Planet Kolob to Mormons: It’s not our weird beliefs, it’s our credibility

January 10, 2008
By

We know there’s a problem. Here’s how the bulk of us as Mormons see the problem:

SYMPTOMS: Americans have an anti-Mormon bias which manifests itself on the right with Evangelicals who call Mormonism “non-Christian” (and who cost Mitt Romney the Iowa Republican Caucus) and on the left with secularists and atheists decrying Mormonism’s foundational stories as an obvious “fraud.”

DIAGNOSIS: Mormons are “persecuted” by non-Mormons for their “weird” beliefs.

RECOMMENDED TREATMENT: De-emphasize (or eliminate) weird beliefs. Explain Mormonism using highly-nuanced language, which we (as Mormons) believe will satisfy non-Mormon ears (“milk before meat”).

We keep going back to the doctor because the symptoms persist. We keep refilling the prescription — and we now seem addicted to the medicine.

Unfortunately, that the diagnosis is wrong. Weird beliefs are not causing the symptoms. In the past generation, America generally has become increasingly tolerant of weird beliefs. America is more broadly pluralistic because of the influx of traditional religions that were previously unrepresented in the US (and therefore are filled with unfamiliar, weird beliefs), e.g., Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, and also because the rise of indigenous weird beliefs: wicca, neo-paganism, American Buddhism and the various New Age ideas. (Is America ready for a neo-pagan president? No, because the masses of neo-pagans are college kids. Is America ready for a Sikh president? No, because most Sikhs are 1st generation immigrants. Is America ready for a Mormon president? Yes. Mo Udall would have beaten Gerald Ford, if he had bested Jimmy Carter in the 1976 Democratic primaries.) My point is that our society is prepared to be more broadly pluralistic than ever before. The primary component of pluralism is tolerance for our neighbor’s weird beliefs.

If it’s not so-called weird beliefs, what’s the real cause? I believe the cause of the problem is medicine we keep taking and that the underlying and resulting problem we face is credibility. It’s the milk before meat approach itself that undermines Mormon credibility. The examples of how this true problem manifests itself are so numerous — even in the past year alone — it’s hard to pick from among them. Let’s consider just one of 21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith that the Fox News prepared in conjunction wiht the LDS church’s PR folks:

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe its followers can become “gods and goddesses” after death?

A: We believe that the apostle Peter’s biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul’s reference to being ‘joint heirs with Christ’ reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes.

Whachama-come again? This is a hefty dose of the medicine of de-emphasizing weird beliefs when speaking to non-Mormons. Can you argue that this bizarre answer is “not false”? Of course! And whenever anyone argues that any one of these medicinal answers is false, apologetic Mormons across the blogosphere will leap into heroic action in the answer’s defense.

And that is the problem! The problem is not whether the medicinal answers can be argued to be “not-false.” The problem is that these answers are not open and forthright, and that they thus lack credbility.

The real problem Mormons face is not that we have weirdness. It’s that we lack credibility.

  • Chris W.

    This topic was discussed in the NY Times magazine over the weekend:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/magazine/06mormonism-t.html?ex=1357448400&en=92f33bb3ad8525e6&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

    From the article:
    “The Mormon path to normalization over the course of the 20th century depended heavily on this avoidance of public discussion of its religious tenets. Now that plural marriage was out of the picture, the less said the better about the particular teachings of the church, including such practices as the baptism of the dead and the doctrine of the perfectibility of mankind into divine form. Where religious or theological conversation could not be avoided, Mormons depicted themselves as yet another Christian denomination alongside various other Protestant denominations that prevailed throughout the United States.”

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org John Dehlin

    John Hamer,

    I see it as both. I definitely agree that we are creating a credibility problem because of how we are speaking today. But I also think that weirdness is part of the problem.

    There are 2 types of weirdness in my mind — the weirdness that you’re comfortable/familiar with…and the weirdness that is new, unknown, and/or uncomfortable.

    In my mind, Mormonism and Scientology still fit into the latter category for most Americans…and it will take some time for our weirdness to become “accepted” as OK. But the longer that we run from it…the longer (I feel) it will take.

    As Hillary showed us in Iowa — Americans don’t appreciate corporate spin. As Hillary showed us in New Hampshire — Americans LOVE candor and authenticity.

  • John Hamer

    Chris W: Noah Feldman’s article and the response it has been getting across the Mormon web is really what brought this up. He’s clearly talked to enough Mormons and Mormon-watchers and read enough on Mormon history to have digested the Mormon view of the Symptom/Diagnosis/Remedy that I outlined.

    He writes:

    In theory, the evangelical political movement says that it is prepared to embrace Jews and even Muslims so long as they share the same common values of the religious right. In the case of a Mormon candidate, though, many evangelicals are not prepared to say that common values are enough. The reason seems to be the view among evangelicals that the substantive theological beliefs of Mormons are so radically different from their own as to constitute not a sect of Christianity but a Christian heresy, which would be worse than a different monotheistic faith like Judaism or Islam.

    I.e., Feldman repeats the Mormon self-diagnosis that the problem is “weird beliefs.” I say, “wrongo.” The problem is refusing to be forthright.

  • Chris W.

    Thanks for the clarification, John H. Your post makes a lot of sense as a response to that article.

    I agree that we’re insufficiently forthright (institutionally and individually). Why is this? I’m not sure that it’s just because we’re afraid of what other people might think. At some level, I think a lot of us are uncomfortable with a lot of the doctrine, especially polygamy, deification, and temple ceremonies. We have no shame about eternal families, word of wisdom, or republican partisanship (just kidding), so we gladly discuss these weird doctrines with whomever will listen.

  • John Nilsson

    John,

    I agree that credibility is a problem for Mitt. I think of John McCain in the New Hampshire Republican debate telling Mitt Romney derisively, “You are the candidate of change”, shaking his head and chuckling.

    Many folks think the same of Mormonism. They know we have doctrinal distinctives, but scratch their heads when they get answers like this from PR reps. It seems like we have modified many of our positions on doctrine.

    I believe that there is a deeper problem underneath it all which creates the credibility issue. There are largely unacknowledged and competing doctrinal strands within the church which pass unnoticed by many outside observers. I think here of Stephen Robinson’s book Believing Christ which presented an alternative Atonement model to previous LDS understandings of grace and works than that sketched out by Brigham Young or even Bruce McConkie. This Christocentric strand competes with the traditionalist strand of theology which holds that there are certain sins Christ cannot atone for, etc. One can dismiss the traditionalist strand as folk Mormonism but it is a vital force and will be for some time.

    The Mormon cultural imperative to present a united front to outsiders leads to doctrinal compromises which look like obfuscation to informed watchers of Mormonism, but this is indicative of widespread disagreement on fundamental theological issues even among the leadership. Imagine the kind of debates which occurred between General Authorities on theological matters in the 1920′s (Roberts and Talmage vs. Joseph Fielding Smith) happening today. I doubt it. Too divisive in a growing international Church. The disagreements today among LDS leaders are on policy issues, not theology I am fairly confident.

    Sterling McMurrin famously commented at Sunstone in the 1990′s that it is hard to tell what the Church teaches, but that it was easier in his youth. I think this trend continues. The Bloggernacle itself is largely devoted to deciding just what it is that the LDS Church teaches. The fact that no one can answer the question shows that we have a long way to go as a church until we arrive at the point where we, as the Catholics now do, have a systematic, dense statement of theology which can be printed and learned by schoolchildren.

    Imagine a course entitled “LDS Doctrine” in CES now–Impossible. The course would be too contentious. Which is why we have Teachings of the Living Prophets and courses based on books of scripture or practical topics like missionary prep and marriage and family life. Avoiding contention is now the main cultural focus. There’s something to be said for that–it allows us to have do-it-yourself theology and the Bloggernacle!

  • Gardner Gee

    I think Mormonism attracts so many negative attacks, particularly from evangelicals, because it is perceived as a threat to their religious dominance. Perhaps their concern is in fact doctrinal but the reality is that Mormonism’s growth and active proselyting has attracted and potentially will attract evangelicals away from their faith.
    For example, evangelicals have many doctrinal differences with Catholics, but few attacks are directed at the Catholic faith. Why? Catholics don’t proselyte, at least not actively. On the other hand Jehovah’s Witnesses proselyte actively, and evangelicals are just as adamant in their attacks on JW’s as they are on Mormons.
    Romney’s election I think is a concern for evangelicals because it would attract positive press attention to Romney’s faith, thus potentially attracting even more evangelicals to Mormonism.
    The only problem is that there is really no remedy for this problem. We aren’t going to stop proselyting and evangelicals aren’t going to be happy about it.

  • John Hamer

    John Dehlin: Yes, there’s a comfortability difference between familiar weirdness and new weirdness. But the fact is that Americans have almost two centuries to become passingly familiar with Mormon weirdness. The Scientology comparison has two problems as a counter argument, (1) scientologists are also duplicitous and won’t say what they believe, and (2) their weirdness really is new. I think the weirdness of Christian Scientists (e.g., not believing in modern medicine) is a better comparison both in the familiarity, age of the movements, and general level of acceptance.

    Gardner Gee: I agree that the comparison to JWs is a good one. You’re right that proselyting is a major factor for bad feelings against Mormons from Evangelical side, although it has no bearing on non-Evangelicals.

    John Nilsson: Yes — that brings my point full circle. Mitt has operated with the same strategy and tactics as the LDS PR department and he’s experienced the same results in far less time: total loss of credibility. Today, he can’t say one constructive thing because his opponents can say “phoney!” under their breath and get a laugh. I also agree with Sterling McMurrin. I spent my time as a practicing Mormon primarily in the 1970s and early 80s. In the era of Saturday’s Warrior these questions had answers. Having answers was the value proposition. I think that hashing out Mormon doctrine is a wonderful thing for the Bloggernacle to do. Unfortunately, the other thing that the Bloggernacle seems largely devoted to is apologetic argument in support of these “PR head-scratchers” — a practice which I believe accentuates the credibility problem.

  • http://www.equalitysblog.typepad.com Equality

    “Americans LOVE candor and authenticity.”

    To a point. Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul do not lack candor and authenticity, and they are not exactly tearing it up in their respective presidential bids.

  • Zane C.

    We are taught in the church to be “in the world but not of the world”. The fact that our beliefs seem weird to people outside the church is not going to change too much because we are not going to change those beliefs.

    If you are active in the church and fully participating most members probably don’t even notice all the raging controversies going on about the church because they are too busy living the gospel. Between Scripture study, church, home teaching, fire sides, going out with the missionaries and conferences we don’t have that much time to participate in these discussions. Speaking for myself if Mitt Romney hadn’t been running for president I would not have come across all these great conversations while looking for more information on him.

    We believe in what we believe in and if the rest of the world finds our teachings to be weird that doesn’t mean that we are going to change our beliefs just so they won’t think that we’re “weird”. We know that we are on the right path because we still have people flocking to join the church. In some parts of Africa and South America there is actually a waiting list of one or two years for people to be baptized into the church.

    • Penthouse3639

      Hello, I just read your input on this subject. Is this Senior or Junior? If it is Junior did you serve a mission in Ont. Canada.? If you did I would like very much to get in touch with you..I believe that you batized me. If you are Senior, would you know where your son is at the moment and could you put us in touch? This would mean the world to me, to be reunited with my missionaries. My name is Sandy and I have never done this before… a friend of mine found this and said maybe it was the best Easter present ever.. Thank you for any help that you can give me.. Sandy Hamilton Ont..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2365022 Ry Horn

      I’ve lived in South America….. and I have never heard of people being a waiting list for two years to be baptized.  That doesn’t make sense.  Where was this?  

  • http://www.mikeandjohn.com/pics/blog.asp John Hamer

    Equality: That’s more of a catch-22 for Mitt Romney than it is for the LDS church. People may not think Kucinich would make a great president, but hearing him acknowledge with candor during a debate that he saw a UFO, they have to think he’s honest. I.e., Kucinich doesn’t have a credibility problem, despite his “weird” beliefs.

  • John Hamer

    Zane: Hi! I agree with you that the LDS church shouldn’t shed its harmless distinctive beliefs for the sake of the world’s approval. I’m advocating against doing just that here in this essay. However, I think you’re wrong to imagine that it’s not happening. An LDS Mormon was arguing to me this week that he didn’t know if “as man is now, God once was, as God is, man may become” is Mormon theology! Having experienced all my LDS theology in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I can tell you that this was not only a tenet of LDS theology, it was the central theological belief — the core of the Plan of Salvation itself. If that’s not an example of changing harmless distinctive beliefs, I’m not sure what would be.

  • http://mormonmd.wordpress.com Doc

    People who grew up Mormon have had a lifetime to grapple with their distinctive beliefs. Others have not. I don’t think those who are cautious about the first part of that couplet are necessarily wrong. Truly it is a matter of personal comfort with “harmless, distinctive beliefs.” I do truly believe that these things would be less “wierd” at least to converts and members, if they were more fully embraced, discussed, and understood. The act of de-emphasis creates the illusion that we members need be ashamed of these distinctive doctrines. Call it the medication side effect creating dependency in John’s example.

  • Zane C.

    John,

    I grew up with that theology and I have never been told differently. When Joseph Smith quoted it as part of the King Follet sermon I’m sure that he meant every word of it I happen to believe it as well and I’ve never met anyone who felt differently. I do freely admit thought that I haven’t participated much in these conversations and am just coming to learn about all the debates going on. My experience with the church is that we don’t change our positions on doctrinal issues. What was true in the days of Jesus are just as true today.

  • FooboyX

    I’m lucky I didn’t drown after donating to the NAACP or watching Diff’rent Strokes.

  • Peter Brown

    I’m not sure this careful straddling of peculiarism and mainstream will remain into the next two decades. It will be interesting to see where it all goes. Hinckley’s carefully crafted PR tries hard to put a lid on the meat and saccharinize the American public with “Families, Isn’t it about . . . Time?” If I have to hear that commercial one more time . . . I forsee a few things happening in the next few year/decades.

    1. The falling apart of the Mormon identity via the three-hour block attendance.
    2. With economic and political failures in America will come a regionalized governing-Utah will be no different-there will a fundamental pull back towards Brighamism as faith in America declines.
    2. There will be a rise in Millenialism and orthodoxy, juxtaposed to a a realpolitik of those Mormons that have to most to lose by exiting a global economy broght on by America economic disaster.
    3. We may see the rise of another Joseph Smith, aka James Strang, aka Goedbe. In tough times whether this is believable by the Mormoon populace at whole, or they follow whatever tone the future prophet takes remains to be seen.

    This is my first post on here btw, and yes, I tend to have an apocalyptic tone. Cultural Mormon discussions can’t be considered ONLY in the scholarly abstract. Looming current events in trends at large have to be part of the story-where are we going to go . . . if?

  • Zane Chartrand

    Peter – People have been prophesying the downfall of the church since it was started and it is now going stronger then ever. I believe that it will continue to grow and will keep growing stronger right up until the second coming.

    As for Strang he did try to promote himself to the head of the church but he was voted down by ten apostles. We have the same quorum of the twelve apostles to lead us today and I believe that they are in touch with the spirit enough that they won’t lead us astray.

  • http://www.burningbosom.com Andrew Ainsworth

    I agree that we may not lay out the “full story” on certain issues for all the world to see, but I do not think that is the reason we are perceived as being weird. We are perceived as being weird because we are weird. We are different and peculiar, and there’s no getting around it. For example, plural marriage is just weird by today’s standards. Same with baptisms for the dead and a host of other doctrines and practices. But that is something I am comfortable with. One of the things I love the most about Mormonism when it started was its bold willingness to buck the status quo, theologically speaking. And people usually don’t take it too kindly when you tell them you’re going to do things differently because you think you’ve got a better way than they’ve been doing them. Hence our being labeled weird.

    As for why the Church does not always tell the “full story” regarding some issues, I think the answer to that question may be found in Elder Oaks’ Ensign article entitled “Criticism.” As I read it, one of the main points he makes is that it is that we need to be careful about how we use the truth, and it is wrong to think there is an absolute obligation to tell the whole truth in all situations at all times. For example, if someone breaks into your house and asks where your hiding wife and children are located, you certainly would not tell him the truth. Likewise, if the full story might be too strong for someone of weak conviction to handle, then it might be irresponsible to use the truth in a way that would weaken their loyalty to a good cause.

    I am not saying everyone should agree with that viewpoint. I am simply trying to articulate my understanding of Elder Oaks’ remarks in that Ensign article, which I believe may explain the approach that is being taken.

  • TJM

    An additional thought to Milk, Meat and Medicine:

    1. Milk (info for prospective Mormons)
    2. Meat (info for existing Mormons)
    3. Many Historical Facts (not intended for any Mormon)

    Theory:
    People’s personalities can be generalized into two categories:
    1. Dominant Trait: Feeling and Emotion (Feelers)
    2. Dominant Trait: Thinking and Analytical (Thinkers)

    Feelers would seem to have less trouble with the Milk, Meat and Many Historical Facts. For them emotion and feeling are naturally superior.

    For Thinkers, Milk and Meat are a harder sell. And when they stumble upon Historical Facts that are in direct contradiction to the M&M it can be extremely difficult if not impossible to reconcile. They are biologically wired up to put fact, evidence, analysis and science before all else.

  • John Nilsson

    TJM,

    Are you talking about the MBTI? There might be additional aspects which come into play here, such as Sensing and Intuition. Sensing types would want the facts, while Intuitive types prefer the big picture and making connections.

  • TJM

    Sure, a generalization of Myers-Briggs. MBTI breaks out 16 types, but at a higher level people seem to favor emotions or analytics.

    The point being that certain types have a chemistry that make it much more difficult to ignore facts and embrace contradicting evidence primarily based on emotion.

  • John Hamer

    Prophet Peter Brown: Welcome — those are a powerful mix of prophecies. I don’t know if I agree with the prophetic premise of your first point #2. I don’t foresee the US moving to “regionalized governing,” under any circumstances within a century — unless you’re predicting the total collapse of the global economy and some sort of reversion to feudalism à la Mad Max? If you read the augurs and see that kind of that post-apolcalyptic vision on our doorstep, I think the number of variables in question make it impossible to predict the consequences for (as relatively insignificant) an institution as the LDS church.

  • John Hamer

    Zane Chartrand: I grew up with that theology too, but I now meet young LDS Mormons who tell a different story.

    Concerning your understanding of the Prophet James J. Strang’s calling, the “votes” of apostles are totally irrelevant to the question. Brigham Young said that when the Kirtland bank collapsed, all the apostles save himself and Heber Kimball turned against Joseph Smith. 10 votes against didn’t make Joseph less of a prophet because the votes of apostles have absolutely no bearing on the question in church’s (canon) law or the church’s historical precedent.

  • Bruce Nielson

    John Hammer says: “An LDS Mormon was arguing to me this week that he didn’t know if “as man is now, God once was, as God is, man may become” is Mormon theology!”

    John, I have this suspicion that it was me you are talking about here. If it is, you completely misunderstood what I was saying and you have incorrectly represented my (and other Mormon’s) views here. If it wasn’t me, then ignore this post and keep on writing excellent blog posts. :P

    I have a hard time believing any Mormon would argue half that couplet as it’s just straight up scriptural: As God is, man may become. This is and will always be a central tenet of our faith (though we may choose to understand what the precisely means differently from each other or over time.)

    Even if it’s not me, you were talking about, I do have my suspicions that you misunderstood whoever it was that said this.

    It is the second half that I would disagree is necessarily “Mormon doctrine.” Well, if by “doctrine” you mean, “it’s been taught” then, yes, it’s doctrine. It’s certainly been taught.

    But if by doctrine you mean “it’s understood as a literal revelation from God that is normative” then, no, it’s not LDS Doctrine, per se. It never got added to the canon so I think this point is rather valid. One can’t really understand “Mormon theology” without understanding a very crucial point like this. To an outsider it might seem like I am splitting hairs. But this is no small point that I’m making.

  • Jeff Spector

    Weirdness is as weirdness does! Growing up Jewish, I thought the Christian explanation of the trinity was the strangest thing I ever heard. I realized at that point that I could never be part of an organization that believed in such a illogical concept. And what about the Catholic worship of Mary, where did that come from?

    When I learned the LDS version of that idea, it made perfect sense to me.

    I studied Scientology until it got so crazy, I gave it up.

    I thought the Church’s explanations on FOX were fine. When the other churches explain their weirdnesses, we should explain ours.

  • Bruce Nielson

    Jeff Spector says: “When the other churches explain their weirdnesses, we should explain ours.”

    Amen. I agree that our credibility really isn’t primarily an issue casued by duplicit answers or weirdness.

    The real separation is that we have the counter cult movement, a hate group, actively trying to take us out of context and actively spreading such smears. That and we are a very very small minority. Thus it’s more likely than not that a person that has heard about Mormon beliefs heard about them out of their actual theological context in which they would have made sense.

  • Pingback: What Is “Mormon Doctrine?” at Mormon Matters

  • hawkgrrrl

    I realize I’m entering this one a day late, and maybe a dollar short, but what the hey.

    I agree with John Hamer, on the whole. The other problem with the “milk before meat” comment that gets regurgitated far too often in the blogosphere is that it comes off as both condescending and secretive. What if the government said they didn’t want to explain something because they were offering “milk before meat”? Everyone would start thinking “New World Order” and “Secret Government Facilities.” We really need to start seeing things from others’ perspectives if we want to engage in a dialog or to try to define ourselves vs. letting others do it for us.

    When a friend asked me if Mormons really believe that someday people can get their own planets and have cosmic sex and populate those planets, I laughed and said, “I’ve never heard anyone put it that way, but that’s more or less right.” He said, “Cool.” I can’t really imagine Hinckley saying “that’s more or less right” on TV in front of a wide audience like that (any more than I can imagine Larry King responding “Cool.” I got away with that answer because it was an audience of one, someone I already knew, someone who was going to give me the benefit of the doubt and not deliberately take my comment out of context to hurt me or other people I care about.

  • Steve

    I had a stake president tell me that Lorenzo Snow’s couplet was not
    doctrine. I was taken aback and replied that I had heard it preached
    in general conference. He said that if that had happened, it had been
    preached without authorization. I immediately checked past conference
    talks at lds.org and found at least 6 given by apostles or members of
    the first presidency since 1970. My wife even found a priesthood
    lesson which covered this as its main point!

    As a Church we’ve experienced this sort of disconnect before. When the leading councils made a decision to downplay the Adam God doctrine it was not many generations before Church leaders – including General
    Authorities – publicly fought against a doctrine which had been preached from the pulpit, believed by the people and been the issue of at least one excommunication trial.

    We would do better admitting what we believe and let the world shove it. Anyway, that’s my opinion.

    Steve

  • Gene

    Having tought “Church Doctrine” for several years, in a past life, I doubt that there is such a thing. It seems to be what will go down the best with the most.

    I look back at “The Doctrine on Blacks” and I can not believe that I ever even studied the subject. The whole thing was wierd is wierd and will remain wierd. I do not think that it is our credibility but our superority complex and bunker mentality that has the country shaking its head.

    My approach is to publish a list of things that we just “Got Wrong” and show that list any time someone wants to attack. Companies selling software publish a “Known Problems List” (KPL) Why not the church?

    Gene

  • http://bmo-web.com Benjamin Orchard

    Bruce, I’ve got bad news for you then. The couplet itself may not appear, but the doctrine is in this year’s Priesthood/Relief Society Manual. I can’t remember which lesson, but its one of the early ones. Go have a look and you’ll find it right away. I think it counts as official enough.

    The point is, the doctrine is real enough, and it makes sense from all sorts of angles. It is also a first class heresy/blasphemy to every other Christian, the Jews and the Muslims, as near as I can tell.

    Unfortunately, the credibility angle might be right, but the problem is that there’s no way to cover it. If you talk straight on too much, then the critics will twist the straight talk because the explanations are lengthy and easily broken into chunks that can be made to sound bad. That’s what often happened to JS and many of the early church leaders and continues to happen because they had poor recording methods (no shorthand and poor scribes in many instances). On the other hand, if you try to simplify the doctrine or use an analogy, it comes off as insincere, which also is damaging to the credibility. The church has, therefore, as a matter of policy, gone to a ‘basics only’ approach, which is fine for the most part, but does occasionally leave members wondering about some of the more in-depth questions.

    –Oh, and for those referencing the MBTI, please don’t. I’m a psychologist by training (nearly done with PhD), and it really bugs me. I’ve done a fair bit of personality research and I think it is safe to say that it is difficult to characterize personality with only 16 discrete categories. Human behavior and behavior patterns are much more complicated than that, thankfully.

  • Barbara

    I am not Mormon. I do not plan on becoming Mormon. I have tried to respectfully learn what some of your beliefs are, however. One day some Mormon young people came to my door and I asked them about certain beliefs which appear to truly be Mormon beliefs, from what different articles say. They denied they believed these things. Do the young people not truly know their own churches beliefs? Or do they lie? Are they supposed to hide what they believe? Or??? I was very polite and truly curious. I figure I’d find out from their own mouths if they believed certain things rather than from the internet. Wouldn’t you think that the word of their testimony would be the most accurate and as missionaries for their belief, they would have the answers?

  • http://kurinboism.blogspot.com/ kuri

    I figure I’d find out from their own mouths if they believed certain things rather than from the internet.

    So… why didn’t you believe them when they said they don’t believe those things?

  • Mark D.

    What any sampling of Mormons believe now by way of historical memory, tradition, etc. is considerably more expansive than what the Church endorses in its official publications. Only the latter can be considered Church doctrine.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    I asked them about certain beliefs which appear to truly be Mormon beliefs, from what different articles say.

    Holy Cow, that’s an incredibly shaky foundation! Do you know how many “articles” either quote OLD stuff that almost nobody believes anymore or actually are distortions written by those who despise the Church? List your questions here, or you come across as nothing more than a troll.

  • http://mormonmatters.org Clair

    Unfortunately the original question was never answered? What about the planet Kolob?

  • spinoza

    Interesting Core Mormon Beliefs:

    1. Mormons believe god was a man and then Aliens made him a God.

    2. Mormon “god” lives near a planet/star called Kolob.

    3. That God got basically physical with Mary. So she was not a virgin.

    4. Jesus and Satan are brothers.

    5. Black people are black because they stayed neutral and didn’t decide between Jesus or Satan so they were cursed with black skin by Elohim.

    6. The also believe Native Americans are Israelites.

    7. That Joseph Smith is a descendant of Jesus.

    8. That when they die, they will become the God of their own planet.

    9. That you need to know the secret Mormon password which is a handshake of some sort for when you meet Elohim (God), Jesus and Joseph Smith.

    10. That you are more likely to get into the celestial kingdom if you have at least 10 wives not just one.

    11. It is a Mormon tradition to baptize the dead.

    12. They believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri in the USA.

    13. That dinosaur fossils were created by Satan to deceive the world about the truth of creation.

    14. Satan controls all the water in the world.

    15. Jesus was married and he had more than one wife and a bunch of kids.

    16. That only Mormon men can perform miracles and only the men but the women could receives these miracles.

    17. They wear weird white underwear/ spiritual armor.

    • rhonie

      Where on earth did you copy and paste that from?

  • Ralph Moorehead

    I am always confused when it comes to Mormonism. I can’t understand why so many learned people believe when there seems to be no actual proof of their beliefs. I know Mormons have great moral and family values and I respect them (MORMONS). Still all I can read and research points to nothing but Joesph Smith’s word and they seem to hold some doubt for me.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Kelly Gilliam Marion, NC says

    My name is Kelly Gilliam i am 25 years old i am a Mormon i love my church i know it is true and Joesph Smith was the greates man ever lived i am happy to know that Jesus Christ helped make this church people say that Joesph Smith made this church it wasn’t him it was Jesus who made it the Book Of Mormon our key stone. It talk about Jesus teching a people
    in America befor he came to the old world even befor was born he came here to America it was about 2000 BC he told the people in America i am going the old world to be born and tech the 12 and other sheep . And we are the fastes growing church in the world we have 13,000,000 member by 2011 we should have 14,000,000 to 15,000,000 member by 2012 until we fill the hole earth 129 temples nothing will stop our work until our lord says it is done .

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Kelly Gilliam Marion, NC says

    We believe that Kolob is a place where God govners it is not a plant its where he makes other worlds there are other intelligences out there they live there are people on these worlds they have been coming to our earth for 5,000 years.

    God real name is Elohim.

    Yes when we die we become Gods and yes we do make plants .

    We believe that when Jesus coming that we will live for another 1,000 years
    on the earth that Jesus will govner the earth forever that satan will be gone forever to
    there will no more evil on this earth when christ come there will be no more death no more sickness

    That the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

  • Dan

    I really hope and pray that the Mormons who read this blog site do their homework and study their beliefs. All of their beliefs! In talking with Mormons I find just how little the majority know about their own religion. Every person (especially Mormons) should research their beliefs and their church teachings with objective minds fervently seeking the truth! This guy is right! Mormons have a credibility problem, but that is because their origins and scriptures have a credibility problem. The Book of Mormon not only contradicts itself, but it also contradicts the Bible, archeology, and logic. Doctrines and Covenants as well as the Pearl of Great Price also contradict the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The core beliefs of the Mormon Church can not be found within the Book of Mormon or the Bible. In fact they contradict both heavily! I pray that every Mormon researches to see just where the Book of Mormon says anything about god once being a man and achieving godhood, what it says about polygamy, there being more than one god, about hell, pre-existence, marriage for eternity, three degrees of glory, or either the Arronic or Melchizedek priesthoods. Every point mentioned above, as the Mormon church teaches them, contradicts both the Bible and the Book of Mormon! I hope this inspires at least one person to earnestly seek the truth about what their church believes.

  • scout13

    I am still unclear about what exactly the Planet Kolob means to the LDS church. The initial thrust of this article was that Mormons are persecuted for their ‘weird’ beliefs, yet there has been no attempt to answer the question posed by more than one poster: what is the Planet Kolob, and why does every single Mormon person I have ever asked about it deny its existence and/or pretend that they have no idea what my question means? I understand having a fear of religious persecution, but if your own believers can’t define or speak to your religious worldview, it’s easy to understand why certain beliefs would be described as ‘weird.’ 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Pellett/1188010049 Frank Pellett

      Kolob is a planet.  It is mentioned several times in the Book of Abraham, which is one of the books the LDS consider to be scripture.  Those who deny its existence or don’t know what it is have probably not read Abraham, which is a shame.  In chapter 3, God is teaching Abraham about the stars, planets, and moons in the universe.  Kolob is the name of the planet closest to God, which also governs all planets.  Its day is 1000 of our years.  There isnt much more given about it, but there has been a great deal of speculation over the years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Pellett/1188010049 Frank Pellett

    I’d have to disagree about it being a credibility problem.  The difficulty is in trying to answer appearently simple questions that have somewhat complex answers.  In most cases, these questions have more than one answer, because it is more than one question.  The question given is a great example of this: “Does the Mormon Church believe its followers can become “gods and goddesses” after death.”

    The quick answer is both yes and no.

    Yes, we believe in becoming like God.No, we do not believe in becoming equal to God.

    The hardest part is that many detractors want simple yes and no answers to questions that do not have simple yes or no answers in order to lay traps and spread disinformation about LDS beliefs.

    Its like asking the question, “Is the sky blue?”.  The quick answer is yes, but also no.  The “de-emphasizing” answer would be like this:     During the middle of the day, without any clouds (which can very from white through shades of gray and black), or rainbows (which have shades of all colors, in a ribbon, from violet to red), it can appear to be blue. It is not always blue, and at different times of the evening, night, and morning, can display any number of hues.

    So the trouble is not de-emphasizing the answers, but in not having been asked adequate questions.

    • scout13

      Frank, I appreciate your thoughtful, intelligent reply, but I find your last sentence troublingly ironic: “So the trouble is not de-emphasizing the answers, but in not having been asked adequate questions.” I probably should have been more clear in my initial post, but part of my concern is that even people I’ve asked about this who have initiated the conversation by banging on my door can’t answer it, and that’s what I find frustrating. Further, they seem very uncomfortable when asked about it, and if seems to me that asking a complete stranger for their time and attention should require both preparation and candidness.

      You seem to suggest that perhaps the lack of a cogent response is based on not being asked the question in a particular way, yet your faith is at least in part structured around soliciting others to begin a conversation. So perhaps the onus is not on the asker here, but on the responder, since the latter is the one who has come to my front door several times. Out of interest and out of respect for other people’s belief systems I have allowed the discourse, but I am rarely satisfied that questions are being answered in a forthright or frank manner. I have also asked how women are held in esteem in your church and have been told they are treated like equal partners, yet they cannot be priests. I find the LDS spin on this shamefully manipulative: 

      “the man holds the Priesthood, performs the priestly duties of the Church, but his wife enjoys with him every other privilege derived from the possession of the Priesthood. This is made clear, as an example, in the Temple service of the Church. The ordinances of the Temple are distinctly of Priesthood character, yet women have access to all of them, and the highest blessings of the Temple are conferred only upon a man and his wife jointly.”  

      If they are truly equal and share the same benefits, a woman would be allowed to speak and lead, not just be ‘considered’ equal but with no outward exercise of this notion. I’m not reaching out to attack the LDS church; they have initiated contact and further discussion with me by arriving on my doorstep and issuing claims that sound nice but don’t seem to mesh with their own church doctrine. Saying that women are considered equals but can’t operate in the highest office of an organization is simply untrue, regardless of how it’s worded. Say instead that women are well-regarded or important to the mission of the church, but don’t say they are treated equally unless they are. I apologize for the tangent on the role of women- I only meant to express by example that I believe the credibility issue to be not just confusion or lack of communication on the part of the non-Mormon asking for clarification, but also misinformation or lack of full disclosure on the part of the missionary. If I was visited by a representative from another country who was recruiting new citizens and they told me women were treated equally but that they weren’t allowed to become President, they’d lose all credibility as a voice for their organization- even if they added that they’d be equal to their husband through their activities as First Lady. It’s just not the same, and it is far from equal. 
      Like
      Reply

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Pellett/1188010049 Frank Pellett

        No worries about the side track; someone else can speak up if they really mind.

        To me, equal isn’t the best word to use in summing up the quote you gave.  Yes, a marriage is an equal partnetship, but that doesn’t mean that both parties bring the same things to a marriage.  The highest blessings of the Temple are only on those two, man and woman, together; neither can have those blessings on their own.

        The Priesthood is one of those things that is distinctly male, just as child bearing is distinctly female.  Not all women can bear children, but also not all men can bear the Priesthood.  The Church could not operate without married couples, as only Priesthood holders who are married can be leaders in the Church.

        For missionaries, they have a difficult challenge – how to teach someone about the Church without scaring them away with something that sounds strange.  There is quite a bit to cover, and some things won’t make sense without first knowing other things.  Kind of like learning basic mathematics before you learn differential calculus.  There is also quite a bit the missionaries don’t fully know or understand themselves.  We’re all somewhere on the learning curve, and none of us will have all the answers before we die.

        The other difficulty missionaries (and others) have in answering such simple questions is the wariness about the other persons motives for asking such a question.  There have been many times of people asking a question and then taking only part of the answer to use as a weapon or expose of LDS beliefs.

  • KKKolob

    Hey, did the Hubble telescope ever locate Kolob?

    And secondly, are Mormons just retarded and believe anything?

  • scout13

    Thanks, Frank.  My use of the word ‘equal’ was a direct quote from the text I included and not my word choice, so while I understand that it wouldn’t be your choice to summarize, it was the chosen dialogue of the church on this issue. 

    I didn’t mean to suggest that a man or woman should make identical contributions to the marriage for a woman to be considered equal- I meant to say if a woman is not considered holy enough or smart enough or whatever particularly quality is required to lead their church, then the church doesn’t treat women equally. It’s one thing to say that a man can’t achieve as much without a woman at his side, but if he is seen as capable of leading the church in a way that a woman is not, there is no question that he is given a higher authority- even if he is required to have a woman on his arm to do so. Maybe men can’t have ‘those blessings’ on their own, but I can’t imagine that women in the church are not psychically and emotionally affected by the knowledge that a man is capable of achieving something they cannot. This argument is not specific to the LDS church- I think there are very few modern religions that consider and treat women as equals to their male counterparts.

    The ability of women to give birth is a biological imperative, not a social one- I don’t see this example as something that effectively illustrates the different strengths of men and women but more as one that manipulates women’s views on their own self-worth. Men physically cannot give birth; the church isn’t denying them that ability. Women CAN physically lead the church; they are simply not permitted by the church. 

    I do appreciate your explanation regarding the lack of knowledge and/or expression of that knowledge by missionaries, and I do agree that sometimes the questions are posed sheerly in order to start a pejorative discussion about the church. That was not my intention, despite taking this discussion in a different direction altogether. 

    As a woman and a supporter of gay rights, I can’t get behind any organization that excludes people based on arbitrary factors like gender or sexual orientation from serving in a capacity that reflects their highest level of human potential.  I appreciate your thoughtful feedback, but I remain unconvinced that the LDS church is truly supportive of women’s rights. I think any organization that claims to want to help us become our best selves also has an obligation to give us every equal opportunity to do so, and it seems to me that women are still considered better at assisting and supporting than as operating as thought leaders.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Pellett/1188010049 Frank Pellett

      I am glad for the calm and considerate conversation, very glad indeed. Thanks. :)

      I do (at least, I believe I do) understand your views on this, as well as your reservations. I think we’ve come to the crux of the differences in how we see this. It comes from theidea that the Church is directed by man, rather than by God, and that gender should be an immeterial, rather than essential, part of who we are. There isnt much more that can be said about it.

      Here is a link to a very good article that was posted today, that describes my point of view on this subject:  http://www.keepapitchinin.org/2011/07/15/womanhood-and-priesthood-the-view-from-1943/

      Thanks again for the excellent conversation.  :)

  • Monte Emerson

    Mitt Romney doesn’t stand for the values of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he is a fraud.

    He endorses torture, secret arrests, and secret imprisonment.  Just look at his voting record.  He also voted for the food safety act that was lobbied in by Monsanto, the GMO coorporation.  If Mitt Romney were a true Mormon, he would exemplify what JFK said about the Mormons, and would measure up in light the words of Ezra Taft Benson regarding the Communist party and would not be a New World Order Shill who wants a one child policy in the United States.

  • Laurencebachmann1

    Every religion has its share of the ridiculous and seeming absurdities–viz the Catholic Church acknowledging just 20 years that yes indeed the Earth does after all revolve around the Sun!   Or how about those parts of the Old Testament that tell father’s when it is okay to sell their daughters into slavery or when neighbors can stone each other for mixing forbidden fabrics together?   Lest Protestant feel too smug, how about those Salem Witch Trials!  And what could be more in the spirit of Christianity than a scarlet letter?

    I think the point is to acknowledge the nonsense and failures, shrug it off  and focus on the core beliefs. Do the precepts of a religion strive to make the world a better place for all?   As a non-Mormon I respected tremendously Gov. Huntsman for saying that if he wasn’t a Mormon he would think they were odd too.  That’s all you have to do is acknowledge that there are  tenets in every religion that while weird are in no way threatening to anyone who cares to believe in other religions or no religion whatsoever.  Then get on making the world a better place.

    And let’s drop the sacred underwear chatter.  I was educated by Catholic nuns in the 1960s and I can assure you there are outfits far more ridiculous.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001905544669 Harlan Carpenter

    I am LDS, but I would not support a member of my faith for Presidential candidate. The simple reason is he would not be electable. Rabid anti-Mormon sentiment in the U.S. right now is pervasive, palpable and real. It is so universal that it would be laughable–were it not so serious, and such a symptom of American reality. I am proud of who I am, in a passively militant sort of way. I get hot under the collar just hearing some idiot make some snide remark about Mormons, and I’m ready to fight… I have been told that my attitude is not only not helpful to the LDS cause–it is detrimental. But it is just me. I spent many long, hard hours walking the streets, roads and byways of New Zealand as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints long ago, and I know all too well the ugly, ignorant, uniformed, and smirking face of anti-Mormonism. My body and soul–my very being–were forged and tempered in fires kindled by the enemies of my faith. And I would do it all over again, had I the opportunity. Maybe that is one of the reasons I have always idolized Orrin Porter Rockwell. If you are unfamiliar with that name, look it up on the Internet, try to find some books about him. He was a real hero–and a real American–something that seems pretty rare in this country today…!

  • Inca

    it’s a damn shame that humans are so easily led and deluded by scum like Smith and his ilk.  Scholars have long ago discredited the LDS dogma, and all the myths called the book of mormon, etc…really how much more ridiculous could it get….But then most people who will follow along have a 70ish IQ so no wonder..they just want to be part of something..they eventually learn to parrot the jargon and fall in line just fine.  It’s seriously sad and wrong for these women to have droves of children!  But they are made to feel obligated and shunned if they don’t keep producing human beings.  I pretended to be one of them for a few years so I could find out for myself if they were delusional or not..THEY SO ARE!!!!  These people have this dogma drilled into their brains from the time they can understand language…they are immersed unto drowning in it..  The poor young men are forced to go on a “mission” even tho many do not want to go.  Their family makes them go and lays a HUGE guilt trip on them if they object in any way.  Most of them screw around and do all kinds of things their families and their church would flat out have a screaming fit about , if they ever knew.  Every single “elder” I ever knew, and there were plenty over the yrs., slept with several of the young girls he was trying to convert.  They are not special or chaste in any way at all. they are normal young men who want sex just like other boys who are not in that strange church.  The girls are a bit less randy, they are taught to be afraid of men their age and older.  They know they will be caught out if they get pregnant..the boys get off totally free…no telltale pregnancy for them to deal with, they are gone back home……  The rest of the world is laughing at these poor deluded people, I would think they would wake up and do some real, honest research for themselves.    But as with so many things, I suppose it’s more comfortable to go on in the delusion than to make sensible changes, that would require thinking for themselves instead of senselessly and so easily following along like mindless drones.

  • Kojinshugi


    Rabid anti-Mormon sentiment in the U.S. right now is pervasive, palpable and real. It is so universal that it would be laughable–were it not so serious, and such a symptom of American reality.”

    I cannot speak for others, but I have no real anti-Mormon sentiment. Every person I’ve ever met who’s LDS has been a wonderful person and I have no fear of them.

    But I could never support an LDS president any more than I can support a young-Earth creationist. Your “weird beliefs” are amazingly weird, and I can’t trust the judgment of anyone who believes things that seem to me so patently nonsensical, not enough to have them be Commander-in-Chief, at least. Mainstream Christianity treats their nonsensical stuff (Noah’s ark, the Garden of Eden, etc) as allegory. I’m pretty sure the LDS do not consider the alternate anthropology of the Native Americans allegorical, and until such a time I can’t bring myself to trust your judgment.

  • Hybridslinky

    Mormans, what you have to understand is the reason your beliefs are ridiculed is because they are utterly ridiculous. Not because people feel threatened, not because people have a bias against you based on nothing, not because they’re not tolerant. They ridicule you because what you believe is completely and utterly absurd, laughable and a joke to the world. I understand you will never see this because most of you were raised with these beliefs and they are completely natural and normal to you. Just know, to other people it’s borderline insanity. 

  • Jerryballardusnret

    Can I suggest that if you really want to know what Mormons believe that you go to U-Tube and watch the video that the Mormon Church has banned all Mormons from watching. Matter of fact this video that I will give the name in a moment, is so historically correct, it proves that Mormons were racist in the very beginning but  changed policy and beliefs later.
    They actually taught….well you see the video  It is called ” THE GOD MAKERS”

  • Jerryballardusnret

    god Makers Video Link:

    Mormons Please understand there is only one Jesus not many! You have it wrong and you worship a fake god.
    The Jesus I worship is God and Satan is not his brother but a fallen angel. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus was born by Mary but born to a virgin who grew up died on the cross and rose from the dead.

    Jesus said: I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME John 14:6

    Mormons are NOT Christian because their teachings are from hell created by demons and not of God.

    Jerry Ballard USNRet Tulare, CA jerryballardusnret@hotmail.com

    • DerpaDerp

      How is Jesus the son of God….and God? And if Jesus died for our sins but then came back to life…doesn’t that kinda nix the deal?

      Signed,

      Confused

  • Jerryballardusnret

    god Makers Video Link:

    Mormons Please understand there is only one Jesus not many! You have it wrong and you worship a fake god.
    The Jesus I worship is God and Satan is not his brother but a fallen angel. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus was born by Mary but born to a virgin who grew up died on the cross and rose from the dead.

    Jesus said: I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME John 14:6

    Mormons are NOT Christian because their teachings are from hell created by demons and not of God.

    Jerry Ballard USNRet Tulare, CA jerryballardusnret@hotmail.com

  • Juli Alexander

    What about how mormons show up on my doorstep uninvited?  What about going to the wards and seeing little kids testify, “I with to  bear my tethtimony, I know this chuwch is twoo”?  Brainwashing.  What about the push to put mormons in positions of government power, where they have to take an oath but their prior oath is to support the church and their brethren?  What about those of us who have had to go face to face with mormon discrimination as “gentiles”? What about the push on for anti-American values disguised as religious values (gay issues, women’s rights, corporations as non-individuals)?  I see mormons and I see people deluded about their own destructiveness towards others of different beliefs, in spite of all the foolish rhetoric to the contrary (such as the mormon web sites about mormon judges who– in order to serve lawfully must rule in a judicially neutral manner, but don’t “they hold mormon beliefs!  I could not care less abot the absurdity of the mormon beliefs.  I do not want to live by them and I don’t support them.  I do not because I cannot respect the mental illness of that church.  No, you are not the one true church. 

  • http://twitter.com/TheMagusNYC Steven Hackbarth

    The foundation of Mormonism is the explict rejection of Catholicism and Protestantism. Mormon.org equivocates in its use of terms such as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which have nothing in common with Christian concepts. That 97% of Mormons claim to be christian shows the depth of the deceit among its own members, and serves to confuse potential converts who may be unaware they are breaking from the Christian faith.  There is no insult in rejecting traditional Christianity, all other religions reject the Trinity; so Mormons should just be more honest and explicit and not deceive by co-opting the lable “Christian.”

  • http://twitter.com/TheMagusNYC Steven Hackbarth

    When will Mitt Romney have the courage to speak up and announce that he does not consider Santorum nor Gingrich to be “christian”, their religious traditions having erred in asserting the Divine nature of Christ, a mere created being, like the angles.

  • Tim Campbell

    No, folks. Has nothing to do with persecution or anti-Mormon sentiment. Your beliefs really ARE weird.  I have absolutely no problem with you practicing your religion. I’ve been to Salt Lake and have enjoyed the Temple tour and really enjoyed the choir. But all said and done, your beliefs are just a tad weirder than those of Christianity and worse for you, your founder’ story of an archangel giving him golden tablets, and then REMOVING THEM SO THEY CANNOT BE STUDIED OR VERIFIED OR CONFIRMED AS EVEN EXISTING is an obvious con game.  Of course, Christians and Jews don’t have the Ten Commandment tablets either, but at least they haven’t made up magic planets.  Ah, what am I saying?  All religious beliefs are rooted in a con game!  Yours is just part of a more modern scam!

  • Harlan Carpenter

    Need I say more…? All you rabidly anti-LDS respondents above have proven my point precisely…! And you weirdos consider yourselves good American citizens…? I’ll bet ten of you put together couldn’t score an I.Q. of 70…! Of such “anti-them” hysteria and mouth-frothing idocy was born the Third Reich, the People’s Revolution of Chairman Mao Tse Tung, the Leninist-Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, the Ku Klux Klan and all those other wonderful established philosophies which have regaled humanity with their utopian theories in the last century. Let’s not even consider the insanity of western civilization since the first century A.D. If I thought like all of you I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror…!

  • James New Leaf

    So the planet Kolob appears in the Book of Abraham.  Are you aware that the so-called Book of Abraham originated as follows:
    While Joseph Smith was living  in Missouri, a man came through exhibiting a genuine Egyptian mummy and some old Egyptian hieroglyphic writings.  At that time hieroglyphic scholarship was still in its infancy, and no one could read hieroglypics.  So someone got the idea that maybe Smith could translater those ancient writings. 
    The man was willing for Smith to borrow the writings and sure enough, Smith with divine help translated them, resulting in the Book of Abraham.

    Years later it was believed that the hiroglyphic writings had been destroyed in a fire.  Meanhile, scholars had used the Rosetta Stone to “crack” the reading of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
    Then it was discovered that the writings allegedly translated by Smith had survived the fire.  Mormon scholars got all exicited, hoping that Egyptologists, who now could read hieroglyphics, would reverfy Smith’s translations.

    Not so.  Those writings were nothing more than common, ordinary Egyptian funerary writings containing the  ceremonies, etc. that were used in ancient Egyptian burials.  Joseph Smith’s “Book of Abraham” turned out to be totally fanciful.

     

  • Huey Harwell

    http://www.John316.com – A summary of the
    Bible

    .

    http://www.Isaiah7-14.com – A new look at
    the virgin birth

  • motorfingaz

    So when did Mormons change their attitudes and beliefs about the African? 

    • SalaMander

      1978.

  • Dbp9000

    Let’s face it, Mormon beliefs are weird.  So are Christian beliefs, including Catholic, Baptist, Episcopalian, and fundamentalism (which I see as a cult that is striving hard to replace mainstream Protestant Christianity). And so are Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist beliefs.  It comes with the territory when anyone, or any organization, claims to speak for God himself, to know, to the exclusion of other beliefs, “the way.”

    I don’t know a lot of Mormons, but the ones I have known have been great, even wonderful people.  When my sister unexpectedly lost her home to foreclosure and had 24 hours to get what she could out of the place, people from the Mormon church came over and did all the work.  For free.  And she’s not even Mormon, let alone a member of their church.  I’m sure there are Mormons who are far less kind and caring, too.  And I’m sure there are people of all faiths who are wonderful, and those who fall far short of the love that Jesus taught (especially now that religion is trying to infiltrate itself into our government and our laws).

    The only thing that can be said is yes, Mormon beliefs are weird.  But what makes a person a good person is not what they believe about creation, or religious icons, or angels, or golden tablets…  A person’s character and quality can only be measured by one thing:  Do they care about others – really care about them, not just use them to grow their church, “win” a convert, or expand their religion.  Do they support efforts to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, provide good health care,.. without expecting anything in return? 

    Personally, I do not see how a person of good character, by this definition, could oppose social programs to help those in need, let alone vow to destroy them.  I know and respect the argument that this is a function best left to churches and charitable organizations.  But I submit that the “Church” in one form or another has had over 2,000 years to meet this need and has proven incapable of doing so on a large scale.  Politics aside, I do have to say that Mitt Romney’s vow to dismantle government social and health programs that help the needy, in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy who are not in need, does not seem to define him as the type of loving, caring Mormon and Christian that I described above.

    • Dbp9000

       Ooops!! 
      In my first sentence above, I didn’t mean to imply that Mormons are not Christians.  My apologies to my Mormon readers!

  • Lessmeyer

    What a bunch of bleeding ass hats; to even give the mormon religion a format against (christianity); that does not even quantify as an hypothesis); is a total waste of human endeavor; and beyond me…   And breath.  

  • Justcary

    Oh, no it’s not the credibility.  It’s the weird beliefs.

  • g

    Is America ready for a Mormon president? Yes. Mo Udall would have
    beaten Gerald Ford, if he had bested Jimmy Carter in the 1976 Democratic
    primaries.)

    Really? Amazing how you know what “would have happened”? You are a fucking joke. So is your bullshit religion.

  • ThinkCritical

    You guys make evangelicals look rational. C’mon, you can’t tell me you really believe all that…
    Maybe if I put it in your own terms…
    “Excuse me, have you heard the good news about science, logic, and rationality?”
    Help yourself evolve, help the world evolve. >>>>www.reddit.com/r/atheism

  • 10011100101

    This is why we thing you’re weird.

    • Kato

      Thing?

  • FRAILTY

    Take the second m out of Mormon, and what do you have?

  • Kato

    Take the 2nd m out of Mormon and what do you have?

    • http://www.facebook.com/LisaGibson79 Lisa Marie Rink Gibson

      LMAO!!! Funniest thing I’ve heard all day! I might go to hell by laughing at your comment but I think It’s worth it! :D

    • http://twitter.com/Rush_is_a_band Jimi B.

      A lower case m, I suppose. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/Rush_is_a_band Jimi B.

    Y’know Mr. Hamer, I appreciate your argument – I grew up in a Salvation Army household, so fundamental that I coined the term “militant Christians” in 1972 to describe my family & church to friends in jr high and high school – so I am quite familiar with the position of defending some “weirdness” in ones church and it’s practices, rites, rituals, etc. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I had to explain the uniform my parents wore, and what the various symbols meant. I even wore the uniform for a time when I was a boy, played in the band, did what I was taught was the right thing. I outgrew the religion of it, but the “right & wrong” lessons and the concept of being part of something greater than yourself, those aspects of my upbringing did, I think, become a part of who I am today.

    That said, it seems to me that it really is the weirdness. Mormons or L-D-S, Christians or Catholics, Muslims or Jews, it doesn’t really matter what “tag” you put on it or what name you give to any “magic spaceman”, it flies in the face of rational thought. As there is no way to prove any religious claim – prove denies faith, and without faith there can be no religion. If you can prove it, and repeat the experience predictably, you have science and thus render mystic interpretation (ie religion) irrelevant.

  • http://profiles.google.com/1irishpoet Joe Mama

    Is this what they mean about how the Moron Mittens Rmoney ‘Lyin’ for the Lord’ is ok since it’s not REALLY a lie if it’s for the Moron Jeebus? damn you Morons are stupid ain’t ya, anyone believes the load of crap spewed from Joe Smith’s orifice MUST be a Moron! http://malialitman.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/mitt-romney-isnt-a-flip-flopper-romneys-lying-for-the-lord/

  • Sorcha333

    Look, I’m sorry if I think Mormanism (not all Mormans themselves) is *weird.* Because it is. My best friend in High School was Morman, so I heard a lot of the inside scoop then, but I also lived in Provo UT for a year (under duress) and then I got the REAL inside scoop…. unbelievable that grown adults with even double digit IQs could go for this stuff. It’s only surpassed by Scientology for purely made up bullpucky by a con artist egomaniac. Joseph Smith, meet L. Ron Hubbard!