness to seek out truth, and may you find all the happiness you seek.

  9. Thanks Jenny for this post. Its so refreshing to hear a non-mormon say positive things about our church. The goodness of your heart will lead you to the goodness of God (This is a promise). I wish you the best in your life.

  10. Fun and informative post. I’m impressed that you went to the right place (what Mormons actually do and say in their natural habitat, not what others write about them) to find your answers.

    I can help on the confusing terminology. A ward is (as you surmised) a local congregation. A “stake” is a more regional collection of wards, usually five to twelve or thereabouts. Mormons refer to the meeting house (or “chapel,” basketball court and all) where the stake offices are located as the “stake center.” All stake centers double as regular ward chapels.

  11. For all of you that think Mormons are a cult… You are right, but so are Catholics, every other religion, atheists, and Apple/iPhone fanatics…

    cult   [kuhlt] Show IPA
    noun
    1.
    a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
    2.
    an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
    3.
    the object of such devotion.
    4.
    a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
    5.
    Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

    “Cult.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2012. .

    • We have already discussed and addressed this fallacious argument elsewhere.

      Please click on this link to read them:
      http://www.jennyerikson.com/2012/09/21/so-i-went-to-mormon-church/comment-page-1/#comments

      Or click on << Older Comments and go to the first page of comments.

      Thank you.

      • Fred you only accept the truths you want and disavow those you do not. One statement you said man has faults but beleive in the teachings and theories that man himself has “discovered” that many times are again and again disproved by newer facts Man accepted and beleived the world to be flat and we rovloved around the sun but yet these theories and in all actuality at that time facts were proved wrong. You are ignorant and refuse to open your mind to new and better posabilities.
        get a life and a job it will do you good and try actualy learning something about the LDS church from someone other than a non members who already have an objective opinion. if you where LDS sorry that you thought the pleasures of life where better than trying to improve yourself. it’s true and no matter how hard you fight it or disbeleive it you will still meat that same God and have to answer to him. try to be a better man God expects more from you and loves you.

        • Well Don, first I want to thank your concern over my eternal fate. Your kind concern demonstrates that you and I are motivated by the same thing: We’re both convinced that the other fella has his ladder leaning against the wrong wall and is in for a shock when he reaches the top and sees what’s on the other side.

          That’s why I don’t mind investing so much time, money, and effort in trying to reason with Mormons Don.

          Now of course much of your post was an ad-hominem abusive – for the most part, a NICE ad-hominem abusive but an ad-hominem abusive none the less (see my post to Amy). However, like Jessica, you have raised some interesting points that I would like to address not only for your benefit but for the benefit of others.

          YOU WROTE
          Fred you only accept the truths you want and disavow those you do not.

          MY RESPONSE
          Don, I would argue that his is nothing more than psychological projection on your part:

          “Psychological projection or projection bias (including Freudian Projection) is the unconscious act of denial of a person’s own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, a tool, or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have those feelings.

          Projection is considered one of the most profound and subtle of human psychological processes, and extremely difficult to work with, because by its nature it is hidden. It is the fundamental mechanism by which we keep ourselves uninformed about ourselves. Humor has great value in any attempt to work with projection, because humor presents a forgiving posture and thereby removes the threatening nature of any inquiry into the truth.”
          (source: WikiPedia “Psychological Projection” article )

          Don, I would assert based on the case that you present in your post that it is YOU that, “only accept the truths you want and disavow those you do not.” As they say, if you point a finger at someone else you only end up pointing 4-fingers back at yourself.

          Once again for emphasis: “It [pschological projection] is the fundamental mechanism by which we keep ourselves uninformed about ourselves.”

          YOU WROTE
          You are ignorant and refuse to open your mind to new and better posabilities.

          MY RESPONSE
          Well like the other Mormons who have ad-hominemed me it appears to me that rather than finding out how I am by researching me OR (better yet) asking questions, you have simply presumed and then acted on that presumption. Respectfully Don, it’s not I who is the ignoramous here.

          I say this because if you HAD taken the time to google on my name you would have discovered that Mormon Studies is my avocation. I’m hardly a secret and I am QUITE familiar with “Mormon Truth” and the LdS worldview.

          However, I (like millions of people before me) have discovered that when one gets out the “Mormon Tank” (I wrote on an article on this BTW) and attempt to validate the truth claims of Joseph Smith and the LdS Church they fall apart like sand running through one’s hands.

          Have you done that Don? Have done what you’re accusing me of NOT doing? Have you opened your mind to new and better possibilities? Or have you simply presumed that Mormonism is true without an honest and thorough scrutiny of it’s claims?

          Have you, for example, read TRUE Mormon History from non-Mormon sources (John G. Turner’s new book on Brigham Young for example is EXCELLENT!) or do you limit yourself to ONLY “Faithful” sources like CES materials, LdS Apologists, and/or books from the Mormon Scholars (Bushman, Givens, Turley, etc.) that you’ll find at Deseret Book?

          YOU WROTE
          One statement you said man has faults but beleive in the teachings and theories that man himself has “discovered” that many times are again and again disproved by newer facts Man accepted and beleived the world to be flat and we rovloved around the sun but yet these theories and in all actuality at that time facts were proved wrong.

          MY RESPONSE
          Well, I don’t know what statement you’re referring to but based on the epistemological model that you’re proposing why should we accept any empirical evidence at all? It is, candidly, an irrational, illogical model and an argument that can be used to justify belief in just about anything.

          For example, men have discovered that fairies are NOT real – should we believe in them out of the assumption that someday, someone might find prove the existence of fairies? Or what about Santa Claus? The Easter Bunny? The Tooth Fairy? The Loch Ness Monster? Big Foot? Hobbits? Elves? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? The Boogey Man?

          Where does it stop Don? Candidly all I’ve done here is comply is the challenge that these Mormon Leaders issued – so why are you and the other Mormons here getting upset with me?

          “… convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information, and you will ever have the pleasing reflection that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you may see enveloping their minds.”
          (Orson Pratt, “The Seer”, pp. 15-16)

          “I think a full, free talk is frequently of great use; we want nothing secret nor underhanded, and I for one want no association with things that cannot be talked about and will not bear investigation.”
          (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20, p. 264)

          YOU WROTE
          and try actualy learning something about the LDS church from someone other than a non members who already have an objective opinion.

          MY RESPONSE
          Don, again if you will read through my body of work in Mormon Studies you will see that I cited directly from official, correlated LdS Church materials whenever possible. Yes, I interact with Ex-Mormons but I also have substantative interaction with members of the LdS Church as well – and have done so my entire life. Again, if you have bothered googling on my name before you posted would have known all this.

          Further, I have been to several Mormon Chapel meetings – including a Fast & Testimony Meeting – and, sadly, a Mormon Funeral for a family member. I grew up with Mormon relatives and I have a Mormon brother who has a rather large family.

          Exposure to Mormonism? Yep, I’ve got it in spades. In fact, I wrote about it in this article:
          http://beggarsbread.org/2012/01/08/it-was-a-simple-question/

          Finally, I have a Mormon Testimony – it goes like this:

          “I would like to bear my testimony . . .
          I have diligently sought God regarding whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true or not. To that end, I have studied the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon and I have prayed consistently for over 30-years. I have taken the “Moroni 10 Challenge” and I have felt an intense “burning in my bosom” many, many, many times in my life — in fact, I carry it with me every day of my life.

          … and my testimony is this:
          I am utterly convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a non-Christian cult, that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, as is Thomas S. Monson. Further, I am utterly convinced that the Book of Mormon is an uninspired, man created work of 19th Century fiction.

          Here I stand before God and before men – I can do no other.

          In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen.”

          YOU WROTE
          if you where LDS sorry that you thought the pleasures of life where better than trying to improve yourself. it’s true and no matter how hard you fight it or disbeleive it you will still meat that same God and have to answer to him. try to be a better man God expects more from you and loves you.

          MY RESPONSE
          Well Don, I am indeed a better man through the grace and mercy of Heavenly Father who have saved me, is santcifying me, and with in whose presence I know I will spend eternity NOT because of anything that I’ve done but because of EVERYTHING that Jesus Christ has done for me through via His atoning work of immeasurable love on the cross.

          My answer, will be, “I’m guilty as charged my Master!” and His answer will be, “No, longer my beloved son, I have justified you through my death and ressurrection, enter and live with me forevermore!”

          YOU WROTE
          get a life and a job it will do you good

          MY RESPONSE
          More psychological projection Don?

          Oh, and BTW thanks for the prejudiced, bigoted insult and attempt at character assassination buddy! But wait a sec – Jenny said that Mormon are nice in her blog article . . . hmmmm . . .

          Actually Don, I have a very rich, vibrant life. Further, I have a very good job that I enjoy immensely. And on top of that, I have a wonderful avocation: Mormon Studies that has enabled me to stretch, and grow in wonderful and unexpected ways. In fact Don . . .

          “I want to bear my testimony. I know that the Triune God of Israel, YaHWeH Elohim is the only true God.

          I know that I have been saved by accepting the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection by faith, and faith alone. I know that this was a grace gift that God gave me by choosing me. I did nothing to deserve it or and there is nothing that I can ever do to earn it – it was a gift from God. And it is through that gift, freely given and freely recieved, I declare that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and He is Lord!

          I now have an intimate relationship with God through the gift of the Holy Spirit who helps and guides me. I am His and He is mine, His banner over me is love.

          I know these things not only by the witness of the Spirit in my life but by the evidence of my changed life, thoughts, desires and general world view – and through the witness of the written word of God, the Bible, which is my absolute standard for all things seen and unseen.

          Here I stand, I can do no other.

          In the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior and Friend, amen.”

          Again, thank you for your post which gave me the opportunity to address these issues Don.

          Shalom to you and your household in Jesus’s Holy Name.

  12. I heart Fred.

    That is all.

  13. Wow Fred! You sure can punch! So, here’s the deal. If you are correct in your interpretations of gospel truth, then what dies it matter if the Mormons are wrong? That is, if we are all saved by the grace of Jesus Christ as his free gift, then why does it matter what you or I or the Mormons believe and practice? Seriously, do you want to argue that we are saved by what we believe? Or know? Are you ready to argue that everyone who believes differently from you will be thrust down to hell to burn forever? Dies that include Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hare Krishnas, adventists, JW’s, atheists, and those who lived and died without ever even hearing or knowing the name of Jesus Christ? Or, is it just Mormons that god hates and will thrust down to hell? What is it? Are we all saved by the grace if Jesus Christ or just those who can bear up little Mormon college girls with their bibles? How about it Fred?

  14. Jim, you wrote:

    “That is, if we are all saved by the grace of Jesus Christ as his free gift, then why does it matter what you or I or the Mormons believe and practice?”

    Because we have saved by grace through faith just as the Bible says Jim:
    (again, all passage are from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible)

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
    – Ephesian 2:8&9

    And the Bible also tells us what that faith must be in:

    “… if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved..”
    – Romans 10:9

    You can’t just believe anything and everything and dwell with Heavenly Father for eternity – the Bible is quite clear on this point..

    Finally, I’m not meaning to “punch” merely speak the truth just as the LdS Missionaries do. And as I read through “Preach My Gospel” (the curriculum that LdS Missionaries use) I find that the truth claims of the LdS Church in term of salvation are just as exclusive as those of historic Christianity. For example on p.38 the Missionaries are told to, “Memorize Joseph Smith’s description of seeing the Father and the Son (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17), and always be ready to describe the First Vision using his own words.” That, of course, is referring to The First Vision which includes some (understating it greatly) pretty exclusive claims such as:

    “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

    I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

    He again forbade me to join with any of them…”
    (Joseph Smith — History 1:18-20; http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng ; retrieved 2012-09-30)

    And Jim we both know that far worse things are said about non-Mormons, Non-Mormons Churches, and Non-Mormon Clergy in the Temple Endowment Ceremony aren’t they? Further, even far worse things were said before the 1990 changes weren’t they?

    And let’s look at some of the things of the things that Mormon Leaders have publicly said about Christians throughout Mormon History:

    “What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world”
    - Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.270

    “…all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels.”
    - Prophet Joseph Smith , The Elders Journal, Joseph Smith Jr., editor, vol.1, no.4, p.60

    “Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the ‘whore of Babylon’ whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. Any person who shall be so corrupt as to receive a holy ordinance of the Gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent”
    - Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 255

    And Jim, there’s a LOT more where that came from – so perhaps you should put that rock down before you break your own glass house.

    And again Jim, as far as I’m concerned I haven’t punched anyone here. Yes, I speak directly but my intention has been to try to reason with them just, as I said to Don, out of concern for them. And just like the LdS Missionaries I haven’t tried to deliberately disrespect anyone but I have done my best to present facts and evidence for them to consider with as even a tone as possible. Jim, I have studied for YEARS to understand my Mormon friends and family members. I have attended their meetings and I have read their scripture.

    Further, I have spoken at little from myself here preferring to cite from official, correlated LdS sources as much as possible. And I have presented supporting evidence for every claim I’ve made (BTW, where’s yours Jim?)

    However you and other Mormons here have attempted to punch me via derogatory comments, personal attacks, insults, and a generally arrogant, condescending tone.

    In turn, I have made every attempt to be polite and respectful by depersonalizing my responses – yet you and other Mormons here have chosen to mock and bait me BY NAME simply because you disagree with what I was saying.

    And you all just keep coming seemingly without end. Like I told Jessica, I thought that I was done here a couple of days ago – and if you all would stop with the ad-hominems, personal attacks, insults and other attempts at character assassination I wouldn’t be here now.

    Now folks are you getting this? Kinda makes one wonder where all that “Sunday Mornin’ nice” goes once you disagree with Mormons in public doesn’t it?

    • Keep up the good work Fred, and God bless you for it.

      • Thank you George, you’re very kind.

        • Our daughter-in-law grew up in the Mormon church. When she was dating our son she came to know and believe in the true Jesus of the Bible primarily through the witness and teaching of my wife. She has been liberated now from all the Mormon false doctrines and is truly free and trusting in Jesus. Her family now rejects her, which is hard, but we are praying for them.

  15. Jenny, good for you for visiting and seeing for yourself!

    I’ve grown up in the Mormon church, but my faith and belief in its teachings does not rely on my family – it’s my own. I love it, and I love the Book of Mormon. I appreciate others who seek truth, whatever religion they support. In fact, some of my very best friends are members of other faiths. I’ve learned a lot visiting other churches – from a Muslim mosque, to a Greek Orthodox church, to a Jewish synagogue, and many Catholic masses. I see beauty and goodness in other faiths.

    I’m glad you could see the good in our Mormon faith.

    Blessings,

    Crystalee Beck
    delightedtowrite.com

    • Don’t forget to at least tell your Muslim friends what Jesus said: ” I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me.”
      They may be seeking the truth but unless they have trusted in Jesus as their savior they have not yet found it..

  16. Thanks for the post,Jenny! I love that you have respect for others and go to the source to learn more. To the Fred’s out there: A mormon reading anti-mormon sermons/literature/lengthy posts is a little bit like reading negative reviews from a movie critic about your favorite movie: one that you know and love. After the first few lines, why would I bother? I am a Mormon. I know my church and and I love it. Who cares who disagrees. I believe it makes ‘bad men/women good and good men/women better’. Near many colleges, you can find an LDS Institute of Religion. One of my favorite courses I took there is called “Religions of the World.” Mormons care about learning about what others believe in a respectful way. You need not feel threatened about others beliefs that are different than yours. The more you learn about others beliefs, the more you learn about yourself and what rings true to you. To all the haters: please make God proud by using your energy doing positive and beautiful things- like Jenny, the writer of this post.

    • Well, Nicole, and for the record, I don’t feel at all threatened by beliefs that are different than mine – including those of the LdS Church. However, I am thoroughly convinced (based on years of study of and direct experience with ) that the “Religion of the World” known as Mormonism has it’s members leaning their ladders against the wrong wall.

      YOU WROTE
      “To all the haters: please make God proud by using your energy doing positive and beautiful things- like Jenny, the writer of this post.”

      MY RESPONSE
      Nicole, could you explain to me how disagreeing with others and attempting to reason with and challenge them with the inconsistencies and discrepancies that one sees in their worldview “hatred”? After all, isn’t that what LdS Missionaries do daily all over the world?

      And if you’ve read through my other posts you know that I’ve been through “Preach My Gospel” – I know how they’re trained and what they said to investigators. And using your standard shouldn’t the following be considered “hate”:

      For example, on page 44 it says:
      “Restoration: To restore means to return to a former condition, or to bring back.
      The Restoration, as used by Latter-day Saints, means that the true Church of Jesus Christ, which was lost through apostasy, was brought back as it originally existed when organized by Jesus Christ. Unlike the Reformation, the Restoration was accomplished by divine authority through revelation.”

      And turning to page 35 does it says:
      “Without the Apostles, over time the doctrines were corrupted, and unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and priesthood ordinances, such as baptism and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost. Without revelation and priesthood authority, people relied on human wisdom to interpret the scriptures and the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

      False ideas were taught as truth. Much of the knowledge of the true character and nature of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost was lost. The doctrines of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost became distorted or forgotten. The priesthood authority given to Christ’s Apostles was no longer present on the earth. This apostasy eventually led to the emergence of many churches.”

      Finally on page 37 it says:
      “In this vision God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith. The Savior told Joseph not to join any of the churches, for they “were all wrong” and “all their creeds were an abomination.” He stated, “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof”
      (Joseph Smith—History 1:19).”

      NOTE: For the readers unfamiliar with “Preach My Gospel” it is the training ciricullum for all LdS Missionaries. You can read the original here: http://broadcast.lds.org/…/…36617_eng_006.pdf

      And, as I recall, when the Missionaries work at the LDS Institutes of Religion that you mentioned I believe they’re basing their interaction with the non-Mormon students on curriculum like this are they not? So can I assume that you’ll be contacting the Church Educational System (CES) about the hate speech that’s using in the LdS Church Missionary Training curriculum?

      Or, put in even more simple terms if you see someone in the house with it’s second story on fire which is more loving:

      a) Knock on the door and tell them of their plight.

      b) Knock on the door and tell them how wonderful and glorious the flames and smokes are and thank them for enlightening the world so!

      c) Walk by whistling, grinning and saying, “Oh well, after all, who am I to judge? At least they’re warm and feeling good about their house!”

      YOU WROTE
      The more you learn about others beliefs, the more you learn about yourself and what rings true to you.

      MY RESPONSE
      No disagreement. As I wrote my article entitled, “How I Became A Mormon Studies Scholar”:

      “…I dove into Mormon Studies with heart, mind and soul and to my shock and surprise discovered that: a) I love it! and; b) I’m good at it.

      I’m hooked.

      My favorite Mormon Studies quote – and the one the epitomizes my Mormon Studies philosophy and experience – comes from LdS Scholar Kathleen Flake who said:

      “Superficially, one thinks of revealed religions as providing answers, and Smith provides as many questions as he does answers.

      Nobody is exempt from struggling with who he is. Whether you’re an insider or an outsider, thinking about Smith causes you to struggle, and that struggle brings as much of you into the question as it does Smith himself.

      He’s a bit of a religious Rorschach test.”
      – KATHLEEN FLAKE, Historian
      (from the PBS Series “The Mormons”)

      That quote matches my experience to a T! I have grown deeper and wider in my own faith by studying Joseph Smith than I ever thought possible – that was unexpected. Further, I seem to be helping others through my own involvement on Internet discussion boards…”

      And that light I find it interesting (and, candidly, amusing) that you’re praising someone who went to one (1) Mormon Chapel and wrote a blog article that those in the know have challenged as naive, uniformed, and premature in it’s conclusions and condemning someone who has been to numerous LdS Church meetings with his Mormon family members and studied the religion of the Latter-day Saints (mainly from primary sources, I might add) for over 30-years.

      Interesting indeed!

  17. Hi Jenny, Found your blog through a random friend and I think there need to be more open minded people in the world like you. I love the respect you showed for the Mormon sacrament service while also showing your conviction to your own faith. Learning about other religions is one of the most interesting and teaching things I have done in my life. I know you mentioned how interesting it was to hear from women from the pulpit and how the talks seemed like a motivational conference. Well we happened to have a motivational conference for women given by the women leaders of the LDS church this last weekend. If you’re interesed they have video broadcast of the conference here http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/general-relief-society-meeting/2012/09?lang=eng&vid=1868422120001 and they will probably have the print version up sometime this week. If you’re curious, check it out!

  18. This was a lot of fun to read! I am a practicing Mormon and it is always fun to see what people who are not familiar with the faith think of our services. This reminds me of the couple times I went to mass my first year of college, I had a Catholic roommate and we took turns going with her so she wouldn’t have to go alone. It was a neat experience, though I am sure I looked very out of place. I wore church clothes and most people were there in sweats or jeans lol. Their pastor was a cool guy though and I really enjoyed the message. I think everyone should attend other church services once in a while, it is a cool experience to see what others believe and a great way to experience another culture.
    Thanks again for sharing!!

    Paige
    20

  19. WHY must everything become an argument online? Anyway, LOVED the article! The fact that we aren’t a cult, and are pretty close to normal is so much less interesting than all the controversial stuff that we usually get painted as villains. Thanks for keeping an open mind.

    Also, “Ward” is people, “Ward building” or “church” is the building. “Stake” is a group of “Wards”; kind of like a Catholic diocese.

    Interesting note on Wine in “Communion” (or Sacrament,) it’s part of our belief in modern Divine Revelation. We believe that alcohol used to be acceptable (Jesus’ water into wine, and pretty much a bajillion mentions of wine in the Bible,) but in those days, there weren’t many ways of purifying water, and alcohol killed most of the bad stuff in wine. Wine was often considered healthier and safer than water. Today, we have an abundance of water, which is better for the liver (albeit not as good for the heart.) . Also, some say that there was no word to distinguish between “wine” and “grape juice” back in the day. These are possible explanations for the water/wine switch. The bottom line? Doesn’t matter to us “why”. We don’t drink wine because we believe that God commanded it through a profit. That’s all. Everybody needs to make their own decisions, but we choose not to drink anything with alcohol.

  20. CONTINUED RESPONSE TO DEE THAT’S RUN OUT OF INDENTION SPACE:

    YOU WROTE
    Further, i’ve never experience any mind manipulation whilst being LDS – yet i do see this on TV with some evangelical groups having group hysteria moments – whipped up in a frenzy (this i think could be argued is stronger evidence of the cult statement).

    MY RESPONSE
    Dee, your statement exposes a basic misunderstanding of the BITE Model and the criteria for a Mind Control Cult. Group hysteria alone doesn’t qualify a group as a Mind Control Cult – again, please refer to the BITE Model. Furthermore, if group hysteria is the sole criteria you want to use to determine if a group is a Mind Control Cult or not, you have a problem because the Early Mormons were Pentecostals who practiced all the spiritual manifestations that modern Pentecostals do – I have, and many others, have written articles on this. Here’s mine: http://beggarsbread.org/2012/09/09/mormons-pentecostals-gone-bad/

    So your argument isn’t bad, just inadequate and, frankly, hypocritical given true Mormon History.

    • YOU WROTE
      As for where my ladder is leaning, i went to Church as a child and grew up in the Christian church in the UK, went to a church school, and later decided to become LDS. Why? Because despite my ardent desire to believe, there were so doctrinal problems in ‘mainstream’ christianity as to constantly cause major problems in even remotely contemplating it – put simply, the story never stacks up – and yes Mormonism does.

      MY RESPONSE
      Dee, sadly, these words expose that fact that while you might have grown up in a Christian Church you never gained a fully formed theology. There’s only doctrinal disagreement on the non-essentials of the faith – on the essentials there’s unity. This is summarized in St. Augustine’s famous maxim:

      “In essentials, unity.
      In non-essentials, liberty.
      In all things, charity”

      And you will find a good summary analysis of the essential doctrines of the Christian Faith here: http://carm.org/essential-doctrines-of-christianity

      As you will see the LdS Church deviates on several of them – hence it is ALSO a Theological/Doctrinal Cult in addition to being a Mind Control Cult.

      • YOU WROTE
        That left me open minded, willing to listen and evaluate the views of others, but consider them seriously and place them under scrutiny. Mormonism makes sense because the concepts are holistic…

        MY RESPONSE
        I addressed this argument in this article: http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/08/13/the-problem-of-the-mormon-tank-revisited/

        • YOU WROTE
          …it strengthed my relationship with God and Christ, but most of all i gained a personal witness that moved beyond the debate, beyond the anti mormon literature.

          MY RESPONSE
          I addressed the infamous “personal witness” in my article, “Deconstructing Mormon Testimony Bearing” which is currently out of print but if you email me I’ll send you a copy.

          YOU WROTE
          You’ll note that i’m not on a website attacking your church, merely posting in defence of what i believe is the truth.

          MY RESPONSE
          If I was in a Mind Control Cult I would hope that you WOULD be on a website attacking it. In fact, I WAS in a Mind Control Cult for 13-years so I think I understand and empathize with your thoughts quite well. I’ve written a little on that experience here http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/08/22/my-life-as-a-mind-control-cultist-part-1/ with more to follow as I have the time and desire to write.

          This type behavior is in keeping what the example and exhortation that the Apostles gave us:

          “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly CONTEND for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
          – Jude 1:3 (KJV)

          “…we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God WITH MUCH CONTENTION.

          For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

          But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
          – I Thessalonians 2:2-4 (KJV)

          So challenging and confronting those in error is a very loving, Christ-like thing to do Dee isn’t it?

          • YOU WROTE
            God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are not one singular being, morphing and existing as some unexplainable entity.

            MY RESPONSE
            Again, this statement demonstrates how flawed your theology seems to have been when you were a Christian.

            Trinitarianism DOES NOT teach that God changes or “morphs” as you put it – that’s modalism, which is what Joseph Smith was leaning to in the Book of Mormon and other Early Mormon scripture before he finally landed on henothesim.

            In fact, modalism (or Sabellianism) was one of the heresies that is addressed in the creeds (The Athanasian Creed to be exact) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabellianism . Trinitarianism teaches that God is ONE Being in THREE persons just like the hymn says:

            “God in three persons, blessed Trinity”

            The fact that you articulated modalism as an explanation for the Trinity is revealing Dee.

            YOU WROTE
            God is my literal father. Jesus is my literal brother. I know who these people are, and they know me. The Bible makes this totally clear…

            Actually, none of those teachings can be found in the Bible at all Dee – you have to go OUTSIDE the Bible to find them. To cite just one of many examples:

            Romans 8:15&16 (Joseph Smith Translation)
            “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of ADOPTION, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

            The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

            Dee, no adopted child is a LITERAL child of their adopted parents or sibling to their adoptive brothers and sisters. Again, the fact that you would believe such a patently UNBiblical doctrine that would be deemed heretical by both Jews and Christians throughout history demonstrates that your theology as a Christian simply wasn’t fully formed.

            • YOU WROTE
              the legacy of Christianity mixed with Paganism obscures these plain truths

              MY RESPONSE
              I find this rather amusing when LdS Apologists are appealing to paganism (Asherah, Astarte, Isis, etc.) for their arguments for the LdS concept of a “Heavenly Mother” and defense of the Book of Abraham among other things. Both Christianity and Judaism have been steadfast in resisting any and all attempts to paganize their faiths.

              However, Mormonism not only appeals to paganism as a justification for it’s doctrines but points to two books of scripture written in a pagan tongue (The Book of Mormon, “Reformed Egyptian” and The Book of Abraham “Ancient Egyptian” and uses pagan signs and symbols (the facsmilies in the Book of Abraham) as holy writ in it’s canon of scripture during periods of Jewish History in which such an act would be considered blasphemy as Hebrew was (and still is) considered to be God’s sacred tongue.

              I think perhaps Dee, you should reconsider your arguments in light of the facts.

              YOU WROTE
              feel free to e-mail me, i’d be happy to debate you on this point and i promise you won’t find any base character attacks or appeal to false authority with me.

              MY RESPONSE
              Thank you for your kind offer but since this dicussion started here I think that it should remain here – don’t you? And again, I do appreciate your more even-toned post and refusal to engage in ad-hominem abusives as your Mormon colleagues have done so here.

              Thank you again.

              • P.S.
                And last but not least . . .

                YOU WROTE
                Please just give it up and stop bashing.

                MY RESPONSE
                Dee, as stated earlier, as far as I’m concerned I’m contending for the faith not bashing – just as the Apostles modeled and told us to do in the Bible. However, IMO, your Mormon colleagues sure have been bashing me like mad haven’t they?

                And as long at they attack, insult, and attempts to character assassinate continue so shall I. If you would really like to see me leave this discussion then please appeal to your peers and help them to see that their continued bashing will only keep me here.

                Again, thank you.

  21. Thank you for this post. This is actually the first time I have read your blog, and find it very fair minded. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I appreciate how open you were. I have met many people who condemn us all for nothing more than a divergent view of God. I thank you for taking the time to actually investigate the Church by talking to its members, attending the meetings, and weighing for yourself its value.

  22. Wow Fred you are so amazing. You are one to look up to. Keep up the awesome job! Gives me goosebumps to see someone tearing down a religion that does so much good in the world. I’m sure Jesus is Proud!

    • Thanks for the ad-homiem Matt. Now do you have any countering evidence, logic, or reason that you would like to argue from rather than pointless personal attacks?

      And yes, as I have pointed out several times now I’m simply following the model that Christ set with the Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans and others who were in well meaning error in His day; what Paul did on Mars Hills (see Acts 17) and elsewhere in the Gentile world, and what the Apostles exhorted us to do throughout the New Testament (as noted in earlier posts).

      So yes, I’m sure that Jesus is very proud.

      As for, “tearing down a religion that does so much good in the world”, well that’s never stopped the LdS Church from doing so with other religions has it? As I’ve pointed out in other posts Mormon Leaders throughout history have used FAR harsher language in criticizing other churches than I have. You know things like:

      “Christians—those poor, miserable priests brother Brigham was speaking about—some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth, and at the same time preaching righteousness to the children of men. The poor devils, they could not get up here and preach an oral discourse, to save themselves from hell; they are preaching their fathers’ sermons —preaching sermons that were written a hundred years before they were born. …You may get a Methodist priest to pour water on you, or sprinkle it on you, and baptize you face foremost, or lay you down the other way, and whatever mode you please, and you will be damned with your priest.”
      - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 5:89

      “The Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so called”
      - Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p.196

      “Christianity…is a perfect pack of nonsense…the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.”
      - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.167

      “Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom.”
      - Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 10:127

      “What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.”
      - Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225

      So why don’t you put that stone down before you break your own glass house with it Matt?

  23. Nice post! Whether or not one supports Romney’s positions, it is so important that we don’t judge each other on one’s faith (or lack thereof.) It disheartens me when I hear people disparage others’ religions or belief systems, however disparate it may be from their own. As a non-Christian, it befuddles me how one Christian sect (or “cult” –others’ words, not mine) can call another sect non-Christian, or worse, an anti-Christ. To me, anyone who believes in Jesus’ divinity is by definition a Christian. As a Jewish person, I understand the tragedy that can befall a group based on misinterpretation and bigotry. I’m so glad you had this experience, and I hope that anyone who disparages another’s religion can have as open a heart and open a mind as you. Remember: We don’t have to agree, we just have to respect.

  24. Ok. Fred, I’m sensing you aren’t impressed with LDS. Not that I really care- I’m athiest, so the points you make, whether they be good, bad, or indifferent about Mormonism means very little to me. But the amount of effort you expend making your points amazes me. It’s as though you have to reaffirm yourself with every keystroke.

    Please- don’t get me wrong. I absolutely defend your right to worship freely in the faith of your choice. But I sit here, rather bemused by your walls of text- that’s not an ad hominem, by the way, just an accurate description of your defenses- bemused by your walls of text, trying mightily to dissuade me from thinking well of a church that puts, at least some, words into selfless action. A Christian thing to do, as it were.

    Now, if you can tell me, within a couple of paragraphs why LDS leaves such a bad taste in your mouth, all well and good. I’m not about to read a college-length dissertation from you, though. Not that I have ADD, I just simply don’t have the patience required to sit through all that. I would much rather the LDS do their thing, you do yours, and everyone is happy.

    Is the assumption you won’t be voting for Romney safe?

  25. Actually Bill your post IS an ad-hominem because your arguments weren’t depersonalized and didn’t address the evidence that I’ve presented. Hence you argued ‘to the man’ not ‘to the evidence’ – the very meaning of the latin term ‘ad-hominem’.

    Never-the-less and since you asked I will be voting for Mitt Romney because I want to see the current ‘Mormon Moment’ extended at least another 4-years. I’m absolutely loving the scrutiny of Mormonism and interest in Mormon Studies that the Romney campaign has generated and want to see it last as long as possible. My colleagues – both LdS and non-LdS, pro-Mormonism and critical of Mormonism concur on this point: Mitt Romney has been like a gift to us all!

    Now Bill does that sound someone with a ‘bitter taste’ in their mouth? Further, I have my explained my reasons for my willingness to address the disinformation about Mormonism both here and elsewhere (google my name – I’m hardly any mystery or secret) so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel for you. You don’t the patience to read my work so it’s only reasonable and fair that I don’t have the patience to spoon feed it to you.

    Qiud pro quo my friend!

    And, as I keep repeating ad-nauseum, as soon as the ad-hominems, personal attacks and insults stop here so will I. I really do have better things to do, but I’m unwilling to ceed this ground to ignorance and lies after investing much time and effort in it.

    I’m sorry if you disagree with that stance but that’s the way it is.

  26. Wow Fred your annoying!!!

    • Thanks for yet another insulting ad-hominem Anamin. I know of many who consider the True Believing Mormon (TBM) responses on this post annoying so one man’s annoying is another man’s “good point!” However, I don’t see them (or I for that matter) dropping insulting ad-hominems on the TBMs here.

      Like I’ve said elsewhere in this discussion thread: Isn’t interesting how all that member ‘Sunday Mornin’ Nice’ disappears once the LdS Church is publicly questioned and/or critiqued?

      Now whether you’re Mormon or not, would you care to address any of the evidence that I’ve presented with counter evidence, logic, or reason or do you just want to try to distract from the evidence I’ve presented and points I’ve made with personal attacks, insults, snark, and other forms of ad-homineming? I would welcome the former, the latter . . . not so much.

      Thanks.

  27. OK, now one last (or so I hope) post on this thread that will hopefully settle the whole “Is the LdS Church a Mind Control Cult?” question.

    Someone (not me BTW) has developed a survey based on the BITE Model and is gathering input from members and ex-members of any group that cares to complete the survey. Now please notice what I’ve just said and please fully understand the implications of what I’ve just said: NO group, including the LdS Church, is being singled out. This is reinforced in the verbiage on the introduction page:

    “Welcome
    “Cult” is a pretty sinister word. It’s laden with baggage and implied meaning. In one sense every organization is a cult. Lots of different concepts bring us together: nationality, sports teams, religions, occupations and more. Concepts which unify groups make them cult-like in varying degrees. Some groups, like fans of a favorite sports team, tend to be harmless “cults.” And then there are cults of a more sinister variety: the kind that control your mind, your finances, your sexuality, your relationships, and even your very identity.

    The point of this site is to help you identify the features that distinguish controlling, potentially harmful groups from safe ones.

    This survey is designed to give you feedback without judgement or bias. We don’t even ask what organization you’re evaluating until after you see your results. Expect to spend 15-20 minutes to complete the questions.

    The concepts we use to assess the degree of danger are drawn from cult expert Steve Hassan’s book, Combatting Cult Mind Control . If, at the end of this process you feel there could be cause for concern (and it takes profound moral courage to be open to that possibility), we encourage you to read Mr. Hassan’s book, or other information for yourself to determine if you are being exploited. ”

    Did you catch that? If not, let me repeat it again: “We don’t even ask what organization you’re evaluating until after you see your results.” And I would add, stating what group you’ve evaluated is OPTIONAL.

    That said here was the scattergram results for the LdS Church as of yesterday:
    http://makelessnoise.com/tmp/10-8-2012_average.png
    (the maximum, 100% score is 805 points)

    The AVERAGE court for those evaluating the LdS Church as of 2012-10-08 was 72%. And the reader will note that the data points tend to be concentrated at around %60 and higher.

    Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that given the full body of empirical evidence (of which this survey is ONLY one small piece of evidence – there are many, many, many more) in it’s current incarnation the LdS Church is indeed a Mind Control Cult – period.

    Thank you.

    • And here is the link to the survey:
      http://www.goodcultbadcult.com/

      Finally, as usual, I welcome depersonalized arguments that focus and limit themselves to arguing from and to evidence, logic, and reason. Insults, ad-hominems, and personal attacks on me or the author of the survey (whoever he/she/they may be – I don’t know) will be exposed for what they are: Meaningless, fallacious, worthless, uncivil noise that attempt to distract the audience from the facts and evidence. They will be exposed and treated as such should anyone engage in them.

      Thank you again.

      • Marilyn Howard says:

        Do you hear yourself?

        • Yes, quite clearly.
          Do you Mrs. Howard?
          Apparently not for this was yet another personal attack – an ad-hominem abusive argument.

          Now once again, “I welcome depersonalized arguments that focus and limit themselves to arguing from and to evidence, logic, and reason. Insults, ad-hominems, and personal attacks on me or the author of the survey (whoever he/she/they may be – I don’t know) will be exposed for what they are.”

          Thank you.

    • Here’s the updated scattergram that I requested from the survey author/designer along with some quantitative information on the results as of today’s date/time:

      “Here’s the data for self-reported Mormons:
      http://goodcultbadcult.com/datavis/10-16-2012_average.png

      The average score is ~79% – Between High and Very High Risk.”

  28. RESPONSE TO MARILYN HOWARD’S OCTOBER 11, 2012, 9:08AM POST
    (new thread due to reply indentation limitation of this discussion board)

    YOU WROTE:
    “No, I am not playing a game. I am so sorry that you feel that way.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    Mrs. Howard, you’re clearly playing the fallacious game called, “Kill the messenger”

    That is, you errantly think that by fixating on, attempting to character assassinate, and/or eliminate the messenger you can extinguish a uncomfortable message. There’s a pattern with your posts and that has made this quite clear. Essentially, it’s what people are doing when they resort to ad-hominem abusives rather than evidence, logic, and reason.

    So, sorry, but yes you ARE playing a game – feelings have nothing to do with it, the evidence exposes it as factual.

    YOU WROTE:
    “I am simply confused at the accusatory verbiage that is in everything I have read (yes, I READ many of the google hits, which included the one you listed) because I don’t hear the sweet tones that I would hear if Christ were speaking…”

    MY RESPONSE:
    Oh do you mean the type of “accusatory verbiage” and “sweet tones” that Christ used with the Pharisees? Or perhaps the Sadducees? Or perhaps you’re referring to the “sweet tone” that the Mormon Christ spoke with to the inhabitants of Zarahemla, Moroni, and Moronihah before he destroyed them with fire, water, and earth in the Book of Mormon. Or maybe you’re referring to the type of “sweet tone” and “accusatory verbiage” He used when He was driving the Money Changers out of the Temple Court?

    Christ spoke with the appropriate tone given the context and the audience and so do I Mrs. Howard.

    And BTW I don’t buy for a minute that you were confused – your posts demonstrate deliberate intent, just as the questions of the Pharisees and Sadducees did. Simply put, playin’ “dumb” ain’t workin’ here Mrs. Howard.

    YOU WROTE:
    “…trying to show that the LDS Church is or isn’t a Mind Control and/or a Christian Theological/Doctrinal Cult.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    Mrs. Howard, haven’t even addressed that issue in your posts. Rather, you have engaged in nothing but ad-hominems and personal attacks on me.

    Yet again, “I welcome depersonalized arguments that focus and limit themselves to arguing from and to evidence, logic, and reason. Insults, ad-hominems, and personal attacks on me or the author of the survey (whoever he/she/they may be – I don’t know) will be exposed for what they are.”

    Your modus operandi (M.O.) as been “kill the messenger” exclusively. If you have countering DEPERSONALIZED evidence to present please do so otherwise, you will simply reinforce your existing M.O.

    YOU WROTE:
    “I did notice that, as I thought would happen, you attacked me…”

    MY RESPONSE:
    Excuse me Mrs. Howard? Exactly WHO attacked who? Who started the discussion between us? I responded to YOUR ad-hominem abusive post – as I have done throughout these discussions – and exposed it for what it was. In fact, you got EXACTLY what you were looking for didn’t you? As you clearly stated in your original post, “I am expecting a response that won’t be favorable…”

    Again, your M.O. from post #1 has been to “Kill the messenger” in an attempt to distract from the message. Yes, I decided to “go down the rabbit hole” with you to see where it would lead and, sure enough, your subsequent posts clarified exactly what your intent was from the beginning: Kill the messenger, and distract from the message he brings!

    YOU WROTE:
    “…instead of answering any of my curiosity regarding your “mission” of finding fault and/or putting the LDS Church into that category you keep mentioning.”

    MY RESPONSE:
    Mrs. Howard, I have already answered why I do what I do in some detail elsewhere. I have even gone so far as to provide you the link to one of several articles that I’ve written on the subject.

    Wasn’t I clear enough when I said, “I’m not at issue here – the question of whether the LdS Church is or isn’t a Mind Control and/or Christian Theological/Doctrinal Cult is. Stick to that via compelling evidence and arguments and we can continue.” Yet you persist . . .

    Now if you’re THAT fascinated with my so-called “mission” (your self-revealing word not mine – thanks for exposing yourself) perhaps you should reread that article again ( http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/07/11/falsely-accused-my-life-as-an-anti/ ) and if you’re so inclined, post a comment THERE (where it belongs) not here where we are discussing another topic entirely.

    Thank you.

  29. Jenny’s account here was a good introduction to someone intending to visit a Mormon ward meeting. The cultural insights are accurate: Mormons have a culture that encourages cordiality and discourages anything even mildly abrasive. This is in contrast with some denominations I have encountered where they are more culturally strident. But none of that has anything to do with the theology. It’s important to remember that going to one meeting is just scratching the surface.

    Whether they do or don’t worship weird things is – I suppose – a matter of opinion but it’s important for the interested visitor to understand that Mormonism has some extremely distinctive theology that puts it at profound variance from mainstream Christianity. The celestial life cycle – that God was once a man who merited exaltation to godhood by his own obedience and striving, and that we are his literal children who by striving can likewise merit exaltation to godhood ourselves by doing as He did, and continue the process by having our own children, sending them down to an earth, etc., … that’s an important difference.

    They also have cultural practices that a visitor is not going to pick up on right away. Members are discouraged from viewing R rated movies and from viewing material that is considered “anti-Mormon.” People who leave the LDS church often lose marriages, friends, sometimes jobs, and often suffer greatly because of the way Mormon culture interprets dissent. There is a lot of blaming and shaming of members who have doubts or questions, but you will not see that in a weekly worship meeting as a visitor.

    Being a Mormon is expensive, too – tithe means 10% off the top before taxes. It costs a lot in terms of time as well – lots of meetings and activities. In Mormonism, there are basically three grades of heaven and the resurrection of Christ only confers resurrection on us. If we desire to be with God again and live the same celestial life that He does, we have to work for it over and above accepting Christ.

    I know that a lot of people find meaning and enjoyment in Mormonism, because I was once one of them. At the very least, prospective members and visitors need to use more than their feelings to evaluate whether or not membership is for them.

    Mormonism has scriptures that are without historic provenance, unlike the Bible, yet members are expected to believe they are as historically accurate as the Bible. It has a historical narrative as a result of those scriptures that is contradicted by modern science. It expects a level of obedience and loyalty to a leadership that is unusual in modern times. In all fairness, people need to understand these things before they join. That’s just fair disclosure. Yet I have often run into folks who seemed to join up without either having all this explained to them, or without comprehending it.

    Yes, the Mormon church teaches people to be good people. No one is saying that they teach them to have bad characters or to do bad things. Being a good Mormon will be great for your financial self-control, your health, and your yard (gardening is encouraged). But the same can be said for a lot of other churches and organizations.

    Oh, and exegesis? That happens in Gospel Doctrine class.

  30. And last but not least . . . this just in!

    A fascinating, short, and annotated hidden camera tour of the inside workings of the LdS Temple ceremonies (baptism for the death and the endowment ceremony – no marriage sealing footage is included) done this year.

    The filmmaker/editor expects this video to get some mainstream media attention so don’t be surprised if you see this elsewhere soon.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6udew9axmdM

  31. Ben Smith says:

    To Fred,
    Hello! So, just wondering, why do you use the Joseph Smith Translation Bible (is that the right name?) instead of the normal one?

  32. ProudFather says:

    Lets crunch “Jenny Logic ™” here, shall we?

    Mmmkay..

    Mormons are “nice” and really “nice” Jenny tells us.

    So, using some basic logic: cult = bad
    so it follows : nice ≠ bad
    further: cult ≠ nice
    and it then follows: Mormons = nice
    Annnnd… Mormons ≠ cult

    Q.E.D. folks!!

    Hallelujah… why were we gettin’ so uppity in th’ britches bout them “nice” Mormons?
    You heard Jenny… git on down to yer local Mormon Church ™
    cuz.. “We ain’t yer father’s Mormonism”

  33. Damn. I wish I had found this two years ago so I could have told fred this: Everybody knows your opinions so shut the fuck up.

  34. Smithk284 says:

    Very nice! begadeaeac

  35. Very nice site! cheap goods

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