Mormons.

This is not going to be politically correct….

“Trip to Disney World?!?! No no no…. I said, ‘I tripped and got dizzy and hurled.’ Big difference.”

My life is full of examples of times that I have said things without thinking. I have a friend who is always planning secret trips and parties and events for his wife, and sometimes these surprises involve other people’s cooperation. For some reason, I have a legitimate disability with NOT saying things that spoil a surprise or give away a secret. There will be three months’ worth of secretive deception, and I will walk up and be like, “So when are you guys leaving for Disney World again?” Followed by the horrified silence of the other people in the room. Which is followed shortly by me breaking into a cold sweat, and then babbling like an idiot about “another friend” I have who is going to Disney World, and then confessing that I accidentally drank some anti-freeze that afternoon which explains my erratic behavior…. I am the worst.

I’m not really sure about this one….

Most of these sorts of mistakes (as well as most of the other times I’ve put my foot in my mouth and regretted it) wouldn’t have happened if I would have just taken that brief moment between the thinking of something and the saying of something to ask myself a very important question: “Why am I saying this?” I’ve been thinking a lot about this question as I considered writing this post. All over the world right now, Muslims are freaking out because of a horribly and intentionally offensive film that was made to incite violence–A film which was, by the way, financially backed by a group ironically calling itself “Media For Christ.” The film (if you can call it that) is meant to defame and denigrate Islam’s founding prophet Mohammed in a way that is as inflammatory as possible. It was such a disgusting show of provocation…. and now here I sit typing a blog post about how Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the Mormons, was completely full of crap. And I’m thinking, “Why am I saying this?”

Mitt Romney–The smirkiest presidential candidate since William Howard Taft.

I have been interested in Mormon theology for a while, but I guess I became more interested in it after so much of the “Christian Right” embraced Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate. It seems the Christian Right ran into a bit of a problem now that the democratic candidate is a professing Christian and the republican candidate is a Mormon. There seem to be two ways that Christian conservatives are handling this dilema: 1) Have a sudden change of heart about the importance they place on voting for the Christian candidate, or 2) Try to minimize (or even overlook) the significant differences between Mormons and Christians while focusing on “common values.” This process started as soon as it became clear that Mitt was going to be the republican candidate for president, and the Christian Right had to decide which was the more important part of their brand name: The “Christian,” or the “Right.” The choice they have made is clear….

He does look very “white and delightsome.”

A while ago I wrote about how I was troubled by this hypocrisy/sudden turn around in policy from Christian conservatives, and I also wrote very briefly about how Mormonism is closer to Islam than it is to Christianity, but I realized that I, like many Christians, knew very little about what Mormons actually believe. Part of the reason for this lack of knowledge is a lack of transparency–Mormon leadership tries very hard to keep some of their more unorthodox beliefs as secret as possible until the follower is “ready to hear them.” I had read a bit about some of the differences in their theology (Jesus and Satan are brothers, God used to be a man from another planet, we can be Gods some days and populate our own planet with our kids, etc….), but didn’t really know where these beliefs came from–Namely Joseph Smith. And I didn’t really know the historical evidence surrounding the dubious origins and story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I’ve only heard good things about The Book of Mormon….

This brings me to the reason for me writing this post, which is to tell you about a website that I have discovered that does an amazing job of explaining with factual and historical evidence how Mormonism is simply and empirically not true. The website is called www.20truths.info, and it is literally the whole reason I am writing this. It was written by a person named Jim Day. He is a former Mormon who has his Ph.D., and what he has written is so, so interesting to me–and I want you to read it too. He is fair (including the strongest responses to his concerns from Mormon apologists) and he is factual (citing just about everything he writes). In the introduction he says, “I believe the truths cited herein clearly show that the church has misled its members as to the character of its founding leaders, the veracity of its doctrines, and the divinity of its origin.” And that is exactly what he proves. And it is not about calling a different theology crazy–Who am I to tell someone that their sacred text is any less inspired by God than our sacred text? Christians have beliefs that people outside of the Church find just as crazy as Christians might find Mormons beliefs (i.e. Virgin birth and God being three persons but only one God). This website is about facts and evidence.

So why am I saying this?

This. Dude. Is. CRAZY!!! JK…. However, he does appear to be very white and delightsome.

I’m writing about this because the truth is more important than any institution. Whenever making an institution look good is more important than the truth, that’s when everything falls apart. That’s when it stops being a church and starts being a business. And that is so gross. I mean, when the Catholics found out about child abuse being committed by priests, the only appropriate response is shining a light on those acts of abuse and dealing with them by acknowledging those failings. Or if the protestant youth pastor gets caught sleeping with one of the girls from the youth group, you don’t try to cover it up. And yeah, I know every religion has its crazies–Islam has its Al Qaeda. Christianity has its Westboro Baptist Church. Buddhism has its Richard Gere…. Why should Mormons be any different, right? But this isn’t about some strange sect of Mormonism that is forcing 15 year old girls into polygamous marriages with 70 year old men–The difference with acknowledging the garbage in the Mormon church is that you don’t simply end up with PEOPLE who are deceptive, manipulative, philandering frauds, you discover a founding PROPHET who was a deceptive, manipulative, philandering fraud. And you discover a church that is not only based off of the teachings of a man with these kind of severe character flaws, but a church which also works very hard to deceptively try to conceal the many moral failings of the guy who claimed to hear from God and find the golden plates that only he could see or read.

So I hope that this doesn’t come across as being hateful. This is not about hate–It is about the truth. I am not trying to ruin anyone’s trip to Disney World…. I am critical of this just like I am critical of the belief by some Christians that the world is only 6000 years old. If my religion was based off a man whose plagiarized stories were proven to be genetically and linguistically and archeologically false, I would speak out against it. Because the truth is more important than faith in any institution. But most of all, I hope you go to www.20truths.info and take the time to actually read it. It’s very interesting. And it’s true.

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22 Responses to Mormons.

  1. cjraines says:

    So you think Richard Gere is God or the Mormons do? As an atheist, I think of Alanis Morissette being God… you’ve seen that movie, right? I am so confused 🙂

  2. Chad Moore says:

    It’s amazing what can come out of that computer, mouth, and mind. I find it interesting that you so continually attack a church and religion because a few of their beliefs are different than yours, and also are able to continue to preach about being a “Christian.” I am no longer even insulted, just amazed and stupefied at your ignorance in the matter, and your insistence on simply furthering your own agenda. If you would honestly like to know anything In regards to the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, then again I offer to put you in touch with someone who can help you. If you intend to only research the things that can prove your points, however misguided thy might be, well I wish you luck and may God be with you.

    • theboeskool says:

      Again–It’s not my intent to offend people. I’m interested in the truth. I can tell you didn’t read the site that I talked about. It’s 20truths.info

      The guy that wrote that site knows more about the Mormon church than you or I will ever learn. You should read it.

      • Chad Moore says:

        I actually have read a lot of things on that site, and on a variety of other similar sites. Perhaps one shouldn’t be so quick to judge and to assume things that aren’t true? If you are TRULY interested in the church and it’s teachings, then why not seek answers from the church? It seems that you are only interested in learning “truths” that can support your ideas. That’s well and good for presenting an argument in high school debate, but out here in the real world is how propaganda, lies, and half truths get spread.

      • theboeskool says:

        Chad–Are there any things in particular that Dr. Day writes on the site you would point to as being lies or half-truths?

        Listen–I know there are all kinds of things that people can learn fron other faiths. I’m not trying to seem intolerant…. But if an institution is being accused of lying to people, it hardly seems appropriate to “seek answers” by asking that institution. That would be like asking a corporation, “Are you guys dumping waste into that stream?” Or, closer to topic, like asking Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, “Are you guys stealing money from the church?”

        Dr. Day makes a case that the LDS “church has misled its members as to the character of its founding leaders, the veracity of its doctrines, and the divinity of its origin.” There is written evidence of a church policy of censoring the truth if they believe the truth might work against building faith. You can read some examples right here: http://20truths.info/mormon/lying.html It is referred to as “Lying for the Lord.” Believe me when I say that if I found evidence like this of this sort of bullshit practice in my own church, you better believe that I would shine a spotlight on it in my blog. My beef is not with any faith or denomination…. My beef is with bullshit. “Passing along bullshit anywhere is a threat to truth everywhere.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

        That last part was a joke.

      • Sandie says:

        I agree with Chad Moore. If you are interested in learning about the LDS doctrine, go to the source…ask a practicing Mormon. As the daughter of a Baptist minister, I was raised to believe (and raised my children to believe) the Bible is the fundamental word if God. My daughter has been married to a wonderful man for 17-1/2 years. They and our 3 grandchildren are members of the LDS congregation. Although my religious roots are still firmly planted in the beliefs I obtained attending fundamental Protestant churches, I feel very welcome and comfortable attending LDS services with my children and grandchildren, when invited. My daughter and I often discuss aspects of our beliefs and; although we don’t agree on everything, she has said nothing to make me think that their church members should not be considered Christian. Though it may not be your intent, you ARE coming across as offensive and hateful.

  3. Liz says:

    I seriously LOVE reading what you write. Every time. Thank you.

  4. dkowitz says:

    Wait… Mormonism needs a website to prove that it’s not empirically true? People think Mormonism is empirically true? Wha…? (BTW – I’m just as shocked that people think Christianity is empirically true – like you said, virgin birth, trinity, yada yada).

  5. K DIZZ says:

    No fair. The historical record of the times doesn’t allow us to disprove Christian (or other Abrahamic) tradition. It’s not fair that a thousand years of grooming and editing, and the literacy of the masses during its key formation period, has kept all of the Christian “garbage” from contextualizing the stories of the bible.

    I find Mormonism fascinating because it illustrates how easily persuasive ideas can shift a population to do things (crazy stuff… like not drink Coke). It’s all right there in our recent history… we are watching it unfold. Even for the people of the richest, smartest country in the history of the world, it was EASY to believe this “garbage.” If only we could do the same thing for the other Abrahamic traditions, go back in time and see the reality of things. Maybe people would stop killing and advancing stupid agendas in the name of crazy story telling.

    • theboeskool says:

      This is an idea that I have heard a few times lately: That there would be no more violence if there were no more religion. I’m aware that most of the world’s worst injustices and tragedies were committed under the claimed blessing of a religion, but atheists are not any more peaceful as a group than religious people. There are peaceful people and violent people in both groups–It’s just that when people hate and kill in the name of God, it is so much grosser than when they hate and kill without a a claim of God’s blessing.

      Incidentally, Jesus tells his followers to love their enemies, so if people claim to hate and kill in his name, they are mistaken. They are thinking of some other Jesus than the one described in the Bible.

  6. grlsrule says:

    Funny that you would choose this topic. I was actually reading about the Mormon religion this week. While I can appreciate that all of us have the potential for a god (notice little g) in them (I mean even Jesus says something like that) I was blown away by the ideas Smith wrote that the white angel was a Native American and that Native Americans are “red-skinned” as a punishment by God for not accepting Jesus (which would have been at a time before he was born a babe). Talk about an agenda.

  7. Pingback: Blogs, Birthdays and Bullshit | The Boeskool

  8. MMMMM says:

    Dear Chad, generally, the people trying to hide their unsavory truths, are not going to be the people who will be forthcoming and tell you all the facts….. just tossin it on the table.

  9. Pingback: Obama Wins and Jesus Loses | The Boeskool

  10. Michelle says:

    Mormons and Scientologist seem like the same to me.

  11. Michelle says:

    Oh and not to sound too dismissive of the Mormons and their Prophet, but how do we know that he didnt have a mental condition? Finding tablets that no one else could see or read, how does that not sound a little off kiltered? Maybe he was just tired of the current state of religion during his time and wanted to try something different and start his own religion and “improve” on what he thought needed to be improved on?

  12. John says:

    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
    [These are people who hold the truth (of the Bible), but do so in unrighteousness. It includes those who profess the truth of the Bible, but who think and/or use the methods listed below regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormons), or for that matter any other religion, race, culture, ethnicity, etc.
    abuse, accuse, acerbic, acrimonious, adamant, adverse, aggressive, antagonistic, apathetic, argumentative, artless, atrocious, awful, belittle, bellicose, belligerent, berate, biased, bigoted, bitter, blame, calumny, caustic, censure, chauvinistic, closed-minded, combative, complain, condemn, confrontational, contempt, contemptuous, contentious, critical, criticize, cynical, damaging, debase, decry, defame, defensive, degrade, deleterious, demagogic, demean, denigrate, denounce, denunciate, deprecate, deride, derisive, despise, destructive, diatribe, dire, disagreeable, discomfit, discourteous, discredit, disdain, disgrace, disgusting, dishonor, dislikeable, dismal, disparage, displeasing, disrespect, distasteful, distort, distress, distrusting, dreadful, embarrass, evil, falsehood, falsify, fanatical, fault, focus, foul, ghastly, grim, gruesome, harass, harmful, harsh, hatred, hideous, horrible, horrific, horrifying, hostile, humiliate, hurtful, ill-disposed, impervious, incomplete, inexperienced, inflammatory, ingenuous, insular, insulting, intolerant, jaded, jaundiced, lackluster, libel, lie, limited, malign, militant, misleading, misrepresent, mock, naïve, narrow-minded, nasty, naysayers, negative, nit-pick, objectionable, obnoxious, offensive, one-sided, parochial, persecute, pessimistic, prejudiced, provocative, quarrelsome, rancorous, repugnant, repulsive, resistant, restricted, revile, revolting, ridicule, rudeness, sarcastic, scandalize, scorn, shame, simple, skeptical, slander, slight, slur, smear, sneer, speak, suspicious, targeted, terrible, twist, ugly, uncivility, unfair, unfriendly, unhelpful, uninspiring, unkind, unpleasant, unreceptive, unsophisticated, unsympathetic, unteachable, untruth, vicious, vilify, virulent, vulgar, warpath, xenophobic, etc.
    Your thoughts and actions regarding the Mormon Church and other religions, races, cultures, ethnicities, etc., may range anywhere from total apathy to thinking they are the worst thing in the world. Important for you is how you personally respond to any of these groups. If you use one or more of the above principles in your dealings regarding them, even if you are sincere and believe you are doing the right thing, then you are using principles that are ungodly and unrighteous. The Bible is very clear that all of these practices fit that category. It is also clear that the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against those who do these things, especially when committing these actions or thoughts willfully. Those who do not believe in the Bible, but use these tactics, surely need to fear and tremble for the welfare of their soul, as the Savior has stated. We know there will be a day of reckoning before God, and He will not hold guiltless any who use these methods. The scriptures teach us that we should be kind and loving to one another, and not use unkind methods, or think unkind thoughts. It is possible to overcome improper thoughts.]
    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    • John says:

      Greetings:
      I am a member of the LDS Church, but the Church has not asked me to send this to you.
      I hope it is helpful.
      Best wishes,
      John

      Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
      [These are people who in essence, restrain the truth, but do so in unrighteousness. It includes those who profess the truth of the Bible, but who think and/or use the methods listed below regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormons), or for that matter any other religion, race, culture, ethnicity, etc.
      abuse, accuse, acerbic, acrimonious, adamant, adverse, aggressive, antagonistic, apathetic, argumentative, artless, atrocious, awful, belittle, bellicose, belligerent, berate, biased, bigoted, bitter, blame, calumny, caustic, censure, chauvinistic, closed-minded, combative, complain, condemn, confrontational, contempt, contemptuous, contentious, critical, criticize, cynical, damaging, debase, decry, defame, defensive, degrade, deleterious, demagogic, demean, denigrate, denounce, denunciate, deprecate, deride, derisive, despise, destructive, diatribe, dire, disagreeable, discomfit, discourteous, discredit, disdain, disgrace, disgusting, dishonor, dislikeable, dismal, disparage, displeasing, disrespect, distasteful, distort, distress, distrusting, dreadful, embarrass, evil, falsehood, falsify, fanatical, fault, focus, foul, ghastly, grim, gruesome, harass, harmful, harsh, hatred, hideous, horrible, horrific, horrifying, hostile, humiliate, hurtful, ill-disposed, impervious, incomplete, inexperienced, inflammatory, ingenuous, insular, insulting, intolerant, jaded, jaundiced, lackluster, libel, lie, limited, malign, militant, misleading, misrepresent, mock, naïve, narrow-minded, nasty, naysayers, negative, nit-pick, objectionable, obnoxious, offensive, one-sided, parochial, persecute, pessimistic, prejudiced, provocative, quarrelsome, rancorous, repugnant, repulsive, resistant, restricted, revile, revolting, ridicule, rudeness, sarcastic, scandalize, scorn, shame, simple, skeptical, slander, slight, slur, smear, sneer, speak, suspicious, targeted, terrible, twist, ugly, uncivility, unfair, unfriendly, unhelpful, uninspiring, unkind, unpleasant, unreceptive, unsophisticated, unsympathetic, unteachable, untruth, vicious, vilify, virulent, vulgar, warpath, xenophobic, etc.
      Your thoughts and actions regarding the Mormon Church and other religions, races, cultures, ethnicities, etc., may range anywhere from total apathy to thinking they are the worst thing in the world. Important for you is how you personally respond to any of these groups. If you use one or more of the above principles in your dealings regarding them, even if you are sincere and believe you are doing the right thing, then you are using principles that are ungodly and unrighteous. The Bible is very clear that all of these practices fit that category. It is also clear that the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against those who do these things, especially when committing these actions or thoughts willfully. Those who do not believe in the Bible, but use these tactics, surely need to fear and tremble for the welfare of their soul, as the Savior has stated. We know there will be a day of reckoning before God, and He will not hold guiltless any who use these methods. The scriptures teach us that we should be kind and loving to one another, and not use unkind methods, or think unkind thoughts. It is possible to overcome improper thoughts with God’s help.]
      Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

  13. John says:

    Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    Matthew 7:14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
    Matthew 7:15 ╢ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    [If one looks at the history and doctrine of an organization, the results it produces, and finds acts of or that are: abuse, atrocity, belligerence, brutality, coercion, corruption, cruelty, destruction, disgraceful, disgusting, dishonorable, distortion, distressful, dreadful, exploitation, evil, falsehood, fanatical, force, foul, ghastly, gruesome, harassment, harmful, harsh, hatred, hideous, horrifying, hostile, hurtful, immoral, intimidation, intolerant, malice, misrepresentation, mistreatment, oppressive, outrageous, persecution, perversion, prejudiced, revolting, scandalous, shameful, terrible, torture, ugly, unkind, vicious, vile, vilifying, violence, etc., then are not those evil fruit?
    This is not meant to take away the light and truth the majority of the people on this earth have found in their various religious or other affiliations and are following with sincere devotion and faithfulness. Their acts of love and service to others are most gratifying and beneficial to all. Their incredible contribution to the welfare of mankind is inestimable. All that is asked, is that they keep all the truth and light they have, and see if that provided by prophets in our time can add to what they already enjoy. If there is additional light and truth discovered, that will only increase their ability to walk in the light. God will answer the sincere prayer, asking if these things are true. If there is no additional light to be found, then nothing will be lost in any effort made to find it. The saddest loss of all will be in refusing to investigate the possibility.]

    Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    Matthew 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    Matthew 7:21 ╢ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    [And what is the will of the Father? Perhaps that found in:
    Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    Galatians 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
    Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings [or rioting], and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
    Galatians 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.]

    Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
    Matthew 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    Matthew 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
    Matthew 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

    LDS Church News
    Shining Moment: ‘Christlike love’
    Published: Thursday, Aug. 13 2015 1:40 p.m. MDT
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865634476/Teaching-Moment-Christlike-love.html
    Zeny Jensen immigrated from the Philippines to Toronto, Canada, with her family in September 2005 and was baptized in March 2006. Less than two years later her husband, Ed, was diagnosed with cancer. Brother Jensen passed away three weeks after their family was sealed in the Toronto Ontario Temple.
    Sister Jensen said of that difficult time: “The outpouring of love and support from the sisters was tremendous. I remember one sister who came forward to help me with babysitting during the summer months when I needed to be at work. I cannot imagine my life without the gospel of Jesus Christ and how I would surpass the challenge of losing an eternal companion in a foreign country.”
    As the Etobicoke Ward Relief Society president, Sister Jensen shares that same Christlike love. Ward members come from 71 countries. The majority of sisters are first-generation immigrants and first-generation converts to the Church.
    “That diversity gives them a sense of belonging,” said Sister Jensen. “Though far away from their home country, they find family within the sisterhood. As we learn from each through their examples of generosity, compassion and charity, it creates a better understanding of who we are and what we stand for. Truly, the gospel of Jesus Christ is inclusive.”
    With the bishop’s support the whole ward joined Sister Jensen’s proposal to give Christlike service to others beyond their ward.
    A goal of 2015 “second mile” acts of service was set. Some of the service provided to date includes helping a nearby church of another faith feed the homeless, making blankets and scarves for the homeless, tutoring needy students, providing free gymnastic and skating lessons, donating furniture to a new immigrant family, chauffeuring services for sisters unable to drive, helping a neighbor with terminal cancer, and volunteering at an investigator’s vendor fair booth.
    The example of the sisters in the Etobicoke Ward Relief Society remind us that accepting, serving and reaching out with Christlike love to those outside our normal circles is an important part of the work of Relief Society. — Relief Society general board

    I think all would recognize the good works this ward was doing. It is admitted that not every ward reaches this level of Christ-like service, but they all strive to do so. Jesus said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”

    It is readily admitted that there are unfortunate incidents in the past history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormons, or LDS,) such as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, or our futile attempts to defend ourselves in Missouri, but they are very few in number. And they were the actions of individuals and not the Church itself. Mostly, we were a persecuted and oppressed people during the early history of our Church. There are individual members today who do not live up to the standards of the Church.

  14. John says:

    On returning, (26 May 2015) I came back to the couch in our Snowbird (Utah) condo room, leaving the bathroom light on. It was so dark walking away from the light that I had to feel my way from memory to avoid the obstacles I knew were there and get to where I wanted to be. Yet, going towards the light was so much easier because I could see everything clearly.
    This reminded me of the experience I had many years ago when I was in a dark building going down a hall with a light behind me. When I walked away from the light, I could not see my way, but walking towards the light I had no problem. The closer I got to the light the brighter everything became.
    This morning, I pondered about this and thought that if there was a mirror to reflect that light, it would provide guidance for others to know where to go. I wondered why it was so dark walking away from the light and concluded that the materials in the hall did not reflect light, but only darkness. That is the reason I could not see. If there is nothing present to reflect light, then it was all darkness; no light striking my optic nerve. I know they reflect some light, but it is of a different wavelength invisible to our eyes. If there is a mirror, but it is slanted at an angle from the light source, its image would strike the non-reflective materials and would not help unless a person was facing that slanted mirror directly.
    When you have a memory of where everything is, then you can carefully find the way to where you want to go. But, suppose there is no prior knowledge or memory of your desired destination. Then, you stumble around, lose your way, become completely disoriented, and are filled with great caution and fear. You are totally lost and won’t find your way unless you turn around and face a source of light. You can try this in your own home during the night, by turning off every light in the house but one, draping the windows so outside light can’t come in, and then walking away from or towards that light.
    Now, for the spiritual application. This is where some who are in spiritual darkness will tune out and ignore the rest of what is written. The things of this world reflect the light of Jesus because He created them. However, when we place our trust in those things to provide us with guidance, safety, ease, extravagance, and not upon the Savior, we ignore His light in them and are using them for a purpose, which they were not designed to give, namely, to bless others who are less fortunate. Jesus is the true source of guidance and safety. When we prostitute the use of earthly things in this way, we do not see the light of the Creator that is there, because we are seeking light in a way that those things cannot offer. The more worldly things, including fame and honor, we possess and misuse in this way, the greater is the darkness and spiritual blindness we develop.
    When we walk towards Jesus we can see clearly the way to go and there is no chance for stumbling or losing our way. The closer we get to His light, by walking toward that light, the brighter, warmer, soft-hearted, gentle, humble, submissive, and more loving we become. His light, warmth, and love is reflected in us back to others so that we can give His light to them. Also, the closer we get to Him, the greater we feel His help and comfort in our lives. We are more happy and experience more true joy.
    If we are walking away from Him, and have a memory of where we want to go in the darkness, we can, after a fashion, improve our path by living ethically, but often with much difficulty. We can’t see, but we can remember the Gospel principles and the faith we were taught in our youth that will guide us to do those things that we learned and thereby obtain some small measure of spiritual light. In that way, we may reflect His light that we knew of long ago, but that light we reflect is very dim, and will not provide much direction to others who are walking away from Him.
    Now, those who do not have that memory of being taught, or have totally rejected the value of those teachings they did receive and deny their worth, may say, “There is no God or Savior.” The darkness they are in, when increased, may tend to make their relationship with others, cold, unfeeling, impersonal, and loveless. The longer they stay in that darkness, the more they might become selfish, hard of heart, skeptical, cynical, critical, despairing, and rebellious. Having those feelings is a good barometer to indicate that they are in spiritual darkness. They are not happy and everything seems to go wrong for them. They might say they are just having some bad luck. That is not their problem, it is facing away from the light. Being in darkness, we are less likely to recognize the decline of moral values in society. Some become so full of darkness that they anger against that which is good, and beyond that, commit oppression or even murder in the name of religion or for some other reason. They may even lose all traces of civilization. They stumble and are totally lost in that state and will be unless they turn to the light. But, the more they turn to darkness, the harder it is to try the other way. While in this darkness, they are less likely to receive help from the Savior with their personal problems, or when they do have that help, are often unable to recognize it.
    Because they have no memory of spiritual things, or have rejected them, they often even deny that spiritual things exist. They perceive the wonder and beauty of God’s creations, but they have no spiritual sight to recognize the hand of God in their creation. They can view everything through the Electromagnetic Spectrum, but do not see things spiritually. Even when their mind is enlightened by this spiritual light, in giving them solutions to problems, many do not give God the credit, but attribute that insight or inspiration to their genius. They see how everything in the Universe is so programmed for life, but they ignore the Programmer. They see the order and harmony of all things such as mathematics, the “Golden Ratio,” music, etc., but do not think that this order had to have One who ordered it. They perceive the creation, but not the Creator.
    Therefore, they derive all kinds of theories to answer how everything came to be, so that God had no hand in it. To them, the Universe is like a clock winding down; similar to a flashlight which requires batteries to resupply energy. On the other hand, Jesus’ light never goes out or diminishes. They can’t comprehend this and so disbelieve. This lack of belief creates in them a blindness that is a stumbling-block to their understanding things correctly. Rather than accepting the fact that we were created in the image of God, they have concluded that man was made from the image of lower animals. They have arrived at such conclusions from the fossil record, when that evidence is so incomplete as to provide at best a myopic view to one who trusts that it is complete and the final word. In their blindness, they cannot arrive at correct results, as they could if their vision was working properly. They do not recognize that man is so much more than what would be required to survive as the fittest, if that was the engine of our creation. They ignore the incredible difference between mankind and the highest form of animal life, which difference cannot be explained by DNA. They disregard the great joy we experience in music and other things that make our life so rich and full, that are not experienced by the animal world, except in a very rudimentary form.
    Some are even so blind as to deny that man has a spirit within him. They are quite proud of their scientific achievements and have great faith in them. But, they are as the blind leading the blind. These theories only help them to flounder, and become even more hopelessly lost. They are as a ship without a rudder. They are like the sails of a ship blown by the wind of any new theory in whatever direction the wind takes them because they do not have the rudder of the Savior to guide them.
    Even when being taught about the light, it is rejected by many of them because their eyes are focused away from that light. They only believe in what they can see with the natural eye, but spiritually, that is darkness to them, because the things of this world do not reflect spiritual light that they can understand. As Paul says, these things are only understood by the Spirit (See I Corinthians 2:11.)
    Many say, “If a miracle were done, then I would believe.” But, that wouldn’t provide them with spiritual sight, because they are facing away from the light by which the miracle was performed. So, they wouldn’t comprehend the significance of the miracle even if they saw one. The miracle is to be understood spiritually, but they cannot perceive that because their eyes do not receive that light onto their spiritual optic nerve. That miracle will not cause them to turn around and face the light, when they have chosen not to do so to begin with. That is a great irony.
    An incredible miracle in our time is the Book of Mormon; the fact that it was written in less than 80 days by Joseph Smith, who had little or no schooling. The short timetable provided for him to accomplish such a super-human feat is just simply astounding. His wife said he couldn’t even compose a well-written letter at that time, let alone a book the size of the Book of Mormon. That twelve other people saw the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, and testified of that experience the rest of their lives, is totally ignored by many. As is all the massive and growing evidence that the Book of Mormon is an ancient document, and not a product of our modern environment. Yet many will trust a scientist in his conclusions, even when some of them are fraudulent or misinterpreted. That is another great irony. Numerous persons will also trust others who teach them to avoid reading the Book of Mormon and so it is a closed book to them. Without reading it, they do not see the incredible witness and light the Book of Mormon gives us about the Savior Jesus Christ. And so, they are kept in darkness because they allowed someone else, who was also in the dark, to guide them into more darkness.
    When we reject the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and say, “There are to be no prophets or apostles today,” even when we need them so desperately, we are turning away from the light that the Savior provides in our time. If we become angry at the work Joseph Smith has done (including the Church he established), spread untruths about it knowingly, and fight against it because we may lose our livelihood, prestige, or power, we may become like the Jews who denied Jesus 2000 years ago. Those who say there are to be no more prophets, apostles, or scripture after the Bible, ignore the fact that the Book of Revelation says there will be prophets and apostles in the Last Days. The Book of Revelation says they will be killed by wicked men, just as Joseph Smith was killed. (See Revelation 11:3; 16:1-6; 18:20, 24.) Joseph Smith was the only one to establish apostles in our time. Therefore, who else could the Book of Revelation be referring to? A common response is to use the words of Jesus, “Beware of false prophets.” (See Matthew 7:15-20.) We should beware of them, but Jesus gave the key to identify them. He said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Could there be any more goodly fruit given in our time than what Joseph Smith provided in the latter-day scriptures? In the Topical Guide (published by the Church) to those scriptures, including the Bible, is the most extensive, comprehensive, and consistent listing of references to the Savior in existence. How ironic that some call us non-Christian. This is another attempt to turn people away from investigating Joseph Smith’s claims. After all is said, the final test is to ask God in prayer, if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Some will even encourage you not to ask that question.
    It makes sense that the Lord would provide guiding light to our generation through prophets because the revelation God gave to Noah to build the Ark, was not sufficient for Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. New revelation was needed. Therefore, since our time is when the Gathering of Israel takes place, we could expect prophets to guide and direct us in these Last Days. The Lord even mentions that the latter-day gathering will be more important in His eyes than was the one in Moses’ time. (See Jeremiah 16:13-15; 31:31-33.) There was a prophet to prepare the way for Christ’s first coming. Doesn’t it seem reasonable to conclude there will also be a prophet to prepare the way for His Second Coming? (See Malachi 3:1-2.)
    This is not meant to take away the light and truth the majority of the people on this earth have found in their various religious or other affiliations and are following with sincere devotion and faithfulness. Their acts of love and service to others are most gratifying and beneficial to all. Their incredible contribution to the welfare of mankind is inestimable. All that is asked, is that they keep all the truth and light they have, and see if that provided by prophets in our time can add to what they already enjoy. If there is additional light and truth discovered, that will only increase their ability to walk in the light. God will answer the sincere prayer, asking if these things are true. If there is no additional light to be found, then nothing will be lost in any effort made to find it. The saddest loss of all will be in refusing to investigate the possibility,
    The scriptures say that miracles do not cause faith to develop within those who are facing away from the light and that is most often the case. Occasionally, a person will be touched by a manifestation and will turn to the light. But, that is the exception and not the general rule.
    There are people that are legally blind, but who turn to the light and so see spiritually the things others who are not physically blind are unable to see.
    The key to restoring spiritual sight is by turning towards the light of Jesus and becoming more like Him through, repentance, prayer, reading His ancient and modern word, and keeping the commandments. If the Savior has spoken in our time, then we certainly would not be facing the light, if we rejected what He has said.
    The Devil is the master of all darkness. He tries to get us to come to the darkness so he can put his chains upon us that bind us down and make it very difficult to get out of his bondage. He uses many methods to deceive us to choose the darkness. He effectively uses false traditions and cultures to trap us from coming to the light. One trap is that, “My ancestors were a particular religion, and so I won’t change.” Also, most productive is the idea that all religions and beliefs, while on different paths, will eventually get us to the same place. (See Matthew 7:13-14.) Further, is the belief that, “I will be saved by God’s grace without having to live a life of righteousness, or, it doesn’t matter what I do or how I live my life.” To others, he gives a false sense of security so they think everything is all right. Likewise, very fruitful for him is when we hold grudges, seek for revenge, procrastinate doing some good thing, are discouraged, depressed, addicted to harmful substances, or think that a sin we may have committed is so bad, that repentance is no longer an option, and as a result we give up and descend further into darkness. He encourages us to be casual, apathetic, or unbelieving about spiritual things. Most sinister of all is when he entices men to establish secret combinations so they can murder and commit other forms of wickedness without getting caught. All of these deceptions and many more keep us from learning the truth and turning to the light. His chains can be so tight around us that we may become as if we were in a thoughtless stupor, and even in what might be called “spiritual drunkenness.” The completely inebriated soul is passed out, is totally unaware of his surroundings, and does not know there is darkness or light. It is a most dangerous situation to be in. But, there is still hope of turning to the light in each of these persons. Even the smallest candle light can overpower the darkness in a room and the darkness must flee if we look at the candle light. However, when we turn to the light, he tries very hard to distract us so that we turn away from the light towards the darkness.
    However, there are some souls who see both the light and the darkness, but choose the darkness over light. They are Sons of Perdition. Sadly, for the Sons of Perdition, the option to turn to the light is not available because seeing both, they chose darkness over light. When they made that decision, they are unable to turn back, having cut themselves off from the light being able to reach them. Once they have made that choice, they cannot be redeemed because they consciously chose to resist the light and the light is taken away. They must walk in eternal darkness, never seeing the light; as souls who are lost forever. They are like those evil spirits in the New Testament that knew who Jesus was, but they were blind to His light. Repentance is no longer an option for them. They closed that door when they loved Satan more than God and chose not to repent. How sad to make that kind of choice in our pre-mortal life or while in our few years of mortality. It is most unfortunate when we choose a course to follow that will have eternal consequences for us later, without using the benefit of light to show us the proper way. All choices we make when we are facing away from the light will be wrong. The saddest irony of all is for us to make frivolous, vain, and wrong choices in this short life without the benefit of spiritual sight that will affect us the rest of our individual eternity.
    Many of the choices we make when facing towards the light may be wrong because we are not as close to that light as we should be. But, at least, even when making those poor choices, they can be a blessing/instruction for us if we continue to face the light and don’t become angry with God and turn away from the light. How foolish to blame God for the results of our decisions made by us when we lacked sufficient light to make good choices.
    (See also Exodus 13:21; Deuteronomy 28:29; 2 Samuel 23:4; Job 5:14, 10:22, 29:3; Psalms 27:1, 36:9, 119:105; Isaiah 5:20, 9:2, 50:10, 60:2; Matthew 5:16, 6:22-23; Luke 11:34-36; John 1:5, 3:19, 8:12, 12:35-36; I Peter 2:9; I John 1:5-6; 2 Nephi 26:10; Mosiah 16:9; Alma 19:6, 32:35, 34:33-34; Moroni 7:18-19; D&C 10:21, 14:9, 29:44-45, 50:23-24, 76:9-10, 82:5, 84:49-50, 54, 88:6-13, 49, 67, 93:2, 9, 28, 31-32, 39, 101:32-34; Moses 1:15, 5:50-51, 55, 7:26.)
    I really felt inspired in writing these thoughts. When I had that experience years before, none of this detail was open to my understanding. To me it explains why miracles by themselves do not produce faith in Jesus Christ. This took me quite a bit of time over many days to compose. You are invited to share this information.
    Kindest regards, John

    You can find out more information by going to http://www.mormon.org.

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